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#1 kwmf

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 03:38 AM

Hi all

I'm back with more questions, this time regarding the Zen. Currently I have 2x B series (full sail and vent), a SLE and an Indoor, along with Race Rods, 2, 3 and 4 wrap rods (don't fly the 2 wrap) and the SLE rod. When it comes to low wind, I can do basic (rough) launch and ground recovery, I can do street style 360, up and overs and rough turns and flight ... Same goes for indoors, although I'd say I'm better at the indoors since the Indoor Rev makes things easier. All my lines are 90# from 5' out to 80' although I do have a 12' x 50# set I originally got for the indoor.

I'm itching for a new Rev and am looking at the Zen for a few reasons, but I'm looking for some thoughts from those who own them.

One of the reasons is because I rekon that at some point I will want to upgrade to Pro series with a custom color and this would be a great way to check out the difference (in person) between a Bazzer made Rev and a B series, evaluate the color scheme before applying it to a set of Pro series AND get a low wind outdoor machine ... alll in one shot. Posted Image

I still need a find out a few more things that could hopefully convince me that I have enough of a need for this machine to drop the hammer on getting one.

One area of questioning I have is regarding the flight characteristings. Can the Zen owners here give me some kind of indication as to how it flies in zero wind relative to an Indoor and a B series. I say zero wind because that is the wind I've flown both the B and Indoor in so I can use it to relate apples to apples. Since theres no way for me to get hands on with the Zen, I have to relate it to what I got. I like how effortless my Indoor is to fly in zero wind compared to the B, but I'm too afraid to put it up outdoors. I also like the effortless glide on the Indoor compared to the B series and I'm wondering how the Zen comparares.

Could you think of the Zen as an outdoor capable incarnation of the Rev Indoor, or is it closer to a low wind version of the B series?


The other question I have goes towards multitasking the Zen to broaden it's range. While I have found times where the wind was so low or non existant that I was tempted to try my Indoors outside, I also know my wind can start changing or throw in some stronger gusts. My concern is for the strength of the Zen in the upper half of its stated wind range where I may fly it over a 1.5 to make my life easier, but don't want a gust to break it. Would I be able to throw in the Rev I spars (3 or 4 wrap) and essentially have a Rev I to fly, or will that result in a poorly performing kite?

If I can just throw in some stronger spars to safeguard my kite, then that will broaden the range I can use it in which will mean I can fly it more often instead of having an expensive specialty kite. I would think of progressing up along the lines of Zen standard to Zen with 3 wrap to B series as the wind goes up.


So lets hear it from you Zen owners out there...

Steve

#2 REVflyer

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 07:08 AM

lots of questions asked, I'll try cover some of 'em from my own perspective.

The Zen is a big presence on the end of your lines, (more like mac truck than a high performance sports car). It will turn, but make no mistake about it, it's not a teensy wrist flick to effect action on the other end. I grabs air so much that is seems willing to bend intself in half, but it's purpose is no wind flight for team flying.

I used it in competition last weekend in Richmond Virginia. I was disappointed, it's simply too slow for my competing efforts, but it never touched the ground or wiggled unless I told it to do so.

So, can you modify the kite for a larger wind range?, certainly but that's not the point, team flying in zero wind is it's marketing mantra!

The most versatile platform is the 1point 5 size. It will fly in no-wind and when the porta-potties have blown over.

To me the Zen is an oversized B-series pro, slow and precise, flight worthy when most everything else isn't. If I had six folks standing next to us this weekend it's would be the first thing outa' my bag!

I've flown mine sitting on the truck tailgate in 14 mph, but I did "give ground" during sudden power surges & flew out of the central power zone when necessary.

It will do all the tricks, but the flick-flak is mighty tough to make effortless looking on such a big size format. Gotta' set-up properly and execute everything just right, the 1point5s do this trick almost without thinking about it. Quarter-turn flick flaks and flack-to-landing stuff, now I don't have as much experience with the Zen as the 1.5s either, easily by a factor of 100!

The Zen has a beautiful axel, so slow you can go to the bathroom before it's finished rotating around. With all of that time you need to get it totally flat, (to look great!) again good set-up and some practice will make this a magical and repeatable operation.

I have 1.5 shaped kites that will match the Zen's performance, but they are heavily modified towards a low-wind objective, and it's doubtful I'd push any of 'em up to 14 mph either!

I've flown the Zen indoors but you need a big area and longer lines to make it worth the extra effort. I'm not a fan of the indoor rev (it's too squirrelly for me), certainly not outside unless it's on ten feet of string between the trees so no sudden gusts can wreck havoc.

