Submitted: 08-26-2010 by DanL
My review is intended for the less discriminating kayaker who simply wants to know that their investment will be worth the money. I had neither the resources, time, or inclination to "test drive" many kayaks, so most of my info about the Phoenix 140 prior to purchase was from online reviews and word of mouth.
I've owned my Phoenix 140 for several months and paddled it in a variety of conditions, including the ocean, lakes, rivers and sloughs. It indeed tracks well in normal conditions, provided you have spent enough time on the water to develop good form in your paddling technique. The initial stability seems excellent. Glide and speed seem above average, likely due to the Trylon construction. I've plowed through some fairly large wind waves and am impressed with the dryness of the Phoenix. The light weight is a big plus if you anticipate having to lug your kayak a bit of distance to launch.
An unanticipated pleasure of the Phoenix 140, at least for me, (mine is lime green, wife has mango) are the looks. Plain and simple it is a darn good looking kayak. I've lost count of how many people, including non-kayayers, who have commented about its aesthetics. The lime green and mango colors are translucent and stay very shiny, provided you keep them clean. I use car wash with the wax in the solution to keep them looking nice.
My only gripes to date are the pad eyes and the craft's tendency to weathercock. The wells for the pad eyes are not deep enough and make fastening or unfastening the seat straps irritating, but not impossible (Hobie and Skwoosh seats on ours). The tendency to weathercock seems fairly pronounced in a crosswind, though admittedly I have little experience with this on other brands. I suspect it has to do with the hull design and the overall light weight of the craft. This is not a significant problem if you are a strong paddler and in good shape. However, if you anticipate frequently being on the water for extended periods dealing with a crosswind, especially when returning from daytrips, be prepared to shell out some bucks for a rudder. Keep in mind this is a common problem with SOT kayaks though, so don't think you can avoid it altogether with a better tracking kayak.
All in all, my wife and I are extremely pleased with the Phoenix.