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    • By Rapt
      I just recieved my third Eolo Radsail and the first 2006 Pro II. (My others are 145 two line kite and a 2005 Pro II 4.0m2.)

      The 2.0 is one of two new sizes for the 2006 line up. The 7.0 is the other new size.

      Things that are the same:

      The backpack that the Pro models comes in seems to be identical to the 2005 models. Not super fancy but definitely functional and fairly roomy. Certainly adequate for the kite, any accessories, a jacket and lunch. Zippers look like they might give out if abused. Don't expect to be able to do extreme backpacking with this bag, but then this is really about the kite not the bag. 😄

      Same brochures/flyers/stickers as last year. New DVD with flight school, step by step instructions for set up and take down, and the video from last year's DVD.

      And finally despite Eolo marketing claims to the contrary the stitching looks like the same style, thread weight etc as the 2005 model, not that there's anything wrong with my 2005. Reinforcing on the ribs at the bridle points also appears to be the same. Quality seems good lines are straight, stitches even etc. No complaints, but no discernable gain either.

      Lines are good dyneema (spectra) with well matched lengths left and right, although the brake lines seem too long for me. Just like on my 4.0 and the 5.0 I test flew straight out of the bag. They'll need to be shortened a couple inches to give comfortable braking for me.

      Things that are new:

      The size. The fact that the graphics are repeated on the top of the canopy as well as on the bottom, no more white top skin. Gives a nice look to the kite. The new sizes have, of course, new colours. The 2.0 being the usual white, black, grey of the Radsails Pro II but the accent is a nice blue colour with a greenish/teal tint. Very sharp.

      The new handles are a welcome and significant improvement over the previous ones, with firm rubber covers with a good "no slip" surface that extends right over the power line end of the handles. Makes for nice holding. Weight is a little heavier, lines much more securely presented. These new handles look and feel "serious".

      Hook up has been simplified a great deal. No need to guess for newbies which line goes where, they are both labelled and colour co-ordinated. Simply join the lines as labelled and laid out on the cardboard cards then rip out the holes to the edge of the card to remove once joined. Another note here, there's none of this Red-Right nonsense here, good boating practice has been followed with red on the port (left) lines. Something I noticed was carried through the whole Flight School DVD.

      So how does the new kite fly? I've only done static flying with it so far, but it flies well. Its fast, much faster and responsive than the 4.0. And relative to its size I'd say faster even than the 145. Its responsiveness caught me off guard on my first flight in heavy gusty winds so my first turn became a loop. Add a little brake in the turn and it really snaps around. I'll have to wait to give it light wind testing. The 4.0 flies well even in light winds, it doesn't generate any real traction force, but by working the kite you can keep it aloft in winds that are barely discernable. Hopefully this will hold true for the 2.0, since it means that when its not windy enough to be moving you can still have fun with the kites flying static.

      As for lift/pull its really hard to tell since I didn't have the 4.0 out for a side-by side comparison, but I'd say its somewhat "lifty-er" (is that a word?) than the 2005 4.0 I have. It certainly had no problem scudding me (86 kg) in winds gusting around 20-25 knots. It even nearly pulled me off my feet once.

      Summary:

      Overall I'd say the improvements are incremental rather than radical, but only serve to make one of the best values in foil kiting even better.

      Will update as further time and testing allow.
      By : Rapt
    • By RaceKites
      I live in San Diego and regularly kitesurf at the Silver Strand where the wind conditions average about 10 mph. I weigh 180 pounds and use a 179 cm Litewave Dave as my board. The Silver Strand is on the ocean side of the Pacific Ocean and the surf can range from 3 feet to about 7 feet.

      I have a Cabrinha 23.5 lei, a 15 m2 and a 19m2 slingshot lei. Of all the kites i own, I prefer the Speed 17. The speed has just as much power as the 23.5 Cabrinha and the turning speed is faster on the softest 2 steering positions. Prior to trying the Speed, I had modified my Cabrinha into a 5 line kite using the bar from my 19m2 Slingshot. My primary motivation for using the fifth line was to aid in relaunch and secondarily to assist in self landings. Launching still required help. Self launches with a big kite in light winds is fairly difficult.

