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Have taken it out 5 times over the past month and could not be happier. The boat is real quick on rivers and easily misses the rocks and handles small ledges with ease. Went on the lake twice and it tracked great with pretty good glide.
I would rate it a 9 in performance but given that I paid just over $400, I rate it as a 10 for value.
The poor - Cheap seat back, no cup holder with the seat, and no paddle park. For $20 more Perception could really enhance this recycled Dagger mold boat.
The notso bad - Nice lines, rear bulkhead with hatch.
The ride - This 11' boat is 'tween the performance of a cheap beginners 9' and a somewhat decent 12', The lack of a distinct keel line means the boat paddles a little swiggley. This is OK avoiding obstacles in a river, but kind of irritating in the wind on a lake.
In all, not a bad boat available for the mid-three hundreds brand new, just keep your expectations in check.
Tracks well except in windy conditions but a little stroke adjustment will keep you on track. Storage is good for this size boat and FYI, ALL bulkheads can leak a bit; use drybags. But it barely gets wet even when rolling.
Cons... Seat back sux. Adjustment strap from the factory was installed offset. This made the seatback lean to the right. Re-mounting the left side strap using the thigh pad screw fixed this.
Seatback... Slides up very easy. Not so much going down. This is a problem for back deck rolls. The seat will slide up making these rolls almost impossible (I'm 6ft tall so my height isnt the prob)... These type of seats seem to be the standard for all Perception boats in 1 form or another. It would be better with a Jackson kayak style floating seatback.
Thigh pads... ? almost not there. Add some velcro to the top and bottom underside of the factoy "pads" and add some foam[shape to your comfort]
This boat comes with NO drain plugs!??? Invest a few $$ and put 1 in the bow and stern; opt for the good screw in v/s the rubber stopper style.
All in all a ok boat for a ok price. This would be a great 1st kayak VERRY stable for beginners.If this is your 2nd boat.. you might be disappointed.
It tracks well for its length and very maneuverable in narrow streams. The adjustable seat and pegs made for good comfort even after several hours on the water. A very sturdy boat that's still light enough to pick up with one hand.
The bulkhead leaks. It's obvious that the factory does not take its time in properly sealing the foam bulkhead material - all of the boats in the store looked the same. So be prepared to re-seal the bulkhead properly if you plan to use the rear storage as a dry compartment. I'm also going to add some buoyancy to the bow as it has none now.
I took it on Paddle Georgia last summer. That week-long trip included everything from rapids to open lake. It never tipped, never swamped, and was able to cross the lake as well. Out of our group of about 400 paddlers this boat was considered one of the best all purpose boats. The long boats couldn't handle rapids and whitewater without tipping or swamping. The short boats wore out the paddler on the lake. This one was deemed just right.
The local kayak club does not encourage short boats. I went on a trip with them and borrowed a Carolina for my first trip out. Then I went out with another paddler on a short trip with my own Rhythm 11. I was told that it was fine to use it, because it did as well as the longer boats, and that I did not need to rush out and buy anything else. I was glad about that because I was more comfortable in my own little boat.
I have not had all that much trouble tracking; I just adjust my stroke. It turns very well. It is extremely stable and doesn't brace the same as a tippier boat, but it will still turn. It is not as fast as a 14 or 16 foot boat, but then that is the trade off.
If I wanted a short boat, I would look for something with a drop skeg, or rudder capable.
The Rhythm might, however, make a good boat for fast moving rivers... It IS very agile in tight spots.
I bought this kayak mainly for weekend camping trips with friends. This usually involves leisurely flat water in winding streams and rivers, but also involves some slight whitewater excursions. I wanted something cheap enough I could abuse fairly well while being big enough to store a weekends worth of gear, clothes, and supplies while also being small enough to be able to maneuver well in tight, technical rapids. This kayak performed all the above admirably.
While this kayak's rigidity is pretty good for being plastic, it will never match the rigidity of a fiberglass kayak--it does flex, especially on the bottom when running over rocks during whitewater use. This does make it harder to paddle than a fiberglass kayak, but then again a fiberglass kayak would easily cost twice as much (and usually more) and not be able to take as much abuse.
This little baby was able to hold 3 sets of clothes in dry bags, 3 soft ice chests of the 9 can variety (2 behind the seat, 1 between my legs), plus typical camping gear such as my full size tent, backpacking stove, utensils, flashlights, towels, hygiene products, etc., with room to spare if I needed. I am 5'10" 180lbs and the kayak does not appear weighed down even though I store upwards of 60lbs of 'gear' (over 20lbs of the weight was due to beer, in full disclosure).
Weekend camping trips isn't exactly what it was intended for, but it does so quite nicely as we are mostly socializing and not in any hurry to get done anytime soon. In any event, even weighed down with my 'necessities' it still outperforms the canoes. Without any gear, it glides as well or better than any non fiberglass kayak less than 12 ft in length.
For what it's worth, the seat is pretty comfortable for a kayak, especially a 'cheap' one, but let's not get carried away: sit in anything for a few hours at a time and unless it's a plush recliner it's going to bother you a bit and need to be adjusted from time to time.
