GWTW Forum

Kites! Kites! Kites! => Sport Kites => Topic started by: gwm on June 06, 2009, 11:24 PM



Title: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: gwm on June 06, 2009, 11:24 PM
 I've just about had it with the poor quality materials in these Chinese or Asian made kites.
 I have some Buena Vista kites that have to be 10 or 12 years old and the sails are so wind beaten that they are smooth as toilet paper, but they don't have a hole or a rip anywhere. I have 2 Benson Gems that have been flown a lot and the are in nice shape.
 I got a Soul (used excellent shape) and the 2nd time I fly it and the leading rips out at the lower spreader fitting.
 I got a new SF 2.3, the 2nd time I fly it the glue joint fails in the spine ferrule.
 2 years ago I get a NT BB and the first time I take it out the glue joint fails in the leading edge ferrule and the little batten standoffs go flying to parts unknown.
 I had a Zephyr and the trailing edge just disintegrated after about 10 flights.
 Oh yeah, the best one was the NT FC UL, the kite that wanted to be a screen door. I used to take the tedlar tape with me and patch it up after every flight as the leading edge and the sail did it's best to self destruct and become a vented UL.
 I've had enough, how about you? Same experiences or is it just me?
 


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Spz0 on June 06, 2009, 11:45 PM
Isn't free market enterprising great?   ???


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Dave a on June 07, 2009, 12:09 AM
I can only comment on my own experiences, but i have not had the problems you have had.
Ive had a number of Asian made kites, and although the finish is not at the same level as a "boutique" kite, they have never let me down.
I currently have a Soul and a Silver Fox vented, and i can assure you they both get flown a lot, and put up with a lot of abuse  :-[
Ive even still got a French connection !

Yes ive had centre tee ferrules come loose, and had leading edge ferrules "weld" themselves in place, and i will even admit that the Silver Fox 2.5UL i had suffered from cheap sail and leading edge material, but all in all ive found them to be quite durable, none have disintergrated or been torn to pieces.
And most importantly, they have all proven to be very capable kites.

None of those above problems are exclusive to Asian kites either, ive had issues with plenty more expensive kites too.
The "legendary" Nirvana is well known for having quality issues
I'm not discounting your experiences, but sometimes people look for problems with cheaper kites that they tend to overlook in more expensive ones.
A bit of superglue coming loose is hardly a hanging offense either.

(touch wood) ive never broken a Dynamic spar either, but ive busted a heap of Skyshark, Avia etc.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: tpatter on June 07, 2009, 12:30 AM
My experience with the Zephyr was similar, but my Silver Foxes (while showing some wear) still have a few years left in them.

I think it is really a matter of cheaper materials.



Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: fidelio on June 07, 2009, 12:41 AM
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper."
John Ruskin


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: tonycarl60 on June 07, 2009, 12:45 AM
I agree, the trailing edge on my Zephyr came unraveled and I had to re glue several parts on my silver fox. Seems to be a quality control issues.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: anOldMan on June 07, 2009, 12:55 AM
There is a valid question about quality control of the workmanship of the kites coming from the east but the quality of the material is because of the kite  company selling the kites. If the material order is a poor quality. that is not a manufacturing vault.

I have stopped purchasing factory built kites. The extra money spent on a custom built kite, IMO, is money well used.

It almost seems as the kite industry is going the route of the auto industry and building their products to become obsolete in a couple of years (or months).

Some people can not wait to get a new (possible better) kite and are satisfied to have the kite. I am willing to wait a couple of months to get a well built kite that does not start breaking up after two or three flights. Or needs two to three hours work to get the kite in flying shape.

The old statement "You get what your pay for." is becoming very true in the world of kites. Especially two line sport kites.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: steve.hobart on June 07, 2009, 01:33 AM
I've had similar experiences, but not just with Asian built kites.

After my first flight of the SF 2.3 Std (around 2 hours of constant tricking), I had to glue all but one c-clip (all had moved) as well as the lower spreader ferrule.....other than that it seems to be handling things ok. I've flown a SOUL, the sail didn't seem too robust to me, especially around the leading edges.....

