Bell Rockstar?

I was checking the Bell website and see they have added a couple new models, including the Rockstar, which seems to be a longer version of the Yellowstone Solo. Is this in any show rooms yet? Has anyone seen one or tried one out?

I have an RX Bell Wildfire (pre Yellowstone Solo). (Yes Charlie, I know it is a distorted shadow of the original.) It suits my purposes. But, I always felt like I was a little tall for it, so I have been looking for a replacement. The Rockstar is 15’6", so between the Merlin II and Magic, but definitely a river tourer frame. I am guessing it is designed to compete with Wenonah’s Argosy and Wilderness and possibly the Swift Osprey.

Any comments?


The Rockstar was conceived as a beefed up, larger paddler version of the Yellowstone Solo. The Merlin II wasn’t as capable of the task due to its width at waterline which would increased to tandem proportions, so the Rockstar (I wanted to call it the Yellowstone Solo XL, but thought it wise not to argue with Dave) was formed. It was scaled off the Yellowstone Solo RX in the design room, and was meant for production in both materials. The idea was a Yellowstone Solo that a guy Dave’s size could paddle - same conditions, locations, and general behavior of the hull - except a little improved from the issues that people have with the YSolo. It does have a feel similar to the Merlin II, but the stern isn’t as sticky, and I think it would be a fantastic bigger guy’s creek boat in Royalex, and offer an alternative to taking the Yellowstone Tandem and converting to a solo for the “paddler + dog” combination. Really cool little boat - just too bad that no one will be bringing it to Raystown like we had planned.

I’m confused…
by the term “river tourer frame”. Can you define that term or elaborate ? Thanks

I guess
I look at the way the stems are formed from a top view. Maybe that isn’t the technical term. If you compare the Yellowstone and the Rockstar (top view) to the Merlin you’ll see they are more blunt nosed and “fuller”. I am just a paddler, not a boat designer, but that is what I see.

Thanks bk, that is what it looked like to me. It does look cool. You say there won’t be any at Raystown?

Dave and I were planning on taking the Rockstar and an Eveningstar out to Raystown to just paddle and hang out with paddlers. But he’s in China with Epic now, he resigned from Bell about a month after I did, and I’m unable to go because of other obligations. Perhaps someone should give a call to Bell and suggest they send a couple paddlers out so that people can try the new models.

Don’t you mean Distorted shadow of
someone elses design work?

N.T., you are correct.
The Wildfire design has been discussed much on this forum. I really didn’t want the thread to go there, because my interest was in the Rockstar. I love the Wildfire that you sold me, but sometimes I feel that I might be better suited with a little larger boat.

It was my mistake to refer to the Rockstar as a “scaled” Yellowstone Solo. The design process is way more complicated than that, and simply blowing up the dimensions makes a pretty weak boat. By taking the dimensions of the Yellowstone Solo, the effort was to NOT make the same mistakes - that’s what I referred to by Dave correcting the issues people had with that model. if you just increased the dimensions of a Yellowstone Solo, you’d have a boat that wouldn’t be very friendly. From what I understand from the process, the YSolo was measured out…looking at the boat on paper, I was surprised at how different it was from the Wildfire…and a brand NEW boat was designed; intended to (and does) paddle better in similar situations. It will tour well in open water, and handle nicely in rivers, too. Why wasn’t it the Yellowstone Solo XL? Because its not the same boat, only bigger, its a different design. Calling it “scaled” is a misnomer and a oversimplification - its going to paddle in the same conditions, but its not the same boat. Dave’s never copied a design…too smart for that.

Someone should tell the marketing folks
Here is Bell’s description of the Yellowston Solo:

“Whoever came up with this “jack of all trades, master of none” thing is someone who never set their rear down in a Yellowstone Solo canoe.”

And now Bell’s description of the Rockstar:

“So what happens when you take a Jack-of-all-trades and make him bigger? Bigger-Jack-of-all-trades? Master of the universe? Perhaps.”

Wenonah Wilderness
Looks very similar in specs to Wenonah Wilderness (which I own).

I knew what you meant. And I like what I can see from the website.

boats with issues
Just a minor comment sparked by the following in your earlier post:

“The idea was a Yellowstone Solo that a guy Dave’s size could paddle - same conditions, locations, and general behavior of the hull - except a little improved from the issues that people have with the YSolo.”

