The pre-Outdoor Retailer buzz around Bell Canoe Works is all about new products the company is rolling out for the show. The Princeton MN canoe company will introduce four new models and nearly two dozen new paddling accessories, as well as unveil exciting new in-line materials changes. In addition, Bells sales team is armed with an aggressive new program for 2006 that maximizes dealers opportunities to pump up margins.
Bell Canoe will cut the ribbon on their new Rob Roy Series of Double Bladed Touring Canoes. The venerable Rob Roy 15 is joined by the Rob Roy 12, a light weight recreational craft that features the ease of loading and carrying that have spawned a cult following of Rob Roy enthusiasts over the years. This series incorporates a new comfortable padded seat with integral backrest. To celebrate the history and heritage of the Rob Roy design, company staff will don kilts on opening day of Summer Market. “Bell has long been a company built on storylines. We dont build canoes so theyll simply float or paddle well; we are very much about the romance and history of the sport,” stated Dennis Davidson, Sales Manager.
In that same vein of heritage, Bell Canoe is proud to be commissioned by the Chestnut Canoe Company to build a composite version of the Chestnut Prospector. The beautiful, classic lines of this 16 foot traditional design echo the names of legendary paddlers like Bill Mason. The commission to build this canoe is particularly pertinent given the fact that 2006 marks the 100th anniversary of the Chestnut Prospector. “Many companies offer a Prospector design, but were thrilled to offer the authentic Chestnut Prospector,” stated Ted Bell. Bell Canoe will also produce the Chestnut Prospector in Royalex beginning mid-season 2006.
Bell is expanding the offerings for two of its strongest selling Royalex ® models: the Vermont, designed by Jim Henry, and the Yellowstone Solo are now available in composite. “Our Midwest reps (BP Associates) told us we needed a composite Vermont to answer the demand from Boundary Waters outfitters,” remarked Davidson. Whats the story on the composite Yellowstone Solo? “Thats simple,” says Ted Bell, “Cliff (Jacobson) has been telling us for years the Royalex Yellowstone Solo paddles better than his beloved BlackGold Wildfire. Now, weve modeled the new composite version after our best selling solo of all time, and Cliffs new favorite the Yellowstone Solo.”
Following on the heels of the phenomenal success of KevLight, Bell will offer its signature laminate, BlackGold, without gel coat for 2006. The resulting 13% weight savings makes the toughest laminate on the market even more attractive, lightening BlackGold tandem canoes by 6 to 7 pounds. This in-line change for BlackGold is made possible by steps adapted from the Lightning Tech lamination process introduced by Bell in 2003.
In the relentless pursuit of innovation, Bell is also introducing a new trim option for Royalex canoes: DX Aluminum Trim. The trim replaces vinyl as standard outfitting on Touring canoes and is a requested option for River Touring canoes. This trim package is lighter than the standard vinyl, dropping the weight of Royalex tandems by approximately 4 pounds a piece. The gunwale has an attractive bronze anodizing to match the classy aluminum trim used on Bells composite canoes.
Bell Accessories features gear for canoeists, built by canoeists. Since growing the product offering into a full line in 2001, Accessories Manager Bear Paulsen has systematically expanded the Bell Accessories Program into the finest collection of paddles, packs, and paddling supplies available anywhere. These include handcrafted canoe paddles, portage packs, dry bags and waterproof storage, whitewater outfitting, kayak safety accessories, car topping kits, seats and backrests, repair supplies, and Bell apparel.
Accessory highlights for 2006:
Tugeyes are integral, waterproof eyelets that can be installed in the stems of canoes and kayaks. Tugeyes function as lining holes and tie down points. They are also a security feature allowing a cable to be threaded through to lock the boat down.
The BackSaver is the perfect adjustable seatback for the weight conscious canoeist. This backrest transforms the existing canoe seat into a floating easy chair. Yet the BackSaver weighs only 1.25 pounds.
Paddlesports enthusiasts are thirsty for knowledge. The Books and DVDs category is new for 2006 to answer this demand for information about canoe sport. Titles cover topics including wilderness tripping and freestyle to whitewater paddling and canoeing with kids.
Last, but certainly not least, the wildly popular, limited edition, Bell Hawaiian Shirt gets a new incarnation for 2006. This year we asked ourselves the question: what if we mixed a healthy dose of Don Ho with a generous sprinkle of northern Minnesota? Well, we cant vouch for Dons canoeing ability, but we bet hed dig our version of the Hawaiian shirt this years theme is an apropos Northwoods print.