Read reviews for the Spectrum by Perception 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 bought my spectrum new in 1999 and have used it extensively since. I love this kayak. I have used other types and always end up back in my spectrum. I'm moving to the virgin islands now and wish I could take it with me but the shipping costs are over 2k so I'm letting her go. If you know anyone wanting one let me know.
Compared to my Eagle Run 12' this thing would be a horrible idea for a fishing kayak - it's initial stability is far lower, though it's secondary is solid. You could fish from it but if that's your primary purpose for the yak look else where.
I've found the Spectrum to be a bit temperamental, but again that's forced me to learn to use my hips to handle it and has allowed me to start leaning into and out of turns.
I see a lot of suggestions for this as a beginner yak and I agree if the person wants to learn to handle a touring boat, but I see a lot of casual folks with stickers on their paddles which are proudly held upside down - they should definitely look elsewhere.
For a beginner looking to get seriously into the sport it's an awesome kayak. I know I will outgrow it eventually and likely wind up with purpose boats for whitewater and ocean - but I doubt I will ever let my Spectrum go.
The people having tracking problems are either too light for the boat or are not using the correct paddle stroke.
This Spectrum should never be confused with a touring kayak; it can seem cumbersome compared to any narrower, longer boats. However, I've found tracking to be actually quite good for the hull shape; weather cocking is a problem and may demand over-paddling on one side (don't waste $$ on a rudder for this boat).
At 5'9" 165 lbs, I have lots of wiggle room and never feel cramped; in fact, compared to my 22" wide touring boat, when I return to the Spectrum I feel like I'm rattling around in it. This is still a far better overall boat than many of the recreational kayaks on the market and is just as stable and user friendly as any of them. So if you can find one, buy it -- it should be cheap and provide you with plenty of additional years of paddling fun.
No rudder on mine (got her second hand, and for a 14 year old boat this thing is in incredible shape!), but it tracks just fine--just keep in mind it is a soft chine and requires a bit more from its pilot than just a forward stroke. Paddled in protected and unprotected waters, and class II-III rivers, and have felt comfortable and had a blast with them all. Awaiting arrival of factory thigh braces and am eager to install them--can only make for an even more incredible boating experience!
Can't say enough good things about this boat. If you're still in a rec boat, it's time to take the next step-you won't regret it!
As to wet exit & re entry I haven't found a more friendly kayak: I can climb back in easily and I am known as one of those that have problems with re entries. Add basic safety features such as paddle float, bilge pump, handy sponge to ensure a longer stay on the water, use your favorite spray skirt and you won't need any sponge.
Tried her with two different paddles : 220 vs. 230 and found the shorter one performs better for low & high bracing, why? I dunno, but that's what it is: a shorter paddle makes her turn on a dime, gives you more power stroke for speed, bracing & rolling go better than when using longer paddles.
Can you fish from that thing?
That's the question in everyone's mind when window shopping for a kayak. I am not an authority nor I believe I have the basic knowledge to give an opinion on this matter. That being said, I had two SOT's, I have two SIK's that give me a whole world of possibilities I couldn't find on the SOT's world, being a man of short extremities the chance of wearing the yak allows me to get much more of a day on the water than using a SOT. If I had to get on the water to save someone else's life I'd rather grab a SIK than a SOT, you can bet all your money on that.
Fish finder and rod holders can be placed on the front deck with endless possibilities, rear hatch area is huge also open to many different set ups. I'm going with two Ram 119 T on the front deck...it is going to ruin the funny eskimo roll thing but hey! we gotta catch some fish, don't we?
Final note: If you aren't familiar with SIK this one might not be your best choice. See you on the water, don't spook my fish!
But lets get this straight, this is a touring Kayak. It is not a high end $$$$$ yak, it is rotomolded plastic, meaning it can and will oilcan. But this could well be the last yak I buy. It should be well tested in a couple of years but right now it is fantastic I would love another for my son.
I recently went paddling with my brother with him in his new Walden Legend (17.5' X 21") and me in his old spectrum. With a little extra effort I was able to keep up. We ventured into the lower James River (5miles wide) into a stiff NW wind blowing straight down river and whitecaps up to 3'. It beat hard into the waves and was a bear with a headwind but surfed a following sea well.
Like two other sub 15' boats I've paddled, it tracks fine as long as you're pulling ahead but turns when you pause. The solution, don't pause frequently. Even light forward strokes keep it on course if applied correctly. It also weather cocks with a stiff beam wind (same as other two boats). The rudder helps when deployed but exaserbates the problems when retracted and acting like a sail.
If a beginner, I would recommend this boat without a rudder. Work on paddling skills. Also, rudders get in the way in wooded swamps and are easily damaged in surfing accidents.