If you’ve recently purchased a Hobie pedal kayak (especially true of earlier models that did not have alignment pins built into the spine) it is worth knowing how to insert it into the drive well correctly. If you do it incorrectly, not only is it possible to lose the drive (in the event of a capsize) it is also possible to damage the rear fin and or the Outhaul block it attaches to. This will hinder pedaling performance at best and will almost certainly result in damage to the trailing edge of the fin and or outhaul block. It can even result in the fin separating right off it’s mast as well as potentially making it difficult to remove the drive if the spine gets wedged into it.
It’s important for beginners to take a moment to insure that the MirageDrive has been installed correctly before pedaling away. Below is an image that demonstrates the correct alignment for installing a MirageDrive:
Note that the spine is properly aligned with the Miragewell and the shoulder on each end of the spine is resting on the rim of the bottom of the Miragewell.
Below is an image that demonstrates the incorrect alignment:
In the “what-not-to-do” picture above, note the misaligned angle of the spine and in particular, the position of the trailing edge of the rear fin, which is making contact with the rear of the Miragewell. If you’re pedaling with the fins positioned this way it will rub on the back of the fin as it swings back and forth. This is what damages the fin, and the force of friction it causes is what results in further damage over time. If you can see warping on the top part of the trailing edge of the rear fin you will know that this has occurred at least once previously.
The crux of the matter is that the MirageDrive spine 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 earlier year model kayaks an alternative guide 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 otherwise do it for them if possible.