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Author Topic: Quality problems with Asian made kites  (Read 6347 times)
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Bob D
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« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2009, 06:35 AM »

You can be pretty much assured that a boutique kite will have the most attention to detail - but you'll pay for it.

(But darn it, I keep on my breaking my stand off connectors on my Nirvanas. I don't mind having to keep an inventory but it's a pain. Otherwise, the Nirvana is a great kite.)

So the cheaper Asian kites might be less refined but they're less expensive. It's a trade-off. Dollars ---- versus ---- attention to details and craftsmanship.
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Bob D.
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« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2009, 09:54 AM »

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Of the Chinese made kites I've had the New Tech's were pretty roughly finished and the Prism's, whilst OK, lacked the sort of flair and attention to detail that is part of the joy of ownership of the boutique kites. Similarly every Level One kite I've owned (and there have been a few) has needed stoppers regluing out of the bag so it's not something limited to China. Everyone uses the same materials (or close analogues) so it's really down to details, finishing and consistency.

Those kite companies are not Chinese companys. They are American businesses. The specifications of all their kites were determined by these companies here in the America offices. They determined the designs, parts, construction details and other stuffs that go into the kites. The factories in China only producing the kites according to the New XXXX or PXXXX specifications. If the kites are poorly constructed or not long lasting. New XXXX or PXXXX will be responsible.
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« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2009, 11:06 AM »

Quote
Of the Chinese made kites I've had the New Tech's were pretty roughly finished and the Prism's, whilst OK, lacked the sort of flair and attention to detail that is part of the joy of ownership of the boutique kites. Similarly every Level One kite I've owned (and there have been a few) has needed stoppers regluing out of the bag so it's not something limited to China. Everyone uses the same materials (or close analogues) so it's really down to details, finishing and consistency.

Those kite companies are not Chinese companys. They are American businesses.
Not exactly.

Level One kites (Germany) are built in Poland.  Wink
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JimB
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« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2009, 11:32 AM »

And that's a good point too.

But..

In general my beef with a lot of this stuff is the sail fabric.

It's not Icky or something nice in the way of Nylon. It's not terribly high quality either.

OTOH, if you are getting a kite for $50.00.. great. Fly the crap out of it toss it in the dust bin when you are done.  Huh

The thing is, prices keep going up even for the lower spec offerings, so; that price advantage has been shrinking for some time. Paying 4X's may not be worth it, to you, but 2X's... or less?

Also, decide when you want to pay.

By that I mean do you want to pay upfront or on the back end?

Because, either way, it's going to work out about the same.

To illustrate:

You buy Brand X for $150.00.. typical poly fabric, in house fittings, odd rod specs.. the usual for most offshore kites.

You fly it for a couple of Years. Life is Good.

Unless you break it.

Because you may have to re-frame it to get it in the air again.

Or you may have to buy proprietary parts from the manufacturer, if they are available, and if they even know the full specs for their own kite. Don't think that happens? heh. Stick around.

So do not break it.

You decide you need a change. You go to sell it.

The resale on this particular kite sucks. Maybe you get Fifty. Maybe less. Maybe you can't give it away or, at the least, it seems that way.  And that's if it is in very good shape. Not too likely if you have been applying yourself.

So now.. Brand Y for $220.00 or $325.00.. or..?

Brand Y has the nice standard rods and fittings, so: parts are available.

That's a bigger deal than you think.

Should you break it it's not going to be as expensive to fix as the typical Brand X kite for that reason alone, unless it's framed in aerohooie; in which case you knew what you were getting into. Or should have.

There is also going to be a guy you can email or call. Not a guy.. probably The guy. You might even have met him somewhere or may in the future.

The one who designed and most likely built your kite. The one who knows the specs for your kite by heart. Or. If he's the intuitive, sensitive type, the one who can reach over and measure the rod or look up the spec, or ask the Magic 8 Ball, or whatever his process is.. because he's a frickin' artisan. He may be a little weird. Just sayin'..

The point is you will have a fix in a Week at the most or minutes at the least, that will have absolutely no effect on the air worthiness or resale value of that kite at all.

 Guaranteed.

I know this from experience.

You can fly the beejaasuzz out of a builder kite and, as long as you don't poke holes in it, or leave it lying around in the Sun you will have a viable commodity at the end of your Two Years before the mast, with which to begin to bank roll your next kite to save the world. Or you may just decide to keep it. It's been such a great kite after all..

