Bell Flashfire weights? BG & WG

What are the weights of the different constructions of Bell Flashfires?

Especially interested in the black gold and white gold weights - actually, I just need the black gold Flashfire weight - I have a white gold Flashfire that weighs about 39 lbs. I’m considering upgrading.

30 to 32 lbs
Some variation due to contact lamination. Colden’s infused hull comes in at 25lbs with SnakeSkin rails and thwarts, 29 lbs in wood, with virtually no variation.

A real upgrade would be to the Colden

From what owners tell me its a much stiffer boat and even livelier.

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Sure, I’d love a Colden Flash with
snake skin rails, but they’re more than twice the price of a used Bell Flashfire. Someday, maybe.

But if I’m choosing spend over $3000 on a new Colden canoe with infused rails, I’d then have to think hard about whether to get a Flashfire, Vagabond or Dragonfly.

Thanks, Charlie.

37 lbs.

My Bell BG FF weighs 37 lbs. It was likely one of Bell’s last productions of that model. It was not likely among their finest of productions for whatever reason (change in boat building staff?). I thought the gel coat was too thick. But still a hell of a boat.

Have to ask: Why do you think this “upgrade” would make the slightest difference to you?


Lighter weight is my motivation.
I wouldn’t mind the boat being 6 to 7 lbs lighter, as would be suggested by Charlie’s post. If I only saved 2 lbs, as would be the case if it weighed 37 lbs, as yours does, I wouldn’t have much motivation.

37 is outrageous for a B/G Flash! That would be a Heavy WildFire!

Is the hull coming from a lady in Stillwater?

The hull I’m getting
is coming from the Minneapolis area.

It has wood trim and will probably weigh about 2 lbs heavier than average, because the original owner added kevlar skid plates to the bow and stern. From the pictures, it looks like he did a pretty good job of putting them on - he worked for an outfitter when he first got the boat. Hopefully, the boat won’t weigh over 34 lbs.

It appears to have the uniform color kevlar interior, rather than the tweed. I’m not sure of the mfg year, I’ll request that info. He thought it was around a 2003 or 2004.

The seller, of course, estimated the weight to be 20-25 lbs.

Bell Switched to Tweed well before I left Mn for LP NY in fall 97, so a non tweed interior is a ~ 95 boat. There will be a molded in serial number including build date on the right rear stern, high under the rail.

While we did some internal skid plates, if the seller has applied external Kev felt skids the hull has been ruined and is only worth the price of a dry hole in the water, ~$400.

Bell always put lots of material in the stems, so they do not need bang plates. External skids reduce rocker and hence maneuverability and ruin water flow along the hull, making the neat little hull significantly slower in the water. Neither of these characteristics can be considered good.

1996 Flashfire
The 1996 flashfire I have was listed as black gold by the previous owner. It has a colored gel coat and a core mat bottom with tweed interior. This boat weighs around 36 lbs. IIRC there was a posting some time ago saying that early black gold flashfires were made with the core mat same as the white gold ones.


– Last Updated: Apr-22-11 10:46 AM EST –

I was there. Black Gold boats were NEVER made with Core-Mat bottom patches and very seldom made with tinted gel.

The Core-Mat bottom and hull weight indicate a White/Gold laminate, which would always have had tinted gel.

If you paid for a B/G hull you made an unfortunately uninformed purchase. No way of knowing if seller was similarly miss-informed or dishonest.

Thanks for the heads up, Charlie.
I’ll consider backing out of the deal if the skid plate have that much of an adverse effect on the Flashfire hull performanc. If I buy a black gold Flashfire, I want it to perform like a black gold Flashfire.

I sent you and email.


– Last Updated: Apr-18-11 6:54 AM EST –

They added more gold to mine. Investment grade. I got me a real Bling Boat.

Ostentatious ="pretentious showy gaudy FLASHY flamboyant garish" from the Urban Dictionary

Interior is tweed - I got better pics.
Skid plates appear to be quite thin - less than 1/8", probably closer to 1/16".

Bell Tweed Interior[s]

– Last Updated: Apr-22-11 9:02 AM EST –

We were able to secure, in exchange for a huge order, a mill run of Kevlar that was 75% gold colored Kev 49 and 25% black Kev 29. We called it Tweed.

Once we brought it in, that was the only Kevlar fabric in the shop. We used it where all gold colored Kevlar had been used previously. Hence no surprise that a W/G hull would have a tweed interior.

The core-mat bottom is the key factor in determining the hull's lamination schedule. We used Core-Mat exclusively in Fiberlar and White/Gold hulls to build thickness quickly and inexpensively.

Core mat hulls were always a little flatter across the bottom than the all fabric Black/Golds, although they all came out of the same mold.

So, even with the flatter bottom, a WG
Flashfire that’s unmodified would more preferred, as far as handling is concerned, than a BG Flashfire that has professionally added, very thin, after market skid plates and is otherwise unmodified? I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that, but you’re the man that would know. I’d be using it primarily on shallow, twisty rivers.

Regarding skid plates - upon examination of the bottoms of my Curtis Lady Bug and RX Bell Yellowstone Solo, it appears that most of the hull scratches are more toward the center of the hull where the skid plates wouldn’t offer any protection, so the presence of skid plates would appear to have limited benefit to me on a rockered boat.

yes skid plates slow
yes flat bottoms slow.

but is that important to you?

In the situation you gave its a trade off.

I have a downriver boat with skid plates. Then I learned in my old age its sought by racers. They eschew the skid plates and I cant sell it easily.

The FlashFire is not a racer as you know and while skid plates don’t do much positive for this boat and are an eyesore, you can make it into a price reducing advantage.

Skid plates, laminates, etc.
External skid plates make absolutely no sense in a solo canoe, especially one with rockered ends, unless your practice is to smash head first into rocks frequently or if you like to drag one end of the canoe along shield granite or parking lots.

Most contact between hard objects and the hull will happen on the deepest part of the hull–viz, the area under the central solo seat.

Skid plates also make no sense because they add not only weight but adverse swing weight at the worst possible place, the stems.

Is there a way to test whether the Bell outer layer is FG (white gold) or carbon (black gold) if there is a gelcoat layer? Sure, you could drag a carbon steel pole axe along the hull and look at the color of the scratched fabric under the gelcoat. You probably should get the seller’s permission, or buy the boat, before doing this.

not true…think about it
at least this part of your paragraph

“Most contact between hard objects and the hull will happen on the deepest part of the hull–viz, the area under the central solo seat.”

Most hard contact comes from things called Jesus Rocks. They are so called because when you hit one, you say "Oh Jesus " or some variant. They are rocks that are just below the water surface and invisible at some sun angles.

While you do not hit them with the bow, impact is back about a foot from the stem. The bow is light enough to ride up…then you grind to a halt. Sometimes you grind to a halt farther back, but only on rivers will you , in my experience, get stuck right below your seat.

Under my solo seat is in better shape than just in back of the bow…I spend the better part of two months on rocky lakes.