I've had a bunch of Prism's and have had similar problems - at one stage I had 5 Qpro's and had ferrule issues with all of them (reglueing etc). On two of them the ferrules arrived loose !

Dissapointingly my recent Nirvana SE had similar issues - not something I expected on such an expensive kite (fantastic flyer though...).

Bensons...Never had an issue on the sail or any spar (Gemini UL, DS and AirBow)...

My BMK 61/49 gets a real workout (and many nose plants) - also never had an issue with it....that's one reason I have ordered an Exile UL - I know I am buying quality....

Luckily I have not had any sails fail (apart from when I nose dived a Qpro into the ground while slipping over and the spine shattered and went through the sail....had to blame myself for that one!!!).

cheers

steve


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: rxburner on June 07, 2009, 07:06 AM
The Zepher and my Soul are great kites and holding up just fine. The workmanship is very nice with some excellent touches.
Rx


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: RobB on June 07, 2009, 07:57 AM
I have mixed experience with Asian kites. I think my Prism Mirage is an Asian kite, and it is showing signs of age after years of abuse. Really, the only thing wrong with it is the bungees are about to fail. But the Zephyr, not quite two years old, and half the flight hours, has a ragged trailing edge, looks kind of like some cutoff shorts. Both kites are well designed and built, I think the Zephyr just suffers from less than quality material on its trailing edge.
I put alot of time on New Tech kites, thought they had good designs, but poor materials. I did learn alot about fixing kites from my Big Bang and New Jam. Great flying kites, but you needed to have more kites in the bag to keep flying when the first one broke. I had the same experience with the Acrobatx... great design, but very fragile at the center T.

The other side of the coin... I spent $350+ for an 'American' made QPro SUL last year, and it didn't fly in the winds that my Zephyr would. I then heard other stories of problems with similar kites, and got suggestions of the bridle being upside down or not installed properly. I would expect a little quality control with a limited batch of kites at that price point. You don't always get what you pay for...


~Rob.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: johnfarl on June 07, 2009, 10:35 AM
I don't think it is fair to generalize on quality.  I had a set of L1 Genesis and had many problems with them.  Weak nose material.  A SUL that disentagrated from the sun and i mean the sail mylar portions started to disappear.  That is is pricey European kite.  I have never owned any Flying Wings kites but friends  have been very pleased with the quality.

I have owned some perfect kites.

Fearless by Lam Hoac.  Many Many hours on all 3 kites and they still look like new.
Nirvana bought used and it looks like new.
ReActor Pro.  Looks like new and it is very old
Shiva Vented  Looks like new.

Quality is some that the manufacturer has to want.  It is not a question of mistakes or a poor batch of material.  That sounds like old time auto manufacturing.  An artist like Lam just not accept anything but perfection.  The same with a manufacturer.



Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: dyfrgi on June 07, 2009, 10:56 AM
Man, you guys are making me really glad I just ordered a BMK Muse, rather than the SF 2.5 UL I was also considering.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Spz0 on June 07, 2009, 11:23 AM
My Widow has been more or less a great kite.
One of my Nocks came unglued from the ferrule, and the bridle wasn't pre-stretched (gained about 1/2" on all 6 hauls).  Asides from that, its been great.  It didn't come with a leech line installed, so that was a project for me, but didn't mind it at all.
I have had a leading edge tear, as well as a sail tear, but those were pilot inflicted (a really hard LE crash on asphalt, and a dead launch for a sail tear along the spine).
I use to have a Citrus Quantum, and I destroyed those EZ clips they had on the pigtails causing a broken standoff, and a punctured sail.  BAAAD decision on prisms part to put those clips on, since the quantum can have some huge pull that those clips just aren't rated for.  I have heard of many horror stories about factory kites in general, but have yet to experience a big one.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Allen Carter on June 07, 2009, 12:58 PM
Well, I think it's true that one of the things you pay for in a high end kite is durability.

That said, I don't condemn a kite (or kite maker) by country of origin. I've flown some Flying Wings products very hard, and for extended periods of time, like months and months. Historically, I've seen better made sport kites from Flying Wings than from some of the bigger companies.

Overall, I think it's safe to say inexpensive kites are better made than they were 10 years ago.

