With the 5m Rad being the biggest kite in the quiver, and a few pennies burning a hole in my trouser turn-ups, a low wind monster was needed.
If your as tight as I am, then the only options are either second-hand or a Pansh. Now when it comes to kites, the thought of buying off either ebay or one of the forums brings me out in a nasty sweat. One persons 'immaculate' could be different to mine, and whilst shops tend to package things up well, the prospect of a kite being bundled in a bit of paper and stamps stuck on by some ebay seller trying to maximise his postage profit, turns the sweat into an unhealty rash as well : (
So Pansh it had to be, one persons miracle company, bringing kiting to the masses, and for others, just a source of ridicule.
After getting a bit of background info from other Racekites members, it seemed that the bigger Blaze's had turning problems, with the 10 and 12m's virtually beyond help. So an 8.5 it had to be.
Thankfully Pansh have recently introduced paypal, for those of us that don't like credit cards. I was away for the New Year, planning to be back on the 4th, so ordered on New Year's Eve, thinking that I'd only have to wait a few days after I returned to the South-West. Pansh send you an email with a tracking number, so if you're really bored you can watch your kite winging its way across the world! I was still really impressed though to find that it was waiting for me at the neighbours when I rolled home.
The basics of kite-killers and setting up in low winds surely applies even more with a big kite, so a nice, near windless day soon came round to be able to take the Blaze out, check over, and set-up the lines. So, first impressions. It comes in a white bag and as you can imagine takes a fair bit of unwrapping. It feels really crispy, in fact sounds like a giant pack of walkers as you unfold, but once set out, it does look really good. The blaze design is only on the outside, so as the flyer you have to settle with a plain white colour scheme. Handles look ok, remind me of the current Radsail ones (but obviously without the winders), but the lines look like farmyard ropes : ( Although they're green and red colour coded, they both seem to be the same thickness, so can't really comment on what goes where etc, presumably it doesn't matter which are brakes and which are power.
So, lines are set-up and time to fly! With brakes set to maximum, I was surprised that this seemed to be just about perfect and the Blaze soured up on the first go. The lines soon cut into the fingers and then we came to turning! Oh, dear : ( Jeez, its slow! With any big kite they're not going to be as nimble as a stunter, but surely they shouldn't be this bad. It was like an elephant on roller skates. When sweeping over to one side, you near enough immediately had to put opposite input in to stop it stalling at the edges. Five minutes later, sore fingers, with rope burns on them, time to pack away. Another grumble. You need to be an expert in origami to fold it back into the bag, which maybe magically shrinks as soon as it gets out into the open!
Time to Pimp my Blaze!
So let's leapfrog a few weeks. New Rad handles (cos I like them winders : ) ), new Dyneema lines and power rings. The lady has been transformed, of sorts ; ). Yes the Blaze turns a whole lot better now, to the point where it makes it a really useable kite. One thing that has surprised me though is the power. I thought with an 8.5m it would have scary amounts of grunt, but it really is a bit of a pussycat. My 5m Rad will get me pulling along nicely on the board in an 8mph wind. The Blaze was bought for those less than 10 mph days , but the sheer size and weight of the beast means that it needs a 5mph wind at least to get it going at all. That's a small window of use. I've flown the 5 and the 8.5 back-to-back (in that zone where the Rad starts to struggle) and where I first thought that the Blaze would drag me to Kingdom Come, it only generates a little bit more power, not the huge amounts I was hoping for and expecting.
Despite this, I'm not disappointed with it. It does fill that area of the quiver and looks really good. But Pansh prices have gone up once more. It's now just over £90 for an 8.5. Add on the new handles and lines and if it's a big kite you're after, then maybe there are better to be had now. Perhaps slightly smaller, with a larger window of use would be better if you have just a 3 or 4m for instance at the moment. If however like me, you have that middle range option, and need a pure low wind kite, I don't think pound for pound, you can get better...unless you manage to come across someone you know, and trust, with a really good second hand option available.
By : Taunton
By Corsican Dave
This kite arrived at 08:30 this morning. By 09:30, after a swift cup of coffee, I was already nearing the end of a fantastic 40 min flying session. If this doesn't tell you everything you need to know, then read on.....
The kite was supplied by Roy (shore leave). Ordered on Sunday, delivered wednesday. As I said before, we don't get next day in Aviemore, so this is as good as it gets.
Kite is supplied, neatly folded in a fairly small nylon sack. Ideal actually, as I have adopted a stuff bag storage system (used successfully by arctic expeditions)
There was hardly any wind this morning. My wind meter gave a reading of about 2.5mph, with "gusts" of 3.5. A good morning for just laying out the kite and checking things, then waiting for some wind, I thought...
