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 Post subject: Thoughts on Slingshot Turbo Diesel after 8 sessions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 6:49 am 
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I weigh 220 lbs, have been kiting for 4 years, and work as an instructor for a school that sells Cabrinha, North and Slingshot. I live in Alameda at the beach where I do 75% of my riding..

Before I left for Ventana before christmas I received a 12m and 8m Turbo Diesel. Looks very much like the crossbow in nearly all aspects... Build quality looks tough with dacron leading edge and wingtips..

Long story short, I think the kite has a really good range....especially on the low end. Last night I rode the 12m on my Glide in 10mph of wind and had a good time... Today I rode on my 134cm Dragon in 9 to 14 mph average windspeed and had an even better time. I'd say it has better low end than my '05 Rhino 14 and turns much faster.

Self Launching---- I have read up on the self launching techniques of bow kites and found that the best way to launch the kite is to set it up sideways to the wind (one wingtip into the wind), hook up the lines going perpendicular to the wind, hook in to your chicken loop, pull the lines tight, walk upwind in an arc until the kite can roll up on its wingtip to do a "warm" launch (downwind about 45 degrees seems to work)... Sheeting out during the launch keeps the tug to a minimum.... If sheeted out, you won't even take a step forward..)

Self Landing---- I read about this technique and was skeptical, but deceided to give it a try... Basically while on land, you bring the kite to the edge of the window and put the wingtip on the ground.... You then sheet out completely, and unhook your chicken loop. You then need to attach the chicken loop to an object that wont move (I chose a volleyboall pole with a caribener) so that the front lines have tension on them... Then you just walk over to the kite and flip in over onto the sand... I tried this today and fooled around with the kite a bit before I put it down... I pushed on the leading edge and rocked the kite ..... it seemed like it really wanted to stay put on that wingtip.... This is also a way to self launch kites, but I have not tried this yet...

Reverse Launch--- If you want to reverse launch this kite, just pull on the steering lines and it will back up off the water ( or snow if that is what you are into)


RIDING ----- Barpressure when riding doesn't seem high... and feels natural... Less bar pressure than the Crossbow... I do notice higher bar pressure when the wind INCREASES as opposed to decreasing... This just means that I need to depower the kite a little bit with the sheeting adjustment which is on the chicken loop. The sheeting location is different that what I am used to, and I am pretty neutral on having it there. One thing is that in order to adjust the sheeting, you can not have the stopper ball enganged. On the north, I would ride in the powerlock and adjust the sheeting .... whereas on this kite, if you ride locked in (using the stopper ball) you adjust where the ball is for the power.... all in all, not that much different. One thing I do not like, and have already invented a solution for, is that the chicken loop line will end up getting many twists in it if you do alot of spins in the air in one direction.. To solve this, I am going to invest in a swivel and attach the chicken loop line to this... I am not sure why SS didn't include this.... Seems like an oversight to me..

Anyhow, the stopper ball is nice because it can be adjusted easily with one hand.. When the bar is not pressed against it, it moves easily up or down to where you want it to... let it go and it stays there... Push the bar against it, and it will not move... This is good and bad... Good for the fact that you can use the stopper ball and the safety will still work, bad if you are used to the cabrinha override ball that breaks away when you push against it... This stopper ball is not going to move unless you use your finger on top of your bar and press the ball out of the way with your finger... The other thing that is nice about the stopper ball is that the chicken loop release safety still works and automatically slides the stopper ball and bar all the way to full depower.... I have been thinking about the cabrinha safety system, and do not know yet how they will be able to use the powerlock and a releasable chicken loop safety system that works... (if you are powerlocked in, and pull the chickenloop safety, your bar would still be powered up, and your leash would be connected to the top of your chicken loop...kite still powered...at the end of a leash... Perhaps they have designed around this... I don't know yet..)

The kite is a really fun kite to fly... Waves are fun... Can ride one handed and have complete power control...