Some thing to consider is the Dot Zero factor.

With new software releases, conventional wisdom is to wait until the next revision or update before adopting. Version 7.0 of anything is riskier than 7.0.1.

Mass produced sportkites seem to suffer the same early release bug syndrome. Many times you  see a first run of a kite with some issues. Durability is often one. The maker just can't real world stress test the product enough and new materials or manufacturing techniques can prove weak. Prism, who probably test as well as any of the majors has had a couple of epic component failures over the years on new kites. Weak spars on the E2, bad ferrule on the Quantum. Frame assembly seems to be a constant issue in first runs. Bad/insufficient/missing glue seems to go hand in hand with rushing the kites out the door.

Hard to resist new shiny, but I would keep the .0 syndrome in mind and check out that hot off the boat new kite for issues.

Steve's gonna kill me for this.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: anOldMan on June 07, 2009, 01:38 PM

Some thing to consider is the Dot Zero factor.

With new software releases, conventional wisdom is to wait until the next revision or update before adopting. Version 7.0 of anything is riskier than 7.0.1.

Mass produced sportkites seem to suffer the same early release bug syndrome. Many times you  see a first run of a kite with some issues. Durability is often one. The maker just can't real world stress test the product enough and new materials or manufacturing techniques can prove weak. Prism, who probably test as well as any of the majors has had a couple of epic component failures over the years on new kites. Weak spars on the E2, bad ferrule on the Quantum. Frame assembly seems to be a constant issue in first runs. Bad/insufficient/missing glue seems to go hand in hand with rushing the kites out the door.

Hard to resist new shiny, but I would keep the .0 syndrome in mind and check out that hot off the boat new kite for issues.

Maybe that is why certain custom made kite models take so long to be produced for sale. The Deep space comes to mind immediately.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Spz0 on June 07, 2009, 01:43 PM
Funny mentioning the Dot zero theory.

When the Widow was first released, they had some manufacturing issues.
The bridle wasn't pre-stretched, and they had put these 1/2" inserts in the upper LE APA fittings that bowed the upper LE, causing massive oversteer.
Im pretty sure thats not the case now, but I happened to get a first edition, so I had to bust out the inserts and re-bridle the Widow.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: ko on June 07, 2009, 03:02 PM
this is a demo exile so it's got to be pretty low in the first build the kite is in better cond. than any others i own except an older lam that is in the same shape near perfect                                                                                                                                  (http://thumb15.webshots.net/t/72/172/0/33/83/2360033830104449155iybdVI_th.jpg) (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2360033830104449155iybdVI)


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: cids on June 08, 2009, 07:50 AM
You get what you paid for. Cheap kites usually using cheaper materials that doesn't last long.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: DWayne on June 08, 2009, 08:01 AM
You get what you paid for.

If only that were true.  :(
I've owned several French made kites that were high dollar kites. The build quality on them was no better than the cheap Chinese kites. Of course that's a lot higher build quality than Revolution kites ever produced. And they aren't inexpensive either, considering what you get.


Denny


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: rxburner on June 08, 2009, 08:30 AM
I think it is time to lock this thread. It started out nasty, and has gotten worse. People are slamming some real nice kites, just because they don't know how to fly, and beat the crap out of them.
Rx


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: DWayne on June 08, 2009, 10:45 AM




^^^^  :D  :D  :D  :D ^^^^  :D  :D  :D  :D ^^^^


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: gwm on June 08, 2009, 02:25 PM
  This post was intended to be informative about real quality issues.
 If the telling the truth about getting what you're paying for in the lower end of the market is nasty and should be locked down, then what are these discussions for?
 On the positive side I've had good experiences with HQ Kites with moderate prices. I'm not sure where they're made now.
 Rx has added nothing to this discussion and only takes up a contrary position just to be contrary.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Ace on June 08, 2009, 08:13 PM
RX does have a point though!!
It all depends on how you use the Kite. Not alot of kites even the hand made ones can withstand hours and hours of wraps and constant tricking.
My first Kite (Prism Quantum) still looks way better than my E2 even though the Quantum has had more flight time. There is no difference in quality of the two kites, just that one (Quantum) has never been wrapped or even tricked to any extent. Yet the E2 has been my trainer and has been wrapped in spectra and thrashed as I have learnd. The trailing edge now looks a little worse for wear and there a bit of sail stretch, wear etc.

