When I first started kite buggying, back in 1994, my buggy was a home-made affair - knocked together from scrap mild steel lying around the sculpture studio, with a plastic school chair perched on top serving duty as the seat! Power came from a stack of 6' Flexi stackers: they generated plenty of it, but with no lateral support I was constantly skiding off the seat and crashing the kites. I'd have to start all over again (this was in the days before traction kiting was banned at Epsom racecourse).
It was hopeless. I almost gave up. Then, my friend Adam made me a much more professional affair as a wedding present: this one was the one that sealed my fate, as it were, addicting me to kite buggying for the rest of my life. It had proper side rails meaning I could hold down much more power, and actually get somewhere without being dragged sideways out of the buggy! A good thing too because by this time I'd met Chris Sands and bought a set of four line foil plans from him: these were for Skytiger type kites and raised the bar in power considerably.
That buggy served me faithfully until one day I saw a Peter Lynn race buggy in the Covent Garden Kite Store - would you believe it, it had suspension! I had to have it, and still being impoverished having only just recently graduated, I put it on layaway and paid a little towards it each week. That was the buggy that saw me through the next ten years and which I loved to bits; but time took its toll, and a spectacular crash at Atmosphere 09 finally consigned the forks & headset to the grave. I was very upset.
What to do? The cheep and simple solution was to buy another PL headset and have done with it. There was a but though. I had made the mistake of sitting in a gorgeous stainless steel buggy parked outside the BuggyBags tent at Atmosphere 09, and I couldn't get it out of my mind.
It was the PTW Cheetah (Popeye The Welder) and it fitted like a glove - I was absolutely astonished; it made my battered old PL buggy seem like a very poor relation indeed!
When I discovered that Popeye made them to order I thought to myself "I wonder if he could make me a new set of forks to fit my PL?"
I got Popeye's email from his website, and got in touch.
Yes, of course he could do it for me; but, "wouldn't it be better to ditch the rest of the PL and build anew?" he asked.
"But I like the suspension on the back of my PL" I replied
"You could keep the PL rear axle, build new from there forwards and have suspension all round" he said.
It wasn't a hard decision.
Thankfully I had some spare cash and so a process of planning began. First of all Popeye asked me to measure the geometry of the PL buggy I'd loved so much, then measure myself, then post him my back axle - which we'd agreed would be kept. He began work on the plans, sending me regular updates on progress and suggestions for size, seating arrangements, suspension ideas, etc etc etc...
To say that progress was tantalising is to be a master in the art of understatement - I was without a buggy; I NEEDED one!
When the dimensions were agreed upon Popeye started sending me photos of the build as it progressed, each successive one whetting my appetite further.
Time ticked by until the day she was ready and I stopped everything to jump in the car to collect her.
When I arrived at Popeye's place in Lincoln I was greeted by a veritable Aladdin's Cave of Buggying Heaven: his garage containing the sweetest collection of kite buggies you're ever likely to see, each one a work of art - Popeye really, really, knows his stuff. And Good God that man can weld! The finish was superb; better than I dared to hope.
My buggy was waiting for me on his drive, wanting only for the fitting of my BuggyBags race seat. Once fitted I hopped in and a Cheshire Cat settled itself on my face: wow, she was, and I can say this without fear of contradiction (it having now been verified by everyone else who's sat in her), the most comfortable buggy I've ever been in. I was thrilled and couldn't wait to get her to the park for her first outing.
And what can I say about that first session? Well, I hit my personal best of 25 mph (for the park, which is very small) within minutes, and went on to buggy for hour after hour - I could quite happily have carried on, but the light faded ending one of the best day's buggying I've ever had. I sprang from the buggy fresh as a daisy, the normal aching limbs absence being a testament to the armchair smooth ride. In use she's a delight - I can hold down much more power than I ever could in my Peter Lynn, and she tracks straight and true the whole time, only drifting into controlled oversteer if I want her to.
After that first session I gave Popeye some feedback, feeling that the turn circle was a little larger than I was used to and after a bit of discussion about how best to fix it, came up with a design for some footpeg extensions - because I was pressed for time (well, just impatient if I'm honest) I got a quote from a local fabricator to get them made - unbelievably they wanted over £200 each for them! A quick call to Popeye & he said he'd make them for a tenth of that - they were with me three days later. So, let's add astonishing service to the list of Popeye's many merits.
I haven't yet had her on a beach, but I'm sure that when I do she'll feel rock solid as I aim for my next personal best of over 50 mph.
Throughout the build, and after collecting her, Popeye was fantastic to work with: he really does take pride in his craft - and rightly so - I doubt you'll find anything the equal of a PTW buggy anywhere else in the world; they truly are works of art. If you're thinking of spending Race Buggy money on an off the shelf buggy from ANY of the major manufacturers, my advice is, don't, get in touch with Popeye instead
By : Kieron
Here's what you need to do to change your bearings:
* A big flathead screwdriver
* A set of spanners
* A claw hammer
* Three short planks or a couple of bricks
* Fairy Liquid (or other washing-up detergent)
* A bottle brush
* A washing up brush
Don't think about doing this indoors!
Before you remove the wheels from your buggy, give each wheel a good wash with fairy liquid. If, like me, you buggy on sand, you want to avoid getting salt water or sand in your screw threads or in your brand new bearings. Note I utterly ignore my own advice below.
Take a wheel off your buggy as recommended by the manufacturer.
Each wheel has two bearings, and a spacer tube between them (inside the wheel), through which the axle bolt passes - see the little crescent inside the hole?
The plastic wheel itself has a smooth cylindrical axle - so there's nothing to unscrew - you just remove the bearings by poking them out.
