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  1. Like
    igeighty reacted to jhn.holgate for a review, Born-Kite Longstar 2   
    If you lay the longstar 2 next to the longstar 1, the first thing you will notice is that they're two very different kites.  Aside from both being single skin and having lots of bridles, version 2 is a completely separate design.  Flies quite differently too. The V1 longstar took me a few hours to come to grips with.  If you've flown depower kites then V2 will be immediately familiar as soon as it's in the air. 

    Longstar v2 uses a series of ribs and stiff nylon lines to hold a round nose profile and the rest of the kite is held in place by lots of bridling.  A look through some of the photos will show how accurate the bridles are, resulting in a uniform and smooth profile. 

    You can buy the longstar. V2 with a bar or as a kite only.  I was supplied with kite and bar for the purpose of the review and it came in a compact nylon bag.  Being a single skin kite, it folds up very compact and you could easily fit several kites and a bar in a std kite bag. 
    The material feels quite light but of excellent quality and all stitching and seams are straight and accurate as have been all the kites from Born-kite that I've flown. 
    There's no denying that there's a lot of bridles on the longstar2 so it always pays to check for any hang ups and give them a good shake when laying out the kite.  The kite launches easily whether straight downwind or side launch.  It makes power pretty quick too and builds quickly with apparent wind.  This is a grunty kite.  I was able to buggy in 5 knots up and down the beach - admittedly, I had to work the kite so I think 6-7 knots would be your minimum park and ride wind speed for the 5.5m. 

    Letting the bar out to depower the kite results in a change in the AOA as well as a flattening of the nose-to-trailing-edge profile.  You can see the belly of the kite losing tension and becoming slack.  It doesn't actually get to the point of being 'flappy' unless you have the bar out and the cam cleat fully sheeted in - something I only did once just to see if I could get the kite to make some noise!  Depower range seemed perfectly adequate - whenever I was overpowered, a quick sheet out of the bar and the drama was over. 
    Here you can see what the kite looks like when depowered...

    Turn speed was a good compromise - not too quick or nervous and neither was it sluggish.  The kite is very stable even in gusty conditions.  In the air it feels quite 'sporty' and almost aggressive. It wants to be actively flown unlike, say, the NASA star 3 which is happy for you to sit back and cruise whilst almost ignoring the kite.   It also feels relatively 'high aspect' in the air - coming out of a turn for instance, you need to let the bar out a little to get the kite up to speed in the new direction.  Hold the bar in too much and the kite can 'choke' and begin to stall. 
    It is a very well behaved kite - over five or six hours of flying both static and bugging, only once did the kite end up on the ground unintended - and that was a complete lull  in the wind.  The nose folded over a couple times in light and gusty conditions but recovery was immediate with a tug on the bar.  Same if I wasn't paying attention and choked the kite - let the bar out and business immediately resumed as normal. 
    Upwind performance was good for this type of kite, you won't be catching a vapor but you'll get there. Downwind performance is very good as was top speed.  While flying in a cross onshore wind of around 14 knots, Trevor managed a 62kph on a downwind run with the Longstar2.  Bar pressure was light to moderate proving to be no dramas keeping the bar held in for long periods. 
    This is not a lifty kite which is good news for buggy pilots not wanting to get unintentionally lofted but perhaps bad news for land boarders wanting some freestyle.  
    Pull the brakes and the longstar 2 reverses out of the sky without fuss. Similarly reverse launch is fuss free.  But what I really like is the ability of the longstar2 to sit on its side at the edge of the window with the bar out and hands off.  It just slowly bobs up and down while you stretch your legs, eat, adjust harness, talk, take photos etc.  I also used this method to hand the kite over to Trevor and to land on a couple of occasions- I just dropped the chicken loop over a foot peg and walked over to the kite.  I know this is not unique to the longstar2 but it is extremely handy. 
    The kite has a front line safety - a simple push of the chicken loop sends the bar and lines up the line to the splice flagging out the kite on a single front line.  This brought the kite down without dramas and was easy enough to reset.  There is also now an option to get the kite with an FAS (front area safety) that causes the leading edge of the kite to 'scrunch' up when activated 
    Overall the kite impressed me greatly and was a pleasure to buggy with.  It was a well behaved, stable and versatile kite with excellent all round performance and I will certainly be saving my pennies to add a few to my quiver.  I can't see any reason it wouldn't also make a great first depower as an alternative to the usual suspects. 
    The bar supplied with the longstar2 had a comfy grip, a large opening for the power lines which did not bind when turning, a push away chicken loop, cam cleat adjuster on the power lines and the fifth line terminated next to the chicken loop in a ring which you attach your leash to.  It also has a double ball and ring setup for limiting bar travel or using to hold the bar in place. Both Trevor and myself found this just a little too stiff and complicated to use easily.  It is something I would try to improve or tweak if it was my bar but also not something I would lose sleep over or blow an extra hundred bucks on for a better bar.  Bar pressure is not such that it's a big issue, but it would be nice to have a simpler, easier to use system.  Each of the brake leaders joined the main lines via a stainless steel ring which provided a handy place to insert a kite stake when landing. 


