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 Post subject: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:37 pm 
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Could someone please explain the major advances in kite technology over the last eight years that would justify the purchase of a new kite for a beginner.
I have three kites 8, 10, 12 meter but all of them are about 8 years old.
I have a background in aviation so feel free to discuss cord, leading edge configuration, etc. if you know of any wind tunnel studies I would love to read them.
I also understand that an advanced kiter could fly a picnic table and make it look easy. I'm interested in easy of water launch, forgivable nature and why the changes are making this better. I am really not interested in the argument that the world champions use this or that kite because they can get into low earth orbit in the breeze generated by a black bean fart.

The problem with seeking this type of information is that every instructor I have ever met is a dealer for some type of kite. The other problem is that most advanced kiters will have forgotten the problems they experienced or their natural ability will have allowed them to pass over these hurdles without difficulty.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts,
Griz


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 Post subject: Re: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:19 pm 
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The technical design details so far as they are understood can be discussed ad infinitum to varying degrees of amusement, but little profit in choosing a kite for a beginner.

Short answer: yes, newer is better!

Medium answer: The simple answer is 8 years of empirical, iterative improvements and market competition are worth something!

Longer answer: but very simply, on the relaunch issue, designers have figured out that narrow tips and a straight LE as found on earlier C kites make relaunch hard, and changed these design elements in most kites

Since the intro of bow and delta kites, 2005 or so, designers have found these elements help with relaunch and depower:

-"medium" aspect ratios
-LE sweep
-rounded or angled front corners of the wingtips
-bridling configuration

Longer wingtip chord/lower AR gives the backlines more leverage over the front lines to relaunch the kite, and allows reverse launch, by letting the canopy stay open enough to catch the wind with the TE up.
LE sweep and rounded corners (or angled tips) both make it easier for the kite to roll upwards off the water to relaunch and reduce the effect of surface tension (shorter part of LE touching h2o). With a "bow" or "toenail shape" the leverage of long wingtips is achieved while preserving a higher aspect ratio for the same canopy area.
These features also let the rider achieve more AOA change and thus more depower, per unit of bar throw (i.e.: sheet out and the kite actually depowers effectively unlike 10-12 years ago).
Obviously bridle configuration can have a lot to do with how the kite responds in these ways too!

So, that is just barely touching the technical side, mainly mechanics, and there has been a lot of development on the actual aero side too, as far as camber, projected area, LE size etc.

But the short answer is yes, newer is better.

What I learned in 3 years on pre-2006 kites I could probably have learned in one on a 2010 or newer kite! If the 8 year old kites are bow kites, maybe, but still there are better choices that should be affordable.


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 Post subject: Re: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:20 pm 
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First post felt like I could help I've been kiting 5 yrs or so first 2 on old cheap c kites and I struggled to progress until I finally tried an sle then it all clicked been rippin ever since I should have never touched a c kite they are cheap and easy to find but worthless for beginners IMO. Modern sle bridled kites do it all, do it better and do it easier.

C kites keep pulling you when you don't want them to cause of limited depower. Even bringing the kite overhead to neutral will generate power with a c kite whereas with an sle you can sheet out depower and stop your momentum.

Trust me I have several c kites in my attic that will never get used again and it's a shame cause they were good kites in their day. You should ditch whatever you have and start looking for sle's
So the trick is to find sle kites for cheap don't get sucked in to paying big bucks. I have never spent more than 500 on a kite. Around here you can often find good kites on Craigslist for 300. Hope this saves you some time and frustration.


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 Post subject: Re: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:50 pm 
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Location: The Gorge
old kite suck ass compared to new ones, no technical explanation necessary mr. aviation background person


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 Post subject: Re: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2002 1:00 am
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Location: Denmark
Grizwald wrote:
Could someone please explain the major advances in kite technology over the last eight years that would justify the purchase of a new kite for a beginner.
I have three kites 8, 10, 12 meter but all of them are about 8 years old.
I have a background in aviation so feel free to discuss cord, leading edge configuration, etc. if you know of any wind tunnel studies I would love to read them.
I also understand that an advanced kiter could fly a picnic table and make it look easy. I'm interested in easy of water launch, forgivable nature and why the changes are making this better. I am really not interested in the argument that the world champions use this or that kite because they can get into low earth orbit in the breeze generated by a black bean fart.

The problem with seeking this type of information is that every instructor I have ever met is a dealer for some type of kite. The other problem is that most advanced kiters will have forgotten the problems they experienced or their natural ability will have allowed them to pass over these hurdles without difficulty.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts,
Griz


If they are from 2006, they could be SLE (or Bow) kites ?

If so, you wont get any more "safety" with never SLE kites, but they will turn and handle way better.

If they are "C" kites, well, then you miss the huge depower, and easy relaunch by pulling one rear line only (or reverse launch on land in light wind).
But if that is not an issue, and you are fine by launching with the 5th line, then the C kites from 2006 were VERY refined, and almost on top of its evolution.