      However, self launches with Speed 17 is easily done by launching directly down wind in the power zone. The kite takes off with only half the usual power as kite continues to fill with air. It doesn't attain full power in 10-12 mph winds until directly overhead for about 5 seconds. I place the kite downwind and put a handfull of sand on the trailing edge in about 7 places and shake out the bridle lines to insure no tangles and seaweed passengers.

      I untangle the line by walking toward the bars rather than walking from the bars toward the kite as I normally do with the leis. When I get to the bar I usually have to twist the bar a few times to get the lines untwisted. If necessary, I can easily slip off the center lines and reconnect if the bar has rolled so as to have the center lines wrapped around the steering lines.

      The key to avoiding tangles is to pack the kite with the bar near the center of the kite but two feet below the trailing edge with the red lines off to the left and the green lines to the right and the kite and the bridles laid out horizontally in front of you on top of the kite. I then fold one wingtip over the other wingtip and roll the two wingtips with the bridles safely sandwiched inside toward the center. When I get the kite fully rolled up, the dirty sandy bar and some of the pully lines are available for easy washing when I get back to my house. The kite is now about 6 feet vertical with leading edge away from you x 1 feet wide with trailing edge at feet and kitebar with small amount of lines right underfoot. I then fold the kite from the leading edge down towards the trailing edge twice, in order to fit into backpack and wrap with a strap. The bar is easily washed as it is not buried in the middle of the kite.

      The 23.5 m2 Cabrinha has about the same power as the Speed 17. The Cabrinha turns faster than the speed when the speed is on hard steering and slower when the speed is on the second knot from max soft steering. Also, when the Speed is tuned correctly (additional 4 inches added to the back lines), the kite will turn faster when sheeted in and slower when sheeted out. If the kite is backstalled by sheeting in too far (usually a problem when kite is used as delivered with the center lines that are 4 inches too long after third use of kite and stretching of lines and bridle has taken place) sheeting out slightly may be necessary for optimum turning speed.

      Since, the wind is usually about 10 mph, I have modified my Speed by adding 10 meter lines and putting the steering on max soft steering. With the extra line length, the Speed is a little less responsive to turning pressure, so the maximum soft steering feels the same on longer lines as the second knot did with the standard setup. In addition, the four 10 meter lines that I added were not exactly the same length. Two of the lines were about 4 inches shorter. The shorter lines, I attached to the center lines and the longer lines to the steering lines. This fixed a problem that I noticed has also been experienced by other Speed owners. By the third use, The sweet spot of maximum power with the kite as delivered is almost fully sheeted our with the yellow line pulled almost all the way in. The answer is to shorten the center lines (with big problems with adjusting the emergency depower lines) or easily adding 4 inches onto the back lines. I suggest adding 4 inches onto the back lines.

      With the additional line length, I now am the first one on the water and the last one off. The extra line length gives a larger power window. The disadvantage is that timing for jumps is more difficult since in non overpowered conditions, the kite takes longer to swing overhead from the edge of the window 30-45 degree off the horizon position. If the wind is 13+mph, the kite is higher in the window and jumping is a lot easier to time and the lift is amazing.

      Also, with longer lines turning is slower so the kite must be moved to the maximum soft steering position. Also, a big board is required because turning at the edge of the wind window requires slightly more bouyancy to keep on plain for a slightly longer turn. If I time the jumps correctly with the extra power off the ramps produced by the surf, I can get higher and longer jumps than anyone else on the beach. The Caution 20 is the only lei kite that delivers the same class of jumping power, but the people on these kites have about 2 years more experience than I do and weight about 20 pounds less and they still don't get the same lift.

