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Author Topic: The Stigma Of High $ Kites From Low $ Companies  (Read 4102 times)
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JimB
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2010, 12:36 PM »

Well, and that is true.

As the price differential between companies offerings becomes smaller, with offshore kites approaching, or surpassing, 2/3rds the cost of a boutique kite, it seems to me quality and design become paramount in the buying process.

Not just the way the kite is made, but what it is made with, whether or not all the bits and bobs are standard, high quality, readily available items, the marques reputation for reliability and durability, all this becomes much more important to me as time goes on.



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.
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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2010, 02:39 PM »

As a person who works with HQ on a regular basis, I would have to say that their service and customer support is top notch and one of the best in the business - and if you are having problems with a current production HQ product - it is not the factory that is dropping the ball.  Every time I have needed an item or information, HQ had responded almost instantly and have had the parts / pieces / replacements within days if they were in stock, within a week or two if they weren't.  And to be honest, I have had less overall problems / issues with products from HQ than I have had from quite a few other kite manufacturers.

The Infinity is a fantastic kite!  It's build quality is top notch and I too believe that if it had an R-Sky or Blue Moon decal on it (instead of HQ), it would have 10 times the positive threads on many forums about how great a kite it is.

As far as the parts go for Flying Wings or HQ (or pretty much every other kite manufacturer now days) they are all basically standard parts.  HQ uses the same APA style fittings, Dynamic or Skyshark rods, same end caps, Icarex PC31 sail material, etc... etc...  So getting replacement parts should they ever be needed shouldn't be an issue - especially if you are dealing with a kite shop such as GWTW and others who normally stock all of these items on a regular basis.  Of course there could possibly be one or two specialized fittings such as Center T's or stoppers - but those could be replaced with an aftermarket item should you ever need to do so - its not like you are breaking center T's on a daily basis.  And even then Steve probably has the OEM parts in stock too.

It is a shame that true high end kites such as the Soul and Infinity (and quite a few others) get black listed just because the manufacturer just happens to be one that also produces beginner or less expensive kites.  I don't know if it is lack of marketing or if (as John has said) we are all snobs.

btw - I have the Soul and Infinity (std. & Vented) in my A Bag at all times! so I guess I am some-what lower class than other flyers - but I have just as big as smile when flying.
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JimB
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2010, 09:10 PM »

This doesn't happen in a vacuum.

Many of us have had many kites from most if not all the manufacturers.

Experience leads one to conclusions.

This would not be a topic of conversation if there weren't issues.

The fact is if your kite is not being made by an experienced kiteflier/builder, there are going to be more issues.

That has been my experience.

That doesn't mean that there aren't issues with some of the smaller builders.

There are.

Which is why the number of marques I will buy from is limited to those I have had good experiences with.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 09:12 PM by JimB » Logged
Fast EDDY
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2010, 10:17 PM »

Quote
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.

  Well I can ATTEST to this FACT as Mr Chris when I has a Quality control Issue with my Scorpion Had me a NEW scorpion in TWO WEEKS!~! Through Harbor Wind and Kite!~!
  I had Flown my Kite four times and kept noticing how it would not spin roght in one direction. No matter what the wind speed. Finally the shop owner and I went over the kite with a fine tooth comb and found the wing tips sails to be different widths.
  We Called CHRIS  and FAXED him the Traced Drawings on the Fabric and HE had me a New Kite on the way as soon as he hit the office!!!
   All I can say Is Congrats on Getting your New Position at H Q  Chris. 
  Thanks for the Help on the Kite thru Mr Buz.
   His Flight Instructor    Mr ED

  Now as for how the kite flies, It is a Fast and Twitchy fun Kite. I put a 15gram weight in the tail and it now truly rolls over easy. It will Fade Easy and spin on its back all day long. How ever with my torn rotator cup and tendon that is about my limits in pushing he envelope at this time. The Basic Axel is easy enough but Im only doing them one way.
  This Kite is a HIGHER end Kite by H Q that was Dropped this Year but there still around. It is a FUN  189.00 dollar kite. How ever It did need a bit of better finishing touches. The Hook loop on the back of the sail between the Stand Outs is TACKY!~! Now if it was Meant for some Speed Brakes that are NOT available to run down the stand outs to teh spreaders for High wind flying. I could then Understand it. Other than that. I am CLUELESS!~!

   
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 10:26 PM by Fast EDDY » Logged
GusG
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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2010, 11:27 AM »

Alright, now I’m angry. 

I have an MBA in Marketing and 10+ years professional experience helping some of the most highly regarded companies in America develop “first rate customer service.” 

