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What's your favourite Zen set up?


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#1 SparkieRob

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:46 PM

I got my first turn on a Zen recently and we didn't click with each other. It was in very light winds, less than 4km/h and it was set up on 50' x #90 with 13" handles. I had a go and it felt very very slow to respond. Once I changed to 15" handles it felt a lot better but still a little subdued.

Would #50 line be better? Perhaps a longer set?

It wasn't my first go on the Rev 1 sized kite, in fact loved West Australian's 1 with the SLE in. I have a bit of light wind skill and wasn't expecting it to handle like a 1.5. Could it just be a case of a lighter line set and taking it on a few dates to get to know her?

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#2 REVflyer

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:25 AM

50# is too mushy! unless it's a team setting

50 feet is too short unless you're chasing strollers

13inch handles fit a rev2 , not the zen, rev one

Double your glide distance by adding a set of sissy sticks

Any equipment can work, .... you could race a marathon in a space suit, you could even have tens of thousands of hours preparing for that event thru practice, heck you might even WIN! Tht doesn't make it appropriate for most individuals though

You need enough throw length and line set to use all the surface area available on the Zen.

#3 SkyPuppet

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:54 AM

I'm going to advocate for smooth wind here. The Zen is too heavy to drag through the air as you can with a 1.5 or 2 size kite. However, with a smooth, steady breeze, it comes alive just over 1 mph wind. Tricky thing is the Zen's wind window is in a range that makes it hard to determine steadiness...

I'm in agreement with REVflyer regarding 50# and the Zen - I'd only use it after considerable experience with the Zen. The Zen loads up so quickly it overloads 50# fast, there is enough sail area to tow 90# without breaking a sweat. Once you get the feel for the load up 50# works well but it's just not necessary, especially on shorter lines.

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#4 RevWizard

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 09:34 AM

The ZEN is big and slower. For one who learned to fly on a REV 1.5, you will have a lot to get use to. I learned on a REV I, long before a REV 1.5 was available.

50# lines are too light for ZEN unless your into zero wind flying.

Line length for starters, use lines in the range of 80-100 ft. Later you can use the shorter lines with ease.

Experiment with different rods. The most beautiful rods are unquestionably the ZEN rods. However I prefer using in general the green race rods. Also the normal 3 wrap rod I find is quite nice.


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#5 Felix Mottram

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 09:50 AM

The ZEN is big and slower. For one who learned to fly on a REV 1.5, you will have a lot to get use to. I learned on a REV I, long before a REV 1.5 was available.

50# lines are too light for ZEN unless your into zero wind flying.

Line length for starters, use lines in the range of 80-100 ft. Later you can use the shorter lines with ease.

Experiment with different rods. The most beautiful rods are unquestionably the ZEN rods. However I prefer using in general the green race rods. Also the normal 3 wrap rod I find is quite nice.

 

For those of us who started on the Rev1 the Zen offers additional sail area and so further 'stability' and light wind viability but compared to the 1.5 sails the 'turning' speed is slow. The 1.5 flier is likely to pull the larger sail out of the air rather than 'wait' for the kite to complete the turn.  The Decs preferred the larger sails in order to 'fill the sky' and so would often fly to the upper wind limits rather than taking the easier option of the smaller sail... 

 

Felix



#6 stroke survivor

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 12:37 PM

Not in the heavy line camp, I'll use a 50' x 50# set most times, with 13" handles! I find the longer handles too "twitchy" for me, unless it's almost windless! The Zen's size will also show any flaws in your technique, smooth out and slow down!! And I find that the 50# will work in light winds OK, if it's too much for it, then it's probably too much for the Zen too - switch sails!! I will agree that the size of the Zen makes it load so much different from a 1.5 and also affects turning radius! One of the things that carried over from indoor flying, for me, was what I call the "wait for it moment"!! Give it time to complete a move before you give it more commands!! Too much control, too fast, and the kite just ends up confused and falls out!! Slow it down, take your time, breathe!!!

 

I also use a very hybrid frame setup - 2 wrap center / race ends LE and Zen verticals! I like the stiffer feel of the odd LE over the very flexible Zen rods!! Plus this frame setup is a bit heavier and helps initiates turns better - IMHO!! I would very much like to try the green race in it, I have some for my 1.5s, they are super strong and flex easily! Would like to see if I like the way they "unload" for a turn or stop! But again, just a bit heavier yet! I don't mind the weight, after all, technique is more valuable than saving a few grams of overall weight!! My opinion - yours may vary!!!


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#7 Dayhiker

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 03:50 PM

I love topics like this one. I saw the first post this morning & knew I would be in for an informative treat as Zen fliers commented. It is very helpful to a newbie like me to read the variety of answers knowing that they are all correct, well thought out answers from those whose journey on the Dark Side has led them down similar but separate paths. All great answers & very encouraging to the prospective Zen fliers such as I.