    Rings at end of brake leaders - a handy spot to drop the kite stake.

    Now I would much rather judge a kite on its own merits rather than compare it to another manufacturers product......having said that, the most asked question I've heard about the longstar2 is 'how does it compare to a Peak2'?  So, for a couple of hours, both Trevor and myself flew the 5.5m longstar2 and the 6m Peak2 swapping kites on a number of occasions.  Here's what we found.  The longstar2 was better downwind- faster and holding its shape better.  The Peak 2 went upwind a little easier with the longstar2 requiring more work and being a couple kph slower. The longstar2 feels more aggressive and sporty to fly, I also think it's a bit faster as I've flown the P2 a lot but never matched Trevor's 62kph that he did with the LS2.  Perhaps the P2 has a little more depower but this is at the expense of a fair bit of flapping and noise. The LS2's depower range never left us feeling like we wanted more.  The LS2 seemed a bit more stable and easier to handle on the ground. Turn speed was much the same.  I think the P2 may have an extra knot of grunt in the bottom end with the LS2 having a bit more 'go' and power in the top end.  The P2 clearly has a much better (and more expensive) bar and more bar pressure at speed. Shape-wise the LS2 holds a much more uniform profile.
    Is one kite 'better' than the other?  No, I honestly couldn't say that.  For me, they are both excellent buggy engines. They feel different to fly but both kites achieve the desired goal - aoxomoxoa!!  The LS2 represents excellent value for money (at least in Australian retail pricing) and as such certainly deserves your consideration.  Born-kite has produced a well rounded, versatile depower kite that should give the competition a run for the money.
    A big thanks to Trevor who helped me out over many hours on several occasions while we tested, posed and photographed the kites. 

  2. Like
    igeighty reacted to .Joel for a review, Flysurfer Speed5 12M   
    It’s rare you fly a newer generation of a kite and find that the changes after years of evolution can still be so significant.  The Flysurfer Speed 5 returns to its original DNA, it is the kite that should of been released after the Speed 3.

    When the Speed was originally released over a decade ago it was an evolutionary step, does anyone still remember that goofy video with Armin pushing a team rider off the boat to water launch? ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2PCJsKf3Jo ).  The Speed was at the forefront of development, then came the Speed2 and it maintained that DNA of light wind and large float.  The Speed3 then came along, and it was the largest evolutionary step that the Speed had taken, it had all the low wind ability however with the Triple Depower the kite nearly doubled its usable wind range and made the top-end all the more usable resulting in a huge boosting and highly floaty kite.  Then the Speed4 released, and for the first time I felt that they had mixed far too much of the DNA from the old Psycho IV in there, it was an amazingly versatile kite but it didn’t feel the same as the old Speed series.  They went back towards the Speed’s original DNA with the Lotus, however even then there was still room to move.  After a session on the Speed5, you can just feel that the pure DNA of the Flysurfer Speed series is back.  The kite performs at the bottom end, remains versatile and usable for such a high-aspect kite at the top end, and feels completely refined all over.  Most of all the kite brings back the feeling of fun to flying as it’s incredibly forgiving.
    Laying the kite out on the beach pre-flight I was amazed at the vibrancy of the colour of the 12M even though it was a completely overcast day at the start.  The kite looked incredible, I always thought the Speed3 Deluxe colour scheme was nice however the purple of the 12M and the slightly more detailed and intricate graphics look brilliant.  The demo I was flying came with the Flysurfer Airstyle Infinity 3.0 bar, which is the green and black series bar.  The bar has had again some small refinements to it regarding the chicken loop, however apart from colour scheme for the most part it’s very similar to the Infinity 2.0 bar.
    Pre-Inflating and launching the kite was a breeze, sanded one wingtip and slowly pulled the opposing edge up off the sand as it pre-inflated.  Eventually with enough air inside it slipped out from the sand and took off.  Once in the sky again it looked increidble, however it also looked higher aspect than the Speed3 whilst still seeming to retain a somewhat similar overall canopy shape.  One thing that is clearly evident is that there’s no more crinkling across the front of the canopy, and whilst it’s slightly thicker between the top and bottom skins compared to a Sonic-FR it certainly has been reduced in thickness compared to the previous Flysurfer Speed kites making it feel like a faster wing flying forwards.
    The wind was fairly light, starting off on about 9 to 12 knots and I took off with the kite in the GT-Race Rapide++ buggy.  All I could say is WOW, the kite felt solid from the start even in the light wind however it didn’t feel like a truck.  Once in the buggy and moving the power the kite was producing just continued to increase until I scooted over 70km/h in incredibly light winds.  The longer I held my line the more the kite continued to increase in speed.
    Dumping the power was incredibly easy, however I noticed when slowing down rapidly and really dropping the power out of the kite it remained incredibly stable and responsive.  There were no surprises or shocks, it just behaved as I had the buggy slide sideways slowing the kite down preparing to turn.  During this I noticed the vastly increased amount of depower on the kite compared to the previous versions I had flown.  However the one point that I really noticed was the increase in turning speed, I was no longer going for the leader ends on a tight turn the bar was more than sufficient to get it to snap around 180 degrees when required.
    The depower range on the kite is far smoother on the bottom 3/4 of the bar throw, however release the bar to the very top 1/4 of the bar throw and you dump nearly all the power out of the kite.  If you’re used to still having power there at the end of the bar throw it’s a quick fix, just use the stopped by sliding it down to your desired length on the bar.  The bar pressure also felt a bit lighter than previous generations, I still don’t classify the Speed as a “light” bar pressure kite however I’m of the opinion less pressure the better allowing for longer kiting sessions and more aggressive handling in higher winds that typically increase the bar pressure.

