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Author Topic: What makes a 500 dollar kite?  (Read 14198 times)
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skykbass
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« on: August 03, 2010, 07:22 PM »

I own a Prism E3, and I thought that was expensive! Is a Fearless that expensive because it's handmade, or is there really that much performance difference? I imagine the answer is both, but I'm curious on comparison between the E3, which seems to have a lot of capability. By price comparison, I would think the E3 and Fearless would be like a butter knife versus a machete! Cheesy I'm scared to tell the wife that I want a half-grand sail!
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onlye
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 07:48 PM »

Great Question.  I think we all had that "general" question along the way to our addiction. 

First kite-Can a kite really cost $90? 
Second Kite-Can I really tell the difference in $100 vs $150?
Tenth Kite-Wow, I can't wait to get that $250 kite, I'm sure its worth it.
Thirtieth Kite-Wow, what a cool kite, and its only $200!

And along the way we do find that many , not all, of the more expensive kites are really worth it; better build, better looks, better details, and yes of course - Better flying.

In all honesty I have owned several $300 kites but never a $500 kite.  Guess its just the next leap.  But not sure I could convince the wife.
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eric
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and still can't fly like those darn videos
Ace
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2010, 07:59 PM »

$500 is too much.  Shocked
When you look at the build quality of bench mark kites such as deepspace, gemini, Seven etc. which are all under $400 then its hard to Justify $500 for a Kite of equal or lesser quality.

There may be some exception by way of custom frames etc. but generally $500 is a no go zone for any standard well made boutique kite.
Well for me anyway Wink
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 08:02 PM by Ace » Logged

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cids
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2010, 08:04 PM »

 Smiley
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 06:45 PM by cids » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2010, 08:32 PM »

Usually the badge.
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chilese
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2010, 08:42 PM »

If a Synchro ever comes up when I have the funds, I'd pay $500.  Smiley
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Allen Carter
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2010, 08:57 PM »

If you're serious about flying, the cost of the kites isn't a big issue (when you can afford 'em). This is a fairly cheap hobby even at the high end.

The main reason to get a really expensive kite is because it flies different than other kites. When you're gonna put hundreds of hours on a kite, paying an extra dollar an hour for a kite that really makes you smile is cheap fun.

On paper, like specifications, most kites in the $250+ range are pretty similar. In flight, they are sometimes subtly, sometimes vastly, different. Not generally differences that are easy to quantify, though we talk about them constantly. Large amounts of personal preference. The other preference is aesthetics. The number of man hours that go into some kites purely for the sake of appearances can be significant, but for many of us it's worth the bucks to have a nice looking kite. Again, this is a result of the number of hours spent on the lines. An E3 is a nice kite, but I would rather not have to look at it all day.
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John Welden
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2010, 09:05 PM »

I own a Prism E3, and I thought that was expensive! Is a Fearless that expensive because it's handmade, or is there really that much performance difference? I imagine the answer is both, but I'm curious on comparison between the E3, which seems to have a lot of capability. By price comparison, I would think the E3 and Fearless would be like a butter knife versus a machete! Cheesy I'm scared to tell the wife that I want a half-grand sail!

First off, all kites are hand made.  No one has invented a kite making machine. Most every kite is made in about the same way.  Mass produced or not, there isn't much difference.

Second, all sport kites use more or less the same materials.

It's nice to think that you can buy a Fearless and get something that will blow away your E3, but it doesn't work like that.  It's the kite flyer that makes all the difference in the world, not the kite. Could an expert flyer do more radical flying with a Fearless over an E3? Probably not.

On the other hand, it's fun to buy and own high end kites. If you want a Fearless, you'll probably be happy if you get one.
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rncembal
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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2010, 09:24 PM »

I think the butter knife and machete is way to broad . You can just look at a 7 inch chef knife . One a a moderate price and another high end . Made roughly the same way but all the finish details and many  components better on the high priced version. That has changed somewhat on kites and a lot of the cost is economy of scale in purchase power between mass  and boutique built. I can say from experience many years ago with the Big Brother that Mr Weldon may be correct for himself but incorrect for the majority. A great intuitive flyer will perform across a wide range of kites and have the feel to adapt. Many less   talented may find that certain kites have design imperatives that do affect their ability to achieve results. All the kite I had flown previously to the Big Brother had oversteer or understeer. My switching from 6 foot flexi stacks left me with less than stellar feel and suddenly I had a kite that I could steer. Compared to todays tricks it's laughable but I enjoyed the advent of the prefect 90 degree turn followed by the on rails ground pass wobble free.
Worth the 375 dollar price jump from mass to boutique? depends on your desire and wallet.
Rob
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tpatter
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« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2010, 10:12 PM »

Certainly the Fearless is far far better designed, put together, and functional in my opinion.  Once you can keep the kite in the air,  have a decent snap stall, can axel, 540, and land the kite, I'd go for the best kite that is going to help you move to more advanced tricks more easily. 

