Remember - if all else fails and the kite is gonna crash no matter what you do - GIVE TO THE KITE!!!! Step forward, throw your hands forward, and depower as much as possible!! Makes the crashes a lot easier on the kite!! You pull - all you're doing is driving it harder into the ground!!!!
Not really into team flying, so I guess I will stick with the 85 ft or shorter.
Not YET!!!! 120's really open up the wind window and give you a much bigger area to do things in!! Just a good thing to have - if the occasion arises!! Really though, it depends on where you fly the most - what length can you use comfortably in that area!! My most used set is only 50' long, because the small park I go to doesn't lend itself to longer lines! As always, adapt to what you have at your disposal!!
It's sort of the Ford, Mercury, Lincoln comparison!! If you're just looking for the absolute basic, go with the EXP! Want it a bit better, SLE. Top of the line, "B" series! You'll also notice availability of more submodels as you go up the ladder! The "B" for instance is offered in 3 versions, std, mid, full vent, better able to pick out the correct sail for that days wind conditions! SLEs are in 2 versions, std and full vent, and EXPs are in one model, std!!
Are you anywhere near SparkieRob or West Australian?? Two members of this and the Kitelife forums, from "down under", they would (I'm sure) let you have a go on their kites, before deciding!
No matter what you get - welcome to the world of Rev!! The Darkside Rules!!
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!!
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!!!
Your comments on not clicking with the Zen right away, are common! Not everyone feels right with that big wing and its flight style!! If you haven't flown them or a Rev I size before, it may take a bit to get used to the feel of it!! Like the mods - give it a good chance to sink in before an opinion is formed!!
As for the mods, you have it 100% - it fits the way you fly!! Every one has a certain feel they are seeking, the only way to find it is to try it!!
While not perfect, that shouldn't be a huge problem being a little off like that!! But make sure that rod fits up tight to the wing spar, even gently filing or sanding any glue sticking out of the joint! I lost an Indoor rod from a small glue trail left on my center spar ferrule once! The trail made a small high point that caused the wing spar to break! Just make sure the rods "seat" tightly together at the joint!
dragonfish has a point!! When setting up, make sure all the bridle points come off "clean"! While you're at it, make sure you haven't got a tangle or wrap coming off the endcaps either!! Both wrapped endcaps or wrapped attachment points will make your bridle act strange!! I have a pattern to my setup that never changes, making sure the bridle attachment points at the caps are the same and my line legs are "clean" from the bridle rigging!!
There are times I'll take the bridle loose from the caps, assemble the kite, and attach the bridle so each leg pulls from the same direction, ie - inside pull for bottoms, outside pull for tops, low pull for outsides!! Assembling the kite without the bridle lets the caps show you their orientation, then you can put the bridle on so that each side mirrors the other!!
One way to at least limit it from happening so much, is to be a bit "softer" with your inputs on the handles! You'll hear it called "over-controlling" by most! New fliers tend to use big movements for controlling the kite, as you fly more you understand that "less can be more"! You'll refine your movements to what you need and learn a lot is unnecessary!!
You've got the right idea on the "up and down" move! Launch, balance, land on both tips! Get comfy? Try it higher and higher, keeping the kite balanced and able to land on both tips!! Good starting place!
Having equal lines is very important!! Otherwise the kite tries to steer itself, not you giving commands to obey!!