    During flight in the buggy at speed the kite felt consistently solid, and for such a high aspect kite it continued to feel incredibly stable.  One are the Speed 5 significantly excels over both previous models and kites such as the Sonic-FR is its stability, being slightly lower aspect and holding a bit more air in the kite just brings on a completely new level of stability.  After a short period of time you become so trusting of the kite you pay less and less attention to it and more to your surroundings and where you’re kiting.  The kite not only points incredibly high upwind, however downwind compared to previous Speed models it’s again significantly improved.  Going downwind didn’t feel anywhere near as challenging as on previous models, some where you would need to loop it back over your shoulder to keep it back in the window from time to time.  This allowed me to surprisingly park and ride downwind.  
    Everything you do with the kite, how it responds, how it feels through the bar, how it behave in flight, it all just feels incredibly well refined over previous versions.  There’s literally no single feature of the kite that I can say is a complete standout improvement area as so many areas of the whole kite have been so well refined that it’s the sum of all these improvements that makes the Speed 5 in my opinion the greatest evolutionary update to the Flysurfer Speed series of kites since the Speed 3.
    If you’re currently flying older Speeds, get your hands on a demo, it’ll be that familiar feeling you’re used to, just that the more you fly it the more you’ll notice how much of a step forward in performance  the kite is whilst being incredibly stable, fun and trusting.
    This kite was provided for demo by James at @specialist_kiteboarding for as long as required until I felt comfortable having flown it long enough to write a review.  Overall both flying the kite and the process of arranging a demo from James was a great, pressure-free experience.  If you’re interested in a Flysurfer Speed 5 get in contact with Specialist Kiteboarding.
  3. Like
    igeighty reacted to jhn.holgate for a review, Flysurfer Peak 2 6M   
    My hat is off to Flysurfer for putting the R&D into a kite that is quite different from anything else currently on the market.  And they've made a damn good versatile depower kite along the way.
    I'll be adding to this review as there are still a few things I've yet to try out on the kite and I need to also try it in some stronger winds.
    So part 'A' is based on 40km of buggying at home in the paddock in light and gusty conditions from 6 - 14 knots and 65km of buggying in 8 - 14 knots at 13th Beach.
    Now looking at those wind ranges (and having owned a 6m Ozone Access years ago) I would have thought that a 6m depower kite would only just be starting to get going at 14 knots.  Not so the Peak 2 6m.  Even in 10 - 12 knots I have had bags of power - even to the point of pulling a couple inches of trim in.  In fact, I've had enough power to pull me up and down the paddock at home and I'm sure the wind had dropped somewhere around the 6 knot mark - could have been 7, but geez, the 6m Peak 2 makes a lot of power in not much wind.  At 13th Beach there was just enough wind for some whitecaps to form, but there didn't feel to be much on the beach and I'm certain at times it dropped below 10 knots and I always had enough power to park 'n ride without having to work the kite.

    Please ignore the brake strap in the photo - I added it because I'm used to having one and being able to drop it around a rear wheel to secure the kite.
    The Peak 2 launches easily with a tug on the two front lines.  It responds to steering input reasonably direct and quickly.  It won't spin on a wing tip but I can loop it back under itself easily from halfway up the window.  It's not sluggish nor is it twitchy - a pretty good balance methinks.  It's quite stable too....I was able to ride and enjoy the view and use the camera without having to worry about what the kite was doing.  When stopped, it was easy to keep in the one spot and seemed quite stable.  In motion, it has a good range of depower - let the bar out and the power drops off rapidly.  It's a little lifty - in 13 knots or so I can fly it above my head, pull the bar in and leave the ground - not a huge amount, but I get the feeling if you threw it hard in a bit more wind you could probably do some small jumps on the landboard.
    It's reasonably fast - I topped out at a little over 50kph and like I say, that was probably 14 or 15 knots at the absolute most.  Upwind is good, I was along side Mick with his Century II and later, Libre Bora - I felt I could match his upwind ability when we turned a fair bit into the wind at the end of 13th Beach.  

