Bell Flashfire Black Gold vs White Gold

construction regarding handling.

How different do they handle?

Charlie Wilson stated on another board that the white gold Flashfire’s hull is flattened a little by the mat core and isn’t quite as hot as the black gold versiion

“Bells W/G was a decent layup; rugged, repairable, and moderate in price. For a smaller woman who wants to run some moving and whitewater, I’ve got to push for a Black/Gold. It’s lighter so Jesse can tote it and stronger when banging off rocks, and more importantly, closer to the original design.

The core mat bottom cookie in Bell’s W/G hulls always flattened the bottom a little. The solid fabric B/G was true to the mold and are always a little “hotter”, more reactive, hulls.”

I’m asking because the only Flashfire that I’ve test paddled is a black gold construction and I liked it, but haven’t found a used black gold Flash at a price I could handle, but have found a white gold Flash at a tolerable price and have arranged to buy it. It’s the same one that Jesse checked out.

So, how differently do a white gold Flashfire and a black gold Flashfire handle?

My most similar boat is a Curtis Lady Bug that I like very much, but am interested in the Flashfire for greater stability when heeled far over for quicker turns on narrow, twisty, shallow and often rocky streams.


the BG is a Ferrari, the WG is a
Pinto with bad shocks and flat tires…

No. Not really.

It’d take a keener paddler than puts a rudder on a canoe to tell the difference :smiley: I jest, but seriously, don’t overthink it. WG is a good layup, and the difference between BG/WG is not going to impede your progress as a paddler in any practical sense.

I’ve got to agree with Kanoo
Charlie is correct but it will take a seasoned and sensitive paddler to appreciate the difference. If the white/gold is available and in your price range, go for it.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

If I had a WG and was worried about my
bottom, I would wedge a minicell foam seat under the center thwart to shove the bottom down a teeny bit.

Thanks for the feedback. More welcome.
The w/g Flashfire that I’m getting will also behave differently than the standard w/g Flashfire because of the modifications done by the original owners, who used it for freestyle and Canadian style paddling. They widened the gunwales by about 1" and installed a custom kneeling thwart. My understanding is that they bought the basic hull and did the woodwork themselves. Their review is dated 1-12-05. I’m buying it from the 2nd owner. It’s reportedly in pristine condition, except the pictures seem to suggest that the gunwale varnish needs a little touch up. Never been paddled on a river.

I’ve never paddled using a kneeling thwart, so it should be interesting. Hopefully, I’ll like it.

I won’t be taking posession until it’s delivered to Canoecopia in about 7 weeks. Maybe there will be some unfrozen water by then for me to try it out.

I’m still interested in acquiring a black/gold version some day for the reduced weight and increased durability, so more specific info on the handling differences between the white/gold Flashfire and black/gold Flashfire would still be appreciated.

Thanks again for the info.

Well, it’s complicated. On a sunny day
the Whitegold will benefit when struck from the side by infrared, but only for turns where you lean inside. For outside leans, the Blackgold will turn faster.

Stick that in your archives, suckers.

The flatt ish bottom
seems to kill turns faster than the rounder bottom when brought from full heel to the rail to flat to cross heel.

Maybe the paxle will feel deader to you.

Most likely you wont notice though the flatter bottom might not seem to accelerate as fast.

and with the flatter bottom heeled turns are just different. For some reason a micro heel with a flattish boat does not seem to have as much result.

You might notice but I bet you will have to have a few 24 hour days with each boat.

Coming to a FreeStyle Symposium. Thats the best opportunity to compare.

I think your purchase would be fine. And if you turn out later not to like it there is a school of fish behind you aka feeding frenzy.

I dont think its really a big dea.

Someday I’ll attend a Freestyle
Symposium. Not sure when. Usually can’t afford the travel & time.

The 1" wider gunwales on this w/g Flashfire may help compensate for the slightly flatter bottom of the standard w/g. That reportedly allows the stems to free up quicker when heeled. The downside it will impede reaching the water a little for “compact” paddlers like me.

It will be intersting to compare this Flashfire with my Lady Bug.

Thanks for that handling comparison.

I do not think you will find that
the case. My observation is that the Lady Bug is a touch more delicate the ‘Sweet Spot’ however the Flash firms up better. Most paddlers are not much more compact than Karen Knight, who manages to firm a Flash up quite well.

I do believe you will like that boat!


Real Specs
It’s always rather amusing when someone decides they understand DY’s designs better than he does. He’s designed 200+, they’ve designed zero, but surely this needs customization?

Send me an email and I’ll return the real FF Specs so you can return the hull to normal function.

Email sent, Charlie.
Thanks for your assistance and insights.

g2d, ya’ got me
roflmao! Eggggscellent observation, and oh so true, but un-noticed by all but the most observant paddling physicists.

Not un-noticed, top secret military

the boat in question
Hello Yanoer, I sent you an e-mail about this flashfire. If you didn’t get my e-mail let me know…jesse

Thanks, I got your email.
Sent you a reply.