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Zen 1. impressions


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#1 Beaufort

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 07:35 AM

I got a beautiful Rev Zen delivered in custom colors this summer. Beautiful handcraft and finishing on this kite :)

But to be frank I was quite surprised the first time I took her in the air. The kite feels very heavy on the lines compared to the Barresi 1.5's (std & vtd), and from my experience not "floaty" at all. Not to say that is wrong, but being a called a phenomenal light wind kite, I had just expected a bigger but also a light kite. Sort of when you get an ultra lite or SUL dual line kite, then it feels very light and delicate in the air compared to its standard sibling.

The upside is that upper end of the stated wind range, seems very conservative. In 10-12 kmh / 6-8mph it feels very safe and nowhere near it's upper limit. I had feared it was fragile and not able to take some wind, but no concern in this regard.

Whether it flies in lower wind than a 2 wrapped 1.5 B series, I doubt, but I haven't had any steady ultra low wind 1-2 mph yet to test it :innocent: But I do notice the Zen wants to move in the air, in order to keep it up, where the 1.5 seem a better at hovering in the same winds without loosing height. Could be that the Zen needs to be flown different, but as my flying skills has improved I am constantly amazed by how little wind a B 1.5 needs when handled properly :P

Maybe I need some more time with the Zen to be equally impressed, as right now I am not. I do like it's feel, and slow gracious movements, and I think it looks lovely.

Have you experienced the Zen needed a different flying technique compared to the 1.5, to feel the "love"? ;)

#2 SkyPuppet

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:21 AM

With the stock frame, my Zen took a different technique to fly it like I fly my 1.5s. Specifically because of how the stock Zen LE flexes in relation to my flying style. Now that I've switched over to the Rev1 Race frame/2 wrap center, my Zen :blue-love: handles more like my 1.5 (standard) B full-sail, just a bit slower, and with much-improved reverse flight and float/glide characteristics.

My Zen doesn't fly well outside of its 6 mph range at all! I fly with a considerable amount of brake, and that prevents the wind from over-sheeting the Zen. That could be why a reason I don't have a higher wind range for it. Around 5 mph it begins to pull hard, and after 6 mph the frame begins to bend sharply with my inputs and counter-steering becomes difficult. I've heard it described as "handling like a truck".

Compared to my 1.5 B (Race frame), the Zen flies considerably better in the 1-3 mph range. Especially on longer lines. The frame starts flexing on the Zen way before even the Race equipped B, giving me that handling aspect I love. In this wind range, my Zen takes about 1/3 of the real estate needed to fly compared to my B. From the top of the wind window, I can put my Zen into a glide that gains more ground than the B. I can also "throw" the Zen quite a bit farther than my B. This could be because of the added weight of the Zen. I think its the combination of sail design and weight though.

I :throb: my :sq-yingyang: Zen :sq-yingyang: Rev !!

(my "About Me" has read that for quite some time now!!)






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#3 REVflyer

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 10:25 AM

isn't in funny,
how we want 'em all to feel/fly the same
regardless of which variables are involved?

#4 awindofchange

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:19 PM

+1 on the above comments.

The Zen does take a different technique to get the most out of it. Because of the design of the sail, it requires a good amount of pressure to load the sail up for flight. Once loaded it will fly in very light winds and have excellent control. Fast or sharp turns can dump the wind and un-load the sail so a quick step back and smooth pull of the handles are required to re-laod the sail again for flight. Keep your movements very slow and fluid-like and avoid sharp snappy turns and the Zen will be a dream to fly.

Anyone looking to get the Zen or that has one now and not sure if you like it, try to be patient with it and really spend some time defining your technique. Once you figure out how the Zen likes to be flown, you will fall in love with it. If you try to force fly it like your 1.5's then you may never really connect with it.

#5 bartman

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:09 PM

I got a beautiful Rev Zen delivered in custom colors this summer. Beautiful handcraft and finishing on this kite Posted Image

But to be frank I was quite surprised the first time I took her in the air. The kite feels very heavy on the lines compared to the Barresi 1.5's (std & vtd), and from my experience not "floaty" at all. Not to say that is wrong, but being a called a phenomenal light wind kite, I had just expected a bigger but also a light kite. Sort of when you get an ultra lite og SUL dual line kite, then it feels very light and delicate in the air compared to its standard sibling.

