This reveiw is fairly fresh off the press. I arrived at Fraisthorpe beach yesterday (Sunday) morning with the intention of flying my usual 3m or 4m Ozone Little Devil.
Nev/Stu (top kite flying gurus/beach advisors) were already there and hurridly advised me that today was a small kite day. Admittedly it was blowing a gale (don't know what speed but I had to hold my boot lid down for fear it would be ripped off and land in the North sea. It was decision time - I knew I had to get on that beach and get flying.
The 3m would have been too much as I watched Nevs 2.2 Predator start to hunt him.... and he is a good rider. Down near Bridlington is the Kite shack only 15min beach walk I thought, so after trecking up the beach for what seemed like an era - on arrival/small talk they managed to sell me an over priced 1.4m PKD Buster (oh the shame of it !!!!) and I started on my trip back.
I have never been a fan of cheap kites (they pop) BUT.... I was taught a serious lesson yesterday.
The PKD bag looked cheap and I could feel the crispy material (like brittle crisp packets) inside. I opened the drawstring bag and set up. It all looked a bit cheap and nasty but fair play to PKD, it really was unwind and fly. I have never seen this before in a kite as they always require some sort of collective "too many cooks spoiling the broth" type effort to set them up despite the instructions.
The lines are wound onto the usual line storage winder type affair thingy, however, instead of this being separate in a plastic baggy, it is positioned perfectly betwixed the two handles ready for unwinding. It is so easy it really is childs play. This quite clearly was a beginners kite pure and simple - its aim is to ease new users into the sport as gently and quickly as possible. Remember kindred readers, it was still blowing a gale and I had been at the beach about 2 hours without flying a single chuffin kite.
I was getting a little fed up and was rushing. I wanted to boogy and the dance floor was empty !!! Sure enough the set up of this little kite did not let me down. It took all of about 10 mins and most of that was sanding the edges of the kite.
I have read on racekites.com (and yes this is still by far the best site on the net) [just though i'd put that bit in bold... :oP racekites.] that PKDs have crap handles and lines. Maybe an issue for the bigger kites in the range but; I think many do not like the built in strop that connects the two handles together.
The two top/powerline leaders on each handle feed back through in a loop therefore you have no need to buy a strop when deciding to use a harness. The brakes have a bizarre adjustment concept which is useless - apparently you can adjust your brake lines by pulling the toggles through a grooved "wedge" type fitting on the base of the handles. This allows you to adjust your brake lines so that you can try different adjustments. Advice - Stop messing around !!! For gods sake - just pull them all the way out to the toggle and have done with it. PKD are you listening/reading !! This extra adjustment facility is not required. So back to the beach.
Check bridles, lines, small dogs and children are clear - Ready for action - helmet on, birds affirm birds away - a good tug on PKD kite and up it went like a chuffin rocket!!! I know small kites are fast but blummin nora. After the initial shock, something was blindingly clear. Don't diss the budget kite. Out of the 5 of us kiters, I was the only one able to buggy. We all had a bash on the kite and it held its own. Fair play PKD - I stand corrected.
I have never buggied on 2 wheels before and while it was not intentional this little kite gave everyone a run for the money - even Nev who will not switch from Preds ! (although he did keep asking the price of the 1.4m PKD and looked thoughtful even tempted)
The kite itself was very jumpy but it was to be expected in a seriously lumpy gusty wind. When it caught the gusts it did jump into the sky high above my head. When the wind was smooth the kite sat in the top of the window but needed watching. Its a small kite and will move very quickly as will any other kites of this size. The upwind performance is fairly limited but to be honest I was not complaining. I got moving seriously quick. This kite was teaching me how to react quickly. It allowed be to utilise braking technique and also control. A good little training session actually.
I was also taught another lesson. After mountain biking for many years I stopped racing due to the snobs entering the sport. Way back then - if you didn't have the lastest kit then you were looked upon as inferior. I hated that and realised that I had started doing that with Kiting. What a t**t. Really sorry everyone who may have spoken to me and thought the same about me. We are all out to have fun and I repent my snobbish sins.
So what am I trying to say..... I am not rich - so struggling to get the latest designer piece of kit is something that I have become almost immune to. Its second nature. and its not nice really. I would previously sold my soul to get the next best thing. How bad is that !!! After my epiphiny on Sunday I now realise its about the fun factor not the pose factor. We must have had at least £1500 worth of Kites available to us yesterday (not including lines/handles buggies etc) - but an £85.00 piece of kit proved to be the winner.
If your toying with the idea of a PKD Buster stop it. Go and get one. I will be buying the 4m next payday no messing.
By : Al Cross