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Old 08-23-2008   #1
Idaho Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 22
what size/style/brand motor for a 14' raft?

i just returned from my first deso trip on my 14' raft. the canyon spoke to me, it said "buy a motor, bitch". what hp do i need? any advice on brands or what to look for/avoid? i don't want some huge motor that takes up too much space and i could haul a skier on, just something to get me thru currentless molasses-like still swampwater. (or keep from being actually blown upstream).

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Old 08-23-2008   #2
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

I've run a long shaft 5 HP Honda four stroke for years on 14/16/20 foot rafts and cats. Mine weighs 65 pounds, gets about 20-25 miles per gallon, and is super quiet.

For short pushes, a trolling motor and battery may do. But a four-stroke will provide a lot more flexibility, and allow you to use it in the many areas where two-strokes are not permitted. Not to mention saving your hearing and allowing conversations with your fellow boaters.


Rich Phillips

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Old 08-23-2008   #3
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
I wouldn't get anything smaller than a 5 HP or bigger than a 9 HP. Like Rich says, stick with a 4 stroke. The added noise and dealing with mixing oil and fuel is not worth the extra power a 2 stroke provides, for what your looking for.

In general......two strokes are cheaper and lighter in weight, but don't last as long and tend to foul plugs at the most inopportune time.

As for brand.........Honda's are very reliable.
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Old 08-23-2008   #4
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 87
Have you considered buying a jet boat and sticking to lake powell? If you don't like rowing there are lots of great ATV trails in Utah desert as well.
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Old 08-23-2008   #5
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
There are plenty of "purists" on here who think all motors are bad or cheating. Personally rowing flat water in a 30 mph headwind, is not the experience I seek. I regularly bring a motor for (slightly) off season trips, where wind is likely.

As stated already a 5 is sufficient. It will push one or two boats well, or 5-6 boats poorly.

A bigger motor won't go much faster, unless you're a cat, but it will have much better abilities when steering a big pod.

I went the cheaper route and got a 5hp Briggs and Stratton. It works fine, but it is louder than a nicer water cooled motor.

I've used a 2hp from my parents small sailboat, and it worked about the same as one strong dude rowing his ass off. The strong dude rowing his ass off did not have a free hand for his beer.

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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