I fail to see how any kite that actually gets flown alot and tricked constantly can still look descent after only months let alone years.

I suspect that kites that are years old and still look great probably don't get flown much, and if they do they probably dont get tricked much.

Quality issues exist in all manufacturing, for me its all about customer service. If the company that makes the kite stands by their product then no quality issue should be to big of a problem for any Pilot.


Moral of the story buy from a reputable company.

My 2 cents anyway.....


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: DWayne on June 08, 2009, 08:43 PM
RX does have a point though!!
It all depends on how you use the Kite. Not alot of kites even the hand made ones can withstand hours and hours of wraps and constant tricking.

Oh really?
My Widow Maker has over 600 hrs on it. Its been wrapped countless (thousands?) times. Done hundreds and hundreds of back spins, lazies, and wap-do-waps.  And it still looks better than some other brands I've owned after only a few hours of flying.
I've got over 200 hrs. on my Talon now and it still looks almost new.


Denny


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Ace on June 08, 2009, 09:33 PM
Hey DWayne
Thanks for that! The WM sounds like a damn good Kite. I haven't had the pleasure yet.
I guess my initial comments were a little hasty. Pilot skill is something I didn't mention. I guess the better you are the better you can look after a kite during a trick. You seem to be way ahead of me and if I could get 600 hrs out of a kite with little to no damage I would be Very Happy.
I did say that "not alot" of kites can withstand that. Obviously there are some exceptional kites out there. The WM and Talon being two. and hopefully my DS when I get good enough to take full advatage of it.
I guess the point I was trying to make was that the more you trick a kite or throw it about as a beginner, as supposed to just fly it (as some people do) the more it's going to wear out.
I am still learning and I've had about 150 hrs on my E2 in just over 4 months, its been wrapped dragged, dead launched, smashed and dived into the ground countless times. It doesn't look new nor is it trashed though.

I think thats an acceptable amount of wear and tear given what I've done to it.
Cheers ;)


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: steve.hobart on June 08, 2009, 09:40 PM
I think it's still dissapointing when you get a new kite out of the package for the first time unflown and the ferrules are loose and fall out and the c-clips are not tight and move easily............ :(

On the other hand I don't mind admitting that I have caused a few breakages in my time that have not reflected at all on the manufacturer!!

cheers

steve


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Spz0 on June 08, 2009, 09:44 PM
I think it's still dissapointing when you get a new kite out of the package for the first time unflown and the ferrules are loose and fall out and the c-clips are not tight and move easily............ :(

In reference to overseas factory kites, I would think that when they get shipped in ocean containers, that there is quite a bit of temperature fluctuations during transit.  That, in combination with weaker glue and I could see that happening.  Happened to me.   Only I had about 60hours of flight time on mine.
All in all I don't mind minor flaws, if you are going to save a few bucks.  Something goes wrong?  Meh...  you get a little project to do, and become more familiar with your kite and its workings.



Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: DWayne on June 08, 2009, 10:28 PM
Thanks for the generosity Ace but I'm sure its more a reflection of the build quality of those kites than it is a reflection of my flying skills.  ;)


Denny


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: tpatter on June 08, 2009, 10:58 PM
I would not discount flying skills, or at least the willingness to put the kite in harms way in order to try and save what is probably a trick attempt gone bad. 

I have lots of friends who fly kites and I've noticed that some of them never seem to break their kites while others are breaking them all the time - independent of skill.  Some guys just hold nothing back and push things past their limits.

You do this enough and lots of things are going to break and get ripped, no matter who made them.

I 100% agree that the artisan made kites are by far the best available and generally wear like iron, but I also think that the Silver Fox 2.5 is one reasonably well made and durable kite (probably one of the best trick kite values out there).  My primary fault with it is the C-clips coming loose and thats easy to fix (I would think it would be easy for Flying Wings to fix as well!).




Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: zippy8 on June 08, 2009, 11:54 PM
I think it is time to lock this thread.