The Zen was designed for guy like me, willing to put in the time to "LAmaster" it, certainly I have the proper location and wind conditions for it too. The best part is it's unbelievable, right out of the FEDEX tube! I changed the top tow points for my flying lines shorter by a few inches because I like a very long top leader on my handles. The Zen responds very well to a longer throw handle, which is my preference anyway.

If you can afford this level of luxury then order one for yourself, you will not be disappointed. No one kite is going to make you the next Johnny Bee either!

#3 kwmf

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 07:35 AM

I was hoping Mr Low Wind would answer .... Posted Image

I'm not at the point of modifying any of my 1.5 wings, so I'm trying to get a sense of a stock standard Zen when compared to a stock standard Indoor and full sail B - since these are what I have and have experience with.

I'm not looking to modify the Zen in any way, just wondering if a simple frame switch from Zen rods to Rev I rods is worthwhile if the need arises or if it just ruins the Zen entirely.

I hear you regarding how squirly the Indoor is, but I must be getting used to it because if I fly the B inside back to back with the Indoor, the B feels like a bus and I can't make it twitchy enough Posted Image
(Strange thing is I have no problem with the B outdoors street style)

How would you compare the float and glide of the Zen indoors to the Indoor and the the B series?
How much extra effort was it compared to the Indoor?

I'm not planning to fly the Zen indoors, thats what I have an Indoor for, but it will give me a frame of reference. To drop $440 plus international shipping, I'm going to need to justify spending that amount of money, and if it's a narrow band specialty tool I'm going to have a harder time justifying that right now. If its range can scale up a bit more, then I find myself looking at a low wind machine plus the ability to fly it into the 1.5 series range if I feel like a slower moving larger wing.

If I was over there I'd just get with someone who has one, but for now I have to try relate it to the standard stuff that I got.

Thanks
Steven



#4 Kite.Whisperer

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 10:57 AM

Steven, I am far from an expert when it comes to the Zen but the experience that I have had with it compares to flying the B series linked directly to the frame instead of going to the bridle. Turns are a lot slower and you have to really take it there, my first few times on Jynx's Zen, I could not even get it off the ground till I shortened up the brake lines almost to where I fly my B in no wind but on much longer lines. On B handles, that is two knots out from the bottom and all the way out on the top. She hates it when I do that and don't tell her :kid_devlish: (grins) Once you hold it for a little while it starts to feel like a cross between a B and a Blast with out the speed that either will give you.

I'm right there with you on the investment point of view, If I were a competitor or a regular performer, I might have already added one to my collection but as a basic teacher, I can't justify the expense just yet. Maybe when I am as good as Johny B, (chuckle) then I will have one or two in the bag and ready to stack them.
Peace of mind is only as far away as the next flying field.

Rev it up!

Brett W
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#5 REVflyer

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 04:09 AM

The latest nickname hung on me was "tall one who flails" (guessing that is my american indian handle?)

your real question is on investment return,.. is the darn thing worth the money to YOU?

That my friend is a question only you can answer. Can you afford a kite that does one thing exceeding well?
It team flies in zero wind!

There are better indoor kites, many use the REV model with complete satisfaction, there's better all-around performance outdoors with the B-series Pros, at least that is my opinion.

Why discuss modifying the zen's parameters when there are decades worth of mods available for the 1.5s? Would 440 dollars worth of modifications to your 1point5s create the same zen like experience?

If you want a Zen then you shall have one, even if it means canned pork & beans 3 nights a week, all winter long! If you're caught-up on the price then wait, somebody will get sick of theirs and dump it for a song. The buyer expecting this thing to make them fly isn't being realistic! It's still about a decent flying location and the pilot's experience, more so than any kite.

I love my Zen, it has a unique spot in my kite bag, but when I need to "be the show" that would not be my first choice. The Zen is a kite for relaxing with friends, gabbing with the crowd and giving a lesson to someone who needs a cheering up session (or is really cute!).

I don't own a stock Zen, so my input my be quite useless to you Steven. Mine is manufactured differently than the approved standard. (it was a struggle with Bazzer and Dantonio too, emails and phone calls) My Zen has an SUL leading edge sleeve and additional reinforcing patches along the leading edge where the sail folds and at the exact center. In flight these patches alter the leading edge's shape compared to the stockers my club-mates own. Mine forms three straight line bends and everyone else's bends in a smooth transitional curvature. Mine was specifically constructed to abuse, (street kite) highly reinforced where I need it and skinny-butt-bare where I don't want any weight. You can always ADD mass, thru insertion of a heavier tube, affixing lights or rare earth magnets, even a couple of pieces of tungsten.