To remove the old bearings, place the wheel flat on a couple of planks, insert the screwdriver into the axle hole on top...
...and tap gently on the outmost edge of the lower bearing:
The spacer tube inside will rattle about; don't worry about that. Flip the wheel over to check that the lower bearing is coming out:
Tap again a couple of times on the opposite outermost edge so that the bearing slides out smoothly. Be gentle! The spacer tube will clatter out too.
Flip the wheel over and repeat the procedure to remove the other bearing.
Now wash and dry the wheel really thoroughly with the detergent - you want to be able to eat your dinner off it. I've done this hundreds of times before, so a cursory wipe with some kitchen towel will suffice for me.
Do the same for the spacer tube and the axle bolt. Mine was saturated in grease which I suspect had leaked from the bearings. Go mad with the fairy liquid.
Place the gleaming wheel flat onto two planks, insert a new bearing into the wheel axle and push it in with two thumbs:
If you can't push it in all the way with your hand, then place the other plank on top and use the hammer to gently tap the bearing into the wheel by tapping the top plank. This avoids chipping or denting your wheel or bearing. The bearing should be flush with the outer side of the wheel.
Stick the screwdriver (or in this case, the axle bolt) through the wheel, through the new bearing:
...and place the spacer tube into the wheel over the screwdriver shaft.
Pop the other bearing on top, and tap it into position as before, checking that the spacer doesn't get jammed inside the wheel out of position.
OK, we're nearly done. Time to put the wheel back on.
Replace the axle bolt with the screwdriver - the screwdriver will help to keep the spacer in place while you put the wheel back on.
Lift the wheel into position and push the axle bolt through the wheel, using it to push the screwdriver out. The axle bolt should pass through the spacer tube. Remembering to slide the smaller external spacer onto the axle bolt too!
On the other side, put the small external spacer in...
Re-attach the wheel as recommended by your buggy manufacturer:
Take delight in the silent and frictionless rotation of your wheel.
That's it! Repeat for the other wheels.
By : benklaasen
So you've got a kite, a buggy, a helmet and insurance, its time to have fun.
Buggying is one of those mysterious things that it is initially really hard until it suddenly all falls into place. Patience at this point will be rewarded.
Firstly figure out which way the wind is blowing then arrange your buggy so it is pointing towards a broad reach.
Launch your kite and position it directly over you head at the top of the wind window. The kite should feel very stable and should not be pulling you around. If you are being pulled around, it is likely that the wind is turbulent, so it may be more difficult to control the kite. You need to be aware of this.
With the kite above your head, sit in the buggy and put your feet on the foot pegs, you will still need to pay attention to what the kite is doing while you do this, make sure it stays directly above you head.
Once you are comfortably in the buggy, you are ready to go. Steer and gently lower the kite in the direction you want the buggy to travel. Don't drop the kite immediately into the power zone as you will be dragged sideways out of the buggy, all kite movements need to be slow and fluid. The kite should always be down wind from you.
As you lower the kite and steer it slightly forwards, you will feel the power gradually come in. As it does, both you and the buggy will start to move forwards. You will need to counter the pull of the kite otherwise you will encounter your first OBE very quickly. From above, here's how it will look if you take the left hand broad reach.
If you are heading in the right hand board reach direction, it will look like:
Slowing Down and Stopping
Once you start to move it is very important that you learn how to stop. Stopping is very easy; gently steer the buggy away from the kite while moving the kite directly above your head. In other words steer the buggy into the wind. This will have the effect of slowing you down. Moving the kite above your head will remove the traction, so there will be no pull from the kite in the direction you are traveling. Don't steer the kite to the overhead position too quickly or the kite will begin to generate lots of lift and an OBE will quickly follow.
It is a little difficult to explain this easily, so don't worry if you are confused, however once you have done it a few times it will all become clear. This is how it looks if you are on the left hand broad reach.
And again, if you are heading on the right hand broad reach :
Power slides are a very good way to stop quickly, however we'll cover those later. For now, learning to stop quickly and safely is more important than learning how to go fast.
As you've probably figured out, the buggy is steered by the feet on the front pegs. It very easy and comes quite naturally.
You do need to be aware however of your kite and how it will react when you want to go in a different direction. Remember that you can't buggy into the wind and at this stage, although it's easy to do so, don't buggy directly down wind.
If you buggy directly down wind you and the buggy will catch up with the kite, the kite will then luff and typically fall out of the sky. At this point the lines get tangled around the buggy wheels and the kite suddenly powers up when you are least expecting it. Try and avoid it. It is important to keep the lines under tension all the time.
Turning the buggy around and going in the opposite direction initially requires lots of concentration. There are several things which you need to control all at the same time.
If you have mastered stopping as described previously, then you are half way to turning, however this time you are turning away from the wind rather than towards it. You will be traveling on a beam reach and will generally need a little more speed in order to allow the buggy to do the turn and still have momentum to continue moving.
While you make this turn towards the direction you have already come from, as before when stopping, you also need to raise the kite to the over head position or zenith and once you have completed the turn, steer the kite so it beings to provide traction again and it will being to pull you along. If you get this right, you'll have completed your first turn.
Down wind Turning Steps
1. Heading down wind on a beam reach run. Kite proving traction to pull you at a reasonable speed.
2. Half way through the turn the kite should be above your head in at the zenith.
3. On completing the turn, the kite is maneuvered into a position where it is generating enough power to pull you along again. You can now buggy on a beam reach in the opposition direction from where you came from.
Well, that's pretty much the basics, you should now be able to buggy, stop when required and do down wind turns. Easy !!