Submitted: 07-22-2002 by G2
The Bell Bucktail is a 12' solo canoe with seating on the floor with legs extended out in front of you (like a kayak). Mine is a combination that Bell calls fiberlar, primarily a lightweight fiberglass laminate with kevlar reinforcement in critical areas (stem and quarters) and a gel-coat finish. This is an interesting compromise between weight and cost. It weighs 29 pounds (25 pounds in Kevlar), which is quite manageable for carries of reasonable length. As for cost, I paid $649, new, from a Bell dealer. My boat is equipped with aluminum gunwales (white ash available for +$100). A carry thwart doubles as a backrest although it requires some padding and lower back support for anything but a short paddle (I use a Crazy Creek inflatable canoe chair). There is a second thwart towards the front that provides some reinforcement and provides a second hand hold for loading to the car top. However, for tall, long-legged folks (I’m 6’0”), this second thwart is poorly placed, requiring a bent leg for entry and exit (not a factor once you are paddling). The fiberlar construction is stiff enough to handle a significant load on the water (including my petite frame of 230 pounds). It does well carrying things on land, when strapped to a set of home-made wheels. Marginal initial stability, but very good secondary stability. At 29” wide, it could use a few extra inches for more comfort. Sitting low below the water line minimizes wind resistance and provides for good efficiency and speed. Maneuverability is very good, but the tracking is marginal. Appears to handle fairly rough water pretty well, cutting through waves and maintain good stability. Overall, a nice little solo canoe, well built with a functional design, at a fair price.