Read reviews for the Freedom 16 by Mad River as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
I used it often when the kids were little, I could turn it backwards to balance out the weight difference. I use it solo sometimes, the same way. You can haul a huge amount of weight with this big boat! Only downside is, the width makes it tough to get a nice stroke. I set sort of sideways, facing the side I am paddling on. I'm a pretty big guy, a smaller person might not enjoy paddling that way.
The boat does not have a lot of glide. And a headwind will chew you up and spit you out! But the flip side is- it handles very well for its length. I have never used it in classed whitewater, but I would not hesitate to do so, if I added some flotation. It is not a play boat by any stretch, but it would be a fairly dry ride in waves, and maneuverable enough for anything less then the most technical runs.
I like the Freedom because it does a lot of things well. I used it often when the kids were small, turned backwards the seat spacing was ideal to trim it out. The boat has enough rocker that it is easy to turn without a decent tandem partner. Stability is awesome, even with a kid jumping around, I have only tipped it a few times.
Speed is just okay, the hull width slows it down I think. The width also makes it hard to use a nice forward stroke. It helps that I am wide in the shoulders, a smaller person would not be as happy on a long trip.
The boat is attractive, to me anyway. Wear is as expected, Royalex is Royalex, right? There is some extra wear on the peak formed by the uniquely shaped MR signature hull. I can not see where that hull shape really increases tracking, speed or stability, I think that marketing gimmick could have been passed over.
So...I now have a Mad River-Old Town 16' canoe that I really enjoy paddling. Oh...I also use a double blade kayak paddle when paddling lakes or any other open water. Obviously I'm no purist..just like to get out and have fun. It handles well in class II water paddling solo. Anything above that I wouldn't attempt alone, it's a little too long to turn in faster water.
For a more advanced boat I'd rather have a Novacraft Prospector or an Esquif Prospecteur. I'd probably look at royalite or similar as can't relate to a 70lb boat anymore.
The Dagger Legend; now that was one pig of a boat with oil canning to boot. Freedom with wood gunnels is much better in quality and easier on the eye. Can't get a legend anymore new.