Even if you do manage to damage the sail, you will most likely get a greater percentage of the original purchase price of Brand Y Than you will Brand X.. just because, in general, they are in much higher demand on the used market. if kites can be said to be in demand.. ermm.. you get the idea, yes?

Anyway, it is not really more expensive, or it doesn't have to be, to fly high end kites over low end kites as a general rule.

I don't think I have ever spent more than Fifty bucks to fly a Gem, just as an example.. Because they do not depreciate all that badly. The same can be said for many other offerings out there. Some even, dare I say, appreciate.  Shocked Huh Grin

You get the initial outlay , or a substantial chunk of it, back when you go to sell is the point.

The one thing you can't do much about is sail fabric quality which is why it is my main problem with cheap kites generally, besides the better build on the highend.

But all of this does not take into account many of the tangible and intangeble benefits of getting a high end kite.

For tangibles: They go together better, generally feel nicer on the lines, and look better.

The biggest, from a monetary/quality of life POV, intangible would be the amount of time you will spend flying and not screwing around with your kite.

And, yes, that is a function of how much money, time, and care, the manufacturer decided to spend making your kite.

But there is something more.. it's the devotion of these guys to build these things we love so much.

Sorry.

But it's true.

And that's worth something too.



Quote
Of the Chinese made kites I've had the New Tech's were pretty roughly finished and the Prism's, whilst OK, lacked the sort of flair and attention to detail that is part of the joy of ownership of the boutique kites. Similarly every Level One kite I've owned (and there have been a few) has needed stoppers regluing out of the bag so it's not something limited to China. Everyone uses the same materials (or close analogues) so it's really down to details, finishing and consistency.

Those kite companies are not Chinese companys. They are American businesses. The specifications of all their kites were determined by these companies here in the America offices. They determined the designs, parts, construction details and other stuffs that go into the kites. The factories in China only producing the kites according to the New XXXX or PXXXX specifications. If the kites are poorly constructed or not long lasting. New XXXX or PXXXX will be responsible.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 11:51 AM by JimB » Logged
KaoS
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« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2009, 04:58 PM »

Oh, if life were so simple...

We (the sport kite enthusiasts) have the misconception that we buy the bulk of the world's sport kites.  The fact is, we don't.  There are many more people who purchase one sport kite and fly it a few times and are very happy with their purchase.  They might have seen you or me flying on the beach and thought "That's great, I think I'll do that".  So they go to a kite store, work out what fits their budget and take home their new toy.

I owned a kite shop for 5 years, and sold hundreds and hundreds of sport kites.  In that time, I probably had 5 or 6 people buy more than one kite over time, and 2 or 3 purchase high end.  There were plenty of people who stood in the shop admiring the MEFM (or Total Eclipse or AirFX), but the VAST majority would tell me "Hell, I'd never pay that much for a kite".  After pointing out the quality differences, the flight characteristics and capabilities, they understood the difference in price, but they would buy a package for around $100, and were very happy with their purchase.

Manufacturers and designers have to cater to what brings in the bulk of their income.  So there will always be a big market for lower quality sport kites, and there will always be a significant (but much smaller) market for the high end product.

It is the same with any product, whether it is cars (Nissan versus Bugatti), makeup (Avon versus Chanel), kitchen appliances, whatever.

We are a strange species.  We seem to accept that an ink jet printer can cost less than a set of the cartridges it holds, and be happy to toss it on the scrap heap in 12 months when "newer, better" printers are sold even cheaper, but we can't let our lower cost kites succumb to wear and tear.

My 2 cents  Smiley

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Kevin Sanders

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« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2009, 06:18 PM »

I've been flying for a couple of years now and I own some Prisms (E2, E3, Zephyr, 3D), one Spanish Eolo Neox, one Benson MiniGem and quite some locally (I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina) made by Alto Vuelo. In my personal experience, I've seen some minor quality issues even with my MiniGem (loose C-clips). I think durability is more related with the pilot abilities or particular style, I've seen some pilots who are very smooth and others who are really violent and stress the kites a lot, breaking spars in mid-air and the like; some of them aren't particularly careful with their kites either, leaving them for hours on the sun, or in the rain, things like that.
Manufacturer support is obviously a great a value to take into account, for example, my locally made Proteus takes more thrashing than the my Prisms 'cause I know anything I brake on this kite will be taken care of by the manufacturer, and if it could be considered a quality issue or manufacturing defect, they will not charge me with cost of repair. One last thing I'd like to consider as part of the whole "quality" issue is the finishing of the product, for example, details I don't like: The Benson MiniGem didn't include an instruction sheet or owner's manual (and it is not that easy to figure out how to assemble or tune it), its sleeve is absolutely cheap looking and poorly finished, you will not find the model of the kite printed anywhere, and this not a cheap kite.
Things I do like: the semi-rigid sleeve included with the Zephyr, that's something that make me feel respected as a customer, or the sleeves in the E2 and E3, the tutorial DVD. Obviously, these details don't make the kite a better flier or more durable but I think this attention to detail speak well of the manufacturer and should be considered part of the value of the kite.