    I was always a little concerned with the 'flapping' of the Peak 1, but there's no problem with the Peak 2.  With 3 inches of trim pulled in and probably 3 inches of bar out, the kite stayed quite taught and performed well - and silently.  There was a little bit of 'flutter' at the corners of the trailing edge (which I also notice when I turn the kite hard).  Let the bar out anymore and yes, the edges do start getting flappy as the power really dies off, but honestly, it's a non issue.  I don't think I'd like to fly it heavily depowered and 'flapping' in 20 knots for any length of time - grab the 4m instead!

    I've only had the Peak 2 luff on a couple of occasions but recover was fast and easy.  Reverse launch is no problemo.  I haven't noticed any tendency to overfly the window.
    There is quite a bit of pressure on the bar as the wind/apparent wind builds but Flysurfer have their magic stopper ball that you can slide down the line to hold the bar wherever you want it.  Bloody genius!  The ball holds tightly against the bar but will easily move if you put your fingers on it.  You can also use it to limit the amount of bar throw if you want.
    The chicken loop and top hat release are top quality and there is a swivel in there somewhere - any twists in the line below the bar can easily be taken out just by pulling the bar down to the top hat release - and voila, the twists disappear.
    The bar is very nice, with a wide double opening for the main power lines with no binding whatsoever.  There is a fifth line safety you can hook a leash to which will flag out the kite on one of the front lines.  I've yet to try this out.

    I feel Flysurfer have created a depower kite which is very friendly and easy to use, has good speed, excellent depower and good upwind ability and if you want grunt, this kite delivers.  I've read it has a good following in the snow kiting scene and I think it makes an excellent buggy engine.  I can't think of any reason it wouldn't make a good landboard engine too.  All this at a pretty good price point it has to be said.
    It's certainly different to look at and I do not claim to understand how on earth it all works like it does.  It's not the sleekest or most aerodynamic kite I've ever seen.  I refer to the 6m as the 'Cheeseburger wrapper' - a term of affection, I assure you as I am very impressed with it.
    I think Flysurfer have got this one right.
    Stay tuned for some more thoughts over the next couple of months...

