Royalex M R Freedom vs. M Odyssey 14

This is a follow up to my original post; (I’m looking for a Royalex solo canoe to do rocky rivers in my area and a used Wenonah Vagabond Solo is for sale so I wanted to feedbacks from you guys!! I already own a solo Yellowstone in kavlar which I love but don’t want to take it on rocky rivers for obvious reasons! The Vagabond is listed on Wenonah as a recreational boat!! disappointing!. I’m also looking at a Mohawk Odyssy 14’ a friend suggested to me! I’m a little worried I might find it too big!! I’m 5’4" and weight about 130#'s. Any other suggestions perhaps?? I would like to stay under $1000.00 for now. Thanks for the feedbacks!)


Considering the Royalex Solo Madriver Freedom and the Mohawk Odyssey 14 at this point. Any experience with either or both please feel free to give me feedbacks!!

Remember I am looking only for a Royalex boat.


Wenonah Argosy and Bell Yellowstone should be added to your list; both are smaller than Freedom Solo and The Mohawk. The Yellowstone will fit you tighter than your composite version as the RX is thicker than carbon/kevler sidewalls so the inside dimensions are tighter.

At your size, a RX Flash might be ideal, but, never considered for production.

An RX Flash might be popular.
I know at least one other p.netter, gremmie, who has lamented over the lack of an RX Flashfire for the shallow, bony and twisty central IL rivers.

RX Wenonah Sandpipers are used instead.

The Mad River Freedom is more
agile, and the Odyssey a little faster.

I have a MR Guide. It will behave well for you if you usually carry some gear to weigh it down a bit. Otherwise you might consider CE Wilson’s suggestion and look for a somewhat smaller hull.

Too Big IMHO
Both are nice river boats for someone MY size (6’2" 260) not yours. I think, especially after paddling that Bell, it would feel like your paddling in a bathtub. Yanoer mentioned the Wenonah Sandpiper and I think it would behoove you to try one out. Wenonah doesn’t MAKE them anymore, but Oak Orchard Canoe shop in NY has 3 new ones still in stock. Texaslady here on has one and has paddled rivers all over the midwest and TX in one. WW

Why didn’t Bell build a Rx Flashfire?

I’d say “marginally” too big

– Last Updated: Jan-19-09 3:38 PM EST –

I have an Odyssey 14, and I'm light enough (under 165) that I can imagine the boat handling okay with your weight, but it will still "feel" kind of large for someone your SIZE. I'd guess that the fit of the Odyssey 14 for you would be about the same as what I experience when paddling my Novacraft Supernova, and I actually love that boat and what I can make it do (and I have good reserve capacity for camping gear without the boat seriously bogging-down). A Vagabond or Sandpiper will paddle more easily for someone of your size, but both of those boats WILL take water over the bow on every wave that rates as a Class II, but maybe that's not a problem if your Class II's are short, as they usually are on Class I/II rivers. The Odyssey 14 will handle such waves a lot better, and will turn MUCH better than either of those Wenonahs, but in strong wind you may have your hands full (same as I do with the Supernova in wind!). That doesn't mean the Odyssey won't work for you - it just means you need to think about what sort of compromize you might be willing to make, compared to other boats you might be able to acquire. Personally, I don't think the Odyssey 14 handles well at all once the load gets up near 210 pounds (mine is a total slug when I haul camping gear - the "practical" maximum speed suddenly drops quite a bit), and therefore I think it is more friendly to under-loading than over-loading.

A Maybe Boat Idea
Bell Prodigy may be an idea whose boat has come.

In whitewater, I prefer a boat to be
light on the water, not overloaded. I can deal with the boat blowing around some, and with having to use correction strokes occasionally because the ends of the boat aren’t fully engaged. A lightly loaded boat ferries much better, threads through shallows, and gives more control options for eddies. And a boat that sits light with just the paddler and a lunch will usually still be a bit light on the water with a backpacker’s worth of overnight gear.

Some of the comments (not guideboatguy) seem to suggest that the Odyssey or MR Guide would be physically too big. However, my Guide is fairly narrow, and has a lot of secondary stability (though it can be edgy if you’re careless), so a small paddler should have no more difficulty reaching over the side and stroking properly than in some smaller boats like the Yellowstone.

