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Old 04-06-2012   #1
Enfield, New Hampshire
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 332
Comparing the new Mamba to the Villain....any views?

How do they compare for cl 4 non creeky runs?

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Old 04-08-2012   #2
rivervibe's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 379
Ok, I haven't actually had either, but I've looked at them a lot and have been on the water with friends in both many times.

I'm just going to say it, I think if it was me making this decision, it would be the Mamba for sure. The Mamba will have more of an edge profile and so will be much more responsive when catching Class IV eddies as well as in big pushy water. I've heard folks complaining that the Villain just feels like a beast... though if ALL you're doing is just punching holes and drops it might do a bit better.

Look also at the outfitting and general construction. Put the two on the floor and try to compress the plastic of the front of the boat. Jackson boats in general, and the Villain in particular, will just kind of squish and deform under your body weight. That makes me very nervous. I also have this friend who had one and is a tall guy. He had issues with the back band tension line slipping out of that the little cord-lock after just a half season, so he would totally lose back support when he went to really crank hard on the boat.

I hope I don't sound too bias, but this just what I've heard and seen. Try to paddle both if you can! The right boat will come your way.

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I also have here some gear reviews (that I might update soon).
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Old 04-09-2012   #3
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
I've paddled the Villain, the Mamba Creeker, and I own a Nomad 8.5
If you're really just going to paddle "Class IV non-creeky" runs, the Mamba is going to be the most responsive and fun, hands down.
The Villain is an amazing, safe, creek/expedition boat, but that's what it is, too. It's not a whole lot of responsive, zippy fun to paddle on easier water, i.e. I did not find it fun to catch eddies with and/or do any kind of more playful paddling. It's made to get you thru the sh*$ safely and stay on top of the water even with a load of gear.
The Mamba was just more fun to be in on more playful runs. It boofs well, is really stable, surfaces fine, yet it has a nice edge that really allows you to work and play the river when you want. I've been on Class V trips with people that had the Mamba, too, and they did just fine, so it seems like it is just slightly more versatile.
I love my Nomad, too, but it is nowhere near as "fun" to paddle as the Mamba was in water where you didn't need a full-on creeker.
So many rivers, so little time..........
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Old 04-29-2012   #4
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
Also look at Jackson's new Zen. I saw one
In the flesh and can't wait to try it on bigger water runs. If you like a big planing hole with the hardest edges going this is the boat. I could see it tripping you I youre not used to
Edges on your play boat.

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 05-02-2012   #5
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 104
I haven't had a chance to hop in the 2012 Mamba yet, but I hope to real soon. Others have mad the good point that the Villain is not going to be zippy or crisp in and out of eddies compared to the Mamba since it is a full-blown creek boat. If you were looking for creeking performance and boof-ability, the Villain would win out, but it's all about the water you will be paddling and what kind of performance you're after. If forgiveness were your top priority, the Villain could still be the right choice for Class 4 non-creeky water.

Here's my Jackson Kayak Villain Review.
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Old 05-04-2012   #6
MikeThulin1972's Avatar
Conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 135
I have paddled a ton in both and own a new 8.6 simply the mamba is a better river runner that can handle big water as well and is less edgy and more stable..
The villian is a better steep creeper that does ok river running but does well in big water because of volume...
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Old 05-04-2012   #7
RandyP's Avatar
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 152
Why not compare the mamba to the Hero? The Hero is the river runner/creek boat just like the Mamba. I had a mamba but liked the hero much better. The hero is way more comfortable and carves very well. The plastic on the mamba didn't seem as bomber as the Hero. I snapped the back band strap on my mamba while taking a a fun hole ride, and have not had any problem with my hero. Go to confluence kayaks and try them both and make your own decsion because all boats fit all boaters different. If it makes a difference the hero will surf better than the mamba. Use our opinions for what they are but you should try them and see which one fits your style of paddleing. Good luck with the search thats half the fun.
Normal is a setting on your washing machine!
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Old 05-04-2012   #8
MikeThulin1972's Avatar
Conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 135
He was just asking about two boats ... As for the super hero I prefer the old one .. The new one is two damn short and an be a little sticky in big holes because of length ..
It is much closer hull wise to the mamba.. Alot less rocker which is better for river for plastic I've seen good and bad In both brands..I'm a big fellow so if you want more info on those kinds of boats let me know.. I work for a southeast outfitter so I've paddled almost everything ..jefe,stomper,habitat,mamba,nomad,hero,villian,ze n
Karnali,and shiva..
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Old 05-05-2012   #9
go2water's Avatar
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 38
How about the difference between the old mamba and the new?
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Old 05-05-2012   #10
MikeThulin1972's Avatar
Conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 135
Volume... For the most part.. Old mamba was very low volume and truly a river runner .. New one is alot bigger to handle some creeking and bigger water settings..

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