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Author Topic: Widow vs Widow Maker  (Read 2027 times)
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SMG
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« on: October 17, 2009, 07:15 AM »

I know that the Widow is the production version of the Widow Maker, but what exactly are the differences? Is the sail profile the same, doe they handle the same, is it just framing which is different?

Anyone who has flown both, could you be so kind as to point out the differences and similarities?

Cheers,
Sean
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tpatter
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2009, 07:36 AM »

I had both - Widow Maker is much much better balanced and stable. It also flys in much less wind.
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2009, 08:37 AM »

I don't have either kite but did find a review.   Here is what the reviewer said:


"Kite differences:
The Widow is framed completely in carbon with the Skyshark P-series rods - Widow Maker uses the Black Diamond Nitro Taperd rods.
Widow, Ripstop Sail - Widow Maker, PC31 Icarex
Widow has standard Jaco fittings - Widow Maker Jaco fittings that are covered on the back of the sail.
Here's the kicker - both models have french rolled seams and the construction on the Premier looks awesome.
The graphics are the same pattern on both but at this time Premier only had the Red/Black, the Green/Black and the Blue/Black at the show. I am not sure if the other colors will be available.
Both kites come with a pre-set velcro weight that can be added or removed easily on the spine of the kite.
Both kites come with installed Yo-Yo stoppers and have covered leading edges - very nice.
The Widow Maker has a nice pre-tensioned knot setup for the leading edges, the Widow uses a standard line and knock setup with end cap.

Other small differences:

Widow Maker bridle looks to be a little better quality with longer leaders for rollups
Widow uses standard APA fittings - Widow Maker uses custom fittings and should have less snag potential.
Widow Maker has a nicer "patch" that has custom sewing on it (upper spreader pad area)
Widow Maker has a nicer wrapped "Nose" and is snag-proof - Widow has a layered webbed nose that is heat cut and sewn.
Widow Maker is made in the U.S.A. - Widow made in China"

The flight test agreed with tpatter comments above.  More precise, better low wind capability. 
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chilese
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2009, 10:48 AM »

With regard to sail pattern.....

The W and WM have SIMILAR sail patterns, not the same sail pattern.



Note that the "legs" of the spider do NOT run all the way to the center-T on the lower cost Widow.
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John Chilese: Las Vegas, NV
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fidelio
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2009, 02:52 PM »

the widow maker flies more like a nirvana while a widow flies more like a silver fox 2.5 (generalized boiled down soundbite, while not inaccurate, not very informative either)

the widow feels a much heavier kite on the lines, requiring more effort and more wind to fly. the widow has a lot of oversteer, which is correctable with technique and a little bridle adjustment, but makes it hard to be precise, especially in lighter winds.

the widow maker feels very well balanced overall, where the widow "feels" a bit heavy in it's midsection. by that i mean doing a rollup the widow maker does a backwards loop, where the widow does a backflip.

there's nothing particularly wrong with the construction of the widow, but the widow maker is an artisan quality kite using the best available materials and lovingly individually crafted by specialists, who's care and attention to detail are evident in their workmanship.

the widow is a great kite for the money. the widow maker is a great kite, period.

to me the widow maker ultralight is even better than the widow maker.

i don't own any of the three kites mentioned but have flown and do fly all three regularly at our weekly friday night fun fly. the owners of the kites i mentioned, who graciously allow me to fly their kites, also post on these boards so maybe they'll add their opinions.

to use a car analogy, the widow is a lexus, the widow maker is a bentley.
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Fdeli
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2009, 03:03 PM »

fidelio, thanks for the information. One thought on your analogy, would the Widow be a Toyota to the Widow Makers Lexus?  Wink

That pretty much sums up what I thought about the two, realizing that there is about a $100 difference between the kites I knew it had to be something substantial.

Well, once my Manga gets here I will see if I am still looking for more kites. If I am, the Widow Maker might be on the list.

Cheers,
Sean
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fidelio
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2009, 03:29 PM »

no, the toyota would be a prism jazz. Tongue
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Fdeli
Allen Carter
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2009, 04:09 PM »

You get what you pay for. In this case, a bunch of the additional cost is in the materials. Lighter but more durable sail, stiffer frame. A good kite when done cheap and a great kite when done top shelf.
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Allen, AKA kitehead
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2009, 11:14 AM »

expansion on the framing - The Widowmaker uses Nitro's where the Widow uses P300's, stiffness is about the same but at a weight penalty, with the P300's being a few grams heavier. IMO that weight contributes to the over steer.

