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Kite Land Talk => Website Discussion => Topic started by: jwwilson on March 20, 2013, 10:25 PM



Title: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: jwwilson on March 20, 2013, 10:25 PM
Hi all.

I'm working on a page on my website where I want to list solid ("good") kites that I can recommend to people that visit, and so far I have 3 "casual" category kites picked out and live on the site, but I am having trouble deciding on the proper ratings for each of the kite attributes I chose. Also, I'm not sure if these 3 are good enough. I plan on expanding to two more categories: "Stunt Kites" and "Wacky Kites". So I have a few questions that I hope you all can help me with:

  • Does anyone know of any reputable kite review websites?
  • Is there a community consensus on solid kite brands or specific kite builds?
  • ok...only two questions I guess!

For those that want to check out what I have so far, see: http://www.caniflymykite.com/kites (http://www.caniflymykite.com/kites)


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: tcope on March 20, 2013, 10:47 PM
That is pretty general. I may like one kite in 4mph winds but another in 10mph. I may like a kite because it can do this, this and this but a different kite because it can do that, that and that. But that is just me. Someone else might not like those kites at all.

I think if there were a consensus that of any kind that we'd only see a handful of kites on the market.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: Ca Ike on March 20, 2013, 11:51 PM
Yea thats going to be a tough call.  THere are lots of good kites out there but peoples styles and taste varies so the opinions will too.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: thief on March 21, 2013, 04:16 AM
you would have to search out this forum and The Other Place™ and then you might have every single sport kite out there made marked as a favorite for at least one person in one type of wind condition or flying area.....(yes i have preferences of kites in certain locations too...i HATE SAND!)

Every once a couple of years there is someone that tries to do this....usually creates a thread on the forum that is many pages long with some sever distractions and anger......


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: jwwilson on March 21, 2013, 07:33 AM
Thanks! I definitely understand that there are a ton of different kites and opinions out there, so I'm not looking for the best kites - that is a very personal and opinionated thing as you all mentioned. What I want to do is give suggestions of kites that basically aren't crap (good to great quality) for people that are new to kites and give them some information to make a decision.

There are so many options out there - maybe ultimately narrowing it down to just a few good options of each type ("I want a funny kite! | I want one for my kid! | I want to try a stunt kite!") can help people decide and get into it.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: mikenchico on March 21, 2013, 07:58 AM
I think he's looking for some basic information on "Reliable" stunt kites at the entry level for those just interested, we've all seen inexpensive kites that just don't fly. If so ....

I still give a thumbs up to the Prism Quantum, not too scary of a price for a first time buy, comes complete and ready to fly with Prisms always fine bag & a decent line set and straps. The kite has good drive, medium pull and presence on the lines and excellent speed control maintaining an even speed throughout the wind window. All features needed by a first time flyer to be sucessful and have fun that first day. Plus it will do the first "Tricks" a new flyer should start with. For a first kite it is still my 1st recommendation.

For a step up in price and abilities I point people to Premier for the Widow, very similar characteristics to the $300 Skyburner Widowmaker it's based off of, the differences being it's sewn in a factory setting using less expensive Nylon fabrics rather then Poly and equal performance but less expensive spars. Again it comes ready to fly with a nice bag and decent lines & straps.

For a smaller, faster and fun kite that will handle high winds well the Premier Wolf gets my nod, again it comes ready to fly, nice bag & lines.

For a high end, hand built kites I think Jon T has some great offerings in his Skyburner line at reasonable prices, The Freestylist still comes out of my bag and at $160 for a handbuilt it's a steal, the Ocius line at $215 are very capable kites in the right hands and at $215 they appear to be a bargain.

When you get into and above the $300 range flyers are going to have higher expectations and most likely higher abilities and preferences, there are no "bad" kites in this range, only different kites.

