Easy to carry for smaller paddler, great tracking, easy to transport. I have enjoyed my Perception Expression very much. I am 5' tall and love it.
This is my third kayak, and has quickly become my favorite. This Kayak is light, fast, maneuverable, and well suited for a wide variety of uses. I've used it on big water with waves and wind, where thanks to its drop down skeg, it tracks well and cuts through waves. On small fast rivers it is fast, maneuverable, stable and needs surprising little water to float so you can go on almost any river even in low water conditions. On big rivers the Expression is great for class I and II rapids, again it is stable and maneuverable and fun! The Expression has Perception's amazingly comfortable seat, adjustable foot pegs, one large watertight storage compartment, drop down skeg, carrying handles. It is light enough for one person to load onto a car or truck and tough enough to handle what ever you trow at it.
The Expression 11.5 is perfect for use on our local WV lakes and quiet streams. Although I have two other kayaks, I find this one to be my first choice 98% of the time, partly due to its somewhat lighter 44 lb weight. The hull has sufficient rocker to allow it to nearly turn on a dime, great for maneuvering in tight coves and other somewhat restricted spaces. Yet with the drop-down skeg the boat tracks true, and I can cover distance if I want to really open up and paddle! (With practice I have learned to track the Expression even with the skeg up.) The cockpit is a perfect size for my smaller frame (5'2" female), and allows my legs to fit perfectly against the thigh braces without my knees spread uncomfortably wide. The slide-lock foot braces are incredibly easy to change while on the water, allowing for different degrees of leg control for various paddling situations on our nearby lake. The one storage area is spacious and does stay bone-dry, and the deck has more than adequate bungees for keeping items at my fingertips. The seat is really comfortable, with adjustable height for the seat back, and adjustable height for the front of the seat. Because I haven't yet learned to roll, I asked a friend to try due to the semi-rounded shape of the boat. In spite of the fact that the Expression is very stable, my friend pronounced it "easy to roll" if one has need to do so. So this boat is incredibly versatile. Although the foot pegs accommodate my leg length, their longest length was too short for my much taller brothers when they tested the boat. Also I do wish the Expression 11.5 had a back band rather than the high seat back, for increased ease when putting on a skirt. But overall I am quite pleased with this kayak. Larger individuals may find it too restrictive, so I recommend the Expression 11.5 to small-to-average paddlers who want a versatile kayak for lakes and rivers with Class 2+ or less rapids.
Probably the most versatile boat I've paddled, Broad rivers, open lakes, swift narrow creeks -- the Expression is a jack of all trades kind of boat. The Perception Expression 11.5 is the shorter, nimbler version of the 14,.5. Like its longer sibling, the 11,5 comes with a retractable skeg for ease of streamlining and keeping straight either on lakes or against headwinds. Unlike the 14.5, the 11.5 has only one bulkhead, in the rear, but that's plenty of storage for a day trip. Bungee rigging on the front and back provides additional packed-gear options, as does plenty of leg room inside. One can easily commit to a small journey of paddling several days in a row without compromising comfort.
This boat handles really well in light whitewater conditions as well. I've used it many times on Class II rapids, and it's always been a champ. It's a little longer than my crossover kayak, but it's been a great creek boat -- especially during low-water conditions. The V-shaped hull and less rocker means it floats a hair higher than crossovers, resulting in less scraping/ getting stuck. Some may find the boat to be a little too "tippy" because of this, but only brand-new paddlers, in my experience.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we all see color differently. For me personally, I don't care much for the color options the 11.5 comes in, but this, admittedly, is a superficial consideration. Besides, the manufacturer is called "Perception"!
Like many boats with retractable skegs, be mindful of keeping backside clear of sand/ mud and pebbles/ gravel, as they will get lodged in the recess for the skeg and prevent it from being deployed.
One last shout-out: this boat accidentally flew off my roof rack while driving down a country highway at 60 mph. (I turned straight into a 30-mph wind gust, and no, I hadn't tied down the bow or stern (a mistake I'll never make again.) The boat tore off the roof rack while still cradled in its J-hooks. Fortunately, no car was behind me or passing in the opposite lane at the time! It landed in a ditch next to an alfalfa field. While the towers of my roof rack and the J-hook clamps were completely obliterated, the kayak was practically unfazed. But for a small scuff at the bow, it was immaculate -- no cracks, no concaving, no dents or bumps or breaks! Now that's a tough boat!
It paddles fast, tracks straight. Little goosey when the waves hit from the side at an angle, takes a bit of paddle placement to track straight.
All in all, an excellent little boat, and at $799 a good value