As the mod. of this section I'm not inclined to agree.... yet. This opinion is open to change.

Of the Chinese made kites I've had the New Tech's were pretty roughly finished and the Prism's, whilst OK, lacked the sort of flair and attention to detail that is part of the joy of ownership of the boutique kites. Similarly every Level One kite I've owned (and there have been a few) has needed stoppers regluing out of the bag so it's not something limited to China. Everyone uses the same materials (or close analogues) so it's really down to details, finishing and consistency.

There have been issues with some of the smaller kitemakers on occasion and it's fair to mention them but not to condemn their whole range because of one rogue kite. The very best kitemakers (and I shamelessly refer you here (http://fracturedaxel.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6971&start=48) again) don't merely produce excellent kites, they always produce excellent kites.

Honestly, I'd buy a Chinese kite if I could look it over first. I'll buy from one of the top kitemakers sight unseen.

Mike.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Bob D on June 09, 2009, 06:35 AM
You can be pretty much assured that a boutique kite will have the most attention to detail - but you'll pay for it.

(But darn it, I keep on my breaking my stand off connectors on my Nirvanas. I don't mind having to keep an inventory but it's a pain. Otherwise, the Nirvana is a great kite.)

So the cheaper Asian kites might be less refined but they're less expensive. It's a trade-off. Dollars ---- versus ---- attention to details and craftsmanship.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: cids on June 09, 2009, 09:54 AM
Quote
Of the Chinese made kites I've had the New Tech's were pretty roughly finished and the Prism's, whilst OK, lacked the sort of flair and attention to detail that is part of the joy of ownership of the boutique kites. Similarly every Level One kite I've owned (and there have been a few) has needed stoppers regluing out of the bag so it's not something limited to China. Everyone uses the same materials (or close analogues) so it's really down to details, finishing and consistency.

Those kite companies are not Chinese companys. They are American businesses. The specifications of all their kites were determined by these companies here in the America offices. They determined the designs, parts, construction details and other stuffs that go into the kites. The factories in China only producing the kites according to the New XXXX or PXXXX specifications. If the kites are poorly constructed or not long lasting. New XXXX or PXXXX will be responsible.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Michel on June 09, 2009, 11:06 AM
Quote
Of the Chinese made kites I've had the New Tech's were pretty roughly finished and the Prism's, whilst OK, lacked the sort of flair and attention to detail that is part of the joy of ownership of the boutique kites. Similarly every Level One kite I've owned (and there have been a few) has needed stoppers regluing out of the bag so it's not something limited to China. Everyone uses the same materials (or close analogues) so it's really down to details, finishing and consistency.

Those kite companies are not Chinese companys. They are American businesses.
Not exactly.

Level One kites (Germany) are built in Poland.  ;)


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: JimB on June 09, 2009, 11:32 AM
And that's a good point too.

But..

In general my beef with a lot of this stuff is the sail fabric.

It's not Icky or something nice in the way of Nylon. It's not terribly high quality either.

OTOH, if you are getting a kite for $50.00.. great. Fly the crap out of it toss it in the dust bin when you are done.  ???

The thing is, prices keep going up even for the lower spec offerings, so; that price advantage has been shrinking for some time. Paying 4X's may not be worth it, to you, but 2X's... or less?

Also, decide when you want to pay.

By that I mean do you want to pay upfront or on the back end?

Because, either way, it's going to work out about the same.

To illustrate:

You buy Brand X for $150.00.. typical poly fabric, in house fittings, odd rod specs.. the usual for most offshore kites.

You fly it for a couple of Years. Life is Good.

Unless you break it.

Because you may have to re-frame it to get it in the air again.

Or you may have to buy proprietary parts from the manufacturer, if they are available, and if they even know the full specs for their own kite. Don't think that happens? heh. Stick around.

So do not break it.

You decide you need a change. You go to sell it.

The resale on this particular kite sucks. Maybe you get Fifty. Maybe less. Maybe you can't give it away or, at the least, it seems that way.  And that's if it is in very good shape. Not too likely if you have been applying yourself.

So now.. Brand Y for $220.00 or $325.00.. or..?