There are tons of kites I have not flown personally so I'm sure there are others as good, better or different. ITW has some very interesting sport kite options but I've not flown any of them personally. The ones I've mentioned are all in my bag every day except the Ocius and I have no reservations about recommending them to new people to the sport.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: ko on March 21, 2013, 08:43 AM
I love sand


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: John Welden on March 23, 2013, 04:31 PM

I'm bias, but it's really hard to go wrong with Prism. Any of there entry level gear is going to give people a good experience. They sell nine zillion kites for a reason.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: Wayner on March 23, 2013, 06:41 PM
I see your are looking for the casual flyer. None of those here. We are all hard core.


I would have three dual lines on your site.

The Beetle by Flying Wings has been at the top in the entry level kite for more than a decade. BUT small kites are hard to fly. They need more wind and quick and have little feedback through the lines making them hard for a newbie to fly.

The Prism Quantum would be the high end kite. It is durable, build to last even for beginners and is much easier to fly because of its size.

Last I would add a foil like the Symphony 1.4 or Prism Snapshot 1.4. Without spars it is unbreakable and has a high upper wind range. Negitive is sometimes can be difficult to launch.



Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: goestoeleven on March 23, 2013, 08:02 PM
. . . .  someone that tries to do this....usually creates a thread on the forum that is many pages long with some sever distractions and anger......

<gets popcorn> . . . this should be a fun thread to watch . . .  ;D

(Actually hoping it will not end up as an "angry" thread)


Title: Re: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: DD on March 23, 2013, 08:14 PM
Any benson, any joe, any aerostar, any blue moon,


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: jwwilson on March 24, 2013, 09:48 PM
Wow thanks for the feedback everyone. I worked a lot tonight on getting information gathered, sorted, and coded. It's tough picking the top 3 stunt kites to recommend! Hopefully I will have the stunt category and more on the page early this week.

For those curious, here is the spreadsheet I am using to keep track of the kites:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Agb3h78JkdG_dEpPRXk5MUp0b3prLU1NTWVXOGlfaEE&single=true&gid=0&output=html (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Agb3h78JkdG_dEpPRXk5MUp0b3prLU1NTWVXOGlfaEE&single=true&gid=0&output=html)

Anymore feedback is greatly appreciated!


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: Ca Ike on March 24, 2013, 11:59 PM
I don't quite get your choice of categories.  YOu should really stick to the common accepted ones.  I.E. foil , stunt quad line stunt, ETC.  IF you start adding your own categories you wil end up confusing people.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: Wayner on March 25, 2013, 12:49 AM
I don't quite get your choice of categories.  YOu should really stick to the common accepted ones.  I.E. foil , stunt quad line stunt, ETC.  IF you start adding your own categories you wil end up confusing people.

agreed  :)


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: thief on March 25, 2013, 05:01 AM
what does the Rating mean? Low to high? high to low?
Difficulty - what is based on?
I agree that categories is an issue as it is to me as well..

I think one thing is that you cannot really have a meaningful comparison in there with single line kites and sport kites....a single line delta is going to pull a lot more than a small dual line...and in a very different manner.....
i would suggest a single line chart and a sport kite chart....


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: Tmadz on March 25, 2013, 10:43 AM
Less filling! Tastes great!


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: jwwilson on March 25, 2013, 09:45 PM
From your suggestions, I changed the categories to be more in line with the normal stuff, but I kept my own sub-header "flair". The stunt kites are now listed on the kites page as well: http://www.caniflymykite.com/kites (http://www.caniflymykite.com/kites)

As Wayner mentioned, most people here (me excluded) are pretty hardcore fliers and know what is going on...you all obviously aren't the target audience of the kites section as it is now, but your expert input is great! It is more for people like me who don't really know what is going on but might want to get into flying. If you can imagine from the newbie's point of view, if you stumbled upon the kites page, would you find it potentially useful/helpful/intriguing?


