Hobie Evolve Questions Answered

Since injuring myself last fall, I have had a difficult time pedaling my Hobie Outback. It took me 6 months to even get back into the Hobie and now that I am able, I continue to struggle to pedal for more than around 30 minutes continuously. This has limited me in not only where I fish but also in how I fish since trolling is a big part of my fishing. Because of this, the Hobie Evolve motor seemed like it would be a good option for me.

At $2149, the Hobie Evolve is not a cheap accessory. Naturally, I had a lot of questions I wanted answered before making such a large purchase. Unfortunately, there isn't a great deal of info out there especially in regards to mounting the motor on the twist and stow rudder. Because of my limitations in pedaling and if I am being honest, some desperation to get back to fishing like I used to, I decided to take the plunge and purchase this motor without knowing all the answers beforehand. It has turned out to be a great decision so I thought I would share the info that I would have like to have known before making the purchase.

Before I begin going over the pros and cons of the two mounting options for the Hobie Evolve, I should mention that I had previously owned the Torqeedo 403 Ultralight model. I had bought one to try out on my Hobie Outback a couple years ago and wasn't impressed with it. Having it mounted in the back next to my rudder severely impacted the turning radius of my kayak and it was a pain to take on and off with the stock mounting hardware. I quickly decided the 403 model wasn't for me as I felt it was more of a hinderance than a help. With the 403 model being significantly cheaper than the Hobie Evolve, I know it is an attractive option for those of you looking to motorize your Hobie kayak. I would just caution against buying the 403 if you plan on installing it on one of the models with the twist and stow rudder such as the Outback or Revolution for the reasons I mentioned above. With that out of the way, lets get to the part you came here for.
Mounting Options:
There are two mounting options for the Hobie Evolve. You can place it in the mirage drive slot or attach it to your twist and stow rudder if using a Hobie model with this feature. The Evolve comes ready for use in the mirage drive slot right out of the box. Installing it to the twist and stow rudder requires some basic tools and about an hour of your time. It is a very simple install process though. The motor performs exceptionally well in both mounting locations.
To get an accurate top speed for both mounting options, I tested both at Melton Hill Reservoir in East Tennessee. At each testing, the water was calm with no wind or current to impact the results. The top speed for the mirage drive option was 5.1mph. Top speed for the rudder mount option was 4.9mph. The lower top speed for the rudder mount option could be explained by the mirage drive being in place at the time of testing. Speed control is infinitely adjustable with the Torqeedo throttle.

Turning Radius:
The turning radius for the rudder mount option is obviously much tighter than the mirage drive option as would be expected. However, I was very impressed with both options. The biggest surprise for me was how well the kayak turned when using the rudder mounted motor strictly as a rudder while not under power. I was told before purchasing that the rudder mount option would not function well in this capacity. You certainly don't get the turning radius of the mirage drive/sailing rudder combo but using the motor strictly as a rudder is more than adequate for my needs. Stay tuned to my YouTube channel for an upcoming video where I will demonstrate the turning radius for all of the options.
Battery Life:
This is the number one question I see asked in the forums and Facebook groups, however, it is impossible to answer. The type of kayak, amount of weight you are carrying, weight distribution, wind, current, water conditions, etc. can all play a factor in how long your battery lasts. The cool thing about Torqeedo is that you always know exactly how much battery life you have left. It is constantly updating the range based on your current speed. You can set the display to show either time or distance in miles/kilometers remaining so there is never any doubt about having enough juice to get back to the launch.

With the mirage drive option, the motor can be quickly installed and removed just like your mirage drive pedals. The Evolve comes with a prop alignment tool to ensure your blades are always in the right position for installation and removal. The rudder mount option can be raised and lowered with the existing rudder stow and deploy cables, however, you do need to position the motor about halfway off the kayak before leaving shore to be able to deploy it with the cable. Raising the motor with the rudder cable requires more effort than with a standard rudder but it is still easily doable.

After having spent some time using both mounting options, here is a list of pros and cons for each option.

Mirage Drive Mount Pros:
Faster top speed than rudder mount
Better steering control at high speeds
Motor can be completely removed in seconds
Can easily clear weeds from prop

Mirage Drive Mount Cons:
Must remove motor to use mirage drive
Risk for damaging kayak if you hit a submerged object
Motor sounds louder when in front of you versus the rudder mount option

Rudder Mount Pros:
Flips up if you hit a submerged object
Allows you to use mirage drive in conjunction with motor
Better turning radius than mirage drive mount
Sound is quieter when motor is behind you
Motor doesn't have to be removed for transport

Rudder Mount Cons:
Slightly slower top speed versus mirage drive mount
Steering becomes difficult above 4.5mph
More difficult to clear weeds
Motor cannot be quickly removed
Creates drag when using only mirage drive (You lose about 0.5mph when just pedaling)
All in all, I am very happy with this purchase. The Hobie Evolve is allowing me to get back to fishing like I was prior to my injury and it is expanding my range even further. Having spent some time using both the mirage drive mount and rudder mount, I honestly don't have a clear favorite at this point. They both have some distinct advantages and disadvantages as I listed above. It will be up to you to decide which option best suits your needs. I will have a video up on my YouTube channel soon with a more in-depth on the water demonstration of the motor in action.

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