So IMO you dont get that much by changing to new ones :-?

If you go the 4 line SLE direction, then it is another issue...
They came in 2005, and has evolved a lot the first 3-4 years and some "dogs" came in between in the start.

But around 2010 and forward, not much change.

Eventhough I would love to talk about aerodynamics, it does not make sense.

Because the major evolution has been in terms of handling and balance.
They dont "fly" (perform) better than earlier IMO.

8) Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:24 pm 
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A lot has changed, but the feel between all modern kites 2011 - 2012 is also quite amazing. I kite the delta - hybrid design due to the easy set and use, jumping etc….also hate 5 line always getting tangled up at the first chance…

just ride what you have, don't like it try something different…..


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 Post subject: Re: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:40 am 
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How do people manage to get 5 lines anymore tangled than 4?

Not sure about other current C kites but damn is the Vegas easy to fly. I normally fly Rebels and honestly the Vegas was hardly at all harder to fly. A pretty amazing depower and predictable handling. I'm sure the loaded 5th line helps :P

Pretty much across the board if you get a freeride kite made after 2010, whether it be a rebel, lithium, switchblade, or catalyst, you'll have a way better kite than anything 8 years old.


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 Post subject: Re: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:21 am 
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What brand and model are your 8 year old kites? It's easier to comment on specifics than just blathering generalities.

Pre-2005 kites are deadly dangerous.

2005 was when bow kites appeared and kites suddenly got much better, but they still had some rude surprises built in (very prone to inversion/turning inside out)

2006 was better but kites had pulley bars and all sorts of dodgey design decisions.

Post 2006 is all generational refinement and improvement.

So, if your 8 year old kites are still in good condition, and they're bow kites then they will probably work ok.

BTW In the paragliding world it is accepted that fabrics degrade while in storage. ie. the fabric weakens and becomes more porous (the air passes through it creating turbulence). Even if your 8yo kites have been sitting in a dry, dark cupboard they can still have deteriorated.


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 Post subject: Re: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:07 pm 
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Location: The Gorge
NorCalNomad wrote:
Not sure about other current C kites but damn is the Vegas easy to fly. I normally fly Rebels and honestly the Vegas was hardly at all harder to fly. A pretty amazing depower and predictable handling. I'm sure the loaded 5th line helps :P


been flying 2012/2013 fuels lately and dont find them any more difficult to handle than bow kites, really. took about a week to dial in the upper range since you have to edge the board harder, but i dont really notice a difference now


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 Post subject: Re: Old versus new kites
PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:31 pm 
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in 2006 they started bridled kites. This allowed a wider range of angle of attack. Before then you only had C kites which is 4 lines without any support on the leading edge.

I kid you not, before 2006, they taught a method to relaunch C kites which involved swimming as hard as possible towards the kite often 10 or 20 meters until it rolled over, then swimming to the left or right again as hard as you can, then tugging the appropriate rear line. Repeat if necessary.

The first generation bridled kites from 2006 are garbage, pretty much all of them have real awful problems, and the way they fixed these problems was something called a 2:1 pulley bar. You pull the bar and the kite moves twice as much due to the pulleys. However, this introduces a horrible lag and of course the bar is twice as heavy. Instead of 5 to 10 pounds pressure you need 10 to 20 pounds pressure, that makes quick work of a session.

some kite manufacturers (cabrinha for example) persisted with the 2:1 pulley bars up until I believe 2008, maybe 2009.

Eventually kite manufacturers figured out how to make bridled kites work, somewhere around 2008-2009 the supported leading edge kites were starting to really work out well.

Now the control bar is another issue. some of them will kill you. for instance, a dear friend of ours got killed by a recon control bar system in 2006, this system would flag out a C kite to the rear lines, but if seaweed got into one half of the system it would power loop until you either completely released the kite or hit something. This bar had a velcro fastener you could undo so that if you wanted, there was a pin that QR-ed off the bar but I always left it fastened in because you know, it would also go off accidentally so you are really taking your life into your hands with that kind of bar.

Now in 2006 some bars were perfectly safe, but there was a whole lot of experimenting, single center line, double dual line, 5 line, mini 5th line. But in 2013 and 2014 everyone seemed to agree, the only really safe system was either a true 5th line or a single center line flagout and every control bar I know of uses those systems now, except for one or two manufacturers.

There is a lot I haven't said, about bridle wraps, about pull quick releases vs push away quick release, about some quick release systems that would just jam up tight when you got a tiny bit of sand in it.

So what I'm saying is, you could spend several years researching all this stuff and at the end of the day you could make yourself a quiver full of old kites and control bars.

But of course, then you would have become an expert on old gear.

Or you could buy new gear. And become an expert on kiteboarding instead <--- this is what most people do. They just want to ride, don't want to learn a hundred little details about what is safe and what isn't safe.

It depends on the model which year is good and which isn't. But most kites from the last two years are safe, reliable, relaunch well and are a joy to ride.


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