Odyssey and Wildfire

Has anyone paddled a mohawk Odyssey and a Bell Wildfire in royalex ( now the yellowstone solo) and liked the Odyssey more? I currently own the Wildfire, and like it, but I don’t think it’s the best canoe in some situations. I just wondered if someone has paddled both, and found the Mohawk to better in certain situations. Thanks


I have
I’ve paddled the Yellowstone Solo and the Odyssey on several occasions. I personally think that the Odyssey is the more whitewater boat. But it’s much slower than the Yellowstone Solo on flat water. Both are excellent boats and overlap a little in that both are good river boats. I think as an all around boat the Yellowstone Solo is a far more usable boat. It will paddle easy on rivers, and won’t be slow in the wind on a big lake. With bags and good technique running Class III is not out of the question, and one surely wouldn’t run anything bigger in an Odyssey.

As to playing in whitewater, I’d give a slight edge to the Odyssey purely because of the blunter bow and stern, but one can play alot in either boat.


Hey Bob!

– Last Updated: Jun-29-04 4:29 PM EST –

A friend (Bob.com) actually owns both boats. I'm sure he will chime in soon. If not, e-mail him. Seems to me the Odyssey is deeper and more WW oriented. WW

If memory serves me well …

– Last Updated: Jun-29-04 4:50 PM EST –

I have already given my opinions on Pnet, and via email about both the boats in question to the poster of this thread. I think he is seeking additional input from other paddlers.
I'm not selling either my Wildfire, or my Odyssey any time soon. Would sell either one of them before I'd sell my older model Mad River Guide.
I'd consider trading the Wildfire, and the Odyssey for a brand new Swift Osprey or Hemlock SRT! There's a new perspective for ya!


Wildfire/ Odyssey
I have both. Well, actually my Mohawk is a Challenger…older version of Odyssey w/ same hull but no tumblehome. I agree w/ previous posts that Odyssey is better in ww, but slower in the flats. It is definitely a tough and sturdy boat for Class II water (C III w/ bags). Initial stability is great, secondary not so great.

The RX Wildfire (or Yellowstone…I hate that name!) is faster in the flats, but is more playful in the bow than the stern. Doesn’t respond to a sweep the way the Odyssey does. Wildfire RX is also lighter, but thinner along the sides. Have dented my Wildfire in situations that the Odyssey would shrug off. Hate the seat mounting in the Wildfire 'cause it is major surgery to raise it. It’s too low for comfortable kneeling. Initial stability is so-so, secondary is decent.

Bottom line…they are different boats for different situations as others have mentioned. Thebob mentioned the Hemlock SRT. That will be my next boat. I have a Peregrine and it is outstanding (although not a river boat like the Bell or the Mohawk). Dave Curtis builds 'em right! Definitely worth the money.


I chose the Odyssey over the Wildfire.
We prefer rivers and wanted solos for tripping. I weigh a lot and we haul more stuff than we should. The Odyssey allows us to take what we want.

I have to sit and use a kayak paddle quite often. The boat is very stable and stays dry. I almost dumped as I was messing around sideways in a wave train. A quick high brace and weight shift got me straightened out and the boat felt solid the whole time. I wouldn’t have had the same feeling in the RX Wildfire. My sitting position creates a different situation than PK or theBOB deal with. I do have my seat very low and this helps a lot. I also have footpegs and a backband.

I have paddled both boats in the wind with a single blade. The RX Wildfire was skittery, the fiberglass was better. The Odyssey felt more stable and tracked better, but caught wind. I found that switching to the double blade in the wind gave me the advantage. The Odyssey goes upwind and upstream very easily with a kayak paddle. Sidewind will push it, but it doesn’t tip. We usually paddle with tandem boats and I can keep up when I use a double blade. It’s fast enough, but no race boat.

We needed a safe solo ride for my special situation and the Odyssey has been great! The RX Wildfire turns quicker, but is less forgiving for me. The greater hull depth gives me more margin for error.

Try them both if you can. They’re both fun boats. My Odyssey is easier for me to paddle, more comfortable and hauls my stuff.

