Solo Plus vs. Malecite

I am curious about how these two boats compare. Both boats can be paddled solo and tandem (although I don’t know if MRC offers the middle seat option anymore). Their specs are very similar: length, beam, depth in the middle, bow and stern, etc. Only the rocker is unknown on the Solo Plus, since Wenonah only says “minimal” and doesn’t give numbers. Plus we know Mad River is shallow V and Wenonah is shallow arch.

So, my question is, has anyone here paddled both boats solo and tandem and can give a good comparison?


I have both

– Last Updated: Apr-25-13 1:36 PM EST –

I don't know how good a comparison I can give.

The Malecite definately makes a better tandem than the Solo Plus. The Solo plus "maybe" makes a better solo than the Malecite. Most would probably say the latter is true. However, I still "go to" the Malecite for solo paddling. I like the rocker on the Malecite better and I like kneeling in the Malecite better. The Malecite is definately better in the wind. However, if I had to pick one of them to paddle solo in heavy class II whitewater, it would "probably" be the Solo Plus because of the increased depth. But I can't really say for sure because I've never tried either of them for that kind of paddling. And the Malecite has greater bow volume which may make it every bit as dry as the Solo Plus.

If I had to pick one of them it would definately be the Malecite. But maybe that's just me. At 6'2" I'm tall enough to not have a problem soloing the Malecite from the center. If I were shorter I would possiblyy give the nod to the Solo Plus for solo paddling.

Hope that helps.

Thanks, yes, that helps
But another question popped into my mind. What about capacity? Which one can handle more weight? Could either one handle two 200 lb. paddlers without gear for a day trip? Manufacturer stated capacities can be very misleading.

The Malecite would handle that

– Last Updated: Apr-25-13 3:23 PM EST –

The Solo Plus would feel cramped for two people that large.

Don’t know about the Solo Plus…
…but the Malecite can definitely handle two 200 lb paddlers - plus some gear.

No way
I have a Rx Solo Plus. Like Clarion said, I’m small and it suits me well for solo paddling. I took out the bow and stern seats and use it for flat water river tripping. I like the boat.

Two, 200 pound paddlers will make it unstable, particularly if paddling moving water or flat water with waves. My opinion, it is primarily a solo boat, for sometimes tandem use. For tandem stability, think lighter-weight teenagers using it (a random weight guess would be 125 pounds each). Without revealing too much, 180 at stern and 130 (guessing of course) at bow, we were swimming in the Solo Plus on moving water. That was in the early days of our paddling. Maybe we would do better now.

Good point on the weight
With Solo Plus’ “bulge” being as low as it is, things would get pretty interesting with 2ea 200 pounders.

Lets get past the feeling and
address bow instability. If the bow person is not stable their head will go over the rail and then the body follows.

That bow station is too narrow for a big guy… Even kneeling the knee spread is inadequate.

The problem with combi boats is that people cannot get taller and longer for soloing and then get lighter and shorter for tandem. When we get rubber people maybe things will be different.

I don’t agree about the Malecite
handling two 200 pound paddlers plus camping gear. The Malecite is essentially a pocket tandem, and if one posits 100 pounds of gear to go with the two 200 pound paddlers, that’s 500 pounds.

Our Bluewater Chippewa, half a foot longer and several inches deeper than the Malecite, and with a better hull design, is rated at 560 pounds.

No one in his right mind would take a Malecite into Quetico for a week, carrying two 200 pound paddlers.

On the other hand, if you believe Mad River’s weight capacity ratings, you’ll believe anything.

The question was whether it would handle
… 2 ea 200 pound paddlers for a day trip. The malecite satisfies that criterion.

Comparing the two
W’s Solo plus is basically the old Bell Fusion, both designed by Bob Brown; no rocker, pretty narrow to accommodate solo paddlers. It was a joy to discontinue the Fusion. Connect the dots.

Malecite is one of the better small cruisers ever designed. Yeah, I prefer the Bell N’Star, my boat, or the Swift Kee 16, because both have differential rocker and tumblehome, but Malecite is a righteous bottom.

Well, I think there is a clear winner
The consensus is that the Malecite is the better boat.

Thanks, guys!

Nobody said camping gear.
I said two 200 lb paddlers and “some gear”. OP was asking about day trips. I assumed the usual spare dry clothing, picnic lunch, spare paddle, etc. Been there. Done that.