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Reviews for Flashfire Canoe by Bell Canoe Works


Rated: 9/10 Based On: 5 Reviews

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01-12-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     We have two Flashfires, one black-gold (kevlar carbon) the other white gold (kevlar etc). We use them exclusively as pond-small lake boats for freestyle and Canadian-type paddling. We have other boats for rivers and whitewater and wouldn't even consider these for those types of water. For a paddler looking to really amp their technique, balance, and add some different skills, they boats are wonderful. They are quite pretty, with nice wood and lines; and for the above type of paddling, perform really well. Some complain that they do not free-spin or lock at gunnels like Loonworks boats. The free spin is greatly improved just by widening the boat by about an inch over factory--it's amazing how much more this brings out the ends when heeled. We have added custom kneeling thwarts as well, which really make a difference.

So for our use, they are a joy to paddle and like a feather to carry. A good used boat is also about half the price of the Loonworks.

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09-17-2001
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     WOW !!! I'll even say that backwards. !!! WOW

I had planned to resell the Flashfire when I first bought it. I picked it up as it was a Bell and I had to make the trip right past the sellers door any way to pick up my Wildfire. I had kind of indicated I would sell it to a friend. Welllll. Sorry "...Lady" it is no longer for sale!!! We'll have to fine you one of your own. I have had the chance to really paddle my Flashfire in most all conditions now. I love it more and more every time I take it out!

I weigh 220 pounds and thought the little 13' length and narrow hull would not be stable and could not handle the load. Even after talking to free stylists that put more weight than I do in a Flashfire I did not think it would work. I just figured that they were so good (and a little crazy) in canoes that they could get away with it, but not me. What a surprise! The Flashfire is very, very responsive, very stable and handles the load very well!

To date I have logged over 20 hours in the Flashfire in extremely different conditions. I have not found a single place I would not take it again. My friends have paddled it and been very impressed as well. I have taken the Flashfire through class I and II rapids repeatedly. Handles like a dream, especially for a non white water (WW) boat. She enters and surfs the holes with ease. A WW open canoe instructor friend of mine tried it and stated that it was better than his WW Mohawk in class I and II rapids. I paddles across a small lake in high winds quartering into white caps the whole way. No problem.

Over half of my time in the Flashfire has been going up river in a good current in a shallow river. Handled great. Turn, draw, ferry and hold with the greatest of ease. Very seldom had to walk is as the Flashfire's tremendous maneuverability allowed me to hold, move, backtrack and get into the right spot to continue on up stream.

On the flats the Flashfire paddles true and straight with the minimum amount of correction. I recently paddled a Rendezvous which had to be fought constantly to keep straight. The Flashfire maneuvers every bit as well and better, but tracks much better as well. (I must make a small disclaimer statement here. I do not like canoes that must be leaned to turn so I am not comparing this canoe to ones that track like they are on rails which I consider a defect.)

Faults? The only one I may have found is that while surfing the holes the tops of the waves would sporadically come over the gunwales. Is that really a fault? I do not think so. One should expect to get wet while playing in a hole. The low sides were a god send on the high wind lake.

Accessories needed: If you are to use the Flashfire as I do you will need a splash cover to keep the water out as you have the time of your life. My splash cover is in the planning stages as I plan to have even more fun, to get more daring in Baby, my Kevlar Bell Flashfire.

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10-19-2000
Submitted by: LHRSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The flashfire is a great flatwater playboat(read "freestyle"), but it also performs well in moving water. I have surfed it on some moderate waves (class II) on the Madison River in Montana, and had a great time. It stayed nicely dry and was quick to correct, easy to accelerate into place and held the wave well. Not bad for a boat that a lot of people seem to think is too small or too fragile for serious river work. It is also a joy to play in on the flats and on some of the small twisty rivers near my home in MT, although I agree that warmer water might make me more adventuresome !
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10-15-2000
Submitted by: Tom
Rating: 8 of 10

     I agree with SH - "no boat under you"! This boat responds exactly to paddle inputs. The freestyle capability is outrageous (too much for me - makes me dizzy)...just stop paddling and you will do a 360. Acceleration is better than any boat I've ever paddled. Great capacity for a 13 footer. Downside? For me a 13 footer is too small, I think bigger boats are more luxurious and comfortable...13 feet doesn't seem like a real boat - more like a toy. It also loses speed between strokes too much for me - overall speed is good, but too much not enough gilde for best cruising comfort. I could also overpower this boat through fast cruising; if you really whip it, it can "spin out" occasionally. I'd call this an ideal boat for a woman or smaller person (under 150 pounds) since it's easy to carry and very versatile.
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01-27-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     An incredible boat that does lots of things. A premier freestyle boat for those with the luxury of warm water to practice in, an excellent solo tripper with enough room for as much gear as you should carry, and a great boat to mess around in. This boat is fast and goes where you want it to go. My only complaints are that it's like there's no boat under you. Nothing to compensate for, fight with or have to adjust to. This boat is transparent to paddle. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The real downside is that the extreme tumblehome makes it a bit tricky to empty when swamped and in the water. It can be done but it still takes me a while to shakeout.
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