  4. Like
    igeighty reacted to jhn.holgate for a review, Ozone Turbo Bar   
    I really like the Ozone Turbo Bar.  It took me a little while to come to grips with after getting used to depower bars.  The Turbo Bar works best with kites that like being steered mostly with the brakes - and that's not all kites.  Kites like the PL Reactor and PKD Century do not like being steered with that much brake input and tend to stall in turns and begin to spin.  Other kites like HQ Beamers, PL Hornets, Flexifoil Blade V, Ozone Method, Octane, Imp & Flow do really well on the Turbo Bar.
    What the bar is:
    The Turbo Bar has the power lines through the center and brakes to the outside - but, it uses pulleys to transfer some of the turning force across to the power lines.  On a suitable kite, this makes for zippy turning with less input than required with handles.  It also has Ozone's leashless re-ride safety system.  Pull the red 'top hat' and the power lines are released a short distance leaving nearly all the power on the brake lines - the kite stalls and reverses to the ground with little power.  I've had to use this to land the 6.5m Method in 20 knots and it worked extremely well.  There is also a brake strap between the two brake lines that allow you to reverse launch the kite when needed.
    What the bar is NOT;
    It does not add depower to a fixed bridle kite.  Ozone were advertising it as 'depower through brakes'.  Bollocks.  Brakes is brakes, and has nothing to do with 'depower'.  Depower generally refers to changing the angle of attack of the kite to give you less power - try sticking your hand out the window next time you're in the car and alter the angle of your hand against the wind - "the angle of attack" (although lots of other depower systems are starting to emerge which are different again) and the Turbo Bar can only work with what the fixed bridle kite already has - power lines and brake lines.
    I like the bar because I find it easier to fly one handed with a bar allowing me to wave a camera around with the other hand.  I also like the way it hooks to a harness with a normal Ozone chicken loop and I like the safety system.  When I first got the turbo bar, the safety system was the same as on my depower kites so I already had the muscle memory to deploy it in a hurry if needed.
    I've seen lots of people write that a bar 'dumbs down' the kite.  I resent this remark.  The bar is simply the control mechanism of the kite and I've never been in a situation that I needed to do something with the kite that I could not do with the Turbo Bar.  But you do need to get the right combination of bar and kite - some bars will work well with some kites while others don't.
    Is there a downside to the bar?  Sure - it's expensive.  It's a bit clunky.  You don't have separate control over the power lines as you do with handles.  You need a harness.  Depending on the kite, it can feel a little 'mechanical' when you're steering the kite.  On the plus side, you have a simple to use and easy to reach safety, all the load goes through to the harness, the kite requires less effort to turn (probably why they called it 'Turbo') and it's easier to fly one-handed - well, for me - compared to using handles and strop, but you can fly fine with one hand with handles and strop once you get used to it.  I tend to find myself sitting more relaxed and facing more forward in the buggy than when I use handles.
    Would I buy one for static flying?  No.  I think handles are simply better for static flying.
    The turbo bar does 'mimic' a little bit of a depower bar when moving fast in buggy - start pulling the brakes on (simply by pulling the bar back) which, by the way, you can do with one hand which you can't do with handles - and the kite will start to pull more and sit back a little in the window similar to a depower kite.  I've flown with the bar pulled fully in with a 3m Ozone Flow and the trailing edge was really pulled in producing quite a bit more power than with no brakes on (bar out).  Having said that, try that when flying static and you will simply stall the kite.  Something that has landed me on my bum a few times!  When you're static flying with a depower, you can fly it quickly above you and pull the bar in for a little 'boost' - the same trick with the turbo bar stalls the kite and you end up on your bum quickly.  Something you just have to get used to.  
    I've had two turbo bars and on both bars, when connected up as per factory recommendations, the brake lines were so slack that they were completely useless.  It's almost like Ozone got the geometry wrong on the line setup.  But easily fixed, just add a 4 - 5 inch pigtail to both power lines.  You can do this at either end of the lines.  Originally, I tied some extra knots in the Turbo Bar's brake leaders but on a hard turn, the knots can go through the pulleys and jam. - not good.  I like to setup the lines so that there is just a wee bit of slack on the brake lines with the bar fully out.  There are some strap adjusters on either end of the bar that allow you to adjust this.
    If you have the right kite and know what to expect out of the turbo bar, I think they're brilliant.  Wrong kite and it will be a complete dud.
    I've tried to show most of what I've talked about in this vid....
  5. Like
    igeighty reacted to gum-nuts for a review, Peter Lynn Comp Xr+   
    I was never going to be able to afford a proper race buggy so I had to look at ways of upgrading my humble Peter Lynn comp XR+ ...
    standard Peter Lynn Comp XR+ My buggy now has the Peter Lynn 140cm gigastrong axle, longer and stronger side rails, a custom made back rest and 6 ply highway rated radial tyres.
    beefed! Compared to one of my previous buggies of lust, the Sysmic S2 it is a very similar size (length and width) and has the same sought of footprint, but overall it is still a lot lighter in weight despite the modifications. The heaviest addition is the gigastrong axle as this is much thicker as well as longer.
      gigastrong! The side frame extensions have also added some extra height to the frame allowing me to lower the standard PL seat while still having a reasonable clearance under my butt! This means I sit lower between the frames and am able to wedge myself in more.
    The back rest has been through a couple of processes to get it comfortable and to provide the support I was after...      Overall these modifications, along with the new tyres, have made the buggy feel much more stable. I am now able to block myself against the side rails and the overall feel of the buggy enables me to hold down more power. And rather than that power translating into sideways slippage the buggy tracks forwards better - I think this has enabled me to increase my speed and also the upwind performance.   The new tyres are less likely to slide on the surface of the lake and this has also helped. With a slight shift of my weight I am still able to un-stick the rear end either to scrub speed or power slide - but it did take a bit of getting used to.   I am really pleased with how the buggy is handling and the comfort side of it and I am so glad now that I didn't spend a couple of grand on something else (the mods so far have cost about $400). I'm not saying in the future I wont want to upgrade but some of the other production buggies are a lot heavier than my comp xr+.    
  6. Like
    igeighty reacted to gum-nuts for a review, Ozone Method 4M   
    Everybody always goes on about Ozone kites and the quality of construction but that is because it's true! After four months use and probably being flown nearly every week, there is still not a loose thread, the bridle is immaculate and hasn't suffered any stretching and the handles are perfect.    Apart from everything being a bit dustier it looks hardly used. And it has taken a few knocks and scrapes and also there has been a couple of times that the kite has become un-hooked from the roller (my fault!) and I have had to chase it across the lake! Not a scratch or a scrape.     The kite continues to do everything it says it should in the blurb...   "The Ozone Method is a kite for anyone who is looking for the speed of a high performance kite, the stability of a beginner kite and yet handles like a sports car! It's your perfect next level engine for taking your traction kiting sports such as buggying or landboarding to new heights!"
      As a 4m kite it behaves more like a 3m and takes a fair bit of wind really to develop the power - but even in the lower end of the wind range once you get it moving the power really comes in. Last weekend really demonstrated, to me the, performance that the Method can produce as I managed to get a new PB.     The 4m felt seriously powered up and at first was pretty scary and I was wishing I had a smaller kite - but in the end I was so glad I stuck with it...   Dropping the Method into the power zone and it just accelerates, a little bit of a sine wave to further increase the speed and then add a bit of break tension and wow! off it goes. For the first time I was consistently hitting 60kph and was so excited when the GPSr showed 62.7kph (and more excited when I saw 64.2kph on Endomondo!).  

