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Zen frame choices/recommendations


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Poll: Zen frame choices/recommendations (10 member(s) have cast votes)

What frame do you use with your Zen?

  1. Zen frame (4 votes [40.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.00%

  2. Race Rod frame (3 votes [30.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 30.00%

  3. Hybrid frame (please share your setup) (3 votes [30.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 30.00%

  4. Other (2 wrap, etc) (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

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#21 badinfluence

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 06:45 AM

WHY DO THINGS HAVE TO BE SO CONFUSING??? I picked up my Zen back a few months ago and now i just found out that you can get race rods for it??? Does anyone know what the race rods weight in ounces for the Zen. My chinese symbol Zen rods that say Revolution Kites on them weigh 3.8oz altogether. Are people changing these out for the weight or for the flex issue or for both reasons and where can you buy them in the US or do i Already have the "race rods"??? I am fighting to find a nitch for my Zen and am just getting more and more confused about it.......

#22 SkyPuppet

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 07:09 AM

Here's the weight numbers for the 2 frames:

My Zen with stock frame is 249 grams and with a Race frame it's 231 grams - absolutely non-existant difference when compared to low wind ability of the pilot.

With that little difference it's more about how the rods flex and your preference than saving weight.


The Race frame used for the Zen is actually from a Rev I. The frames are interchangeable between the two.
Most folks are switching the frames out for the flex issue rather than to save weight. The stock Zen rods are a little too bendy for some flying styles.

You can buy it at A Wind Of Change for sure, that is where I pick up my Rev gear. Kent is very knowledgeable!

Hope this helps ;)

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#23 Joe B

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 02:09 PM

Confusing, to say the least. I was in the same boat not long ago, trying to figure out what I should do with the limited info that's out there.

As JB put it to me (and this really helped me understand the choice), the Zen frame and Race Rods with a 2-wrap center both end up giving you about the same wind range but with different handling characteristics. If you fly flat-footed and don't employ much sail loading technique, the Zen frame is great. The Zen frame is very flexible, allowing it to cup the wind more easily than a stiffer frame. On the other hand, if you do like to move around a bit and use more active sail loading in your flying style, the Zen frame may feel too flexy, with the leading edge constantly flexing and relaxing a bit too much for some folks' taste. The Race/2-wrap center frame is stiffer than the Zen frame and thus doesn't present those same flex issues for those folks and that particular flying style. I hope that helps.... ;)

#24 Kitelife

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 06:11 PM

Confusing, to say the least. I was in the same boat not long ago, trying to figure out what I should do with the limited info that's out there.

As JB put it to me (and this really helped me understand the choice), the Zen frame and Race Rods with a 2-wrap center both end up giving you about the same wind range but with different handling characteristics. If you fly flat-footed and don't employ much sail loading technique, the Zen frame is great. The Zen frame is very flexible, allowing it to cup the wind more easily than a stiffer frame. On the other hand, if you do like to move around a bit and use more active sail loading in your flying style, the Zen frame may feel too flexy, with the leading edge constantly flexing and relaxing a bit too much for some folks' taste. The Race/2-wrap center frame is stiffer than the Zen frame and thus doesn't present those same flex issues for those folks and that particular flying style. I hope that helps.... ;)

Joe B hit my explanation right on the head. :)

Both frames have their place (as described above) in the Zen, but I'm a Race/2-wrap guy myself.

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#25 Clin

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 12:39 AM

Confusing, to say the least. I was in the same boat not long ago, trying to figure out what I should do with the limited info that's out there.

As JB put it to me (and this really helped me understand the choice), the Zen frame and Race Rods with a 2-wrap center both end up giving you about the same wind range but with different handling characteristics. If you fly flat-footed and don't employ much sail loading technique, the Zen frame is great. The Zen frame is very flexible, allowing it to cup the wind more easily than a stiffer frame. On the other hand, if you do like to move around a bit and use more active sail loading in your flying style, the Zen frame may feel too flexy, with the leading edge constantly flexing and relaxing a bit too much for some folks' taste. The Race/2-wrap center frame is stiffer than the Zen frame and thus doesn't present those same flex issues for those folks and that particular flying style. I hope that helps.... ;)


I'm guess the description about active RR/2wrap is better for sail-loading style of flight also means that the RR/2wrap handles wind gusts alot better than the Zen rods. So, if active flying is your style, RR/2wrap is probably the better choice. Or if you encounter gusty low wind conditions, RR/2wrap might handle that better.

#26 SkyPuppet

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 11:35 AM

After spending 2 months on the stock Zen frame, I finally picked up a Rev 1 Race frame.

It took a few days to get the right conditions to put the Zen up, but now I've spent a couple times on the Zen/Race frame combo.
I didn't spend more than 2 minutes in the air before realizing I would never be using the stock Zen frame again.