Lines are colour coded and neatly wound round a plastic winder. Handles are better than either my Radsail or my HQ ones and do not look "cheap" at all.
The stitching on the kite is fine and the workmanship of the kite is perfect. I did notice some white inner threads showing through on the brake bridle lines, but on closer inspection this where the lines are spliced back on themselves and the wormanship is fine. I'll keep an eye on these, but can't see it being a problem. Anyone else noticed this?
Roy had warned me that I should check the brake lines to make sure they were the correct length. They were. Connecting up was a cinch and everything appeared to be in order.
Still next to no wind, but what the hell, I'd got it laid out now.
It launched first go and climbed firmly straight up the power zone. A pull to the left and off it went to the edge of the window.
By this point I was waiting for the sucker punch: line stretch, uneven bridles etc. etc.
Not a bit of it. This kite flies perfectly, straight out of the box. I gave it a good work out from edge to edge of the window, figure eights left and right, long swooping passes and loops. All good. Response to both power and brake lines was fine. even in this slight breeze, there was a lot of power in the zone and now I can't wait to get it out with the buggy.
I've read all the other Pansh reviews and I'm aware they've had their teething problems. However, their web site states that they've addressed these and, if this kite's anything to go by, they have. Go and get one!!
I'll be putting a 12m on my wish-list for still conditions....
By : Corsican Dave
This kite was released by Pansh last Thursday, and quickly spotted by certain Racekite members ...
Been first off the block meant I had the first Pansh Ace in the UK in my hands on Tuesday. Quick delivery from Pansh!!
Unpacking the box revealed a simple stuff sac. Handles like a low quality version of HQ beamer, and some lines. While one person has said the 170/110kg Dymeema line are better than previous Pansh, I'd hate to see the originals, these seen thick and braided. No instructions, keyring or stickers.
As I was home late from work and it was getting dark grabbed a set of Ozone lines/handles and headed out across the fields.
Unpacking the kite avoiding the country pancakes, and can confirm:
- Well made and stitched. The fabric is a crisp ripstop, doesn't feel too heavy
- It has a race kite AR (4.5 ish)
- All edge reinforced with grey soft nylon tape. Its not Mylar that Ozone use, but it looks serviceable.
- White diagonal internal braces just inside the LE, act as supports for the A bridle.
- The Air intakes are set back slightly from the LE. Means the front profile of the kite is aerodynamically rounded
- The orange scrips at 30% chord are also diagonal bracing from mid rib to front surface. And act as reinforcement points for the B bridle. Can't help but think white, red or black, would look better in the air.
- The tip dirt outs are very small - 5cm long velcro, but its good to see them.
- The bridle is FULLY STICHED, I wasn't expecting that. The bridles are a little thick with coloured flecks and "rough", but look serviceable. No line retaining loops or velcro
- Bridle attachment points are taken into the kite and stitched back onto the rib in a diagonal v shape. Very nice and strong detailing
So far so good, lines out and kite attached. Ace sitting up into the wind at 50% height very nicely.
Back at the handles and pull, kite rises, inflates very quickly, 10ft scud and straight up to zenith. Try the brakes, they are a bit off/on, but the kite deflates nicely and controllable, and sinks back to ground. COOL! Flew safely out of the bag.
Spent the next 10mins flying the kite across the window, more 10foot + scuds (not a good idea in that field!). What I found out.
- Pulls steadily and hard, and defiantly generates apparent wind. It accelerates across the window
- Needs a lot of power line input to turn sharply, but can be turned on a wingtip on the brakes.
- Due to the apparent wind you can fly it out of the window, or overfly the zenith. However I was able to recover the couple of luffs, and in this wind the kite re-inflated in the window smoothly, without fuss.
- You can park the kite at the top, which I did for a few gusts and a rest. Yes there was a little lift, even in that wind.
- Inverted take off - no problem
- I was figure 8ing the kite in the window really enjoying it, when I realised the wind had almost entirely died. By keeping the kite moving I was flying on apparent wind alone. To prove it I stopped the kite and it instantly fell out of the sky!
All but dark now, packed up stumbled back across the fields, to see the smoke rising vertically from our chimney. Huge smile on my face.
So ended possibly the first Pansh Ace outside China (?). If I can't claim that, I can at least claim to have the first ever Pansh Ace to smell of Cow P**
Second flight up on the Downs last night, gusty as hell 20mph, with huge holes, but the Ace was stable and pulling like a truck. A real workout. It has some lift and some report it even gave a "significant member" of our club an accidental "jump" (lofting).
Comments from other club members included:
* "shaped like a blade 4" ...
* "fabric seems a bit absorbent"
In conclusion a great kite for £100 quid, let alone half the price. Got to try it in the buggy next, but its natural home might be up against the Blade on a Board.
By : andya