QuickBlade V-Drive 91 vs V-Drive 81 (Part 1)

Welcome to Stoke Lab Part1 of  V-Drive 91 vs V-Drive 81

Are you a QuickBlade fan or looking for new paddle?   I have been using QuickBlade  V-Drive 91 for littler over 2years now and always looking to improve my engine (cardio)  and  gear choices.    Sometime last year during the early summer season I been hearing downsizing the blade specifically on V-Drive.  I don’t recall the the entire discussion  and who it was but I do have one friend  from NY has been downsized from V91 to V81.

Mind you that I’m not affiliated with QuickBlade as an Ambassador/Team  nor been endorsed.

Let’s start with body type so that you understand and have some baseline before you take a plunge on upgrading or downsizing.  Below you will find  two specimen  and both have experienced in V-Drive 91 and V-Drive 81.

Specimen #1 (Me….lol)

  • 5′-7″
  • 176lbs
  • 75″ Shaft length

Specimen #2 -Len Franco

  • 5′-11″
  • 170lbs
  • 77″ Shaft length

Before we go further if you like to know blade choices and shaft length you can visit here.   There is a small disclaimer on the page you  may miss it so here is … “These are recommended blade sizes by paddler weight and are considered good choices for the majority of paddlers. Your personal preference may require a choice different from the above recommendations.”

Let’s begin our Part 1 series of testing.

Testing Criteria

  • Flat Condition – less than .5 miles current
  • 160meter/0.100miles distance.
  • Dominat right hand stroke ONLY
  • Sprint
  • HR zone – All out

Chart Reading (figure a)

  • Orange line- Max Speed
  • Blue line (vertical)- Cadence & HR crossing – sweet spot area
  • Blue line (horizontal)- Duration of speed increase with HR and Cadence

When you compare the two chart, top is V91 and bottom is V81 you will find interesting results from  3 important factor:  HR, Stroke Rates and Speed.   I was not surprise to see my HR increase rapidly in V91 chart.  Most of my other test I did last year for the Probox Fin system with Larry Allison’s fin has similar results (see figure b).

I have only used V81 twice in a row.  Day before was easy L2 paddling and interval training before this testing.  From the physical exertion (PE) point of view I can feel that V81 has less stress to my body while I do feel more speed increase in sustainable speed.  HR increase relation to paddle stroke  is less rapid  then V91.   Comparing between PE and Data collected from speedcoach is great way to understand the results you were feeling during the test.

From a  single test result  it is still conclusive to say downsizing is a winner but so far it looks really good.  From technical specification view  V-Drive 91 is for someone weights in 145 to 185 and V-Drive 81 is 105 to 145.  In reality  my body is telling me something different  is it because my upper body is not strong enough? I’m pretty comfortable to say that with all the proper Paddle Monster training I’m well conditioned.   PE is well noticeable between two blades and with V81 you  still have great catch at entry and smooth mid power phase without feeling overwhelmed.   Between two blades you also see changing in stroke rates that slightly increases in V81.   The chart does not clearly shows the stroke rate difference but it was 65.5SPM (V91) and 68.5SPM(V81).  HR increases moderately  in step motion with speed  increasing equally to V91.

Some may ask how about Trifecta 86?.  I have it’s blade too and compare to V-Drive in general, Trifecta has more forgiven at entry when you first plant your blade and feels the power at mid phase only.  When you are paddling it’s not the paddle that moving  you but your propelling yourself when paddle enters the water.  There is a fine line of how much blade will exert you when blade is full planted and your entire body is pulling with your big muscle such as your traps and hips that engages at that moment. Now that I have able to paddle two of these blades you really feel the payload on the blade against your body.

Now it’s  time to read the chart and if you agree with me or not.   Between the 2 x 160m/0.100miles I have rest 3-4min or so. First run was V81 (bottom chart) and second round was V91(top chart).  It was running out of time before lake closes so maybe I should have given little more rest for V91 test but I feel it’s a fair results.  Before starting the both runs I was in 120-130bpm so I think I had fair  baseline for both of the test.   It’s quite interesting to see how HR zone was slowly increased  with V81 while V91 HR zone increase rapidly but speed increase relatively the same.  When I was glancing at my  speed coach data  it  was 6.48mph vs 6.50mph for the max.  What’s even more interesting is between two the vertical lines.  With V91 HR rapidly increasing  before the first line but between the two Vertical line stroke rates has dropped and also speed is effected.   More I exerted myself  I feel the payload on my body created by the V91 and stroke rates  slowly drops.  From PE stand point it was obvious how much my body was stressing to keep the speed up compare to V81.  Between the two vertical line you see two results; V91, speed and stroke rates decreases while V81 speed and stroke rates runs more unison each other.

Here is statistic of two sprint results.  For the V81 test speed coach started before my paddling so did lost  3seconds.

V-Drive 91

  • 1:03.1
  • 5.704mph
  • 65.5spm

V-Drive 81

  • 1:04.9
  • 5.548mph
  • 68.5spm

Part 1 Conclusion

While above statistics  may shows V91 had better results despite the delayed start  but I still think V81 feels smooth with entire paddle stroke.  Longer it takes to increase the PE will help keep the sustain speed much longer  and stay stronger.  It is still early to tell but downsizing the  blade is a promising for 2018 season and requires more time to adjust.  In Part 2,  I will try to see if I can do more sustainable speed test with specific HR zone for the duration.

I have included  a sample to of my of my similar 160meter/0.100miles distance test of “Ventral fin test” showing my HR rapidly increases similar to this test results.  Sample #1,2,3 in the graph should make good comparison. (figure b)

Friend Len Franco suppose to chime his point of view between the  two blades but couldn’t get in time due to his work obligation.  I will update this information as soon as I get from Len!.

Figure A

Figure B