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  • jhn.holgate

    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. 

    A bridles.JPGA ribs.JPGA plastic insert details.JPG

    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. 

    A bridles from front.JPGA profile.JPGA trailing profile.JPG

    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. 

    A trev on beach.JPGA looking through.JPG

    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...

    A depowered.JPGA depowered a bit.JPG

    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. 

    A better bar.JPG


    A cleat and balls.JPG

    A chicken loop.JPG

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

    A rings.JPG

    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. 

    A rib close up.JPG

    A stitching details.JPG

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    I may be biased having helped John with elements of the trial, but I think this is a really well written, useful and accurate report. I have owned and regularly used a Peak 1 for 3 years and I agree that the Longstar 2 is a great single skin kite for a buggy engine. I would buy one. There has been much discussion on the bar, but I endorse John's point that if any improvements to the current bar were to result in an increase in price, then don't bother. It's perfectly functional. Perhaps leave it until Longstar 3? After all if you really like any particular bar, the Longstar 2 is available kite only. Thanks John for allowing me to participate in the trials. I enjoyed flying the Longstar 2 and your Peak 2. 

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    Awesome review John. I just got mine today (3.5, 5.5 and 7.5) and the new adjustable bar and cant wait to give them a fly. Build quality of the kites is as good as Born-Kites always are (good fabric, good stitching) and im glad to see they have stopped using the "razor-blade" laminated "Made in EU"  labels that they have used in the past. (Cut myself on one one day - Blood everywhere!)  Having only laid the kites out so far they are way bigger than I was expecting.

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    OOO....now that BigTone's have arrived it means I'll get to try them too <excited giggle>.  Bit nervous as haven't flown a depower before so was cheered by your comment that "I can't see any reason it wouldn't also make a great first depower ....."  My favourite buggy kite currently is a Nasa Star (I know, I'm a dawdler) so maybe one of these will be my step up favourite. 

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    Covered it beautifully John. 

    The kite also looked fantastic with those graphics/star design and was very visable from a very long way down the beach compared to other kites that just blended into background.

     I too was impressed riding beside it with the light wind ability it had, as I was on a much larger kite.


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    As expect, a superb review. So happy to hear that Steffen has made such large advances beyond the original LS. Time marches on of course and we need to contend with the reality that Flysurfer has also just released their 3rd-gen Peak. Nice to see so much innovation in the SS lane. 

    Great stuff. :john:

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    Great review! Thanks.

    If I understand any 4 line bar with single line front flag will work? I wonder how it would take to my original navigator bar with Y front lines? Any opinion?

    Bar wise. I think Born may want to think about looking at the Peak 1 bar and go more stripped down for backcountry purpose? While I hope the market is bigger than just that, backcountry is the #1 fit for it.

    I understand you aren't impressed with the depower adjuster. I still don't fully get how it functions by the picture. What is that between the 2 balls? A metal ring?

    So great you could go back to back with a Peak. As you mentioned most folks wonder how those 2 particular kites compare. If I am correct it seems that LS2 has a lot more bridle lines than the Peak? In turn, LS2 has a more uniform shape and much less tip flap?? It would sound like the improved profile wins over the parasitic drag of the bridles. Interesting. I wonder how much they add to the overall weight / pack size?

    Now the million dollar question ...... Will they re-launch reliably on water???????



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    Probably the best review i have read of any kite.

    Watching you and @Tiger37 (Trev) rip up and down that beach in those light winds. you could tell instantly you where having fun and 62 on that day was really pushing it :)

    The kite has a real presence in the sky. its a great shape and a very solid wing.

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    Loved the video Mr. Holgate.  Continue thanks for all your efforts to elevate our fine little sport.  While I agree that the focus should remain on the LS2, I was particularly intrigued by your section in the video where the 5.5m LS2 was in the sky side by side with the 6.0m P2.  Both when flown statically and when you two were cruising down the beach I couldn't help but react at how much more refined the LS2 appeared in the air.  Both aesthetically (obviously a completely subjective reaction on my part) and based on flight characteristics the LS2 just had the nod IMHO.  This was most apparent when it came to "flappiness".  The P2 flapped and sputtered in light winds while the LS2 just seemed to sit in the wind window nice and taught, waiting for pilot input.  This likely translates into your comments about "sportiness".  Bottom line, Steffen seems to have scored highly in the kite department.

