Got to demo the OR bar this weekend. Here is my initial thoughts after one use. I hope to fly it again with any tips from other users and to see how things change after initial use.
So, it was a powered 8M day. Really awesome conditions although the wind would surge from low 20s to low 30s. It was a perfect day to test out the depower on a new bar. I flew for 2 hours with my stock Compstick 17" bar (which is what I use on small kites). Then I took a break and went out for another 90 minutes on the same kite, but with the OR bar.
Some things I liked, some things I didn't, but I'm conscious that it is different from my normal and I'd probably adjust. So take this for what it's worth. Feel free to provide feedback.
Overall, I liked the bar for the simple reason that it is clean, with no dangling lines.
I also liked the effortless center line spinner.
More below, in order of the OR website list of bar features;
R3 Sidewinder trim knob
- Meh... Being a gusty day, there were times when I wanted to go to full power (lull) or full trim (gust!) and I instead had to <click> <click> <click> my way to the setting of choice. I have since been informed that if I just keep my hand pressed against the knob it will play out on it's own. I'll try that next time. In this session (not knowing that), it was quicker to increase power (bring in rear lines) then it was to spill power (let out rear lines).
As it didn't seem there was a way to just let it all go- instead I'd be slamming my hand into the bar end or manually turning the knob with outward pressure to keep it spinning. So I wasn't sold on the knob, but I think it'd be good if you don't usually muck with your trim, or foil board. (easy "no weight shift" adjustment) The knob is the real compromise I guess... if you like the clean bar, you need a trim mechanism somewhere.
I also found that sometimes the knob would turn very easily, and other times there was a lot of resistance. For instance, if I wanted to power up I'd get two turns easy, and then a lot of resistance. I'd fly a little bit and then I could get more turns in. Seemed like things needed to play out or snug up in the mechanism. I didn't debug it, just first time observations.
- bar was fine. On first grip the squareish feel was awkward, but you quickly got used to it. Did seem like it should be a little smaller, but I think it is just me coming from a round bar.
G-Stop (Stopper Ball)
- Didn't like this. Traditional stopper balls work without you having to think about it. You just push away or pull it in. When the bar hits it, it's fixed. I'm sure once you get used to it, t'd be second nature, but I always had to think what I was pushing or pulling on this mechanism to release it.
Helix Force Tension line payout system (springs)
- this worked flawlessly. I do wonder how the springs will last over time. Thin metal in salt water seems to rust eventually even if it is stainless. I think you'll have to be diligent about rinsing in fresh water if you want to get more than a year out of the springs. Just a guess. But, it worked perfectly! The lines would always play out equally on both sides. Really nice system. It was a bit of a mind-f*ck when I first got out because you are used to pulling in lines to depower, not let them out. Even though I knew what was going on, I found my self going, "does the + sign mean more power or more depower?"
Roto Hub / Roto Bit front line spinner
- This works flawlessly. I really liked how effortless it was to turn the spinner and have the front lines untwist. I don't think I'd miss having an above the bar spinner. Also, as there is a single poly tube going from the below the bar hub to the roto bit, you don't deal with twists of multiple lines below the bar which have to first be untwisted before the spinner engages.
The bar did squeak while I used it (center line against the hole in the bar) but I guess that goes away or you get used to it. Also that center re-ride line is hidden as it passes through the black tube. But the bar instructions point out that you should pull your safety through on occasion to inspect. I tend to ride with my hands at the center of the bar and I mashed my fingers against that roto hub a few times. Now, on my current bar it's the opposite, I mash my fingers against the above the bar trim block!
You can't win I guess.
Gen 7 Trim Loop
- solid design. I found it difficult to reset one handed, though. I know when I've had to activate the safety on the water, once you pull the bar back to you, there is usually a bit of a race to get the CL back together and hooked in before the kite powers up. I seem to need to do this one handed often (I forget why, but it always seems like I need the other hand to tend to the bar or something.) Like anything, I suspect with practice, you'd have this down.
- didn't try them, but they seem like a nice idea. Their rear line grip points if you ever have to launch that way.
- seem to be good quality and I like that they are colored. I'm used to white lines. Will be very nice for snowkiting.
- I wish they were colored for Right and Left to prevent mistakes. I understand the lines are different colors though, so you just have to get used to orange on the left and grey on the right.
- great bag. I wish all bars came with a nice bag like this. If they sell it separately, I may buy one for all my bars as I always think that when I jam my bar in my bag a piece of metal is going to grab a kite seam and tear it. Bag is vented so I think you could rinse a bar, and hang it in the bag and all would be good.
So overall, as I have said early in this thread, I applaud the innovation to work on things that most of us have considered standard equipment. It is a well thought out design. I'd love to compare the Click bar to the Stick Shift some time. The OR bar is very well constructed. I think you see some prototype pictures earlier in this thread where the finish is not as good as the production version. It's all tip top!