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    Chook

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    • By perilous
      I have been jumping "badly" in my buggy for about a year and its starting to show as you can see in the pic the front wheel is skewed and the rear axle is bent slightly.
      I have decided to modify a second buggy in these areas in an attempt to stop the buggy getting damaged from bad/heavy landings.
      After doing some research into the different ways other people modified there buggies it became apparent that most people do there own thing. If you look at other buggies on the beach or in the forums this becomes obvious quite quickly. So it really is a bit of an open book as far as what is the right way to do this. This is the way I have chosen. Time will tell me if it's a good way or not.
      Before I continue a word of caution.
      One school of thought says you should never modify the buggy at all. The logic behind this is that if your buggy is being damaged due to impact it is absorbing forces that could potentially damage "you". Also by strengthening the buggy in various areas you might just cause the next weakest part to fail. Taking this into consideration I decided to continue any way as I am heavier than the average buggy jumper.
      I decided that I wanted a brace over the rear axle and to put strengtheners across the side rails.
      Rear Axle.
      I wanted to have a single brace over the total width of the axle. I made it using 38mm OD stainless 316 tubing. I wanted the contact points to be almost to the end of the original axle so that it gave me the strongest fixing and was therefore welded onto both threaded bosses. Some axles are supported further in from the ends on the tube wall. This can still allow the original axle to bend at the weld points.
      The tubes were purchased at a local steel merchant. I also bought a 90degree bend. Which I then cut onto two 45 degree sections to provide me with the equal bends either end.

      Before the tubes can be welded I needed to prep the tube ends so that there was a minimal gap for the welder to fill. This is quite straight forward around the bends where straight butts are all that are required.
      Not quite so easy around the area where the brace sits on the original axle. You have to allow for the removal of the material when you cut it to length. If you mess this up then the brace could end up to short. I used a hack saw, various round and half round files and a protractor to prep the joints. This is quite time consuming but the results are worth the work.
      I wanted to have the axle brace welded in a position where it would give the optimum support, but not be right behind my back when I landed. I decided to weld the brace with a 60 degree angle between the brace and the side rail connections. This would leave the brace leaning slightly back in the finished buggy.

       
      Side rail strengtheners.
      I took the basic idea from a document that Stupid Dave (Flexi Pro Rider) had of his trick buggy mods. Highly recommended if you can get hold of this as he also shows other potential mods.
      The strengthener consists of a bar and two posts that effectively tie the two side rails together. This should provide extra rigidity that will help to stop the front end twisting.
      The materials I used were from an old damaged Radsails buggy. I basically cut up the rear axle to provide me with parts that I needed. Again the forming of the tube ends is quite tricky here as you have to ensure that all the butts are good for welding. I found that using some electricians tape here was very helpful to keep things together.

      Once the joints were prepped I was ready for the welding. As I did not have any access to suitable welding gear (MIG or TIG) I needed to find someone who could help me out. A friend of a friend came to my rescue and I managed to get the job done for a few quid. I was lucky, but there are many small workshops that could have done the job for me. Price is usually quite high for welding though. Again here is where the prepping of the welds can save a lot of money as the welder can work quickly.
      Once back from the welders, the frame was stripped and welds polished off to give a nice clean finish. The weld form was left visible and not polished out as I want it for strength.

      A basic drill, polishing discs and polishing soap were used to achieve the required finish. Warning; do not press to hard when using the drill as it can burn the motor out. (I found out the hard way)
      I had a little help in this area from one of the buggy polishing maestros.
      Guess who?

      One of the problems with welding the side rails is the welding causes the frame to buckle as the weld is forming. This means that some force is required to get the side rails and rear axle back together. It also meant that the down tube is now very tight into the front clamp. The buggy is now effectively one piece as far as transporting to and from the beach it is concerned.


       


       
      Seat mods.
      The Flexifoil seat is designed to fit over the side rails before the buggy is assembled normally. This gives you a problem when the side rails have been welded. The seat will not fit because the front two loops are to narrow.

      In order to get the two parts to fit modification of the front loops is needed. I machine and then hand overstitched two lengths of webbing onto the loops this allowed me to fit a plastic buckle to each side of the seat. Now the seat can be fitted to the side rails. Do this before fitting the down tube.

      With the frame of the buggy assembled the seat buckles can be tightened. I wasn't sure about the plastic buckles at first but they do seem to holding up during use. If they prove to be a weak point they can be upgraded to steel or the strap could be stitched together.

      I have also made a single lap strap for my bug as I prefer this over the three belt system.


       
      With the addition of the barrows and a belly pan the buggy is ready to fly.



      Note: jumping buggies and using lap belts will hurt. Maybe sooner, maybe later. But it will happen. You have been warned.
    • By gresh
      After doing some research on the different boards out there i went to powerkiteshop in Oldbury to try some for myself. I was hoping they had a GI prodidgy and some Trampa decks to try but there was a Vapour an R3 + R2 and the flexdeck! The Flexdeck felt lighter and less chunky than the other three, and after jumping on the middle of it as hard as i could several times, i felt it could easily take my weight(90kgs). It felt comfortable, although not as comfortable as the F3 bindings, and managed to look good. So after finding a comfortable prolimit quick release harness and a helmet, and a bit knocked off the total, i went off with the Flexdeck.