Brand Y has the nice standard rods and fittings, so: parts are available.

That's a bigger deal than you think.

Should you break it it's not going to be as expensive to fix as the typical Brand X kite for that reason alone, unless it's framed in aerohooie; in which case you knew what you were getting into. Or should have.

There is also going to be a guy you can email or call. Not a guy.. probably The guy. You might even have met him somewhere or may in the future.

The one who designed and most likely built your kite. The one who knows the specs for your kite by heart. Or. If he's the intuitive, sensitive type, the one who can reach over and measure the rod or look up the spec, or ask the Magic 8 Ball, or whatever his process is.. because he's a frickin' artisan. He may be a little weird. Just sayin'..

The point is you will have a fix in a Week at the most or minutes at the least, that will have absolutely no effect on the air worthiness or resale value of that kite at all.

 Guaranteed.

I know this from experience.

You can fly the beejaasuzz out of a builder kite and, as long as you don't poke holes in it, or leave it lying around in the Sun you will have a viable commodity at the end of your Two Years before the mast, with which to begin to bank roll your next kite to save the world. Or you may just decide to keep it. It's been such a great kite after all..

Even if you do manage to damage the sail, you will most likely get a greater percentage of the original purchase price of Brand Y Than you will Brand X.. just because, in general, they are in much higher demand on the used market. if kites can be said to be in demand.. ermm.. you get the idea, yes?

Anyway, it is not really more expensive, or it doesn't have to be, to fly high end kites over low end kites as a general rule.

I don't think I have ever spent more than Fifty bucks to fly a Gem, just as an example.. Because they do not depreciate all that badly. The same can be said for many other offerings out there. Some even, dare I say, appreciate.  :o ??? ;D

You get the initial outlay , or a substantial chunk of it, back when you go to sell is the point.

The one thing you can't do much about is sail fabric quality which is why it is my main problem with cheap kites generally, besides the better build on the highend.

But all of this does not take into account many of the tangible and intangeble benefits of getting a high end kite.

For tangibles: They go together better, generally feel nicer on the lines, and look better.

The biggest, from a monetary/quality of life POV, intangible would be the amount of time you will spend flying and not screwing around with your kite.

And, yes, that is a function of how much money, time, and care, the manufacturer decided to spend making your kite.

But there is something more.. it's the devotion of these guys to build these things we love so much.

Sorry.

But it's true.

And that's worth something too.



Quote
Of the Chinese made kites I've had the New Tech's were pretty roughly finished and the Prism's, whilst OK, lacked the sort of flair and attention to detail that is part of the joy of ownership of the boutique kites. Similarly every Level One kite I've owned (and there have been a few) has needed stoppers regluing out of the bag so it's not something limited to China. Everyone uses the same materials (or close analogues) so it's really down to details, finishing and consistency.

Those kite companies are not Chinese companys. They are American businesses. The specifications of all their kites were determined by these companies here in the America offices. They determined the designs, parts, construction details and other stuffs that go into the kites. The factories in China only producing the kites according to the New XXXX or PXXXX specifications. If the kites are poorly constructed or not long lasting. New XXXX or PXXXX will be responsible.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: KaoS on June 09, 2009, 04:58 PM
Oh, if life were so simple...

We (the sport kite enthusiasts) have the misconception that we buy the bulk of the world's sport kites.  The fact is, we don't.  There are many more people who purchase one sport kite and fly it a few times and are very happy with their purchase.  They might have seen you or me flying on the beach and thought "That's great, I think I'll do that".  So they go to a kite store, work out what fits their budget and take home their new toy.

I owned a kite shop for 5 years, and sold hundreds and hundreds of sport kites.  In that time, I probably had 5 or 6 people buy more than one kite over time, and 2 or 3 purchase high end.  There were plenty of people who stood in the shop admiring the MEFM (or Total Eclipse or AirFX), but the VAST majority would tell me "Hell, I'd never pay that much for a kite".  After pointing out the quality differences, the flight characteristics and capabilities, they understood the difference in price, but they would buy a package for around $100, and were very happy with their purchase.

Manufacturers and designers have to cater to what brings in the bulk of their income.  So there will always be a big market for lower quality sport kites, and there will always be a significant (but much smaller) market for the high end product.