The upside is that upper end of the stated wind range, seems very conservative. In 10-12 kmh / 6-8mph it feels very safe and nowhere it's upper limit. I had feared it was fragile and not able to take some wind, but no concern in this regard.

Whether it flies in lower wind than a 2 wrapped 1.5 B series, I doubt, but I haven't had any steady ultra low wind 1-2 mph yet to test it Posted Image But I do notice the Zen wants to move in the air, in order to keep it up, where the 1.5 seem a better at hovering in the same winds without loosing height. Could be that the Zen needs to be flown different, but as my flying skills has improved I am constantly amazed by how little wind a B 1.5 needs when handled properly Posted Image

Maybe I need some more time with the Zen to be equally impressed, as right now I am not. I do like it's feel, and slow gracious movements, and I think it looks lovely.

Have you experienced the Zen needed a different flying technique compared to the 1.5, to feel the "love"? Posted Image


I don't care for it either. Not the type of "feel" I was looking for in the kite. I ended up selling mine.

Bart

#6 RevWizard

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 07:41 PM

My first REV was a REV I, which I learned on. It uses the same rods and a "similar" sail to the ZEN. So, I am quite comfortable with flying a ZEN. In fact I am quite comfortable with flying any other REV, speed series or Blast.

I have run across a few REV fliers out there who learned on a REV 1.5 but they just never feel comfortable flying a REV I. I don't know why it is, but is that way.

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#7 stroke survivor

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 08:34 PM

My first REV was a REV I, which I learned on. It uses the same rods and a "similar" sail to the ZEN. So, I am quite comfortable with flying a ZEN. In fact I am quite comfortable with flying any other REV, speed series or Blast.

I have run across a few REV fliers out there who learned on a REV 1.5 but they just never feel comfortable flying a REV I. I don't know why it is, but is that way.


Those that learned on a 1.5 are looking for the same quick, nimble feel, they get from it!! Many are not ready for the slower, more smooth, style that the Rev1 gives!! It's almost a "laid back" feel! I too, learned on the Rev1, and have no problems with that platform, or going back and forth between them!! But they definitely feel "different"!!! And after flying the 1.5, I know why most of the modifications were on that wing!!

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#8 Beaufort

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 11:17 PM

With the stock frame, my Zen took a different technique to fly it like I fly my 1.5s. Specifically because of how the stock Zen LE flexes in relation to my flying style. Now that I've switched over to the Rev1 Race frame/2 wrap center, my Zen :blue-love: handles more like my 1.5 (standard) B full-sail, just a bit slower, and with much-improved reverse flight and float/glide characteristics.

My Zen doesn't fly well outside of its 6 mph range at all! I fly with a considerable amount of brake, and that prevents the wind from over-sheeting the Zen. That could be why a reason I don't have a higher wind range for it. Around 5 mph it begins to pull hard, and after 6 mph the frame begins to bend sharply with my inputs and counter-steering becomes difficult. I've heard it described as "handling like a truck".

Compared to my 1.5 B (Race frame), the Zen flies considerably better in the 1-3 mph range. Especially on longer lines. The frame starts flexing on the Zen way before even the Race equipped B, giving me that handling aspect I love. In this wind range, my Zen takes about 1/3 of the real estate needed to fly compared to my B. From the top of the wind window, I can put my Zen into a glide that gains more ground than the B. I can also "throw" the Zen quite a bit farther than my B. This could be because of the added weight of the Zen. I think its the combination of sail design and weight though.

I :throb: my :sq-yingyang: Zen :sq-yingyang: Rev !!

(my "About Me" has read that for quite some time now!!)

Thanks a lot for all the good inputs and information!








#9 Beaufort

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 11:23 PM

+1 on the above comments.

The Zen does take a different technique to get the most out of it. Because of the design of the sail, it requires a good amount of pressure to load the sail up for flight. Once loaded it will fly in very light winds and have excellent control. Fast or sharp turns can dump the wind and un-load the sail so a quick step back and smooth pull of the handles are required to re-laod the sail again for flight. Keep your movements very slow and fluid-like and avoid sharp snappy turns and the Zen will be a dream to fly.