      Only had to wait one day before the first go, and Black Rock sands is an ideal place as me and Jim found out. The wind was in the mid teens NNW and only a tad lumpy with a blade V 4.9. It took a couple of goes, but once i got my feet jammed in the bindings till my big toe was on the edge of the board, it was easy to get rolling. Before i knew it i was going fast, kite in my 12 speed wobbles, i suddenly realised in my haste to try the deck, id forgot to put my lid on! After sorting that out my confidance grew and on the downhill leg we were both getting serious speed up, enough to get me twitching. I have been towed behind a car on a skateboard at 20mph before and this felt way quicker. Going back up the graidient it was important to stay on your toes, because the heel side bias scrubbed off speed quickly if you relaxed onto your heels, there was still plenty of speed there especially if you let yourself go down wind a bit. A very enjoyable 1st day, and now i have hooked up my harness to a pulley and strop i have managed to get a bit of air and try to put the deck through its paces. It has taken every thing in its stride so far, landings get soaked up well with the flex and there seems to be plenty left for harder landings. Landing toe side is tricky but with more practice i am sure it will come. Carving from toe to heel is good fun but you need loads of room to do it the other way, but at least its easy to get back upwind due to the heelside bias. I am sure this bias helps with getting good pop in jumps, as you redirect and carve upwind. For smoother landings its good to come down with the front truks slightly closer to your 12oclock to compensate for the boards bias.

      Summary
      As this is the only board i have used and have only been kiting for 6 months i can only comment what i have got out of it so far. It impressed me with the amount of strengh there was from such a narrow deck without it being to stiff. The more i use it the more it gives me confidence which is what i want as i learn to get the most out of kite and board. I would highly reccomend the Flexdeck to anyone getting into the sport, as its great for cruising and head high jumps, which is all ive managed so far. How it would cope with some of the things the freestylers get up to i wouldnt be able to tell you.........yet
      By : gresh
    • By mrtn44
      After posting a question on Racekites as to which kite to go for I bought the Blurr 5.0m.
      I had already decided that I wanted a 5m but couldn't decide between the Beamer IV, Rage, Crosfire II, Flow or the Blurr. I haven't flown the others although have seen the Rage, Beamer and Crossfire out on the same day as i've been flying the Blurr and can only say that i'm very pleased with my choice.
      I had only been flying for about a month when and this was to be my 2nd kite, stepping up from a 3.3m Sting. I had flown a 6m Razor a couple of times which was quite frankly damn right scary as I tried it in winds that were beyond my abilities. With this in mind I was a little nervous about flying the Blurr.
      Out came my wind meter (10mph gusting to 21mph) and then out came the kite. It was fully inflated and bobbing on the ground desperate for flight. This had me even more worried as my sting normally just sits there barely requiring a peg in equivalent winds.
      I checked the AAA bridles where set to normal as per the manual and took a guess at where the break lines should be as there where multiple knots.
      This baby took off effortlessly. The pull was incredible and I was dragged quite a way across the field in no time at all and this was only at the edge of the window. It might be worth adding that i'm almost 14 stone and 6ft 2. I pulled the kite to the zenith and steadied myself while it sat at the edge happily on its own. In fact it will fly past the edge and drift itself back without luffing. I lowered the kite little into the neutral zone and almost immediately got dragged again. I tugged hard on the break lines and nothing happened. Obviously i'd picked the wrong knot as I got lifted onto my toes whilst pulling the break lines right down to my sides.
      I lowered the kite, adjusted the break lines and tried again. The same thing happened several times until I finally found that the break lines were as good as doing nothing regardless of which knot I used. I adjusted the AAA bridal so it was set for high wind (which naturally shortened the break lines) therefore taking out the slack and making it useable. It was still a handful but the pull was reduced and the kite was more manageable.
      I put the sting on the end of the Blurr lines and handles and had the same problem so I put it partly down to the lines as the sting was fine on its own lines.
      Second time out the winds were about the same but I got the hang of the kite within about 10 mins and adjusted the bridles one knot back towards the normal setting and it was much better. The field I was flying in suffered a lot with turbulence and although the kite could handle it, it took me some time to get used to. One minute you're leaning back and the kite is holding you, the next you're on your butt then you're being pulled by a train in seconds. Fun but dangerous.
      3rd time out in gustier (5 - 25mph) cleaner winds and the bridles set to normal I was flying it with as much confidence as I do with the Sting. The kite had been flown for a total of about 1.5 hours before this day and it was a different kite. I asked around and never knew that you needed to "run in" a kite.
      Basically this kite is awesome!! It handles brilliantly and can twist and turn as smoothly as most 4m kites. It is very stable once run in, the AAA bridles work brilliantly although on the high wind setting it does tend to luff a little more. The pull is incredible and it makes this kite perfect for scudding and i'm sure it will make a perfect buggy engine when I get one. It does have lift and you can still jump fairly easily with it even in moderate winds. My girlfriend had a go in 15mph winds and it had her off the floor completely whilst I was holding on to her and managed to drag us both along! It handles gusts pretty well and is manageable in turbulence as long as you're used to the kite before hand.
      I was hooked on kiting before I got this, but now I just want to do more and more. Bring on the board and buggy.
      I was very worried about spending that much on a kite especially seeing as it was slightly over my £300 budget but boy was it worth it. I very much recommend it. It still makes me smile every time I fly it and I don't regret a single penny of it. If you're thinking about getting one then stop thinking and buy one. You won't be disappointed.
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