So let’s just do a little comparison. 

I’ve been flying less than a year so I still think of myself as a newbie. And when it comes to customer service that’s an important factor for any company to be concerned about.  I own eight stunt kites and two foil kites.  In order to come as close as I can to comparing apples to apples I’m going to compare my HQ Maestro to my Prism Hypnotist  because their “list” prices are about the same.

I’ve flown my Hypnotist about 50 hours, crashed frequently, never broken any part on it, and it still looks brand new.  I’ve flown my Maestro less than 10 hours, it literally falls apart in the air, and it looks like it had a date with an IED in Iraq.  Hmmm, no doubt which is the better dollar value there.

So maybe you want to “ya but” the Maestro’s a better flier.  How the H*** could I know if it keeps falling apart when I’m flying it.

Now I need parts.  I’ve got 5 kite shops within 200 miles radius.  Call all five.  Got HQ parts?  Their response:  “Nope.”  Got Prism parts?  Three of the five:  “Yup, which Prism kite do ya need ‘em for.” 

OK, so now I try the internet.  Goggle search for Prism parts.  All kinds of hits including the Prism web page where I can order online, hassle free, 24/7, even parts for kites they no longer make!  So I Goggle HQ  parts.  Nothing!!!!!  Try the HQ web page.  Not even a link for parts!!!  Try their forum.  After wasting time reading numerous posts I finally find one that recommends trying my local kite shop.  Ya, right!  Finally I find one web store that lists the parts.  I call only to find out the parts are out of stock, they can order them but it’ll take several weeks.  Several weeks??? I live in the Great Lakes region, summer here only lasts several weeks!

So now you tell me I can get the parts from GWTW.  You can’t tell that from the GWTW home page.  They don’t even sell the Maestro so why would anyone assume they carry parts for it.  Would you go to a Ford dealership to buy BMW parts?   Click on the parts tab just in case.  Nope, none of the Maestro parts I need are listed.  So then you tell me I can substitute generic parts?  Pardon the expression but how the F*** is a newbie supposed to know that.  The reciprocal parts on my Hypnotist look nothing at all like the parts on the Maestro. 

I’m not telling anybody Prism support is first rate, I don’t have enough experience to know that, there may be manufactures that are ten times better.  But what I do know is that until HQ can provide the ease of support that Prism does they’re not “first rate.”  Until I  can get HQ parts locally or find them on the web as easily as I can find Prism parts they’re not even 2nd rate.  If HQ can’t at least provide an easy to find link for parts on their web page they’re not even 3rd rate.  And that the professional evaluation of an MBA with 10+ years in the Customer Service industry. 

I appreciate finally being provide with contacts/sources for parts but why wasn’t it easier for a newbie to get that information?

From this newbies perspective, compared to Prism, and Flying Wings, HQ’s got some catching up to do.  And until they do any claims of “first rate” are perceived as a pile of C***. 
 
If I buy a Buick and I like it maybe some day I’ll buy a Cadillac.   If I buy a Yugo . . . .   Oh right, they don’t sell Yugo in America any more.
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thief
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« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2010, 11:42 AM »

Gus: the biggest thing is that prism's parts are not anything special for the most part....there are only a couple manufactures of kite rods and fittings out there......prism just offers them up for a bit more since they are Prism parts Wink
if you drop Steve (owner here) an email i am certain that he can supply all of the parts you need for both kites!

if you look at the paperwork that came with the HQ kite it was most likely listed on there the exact parts you need to replace anything broken....and then you can go to gwtw kites or any number of kite shops and get those pieces....

not trying to downplay your history/experience an opinion here....i worked in a shop for awhile and dealt with MANY manufacturers both good and bad.....HQ was one of the top for us! prism not so much....(and that was even before Chris worked at HQ too....Tim and Melanie were da bomb there before Chris was - Sorry man you know that too!)
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RonG
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« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2010, 01:11 PM »

This seems to be devolving into a pissing match over whether XYZ kite company's product and support are good or crap.  I think the point has been lost.  It's not a question of whether HQ, Flying Wings, or any other company that has made its mark mass-producing primarily low-priced kites is actually good or bad in terms of quality and support.  The point is one of perception, and when these companies try to sell a kite approaching the price tag of the "boutique" manufacturers, they're facing an uphill battle in my opinion.  It's not like cars; most fliers can't easily try before they buy.  I just don't see many people gambling on a pricey Flying Wings or HQ kite when they could have a Blue Moon or a Benson for similar money.  It's not snobbery, it's just playing it safe with discretionary cash that's in shorter supply than it used to be.
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Hadge
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« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2010, 01:55 PM »