My personal opinion is that if a boat doesn’t paddle the way the owner thinks it should, the problem isn’t with the boat. The problem is that the owner either wasn’t smart enough to buy the correct boat or hasn’t bothered to acquire the right skills.

I’ve talked to guys in Wenonah Voyagers that complained because the Voyager wasn’t as maneuverable as their whitewater boat. Humm. Imagine that.

I think that the biggest design flaws are found between the ears of folks who think that if a boat doesn’t do something it wasn’t designed to do, the problem is with the boat.

None of that really had anything to do with the Rockstar - it’s just one of my personal pet peeves. If the Rockstar performs as well as Dave’s other designs, it will be a fun boat to be in.

Dave Yost vs. Dave Kruger designs
Although I’m excited about a longer, higher capacity Yellowstone Solo, (e.g., the “Rockstar”), I’m disappointed that it’s not designed by Dave Yost. Sorry Mr. Kruger.

I own several Solo canoes, (two (2) Sawyer DY Specials, (one (1) in “Expedition” Kevlar & one (1) in “Goldenglass), a Sawyer Shockwave, (Exp. Kev.), a Sawyer SummerSong, (Exp. Kev.), a Wenonah Jensen CIW, (Kevlar Center Rib), a Wenonah Rendezvous in Royalex, a Wenonah Voyager, (Kevlar “Flex-Core”), and a Bell Yellowstone Solo in Royalex. (Yeah I know, I somewhat obsessed with Solo canoes and canoes in general!) I also own several beautiful tandems as well, but I’m here to discuss Solo canoes, so I won’t digress.

Although I love my Wenonah Voyager for it’s performance, tripping capacity, and “big water” seaworthiness, I love my Dave Yost designed Solo canoes, (e.g., DY Special, SummerSong, Shockwave, and Yellowstone Solo), over the Kruger designed Solo canoes, for day paddling and “light” tripping. IMHO, Dave Yost Solo canoes just seem more user friendly and less affected by following seas than the Kruger designs. That being said, the Yost Solo canoes seem somewhat slower in shallow water when compared to my Kruger designed Wenonah Voyager and Gene Jensen designed Jensen C1W Solo canoes.

Despite owning primarily “performance” Solo canoes, I also love my Yellowstone Solo! The Yellowstone Solo is a great canoe for small fast creeks and rivers up to Grade II whitewater. Despite being 6’ 4” at 220Lbs., I don’t feel as though I’m over-sized for the Yellowstone Solo, but I would like more capacity for camping gear when I’m tripping on small, fast rivers for several days. (For what it’s worth, I use the Wenonah Rendezvous for tripping on bigger whitewater rivers.)

I have been strongly considering the Wenonah Wilderness Solo to give me a Royalex “light whitewater” tripping canoe with more volume. Then I notice Bell has introduced a new Solo canoe, the “Rockstar”. So I’m thinking; “This is just what I wanted, a larger, higher capacity Yellowstone Solo canoe in Royalex, like the Wenonah Wilderness, but designed by Dave Yost!” Then I find out the “Rockstar” is a D.Y. Yellowstone Solo “re-designed” by Dave Kruger! Sigh.

As I previously stated, I just prefer the “feel” of a Dave Yost Solo canoe vs. a Dave Kruger Solo canoe. That being said, I’m hoping that Dave Kruger hasn’t designed the Yost “feel” out of the “Rockstar”. (Visually, the “Rockstar” has the Bell Solo canoe “look” and design features of their other Solo canoes.)

If the “Rockstar” does indeed have the Yost “feel” of the D.Y. Yellowstone Solo, only in a larger package, I’ll definatley be ordering a Bell “Rockstar” in Royalex next March at Canoecopia 2009!

BTW, who came up with the name “Rockstar”? I understand Bell did not want to just label this new Solo canoe a “Yellowstone Solo XL”, because per BK, it’s really a “different canoe”, but “Rockstar”? (Was someone in Bell’s Marketing Department playing to many videos games and/or drinking too many energy drinks when they came up with this new name?) The name “Rockstar” for a Solo canoe just seems somewhat lame in my opinion. Then again, I always thought Wenonah naming one of their Solo canoes the “Vagabond” was also lame, but that’s just me I guess. Nonetheless, if this new Solo canoe is what I think it is, Bell could call it the “Cupcake” and I still buy one.

I welcome any and all feedback regarding the Bell “Rockstar” Solo canoe and/or Solo canoes in general.