Submitted: 10-12-2004 by rhe777
My wife and I bought our Bell Northwind a few weeks ago and I wanted to take it for a few trips before I gave a review on it. We bought a Royalex because the Blackgold was a little too expensive for us. At 63 lbs. it’s one of the heavier boats that we tested. However, a few pounds compared to the competition, is not a huge deal. We’ve had it out on a number of lakes and rivers.
We had concerns about how “tippy” the boat was before we bought it. It seemed to turn very easily, almost too easily. So, I called Bell Canoe in MN and talked to a guy named “Bear.” He told me that weight distribution may not be equal since my wife sits by the bow and I the stern. He told me to balance out the weight discrepancy, to carry a large jug with us and fill it with river water every time we went out to balance out the weight. I may be new to canoeing, but I thought this was the strangest/most ridiculous suggestion I have ever gotten in my life. Well, we worked out the weight/balance issue with some self taught lessons.
However, we noticed that if we got anything over a three+ inch wave, we were rocked like we were in a hurricane. On the Bell web site it reads that it’s a “joy in currents and choppy conditions”. I don’t know if a three inch wave is a “choppy condition”, but I can tell you that it wasn’t a joy. It almost seems too flimsy, but it hasn’t really affected us ...yet.
Other than these issues, it’s been a good boating experience. It looks great and I do, for the most part, enjoy paddling it. There are some days that I’d tie some boards together just to be out on the water.
Also, I don’t know if spending two times the money on a Kevlar boat would change the experiences that we have or not. If you're looking at one, take the Kevlar out for a test drive too.