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 Post subject: Review - Sonic 14m
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:56 am 
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Location: Kent, UK
As you can see this is not a short story, instead a comprehensive review and product guide...something that manufacturers should do as standard - especially with a new style of kite. When I received this kite I was one of the first, other than the 'testers', to fly it and was a bit shocked that the user guide was only one big picture with labels and where to connect lines! So off I went on holiday to the middle of know-where within days of receiving it....

I recently got back from 4 weeks of kitesurfing in South Africa using only the 14m Sonic (baggage allowance!). Firstly I am 100kg with a litewave 135 x 41. I have flown/owned Cabrinha, Slingshot, Naish, PL and RRD. Last year was my first year of kitesurfing and when I hit SA I had never been in big waves or really strong winds (that’s UK for u). I used it in all sorts of conditions including extremely rough seas, waves with winds gusting a 10knot change in speed! The report for the one day was 40 gusting 60kmh!

I took the 14m Sonic out of the bag for the first time in 30+ knots...yes I know...crazy, but the beach was massive and totally clear plus I had someone with me (my mom, shame!!). I spent more time in the air than water - nothing learnt there other than that when you really do start getting dragged down the beach...don’t stress just let go of the bar. When you let go the bar, the kite does not just crash instantly to the ground, it will rise then arc round and drop down at the edge of the window and then sits upright in the launch position on land or water at the edge of the window (no real power during this and there is plenty of time to get back to the bar if you not using the stopper).

In light winds:
I could get going in light winds of 9/10knots (if no waves to negotiate), however by 12 knots I start heading upwind and doing jumps. You will find like any kite that turning is a lot slower but still faster than C kites of same size. The best is to power in, then turn and release power, don’t hold the power as it may want to stall, this kite loves to be given the reigns and will move very fast if given a bit of slack.

In stronger winds:
When it is powered the kite turns very fast, cruises upwind and becomes a real pleasure...I love riding this kite powered because it has the turning speed of a kite alot smaller but still give you all that power of a 18+ C kite (if you want it)...which means A+ for jumping! Don’t be surprised if you end up very far down wind cause of the hang time. I could do a 4m high jump without having built up any real speed. Put some speed and a pop or connect with a wave and the lift and hang is incredible...if its jumping you want then you definitely can’t go wrong. I'm not into all those other tricks/moves yet so I can't help you there.

Depower:
I would be out on the water all day (1000-1700hrs) and my arms, neck and shoulders were hardly stiff – that’s how light the bar pressure was! Yes the rest of my body was very worked over though! SA is extremely gusty and the kite handled well. When you feel a big gust hit, just sheet out the bar and the kite takes it in. Nothing I’ve tried can be compared to the sense of ease and control that this kite offers and I cannot imagine a kite that is easier to learn with.

Stopper for bar:
Works fine but I only ever used it in lighter winds, in stronger winds I wanted all the range in power/depower. For learners first comes to this kite I would say rather don’t use it to start with - for safety mostly - so when you fall badly just let go and the kite depowers totally instead of dragging you about.

Line set-up and clam/power adjuster just above the chicken loop:
I found that the 'as comes' settings are fine; I actually later adjusted it for more bar pressure. In light winds start with about 15cm of spare end at the Clam and as the wind rises just pull more spare end through until comfortable. In light winds this can be done while kite is stationary with one hand otherwise if too strong, position the kite above your head, let go bar (the kite sits above you for a while), pull centre line with one and adjust with other hand then grab up for bar. Otherwise just drop kite on beach at window edge and adjust with both hands.

LE/strut pressure:
I found that pumping just under 6 PSI worked fine, no need for more.

Build quality:
I had a seam come loose on the LE on my 3rd day, which was a quick stitch job. According to GK and the distributor, this was the only reported fault of that nature so I think it was a once-off. The ‘donkey di**’ popped out one time – so I lengthened it by 1.5cm. Other than that I am happy with the build quality...I had some big waves wash over it and it was still fine.

Water-relauch:
If kite happens to come down down-wind of you (rarely happens), pull on an outside line and it drifts to edges window...from there it is simple. I also managed reverse launches with kite down-wind and the LE down or up.

Self-launch:
I find that the 'weighing down wing tips' method doesn’t work well with bows as you need tons of sand and a relatively low pressure LE! So what I do is set up as normal then walk to the edge of window and pull the kite round so it catches wind and launch from there....just ensure no people downwind of you.

Self-land:
In light winds it is possible to let go the bar, when the kite drops at edge, grab one of centre lines which drops it onto its LE. Have not worked out how in strong winds. I just dropped it behind a sand dune (not something you get in UK) or kept kiting until the wife came to pick me up!

Wind range 14m:
Me 100kg: 10-30knots
Avge Joe 75kg: 8-25knots (my estimate)

To say that my skills have improved is an understatement! I'm trying to think of negatives...I can be very critical...but other than that small seam coming loose and not being able to comfortably self-land in strong winds, there is nothing. I could give them a few tips for the next one, but that’s it.

I have tried to cover most FAQ and I hope that both current and future users get some benefit from all this typing!! Any more questions please ask.


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 Post subject: review...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:33 am 
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Location: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Kitelab,

Very nice review... this is how more reviews should be written.. Do you think that an 11 and a 14 will do for a whole quiver? I weigh 90 kg, but was thinking of getting an 11 for my wife and for me when it get really windy. :wink: We get a lot of 11-13 knts days here... do you think that the 14 will be enough for me? I now use a Reactor 18.. very nice kite, but would love to replace my 15 and 18 with just one kite.