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: Ca Ike on March 25, 2013, 10:31 PM
From a new flier perspective your page is going to be really confusing.  You rate the skill level of the beetle higher than the quantum which could make people think the beetle is a more advanced kite than it is.  This is why they use classification by wind range as well as flyer skill level, and amount of pull rather than power.  THe beetle is easier to learn basic flying on but doesn't go beyond the beginner level where the quantum is just as easy to learn on but will take a flyer to the intermediate level.  You should rethink those ratings big time as it seems you are trying to fix something that isn't broken or simplify it where it doesn't need to be.  There have been a few places that tried to do what your trying and it was a dismal failure with people wondering why a $400 kite is considered a low skill and a $30 kite considered a high skill.  MOst people understand the difference between beginner and advanced skill levels but not everyone understands wind speed ranges so if you are going to simplify then just simplify the wind rating and use something like " wind range moderate to high"  YOu will also need to include a ratings key graph along the lines of

2--low---5, 6--moderate---15, 16--high--25 to give people a way to associate your rating with actual wind speed measurements.  THats the top question asked in person and on forums is what wind rating means.

As a knowledgable flyer I would tell anyone coming to me with info from your site that you are not giving a proper picture of what the kite is geared toward and have to go into the same explanation as I would if  they didn't read your site.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: thief on March 26, 2013, 05:10 AM
As Wayner mentioned, most people here (me excluded) are pretty hardcore fliers and know what is going on...you all obviously aren't the target audience of the kites section as it is now, but your expert input is great! It is more for people like me who don't really know what is going on but might want to get into flying. If you can imagine from the newbie's point of view, if you stumbled upon the kites page, would you find it potentially useful/helpful/intriguing?

I will admit not to be hard core but spent 9 years working in (then running) a physical brick and mortar kite shop and website...and have been running my own site for 5 years...

Honestly the rating systems that you have remind me an awful lot of what Into The Wind has in the catalog.....I have always felt that their charts do not do justice either...giving price/wind/speed (wholly dependent on windspeed) as a 1 out of 5 mark it really does not explain much...like Ca Ike suggested break out what the ratings mean....give real wind speeds and a way to understand the speed in real life...
Prices...just put the price range you find for the kites at shops/websites....all of these ratings are relative to the reader...

you might be setting this up for the new flyer but that does not mean that an advanced/moderately experience/mediocre flyer might come upon it and follow the information there and then be not in agreement with the info you provide....


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: mikenchico on March 26, 2013, 07:40 AM
The Beetle is a good beginner kite as far as durability, they are nearly bullet proof and they also have a good low end wind capability ... but Rhonda bought one of them for her first kite and never "Got It", she bought a Quantum next and was flying like she had been for years. The larger, sturdier kite made a huge difference for her, the constant drive and having the speed regulated by the pleasing buzz of the trailing edge also played right into what the beginner needs. I liked the Beetle fine, but I'm experienced and was able to adjust my flying style quickly to the smaller, less quick or frantic movements it needs. I'll still ask to grab the lines on the Quantum when Rhonda brings it out, not so much the Beetle. Plus the Quantum will pull around a 50' or 100' tail with ease which opens up the opportunity for a little skywriting.

Oh and the Beetle will trick, just ask Steve, it was his first kite and he learned his first tricks on it.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: red sweater on March 26, 2013, 07:57 AM
From a new flier perspective your page is going to be really confusing.  You rate the skill level of the beetle higher than the quantum which could make people think the beetle is a more advanced kite than it is.  This is why they use classification by wind range as well as flyer skill level, and amount of pull rather than power.  THe beetle is easier to learn basic flying on but doesn't go beyond the beginner level where the quantum is just as easy to learn on but will take a flyer to the intermediate level.  You should rethink those ratings big time as it seems you are trying to fix something that isn't broken or simplify it where it doesn't need to be.  There have been a few places that tried to do what your trying and it was a dismal failure with people wondering why a $400 kite is considered a low skill and a $30 kite considered a high skill.  MOst people understand the difference between beginner and advanced skill levels but not everyone understands wind speed ranges so if you are going to simplify then just simplify the wind rating and use something like " wind range moderate to high"  YOu will also need to include a ratings key graph along the lines of

2--low---5, 6--moderate---15, 16--high--25 to give people a way to associate your rating with actual wind speed measurements.  THats the top question asked in person and on forums is what wind rating means.

