Anyone know why Bell stopped producing hulls in WhiteGold?
The military is using all the gelcoat?
and labor costs I bet.
Bell used to do a fiberglass layup too but you dont see that anymore. There wasnt much of a market for it…people either wanted lighter (Kev Light) or tough (Black Gold). While you would think that the price point of White Gold would be attractive I guess consumers didnt want the weight of the gel coat and were willing to pay for Black Gold
With the sale of Bell and the startup with ORC it probably made more sense to limit layups. At least this is done in the US and not China
The way I understand it, Ted Bell wanted to meet demand and increase sales by producing more hulls faster than the hand laid up kevlar and fiberglass hulls afforded and roto-molded hulls
(read royalex) filled that need, albeit with a few limitations on design. It is those slight design differences that have lead more experienced paddlers to seek out the WG or BG hulls.
White Gold demise
Bell's White Gold was a Glass outer, core mat, Kevlar inner laminate that held up well even if the core mat flattened the bottom a little.
On the other hand, it was kinda heavy. When Pb started up, we offered a FG/Kev versiion of our pack canoe at 29lbs. We dropped it; folks seemed to prefer the Caron / Kev at 24#.
Bell always made to many different hulls. 10 models in four laminations with two trim options yields 80 SKUs, adding colors multiplies that by five: 400 SKUs. That dizzying array makes it impossible for a dealer to stock the model/ laminate / trim / color a customer might want.
For a production shop, cutting back to clear Kevlar with wood or alu trim and two colors of Royalite reduces the SKU count to near 30; much more dealer friendly and easier for the customer to focus on something to take home. It also eases production; training, building and inventory, so dealers will have better resupply.
WhiteGold was a good laminate, but this is a good business decision.
and . . .
Bell made the announcement of that decision to dealers before the business was sold to ORC.
I’m going to miss Bell’s Burgundy RX.
I am told that you can still special order WhiteGold, even though it’s not in the catalog, but have not tried myself. May be risky, however, given that ORC is still trying to learn the other methods and may have insufficient volume to learn WG (although FG should be easier with which to work, right?).
I have a WG Merlin II and can attest to its toughness. It is a bit heavy, but not a big deal on a solo model. Good compromise for the price.