I immediately replace the bridles on all my 1.5 kites upon receipt, I ask Revolution to not include it, but they always do!
install magic sticks (training wheels) and order them from the factory (thru a retailer naturally!) as SUL leading edge sleeves regardless of the venting configuration desired.

Some people like how my kites fly and some folks don't, the point is with experience you'll develop your own unique style. My kites have been modified towards the objective I place the highest importance upon. One of the first things I'm after is neutral flight dynamics, (otherwise can't fly one-handed) second has got to be the lower end of the wind range (otherwise can't fly at all!)

#6 kwmf

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 04:52 AM

your real question is on investment return,.. is the darn thing worth the money to YOU?


You're absolutely correct ... which is why I'm trying to get a feel for how it behaves and what you can do with it. If anyone would care to send me one or fly me over there to try one I'd be happy to figure it out that way too Posted Image

I've since found a bit more reading on the Zen and I'm closer towards getting one, but not entirely there yet. Financially speaking, I can indeed to get myself a Zen but for the cost I'd like to be fairly comfortable that I get a bang for buck I'm happy with. I currently have a full sail and vent B series and an indoor, so the questions with regards to bang for buck also account for that.

Altho I won't be doing team with the Zen and it's unlikely I'll be doing street with it over my B, I'm comfortable with what I've read about it so far to reassure me that the low wind performance is something that I will enjoy. Probably the main remaining question in my head right now is how will the Zen behave if I want to take it beyond it's wind range a bit by switching out to 3 wrap Rev 1 spars?

If the Rev 1 spars are not going to turn the Zen into a bad experience then I'm probably good to go for getting one. No mods, just an additional frame set so I can fly the bigger sail in a bit more wind if I'd like to.

BTW, I'd be interested in hearing about your street reinforcements some day when I get better at that style of flying.

Cheers, Steven

#7 John F

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 08:47 PM

I have had a Zen for a few weeks now. Been flying inland in Colorado at 5000 feet. I have been flying the Zen much more than my 1.5's. I find it very nice on 30 foot lines in low wind. More of a street flying style. I never tried my Indoor outside, I like the Zen for that because if a gust comes up the Zen handles it well. The Indoor has much more float and lot less inertia. Catches are not easy with the Zen.

I am still not sure I will use the Zen for competition. I don't like its turns. It is hard to snap turn. I have not done a decent flick much lest a flack. When trying to move the Zen to a snappy beat in ballet it is not that responsive as compared to 1.5. There is a tendency to oversteer. That will be overcome with practice.

I love the way it looks. I got the Mardi Gras colors with lime verticals. It looks brilliant in the sky with back light. It has great presence.

Loves to fly backwards, and loves to axle. Multi Axles and cascading axles are very easy.

Strong things.

Street Flying
Looks
Axles

Weak
Turns precision
and up tempo ballet.

John

#8 kwmf

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 12:03 AM

Thanks for that John ... speaks very nicely to the pros and cons so I can decide if it's a worthwhile investment for me. You covered a lot of things I was interested in, and some I wasn't, but it gives me a good assesment to apply what's relevant to me.

Competition isn't really an issue for me, so that's not a problem at all. Since you mentioned street, is the leading edge material strong enough (like on the B series) to handle being dragged on grass?

Steven

#9 REVflyer

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 01:43 AM

The stock Zen, it's 3.9 ounce dacron, so YES you could even drag that leading edge inverted across an asphalt parking lot or sandy beach without much concern for wear-thru, at least for a while!
(The extra mass helps to throw the kite more easily as well, another benefit)

Mine has the 1.5 ounce nylon option-an SUL, . . . so it is lighter in weight but also a lot less durable, that means I shouldn't be dragging it around. My Zen is a custom but not necessarily an upgrade, more of personal direction with the construction. The Zen "fills with power" very easily, so it's trucky to turn sharply or dump all of the air pressure on instant command. Possible, but you must set-up and execute properly to have any chance at repeatability or lookin' good.

I concur with Johns' opinion. The Zen is not a good choice for competition ballet unless you have some decent sleeper indoor music planned out. I need to flail, yank and spank to enjoy myself, whether the judges can appreciate my efforts or not. I've never flown for those chipboard holders anyway!

#10 kwmf

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 02:00 AM

Sweet ... the Zen is looking more and more like the next one in my bag ... just need to find out how it behaves with 3-Wraps in stronger winds.

