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Author Topic: Picking my first freestyle kite  (Read 3313 times)
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red sweater
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« on: June 05, 2012, 06:49 AM »

Hi. I've owned a Prism Quantum for a few years (I don't get to fly it too often, it's heavier and I don't live near steady winds), and I'm looking to get a kite more agreeable to freestyle. I don't want to spend (much) over $200 to get a kite and a line set.

I've looked at the ITW Kymera (looks great, but breaks the budget), FW Silver Fox (well under budget, and that brand touts themselves as easier learning), and Prism's newer/less expensive Zephyr (right on the price point, with a line set).

I'm thinking I'll usually be in the lighter wind range (under 10 mph, maybe about 3-5 mph variable) except for those summer trips to the beach where it can get strong. (I'm not good at estimating, but it pulls my Quantum hard.) I don't know how I feel about an UL (the Silver Fox UL is the same price as a STD, so I'm considering it). I have a Prism 3D UL already, but I stink at flying it. Very short lines means a small window, and it has a lot of oversteer -- I guess I haven't developed the soft touch needed for it. I know it's asking for a lot, but I want to be able to fly my new kite in lighter winds, and at the beach -- at least sometimes, when the wind eases off between the gusty times.

I'm open to other kites, too. What would be a good step up for me?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 06:51 AM by red sweater » Logged

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HQ Breeze, Silver Fox 2.3 Pro UL, Nirvana Std, Prism Quantum
ITW Mesa DC, Premier Popper Line Climber
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timothymcmackin
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 07:53 AM »

Like many people here, I'd suggest to "fly before you buy." The people who fly kites in your area will help you pick a wind range and let you try a few kinds of kites and get a sense for what style of kite you want. The people here on the forum will be helpful, but I'll bet that this thread will quickly become a list of favorite kites. :-)

FWIW, the Zephyr is the kite that really opened freestyle to me. As I learned tricks on it, I found I could do the tricks on other kites, where before the tricks felt impossible on them. It's not perfect, but it was just right for me at the time. I haven't flown a Kymera or Silver Fox, so I can't compare.
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red sweater
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 08:12 AM »

I've done some poking around the forums here, and I noticed a couple things:

Steve selling a Silver Fox 2.3 UL Pro for well under MSRP. With a line set, I'll be on or just over budget. However, I'm having difficulty finding reviews/write ups for this particular kite. It does, however, list a wind range up to 20 mph, and the video on the FW site shows it flying in strong winds, which makes it a good candidate for both scenarios I described. (Edit: actually, I guess that is the Pro Std I am seeing on the FW site. I don't see the UL. I wonder what its wind range is. Ah, found it. 1-10.)

The beginner FAQ in this board shows some love to the Skyburner Freestylist. I'd not been looking at that one, but it's another viable candidate.

I'm not really narrowing things down, am I? Wish I could get them all.

Like many people here, I'd suggest to "fly before you buy." The people who fly kites in your area will help you pick a wind range and let you try a few kinds of kites and get a sense for what style of kite you want. The people here on the forum will be helpful, but I'll bet that this thread will quickly become a list of favorite kites. :-)

FWIW, the Zephyr is the kite that really opened freestyle to me. As I learned tricks on it, I found I could do the tricks on other kites, where before the tricks felt impossible on them. It's not perfect, but it was just right for me at the time. I haven't flown a Kymera or Silver Fox, so I can't compare.


It would be great to fly some of these before picking. I'm in Columbia, MD, between Baltimore and DC (closer to Baltimore, but I know the DC area better, having grown up further south). I don't know any kiters in the area, and I don't see a lot of activity on the 3 groups I've found via web searches. Anyone in here close?

