Canoe Layups

Can someone tell me the difference between Bell’s Kevlar Chrystal and the Kevlar Light? I found a couple of Merlin II’s one in each layup. The Chrystal layup is a couple hundred bucks less. Which is lighter? Which would be more durable? Thanks.

Kev crystal has gel, lightening tech not
Bell did a couple different layups over the past few years. I had a 2005 Kev Crystal Northstar and it had a clear gel coat. The Lightening Tech they are making now doesn’t have a gel coat and is about 10% lighter. Along in there somewhere they were riveting the seats to the sidewalls, ala Wenonah. Butt ugly IMHO. Now they’ve gone back to seat drops.

Only minor differences
KevCrystal is Bell’s older process that includes a gel goat as standard, so it’s heavier but a touch more durable with gel; amd the gel will offer UV protection. The KevLight impregnates resin through the fibers creating just a clear skin coat; it comes without gel coat (but one can be ordered, so verify whether the KevLight boat is with or without gel).

There is not that much difference betw/ the two. The Merlin is small enough that the weight difference is not that significatnt – guessing the KevCrystal weighs ~35 lbs. while the KevLight model is advertised at 31 lbs. Neither of these two layups is my preference, however (I like WhiteGold or BlackGold better for stiffness and durability). I have a Merlin II in WhiteGold (kevlar-fiberglass composite) with almond gel coat and it weighs 39 lbs. as advertised.

You may want to test each for stiffness – if one seems softer, then choose the other. You could also choose according to which look you prefer. The KevLight should be a newer model (check last two digits of serial #s), if that matters to you, maybe for potential resale value.

Seat attachments
Bell has offered two trim options for aluminum trimmed boats, standard and deluxe. Standard trim riveted through the hull and has aluminum thwarts, deluxe uses wooden drop brackets and wooden thwarts.

Bell Kev Crystal verse Lit. Tec.
Kev Crystal is a contact laminate with gel over an all kevlar laminate.

Lightening Tek is a skin coated wet bag layup with a thin outer glass layer which provides a compression resistance.

Spend the extra on the Lite tek - it’s lighter and stronger.