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Some Zen observations


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#1 kwmf

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 11:44 PM

I must be getting at this Revolution thing because I'm able to notice and articulate more and more these days .... Posted Image

Anyways .... I had a chance to get the Zen out for a little this weekend in some nasty conditions and then follow up with a 1.5 B-series in the same conditions and get a better feel for some of the characteristics. The wind was ranging from zero to 10mph, maybe a bit more - definitely ranging beyond comfortable on a stock Zen and frame. To cut myself a little slack, while it is normally very choppy and gusty where I flew, the wind only got stronger and nastier as I was attaching the bottom lines to the kite. Due to some space restrictions, all the flying was on 50' lines.

I decided that I'd put it up anyway to see if the wind went back to the Zen wind that existed before. If it didn't return to what it was then I was going to have the perfect conditions to try the Race Rods head to head with the Zen rods. Up she went and about 5-10 minutes later down she came for the frame switch.

After switching out to a full race frame I hit the sky again and was immediately MUCH happier in that the frame felt like it would take those winds with ease. Having far more confidance in my frames ability to not break I was able to fly happier with a bigger window and less stress. With the gusty conditions I often find myself in, this frame is likely going to see a lot more use than the Zen frame which will probably be used for totally light conditions. I do have a 2-wrap middle to try the iQuad setup, but for now I will fly with a uniform frame while my brain gets a good feel for it. Naturally I wasn't able to feel out the Zen vs Race setups in light wind only, but when the wind was down I didn't feel I was hampered in any way by the Race frame ... so to me and my current abilities the Race rods feel like they have the same light wind ability with the strength to go beyond the Zen's 6mph upper limit.

That said, there is definitely a "BUT" following that statement which I found while flying. It may just be my skills that is causing the "BUT" ... but I suspect that it has more to do with the design intention of the Zen. The "BUT" is simply this .... while the Zen handled the stronger winds far more confidantly now, it didn't fly very well in them for me. When the wind was up, I found the Zen fairly resistant to brake/turning inputs. It felt like it actually resisted the request to turn when it was very strongly loaded, yet when the winds were down it turned with ease. The reason I suspect the design intention (I'm guessing the bridle here) is that the kite turned with the greatest of ease when the wind was lower and in it's intended wind range. To be honest, I found I was over controlling a bit in the lower range with the Zen being more sensitive to inputs ... which makes sense in low wind range kites. Basically the Zen flew great in it's intended wind range and okay outside of that.


After a while the gusts were making the Zen a little truck like, so I decided to fly the B head to head against it. The low wind moments would give me a feel for how much easier it is with the Zen in low wind, the high winds would be normal 1.5 flying. Unhooked the Zen, attached my B series (full sail with Race Rods) to the lines and up I went for round 3.

The 1.5 was a much faster machine than the Zen ... it almost felt TOO fast to begin with. That said, those who feel the Zen is slow and truck like (*cough* Bart *cough*) - I saw enough zippy movement in my Zen flying (usually over control from what I planned) to say that this is not so. It certainly is slower than a 1.5 series, but I personally wouldn't call it slow. It's a different style of flying tailored for the low wind range that has dictated some speed be sacrificed for the ability to fly in those winds. I guess if that's not your cup of tea and you NEEEEEEEED to have the 1.5 speed then best stay away from the Zen. Personally I'd rather be flying a slightly slowER style than sitting on the sidelines.

The other thing that was apparent was that in the low (near zero) wind lulls, the Zen was clearly a much easier machine to fly than the B series. While I didn't fall out the sky, I had to work a lot harder and if it was a pure low wind afternoon I would definitely want to spend an easier time on the Zen then have to work harder on the B series.

The Zen certainly performs as advertised - specialist machine for a very specific wind range and noticably easier in low wind than the 1.5 series. With a frame switch it does fly higher without issue, but I found it to not really like that range. If you have low winds that gust high, I found the Race frame to be a good frame to switch to without sacrificing low wind ability.

Just my $0.02 worth, your mileage may vary...