Anyone looking to get the Zen or that has one now and not sure if you like it, try to be patient with it and really spend some time defining your technique. Once you figure out how the Zen likes to be flown, you will fall in love with it. If you try to force fly it like your 1.5's then you may never really connect with it.



Thanks, I'll be patient, promise ;) I really want to love this kite, thats why I am posting. I like it, but it is very different from what i expected (maybe wrong to transfer my dual line experience to this).

I'll give all your advice a try, and I am sure spending time getting to know the Zen means a lot (my dad never liked getting a new car, because it was not exactly like the old one :lol:)

#10 Beaufort

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 11:25 PM

My first REV was a REV I, which I learned on. It uses the same rods and a "similar" sail to the ZEN. So, I am quite comfortable with flying a ZEN. In fact I am quite comfortable with flying any other REV, speed series or Blast.

I have run across a few REV fliers out there who learned on a REV 1.5 but they just never feel comfortable flying a REV I. I don't know why it is, but is that way.


I guess it is the "comfort/familiar factor" that comes into play here ;)

#11 Beaufort

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 11:28 PM

Thanks everybody for the your good and helpful inputs ;)

#12 kwmf

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:09 AM

According to my scale, the Zen with stock frame is 249g and switching to a full race frame results in 231g total weight. My B-1.5 with a full race frame is 198 grams total .... so yes, the Zen IS heavier (but it's also bigger).

Nerdyness aside, having weigh (in the right places) of light wind kites IS benificial and actually needed. For me the Zen gets loaded up really easily which makes it less than ideal (for me) in any kind of reasonable wind. One gust and the dang thing just loads and fires off in a dead straight line and resists any turning input. Not impossible at all, but you're now having to work it to make it happen. Guess thats the "truck" nature they're talking about - under load it's really powerful and nowhere near as agile ... but a skilled pilot (or truck driver) and work it and make magic.

In all honesty, light wind is almost entirely pilot skill, with wind quality being the next factor and lastly the equipment. With good quality wind, even I can keep a 1.5 SLE sail with 3-wrap frame going on absolute fumes.

I got my Zen at a time when I was so desperate to fly when my 1.5 wouldn't that I got all the gear I could to make it happen. The truth is that the Zen makes it easIER in those super low wind conditions, but it's no magic bullet - not even the mythical Bazzer dust can compensate for lack of skill.

Do I regret getting the Zen .... no and yes. In hindsight I realise it wasn't needed and the money could have been better spent on other Rev gear at the time. That said, I would eventually have got one anyway so it's not really an issue .... I regret the order that I got it in since I was hoping for some kind of magic pill to fix my lack of skill, which led to some initial disappointment. However, in the right conditions with the right setup, it is indeed a great piece of kit ... I just no longer experience those issues as much so it doesn't get flown as much. I guess either the weather changed or I developed some skill :innocent:

#13 REVflyer

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 04:33 AM

I'm mad when the conditions are too extreme for using my Zen!

I've put some time into it stock, have since changed bridles as well as adding sticks, then really put some long hours on it. I'm telling you, for my style of fun it's like it was designed specifically for my local conditions. I don't recommend it for everyone, but lessons on a Zen are pretty easy&safe to provide. Pilots have time to react, if using sufficiently long lines. The thing is pretty effortless on 120's (50#) if there's even a hint of breeze around.

It has an excellent glide too! Throws and catches are done on 65-70 feet of line without much foot movement (couple of long strides to add momentum before the release). I can catch 120's but can't throw it that far, or run that fast backwards. Still with the sticks on the back it doesn't matter. It goes out there part way, impacts earth and waits inverted on the ground, ready for re-launch as I walk-out the rest of the leftover slack.

It is tough to flick-flak that tall frame,... I've gotta' set-up and execute just right, no sloppy success stories, (or as easily) like on the smaller platforms. That big sail does flat-spin so slowly though, axels are exciting again just like the first time you mastered 'em.

I prefer the Zen until conditions warrant a mid-vent/race frame 1.5.

