After reading all the reviews here about how the Discovery handles, I was surprised with the poor reviews. I understand that it wasn't every review but still... So, I decided to write my own.
We have a Discovery 164, I know, 5 inches shorter than the 169 but the 169 was the replacement. My 164 is spectacular. She handles great on every type of water. When my wife and I go, unless we are in heavy water, I paddle the entire time. Same with when we go with my kids. With no help. On rivers and lakes. In wind and no wind. I haven't had a bit of trouble. I'm not a giant bodybuilder type either. I'm 6'3 275lbs.
I guess the bottom line here is that I love our Discovery and find it to be a very capable boat. I like it even more than our kayaks. I'd say that if you're looking to buy, I'd recommend the Discovery series every time! Enjoy.Yes it's heavy... but you are in the wrong price-range if you're used to kevlar. I've had this canoe for about 4 years now. I use it on small and large flatwater and some medium sized slower moving water. It handles two people and LOTS of gear easily and tracks like a champ. It doesn't have much rocker (hardly any really) so it will not turn on a dime very fast so it's probably not going to be great for fast technical rivers, but I have had excellent performance on larger rivers where you don't have to turn really sharp and quick.
It's durability is near impossible to beat as you can read from other reviewers. I got mine with nylon webbing seats (special order) and they are way better (more comfortable and durable) than the usual cane option.
Yes, it has very low initial stability but extremely HIGH secondary stability. This canoe is hard to beat if you're wanting a really tough canoe that will perform well and if you will pretty much always have two people to load and unload it. If you are really ever going to go solo and have to do the loading/portaging yourself... get a kevlar canoe or you will break your back with this baby. She's heavy as lead but her durability and performance (agility when on the water) will impress you for sure. The guy that said he's a canoe guide and bagged on it's performance must have been using it on a spring creek or something way too small than what this is designed for.
Lastly, once you lower the seats about 3-4 inches (hardware kits available from Old Town--or do it yourself with a trip to Home Depot like I did) you will discover that this canoe will come to life for you. It's kind of an awkward boat until you do this. I don't know why other's haven't figured this out way before now... but it is a MUST DO for this boat to get real performance out of her! Until you do lower the seats I would rate this boat at around a 5-6 on the scale of one to ten... but once it's gone through it's rebirth (3-4 inches lowered seats) it's a new animal altogether! I did my research before I bought this canoe and I can say that I did it right.
REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE TO LOWER THE SEATS ON A DISCO 164 ABOUT 3-4 INCHES BEFORE YOU WILL BE REALLY HAPPY WITH IT!