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A woman & the kids, & the dogs & me"

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#8 REVflyer

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 05:20 AM

This is a topic near and dear to my heart.  I'd dearly love for all of my kites to fly just like the Rev 1's low wind younger brother.   My current Zen sports the new diamond tubes too.  Man are they sweet, should be standard equipment with every model!  Here's a video of one it's maiden flights.  I think it's on 65 feet on 90#LPG on 17 inch titanium custom handles (19s before being bent)

 

The first one I wore out, it came with Zen tubes (my profile picture).  Upon receipt of the new one I handed each style of tube to my wife, one in each hand.  she winked and said,... "Ah, so that's why these sticks cost extra"

 

The best modification is a set of magic sticks on the back!  This addition greatly increasing the glide distance available (4 lines, all completely slack) and stiffening the frame without excessive increase in weight.  I use my newest Zen up to the time most folks have switched to mid-vents, easily comfortable flying it in double digits wind speeds.

 

I had extra patches sewn into the sail's leading edge to reinforce it for 3D tricks.  In fact I furnished the material to be used for it (mylar backed nylon, shiny side "out" during construction)

 

My Zen also features a French Bridle.  You should know that it was fabricated for that laser straight leading edge and down spar locations on the Rev 1.  I just slapped it on & use it "as is" for the Zen.  What's different?  Well instead of the bottom attachment point for the flying lines falling directly in line (above the down spars), .... with the new panel layout on the Zen,.... this attachment point is outside.  Now the top attachment point on all french bridles is outside of the down-spar centered location always.  How is this different?, well you feel like you are flying the kite from a grip on the outside edges.  Much more precise, instant power with a wrist flick or slight step backwards, a huge wind range because you have many more bridle legs affixed to the sail spreading the stress accordingly.

 

I should fabricate a new one, but the darn thing flies so magnificently right now I don't mind the bridle being built outside (of the down spar's centered location, on the bottom flying line attachment points).

 

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My most used ZEN line length is probably 90 feet, I can occasionally throw it that far and very reliable catch it back into my outstretched hand.  I use 120s in competition and try to end my routines with a catch if the wind is low enough.

 

This set-up is dialed into my own unique preferences.  You may think it's great or crappy, but I feel like I should buy another one right now in case something ever happens to my 2nd Zen or the availability of  replacements!



#9 kwmf

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:39 PM

My Zen setup of choice is "in the bag while I fly a 1.5 size Rev" ... ;)

 

I finally figured out that the Zen is best suited to flying team style on long lines ... basically it does exactly what it was designed to do (who would've thought).

 

Flying shorter lines I find it over steers, really powers up (too much so if you're outside its narrow wind range) and locks into a line that better be what you wanted since it resists corrections. The style it likes is more figures and precision type stuff - things you want for team. Fly it slow and gracefull and it will behave as intended.

 

I own 2 pro sets, but I only have 1 Zen since I can easily live without it in my conditions and environment. Now if I was to be on a performing team flying long line, then I would absolutely have one in my bag.

 

Disclaimer: I fly stock standard kites (couldn't be bothered to modify the hell out of them - they fly fine out the box) on mostly 50' lines @ 90# doing both solo and team in winds that rarely ground a 1.5 sail (I do have low wind skills) and even then gusts beyond a comfortable mark with the Zen. If your conditions or preferences differ - so will your mileage :)



#10 REVflyer

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:10 AM

Oversteer is that slop in the bridle, the wiggle has to be overcome, thru opposite hand commands afterwards or pre-planned movements before

Do you also enjoy the smaller B2 on short lines? Many folks don't click w/ their Zen immediately, I never got along with the Rev1

Team flying on 50' lines?, bet that's a hoot,

Mods on kite are like anything else, most folks can be completely satisfied with a product used exactly as it was designed. The only reason I got into mods/building a kite is because of the local club members I hang around all being so talented. I flew the first 7years box stock myself

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#11 kwmf

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 03:49 AM

Oversteer is that slop in the bridle, the wiggle has to be overcome, thru opposite hand commands afterwards or pre-planned movements before

 

When I fly my conditions I actually feel it's more a case of the increased mass and load since it's WELL powered through the turns that oversteer. I started on the 1.5 size platform so the size is more of an anomily in my bag than something I flew way back when.

 

When I focus on counter steering on exit or precicely moderating my inputs to begin with then things improve, but I have to fly in a style different to the 1.5 .... at least on 50' of line anyway. I did have opportuninity to fly on 80' out here and 120' in the USA and things were much more in line than on the short lines in my conditions.

  

 

Do you also enjoy the smaller B2 on short lines? Many folks don't click w/ their Zen immediately, I never got along with the Rev1

Team flying on 50' lines?, bet that's a hoot,

 

I think I'm one of the few people who have put a video out flying the B2 actually ;)

 

My experience with the Zen is that it does what it says on the tin - long line team kite. Sadly, this falls outside of what I need 99.999% of the time - I'm glad I own a Zen, but I could easily live without it. If I was flying on iQuad, Island Quad, 180Go, or any other team then I would insist on having one in the bag. 