Also, the rear storage cover is water resistant, but not fully waterproof. As long as you remain upright it can take the occasional dunk as well as any water that naturally washes over the kayak during choppy water. I've never found any water inside the dry storage when this was the case. However, I had the misfortune once of having the kayak submerged under a log for a few minutes before I could dislodge it. When I opened the cover I found about a quart of water inside, which isn't much but absolutely enough to ruin electronics. So if you need to absolutely keep things dry (clothing, electronics, etc.), put them in dry bags before putting them in the dry storage compartment.
One last thing of note: if you intend to take it out in the rain or whitewater or just want to be prepared for the unexpected shower, you will want a spray skirt. It takes size medium skirt. I bought a medium Coleman skirt for my kayak and it fit snugly around the cockpit rim.
We find the seat quite comfortable and the bulkhead has proven watertight so far. The absence of a cup or water bottle holder is the only real annoyance. My next kayak will probably be a little larger so it can handle my weight better.
My one Rhythm was built in 11/2009 and had a foam block in the bow 12x12x3. My other one was made in 5/2010 and did not. They factory said that they discontinued installing the block as it offered no structural support and only gave 10 extra pounds of buoyancy. I think the coast guard recommends 65 pounds and with the dry well and bulkhead the kayak has 165 pounds of buoyancy.
Overall this is a good recreational kayak and the tracking should be fine for this use. I would not probably be happy with the tracking if this was intended for a touring kayak though.
This is a great boat. It is light and responsive, fast and maneuverable. Because it has more of a rocker shape than "beginner" kayaks, it is much more responsive to steering strokes and body english.
Those who have reported issues with tracking may be more used to flatter boats and boats with more of a keel. This boat responds very well to leaning into the chine and has an outstanding balance between tracking and steering responsiveness.
The dry well was DRY, even though I took on water from hard paddling. The seat is exceptionally comfortable and has a wide range of adjustability. The cockpit is long enough to allow pulling the legs out and propping the feet up on the deck. The foot rests provided ample length for a six-footer with range to spare.
Others have said so, and I am inclined to agree, this may the best boat for the money available. On top of that, it looks really good, too. It is essentially the Dagger Element for significantly less. Got it on sale at Dicks for $399.
My only complaints is that it does not have a drain plug. I have had this boat in the surf before where it does quite well for a recreational kayak, but due to the location of use it fills with water quite quickly with out a skirt. This is where the drain plug would come in handy. even with 3 or so inches of water in the bottom if you flip this boat to drain the edges around the cockpit does not allow all the water to be removed and must be sponged out. Not a real big deal but a plug would be handy.
The Zone seat pads and foot braces are a nice luxury even with salt water use and the sand I have had no problems of binding from the braces or the wearing of the seat pad. Not saying that it won’t happen but as of yet it is good to go. The dry storage compartment does it job quite well even after a day at the beach only a small amount of water entered the compartment which is to be expected from water usually swamping over the boat while landing, not really a big deal to me since the only thing I keep back there is float bags. Speaking of float bags if you use this for anything other than calm water I recommend float bags there is a small amount of foam installed in the bow from the factory but not nearly enough if you choose to push the term recreational which I tend to do.
On lakes, and calm rivers this yak does well I find it to paddle better than the Old Towne Loon and the Old Town Vapor all of which wear the recreational kayak badge. It tracks well for a shorter boat if one is expecting a kayak to travel in strait line I suggest a boat over 14ft with a rudder or skeg installed. The speed is also very comparable to the shorter boats. It also does better at surfing than the Loon, but the Vapor had a slight advantage that day because it is shorter than the rhythm. All of these boats were equipped about the same style spray skirts and float bags.
I know some folks are going to read this and think I'm crazy for surfing this boat, but to me a recreation kayak should do whatever I feel the need to do and this has so far delivered. It is not tippy, and easy to enter exit if you are in a market for an all purpose ship this one that should be considered.
The boat is actually 11.1FT and I'm not sure why they market it as an 11.5FT boat, but oh well. I would recommend this kayak to anyone just getting into kayaking who enjoy daily or weekend paddles out on the local reservoir or lake... If you plan on taking it into water that is choppy I recommend a sprayskirt for this boat.
There was light chop on the water the other day, literally 7"inch to 8"inch chop and I got sprayed a few times and some of it was getting into the cockpit but no worries...it's only water. The price tag was brilliant with total final cost at $505. The awesome part for the price is that it has a dry hatch with a bulkhead in the rear and the seat is unbelievably comfortable!! I have had it on the water for a couple of hours at a time and not once did I get numb-arse'd. Brilliant little boat...great for anyone up to about 230lbs body weight.
I got the Rhythm 11 at a better than normal price and found that it has a much better seat and lots of room for my legs and feet. The only thing I don't like about it is the poor tracking which I think is more than a minor issue. I find that in any rough water or wind the Rhythm 11 will not hold a straight line for more than a few feet. If the nose gets a little off course, it veers to that side and takes several strong stokes to get it back on course. This makes the kayak tiring to travel distances in.
The Equinox is harder to paddle in general, but the constant course corrections required with the Rhythm 11 make it about the same level of effort to use on a trip. I am hoping to figure out something I can do to modify the Rhythm 11 to make it track better, but so far I have not found anything I can easily do.
I can't give this a 10, as it could use better tracking, but overall I am impressed. Perception has won my support for future kayak purchases, as I own a Swifty II Tandem as well. I recommend this kayak to anyone looking for a light, easy to load on a car recreational kayak. I might add a Scotty Rod holder soon and use the kayak for fishing, too!
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