I have a number of HQ kites and I have to say that  I've never had any real problems with quality.  I've learned to fly with a HQ Jive which has been hammered to hell and back and while I've had my share of broken rods, I've never had a problem with the construction of the kite. Most HQ kites are framed in ordinary carbon rods which you can get at any kite store, fittings, at least here in the UK, are easy enough to find.  A few of their kites use Dynamic DT series spars which are harder to find, but you can get equivilent in Skyshark which is easy to get, and details of most of their kites, spar lengths, bridle settings etc are available on the support section of their site.  Whenever I've has a question about one of my kites and posted a question on the HQ forum, it has usually been picked up and answered by one of the site administrators within a couple of days and when I was missing the weight set for my Falcon it was posted from Germany within a week. They are not top quality kites, but I think they are good value for money.

That said, I doubt if they will sell more than a handful of the new Chrome - at $400 / £250 they are more expensive than many 'boutique' kites and if you are spending that sort of money you're not going to buy something with HQ on it, no matter how good it may be.

I've only ever flown one Prism, a Hypnotist, and it was a nice enough kite and seemed well made. However I have to say, and I'm really not having a go at Prism here, but I often look on the Prism site and there do seem to be a number of posting by folks who have had problems with construction after only a short time of ownership.
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In the bag - HQ Shadow, Prism 4D, Flying Wings Soul Mid Vent, HQ Jive (1), Spiderkites Zodarion, 'Paw' modded HQ Maestro ll, HQ Delta Hawk.
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« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2010, 04:17 PM »

You bet I would hesitate spending custom prices at a mass market manufacturer. Because I'm a snob? I don't think so. I have no problem spending $80-$180 for a kite from them, no problem flying that kite in public and no problem admitting that I often enjoy the heck out of those kites. At $250 and above though I have the opportunity to work with Ken, Jon, Hunter, Paul, Mark, and others (but I'll stop with GWTW sponsors). That's value added IMO, you have their phone number & email and a real person who is involved in every aspect of the business answers them. Unless the mass market man was offering something beyond what those custom builders can offer why would I ? I can also see the mass market guys putting products into this range though, especially if they can offer the retailers a significant margin on these kites so the retailer can get a top end kite on the shelf. A retailer is not going to get a custom builders product on the shelf for $150-$200 so there is a market, good to see it filled.

I'll agree with Gus and his frustration on parts from a new fliers perspective. Unless he can easily find a parts list spec'ing it uses a Sky Shark P100 spine how is he to know he can get a proper replacement at his local shop, how will the shop know? How will a new enthusiast know that Steve here at GWTW has spent countless hours gathering spec's from the furthest reaches and darkest corners of the globe to be able to offer premium customer service?

I do know Chris at HQ is very receptive to input on HQ's products, so Chris how about it? Bring that up at the next pow-wow, get those user manuals and parts spec's on line, past & present. So what if it was in the user manual, how many of those blew down the beach?


« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 04:30 PM by mikenchico » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2010, 04:43 PM »

Wait! These things came with MANUALS!?!?! Huh
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« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2010, 05:08 PM »

HQ Maestro specs here

most other HQ kites specs can be found by clicking the Show All tab on their support page
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mikenchico
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« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2010, 10:16 PM »

Thanks, looks like HQ is one of the better ones already support wise if you know where to look.

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Hadge
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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2010, 12:33 PM »

The Hook loop on the back of the sail between the Stand Outs is TACKY!~! Now if it was Meant for some Speed Brakes that are NOT available to run down the stand outs to teh spreaders for High wind flying. I could then Understand it. Other than that. I am CLUELESS!~!
 

According to a German review I found the velcro patches are to stop the line slipping towards the wingtip when wrapped up!

" Another innovation, which I think is very useful is that on the sail back in the area where the flying strings exist when the dragon is wrapped in a yoyo, was incorporated into a layer of velcro. This is to prevent the flight of the kite strings, if this is once in Yoyo slide off.  These reinforcements, of course, also works at a Yofade and also prevents state that the flight line slipping towards wing tip."  ...odd!

I'm also thinking of buying a Scorpion....Is it a good buy? would you recommend it?

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Age and cunning will always overcome youth and skill!

In the bag - HQ Shadow, Prism 4D, Flying Wings Soul Mid Vent, HQ Jive (1), Spiderkites Zodarion, 'Paw' modded HQ Maestro ll, HQ Delta Hawk.
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