It is the same with any product, whether it is cars (Nissan versus Bugatti), makeup (Avon versus Chanel), kitchen appliances, whatever.

We are a strange species.  We seem to accept that an ink jet printer can cost less than a set of the cartridges it holds, and be happy to toss it on the scrap heap in 12 months when "newer, better" printers are sold even cheaper, but we can't let our lower cost kites succumb to wear and tear.

My 2 cents  :)



Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: ghfisanotti on June 11, 2009, 06:18 PM
I've been flying for a couple of years now and I own some Prisms (E2, E3, Zephyr, 3D), one Spanish Eolo Neox, one Benson MiniGem and quite some locally (I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina) made by Alto Vuelo. In my personal experience, I've seen some minor quality issues even with my MiniGem (loose C-clips). I think durability is more related with the pilot abilities or particular style, I've seen some pilots who are very smooth and others who are really violent and stress the kites a lot, breaking spars in mid-air and the like; some of them aren't particularly careful with their kites either, leaving them for hours on the sun, or in the rain, things like that.
Manufacturer support is obviously a great a value to take into account, for example, my locally made Proteus takes more thrashing than the my Prisms 'cause I know anything I brake on this kite will be taken care of by the manufacturer, and if it could be considered a quality issue or manufacturing defect, they will not charge me with cost of repair. One last thing I'd like to consider as part of the whole "quality" issue is the finishing of the product, for example, details I don't like: The Benson MiniGem didn't include an instruction sheet or owner's manual (and it is not that easy to figure out how to assemble or tune it), its sleeve is absolutely cheap looking and poorly finished, you will not find the model of the kite printed anywhere, and this not a cheap kite.
Things I do like: the semi-rigid sleeve included with the Zephyr, that's something that make me feel respected as a customer, or the sleeves in the E2 and E3, the tutorial DVD. Obviously, these details don't make the kite a better flier or more durable but I think this attention to detail speak well of the manufacturer and should be considered part of the value of the kite.

Please, excuse me for my poor English. Best regards from Argentina.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: ezme6 on June 11, 2009, 06:29 PM
I've been flying for a couple of years now and I own some Prisms (E2, E3, Zephyr, 3D), one Spanish Eolo Neox, one Benson MiniGem and quite some locally (I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina) made by Alto Vuelo. In my personal experience, I've seen some minor quality issues even with my MiniGem (loose C-clips). I think durability is more related with the pilot abilities or particular style, I've seen some pilots who are very smooth and others who are really violent and stress the kites a lot, breaking spars in mid-air and the like; some of them aren't particularly careful with their kites either, leaving them for hours on the sun, or in the rain, things like that.
Manufacturer support is obviously a great a value to take into account, for example, my locally made Proteus takes more thrashing than the my Prisms 'cause I know anything I brake on this kite will be taken care of by the manufacturer, and if it could be considered a quality issue or manufacturing defect, they will not charge me with cost of repair. One last thing I'd like to consider as part of the whole "quality" issue is the finishing of the product, for example, details I don't like: The Benson MiniGem didn't include an instruction sheet or owner's manual (and it is not that easy to figure out how to assemble or tune it), its sleeve is absolutely cheap looking and poorly finished, you will not find the model of the kite printed anywhere, and this not a cheap kite.
Things I do like: the semi-rigid sleeve included with the Zephyr, that's something that make me feel respected as a customer, or the sleeves in the E2 and E3, the tutorial DVD. Obviously, these details don't make the kite a better flier or more durable but I think this attention to detail speak well of the manufacturer and should be considered part of the value of the kite.

Please, excuse me for my poor English. Best regards from Argentina.


I agree 100%, it is how you fly what you buy :)


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: fidelio on June 11, 2009, 06:40 PM
Please, excuse me for my poor English. Best regards from Argentina.
your english is great. :)


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: gwm on June 11, 2009, 07:01 PM
 ghfisanotti, welcome to the forum. Thanks for your insight.