    At the end of the run, start to turn the buggy up wind to scrub some speed and edge the kite to the top of the window - no lift, stick the buggy into a power slide, drop the kite back into the power zone and of it goes again - smooth, predictable power. But it was pure exhilaration - I just didn't want to stop!   The other thing is I don't have to watch the kite all the time, all i need is an occasional glance to confirm what I know - where it is in the window and what it is doing. Mind you it looks great that green against the perfect blue skies of WA!   The Method has given me the confidence to fly harder than I had before and I am waiting for the next day when we get some decent winds so that I can really put it through it's paces and push harder and faster and this time get the 65kph on the GPSr!   I have also flown it static on the beach and had great fun and despite it not being a lifty kite was still able to do some pretty impressive jumps!     I have tried high-performance race-kites and didn't enjoy the experience, the Method is a compromise it gives me speed and performance with out the anxiety that it may chew me up and spit me out!  
  7. Like
    igeighty reacted to jhn.holgate for a review, Hq Kap Foil 5M   
    After a moderately large and stable lifter?  Consider the HQ KAP foil 5m.  Designed for lifting cameras, the KAP foil also does a pretty handy job at lifting line laundry.  At the Dean Kite Festival in 2013 we had around 12 - 15 knots most of the day and I put the KAP foil up with a big spinner attached to it.  It sat there quite stably for the entire day.  It flies at a reasonably steep angle for a foil and has a pretty decent pull.  I seem to recall measuring around the 15kg pull mark in those winds - not something you'd want to be walking around with holding onto the reel.  A good ground anchor is necessary.

    The KAP foil comes with a 3 section tail, in the photo above, I have two sections attached.  It doesn't move around much and I haven't felt the need to add the third tail (which is now added on to the Ultrafoil's tail).
    Like the HQ Flowform 2.0, this is not a particularly light weight kite.  It's really well built and the material feels quite thick and heavy duty.  It's not what I'd call a light wind kite.  It's got enough pull to handle an SLR with ease.  It certainly laughs at my gopro or compact Panasonic camera and rig.

    In lightwish winds - say 10 knots, you'd probably be ok with 150lb spectra.  In moderate winds I use 500lb spectra which also has the advantage of being a bit easier on the hands.  I usually don't try to fly this off the reel - I run the line out first and anchor it, then connect the kite while I have a pulley connected to the flying line and then walk back to the anchor with the kite gaining altitude along the way.

    It's overkill if you only have a small camera, but if you want something with some good lift and very stable, this might be just the ticket.
    AP Foil 5.0 Reviews
    k.A. KAP Foil 5.0
    Kite aerial photography (KAP) is photography generated by lifting a camera into the sky through use of a kite. The camera is triggered either remotely or automatically to take aerial shot and can be attached directly to the kite, but is usually secured to an adjustable rig suspended from the kite line. With this elevated view, pilots can capture landscapes, objects, architecture, and people in entirely new ways. The beginning of KAP dates back to the late 19th century. Aerial photography from kites is, in fact, one of the oldest forms of remote sensing of the Earth´s surface.

    The KAP Foils developed by German kite enthusiast Ralf Beutnagel are reliable and very stable lifter kites for a camera rig. These brilliant kites are successfully in use since 2006 and have impressed many Kite Aerial Photographers by their flight characteristics. The wind range of the KAP Foil is fairly wide. These kites perform very well even in ground winds. The KAP Foil 8.0 is more than sufficient to carry heavier cameras in light winds. In stronger winds, these kites fly very stable without slipping sideways.
    Width 240 cm / 118" Height 200 cm / 105" Sail Nylon Line rec., Polyester 250 kp / 550 lb. Wind 2-6 Bft. (7-45 km/h l 4-28 mph) Age 14+
    KAP Foils generate considerable pull. For experienced pilots only. Strict observation of mentioned age and wind range is highly recommended.  It's available in a 1.6m, 5m, 8m and 12m.  
  8. Like
    igeighty reacted to jhn.holgate for a review, Ozone Method 6.5M   
    The Method is a really well mannered, stable and likable mid aspect foil from Ozone.  It has it's good points and it has it's bad points.  It is not the wonder kite that Ozone marketing made it out to be....what a surprise! (said with heavy sarcasm).  The first thing you'll notice after pulling the Method out of it's over-the-shoulder bag is it's lack of bridles.  With only two sparse rows of bridles and a row on the trailing edge, this has to be the least bridled foil I've ever seen.  The bridles are very thin too.  Ozone claim this reduces drag and increases speed.  Probably makes it much cheaper to produce too, but they don't mention that bit.  There is also some internal re-reinforcing to compensate for the fewer bridles.  I never found any drawback to this - the kite holds it shape quite well when you get it wrong and after flying a few different Methods for many hundreds of km's, nothing broke or stood out as being not up to snuff.  