      With the Speed 17, I can self land the kite without help. I direct the kite towards the edge of the wind window. When the kite is close to the sand, I grab the blue emergency depower line which pulls the trailing lines and collapses the kite with the leading edge up. I then immmediately grab the steering line closest upwind, and run upwind with pressure only on this steering line as I reel it in and get closer to the kite's leading wing. The kite may tumble a litle bit downwind and even roll as this happens. Makes sure that no spectators are downwind when self landing. If the kite tumbles, detangling the bridles can be a 30 minute project if seaweed and brambles get caught in the lines. Nonetheless, after the first two times self landing by pulling the emergency blue line connected to the steering lines, I had no fear of losing control over the kite.

      Another advantage; I have overflown the kite a number of times through jumping. My Cabrinha would have tumbled out of the sky and perhaps even inverted. The speed will float in the air with slack lines and with a minimum amount of direction and end up back in position within the wind window after 3-4 seconds of powerlessness. The weight of the bridles keep the kite from deforming or tumbling. This is a big advantage when jumping a half mile off shore.

      One disadvantage of the kite: If you are an expert who doesn't drop the kite into the surf, this kite rocks. If you drop it into the surf and it rolls around in the sand, you might as well pack it up. You have a water logged mess that weighs a ton and requires at least 30 minutes to untangle the bridle lines. All the lei users are busy laughing at you on the beach. I have done this twice in about 12 sessions. Washing the kite in the garage when you get it home and letting it dry now becomes a necessity. If you don't drop it in the water, I don't even bother to wash anything other than the bar and lines which I have conveniently available and unburied in the kite. I have relaunched this kite when dropped into the water by pulling on the back steering lines and flying it backwards off the water. This works great in non surf conditions and with 10mph plus winds.

      With the advantages of easier self launch, self landing, huge power in a smaller, faster turning package and the useability in otherwise marginal conditions, the Speed 17 with the modifications mentioned above, is the ultimate light wind machine. Having developed some skill with other kites that are easily relaunched, I prefer to use the Speed 17 whenever the wind speed is below 15 mph. The performance is simply not matched by anything else I've seen on my beach.
      By : SilverStrandMan
    • By Antoniou
      Received this kite as gift last year from a close friend who thougth it would help me get into kiting. Well he was right! Sadly like all of us we can't wait to get the damn things up in the air and I was no exception. Sadly the wind was only about 5mph so I wasn't really going to get dragged about. But she went up and stayed up and until the tide came in from behind us! A little too long enjoying myself I thinks.
       
      After taking the KM7001 a few times I must admit I got a bit fed up with it because of the line set quality. Frankly they suck! They're not pre-stretched and who can be bothered stretching them yourself! The kite really struggles in winds upto the 20mph mark. Tried everything to tweak the line set but it couldn't fly at all. It just stalls and gets no lift. So, I decided to invest in a set of flexifoil Quad lines around 25mtrs and 300lb.
       
      "Now this is when the KM7001 came to life".
       
      Put this kite in a 5-10mph wind and it flies round very pleasently and is quite gracefull and a real joy to use, infact you could get your gran to fly it!.
       
      Put it in 10-20mph and things start to wake up a bit! There's a decent amount of sport to be had.
       
      Now I've not gone barking mad, but this kite only costs around £20 and when you put this kite with Flexifoil lines in a 35-40ph wind on a beach, with a landboard you seriously get moving! I've done this twice now, once at Sandwich bay and today and Camber Sands. If your a beginner like me to kiting/Landboarding your going to sit up and take notice. I agree not everyone's gonna be brave enough to walk out onto a beach with a £20 kite and a Landboard when there's people with kites flying around you that cost anything from £100 to £1000, If your interested in trying this kite out do so. What have you got to lose, I got this as a gift and have upgraded the lines and now have something that it useable in high winds and doesn't break the bank or your legs. For me at the moment I'm getting great use out of this kite by practising landbaording and a reasonable speed in high winds. Don't think you'll get any air or hang time with this kite unless we get a hurricane but rest assure if we do, I'll be out there with my KM7001.
       
      This kite is great value for money if your a beginner so give it a go!
      By : Antoniou
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