As a knowledgable flyer I would tell anyone coming to me with info from your site that you are not giving a proper picture of what the kite is geared toward and have to go into the same explanation as I would if  they didn't read your site.

Not to pile on, but I strongly suggest you take this advice. The presentation of the "data" (can it be called data if it's subjective?) is very confusing. On some of them, I can't even tell if more stars is better or not. People can handle numbers if they're in units they are familiar with. That is, give price in dollars (MSRP, or range of a few retailers, including Amazon/REI/etc., not just kite stores (they'll be more likely to use retailers they are already familiar with)), give wind range in mph (or kph, whichever is popular with your region -- I'm assuming US, but that might not be the case). Even Prism's skill scale (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) is a lot better than stars. There is such a thing as overwhelming beginners with data, but this is nowhere near that threshold. They can handle it, and most would even want it.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: Wayner on March 26, 2013, 02:31 PM
The Beetle is a good beginner kite as far as durability, they are nearly bullet proof and they also have a good low end wind capability ... but Rhonda bought one of them for her first kite and never "Got It", she bought a Quantum next and was flying like she had been for years. The larger, sturdier kite made a huge difference for her, the constant drive and having the speed regulated by the pleasing buzz of the trailing edge also played right into what the beginner needs. I liked the Beetle fine, but I'm experienced and was able to adjust my flying style quickly to the smaller, less quick or frantic movements it needs. I'll still ask to grab the lines on the Quantum when Rhonda brings it out, not so much the Beetle. Plus the Quantum will pull around a 50' or 100' tail with ease which opens up the opportunity for a little skywriting.

Oh and the Beetle will trick, just ask Steve, it was his first kite and he learned his first tricks on it.

Mike's great story expalined my point of finding the right level entry kite.   

Most people start with a CHEAP kite, when it does not fly well, it ends their kite flying days. :-[
Buy a quality but resaonable (ie not $300+ kite. Those will come later) kite that will last for years (maybe decades) and you may have a kite flyer for life.  ;D

I like the concept of your website. Trying to keep the quality high enought for someone to have a fun time very time they fly the kite.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: chilese on March 26, 2013, 03:29 PM
The public might be more easily swayed by a $ chart for each category.
Beginners understand money much more than rating systems.
Good luck.  :)

Sport kites for example.

less than $50: Don't waste your money.

$50-$100:  A good beginner kite. 5 foot wingspan. Complete with lines, tail and case.
                  Harder to fly than more expensive kites, but more durable.

$100-$150: A kite in the 6-7 foot range with durability and some ability to do tricks.

$150-$200: The upper end of mass-produced kites. Made with better materials.
                    Will typically fly in less wind than the cheaper kites.

$200-$250: Kites made by custom kitemakers. These kites are usually made to a
                     higher quality level with better materials. They are actually more
                     fragile at their limits than cheaper kites at their limits.

>$250:  You will get to choose the colors for your kite. You will also know the
                     name of the people making your kites. These kites can have a
                     bit of personality and are usually only purchased by fliers who
                     already know what they are getting.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: jwwilson on March 26, 2013, 10:38 PM
I can't believe the amount of feedback and work some of you are putting in to your replies. I really appreciate it!

I worked a bit tonight on moving over to more obvious and less vague values for the attributes (I.E. no more stars). I have the initial values laid out in my kite spreadsheet and have an idea of what it will look like on the web page. Next steps: make the HTML/code changes and push them live, figure out the legend for each attribute and where to position the legend it on the site. I may link to it on another page, unless I can fit it cleanly at the top or bottom. Even without it though, I think the new attribute values are much more clear.