#2 kitecowboy

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:55 AM

I like the Zen too.
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#3 Kitelife

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:57 AM

Great review, thanks. :)

John Barresi

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#4 beach

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 12:01 PM

Very good review, thank you for posting..... BenPosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

#5 stroke survivor

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 04:26 PM

Having flown a Rev 1 for a long time before getting a 1.5, I agree, it's a different type of flying! :) A little slower, but still so much control!!:kid_smartass: It's easy to say that the 1.5 is "faster", but I just call it "different"!!:kid_content: All the kites have their own "style", we just need to adapt to it!!:) Try a Rev 2 if you want "speed"!!:kid_devlish:

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#6 kwmf

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 03:21 AM

For pure speed I fly a Prism Micron Posted Image

I have yet to try a Rev 2, but if rumours turn out to be true there is likely a vented one in my future next year.

#7 kitecowboy

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:47 AM

For pure speed I fly a Prism Micron Posted Image

I have yet to try a Rev 2, but if rumours turn out to be true there is likely a vented one in my future next year.



you will need more than your 9 foot lines or you will spend all your time spinning in circles like you do with that micron. Posted Image
Cowboy, rocks in your pockets couldn't hurt.

#8 jburka

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:58 AM

you will need more than your 9 foot lines or you will spend all your time spinning in circles like you do with that micron. Posted Image


I rather like my 9' lines with my Rev II. Though I prefer my 15'. The 25' strike me as being just on the verge of too long.

#9 kwmf

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 08:38 AM

I don't even own 9' lines... I have 5, 8, 12, 20, 30, 50 and 80 :)

#10 stroke survivor

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:50 AM

Put that Rev 2 on 80' lines and it's a fun time!!!:) Again, it's a different type of feel, a little less precise, a lot more speed!!:) When the wind picked up and made my Rev 1 too much of a handful, I'd swap the Rev2 into it's place, same lines, handles, and enjoy!!!:lol:

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#11 kitecowboy

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 06:28 PM

I don't even own 9' lines... I have 5, 8, 12, 20, 30, 50 and 80 Posted Image



i just knot my handles right to the bridel.
Cowboy, rocks in your pockets couldn't hurt.

#12 kwmf

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 11:43 PM

Knowing you ... I'm not surprised. Posted Image
Maybe you should take a few lessons from your kid on how to do things the right way Posted Image



#13 Kitelife

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 01:50 PM

Rumor has it there's a B-2 on the way for 2011, a Rev II sized B-Series. ;)

John Barresi

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#14 kwmf

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 10:19 PM

Aye, that would be the rumor I was referring to.

I'm considering a vented for monster winds (my anti-zen), but we'll have to wait and see what the design intention is and what the final machine comes out like.

I don't think much will beat my Prism Micron for a test of reflexes, but there are certainly some spots in my bag that could be filled with a rev 2 size/type product :)

#15 Doc-Snyder

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:34 AM

Rumor has it there's a B-2 on the way for 2011, a Rev II sized B-Series. Posted Image



now i know what im waiting for in 2011...Posted Image
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#16 Scott_of_melnsct

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:30 PM

I don't even own 9' lines... I have 5, 8, 12, 20, 30, 50 and 80 Posted Image



I'm not sure 5s actually count as flying...more like slinging around the weight on the end of the string.
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#17 kwmf

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 11:33 PM

That's what one would think ... but I've had more than enough mistakes/crashes where attempting to sling it around to fix it resulted in no control at all.

While you definitely have the ability to muscle it around a bit more than usual, it's still flying - and I've seen enough video of Spence on 5's to know it's verty possible.

#18 stroke survivor

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 10:29 PM

I think that 20' is the shortest I've tried outdoors!:kid_smartass: I went to 10' or 12' indoor, but I prefer longer lines outside!:) Really like my 50#x 50' set, lets me fit in tight spaces!! :kid_smartass:

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#19 kwmf

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 02:46 AM

Well to be fair, my 5, 8 and 12's are for indoor or street and not really wind powered flight.






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