Before discussing the three basic options, it’s important to note that higher thrust capacity does not necessarily equal more speed. The Torqeedo Ultra Light vs the Torqeedo Travel motor is a great example.
The Ultra Light is a 1hp motor while the Travel is a 3hp motor. You might naturally assume that if the Travel motor is 3 times as strong, you would go 3 times as fast, but that’s not the case. The Ultra Light will push a kayak, on average, 5.5 mph, while the Travel motor tops out around 6.1-6.4mph. Why?
All kayaks have a natural hull speed that they will not exceed without significantly ramping up the thrust capacity. We will talk about hull efficiency in depth here.
Minn Kota Setup Options
The Primal SlipStream motor mount is designed to handle a Minn Kota 30-pound thrust for two reasons: Max Hull speed and weight. Generally speaking, a 30-pound thrust motor will achieve a kayaks max hull speed, all things being equal. Exceeding the 30-pound threshold can result in faster consumption of the battery while achieving very little if any extra speed.
Additionally, the metal housing around the motor adds considerable weight, which can make raising and lowering the motor more difficult. A 30-pound thrust Minn Kota, once stripped down to the shaft and motor weighs 9-pounds, and this only increases with the larger motors. That being said, the Minn Kota 30-pound thrust is a reliable motor for kayakers on a budget. ($99)
Photo Credit: Primal
Bixpy Jet Setup Options
This is the most versatile of all the motor options. Due to its lightweight compact design, the Bixpy jet can be attached with the Primal SlipStream mount, or to rudder of the kayak, to stand up paddle boards, or even used as a hand-held unit for scuba diving or snorkeling. Coming in at $1,000 +/-, the Bixpy Jet is a budget friendly motor that punches well above its weight. The trade off? Speed. The Bixpy Jet is roughly 1mph slower than the Torqeedo.
However, Bixpy has created a “plug and play” type of way for anglers to attach a motor to their kayak. They make it so that your average person should be able to install it. They’ve created a nice light-weight lithium battery and mount that’s easy to install. No more ‘guessing game’ DIY installation necessary.
There are two big features that make Bixpy different from the other options. They are not a propeller driven motor, instead they offer an impeller driven motor. The impeller driven motor reduces drag and reduces the risk of hitting underwater structures and fishing line. The size is much smaller, and light weight just under 2-pounds. Their models offer a kind of a hybrid between a true impeller or propeller. The advantage that creates is that it’s more efficient than a true impeller, and you can also go in reverse as opposed to most other impeller motor types.
Bixpy jet motors are also modular, so you’re able to put the Bixpy motor on anything and everything. You can even dive with it and put it on a submersible battery to use it as a scuba diving device. Many people have also been attaching them to a paddle board as well.
Bixpy motor on a Primal mount. Photo Credit: Primal
Torqeedo Ultra Light Setup Options
Speed, Technology, and a high level of German engineering make the Torqeedo Ultra Light the standard by which all other motors are measured. The throttle control displays a wide variety of information including remaining battery percentage and speed. Generally speaking, the Torqeedo Ultra Light tops out at 5.1 – 5.5 mph. What’s the trade off? Cost.
The Torqeedo Ultra Light is roughly $800 – $1,000 more than the Bixpy, depending on which battery option you chose. Is the higher price justified? If it’s in the budget…yes.
Torqeedo provides anglers with an objective measure of speed and efficiency. The GPS unit tells you speed and battery percentage left right on the handle. It also tells you approximately how much range you have remaining. The current throttle setting tells you range and watt draw so if you need more range, decrease the throttle. Knowing how much distance you have left is critical. We all drive cars with a gas gauge, and some cars calculate the number of miles you can drive until you need to refill the gas tank. The GPS unit in the Torqeedo Ultralight battery allows for the display of a very specific “remaining range at current throttle setting” data, displayed on the throttle.
To make sure that nobody gets injured by the propeller, the Torqeedo Ultralight is equipped with two safety features: a magnetic kill switch that sits on the throttle and clips to the angler, and a chip in the motor that senses when the motor has rolled past 45 degrees… for if you flip the kayak. Another great feature? The Ultralight 403A and 403AC are IP67 rated waterproof. That specification means that it can be submerged up to a meter deep for half an hour with no water intrusion.
This is a closer shot of the new “A” mount that Torqeedo released earlier this year as a standard mount for the Ultralight 403A and 403AC. The difference between the 403A and 403AC is the battery capacity. One comes with a 320 Watt hour battery, and the 403AC comes with a 915 Watt hour battery. Many kayaks have ranges at full speed of over 12 miles with the 915 Watt hour battery. Photo Credit: Jeff Little