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Changing a SLE to race rods


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#1 bake

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 05:44 PM

Ok, I have been whining about breaking a leading edge spar since yesterday... have decided to buy that 1 spar (so I have a complete spare set) and change the arframe out to the race set. Here's where I am getting confused....

my kite came with the 1/2" leading edge spars

race spars are 1/4"

So what happens at the tip plugs, they were made to go inside the old spar, do they go over the outside of the new smaller leading edge or do I need a different tip plug? What about the top spars? or does this diameter just stay the same?
What could possibly go wrong?

#2 RevWizard

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 06:55 PM

Ok, I have been whining about breaking a leading edge spar since yesterday... have decided to buy that 1 spar (so I have a complete spare set) and change the arframe out to the race set. Here's where I am getting confused....

my kite came with the 1/2" leading edge spars

race spars are 1/4"

So what happens at the tip plugs, they were made to go inside the old spar, do they go over the outside of the new smaller leading edge or do I need a different tip plug? What about the top spars? or does this diameter just stay the same?

There is no problem with the end cap. The 1/4" rod fits inside and the 3/8" rod fits on the outside, which is why the black ring is around the end cap.
If you are breaking SLE rods, I would suggest setting your planned race rods to the side until you have gotten past the breaking stage. The race rods are simply not as tough as the SLE. You could thing about "Revolution Equipped" (four wrap) 1/4" rods which are very tough and of course heavier.

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#3 bake

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 07:46 PM

If you are breaking SLE rods, I would suggest setting your planned race rods to the side until you have gotten past the breaking stage. The race rods are simply not as tough as the SLE. You could thing about "Revolution Equipped" (four wrap) 1/4" rods which are very tough and of course heavier.


I'd like to think the broken rod was from letting my son fly it for a few hrs the day before plus all the beginners I have let whap it in :) but I will take your advise.

I also ordered a EXP for my son so I can keep mine to myself but... just how fragile are those race rods?

How would the 4 wrap 1/4" rods compare in weight and durability against 1/2" ultralight rods? And will there be any drastic changes to the way it flies?

Edited by bake, 23 June 2009 - 07:48 PM.

What could possibly go wrong?

#4 REVflyer

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 03:29 AM

There will be some differences in flight, but most folks appreciate it as an improvement.

Flexing in the leading edge "cups" air pressure for lack of a better description. The 4 wrap frame can take a big wind (or significant abuse) but it is heavy, so the lower end of the wind range will certainly be affected. That's why the factory offers different tubes, 2, 3, and 4 wraps, plus the "Race" frame.

The SLE tubes have a purpose, the bigger wall diameter means less flex,... how can that be good if it doesn't cup the air with a curve? Well, lets say you want a laser-straight, inverted side-slide an inch above the ground. The move will look much better with those big ole tubes in place.

Many individuals give-up the SLE tubes and when conditions warrant an extra tough leading edge they will insert two sets of the 1/4 inch diameter frames into the sleeve at once. To me that is a complete pain in the tail-feathers! Tough to insert, even tougher to remove,.. in fact, not worth the trouble personally.

Okay, let's say your skills have improved sufficiently that you are throwing the kite around with 3-D moves and slack line tricks. All the mass at the leading edge (such as the SLE tubes possess) is a huge advantage. Back in 1999 my friend "KiteSquid" and I developed a super ultra light kite that used the SLE tubes. We changed the dimensions of the sail, went to longer down spars and removed the leading edge venting. We shaved ever micro ounce of weight possible, but still used those big ole tubes. You could do throws and catches gracefully out to 70 - 80 feet, even nesting the strings between the two kites in formation. Our local conditions require a kite that can fly in zero wind. After half a dozen prototype tests we actually hugged each other in the field!

Weight and durability go hand-in-hand. You can make you kite so light it needs constant tending (imagine an oak leaf released into the breeze, it flutters all over the place) So some mass is good, . . . that makes momentum with the pilot's actions and that generates lift. Too much mass means the pilot has to work too hard. A very delicate kite can't be shared without potential damage, in fact it can explode in the hands of the best pilots if the conditions suddenly turn gusty!

You can see how eventually you will own a bunch of frame sets and several different sail configurations to mix and match.

I pretty much only fly with the Race frame now, changing the sails to match the wind conditions. Elliott Shook makes a mesh masterpiece that I have flown with a race frame in a steady 30 mph wind wind. This past weekend I used it in a competition where winds were from 10 to 30 mph. That is a tough spread, to the point where the competitors gambled on what kite to set-up & use. Too light and it's going to bust-up in flight, too heavy and the wind could die as will your score!

Durability of the race frame?
Well if you just lightly tapped the sticks in the middle of the tube on an edge, say balancing the kite on a sign-post, or a moderately aggressive diagonal impact with mother earth you'll need a visa card and a cell phone. I've broken 6 of 'em so far. The benefits outweigh the risk in my opinion. I order all my kites with an SUL leading edge and a race frame. Heck I want a four inch ferrules too, there's no point in saving weight there! I prefer a tapered down-spar from Skyshark and use training wheels (magix sticks). I use a different bridle also. Either the french bridle or a custom one I developed a decade ago that is built closer to the frame with a smaller hinge between the two connecting points.

The point is that there are many ways to skin a cat, the longer you do this quad-stuff the more you'll develop your own style. You will own a bunch of Rev products, just get used to spending your money for 'em.

Edited by REVflyer, 24 June 2009 - 03:43 AM.





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