    Time marches on and the inevitable question now arises of a head to head between the LS2 and the P3.  By what I've read (and will soon be able to test myself!) the P3 has come a long way refinement wise, also tightening up the flight characteristics while also reducing the bridling.  The P2 flappiness is said to be reduced in the P3 which would be a welcome improvement.  Fingers and toes crossed that the dreaded tip-tuck (said to be isolated to the P2 and not P1) was a passing fad in the 2nd-gen of the Peak series.  This was one of the major flaws of the P2 IMHO.

    Bottom line, great video of a great kite.  While I'm sitting on the sidelines for now, I'm pleased to see evidence of order activity here on XK!  Kerstin appears to be quite the catch and this inflow of funds will likely allow Steffen to keep her comfortable in the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed!  :dance3:

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    7 hours ago, Tiger37 said:

    Heard from Steffen that my kites are on their way! Whoopeeee!

    I'm right there with ya @Tiger37!  Kerstin just sent me an email that their Czech tailoring folks are sending kites their way now. They've got a 9.5m with my name on it. Interesting side note, Steffen is of Czech decent and he used his old family connections to establish his tailoring facility there. Enquiring minds want to know!

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    Having now spent about 3 hours with my new LongStar 2 kites on ovals using both my Peter Lynn F Lyn and Sysmic S2 buggies, I thought I should add to @jhn.holgate's review. Note that flying on ovals means I have executed a large number of turns but not had any "park and ride" experience yet. 

    I have mainly flown the 7.5m because winds have not been strong enough for the 3.5m. However, I have static flown the smaller kite and used it to cruise slowly in the Sysmic!

    The 7.5m behaves just as well as the 5.5m. It wants to take off and only a slight pull on the bar sees the kite soar to the zenith. It builds power with apparent wind and to use John's terminology, is a grunty kite. In fact on one occasion with gusty winds I felt over powered. The 7.5m pulls like a truck when you get going. It is very fast to turn and can spin on its centrally located white Star. As others have mentioned, you need to depower and sheet out on turning otherwise there is a tendency for the kite to stall. Pushing the bar out quickly rectifies this. I have not experienced any flapping on the 7.5m but did get some trailing edge flapping on the 3.5m. I have already commented on the new bar in the General section thread. The kite colours look vibrant in the sky. 

    I have not really had enough flying time to comment on the 3.5m, but I can say that it is just as well constructed and is very responsive. Even in winds around 8 to 12 knots, it just zips around the wind window extremely quickly! There is not much power in the low winds I have had so far but I am excited and looking forward to using the 3.5m in stronger winds. More to follow.

    Here are some photos on the ground. Sorry I do not have a GoPro but will try and get my wife to come out and take some action photos in the future. Some of you will comment on the number of bridle lines but so far this has not been an issue. I like the colored line loops under the leading edge to secure the 4 lines when packing the kite. This prevents any line snagging problems.

    These are great Kites and I am very happy with my purchase. Extremely good service from Born Kites keeping me informed of my order by email. They arrived very well packed and protected in cardboard boxes. A truly customer focused first class service.




    Edited by Tiger37
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    I spent quite a bit of time in high winds (30+ base, gusts into 40s mph) with the 3.5m LS2 at Lake Ivanpah at IBX. Superbly stable high wind tool. Fully agree with 9 of 10 rating. Compared to the 4.0m P2 it is more stable (particularly with the bar let out) and has a far smoother power curve. This comes at the price of lots of bridling. The smaller the LS2 the higher the launching winds and the bridling can get tangled getting it off the ground. Price paid for all that SS goodness. 

    Steffen has a winner here!

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    I continue to be a bigger and bigger fan of the LS2s!  I just sold my 12m Peak3 and ordered the 12.5m LS2, completing my quiver of these beauties.  IMHO, the LS2s far outshine the P3s at this point.  The LS2s feature the standard two-pulleys-per-side rigging for DP, but oddly the P3s now only have a single pulley per side.  This results in the P3s having vastly higher bar pressure than comparable LS2s.

    Plus, flat out, the LS2s just stay beautifully solid in the air.  While diminished in the P3 versus P2, the Peaks still flap more (particularly around the trailing edge corners) than the LS2s, particularly when the bar is out.

    Lastly, not a session goes by when somebody doesn't spontaneously comment on how nice the LS2s look.  This past weekend I was flying the 7.5m LS2 in striking white and blue and I got a whole bunch of oohs and awes and a pointed comment on its beauty from a fellow kiter!

    Big fan.

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