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Submitted: 09-17-2013 by Hohlbein
Follow up on my previous review, things I forgot to mention...
If the rudder motion is limited by the skeg-up position, the Mercury tracks quite well. I wrote "It's stable", by that I meant good first and secondary stability, both for the Solo and the Tandem. As the other reviewer said, it's not slow but also not really fast (it's also indicated like that in the manual). You can't use it in higher waves and obviously not as a sea kayak (as compared to the sectional PE sea kayaks of Australis), but as a recreational kayak and it's also categorized as a touring kayak.
I adjusted the length of the rudder lines so that the pedals are vertical. I'd suggest to sit up-right or slightly leaned forward (belly muscles under tension) and keep the legs loose (which means a beginner should start without leg drive in my opinion and focus on "paddler's box" and "torso rotation") and use the toes for rudder control (only slightly tipping the pedals). The pedals are not really comfortable when paddling with bare feet because of the ribbed design, but ironically that just helps to not put too much pressure on the pedals to avoid unwanted rudder moves. I'd only paddle with bare feet (shoes in the hatch) if weather allows anyway. Paddling with sneakers? Well, first try to get them in and then still be able control the pedals, for most shoe sizes this might not work and here I mean size 9 for men and larger. I have 9 1/2 and normal sneakers don't fit. I'd recommend neoprene surf socks/shoes or paddler shoes with flexible soles.
I now have to replace the rudder lines (ordered them elsewhere, costs $32 for a pair of tough ones I hope) as they got close to tearing apart since the last paddling.
Transport: the three Solo pieces - of which two pieces can be nested so it's actually two parts to transport - even fit into compact cars. The nesting capability is just great. "Even fit into a compact car" does not mean that all parts fit into the trunk. They do fit into a compact car though when you can fold the rear seat or a part of a split rear seat bench and staple the two parts of the Solo on top of each other. For a small car that's the co-driver's side, because you might also have to fold the co-drivers seat or slide it to the front as far as possible. However, make sure the parts are securely fixed so they don't knock you out in curves.
I would never leave the Mercury pieces for too long in a car when it's hot in the summer. The interior of a car can heat up to 160°F (70°C) or higher and the pieces could warp.
I would have given the kayak a better evaluation (maybe even an 8/10) if the built and design quality would have been as it could and thus should be. Next time I'll not forget to double check where things are manufactured before I order.
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