When my wife, Natasha, and I go fishing, I do the work and she catches the fish. I rig the rods, load the boats, pack our life vests, grab the paddles and remember the sunscreen. She takes pictures of birds and wildflowers.
So, when Perception Kayaks sent their new Crank 10.0 pedal kayak, I invited Natasha to go fishing.
Part of Perception’s planned launch of several kayaks, the Crank 10.0 fits into the recreational pedal kayak class. These boats are light on features and price, mainly designed to get casual nature lovers on the water.
This recreational pedal class is also perfect as a second boat for a small, nimble guest. I’ve used the Crank to host my wife, I lent it to my friend’s kid and took my aunt birdwatching.
The recent development of recreational pedal kayaks removes the intimidation and high price tag while providing a capable platform to enter the sport. Perception has been exploring the class with their Pescador 12.0 and Pilot drive. Now, the new Crank 10 offers an updated pedal drive on a barebones boat with a short waterline that is easy to fit in the yard and on the budget.
When I picked up the Crank from my local paddle shop, Appomattox River Company in Hampton, Virginia, the first test was to assemble the boat without instruction. I don’t recommend flying blind, but I like to look at the pieces, imagine the engineering and test to see if the design is foolproof.
Perception’s New Crank 10.0
Weight: 87 lbs
Capacity: 350 lbs
And the Crank came in several pieces. The seat, drive and rudder required some assembly. But, I was able to put the boat together with a Phillips-head screwdriver, 8mm socket and Allen key.
Perception tweaked their pedal kayak design since its launch in 2017. Now, they use a pin to hold the propeller to the spindle. And, they widened the crossing shelf to hold the drive more securely.
The Pilot drive is light and compact, making it easy to carry with one hand. The simple system is robust and solid, in our limited testing we haven’t had a breakdown.
The svelte pedal system takes up less room on the deck, too. Not only is there more room for fishing, but when the pedal system is retracted, the propeller fits in a cavity under the boat without getting in the way in the cockpit.
I found this helpful when launching and recovering. I was able to install the pedals on land, then easily drag the boat to the water. In shallow water, the propeller retracts into the hull without taking up space in the cockpit.
To install the pedals, first remove a through bolt and a large pin from the base. Then, drop the pedals into place and install the bolt. Lower the propeller and the pin holds the system in place. To go into shallow water, pull the pin and raise the prop then reinsert the pin.
The process takes two hands and some practice. Even though the base has been beefed up, there was still a little play in the connections. Casual users will hardly notice the flex. The advantages of the Pilot Drive—it’s lightweight and simple to operate—outweigh any pet peeves.
And the Pilot drive pushes the little Crank like a sports car. Perception tapped decades of design experience to develop a boat that slips through the water. Direction is controlled by a flip-down rudder.
At just 10 feet long, the short water line makes the Crank easy to maneuver and quick to get up and go. With a 35-inch beam, the little boat is extremely stable.
On the top side, a forward bow well drains to a scupper and channels leading to the cockpit. The bow scupper leads to a divot in the hull that will hold a fish finder transducer.
The Crank is designed to be rigged with aftermarket parts. Like all Perception boats, the Crank accepts a variety of Confluence accessories for easy good looks. Space on the gunwales is perfect for gear tracks and flat areas beside the seat will keep small items organized.
Behind the seat, Perception included two Solo Mounts, threaded inserts designed to accept a matching ball mount. With the ball mount screwed in, an angler can add rod holders or other accessories.
I like the versatility of the solo mount, but I’d prefer either molded or flush-mount rod holders. Even with the Solo Mount insert, there is plenty of flat, open space to attach a standard accessory base.
Behind the seat is a deep, though not wide, gear well. A standard 14×14 milk crate fit snugly in the space.
The Captain’s Chair frame seat is adequate for short trips and light duty. Molded for support and covered in webbed material, the seat is light and dries fast.
The seat moves forward and back on molded channels in the deck. On the water, I was able to adjust the fit by hopping forward and back. It wasn’t graceful, but the system keeps it simple and gets the job done.
The most important qualities of a recreational kayak are ergonomics and comfort. New anglers are quickly scared off with a boat that doesn’t work well or fit right. In these categories, the Crank 10 hits a homerun. Within minutes, every person I put in the boat was pedaling and casting like a pro.
The sporty hull design is easy to maneuver with a wide beam for stability and sea worthiness. The Pilot drive is easy to use and reliable, instilling confidence in new users. To go from newbie to serious hobbyist, the first experiences in a kayak are most important. Every guest who has used the Crank can’t wait to go fishing again.
This article was first published in Kayak Angler Issue 43. Subscribe to Kayak Angler’s print and digital editions here, or browse the archives here.
Get out there.| Photos: Ric Burnley