Thanks for the Zephyr endorsement, though. These all sound like great kites. Maybe I'm being picky....
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 11:04 AM by red sweater » Logged

My bag:
HQ Breeze, Silver Fox 2.3 Pro UL, Nirvana Std, Prism Quantum
ITW Mesa DC, Premier Popper Line Climber
Rev EXP
RonG
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012, 08:57 AM »

It would be great to fly some of these before picking. I'm in Columbia, MD, between Baltimore and DC (closer to Baltimore, but I know the DC area better, having grown up further south). I don't know any kiters in the area, and I don't see a lot of activity on the 3 groups I've found via web searches. Anyone in here close?

Richmond Air Force is fairly active as kite groups go these days, google it if you haven't already.

There is an Eastern League competition coming up on June 16th at Dorey Park in Richmond. That might be a good opportunity to put your hands on a variety of different sport kites, and also serve as an introduction to sport kite competition if you have any interest.
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Kareloh
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 09:02 AM »

When i flew the Zephyr for the first time is wasn't very impressed by it's low wind capabilities. It's advertised as a low wind kite, but i think it's more like a light STD.
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haight
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012, 09:25 AM »

it has been said that beginners start with a higher wind range
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red sweater
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012, 09:39 AM »

it has been said that beginners start with a higher wind range

So instead of looking at light stds, I should be getting to better flying areas? There's one within an hour of here (a park, so a small fee to access it). We have our first little one now, so I'm finding it harder for us to go do things. Everything takes longer, more prep work, more stuff to haul.
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My bag:
HQ Breeze, Silver Fox 2.3 Pro UL, Nirvana Std, Prism Quantum
ITW Mesa DC, Premier Popper Line Climber
Rev EXP
st3307
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2012, 10:03 AM »

if  you  have  been  flying  a   quatum  and  are  past  the   nose  plant  stage   on  it  a   good  UL   or  a     good   light  Std  as  people  call  them     will open  up  the  lighter  wind  days   if   you  wnat  to  stay  in  your   budget   and    get  a  very  nice   kite  look  into the  freestylist  UL   right  around  the   170    dollars  mark     plus  a  line  set  and shipping   it    will fly     in  2-12      with  the  sweet  spot    about   3   to   10 



   PS  it    will  do  all the     new  tricks   out  there  and  is  very   good  for  learning  new  tricks
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Good air always Bobby
red sweater
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2012, 10:24 AM »

Maybe a different question is in order....

Amongst the most likely candidates: Silver Fox Std (2.5, I guess?), Zephyr, and Freestylist

Which would be the best/easiest to learn on?  Skyburner bills the Freestylist as a quick learner, but they're hardly impartial. Is it as good as they say? Then I read this review of the Zephyr, and it sounds amazing.

The Zephyr sounds like a better match to the wind I think I'll be facing, fwiw. And a Freestylist UL goes over the budget without a line set, unless there's a cheaper site I can't find.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 10:27 AM by red sweater » Logged

My bag:
HQ Breeze, Silver Fox 2.3 Pro UL, Nirvana Std, Prism Quantum
ITW Mesa DC, Premier Popper Line Climber
Rev EXP
st3307
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2012, 10:33 AM »

 the   thing  for  me    for   what  it  is   worth the  freestylist   are  made  in the   USA   the   zephyrs   are   made  in  china     I  have   owned    both    kites  the    Freestylist   UL  is  a  true  UL   as  were  it  has  been  said  before  the   zephyr   is   not     both   will  flyi   within  there  stated   wind  ranges  yes     but the   freestylist  will  do   so  with  out  taking  out  the  weight    and   going  to  a   diffrent  short  line  set      will  you  be  working  to   fly   either   kite  in there  bottom   end  yes       will you  have  to  learn   true  light   wind    skills   yes      so       I  guess  you   could  flip   a   coin  in   chose
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Good air always Bobby
timothymcmackin
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2012, 11:11 AM »

it has been said that beginners start with a higher wind range

So instead of looking at light stds, I should be getting to better flying areas? There's one within an hour of here (a park, so a small fee to access it). We have our first little one now, so I'm finding it harder for us to go do things. Everything takes longer, more prep work, more stuff to haul.

