Several posters have noted that the Wenonah boats of this stuff are unusually soft. Its been several years since I have owned a royalex boat and I dont remember the material being unusually prone to damage. Are there differences between Bells stock of Royalex and Wenonahs? Is one Royalite and the other thicker Royalex sheets?
Bell’s is definately thicker
They seem to scuff and scrape about the same to me. I’ve never had trouble getting dents out of either with heat.
Dagger Reflection 17
was the last Royalex boat I owned. Overall a good boat and certainly quicker than my Royalex Explorer.
Both are mainly using Royalex.
They order blanks with ABS thickness, etc., based on the anticipated structural stresses on the boat, but with an eye to arriving at acceptable lightness. I’m not sure whether one could make a generalization about the Royalex used by the two companies, without factoring in the mix of boats they make.
Royalx on Three Different Boat Brands
I’ve had three different brands of boats made from Royalex so far: Wenonah, Mowhawk, and Novacraft. All three seem to be identical in terms of how easily the outer surface becomes scratched or dented. I’ve never owned a Bell in Royalex.
Of the companies still in production I've owned one royalex Wenonah, two royalex Bells, and three Mad River royalex canoes. IMHO the royalex in the Bells and Wenonahs "Dents" easier than Mad River canoes. I noticed a dent in my Bell Northwind from my Ammo Box First Aid kit after the first paddle. It rode in My Mad Rivers with nary a blemish. No major problems with the royalex, but it does seem softer. Maybe a bit less thick or thinner vinyl layer? Not sure. I could tell no difference between Bell and Wenonah.
But, to me, the MRC's are noticeably heavier and tougher. WW
I think if you get a new Royalex boat that was just shipped from the factory to your dealer it’s softer and more susceptible to damage. After a couple of months it takes a real hard hit to cause any damage. The worst nicks and scrapes on both of my Wenonah canoes occurred within the first month of their lives and then they seemed to become indestructible. Has any one else noticed this or is it just a coincidence?
I always thought royalex was really soft, and that a royalex canoe wouldn’t perform well. However, I found a royalex canoe that does handle really well. The downside is that it weighs over 90 lbs!
From my observations, Royalex is great for shorter boats and solo canoes, and can be great for tripping canoes. However, in the case of a large tripping canoe one must choose between a floppy bottom and a very heavy boat. For me, it is worth a bit of weight to get the rigidity. Compared to other 17 footers, this one holds both the arch and the rocker far better.
FYI the boat I am talking about was made by Mad River for a retailer in Ontario called Trailhead. They are now made by Esquif using the same mold.