Acceleration and brake performance are where I see the most benefit. The frame doesn't over-bend as easily under hard acceleration, and returns to rest much more quickly after braking hard.
The stock Zen frame would have a tough time keeping up after a brutally hard dive.....stop. Yes, the kite would stop properly before hitting the ground, but going into my next trick/move would take extra effort because the LE would still be curving, uncurving, curving, etc. With the Race frame, this problem is gone. Stopping a quick stationary bicycle is easier, and clockwork turns are also easier.

Upright lateral slides are also much improved - not as much bowtie-ing in the frame. Horizontal flight is also improved, again, not as much bend in the frame. For the same reasons just mentioned, tip-stand landings are also better. Same goes for reverse horizontal flight.

I'm currently using the Race center-spar. I see why JB uses something different (2 wrap) for the center, as the Race center seems a little too stiff. Most of the bending of the LE seems to occur just past the ferrules in the outer spars. This puts a little too much energy into the rebound of the frame for my liking.
I tried swapping the Race center for the stock Zen center. The Zen center has the same problem as the Race center - it is too stiff towards the middle, with the added problem of not rebounding quickly enough at the ends.
I will pick up a 2 wrap center this Friday (hopefully).

The Race frame does not add anything to the Zen's wind range. It does take a gust better though.
These are all my opinions, of course, anyone's experience might be different.

I voted for the "hybrid" setup (even though I'm not flying it - yet).

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#27 REVflyer

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 08:49 AM

I significantly limited the flexing of the stock Zen frame thru bridle replacement and adding magic sticks. (a half price fix and it's a totally different animal too!) The bridle attachment points are outside/beyond the frame and it's held absolutely rigid thru the use of additional bridle legs, in fact FOUR for each attachment point and SIX to the center. The frame now bends on the outside edges, so a flexible center spar doesn't even figure in, expect under the hardest of flailing actions. Spent a few dozen flying sessions now on these modifications and it's like the factory developed this model for me specifically. It's a pleasure to fly until conditions warrant switching to a mid-vent sail and it can perfectly deal with a dead calm as well.

I'm accurately throwing and catching it on 90 feet of line with 13 inch handles, seldom having to move more than a couple of steps with the javelin technique being necessary to add some additional momentum for more distance. I'm flying mostly over a blacktop parking lot and I've crashed it hard each session, unintentional tip stabs and diagonal impacts. The stock Zen frame is very tough. I'm still not comfortable landing into outstretched hands (in a stroller), the big size overall and excessive momentum that offers have kept me somewhat humbled with crowd chasing activities.

It does roll-up landings and unrolls as part of your launch as easily as if you were sitting down in a chair! It's almost impossible to catch a flying line. Remember? the attachment points are outside of the frame, so it rolls around the corner instead of around the middle, as the trick is usually done.

Flat rotational stuff is so slow, you can choke it back at halfway around and the darn kite won't even fall forward. The bigger platform is like driving a Revolution semi-trailer compared to some of their other offerings. Still, it can handle swirling turbulence, a big gust and a dead calm environment. It is also extremely precise.

The Zen is quickly becoming my favorite kite, I'm so glad Rev went to the trouble/expense to create this design and bring it to their family.

I'd love to compare the two versions side-by side, maybe at AKAGNationals?

#28 SkyPuppet

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 11:22 AM

I significantly limited the flexing of the stock Zen frame thru bridle replacement and adding magic sticks. (a half price fix and it's a totally different animal too!) The bridle attachment points are outside/beyond the frame and it's held absolutely rigid thru the use of additional bridle legs, in fact FOUR for each attachment point and SIX to the center. The frame now bends on the outside edges, so a flexible center spar doesn't even figure in, expect under the hardest of flailing actions. Spent a few dozen flying sessions now on these modifications and it's like the factory developed this model for me specifically. It's a pleasure to fly until conditions warrant switching to a mid-vent sail and it can perfectly deal with a dead calm as well.

<snip>

The Zen is quickly becoming my favorite kite, I'm so glad Rev went to the trouble/expense to create this design and bring it to their family.

I'd love to compare the two versions side-by side, maybe at AKAGNationals?


I was hoping to see (and purchase) a commercially-available version of the Zen magic sticks, but my need to accurately fly my Zen outweighed my patience! :wacko: For now, I will refrain from starting up a "Now What Do I Do With My Old Zen Frame" topic, because I probably will still buy the magic sticks once they are available..... And I'll try 'em with both frames!

The Zen is also quickly becoming my favorite kite too. Every time I put it together, I admire the craftsmanship on the LE material, the terrific amount of luff sewn into the sail, and the double-stitching on the TE. Every time I fly it, I'm just flat amazed at how it handles lateral and reverse flight. Especially now with the frame to my liking.
The only downside? After flying my Zen I want to run out and buy a suite of B-Pros!

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