Come out ANY early morning during AKAGN (Wildwood) if you want to give it a spankin', dark, dead-calm as the sun rises, or even if it's raining! I love to test the alternative framing being used by some pilots in direct comparisons also.

#14 stroke survivor

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:09 AM

Thanks, I'll be patient, promise ;) I really want to love this kite, thats why I am posting. I like it, but it is very different from what i expected (maybe wrong to transfer my dual line experience to this).

I'll give all your advice a try, and I am sure spending time getting to know the Zen means a lot (my dad never liked getting a new car, because it was not exactly like the old one :lol:)


You can throw away most of the dualie experience, just keep the "soft touch"!! Everything is gentle in light wind, get too aggressive and it all falls down!! Smooth, that's how I'd describe it!!Posted Image

wayne from portland
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#15 SkyPuppet

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 11:40 AM

<snip>

It is tough to flick-flak that tall frame,... I've gotta' set-up and execute just right, no sloppy success stories, (or as easily) like on the smaller platforms. That big sail does flat-spin so slowly though, axels are exciting again just like the first time you mastered 'em.

I prefer the Zen until conditions warrant a mid-vent/race frame 1.5.
<snip>



I feel the same way about the axels on the Zen - so slow, and the wing is big, it is more impressive to watch than when I axel the 1.5 for sure!

Funny how REVflyer mentions flying conditions and the Zen...... I had a conversation with SV about the Zen and my other Revs awhile back. I remarked how if I knew then what I know now, I would have skipped the full-sail altogether, and bought a Zen, mid-vent, and full-vent to start my collection.

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#16 awindofchange

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 11:57 AM

In all honesty, light wind is almost entirely pilot skill, with wind quality being the next factor and lastly the equipment.


This is 100% true and I couldn't have said it better.

#17 SkyPuppet

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 12:16 PM

Oh yeah, I forgot to add this to my last reply :blushing:

IMO I don't think the Zen should be advertised as a 0-wind flier.

On dead-calm days I would rather drag my 1.5 around than the Zen. While samurai-slide 360s and horizontal reverse 360s are easily done, anything else seems to require SERIOUS legwork in 0-wind with the Zen. This could be due to my skill level. Or maybe its due to my skill level and the fact that its custom made and I'm trying to get serious mileage out of it.
I'm hoping to get an Indoor Rev for Christmas *wink wink, nudge nudge* After watching the Singapore vids JB posted, the Indoor looks like the way to go when there is 0-wind outdoors.

With just a fraction over 1 mph of wind, the Zen becomes very flyable, although still requiring lots of movement to keep it airborne and tricking. Again, my skill level could be lacking.....

IMHO I think Revolution should advertise it as having a wind range of 1-6 mph.

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#18 stroke survivor

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 06:54 PM

Just remember the logo on the Indoor says - NO WIND!!! Be very careful if you use it outside!! Posted Image One gust and Posted Image !!!

wayne from portland
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#19 makatakam

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:46 PM

Just remember the logo on the Indoor says - NO WIND!!! Be very careful if you use it outside!! Posted Image One gust and Posted Image !!!


I can't imagine that it's that fragile! I've flown the ultralights I've built (one under 200 grams, see the lattice rev-like in my gallery) in winds up to 12 mph on P90 frames with no breakage. Of course, I avoided slamming them into anything.
Mark

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#20 jburka

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 06:39 AM

I think there's a misperception about what the Zen is built for. It was designed explicitly by and for iQuad to use for precision team flying in extremely challenging conditions. When you're a guest at a festival -- especially one where the organizers have spent a fair amount of money to get you there -- it's fly or die time. The Zen makes it a lot more likely that you'll fly.

Yes, there are other revs that a skilled flyer can work in those conditions. Hell, if the winds are that light, I'm probably happier flinging around my race-framed bridleless 2 than a Zen. But that's me as a solo flyer. If I'm flying with friends at the Washington Monument in those conditions, the Zen simply can't be beat. Yes, the Zen feels heavy on the lines. It's an absolute truck. But that sail loads properly in virtually nothing and the kite will do what you tell it to do.

There's no question that the Zen is a specialty kite...but then it's also priced like one.




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