 I have quite a pile of kites. Some get flown a lot and others not so much. I flew for over 3 years without breaking a spar and fly mostly in light wind. I'm not rich so I have to take care of my kites like most of us do. I have given up most other hobbies & such because I enjoy this so much.

 I guess I should'nt expect quality materials from the lower end of the market, but when they start falling apart from normal use it's kind of noticable.
 For anyone that was put off of a Silver Fox, don't be. Most of us who have bought them since they came out really like them. I have bought 6 and gave one away as a gift. As far as the Soul goes it was a fun kite also. The tear could've been started before I got it. I'll patch it up and keep it for the rare times I get to fly a Standard.
 I wish I could speak Spanish half as well as your English.
 



Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: ghfisanotti on June 11, 2009, 07:59 PM
ghfisanotti, welcome to the forum. Thanks for your insight.

 I wish I could speak Spanish half as well as your English.

Thanks for your welcome and for your mercyful opinion about my English  :)


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Spz0 on June 11, 2009, 08:37 PM
I think durability is more related with the pilot abilities or particular style, I've seen some pilots who are very smooth and others who are really violent and stress the kites a lot, breaking spars in mid-air and the like; some of them aren't particularly careful with their kites either, leaving them for hours on the sun, or in the rain, things like that.

I agree whole heartedly, coming from someone who, as a beginner, was very violent with my kite at times.  Now I am much more graceful and suffer much less wear.  Although I did just break a lower LE today while walking my kite to gain some ground (coin toss practicing landing in a walk of shame) -- stepped on my line as I was walking, which made the LE slipped between my legs, and just as scissors to paper, SNAP!!

But in the air (lol), I am much more subtle than I was.  Makes you enjoy it more.

I'm not rich so I have to take care of my kites like most of us do. I have given up most other hobbies & such because I enjoy this so much.

Same here.  Havent written music in almost 2 years.  Now I've got all these midi controllers and thousands of dollars worth of software to try and sell,, so I can buy more kites.  o.0
Kiting to me is like a sweet drug with no consequences..  It is Zen.  Simple.  Elating. Makes me feel connected to my world and environment like nothing I've ever experienced in my past.  As close to feeling truly free as I have ever got.
Im actually trying to view it as a form of meditation.  And I think I could, if I could get a field completely to myself.  No cars, people, etc...

~Jon


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: ezme6 on June 12, 2009, 04:54 AM
[quote
Im actually trying to view it as a form of meditation.  And I think I could, if I could get a field completely to myself.  No cars, people, etc...

~Jon
[/quote]

Find you a friendly farmer with a hayfield. I did... :)


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Chooks on June 12, 2009, 05:02 PM
I fly in an empty sports ground 9 times out of 10, with out anybody around and the beaches are only mine most days. I wish I could get someone to show me some kite handling. Been flying a Rev 1.5 SLE with 1/4" spar for nearly a year and having a ball but my French Connection does my head in some days. Having trouble with timing inputs. And only as flash as the odd 540 I fluke.
  I have some cheapies and you do really get what you pay for. If time is money they balance out in the end as the cheaper ones require much more tender loving care and repair. They fly as badly as they were built. Items are built for multiple model kites and are too tight or fall out or break too easily. Stitching is awful on some. (I can't comment on sail material as that's all new to me). 
 My problem is I can't refuse a good deal???  At the end of the day, I now know to stick to the recognized manufacturers. It has cost me a bit to get to here though.
That way I can't blame my tools.
Cheers from Aussie.


Title: Re: Quality problems with Asian made kites
Post by: Spz0 on June 12, 2009, 06:46 PM
  I have some cheapies and you do really get what you pay for. If time is money they balance out in the end as the cheaper ones require much more tender loving care and repair. They fly as badly as they were built. Items are built for multiple model kites and are too tight or fall out or break too easily. Stitching is awful on some. (I can't comment on sail material as that's all new to me). 
 My problem is I can't refuse a good deal???  At the end of the day, I now know to stick to the recognized manufacturers. It has cost me a bit to get to here though.
That way I can't blame my tools.
Cheers from Aussie.

Those are the kites that you modify m8.  ;)  Practice reframing -- try to make them lighter -- experiment with different bridles and bridle settings, etc...

Good winds m8

~Jon