    The other thing you'll immediately notice is that not all the cells are open and those that are, are mesh covered to prevent debris from entering the kite.  Despite it being a pretty light weight kite, it seems extremely well made and high quality.  Next to something like a PKD Century, it looks a bit under done in the building dept, but like I said, I have never had a problem with any of the Methods.
    One advantage of not having all the cells open is it takes a little while longer to completely inflate the kite - which makes for a slightly gentler first launch - it doesn't have the tendency to race off the ground and want to rip your arms off in the process.  This kite also sits on it's brakes better than any other kite I've had.  It's very well mannered both launching and landing.  It's quite well mannered in flight too, it has a nice, wide window and only overflies occasionally - easily controlled with a little brake.  It is very stable in flight and doesn't require constant attention and has no bad habits that I can think of - don't think I've ever accidentally bow tied one.  It's also pretty quick to turn.  Ozone say that it 'handles like a sports car'.  Um....maybe.  It does fly and handle very nice.  Power delivery is a bit of a different story though.

    Supposedly, this is said to be almost as fast as a Yakuza.  So one of my first flies of this kite was at Kingston, side by side (sometimes!) with Dukey on his 6.8m Yak GT.  On paper, the lower aspect of the Method in the lighter wind should have had it matching the Yak.  Nope.  Forget it.  In 7 knots, the Yak generated wonderful power and was gone.  Meanwhile, I'm sining the 6.5 Method up and down watching Dukey disappear into the distance thinking...but, but...... It did fly ok in 7 knots but not with any commanding authority.  However, the Method was soon to have it's revenge.  As the wind picked up to 8 - 9 knots, the Method did park 'n ride with some speed and authority.  As the wind started to get to 10 - 11 knots it was coming into it's own and the Yak GT was now making way too much power to hold a straight line and the Method handily pulled away.  I've repeated this same scenario with several different sized Methods against several other kites.  In every instance, the Method needs a few more knots to level the score.  The top end on these kites is really nice, even for a hack like me.  They sit well forward in the window and generate good speed.  They are not as fast as a race kite, but they are much better behaved and easier to fly.  For me, the 6.5m can pull me along in 7 knots.  9 - 10 is right in the sweet spot.  14 knots and I'm starting to lose traction.  

    Their upwind ability is quite good.  I've managed to hold a line heading into a 45 degree cross-on headwind without too much problem.  Although I did need to pick up a bit of speed by tacking up the beach before the kite really got going.  Downwind, you will need a few more knots again.  You really need to get these moving fast before they'll go downwind with any power - probably their least favorite direction.
    I don't think the Methods are any harder to fly than a low aspect foil like the Flows/Octanes etc, you just have watch you don't occasionally let them overfly if they're sitting above your head and you will need a few more knots for them to perform at their best.  They do have enough lift to pull you out of the buggy, so don't go throwing it over your head to slow down - do it slowly!  Neither are they overly lifty.
    A well behaved, easy to fly, quality kite.  Add a few extra knots of wind speed for them to perform at their best.  They fly well on the Ozone Turbo bar too.

  9. Like
    igeighty reacted to jhn.holgate for a review, Born Kite Nasa Star 3 3.2M   
    Released earlier this year is the latest of the Nasa Stars, the Nasa Star 3.  A depowerable single skin design that can be flown from handles or a bar.  I fly mine on the same 3 line bar as all my other NS's - that is the middle line connected to the nose (the depower line) and the outside lines of the bar connected to the bridles.  Flying it this way, it is, in effect, a two line kite with a central depower line.  On my 3 line bar, this means using a trapeze loop on the bar to hook into, so no spinning the bar.  There's also a 'pro depower' bar for it which uses 4 lines.  The depower is activated via pulleys - I quite like it but it sort of needs it's own review thread to explain it!
    Same as the NS2, the depower works by incrementally pulling the nose over, which stuffs up the airflow and reduces the lift.  Like the NS2, the kite will sit back a little and lose a bit of speed and power when depowered.  It's quite effective but feels a bit weird flying it depowered at speed in the buggy.  I don't like flying it that way so I keep it fully powered and only use the depower line for unexpected gusts or as a primary safety.

    If you prefer handles, no problems, you can stow the depower line on it's transport loop just under the nose of the kite and run it on handles with or without a Z bridle.  If you buy it as standard, you'll have to separate the bridles yourself into brakes & power.  Otherwise Steffen can send it to you with Z bridle attached and ready to go.  For an explanation of the Z bridle, check the video on my NS2 review.