 

Most of the time I just go full sail with 30' lines and work 3D stuff .... and when that becomes too much like hard work, then it's time for the single line gliders.

 

My biggest mistake with the Zen was I had the wrong expectations of it ... I got it at a time when I was trying to solve my problems with equipment instead of developing low wind skills. After developing the skills I understood my expectations were unrealistic. I got to fly the Zen about a week or so ago actually and I am now able to fly it much better (and it made staying in the air SO much easier), but it's still not a straight line jump from the 1.5 platform to the Zen.

 

To own a Zen or not .... that depends what you want to do with it.



#12 stroke survivor

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:08 AM

I agree that the Zen does everything advertised - a great team light wind alternative!! But with a little getting used to, it can be a great way to enjoy those super light wind days - solo!! Yes, I love watching the 3-D stuff, but that's not my strength!! I want something that will FLY in almost non-existing winds - and my Zen does that in spades!! It has become my light wind "go - to" sail!! Hardly any work, (but you can't be flat - footed) to fly, it makes light wind a pleasure to fly in!! 

 

Sure it's different from the 1.5, so what?? It has it's own personal feel, enjoy, learn to take advantage of it's strengths, put it away when the wind comes up!! If you fly in just about anything - have one in your bag - you won't be sorry! IMHO!!


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#13 Felix Mottram

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:45 AM

<snip>


I got it at a time when I was trying to solve my problems with equipment instead of developing low wind skills. After developing the skills I understood my expectations were unrealistic. I got to fly the Zen about a week or so ago actually and I am now able to fly it much better (and it made staying in the air SO much easier), but it's still not a straight line jump from the 1.5 platform to the Zen.

 

To own a Zen or not .... that depends what you want to do with it.

 

Low wind skills are the key, I am sure.  I have also persuaded the Decs team to fly the 1.5 kites slowly to occasional good effect... <grins>

 

The latest 'Diamond' spars for the 1.5 seem to me to take that sail size into the Zen 'low wind window' but I am now puzzled regarding the flex of the Zen spars as against the 'spring back' of the 'Diamond' spars...

 

The turning 'interval' difference as I have referred to previously seems to me to be the issue for fliers switching between the different kite sizes.  There is no gain in trying to rush a Rev1 or a Zen around a turn.  Patience works...

 

Felix



#14 stroke survivor

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:15 PM

This difference is what drove me to try such a "hybrid" frame setup! I personally found the stock Zen frame a bit too "flexy", so I stiffened up the LE using a 2 wrap center with race wing rods! Kept the Zen tubes as verticals! Loads a bit quicker, feels more solid, slightly heavier rods initiate turns a bit better! IMHO of course!ani_idea.gif


wayne from portland
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#15 Felix Mottram

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 02:00 PM

This difference is what drove me to try such a "hybrid" frame setup! I personally found the stock Zen frame a bit too "flexy", so I stiffened up the LE using a 2 wrap center with race wing rods! Kept the Zen tubes as verticals! Loads a bit quicker, feels more solid, slightly heavier rods initiate turns a bit better! IMHO of course!ani_idea.gif

 

I'll have to re-visit the Zen spars.  We used a 'hybrid' set-up from the beginning which related to our 3,4,3/3,3 set-up for the Rev1.

 

Flying the Rev 1.5 slowly (treacle style)*** is all about low wind flying and is IMHO the way to go.  (Except for the fact, of course, that the Decs like the larger sail for "filling the sky")

 

Felix

 

*** By way of elaboration, if in normal windspeed you fly the kite 'slowly' the buoyancy will be reduced and so angles of attack will need to be adjusted.  This way low wind flying is 'informed' in the learning process and the muscle memory will be in place when needed... <grins>



#16 SparkieRob

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 03:36 PM

Felix,
I was so sure that the (***) was going to be for "patent pending" for the treacle style of flying...

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#17 stroke survivor

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:19 PM

treacle = flying in mud??  ani_giveup.gif


wayne from portland
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#18 Felix Mottram

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:55 PM

treacle = flying in mud??  ani_giveup.gif

 

 

Flying the kite very consistently at a slow speed...



#19 REVflyer

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 05:07 AM

Add the sissy sticks and double-up on your glide distance for 30 bucks out-of-pocket, forget frame mods stiffen the frame with a suspension bridge type of structure.  You'll keep the low side of the wind range and significantly expand the higher end.



#20 Felix Mottram

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 11:30 AM

Felix,
I was so sure that the (***) was going to be for "patent pending" for the treacle style of flying...

 

No way... I have been advocating this for a long time but have not had much feedback.  I'll say it again 'flying the 1.5 kite slowly is interesting' and doing so in 'normal windspeed' can potentially help when trying to fly in 'low winds'.  That is my experience anyway but YMMV <grins>

 

Felix

 

PS this is full sail not 'glide mode'...






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