I think what haight is saying here is that experienced pilots can fly a kite in lighter wind than a beginner. So a beginner needs a bit more wind.

As others are mentioning, the Z's low-wind performance is not as good as a true UL. So although I loved the Z, i still needed a true UL for wind under 5mph or so.  I picked up a BMK Exile UL that blows away the Z in low-wind performance. There's no comparing the two on that account. My new Talon STD flies lower than the Z, too, although there's a big price range difference there.

So if you really want to limit the number of kites you buy (good luck!), you might look for a true UL for light wind and fly the Q in normal or high wind.
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red sweater
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012, 11:44 AM »

it has been said that beginners start with a higher wind range

So instead of looking at light stds, I should be getting to better flying areas? There's one within an hour of here (a park, so a small fee to access it). We have our first little one now, so I'm finding it harder for us to go do things. Everything takes longer, more prep work, more stuff to haul.

I think what haight is saying here is that experienced pilots can fly a kite in lighter wind than a beginner. So a beginner needs a bit more wind.

As others are mentioning, the Z's low-wind performance is not as good as a true UL. So although I loved the Z, i still needed a true UL for wind under 5mph or so.  I picked up a BMK Exile UL that blows away the Z in low-wind performance. There's no comparing the two on that account. My new Talon STD flies lower than the Z, too, although there's a big price range difference there.

So if you really want to limit the number of kites you buy (good luck!), you might look for a true UL for light wind and fly the Q in normal or high wind.

How is the Z in "normal" wind? It says it goes up to 17 mph. I'm just not finding the Q to be very approachable for tricks.

Maybe what I should do is hit the beach this summer, learn on higher winds with a full std, and then look into an UL for the low-wind fields near home.
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My bag:
HQ Breeze, Silver Fox 2.3 Pro UL, Nirvana Std, Prism Quantum
ITW Mesa DC, Premier Popper Line Climber
Rev EXP
Tmadz
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2012, 12:25 PM »

I'm learning on the quantum. Before I move up to a true UL or pricey std I am making sure that I have mastered the stalls. I do try a few axles and turtles now and then, but i spend most of my time practicing. It's not pretty, but after I have done my practice I seem to find it easier to attempt the advanced tricks. When I truly know all the ins and outs of my Quantum then I'll have an idea what to look for on my next kite.
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Wayner
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2012, 02:37 PM »



How is the Z in "normal" wind? It says it goes up to 17 mph.

A handfull. Here is a quote from the review you linked to "In higher winds I felt the kite was a bit "muscular", and I was not as comfortable tricking it at its upper limits". Matches my experence.


Maybe what I should do is hit the beach this summer, learn on higher winds with a full std, and then look into an UL for the low-wind fields near home.

Many tricks can be easier to learn in light winds. So a UL is still a good choice.  Cool


Between your two choices I would go with the Freestylist. Your enjoyment of the Z would be based on your wind conditions.

No compalaints on the Z's in the trick department. But its limited wind range can be a problem.
My local winds are always changing. The Z's is heavy and sluggish in low winds, strong pulling as winds pick up. This keeps the Z in the bag for me. I have a bag full of other trick kites that handle my local winds better.
 
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red sweater
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2012, 03:03 PM »

Between your two choices I would go with the Freestylist. Your enjoyment of the Z would be based on your wind conditions.

To be clear, you mean the Freestylist UL? I called Skyburner to get a price, since it wasn't on their store, and they said $275. Strange, since AWOC carries it for $209. (Skyburner lists the STD at $160 vs. AWOC's $175.) I'm baffled by the big price difference ($115) at SB, when the price difference at AWOC is only $34.

How about Steve's (new!) FW Silver Fox 2.3 Pro UL for $170? It looks like a true UL. Or is it worth shelling out another $40 for the Skyburner?
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My bag:
HQ Breeze, Silver Fox 2.3 Pro UL, Nirvana Std, Prism Quantum
ITW Mesa DC, Premier Popper Line Climber
Rev EXP
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