    Like the NS2, this is Steffen Born's take on the NPW design.  Being single skin, it packs extremely small and is much easier to keep up during the lulls than normal foils.  It's also a little slower through the air than a foil so it doesn't tend to react as suddenly to gusts.  These are the best kites I have yet to fly in the gusty conditions I get at home - they are far easier to keep in the air and pull from very slow speeds.  Think low range 4wd.

    They are also incredibly direct and easy to steer.  Flying them really is child's play.  Which suits me as I like to cruise and take in the surroundings, wave a camera around and not have to concentrate on the kite.  They are also very stable.  For me, they are nearly the perfect buggy engine.  But not quite - they have a narrower window than a mid aspect foil and they fly pretty deep in the window.  This means a fair bit of side pull, more power needed to get upwind and ultimately slower speeds.  I think these are faster than the NS2's  - my first run on the beach at Kingston this year with them got me a 56kph which I feel is a little faster than I could have gone with the NS2's.  A mid aspect foil would have, I suspect, been 10kph faster than that.  I feel upwind is a little easier on the NS3 than the NS2 and turning feels tighter and smoother.  Not by much - it's hard to put a figure on...but everything just feels a little better.  

    Materials and workmanship is again, first class.  These are really nicely made.  They look like they have been sewn with care and attention to detail.  If you want lift, forget it.  You can throw these over your head to slow the buggy down and they rarely threaten to lift you out of the seat.
    Landing is a little unusual.  I used to release to the depower line to land but always found that a bit messy.  The best way is to fly it right to the side of the window and nose it into the ground then point the bar at it.  you can then hook the other end of the bar around your footpeg and the kite will just sit there.  Watch the vid for a better explanation.   The 3.2m starts pulling the buggy nicely at around 13- 14 knots or so and you're really powered towards 20 knots.  Probably be ok to 23 knots or so but by then I would have put up the 2.5m.
    Similar to the NS2, you can stack the NS3 nose first into the ground without fear of damage (providing there's nothing sharp of course).  Then a quick pull back and it will fly up backwards - spin it round and your off and flying again.  A very neat trick.  Being bridled this way does have one interesting side effect - if you're static flying it in low wind and get a lull while holding it at the edge of the window, it can start flying backwards by itself.  You soon get to recognize when this is likely to happen and just keep it moving to avoid it.  In the buggy or in a bit of wind, it just isn't a problem.
    This particular kite is my all time favorite buggy engine to date.  It is just so easy and relaxing to fly with heaps of grunt.  No, it's not fast and won't go upwind as much as I'd like but even so, you'd have to prize it out of my cold dead fingers.
    My review vid:
    And having a damn good time....
  10. Like
    igeighty reacted to jhn.holgate for a review, Libre Vmax   
    I've had my Vmax since 2009 and have currently done just over 8000km in it.  The only thing that has broken in all that time, are the two plastic tri-glide buckles that hold the excess seat straps in place.  This thing was just built right from the word go.  It's very stable, it's very comfy.  You can modify it with all sorts of extras if you want.  I've added a bigfoot fork, alloy wheels, made a back rest for it (possibly the only thing missing from stock), a swan neck downtube and some axle extenders.   Center of pull was pretty good from stock for my size with the buggy just breaking out at the back end first.  I've added 4" extensions so all three wheels will basically slide together with midi's on and flying the Nasa Stars.    The picture below has the Libre 8" extensions on the back end of the side rails but this makes it want to break traction on the front end first so they're a bit too long for me - I swapped to some home made 4" extensions and it's just about perfect now.

    All bolts are SS and none have seized on me.  The downtube/swan neck can be easily adjusted by loosening the four bolts attached to the side rails and sliding the downtube fore/aft.   The seat is very generous - it doesn't 'hug' you quite the way some other buggys do.  You couldn't jump this without being strapped in.  It's also a little heavy for that being around 25kg in stock form.  Mine is quite a bit heavier now with alloy rims and midi tyres.
    Speaking of stock... note the excellent foot pegs with the padding up the side.  The webbing heel strap is my addition.

    I was all set to buy a Peter Lynn as my first buggy....but made the mistake of having a ride in one of these.  It was so much more comfy and sure footed that there was no way I could go for the smaller PL bug.  Obviously, if you need a buggy that's quick to take apart and put in the back of a small car, then the Vmax will be at a disadvantage then.  But if cruising or speed is your thing, then this deserves your consideration.

    I have had so many great trips with this buggy that I really regard it as THE best thing I have ever bought.
    You can see that with the stock straight downtube and bigfoot tyres, there is plenty of ground clearance.

    It's a bit lower with the swan neck downtube....

    The only thing I would change is make the seat three inches narrower to really fit me.  Although with a hotwire system, that sort of becomes irrelevant.   Oh, and despite being super comfy, I think it's better with a back rest, something you'll have to knock up yourself as I don't think Libre make one for it.
    Highly recommended. 
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