Read reviews for the Brittany 16.5 by Riot Kayaks 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!
Tracks like an arrow and fast for the size. Not that manoeuvrable to turn on a dime but with rudder down it it agile. I did not find it too responsive in edge turns, also due to round shine the edge support is delicate to find, this one is a tracker. With skeg down, this thing does not budge from its track, wind or wave has no effect on it. Seat comfort is great, back band is good and gives no back pain (it used to be a critic before, but they made changes to the padding and attachment) The compartments are dry after many rolls, compare to earlier models that used to take in gallons of water. The fit of the covers got modified to keep things dry. Low deck gives you more efficiency in windy condition (compare with my Boreal Saguenay, the Brittany is more efficient and requires less effort to keep speed).
One thing that i found to be on the negative side is the location of the day hatch, it is not off to the side enough, it is almost in the center of the kayak, and requires good agility to get your arm back and open, reach in, get your stuff and close back. I sold my Boreal Saguenay and got the Brittany and no regrets so far.
1. Differences between the two:
If you're after one kayak only then I would go for the thermo. It's more expensive but you'll love the lower weight and the higher speed.
2. The pros:
I found them good value. They are fast and offer more than enough space for an average size man like myself (71kg, 177cm). They keep a straight line very well and the retractable skeg (goes up and down with a flick of a slider next to the cockpit) makes them track even better (which slightly increases speed).3. The problems:
They both handle very nicely in the ocean; it’s a joy manoeuvring them through the waves.
But there is a simple solution: Remove the bungees. A rudder on a kayak does not need a return spring mechanism, just as the tiller on a boat does not need one. The only problem is that the paddles can slide backward when your feet are not on them. So before you enter the kayak make sure they are pushed forward (that’s easier that doing it when you are in already). Once you’re in the kayak it’s not a problem because your feet are against the paddles anyway.
I will try to make a modified bracket for the thermo to lower the rudder and to adjust its angle. Problem is that I can't access its bolts inside the hull.
I found some new solutions.
To tighten the bolts on the rudder bracket I use a 10mm extended socket (for a standard 1/2" socket spanner/ratchet) with a couple of layers to duct tape around to make it bigger. This I jammed into a paddle half shaft I had left from a broken split paddle. This makes a perfect tool to reach the number 10 nuts in the hull.
To make the rudder more effective I made a modified bracket. The rudder is now about 20mm deeper into the water and the axis around which it pivots is more vertical.
The good thing is that the new bracket looks almost exactly like the stock one, no "home-made" look to it at all; boat's still pretty. I am using the same type of flat 25mm wide aluminum bar (found it at my local hardware shop for A$7). This I shaped into the same C shape but with a somewhat longer top section. Then I drilled the four holes in slightly different positions, resulting in the improved geometry.
With an extra 2cm in the water the rudder should be about 50% more effective for an average weight person (70kg). I had a first test paddle and the impression confirms that. Especially in large waves I can now keep the kayak better pointed in the direction I want it.
The Thermo has what Riot calls a floating back rest. It doesn't work. I guess "floating" means it can move up to the point where an adjustable strap limits it (and prevents it from popping out of the seat altogether). In reality, gravity keeps it down all the time. I prefer to have it higher. So to keep it up I drilled two holes in the lower part of the backrest (the part that slots into the seat), and put two plastic bolts through them. So now the back can not slot all the way down any more. Works great, I am comfortable now.
The addition of both a skeg and rudder is a bonus stroke of brilliance. The plastic seems to be as high quality as any and the outfitting seems fine too, but the price was way under the competition for the same setup. It's fast enough and handles well in the rough, and is more exciting than most Camry/Accord do-it-all boats. Pretty hard to beat, really. Looks like Riot's back. Lets see how it fares long term.
After a session of rolling practice I was alarmed at how much water was through all the hatches, Litres not drops. I discovered that all the bulkheads were leaking. Again vendor support was good and he offered to re-seal all the bulkheads for me but I chose to do it myself with materials supplied by the vendor. I have now got a boat I quite like, but really it shouldn't have taken so much to get it to that point. There are some fittings behind the seat that have rusted very badly despite the fact I was the boat with fresh water after every outing. I discussed this with the vendor but by this stage I was starting to accept that the fittings are just poorly chosen for a SEA kayak and rather than replacing them with the same item, which will only rust again, I will work out an alternative at some stage in the future.
I think the kayak performs OK but because it is my first single I really can't comment in a comparative way
It's not a light boat, but if you want some quality in your plastic boat, not the thin cheap plastic some manufactures are selling, try this boat out. Always remember: paddle what you buy first and beware of people selling only one brand of kayak; they may put you in the wrong boat. If all Riot boats are as nice as the Brittany these boats will be around for a long time