I'd say the 12m TD powers like a 15-16m kite, and the 8m TD powers like an 11... In ventana I rode the 8m down to 17 mph before I started losing ground and came in to switch to the 12m... I can not comment much about the extreme upper end wind range, but had the 12m in gusts over 30 and it handled well... The 8m was tons more fun than the 12 when the wind went over 25mph though... With the 8m I could do a backroll kiteloop off a wave, and the kite would rotate faster than I did... This made for nice landings as the kite would soften the fast landings since it was all done looping and give some lift for the landings..

Here are some things that need to be tuned or tweaked though... which from my talks with Dave Civ... are being resolved... but I haven't seen the improved bridle yet....

- Inversions--- This is something that all "Bow" kites are prone to if the rear lines are allowed to go slack... That being said, the safety system (via chicken loop) involves totally slacking the rear lines... Because of this, inversions when pulling the saftey (via chicken loop...not just sheeting out) often result in the kite becoming inverted... The inverted kite can launch and can be steered.... It doesn't creat tons of pull, but if it hot launches inverted, it can pull you off your feet if you are not expecting it.... While inverted the kite can be sheeted and steered much like the non-inverted kite.... Basically to fix it, you need to get the ktie back on the water and pull a steering line until the kite is sideways to the wind, and it usually fixes itself... I inverted mine on purpose today in shallow water about 5 times and it took me about 2 min to un invert the kite and get it flying again... If the kite doesn't invert, it is pretty easy to reconnect the chicken loop and get the kite flying again in under a minute.. Unfortunately, I found that when I pulled the chicken loop saftey inversions were about 50/50.... When speaking to dave civiello about this, he said that bridle adjustments were being made...... hopefully this will be able to solve this..


MY FIXES FOR NOW...

I have 2 solutions to keep the kite from inverting... of which one is a modification to the chicken loop line, and the other is to the leash attachment point...

method 1 would be to shorten the chicken loop line so that when you release the chicken loop safety, the line does not totally slacken the rear lines, but slackens them to be have very slight tension... (this one is untested and I plan on trying this out as soon as I go to the marine store and buy some line)...

method 2 is much like the current cabrinha setup... Take the stopper ball and push it up to where the kite barely flies and the rear lines have only a slight amount of pressure.... This way, you can let go of the bar and the kite will depower and fall of of the sky, and still have a slight amount of rear line tension to keep the kite from inverting...... an additional step to this if you want to do handlepasses is to attach your leash directly to your chicken loop or chicken loop line so that when you let go, the kite will depower only enough so that it falls to the water... but with enough rear line tension that it will not invert.... I may get out my sharpie and mark where I need to put the stopper ball to achieve just the right amount of depower...

Problem number 2 that I found is that on the 8 if I turn it as hard as I can (we are talking trainer kite turning speed) the wingtip will sometimes fold inward for a split second... It doesn't disrupt power, or cause the kite to explode or anything... it is just a slight tug.... It would be like driving a porch and having the car shudder around the tightest of corners... Hopefully with some bridle tweaking this will be resolved as well....

All in all I am very happy with the kites. They are fast, powerful, rangy, and durable... The two things I'd like to see improved on are the inversions (without my workarounds) and the wingtip fluttering on the 8 in fast turns..both I believe can be improved upon with bridle changes that slingshot is appearantly working on....

Yesterday I rode in 10mph on a glide and today in 11mph on my 134 and had good rides... A year ago at this time, my kite would have been a 16.5 Contra....... The 12m Turbo Diesel Turns like a fast turning 12m but powers similar to a 15 or 16 and is WAY more fun to ride.

I would say that this kite is high performance (like the crossbow) and should be treated as such... It can create a ton of power quickly, and much like a 5th line kite, needs to have special considerations.... to avoid inversions.. ( I feel the inversions occur at a similar frequency to 5th line wrapping around the kite)

The more I ride this kite, the more I like it and learn how to avoid inversions... I will post how any of my bar modifications work and if I experience more inversions in the future.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:28 pm 
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Thank you for posting such an exceptional review. I appreciate the balance in your comments, and I think 8 rides certainly qualfies you for commenting on this kite.

