I have found it to be reliable, though I had a bit of trouble figuring out which way the fuel cut-off valve was supposed to go.
A few weeks ago, I was able to take my 17' canoe up-current with myself and another 200lb (or so) fellow against high and steadily rising current with very little difficulty.
When I have tested the engine against a 55ft/lb thrust trolling motor (which using the 17ft/lb : 1hp ought to be more effective), the engine blew the motor away. What took 45 minutes to get upstream in swift current and completely drained the battery such that I had to use oars for steering back downstream I made in 8 minutes with the engine at about 1/4 power. The work output of the electric motor may be greater, but the engine transfers it to the water much, much, much more effectively.
I recently put a Mac's River Runner rock guard on, which did reduce the top performance of the engine, but it protects the prop from busting on the many, many, many subsurface rocks and ledges in my primary rivers. A minor reduction in effectiveness is worth it to keep it running with a whole prop.
Carry a tool kit, spare prop, and shear pins in the boat.
- Big D
2-3 Canoe/Kayak Trailer
Kayak & Canoe Outriggers
Canoe / Kayak Anchors
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