Thanks,

Gerry


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:35 am
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A couple of Sonic tips.

Trim adjustment

To adjust the trim adjuster cleat when riding, let the kite come to the top of the window. Drop the bar (you'll probably fall back into the water but it's no big deal). Adjust the trim however you like. Pull in the chicken loop line and grab the bar and ride on. Not as easy as the usual trim stap but easy to do.

Stalling
If you ride too fast towards the kite during a transition (or turn the board earlier and faster than the kite) the kite can sit back in the window and tension can come off the front lines. If you pull in the bar at this time the kite will do a sort of flappy reverse stall semi-inversion thing.

The solution is to not pull in the bar (or push it out) and to let the kite have air speed so it will climb out of the stalled position. Even better is to carve your turns a bit better and send the kite a bit faster so you follow the kite through the turn rather than have it try to chase you out fo the turn.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 5:06 am 
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Location: Cape Cod, MA USA
OzBungy wrote:
A couple of Sonic tips.

Trim adjustment

To adjust the trim adjuster cleat when riding, let the kite come to the top of the window. Drop the bar (you'll probably fall back into the water but it's no big deal). Adjust the trim however you like. Pull in the chicken loop line and grab the bar and ride on. Not as easy as the usual trim stap but easy to do.

Stalling
If you ride too fast towards the kite during a transition (or turn the board earlier and faster than the kite) the kite can sit back in the window and tension can come off the front lines. If you pull in the bar at this time the kite will do a sort of flappy reverse stall semi-inversion thing.

The solution is to not pull in the bar (or push it out) and to let the kite have air speed so it will climb out of the stalled position. Even better is to carve your turns a bit better and send the kite a bit faster so you follow the kite through the turn rather than have it try to chase you out fo the turn.


I agree with all of the above, especially being careful not to sheet in on transitions when the kite is close to dead down wind. I have also found that in light winds there is less risk of the kite stalling when down wind if you keep it a bit higher in the window and keep the bar pushed away a bit. Resist the urge to pull it in towards you.

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: review...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:30 am 
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Location: Kent, UK
GMan wrote:
Kitelab,

Very nice review... this is how more reviews should be written.. Do you think that an 11 and a 14 will do for a whole quiver? I weigh 90 kg, but was thinking of getting an 11 for my wife and for me when it get really windy. :wink: We get a lot of 11-13 knts days here... do you think that the 14 will be enough for me? I now use a Reactor 18.. very nice kite, but would love to replace my 15 and 18 with just one kite.

Thanks,

Gerry


No probs Gerry, just wish i had these notes before i left on holiday.

The 14m is said to have the projected area of a 20m C kite. The 14m wont have the solid slow chugging away strength say of a 19m SS fuel, but it turns faster so in low winds you can work it alot. I feel that the 14m will easily cover that 2 kite range and if you and your wife kite at same time then go for a 11 + 14m (that will cover your 90kg from 10-35+ knots).
When i was asking around about this kite last year, some were saying that it would replace my 11, 15 and 19m C kites - to a large extent it did.
At our weight anything below 10knots is not probably worth kiting, but thats just me as i like loads power.
Imagine kiting all day and not even have to bother the wife for a massage!

PS. I agree with OzBungy's tips - they are spot on


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 Post subject: Re: Review - Sonic 14m
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:25 pm 
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Location: Verbier-Switzerland
kitelab wrote:
I have tried to cover most FAQ and I hope that both current and future users get some benefit from all this typing!! Any more questions please ask.


Great review kitelab :thumb:


There is great videos of Matt Pendle on triming tips on the italian site bekite.com. When you are on the main page you choose GKSONIC on the menu. At the bottom of this page the last 3 videos are really interesting.

I have the 14 and I have shorten a bit the rear lines using the last knot (there is 3 knots). It seems to give more direct feel in light winds.

[img][img]http://images.photomania.com/15554/1/~rad5B83A.jpg[/img][/img]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 1:13 pm
Posts: 247
Location: France
Nice picture!
So, how is the Sonic for snowkiting?
I plan to take my 11m Sonic for my first ever snowkiting next weekend. In theory, Sonics should rock in the snow!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 11:26 pm 
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Location: Vermont, USA
Sonic is a very good snowkite. Easy ground handling, relaunch and the depower makes the significant apparent wind on hard surfaces a real treat. This kite will be one of the speed trials contenders. SOft landings and full on throttle control.

Said many times not, get the sheeting right and this is a fun kite.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 11:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 11:29 am
Posts: 130
Location: Verbier-Switzerland
lezo wrote:
Nice picture!
So, how is the Sonic for snowkiting?
I plan to take my 11m Sonic for my first ever snowkiting next weekend. In theory, Sonics should rock in the snow!


Yes ! Sonic rocks on snow as well.
:lol:
The only weak point is when you inflate the bladders. As there is no stopper ball in the plastic valves its very difficult to close it with fingers without loosing air because of the coldness. I saw a good tip (pictured) on the forum of the italian site bekite.com. With 2 rounded 10 cm wood stick joined with a small rope you will be able to take the plastic valve between the 2 sticks (replace the fingers actually) and stop the air comming out while closing the valve. :thumb:

Have fun ! :bye:

Nico


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 Post subject: 14m GK sonic invert?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:03 pm
Posts: 99
Dose the 14m Gk sonic invert like the crossbow or have they fixed that problem what is it worth getting a gk sonic over a crossbow or switchblade i am just seeing how you stop the kite from inverting also is there a saftey leash with the GK sonic 14m thanks for the help


Last edited by Driller on Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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