The dragging is only a question for me since I'm bound to lose power in low winds while I develop those skills so the possibility of dragging is naturally higher than that of a more skilled pilot such as yourself.

Since competition isn't a concern of mine, I'll take slower turns over no flight any day - the only judges I expect to have (unless I change countries) is random spectators. Being forced into correct setups and execution would be good for developing more precise skills.

Only thing left now is the question of has anyone tried it with a stronger frame in higher winds to see how it handles?

#11 REVflyer

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:02 AM

How high of a wind are you planning on Steven?

I've flown my zen in 14 mph, that's WAY over it's designed parameters! It's a no-wind team kite, figure about 6 or 8 mph and then there are certainly better flying stock wings than a Zen.

Remember though, this kite design shape can take a lot more wind when flown inverted and flown outside of the dead center of the power zone. To put an entire 3 wrap leading edge in there, I just don't understand the logic if this is driving your acquisition decision. Just so it can survive inappropriate wind conditions? You want it flexible and those Zen tubes are built pretty darn tough, I know I've had mine bent all out shape with impacts and excessive force.

Now maybe you'd consider insertion of a single 4 wrap (into the center leading edge position), to add some more mass for throws and catches, that I could understand.

One of the areas to watch carefully in higher wind conditions is the down spars, . . . . much more likely they'd fail before the leading edge gives up the ghost.
Not a concern for me as I run training wheels/magic sticks.

Time to order a ZEN???,
you will not regret it unless you attempt to have it doing things it was never designed for, like underwater or sudden gusty conditions in-between two buildings. those are recipes for broken sticks and damaged sails.

#12 Felix Mottram

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:43 AM

How high of a wind are you planning on Steven?

I've flown my zen in 14 mph, that's WAY over it's designed parameters! It's a no-wind team kite, figure about 6 or 8 mph and then there are certainly better flying stock wings than a Zen.

<snip>


I have been watching this topic with interest. The Decs historically (over 20+ years) flew Rev1s out of preference up to the wind level at which they became difficult to fly using a 4 wrap centre, 3 wrap the rest. The larger sail made a greater visual impact against the background of kite festivals. The JMH graphics helped in this respect also. We flew the 1.5 kites as the high wind option when necessary and have only recently taken delivery and flown a slightly modified 1.5 full vented sail for those Berck/Cervia moments.

I think that the Zen offers a further increment in low wind capability compared to the Rev1 given the increase in sail area relative to weight.

I am sceptical about the concept of 'no-wind' team kite flying as opposed to the incremental advantage I see with the Zen in low wind conditions. However, in team flying, all the fliers need to be 'up to speed' in the basic techniques of low wind flying and how to deal with very little/no line feedback. In consideration of this we should be looking closely at the effective movements on the ground that the flier can make in order to fill the sail effectively at all times. <grins> (Just my 2 pence worth)

Felix

#13 kwmf

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:58 AM

How high of a wind are you planning on Steven?

Remember though, this kite design shape can take a lot more wind when flown inverted and flown outside of the dead center of the power zone.

Time to order a ZEN???,


Time to order a Zen - pretty much.

My thinking on the 3-wraps is purely there as a bit of a simple safety barrier to my still developing skills and knowledge. If my B flies with race rods in then I'll put that up first. If I have the Zen out and I'm feeling a bit unsure about the wind and don't want to take the time to switch out kites, then I can go to a stronger frame.

I'd much rather fly any wing in its intended wind range, so I'd put up a 1.5 if the wind is good enough. The stronger rod thinking is nothing more than a very simple safeguard against myself. I've sacrificed enough carbon on other kites before to make me nervous about pushing the limits during my development.

I'm sure the rods can take more than stated, especially if one is a skilled pilot ... But I'm neither skilled nor know how much they can be pushed. I certainly wouldn't take it up to 14mph, but its nice to hear it has survived that. I'm still working on inverted hovers, so I can't use that to reduce the load.

Thanks to this forum and a few other resources, it looks like I'll be getting a Zen - the only question is where I'm placing the order (I already have my colors).

Steven

#14 Kitelife

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 02:22 PM

On iQuad, for our team flying, the Zens primarily play an invaluable street-style role in conditions where are wind seemingly vacuums into like black holes or is switching directions rapidly... Saved our butts in Bogota Colombia last year, four pilots in a sunken circular arena about 120' across, trees on 3 sides, wind was switching 90, 180 degrees at a time, 0-5 mph... We slapped the Zens on 60' of 90#, flew free-for-all 4 people in that space, interweaving 360s when the wind went nutty, then lined up in front of a visual landmark when the wind dialed in for a second or two, then we'd scatter again.

