I haven't paddled either boat. After looking at the specs I'm not sure it would be worth it to upgrade. The only thing I think you would gain is getting the creek seat on the 7.6 and maybe a little different design. You should demo a 7.6 and see what you think.
I switched from a 8.0 to a 8.1. Both are great boats but there is a significant different in volume and the 8.1 feels quite a bit wider around the cockpit.
The volume is only worth it if you need it. And if you haven't felt you need it then no rush to switch, right? ... I would happily run all sorts of stuff with either, but if I'm stepping up my game on a new creek the 8.1 feels like a real creeker whereas 8.0 was borderline. If I saw another 8.0 or 8.5 in good condition for a good deal I wouldn't hesitate to buy it -- boats wear out quickly and I like Mambas old and new.
I've paddled the 8.5 and the 8.6. I found the 8.6 to be everything I wanted the 8.5 to be and more. The edge profile was more on target for what I wanted from a boat in that realm (there when I need it, and gone when I don't). Also the way the volume is distributed I think is a little better.
Good points Eben and Ben. I still do not believe it is worth it to upgrade from a 7.5 to a 7.6. Other than adding 6 gallons of volume the boat is virtually the same boat. Same length and added .25" to the width. I would say if you're going to upgrade for volume it would be best to go to the 8.1. I don't see six gallons making much difference.
Now the 8.1 is an inch wider and an inch longer than the 8.0 and adds a noticeable 15 gallons volume.
The 8.6 is also like an inch longer and an inch wider than the 8.5 and add 17 gallons volume.
When we're talking 15-17 gallons of volume increase I would say yes it is helpful. But 6 gallons I would say no.
The main difference when then changed the Mamba other than volume was the edge profile. The first Mamba series had a hard edge that ran the entire length of the boat. The current ones have an edge that fades out just past the seat into a soft round stern. The idea here was have the driving power of the edge up, so you can "get up" on it and charge while not having to worry about the grabby stern edges.
Thanks to all of you that have tried both and shared your thoughts. I really question the old volume specs though - 57 gallons?? My hubby's playboat is 56 gal and when you put them side by side, there is just no way they are even remotely the same.
How about rolling them - do they feel the same? My 7.5 practically auto rolls. Being a smallish woman, the low side rails make it easy for me to get the paddle out of the water. I would hate to sacrifice that.
The extra volume in the stern would be nice. I guess I should make a road trip somewhere to demo. I just live so far away from any kayak stores that carry dagger. But I do really appreciate all the comments - it is great to hear from all of you.
Well...I did it. I posted my Mamba 7.5 for sale and sold it in 5 minutes. So now I have a brand new 7.6. Taking it on the river today. Hope I like it because my other boat has gone to a very excited 13 year old boy.
I moved the seat to the center position for my first go at it. Any other Mamba users out there? I would love to hear what you did with your outfitting.
I have an 8.6 and run the seat just forward of center. Also the new outfitting can be misleadingly not snug enough so make sure the side padding is tight otherwise I have felt off center (shifted to one side) whilst rolling.
I would think it all depends on how big you are Brenda. I am 5'5" and weigh 130lbs. So I have the seat all the way forward. Even with that, I have the bulkhead pretty far back as my legs are not real long. I think the main problem is getting the thigh braces to fit right. Congrats on the 7.6. I picked up mine at christmas and have been very happy with it.
Any thoughts on moving from an 8.0 to an 8.6? I am at the large end for the 8.0 and kind of just want to move on up to the 8.6, but I don't want too much boat... 6'2 and I fluctuate between 175-185 pretty frequently...
SnowHere...I put my seat almost all the way forward as well. I am 5'5" 135, so similar to you. I also added the seat lifter so I sit up higher. Haven't tried that yet in the river though I am short in the torso so have a hard time getting over the boat to get the paddle out of the water to roll. This makes it much easier for me. This weekend I will try it.
Anyone else raise their seat?
I raised the seat too. I usually look for low deck boats because of that issue. On this boat, I need to stretch out when I roll it, in order to clear the deck to have enough leverage to roll. All in all, I like the Mamba better then my last creeker, a Microbat 230. Bonus for the Mamba to be more of a river-runner, it will still work as a creeker for anyone our size.
8.1 to 8.6 is not as big of a jump (I think) as per say the karma MD to L. The karma L is massive and doesn't 'paddle small' like they say, it's a cruise liner for a 6' or less paddler. I haven't sat in an 8.1 either just judging visually. In my 8.6 I used the dagger seat shim and it made a huge improvement in how it performed for me anyways.
A forum community dedicated to whitewater kayaking, boating, and rafting enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about safety, routes, gear, models, styles, gear swaps, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!