The thing I love most about the MR Freedom/Guide is its outstanding ferrying. I can cross very strong currents at close to 90 degrees because the boat’s flattish shallow arch bottom planes up like a wing and lets crosscurrents flow under it. The Guide actually ferries better than all of my other whitewater boats, better than my MR Synergy, and the Guide is inferior only to my Dagger Zealot, a full-out slalom boat.

As I said before, I think the Guide will handle better in whitewater than the Odyssey, better than the Yellowstone or Wildfire, but it is perhaps a bit slower than those competitors.


– Last Updated: Jan-19-09 7:09 PM EST –

Most certainly the Mad River Guide/Freedom Solo, and the Odyssey can handle class 3 whitewater in the hands of a competent paddler. BUT the lady is talking about doing class 1 & class 2, not whitewater.

The lady weighs 130 lbs; how much do you weigh?
180 lbs? 200 lbs? More?
Will a difference in body weight of the paddler affect the handling of the Guide or the Odyssey?

If a 130 lb. paddler gets into a Freedom Solo/Guide, they had better be prepared for that "riding on top of a cork" feeling.
They had better have some paddling skills too.
A 130 lb paddler is going to have a "lot of freeboard" in that canoe,and it will be "very" manueveable with such a light load. If the paddler is not skilled, they'll be doing a lot of 180 degree &/or 360 degree turning manuevers until their skills improve.

Maybe that's what the lady is seeking; maybe she is a very highly skilled paddler. In her profile she has herself as intermediate skills.

It goes without saying; heavy weight & tall height do not equal skill or strength. Light weight & short height do not equal lack of skill or strength.

Personlly I think a Wenonah Argosy would be a better choice for a lighter weight person.
Plenty of manueverability for the class 1 & 2 she describes, and probably 7 to 10 pounds lighter weight than the Odyssey or the Freedom Solo. Just a few pounds can make a big difference when you're unloading, loading, hauling a boat into, or out of the water.
Then again, maybe the lady can bench press 200 pounds with ease?

One thing for sure: a test paddle in all 3 of the canoes mentioned would go a long way towards selecting the canoe that is best for her.


Check my other post in this thread.
I am well aware that 130 pounds is on the light side for the Guide. I used to solo an Old Town Tripper, when I weighed 205, and that was just about the same degree of underload. But the minute she chooses to carry enough gear to push the load up to 200 pounds, then suddenly the Guide looks better than the alternatives.

My newest whitewater boat, a Millbrook Big Boy, is rated for solo/tandem use and for up to 400 pounds. Yet it does not feel at all underloaded at a little over half that weight. It’s a matter of personal philosophy. I prefer to paddle boats that are a bit underloaded. That’s what has often pushed me into open boats, because there are very few decked boats that can be called lightly loaded at my weight.

The Bell Prodigy is advertised as having 6 inches of freeboard with 550 lbs.

It is less 11’ 7" in length, has 4 inches of bow rocker, and 3 inches of stern rocker.

The lady weighs 130 pounds.

What percentage of the Prodigy hull do you guesstimate would even be in contact with the water with a 130 lb. paddler aboard?

The Prodigy is similiar to the Esquif Spark, Mad River Outrage, and Mohawk Shaman; all are dedicated solo, whitewater, canoes. Why would anyone think they needed any of those boats to dodge rocks on a class 1 or 2 river?


Hey, since this seems so irrational,
I’ll bet Millbrook still has a fully outfitted, only slightly used, composite Rival available right now for about $1300. Two outside layers of S-glass, so you can scuff it all you want. Just over 45 punds. Certainly not too big for a small person, but then you might have too much fun in it on class 1-2 rapids.

How about having fun while dodging rocks and flitting from eddy to eddy like a bird in a tree hopping from branch to branch? Finding the crooked path and seeing the up of down the rocky river. Finding your own grail, wagging your tail, and farting in the direction of the world.

Can’t say I’ve paddled this boat but the Pnetter known as jjoven has paddled and sailed his on some pretty good week + trips.

There’s an email link with his comments in the Reviews section for this boat if you want to contact him.