The hourglass upper spreader patch on the Widow is pretty cheesy in comparison but overall the build quality is good for an import.

I layed the sails of my Widowmakers and the pre-production Widow together and they are identical, some early Widows had a plug in the spreader APA's which changed the profile, removing that and fixing the bridle problems some had (supposedly corrected on all the newer ones) made them identical except for the weight.

The price of upgrading the frame to Widowmaker spec's brings you close to the price of the Skyburner so if you might end up considering that just send your money Jon's way, you'll get a better kite and Jon's personal attention if you ever need it.

Both are great kites, the Widowmaker is still the kite I reach for under most conditions first, otherwise it's the one I ask for next when I get frustrated with whatever I grabbed the first time.  Wink

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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2009, 01:55 PM »

another big difference is that the WM has a leach line installed where the Widow does not.  This makes the Widow have a little bit of noise in the stronger winds - and also flies a little slower which may contribute to the light wind difference between the two.

I fly my WM down to around 3-4 mph winds with a lot of work.  My Widow needs a minimum of 5 mph steady winds to get into the air.

As far as dimensions and sail size, both kites are 100% identical.  In avg. winds of 7-10 mph, both kites will probably do more tricks than you can - and do them incredibly well.

I also agree with Darren, Lexus and Bentley. Smiley
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JayDee
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2009, 12:23 AM »

I disagree with Gamelord regarding the noise the Widow makes:  There is _a lot_ of it!  And I hate noisy kites.  That is why one of the first mods I made was adding a leech line to the Widow.  Used a piece of a broken 150 lb. flying line at first, but meanwhile replaced it with 80 lb. fishing line and a bungee construction similar to the Widow Maker.

Other than that, I have to agree with most of the posts in this thread:  The Widow Maker is the upscale, better-quality version of the same theme.  But there is more to it than just materials and build quality.  I purchased my Widow in January and must have put, like, 10,000 flight miles on it.  I had a couple of broken lower spreaders and two broken ULEs.  The latter I prevent now by obeying the rule: "Thou shalt not roll up a wet kite in winds above 25 mph!"

As for the lower spreaders, I have not had breakage since I switched to P400s with a 1 inch longer ferrule.  Virtually no difference in flying behavior.  In addition, I slanted the standoffs slightly inward (as found on Blue Moons) and installed a short piece of glue-lined shrink tube.  This would push the LSs back together if they slip apart during flight.  With this mod, the kite can be flown and tricked in up to 30 mph -- although tricks get more difficult up there...  BTW, only the LSs are P300 with the stock kite.  The rest is P200.

The latest, and probably most dramatic change was replacing the worn out stock bridle with a Widow Maker turbo bridle.  What a difference!  The Widow is a whole class better with the turbo bridle overall, has a ton more precision, is perfectly neutral and tricks as great as before.  I swapped the patched-up center T for a WM one at the same time, but I do not think that contributes a lot.  Overall, the Widow is one great value for the money, and it keeps holding up great considering all the flight time and abuse I have thrown at it.  I use it as my "higher-wind Widow Maker" in winds of some 8 mph and above.

Below that, I use my Widow Maker Standard.  And, yes, the WM is a lot more stable in a fade, it has that higher-end feel to it, and you have a somewhat easier time doing double-axles and other slow flat spin rotations.  While the overall feel of the two kites is similar, the Widow is more forgiving and taught me a lot I can now make use of with the Widow Maker.  The biggest difference I noticed is that you can pop up the Widow right from the ground.  The Widow Maker, best old-school style, wants the tail lifted by at least an inch before you tug, or it will slam its nose right into the ground.  No matter if you are trying to fly away or go into a fade.

I have just retrofitted the WM with the turbo bridle, too, and -- not quite unexpectedly -- it did make a difference, but not nearly as dramatic as with the Widow.  There is quite some overlap in the wind range between the WM and the Widow, but I would not want to throw winds of 15+ at the WM.  And you do feel that it is made for lower winds then.

In summary, both kites are excellent for their respective niche, with the Widow requiring a few more mods to be real good.  Get the Widow first if you abuse kites as much as I did (and still do sometimes) and transfer what you learn on it to the Widow Maker, which you should definitely get for those smoother winds.

What's next?  I am saving on a custom Widow Maker UL for those double-smooth winds in the upcoming season.  Almost there and itching for it!   Smiley

Cheers,

JayDee
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Frequent Fliers: Talon Std, UL and Vtd, Widow Maker Std and UL, Solus Std, Widow (modded), ATM SUL, Duende Std
Rarely flown: Exile UL, Zephyr, E2, Ozone, Micron, Quantum
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