I've seen huge air by one the Crossbows in real life. I've seen big air by the Waroo off huge ramps in waves. Can the TD go really high for big one-handed dangles off flat water - or is the jumping improvement an exchange of height for hangtime?


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 Post subject: Jumping
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 6:38 pm 
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Definately the bow style kite takes some getting used to. On my first days, I probably could have jumped higher on my 05 Rhino than on the Turbo Diesel because I was over sending the kite. I read up a bit on how to jump the bow kites and tried on another session and found I could jump as high or higher with the TD, and the hang time was alot longer.. As far as one handers, it is not a problem to hold the kite one handed in a jump with or without the stopper ball... With the stopper ball set in tight, you can even do "dead man" jumps... On my Rhinos when I was really powered, I had trouble holding an edge before jumping, whereas the TD is easy to sheet out before the jump, and then power the bar up right at the jump time...

I would say that the jumping performance of the TD would be identical to the Crossbow (same shape) and slightly better than the Waroo (only speculation on the Waroo though based on its aspect ration, and less rigidity due to only having 5 struts... CB and TD are to the Rhino as the Waroo and Switchblade are to the Vegas)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 7:23 pm 
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Hey, in your post you're talking quite a lot about inversions, I thought it was specific to the Cabs, how many times do you experience them, is there a relation with the air pressure in the kite? or is it just some special context creating the inversion, like crossing hte window with the rear lines slack.
Actually I'd be pretty worried to have an inverted kite hammered in the surf, is it likely to happen?

How do you compare the turning of the kite with a standard C shaped kite, it looks to me that it slideturns very tight, but maybe without the boosting you'd expect in the turn.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 7:46 pm 
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As for inversions, I have never had one happen in the air... only on the water when the rear lines are slack.... Don't seem to notice a difference with air pressure differences... I generally pump to 8psi... max per the manual...but inversions still happen... Especially when the chicken loop safety is utilized...

As for turning... it can be much tighter than a c kite, and if you do a super tight turn, does not generate as much of a tug in the turns. If you want a tuggy turn, you need to steer the kite in more of an arc rather than a pivot...ie force it to turn like a c-kite turns... (the TD turn like a normal kite in moderate turns, but will pivot on really tight turn)


I hope that helps... I really hope SS can fix the inversion issue with the chicken loop safety system...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:09 pm 
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Excellent review Gomar, I hope you will add to it as things develop. I may be buying a big Turbo Diesel or Crossbow this year, because I rate them as the best currently, so I would like to see all the problems sorted.
How difficult is it to adjust the power when powered up on the water (strength wise or awkwardness)?


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 Post subject: Inversion = Low Pressure ---- High Pressure = Not Inverting
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 7:49 am 
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UPDATE UPDATE - Today I fully tested the safety system of the Turbo Diesel after pumping the kite up very hard, and can now stand behind this product's safety system... I found that unless the kite is very hard, it will have a tendancy to bend rather than roll as a complete unit. Today I tried the safety 10 times in various configurations and did not get any inversions.... I saw where the kite looked like it might invert, but the whole kite would roll rather than invert as I was used to... This is nice as the kite would end up in the launch position. WHen the pressure is lower, the kite will just bend inside out...

So moral of the story... pump the bows up really hard or they won't work right... I am talking 8 or more psi... Last week I tried 6psi, and found that the kite would be very inversion prone....

By the way... I really love the kite if you can't tell...


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 Post subject: Adjusting power
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 7:51 am 
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I don't notice the bar pressure to be high this kite... That means sheeting in and out isn't difficult at all...

It you want to pull the depower strap... it is not problem... you just cant be locked in by the stopper ball..


Andy


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 Post subject: RE: Changes for jumping
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:09 pm 
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Can you give me a brief summarry of the changes you have made to jump with the td. I bought a shockwave and love how it turns, I just was not jumping well with it. I know it is me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 5:35 pm 
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german KITE Mag briefly tested couple of 12m Bows and rated TD well, but lift and hang was clearly inferior to Switchblade. KITE stated TD to be more wave- and wakestyle biased. As you seemingly now Cab Bows well - how would you rate TD´s jumping performance in comparison ?


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