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Author Topic: The Stigma Of High $ Kites From Low $ Companies  (Read 4074 times)
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chilese
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« on: March 10, 2010, 11:31 AM »

There have been a couple of recent kites which I really liked as did all the dual-line regulars at our Friday night Kite Fly.

The Flying Wing Soul and HQ Infinity are well made, full-sized sport kites which came out at a price point of over $200 IIRC. They flew and tricked well and, in our eyes were also good looking kites. But they didn't sell well or hardly at all.

And now HQ is coming out with the high-priced Chrome and Flying Wing has the team kite Prediction which was used by Team Air-Rex. I'm afraid the stigma of accepting a high dollar kite from a company known for lower priced kites will once again raise its ugly head. Even though the Prediction (and Soul) isn't made by the same people who make the rest of the FW kite line, it will probably have low sales also.

Are we snobs? Well yes, as a whole, we are. But why not at least give these kites a chance?
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Jared
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2010, 11:43 AM »

How did you cope with the 9,853 knots on the Infinity bridle? 

I had a chance to fly a vented one last fall on the Outer Banks, and I was left feeling that I'd have had a much better time if I'd had some guidance as to how to set the bridle.  I think I spent more time tweaking than flying.
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DaveH
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2010, 11:47 AM »

Even low dollar kites from these companies sometimes fail to catch on. I've flown the FW Insync a bit lately and really enjoy it.  Its a lot of kite for a buck 25. Yet it doesn't seem too popular.
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chilese
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2010, 11:59 AM »

Jared,

I first flew the Infinity with the as provided settings. Then moved the bridle tow point up and in a bit as I prefer tighter spinning, light pulling kites.

It took 2 adjustments and I had the kite where I liked it.

I'd rather have the options to tune the bridle provided. A personal preference.  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2010, 12:12 PM »

I think its more of a risk item. 

If I spend alot on a kite from a boutique maker, they are going to go a long way to making sure that I am happy with the sale and their kite - you develop a relationship and I think the extra cost, quality, and familiarity is well worth it.  They often even become friends.

If I spend $400 on a kite made by someone I don't (and can't) know and have a problem (even a minor one like how do I adjust the beads on my Silver Fox) - I am likely on my own aside from forums like this one.  If a boutique maker makes a bad kite, they will suffer - much less of an issue for a larger (and generally cheaper) manufacturer.

Who knows, maybe my perception is incorrect, but I see lots of questions go unanswered on some forum sites even for their inexpensive kites (let alone the more expensive ones).
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2010, 12:23 PM »

I think the problem is that HQ and FW kites have always been mediocre, so why would anyone trust they can make something better? Why buy from them when you could buy from someone that knows what they're doing.  It's the same problem with American cars, no one trusts they can make anything good after 40 years of junk.

I'm sure the the new HQ and FW kites are perfectly good kites.  It's not like the formula for a modern kite is a secret. You could probably slap a Rsky logo on any of them and 99% of kiters would say it's amazing.
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2010, 04:28 PM »

I've been so disappointed in the HQ kites I've purchased that I doubt I'd ever buy another kite from them, even another  "mid-priced/inexpensive" kite.  From what I've seen their quality stinks and their product support is even worse.  I can't even imagine risking money on a more expensive kite from them especially when kites from better manufactures have established reputations as quality kites and the companies have established reputations for standing behind their products. 

Flying Wings kites, have created a better impression with me.  I own three of their kites.  While I recognize they are not top of the line kites I do feel they are a great value for the dollar.  They seem to my eye more intelligently designed than HQ, better fliers than HQ, and so far when I need parts I can find them.  I might be willing to take a flier on their more expensive kites but would do so only after I've read repeated positive reports.  Or if the kites were priced significantly cheaper than they are now.
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2010, 07:36 PM »

I've been so disappointed in the HQ kites I've purchased that I doubt I'd ever buy another kite from them, even another  "mid-priced/inexpensive" kite.  From what I've seen their quality stinks and their product support is even worse.  I can't even imagine risking money on a more expensive kite from them especially when kites from better manufactures have established reputations as quality kites and the companies have established reputations for standing behind their products. 