The trouble is - its hard to tell you what kite that will be since it really depends on what you like.  Certainly, many people love Lam's style of kite. 

The best thing is to figure what kite that you love to fly.  That way, you will spend lots of time flying it, practicing and getting better.  Who knows, perhaps the E3 is that kite for you right now.   
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 10:36 PM by tpatter » Logged

6 kite tom
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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2010, 10:47 PM »

Coincidently I found a blog article by Kent Kingston a few days ago. Very relevant read to the topic being discussed here Smiley

http://kitethoughtsfromthefield.blogspot.com/2010/07/cheap-kites-vs-high-end-expensive-kites.html

-Darryl
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jaybett
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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2010, 11:52 PM »

There is some confusion between cost versus performance. Using the knife analogy, a Euro kitchen knife can generally be had for $100.00. A specialized Japanese kitchen knife that is the same size can go for well over a $1000.00
Is a knife that costs 10 times more, really ten times better?

The cost of a Japanese knife is high, because the technique used to forge it is difficult and requires a skilled craftsman. Even in the hands of a skilled craftsman, there are many failures, before a knife is successfully made. 

Does the Japanese knife cut 10 times better then a Euro one? In general, no, but it has characteristics that top chefs want and are willing to pay for them.

Lam Hoac who makes the Fearless is a perfectionist. He estimates that it takes him twenty four hours to build one kite. How many kites does Prism make in the same time? Even among other boutique makers, I'd bet this is a slow build rate.

Does a Lam kite fly five times better then a $100 kite? In general the answer would be no, but a Lam Kite has characteristics that fan's of his kite value.

Jay
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KaoS
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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2010, 12:17 AM »

Lam Hoac who makes the Fearless is a perfectionist. He estimates that it takes him twenty four hours to build one kite.
...
Even among other boutique makers, I'd bet this is a slow build rate.

24 hours??  Yep that is a S-L-O-W build.  Ken McNeil told me he can put one of his kites together in between 4 and 5 hours.  I average around 6 hours.  When I was making entry level 6 footers for a local shop (4 panels, no leech line, folded trailing edge, simple L/E/ coutouts), less than 2 hours.
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Kevin Sanders

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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2010, 12:40 AM »

I'd gotten the impression that Lam didn't make his own kites these days and had them sewn up by someone else, am I wrong?

Re: the price, if the demand is there some people will charge what the market will stand. There seemed to be a big jump in prices when the Nirvana came along, in that case much of the price was probably due to exchange rates, import duties etc. but it didn't take other mfrs long to catch up in the US & UK.

I reached the point a while ago where I thought enough is enough. I can understand the work that goes into a kite, the cost of materials and I know no one ever got rich in kites but I just can't justify spending more than $300/200UKP on a kite that might get shredded by a dog. You may justify it by comparing with other sporting goods but it no longer makes sense to me especially when they're not really bringing anything new to the game any more.

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zippy8
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2010, 12:43 AM »

Is a Fearless that expensive because it's handmade
Mostly, yes. There's nothing in the materials that kick the price up that much.

Quote
or is there really that much performance difference?

First you'd have to define performance, then put a dollar-per-performance-unit to it, etc. etc. In order to be able to say that the Fearless is the better kite you'd have to work out what you mean by better.

To the Man In The Street... it's probably not worth the money.
To an enthusiast who likes to play with nice toys... it's up to them.

Quote
By price comparison, I would think the E3 and Fearless would be like a butter knife versus a machete!
How about Aston Martin versus Jaguar - look roughly the same to most disinterested people, use about the same parts, do roughly the same thing but one is a lot more expensive than the other. Why ? Badge, mainly. The allure of the hand-made for another. But mostly badge.

In the grand scheme of things $500 isn't a lot of money to spend on an object that you frequently use recreationally but it's a hell of a lot to have sitting in a bag just for the hell of it. If you really take this hobby seriously then you'll almost certainly want to get your hands on something special at some stage.

Quote from: chilese
If a Synchro ever comes up when I have the funds, I'd pay $500.
Mine will be up for sale Real Soon Now™ for what I paid for it (once I remember what that was). You can have first refusal on it.

Mike.

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