Hobie's Pedal-powered propulsion system, otherwise known as the Miragedrive, is a unique device that is a bit of an enigma to many, largely because there's really nothing else like it. Fortunately not only is it incredibly robust, it's also relatively easy to use, maintain and service. This guide is intended to provide in-depth information in all of these areas. The following pages are intensive in content, both text and images. You don't need to read the entire article before making use of your Miragedrive, but you may want to bookmark it in order to refer back to it later. Further information can be gleaned from the official Hobie support pages. The official Mirage manual can be accessed online here.
Before getting too far into a deluge of information, lets first start out with the very first thing you'll be doing before using the Miragedrive - inserting into the kayak hull.
Hobie have published an informative tutorial on how best to go about fitting a Miragedrive into their kayak hulls. If you've recently purchased a Hobie pedal kayak - brand new or otherwise - this is well worth looking at. The reason Hobie have gone to such lengths to provide this information is that if you do it incorrectly it is possible to damage the rear fin and maybe even tear it right off it's mast, not to mention that pedaling will be difficult at best and performance will be severely hindered. It may also make it difficult to remove the drive. Therefore it is critical to take a moment to insure you have this right before jumping in and pedaling away. Below is an image that demonstrates the correct alignment for installing a Miragedrive:
Below is an image that demonstrates the incorrect alignment:
As you look through that tutorial you will note that the crux of it is that the Miragedrive must be inserted parallel to the hull and not at an odd angle, as shown in the images above. The tutorial includes a few handy tips to make sure it goes in correctly.
Newer models feature a guidepost built into the drive and a groove molded into the hull that help to make alignment simpler. Just feed the guide post into the molded groove and insertion should be straight forward. For those of you with previous year model kayaks, another handy tip for inserting a Miragedrive at the correct angle is demonstrated in the following images:
Line up the front of the spine (as pointed out in the image above) with the front edge of the Miragedrive well lip (as pointed out in the image below):
With the Miragedrive lowered into the well with the front edge of the spine positioned directly next to the front edge of the lip of the well (practically touching) you should then be able to push the drive securely into place, as pictured below:
You should hear the Miragedrive lock into place with an audible click. Take a moment to ensure that the drive is locked into place. If all looks right, jump in and away you go. It won't take long before this becomes second nature to you. However, if you are ever generous enough to lend your kayak to someone who has never used a Hobie before, take the time to explain how to correctly install the Miragedrive before letting them use it, or otherise do it for them if possible.