Everyone company has issues with products from time to time. HQ Kites is no different. I've worked for a number of kite companies in the past and currently work for HQ Kites & Designs, USA. Not comparing HQ Kites with boutique builders, but after twenty years in the kite industry, I can honestly attest to the fact that HQ Kites has one of the best QC programs in existence. If HQ needs someone to stand behind the products...here I am. You can reach me here > chris @ hq-kites-usa.com.
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zippy8
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2010, 09:35 PM »

Are we snobs? Well yes, as a whole, we are. But why not at least give these kites a chance?
We as a species are, it's not just limited to kites. It's far easier for a brand to sell down that it is to sell up.

What is the more likely sales proposition out of these two within their market: the Mercedes small hatchback or the Honda supercar ?

Mike.
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misterbleepy
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2010, 05:29 AM »

What is the more likely sales proposition out of these two within their market: the Mercedes small hatchback or the Honda supercar ?

That'll be the Mercedes A-Class, and the Honda NSX.

I guess Mercedes sold a lot more A-Classes than Honda sold NSX's, but I know which one I'd rather have ;-)

But with kites, for me it'd be the other way around - I'd rather have a "Beginners Benson" than a "Fantastic Flying Wings"
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RonG
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2010, 09:01 AM »

What is the more likely sales proposition out of these two within their market: the Mercedes small hatchback or the Honda supercar ?

That'll be the Mercedes A-Class, and the Honda NSX.

Ah, but Honda gets around the consumer stigma here in North America by selling a car like that as an "Acura".  My TL has got Honda stamped on just about every visible part, but it's not a Honda, it's an "Acura".  Same with Nissan/Infinity, Toyota/Lexus.

Maybe that's how the kite world should get around the issue as well.  Flying Wings and HQ can form their own "luxury divisions".
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fworley
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2010, 09:03 AM »

Maybe that's how the kite world should get around the issue as well.  Flying Wings and HQ can form their own "luxury divisions".

And manufactured them here in US facilities and not in Chinese sweatshops ...

-Frazer
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2010, 10:27 AM »

It would be hard to imagine a person who flew a kite, liked how it performed, and then declined based solely on the reputation of the maker.

While I've heard positive reviews on the Soul and the Prediction, I'm not sure what they would add to my bag. Are they going to add capabilities, that I don't already have with my current kites: A better wind range? Handles bumpy winds? Helps in learning more difficult tricks?

Jay
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RonG
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2010, 11:08 AM »

It would be hard to imagine a person who flew a kite, liked how it performed, and then declined based solely on the reputation of the maker.
If they got to lay hands on the kite, had a good test flight, and were happy with the build quality?  No, I don't imagine too many people would balk at the label (ethical considerations re. sweatshop manufacturing aside).

But in a time when brick and mortar kite shops are few and far between, kite festivals where you can see all the new and shiny have all but disappeared, and flying sport kites has become a solitary hobby for most, how many people get that opportunity now before buying?

I suspect a $400 price tag on a Benson will get more people to roll the dice and shell out than a $300 Flying Wings kite, no matter how good the buzz.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 11:10 AM by RonG » Logged
indigo_wolf
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2010, 12:26 PM »

Are we snobs? Well yes, as a whole, we are. But why not at least give these kites a chance?

John...

I think Ron is pretty much dead on about "kite festivals where you can see all the new and shiny have all but disappeared".

I think the Chico and LV crowd are kind of lucky in having Steve and Kent be able to bring out demo kites to the field.  It also sounds like you all have a regular spot, semi-regular (albeit unofficial) flying times, and a fairly consistent core group. 

Jim Cosca has been very good about hitting a lot of the east coast festivals with the new Sky Dog products.  However, outside of events like Kite Party and Berkeley, a lot of folks don't get to try new products before buying so there is a lot of tea leaf reading.

The Power Kite divisions of HQ and Ozone have a fairly extensive "tour/demo" schedule when their new products come out, but I expect it's not nearly as profitable a venture for dual lines.  Unofficially several power kite retailers have a "pass the kite" program where folks get to try new kites for the cost of shipping.  Again, I don't see that being something that the manufacturers would be able to officially sanction.

Something really miraculous would have to happen at the manufacturer/KTAI/retailer intersection.  The interesting thing is that given the state of kite event sanctioning, the climate is kind of primed for something like that.

The alternative is that I expect stigma-tilting is going to happen on a field of windmills.

ATB,
Sam
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