Read reviews for the Bucktail by Bell Canoe Works as submitted by your fellow paddlers.
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My wife and I received two of…
My wife and I received two of these (Fiberlar versions)as wedding gifts and we just love them. Great boats for lots of uses. We use them mostly for inland lakes for cruising around, exploring, fishing. Easy to handle, easy to maneuver when fishing little nooks and crannys of lakes. I added a backband that I purchased directly from Bell and now it's perfect. Would have been a 9 but with the backband it's a 10.
This boat is awesome. I have…
This boat is awesome. I have had mine (fiberlar/kevlar-"Fiberlar", wood gunnels) for four years and have been very satisfied with its performance over several hundred miles in the BWCA. It is quite fast--I can keep up with a 17' Jensen tandem if there isn't a race on. It is a dream to portage. I carry it on my head, using the seat as a pad. The Voyageurs carried over two hundred pounds this way, and after the first few portages it works great for me. Because the boat is so short, it wobbles a little when tracking, but I find the light weight more than makes up for this. It is very maneuverable. I particularly enjoy it in the wind--downwind, it surfs nicely and upwind it has much less resistance than most canoes. I mounted a cane seat in mine using a Bell tandem seat drop; it adds a little weight and makes a tippy boat more so (in my view, its only downside), but this makes paddling with a single-bladed paddle more comfortable and effective. Anyway, thirty pounds is nothing to complain about (why would anyone pay almost twice as much for Kevlar?). I haven't flipped yet, but I have come very close several times--perhaps not a boat for inexperienced paddlers. All in all, though, a wonderful little solo.
I have the fiberglass\\kevlar version and it weighs 30 pounds which is…
I have the fiberglass\\kevlar version and it weighs 30 pounds which is light enough for just about anyone to handle. It has very good secondary stability and stays dry even in choppy water on small lakes. It is highly maneuverable and you can fit it into very tight places.Tracking is good on flat water and it's reasonable fast too. I don't think you could swamp it without trying really hard. If it was a couple of feet longer it would be faster, but then it would weigh more and be harder to store. Overall, a very well designed canoe.
I bought the Bucktail in…
I bought the Bucktail in April for pond hopping in the Adirondacks. Mine is Kevlar/Crystal and weighs about 25 lbs. You need to get used to the tippy nature of the Bucktail or any other 12' solo canoe, especially as you get in. But the canoe has very good secondary stability. I can lean the boat over and take on water before it can tip (I did this on my swimming pool after I bought the canoe to test its limits). It fits my needs for the most part. I added the portage yoke and highly recommend it if you are thinking about serious carries. I can easily carry the Bucktail and a pack anywhere. In fact, you can have a hand free from balancing assistance to carry some other object if you want.
The boat handles very well. It is extremely easy to maneuver with some lean on the turns. It is superior to my friends' solo's in navigating narrower streams and bogs. The only knock I have ( and hence the 8 rating) is that the Bucktail does not track well in rough water going downwind or down current. It can be real hard to keep straight. By contrast, my friend's Hornbeck tracks better in such conditions but overall is not nearly as maneuverable. There are always trade-offs. But I can live with that.
Finally, I should add that the Bucktail is beautifully built; impeccable workmanship. It is much more attractive than other solo's, for whatever that's worth.
The Bell Bucktail is a 12'…
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.