I have the Wildfire, and really like the canoe, and the performance it brings. One problem for me is I find it tough to kneel in also because the seat is very low. I worry about raising the seat, because then the other half of the time I paddle sitting, and the seat height is perfect for that. I like the speed of the narrow waterline, but it does make for a less than ideal fishing canoe. It can be done, and I have done it, but I am attracted to the Mohawk for throwing in some gear or fishing. Thanks for the replies, I am considering selling the Wildfire to get the Odyssey, and just wanted to check in on some other views.



Another Mohawk to Consider
If you don’t need the volume of the Odyssey, the Mohawk Solo 14 has a similar feel, and I can fish out of mine without problem. The Solo 14 also seems to have a bit more initial stability than the Odyssey (I know, the Odyssey is a little wider). Not that the Odyssey is lacking in stability, just the Solo 14 feels a bit more firm to me. May want to check it out since it’s lighter and cheaper than the Odyssey. WW

Dan, that is a dilema. I kneel. At first I paddled sititng all the time, but I found that the control was less than I wanted… so I learned to kneel. Kneeling is something that is uncomfortable initially. One looses feeling in their knees and lower legs. Most people who experience this situation, immediately quit kneeling declaring that they can’t kneel. The problem is that these folks knees and legs have not been trained to kneel. It takes a while for most people to develop the ability to kneel for long stretches of time. Practice makes perfect. Now I know that some folks just can’t kneel due to injuries, but spending time to work on learning to kneel will probably eventually allow you to kneel all day. It took probably a 6 months to a year of solid paddling to be able to kneel for 8+ hours a day.

Now to your problem. Pull out some scrap woond and experiment with seat height. I modify all the seats in my canoes. I find that most seats are a bit low for me. Another solution might be raising the seat for kneeling, and adding a foot brace with stirrups to add stability and control when sitting. The Wildfire (RX) has a rounder bottom than the Odyssey, but that rounder bottom is what the more experienced paddler wants in most circumstances. It allows a smoother heel to the rail, and allows the boat to be more faster and still maintain seaworthiness.

Best of luck… but over time you might realize that the Wildfire really only required you to develop further balance skills or make some modifications to the seat placement to be comfortable.


Stability, after the “initial learning curve” is really quite good in the Wildfire when kneeling. And when I placed a pad on the seat to raise my height, kneeling discomfort is not a problem. The thing that worries me a little, is that the seat is so low that when you flip, especially in moving water, I think my legs might get hung up. I either need work on raising the seat,or sell the canoe for another, because now I am kneeling in the canoe, and the entrapment issue has me concerned. Thanks for the help, if I raise the seat, I will make some practice attempts on spare wood before attempting to remove the metal hangers and tinkering with the canoe.

Trust me …

Permanently mounting some closed cell knee pads will help kneeling discomfort. May also help with stability issues. When the inside of your canoe gets wet & your knees start skidding around at the wrong time(it’s always the wrong time), you’ll appreciate the fixed knee pads. Go thick; it will compress over time.

Don’t think you should be too quick to give up on the Wildfire.


Next boat
Based on what I’ve read here, I think the next boat I’ll try will either be a SuperNova or a Yellowstone…I love my Odyssey, but where to go from here…

Raised the seat on my Wildfire.
Go buy some aluminum angle stock and 4 SS bolts and lock nuts, remove your seat, cut the angle stock the same width as your seat drops, drill a hole fore & aft through the stock and the seat drop on each side, (carefully -take precautions so you don’t go through your hull), mount the angle to the seat drops then cut your seat to fit and re-drill the seat to mount on the angle stock. Height and cant as needed.

And I agree with Bob about the knee pads.

Paddle Safe - Louis

mskee …

– Last Updated: Jul-19-04 9:51 PM EST –

Some of the boats (canoes) that will probably be available to test paddle at the Ozark River Rendezvous, on the Current River, in October 2004:

Sawyer Autumn Mist
Mad River Guide
Bell Wildfire
Bell Merlin 2
Mohawk Odyssey 14
Mohawk Solo 14
Novacraft Supernova
Wenonah Sandpiper
Bell Rob Roy
Kruger Seawind
Blawkhawk (What model is that Pat?)

No telling what else will show up! Didn't even mention kayaks (darkside/bad).