@chilese I am intrigued by this idea too. For sure I'm adding the average price to the kites. Maybe I can incorporate something like this in the future.

Here is the updated spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Agb3h78JkdG_dEpPRXk5MUp0b3prLU1NTWVXOGlfaEE&single=true&gid=0&output=html (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Agb3h78JkdG_dEpPRXk5MUp0b3prLU1NTWVXOGlfaEE&single=true&gid=0&output=html)

btw - I searched around on the forums, and found a lot of mixed feelings on the Beetle! I'm keeping it in there for now.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: Ca Ike on March 26, 2013, 11:59 PM
Much better info now.


Title: Re: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: madhabitz on March 27, 2013, 02:06 AM
Getting better :)

So now I have a couple more questions. This forum is pretty big on supporting the kite shops. I love Amazon and a lot of kite shops (legit ones) offer kites thru them. However, I would love to see direct links to these shops, either by listing all the shops that offer each kite or some other criteria. Tall order, I know. Not sure if you are aware, but our forum host recently began offering Prism kites exclusively. A database similar to the one you have for wind would be cool. Type in a zip code and find all the physical shops within 200 miles.

Also wanted to know what the column labeled "order" is about.

Nancy


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: jwwilson on March 28, 2013, 10:37 PM
I've put up the kites page with the new attributes, an intro paragraph, and legend. Let me know what you think! www.caniflymykite.com/kites (http://www.caniflymykite.com/kites)

@Nancy I want to keep the page clean and compact, so I didn't put more than one seller. I figured most people have and use amazon accounts, trust them, plus if the site ever takes off (it currently gets <10 visitors / day), I can hopefully cover the cost of hosting.

I do agree that your kite store search idea would be very cool and, as you said, a tall order. I noticed earlier today that kite.org has a kite merchant locator tool: http://kite.org/community/merchant-members/ (http://kite.org/community/merchant-members/)

And the "order" column is just for me to keep track of which kites to display in the code on the back end.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: Ca Ike on March 29, 2013, 12:21 AM
Pushing amazon is akin to pushing evilbay IMO.  But since they do have that referral pay incentive it makes for a possible way to make some money for your efforts, though you will likely make nothing no matter how many use that link. Prism doesn't really consider amazon an official dealer ironically and they aren't listed on their dealer page.  In fact a lot of manufacturers don't and will not honor warrantees if purchased through amazon which is why amazon does their own guarantee thing.  Just be wary that pushing amazon may bring fall back on you when someone that uses your link gets screwed.  I run into issues all the time when my customers buy from amazon and cant get warrantee coverage from the manufacturer.

The layout is decent but I have one last suggestion. Put the Video links first then the manufacturer, then amazon.  Thats the order a visitor would most likely do so having it set up that way already makes it that much easier.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: jaydub on March 29, 2013, 02:25 AM
Your Quantum video is of a Quantum Pro.  These are two completely different kites.  The Pro is a much higher end kite than the Quantum, which is a heavier and more robust kite.

I've not flown any of the three dual line kites, but I suspect none of them would satisfy advanced fliers.  I suspect they are all beginner's kites really, but I'd take input from those with direct experience of them.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: red sweater on March 29, 2013, 06:48 AM
The manufacturer link for the Quantum has replaced the hyphens with m-dashes, leading to a 404 error. Strange error.


Title: Re: Consensus on "good" kites?
Post by: jwwilson on March 29, 2013, 07:30 AM
@redsweater - thanks I fixed the links.

@jaydub - my crazy mind ignored the "pro" in the video. I've replaced it!

@Ca Ike - I didn't realize people had negative views of amazon and that manufacturers wouldn't satisfy warranties if bought through them. I'll have to think about how present links to buyers other than amazon as well... I also re-arranged the order of the links.