For that sustained effort, I'm confident the added sail and corresponding pressure allowed us to get through it... Realize as well, this was at 8400 feet where the air is thin, making it harder to breathe, and a different air pressure that actually hinders flight.

The Zen isn't as agile or fine-control as a B-Pro (1.5), but they simply fly when you load 'em up right.

We also use them in extremely light (0-2 mph) conditions, but sometimes find the over-steer be an issue with our fast load-up/load-down style.

John Barresi

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#15 kwmf

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 02:48 PM

On iQuad, for our team flying, the Zens primarily play an invaluable street-style role in conditions where are wind seemingly vacuums into like black holes or is switching directions rapidly...

The Zen isn't as agile or fine-control as a B-Pro (1.5), but they simply fly when you load 'em up right.

We also use them in extremely light (0-2 mph) conditions, but sometimes find the over-steer be an issue with our fast load-up/load-down style.


More useful info, and yet again I find myself liking what I'm hearing. I think this is indeed going the be the next most useful kite for me given that I have full sail and full vent B series. I think in my case its definitely Zen before Pro :)

Since I'm also trying to work on my street skills, what you say adds an aspect to the Zen I wasn't originally planning on, but I'm happy to have onboard.

What you're saying about not being as fine controlled and over steering on fast loading/unloading makes me wonder if this may actually provide a nice platform for learning since I don't yet have the fine controls and fast pace you guys do (working on it tho).

Regardless, I'm still hearing good things. I'm pretty sold on the Zen being my next Rev, but given that REVflyer has had his Zen sustain higher winds, I'm wondering about the stronger rods. Granted he is a way better pilot than me and his Zen is not standard, but if the rods can sustain a few seconds of 14mph that puts their survivability well above the range I'd fly the Zen in.

I'm waiting on feedback from my local dealer with regards to ordering to decide how I will get the Zen, so still a bit of time left to think about the spars and take in any further info.

The only bad thing so far is it will take about 2 weeks on top of however long it takes to get made before it arrives in my hands, and then I'm pretty much guaranteed hail, rain, snow or some other unfavorable condition for the rest of my life.

Steven

#16 bartman

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 10:19 AM

I have an irrational fear of flying my Zen even in the conditions it was designed for.

I think I fear I would get a gust (which is all too common here) and do major damage to it.

I've just nicely started taking it out in the later evenings when the winds are more steady here and usually a lot less velocity to them. There are differences to it as people have mentioned. The most notable to me was the turning as it was more akin to turning a battleship than a speedboat. Not a bad thing, just different.

It is nice to be in the air with it when I can barely, if at all, feel any kind of wind and I'm sure as I take it out more and more I will get past the fear aspect.

At the end of the day, unless you are totally reckless and/or have never flown a Rev before none of these kites need to be really babied IMO. Built a lot tougher than they appear when hanging in the air on just a hint of breeze.

I look forward to seeing your colour combination!

Bart

#17 Felix Mottram

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 10:41 AM

On iQuad, for our team flying, the Zens primarily play an invaluable street-style role in conditions where are wind seemingly vacuums into like black holes or is switching directions rapidly... <snip>
We also use them in extremely light (0-2 mph) conditions, but sometimes find the over-steer be an issue with our fast load-up/load-down style.


Keeping kites in the air is the issue in very low/variable conditions, for sure.

I am curious to know what you mean by the 'over-steer' as it suggests the condition where the kite turns beyond the intended point due to the over flexing of the spars and possibly 'too much forward' on the lines!

Felix

#18 Kitelife

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 01:41 PM

Exactly Felix, the over-flex in the leading edge causes this... More so, the all-too-easy flex and unflex.

We choose our frames to moderate the range of flex, making a reliable range of response.

John Barresi

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#19 Felix Mottram

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 01:50 PM

Exactly Felix, the over-flex in the leading edge causes this... More so, the all-too-easy flex and unflex.

We choose our frames to moderate the range of flex, making a reliable range of response.


The turning 'interval' of the smaller sail is always going to be quicker. As we had flown the Rev1 for all those years in preference because of the greater visual presence, the dynamics were never really an issue for The Decs.

More recently, I have highlighted the dynamic issues relating to kite size and the team are working with the consequences <grins>

Felix

#20 kwmf

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:17 PM

We choose our frames to moderate the range of flex, making a reliable range of response.


So do you guys run the Zen with spars other than the stock Zen spars?

If so, can you offer some suggestions for different conditions?

Steven




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