BlackGold compared to White Gold

Struggling to decide between Black Gold, White Gold and KevCrystal in Bell Canoes. Would like it to cover a rocky class I mountain stream as well as lake paddling freestyle. Had any experience pushing the limits with BlackGold or KevCrystal?


– Last Updated: Sep-15-04 10:44 AM EST –

From my perspective (and putting Bell’s ad copy aside for the moment) the primary advantage of a graphite lay-up is weight reduction, not necessarily added strength or durability. This weight savings comes at a price. Using the Bell Wildfire as an example: the Black Gold lay-up costs $2,295 while the White Gold costs $1,600. The BG Wildfire weighs in at 34 lbs while the WG version of the same model weighs 38 lbs. Those are advertised weights from the Bell web-site – in the “real world” actual weights often vary from advertised weights. I think you need to ask yourself if it’s worth it to you to spend an additional $695 to save (perhaps) 4 pounds. Assuming the weigh differences are real the cost penalty would be $173.75 per pound. Your call.

it shore is pertty tho
i love the look of the blackgold, although i’d probably opt for white for my boats. i have a fiberlar bell, and it’s tough as hell for a production boat. that’s all i have to offer.

Yep, it does look nice
The Black Gold is impressive looking when new, I’ll admit that I somewhat like the look. At the Freestyle Symposium last weekend there were a few BG Wildfires and Flashfires in use. Those with ash gunnels on the shiny black hulls were appealing to my eye. My wife on the other hand said something like: “It’s okay I guess, if you like the looks of a black canoe…” (she doesn’t).

I have noticed that the Black Gold lay-up shows scratches badly as time goes by. The clear gel-coat over the black fiber takes on a gray hazy look especially below the water line where most normal wear occurs. This could probably be disguised somewhat with 303. Scratches are normal and no matter what anybody says we all hit rocks and sandbars sooner or later. Even the most graceful/skilled Freestyle paddlers…

Just my opinion
I agree 100% with Arkay and NT. Black/Gold is an impressive looking boat in the sun. But on a cloudy day it’s just a black canoe. I’ve seen enough of them in my day, and I’ll put my money into a nice ivory w/g and save the $600 plus for another hull for another purpose.

NT and Arkay,

Bummer I couldn’t make it to MFS this year to meet you guys. Just couldn’t justify another long drive. But I’ll be hanging out with the Michigan FS contingent this weekend in the Ann Arbor ares. Elaine I’m sure was a great host, and provided wonderful food, I missed hanging out with Bob Mravetz, Bob Man, and Ray Halt on the water in years past. One of these days I’ll hook up with you guys…


If Bell’s outer layer in Whitegold were
S-glass, the boat would certainly be more durable than the Blackgold. Most WW slalom boats have NOT gone to carbon in the outer layer because S-glass has better properties. This is even though slalom boats are built to a target weight around 20 pounds. But they have to stand up to some hammering. My slalom C-1, built by one of the '96 Olympic paddlers, is carbon on the inside, but S-glass on the outside. S-glass is way better than carbon and E-glass in standing up to abrasion. Millbrook Boats typically uses S-glass on the outside of their (very light) slalom open boats, and Kevlar on the inside.