Whe I started There were only a bunch of kite companies. i started on cabrinha and they were different (not better or worse) than the others. All companies seemed to bring something in and there still was something called R&D.
Nowadays there is an endless list of kite companies. By comparing some kites on the market you realise that R&D is not done by many even major companies and we are being proposed the same model with different graphics on hthem... bits and peices assembled in cheap labour contries....
Yesterday I clicked on the Bladekites logo on kiteforum.... Currently I have nobile kites... IDENTICAL just look at the details on the bar... the depower is the same, stopper is the same, kite leash is the same. It's clear that companies are buying the same product with a couple of tweaks and logos probably spending much less than if making a whole new project.
This a good approach to spend less on the project and I would praise it if the end result would be having a cheaper retail price. I don't know how much are the blade kites, I can tell yu my 2008 nobile were not cheap.
It will be interesting to see in 9 months how many of these 70+ kite "companies" are still in business.
With only less than 20 real kite designers, a few factories, and 70+ companies, I predict a HUGE contraction in the kite business. I know, I know, we love to kite, etc, but it is still a business and no business is insulated from the new world economy.
Time will tell, but this is the 1st year in 8 or so I'm not buying any new kite or windsurf gear...
how can you tell that a kite is the same just from looking at pictures?
That said, I doubt all the companies have their own design team, I think Naish, SS, Cab, North, Best, etc has.., but the rest might not, but this is also what you get if you complain about pricing...in the current market (size, distribution, disposable income, etc) less innovation is the price of lower cost for the product.
I'm familiar with the nobile bar cause I had it for almost a year now, beleive me they are identical. Only difference in the quick release. Even if you look at the kites I cannot swear they are 100% identical but from details in pictures i'd say they are. Prety similar to eclipse too.
Again, I'm very in favour of having a common project to more companies, but if the costs are lower retail prices must be lower too.
There are some kite designers in the business who are freelance.... they design kites to the requirements of the company requesting them. This works in much the same way as OEM factories who make a product.... not all that come out of one factory are the same.
Anyone that has tested a NOBILE and Blade kite would not even give a second reading to this post because they are so clearly different to fly.
In Nobile's case I am responsible for testing and the direction of all the products..... this has nothing to do with any other brand.
If you consider that one designer can design upto 5 different ranges of kite for one manufacturer, and they are not the same at all, why would it be different across brands for the same designer?
On the 2008 Nobile bar there were certainly some parts shared with Blade Kiteboarding. These parts worked and the cost of developing something different just for the sake of being different was not money well spent at the time in our opinion. There are plenty of parts and ideas that are not shared like our bar ends, Fulcrum quick release etcetc
I am quite happy to see manufacturers use common parts as much as possible as it will keep costs down.
As stated my Nobile bar is the same as the Blade bar ( apart from the c-loop) - it was a very early bar but i should have added that the Nobile UK importer offered to swap it for a new one even when i told him i had purchased it used.
I decided not to bother as i prefer my kites complete and dont need the adjustable bar ends but it shows good customer service.
As kite prices rise spare parts and customer service are more important than ever before.