Flashfire or yellowstone solo?

I own a Merlin II and love this boat but am looking at these two hulls to run Georgia rivers nothing more than class II. I’m a pretty small guy 5’7" and barely 150 lbs I like the yellowstone but I’m thinking a flash would be even better suited for someone my size. I also noticed the flashfire does not come in royalex! it only comes in white gold which is now discontinued kevlite and blackgold.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Flashfire vs. . . .
The advantage to the Yellowstone solo is the price. If you want to go even smaller, and want a composite boatthat will handle whitewater, you could always consider the Flashback from Millbrook Boats. http://www.millbrookboats.com/

(look under solo canoes). It’s only $1200 and would do a good job for you.

Millbrook boats
Might prove to be a bit of a problem for me I live in Georgia. I’m limited to Bell’s, Wenonah’s and of course Mad River & Old Town.

I appreciate your input though.

They do ship
their boats.

I don’t want to buy a boat I can’t demo
what if I don’t like it? then I am stuck with a $1200 mistake. I’m sure they make great canoes but I don’t want to buy a boat I never


Own both; love both.

The Yellowstone Solo/Wildfire is a very good multipurpose boat, and that sounds like what you’re seeking.

I think you might like the larger size of the Yellowstone.

I think you might like the price difference between the two.

I don’t think your size will make that much difference with either boat.

I highly recommend you test paddle both boats before you buy either.

Hope you’ll let us know your decision.

If you get a Yellowstone; please post any pictures you get of you doing class 3.

I’m still waiting/wanting to see some.

Good luck,


Not that diffidult
Really, Bob, how hard can it be? It’s really just a matter of proper outfitting, and I can’t overemphasize proper. Some boats require a bit more than the minimalist approach that you are obviously accustomed to. Screw your courage up, refer to the following illustration to make sure that you are doing the job right, and I’m sure you and your proud Yellowstone Solo will be just fine in Class III or anything else you choose to use it in.


Oh Yeah!
Rigged as it is in the illustration, I’m sure it would do fine on class 3 “and” class 4…“maybe” even class 5.

Thanks for the laugh.

I think I’ll keep my Wildfires on class 2 or under.

Anything remotely close to class 3 & I switch to my Mohawk Probe 12II.


FlashFire is a lot more FUN in class II
then the YellowStone! Own both and have paddled both in class II and even just into class III. If you might venture into the bottom edge of class III much at all then it is the YellowStone. But the YellowStone will not be anywhere near as much fun in class II.



I want one! Where can I get one!!!
;^) :^) >:^)


Thanks for the input Bob & McWood
I’m really looking for a hull that’s going to fit like a glove and be fun to play in. I think i’m leaning more towards the flashfire right now.

I don’t think I should be going anywhere near class III rapids i’m still learning and have only been in class III once in a 2 man ducky and we managed to not flip it over but in a canoe I dunno.I have found the stern of my merlin II swinging out on me sometimes when i’m not paying attention on rivers so I don’t think i’m ready for class III anytime soon.

Did Bell ever offer the flashfire in white gold ? and would they consider making one in that layup even though it is discontinued?

I too have a Merlin II and love it. I swapped boats with McWood at one of the Ozark Rendezvous (his Flashfire) and had to have one. Mine is white gold with almond gel coat. Now the Merlin only gets to go when I canoe camp. Flashfires are hard to find. I drove from central Indiana to Oak Orchard in NY to get mine. Carl & John’s in Madison, Wis had a black gold one last month when I was there. A couple of years ago, Bell was charging a $100 mold prep fee on top of the normal cost to build one. I have not paddled continuous class II, so cannot comment on that.

Pat 2

Mountain Man Outdoors in Old Forge NY has a 2004 Flashfire clear kev lightening for $1300, and the YS Solo for $1000 and they do ship. IMHO the Flashfire is a more responsive and fun boat than a YS solo.

Flashfire not made by Bell
Placid Boatworks now has the sole license to produce Flashfires. To the best of my knowledge they are only doing carbon fiber.Of course this would have no impact on stores that already have them.

Yellowstone as you know is completely different design and is not a big brother to the Flashfire.

You want a boat that fits you well? I would choose the Yellowstone and custom tailor your outfitting(thigh straps etc). Flash was designed as a touring/freestyle boat, not whitewater.

Personally I would not take a two or three thousand dollar boat down even class 2. The consequences are too painful!

But the Flash is SOoooo much fun in WW!

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Must disagree with kayakmedic about fit. I feel the Yellowstone is a big boat for a 150 pound paddler. You want glove fit, then go Flash or smaller. I have a Placid BoatWorks SpitFire that really fits good at 12 feet, but alas it is only made in carbon so can not recommend it for what you want.

Look for an older used Bell Flash and have a BALL in classII!!!!

Then get the Placid model as well. Placid boats ALL PADDLE GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now that we have spent all your money go forth and paddle!


Oh,you are mean! Wonder if the wife will

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notice me slipping another Flash into the fleet?

All you had to say was Flash for sale and my gut started planning to get it before my mind could even attempt to justify it!

Quick, delete your post and save the Flash addicted the agony!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I owe my addiction to two paddlers I have never met: Cliff Jacobson and Dan Cooke. They talked me into my first over the fon. Figured the least I could do is get a few others hooked as well: Bob, Pat2, ... Hee, hee, hee




Hummm … FlashBack looks Interesting!

Wish I had one on Wilson Creek where I tore up my first old used FlashFire when I hit that class III drop.

Looks very integrating. Ok! Who has one to try out?!!!

Can nyone write a review for us? Do not see one on paddling.net.

Thanks Dave.



That sucks!
it’s too bad Bell dosen’t offer the flashfire anymore. I already had one picked out in my mind (white gold almond gel coat & wood gunnel’s). PLacid boat works just isn’t an option for me they make gorgeous canoe’s but being in Lake PLacid present’s a bit of a problem for me. I’m going to test paddle the Yellowstone in a month or two and see how I like it. Thanks for everyone’s input.


size-does it matter?
Cliff and Dan both paddle Wildfires!

Cliff once designed an Old Town CJ which I would love to try.

There are many many good paddlers who paddle a larger boat than “fits” them from the specs.

I can think of Karen Knight. The Flash is a huge boat for her but she paddles it beautifully.

If it was FreeStyle you were looking for, sure the Flash would be more fun. I have tried the Yellowstone for FS and its like a semi truck…

I have one but it comes close to taking in too much water in Class II so I have to find the sneak run when using it.

Dan and Cliff both paddle FlashFires as

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well as WildFires and other boats. Both think the FlashFire is more fun than the bigger boats and recommend them as such. Both recommended FlashFire for the Steel River loop. A lot of rapids, a lot of class II rapids I was told.

I took this thread to be about that; looking for a small, fun canoe up through class II waters.

Taking on water duly noted. Mine too, but I still like it in class II.

Now as to the MillBrook FlashBack: Seems it should be as fun and with THREE more inches of free board should take care of most of the taking on water problem the low sided FlashFire experiences. Anxiously waiting a response from someone that can report on one!