If you've read some of my other posts you know that not long ago I purchased a used Brooklyn Kayak Company PK13 Angler sit-on-top fishing kayak. I was looking to expand my opportunities to fish and learn a new skill. I chose the Brooklyn PK13 because I primarily planned to fish saltwater and I wanted a kayak that would handle fishing in big water.
One thing I noticed right away when fishing with other kayakers was that I really had to work hard to keep up with them. So I started searching for a way to upgrade the original equipment pedal drive that came with the PK13. When I upgraded the steering on this kayak I learned that many Native Kayak parts would fit on the Brooklyn Kayak PK series. I did some research on the Native Propel Drive. The problem was that due to supply chain issues there didn't seem to be any Propel Drives available a la carte. Further, if there were any to be found they would be pricey.
Next I decided to look to other manufacturers, after all, the Brooklyn Kayak PK series of kayaks is compatible with parts from a lot of other manufacturers. That turns out to be quite a benefit. It turns out there are a lot of options for upgrading these kayaks, including the pedal drives. Once I settled on one that looked good I contacted the manufacturer and arranged to buy a sample. After about three weeks the new drive arrived. I could hardly wait to get it out on the water.
It came very well packaged and my first impression is that this is a high quality pedal drive. Once it was assembled I tested the fit, perfect. One thing I will change is the pedal port cover. There is a different design that compliments this unit better and gives the user just a bit more storage space on the cover. Once the pedal drive was in place I gave the pedals a spin. The difference between this pedal drive and the OE drive is remarkable. There is hardly any resistance at all. To further emphasize that point, on my first trip out with this drive I realized if I took my feet off the pedals that they kept turning as long as the kayak had forward momentum.
Let's take a look at a few similarities & differences with the two drives. First the similarities. Both drives feature cast aluminum housings making them both strong and somewhat lightweight (about 19 lbs). Both drives feature hands-free instant reverse. This is a great feature to have when you're battling a monster fish. Both have propellers that are similarly sized and pitched. Both drive have a similar draft so you can easily fish in shallow depths.
Now the differences. The original equipment pedal drive from Brooklyn Kayak Company is belt driven system. There are some presumed benefits to a belt drive system including less or no lubrication required and smooth, quiet operation. The latter point, smooth & quiet is debatable, my OE Pedal Drive quite often makes a knocking noise, others have mentioned this in several forums I have followed. The Premium High Speed Kayak Pedal Drive Kit is gear driven. There are several benefits to the gear drive system including easier maintenance, less pedal resistance, greater efficiency and a more compact design. The OE pedal drive has an 8:1 gear ratio while the high speed pedal drive has a 10:1 gear ratio. The increased gear ratio on the high speed drive along with less resistance means it will take less effort to get up to speed and maintain speed. The high speed pedal drive sits closer to the hull and further from the seat. I am 5'10", with the OE drive I have to put the seat at the farthest distance back from the drive. With the high speed drive I have to move the seat up a couple of inches to fully reach the pedals. So if you're a taller angler this will definitely be a benefit.
This isn't a cheap upgrade; this is a high quality, high value upgrade that will definitely improve your kayaking & fishing experience. Since Brooklyn Kayaks start at an affordable price point, you'll naturally have more budget for upgrades. The Premium High Speed Kayak Pedal Drive is available now in limited quantities. Please feel free to email us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you found this article useful please share it with friends. As always thanks for visiting. I look forward to seeing you on the water. Chris Strong, Pescador Fishing Supply