Please, excuse me for my poor English. Best regards from Argentina.
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ezme6
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« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2009, 06:29 PM »

I've been flying for a couple of years now and I own some Prisms (E2, E3, Zephyr, 3D), one Spanish Eolo Neox, one Benson MiniGem and quite some locally (I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina) made by Alto Vuelo. In my personal experience, I've seen some minor quality issues even with my MiniGem (loose C-clips). I think durability is more related with the pilot abilities or particular style, I've seen some pilots who are very smooth and others who are really violent and stress the kites a lot, breaking spars in mid-air and the like; some of them aren't particularly careful with their kites either, leaving them for hours on the sun, or in the rain, things like that.
Manufacturer support is obviously a great a value to take into account, for example, my locally made Proteus takes more thrashing than the my Prisms 'cause I know anything I brake on this kite will be taken care of by the manufacturer, and if it could be considered a quality issue or manufacturing defect, they will not charge me with cost of repair. One last thing I'd like to consider as part of the whole "quality" issue is the finishing of the product, for example, details I don't like: The Benson MiniGem didn't include an instruction sheet or owner's manual (and it is not that easy to figure out how to assemble or tune it), its sleeve is absolutely cheap looking and poorly finished, you will not find the model of the kite printed anywhere, and this not a cheap kite.
Things I do like: the semi-rigid sleeve included with the Zephyr, that's something that make me feel respected as a customer, or the sleeves in the E2 and E3, the tutorial DVD. Obviously, these details don't make the kite a better flier or more durable but I think this attention to detail speak well of the manufacturer and should be considered part of the value of the kite.

Please, excuse me for my poor English. Best regards from Argentina.


I agree 100%, it is how you fly what you buy Smiley
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fidelio
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« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2009, 06:40 PM »

Please, excuse me for my poor English. Best regards from Argentina.
your english is great. Smiley
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Fdeli
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« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2009, 07:01 PM »

 ghfisanotti, welcome to the forum. Thanks for your insight.

 I have quite a pile of kites. Some get flown a lot and others not so much. I flew for over 3 years without breaking a spar and fly mostly in light wind. I'm not rich so I have to take care of my kites like most of us do. I have given up most other hobbies & such because I enjoy this so much.

 I guess I should'nt expect quality materials from the lower end of the market, but when they start falling apart from normal use it's kind of noticable.
 For anyone that was put off of a Silver Fox, don't be. Most of us who have bought them since they came out really like them. I have bought 6 and gave one away as a gift. As far as the Soul goes it was a fun kite also. The tear could've been started before I got it. I'll patch it up and keep it for the rare times I get to fly a Standard.
 I wish I could speak Spanish half as well as your English.
 

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ghfisanotti
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« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2009, 07:59 PM »

ghfisanotti, welcome to the forum. Thanks for your insight.

 I wish I could speak Spanish half as well as your English.

Thanks for your welcome and for your mercyful opinion about my English  Smiley
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Spz0
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« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2009, 08:37 PM »

I think durability is more related with the pilot abilities or particular style, I've seen some pilots who are very smooth and others who are really violent and stress the kites a lot, breaking spars in mid-air and the like; some of them aren't particularly careful with their kites either, leaving them for hours on the sun, or in the rain, things like that.

I agree whole heartedly, coming from someone who, as a beginner, was very violent with my kite at times.  Now I am much more graceful and suffer much less wear.  Although I did just break a lower LE today while walking my kite to gain some ground (coin toss practicing landing in a walk of shame) -- stepped on my line as I was walking, which made the LE slipped between my legs, and just as scissors to paper, SNAP!!

But in the air (lol), I am much more subtle than I was.  Makes you enjoy it more.

I'm not rich so I have to take care of my kites like most of us do. I have given up most other hobbies & such because I enjoy this so much.

Same here.  Havent written music in almost 2 years.  Now I've got all these midi controllers and thousands of dollars worth of software to try and sell,, so I can buy more kites.  o.0
Kiting to me is like a sweet drug with no consequences..  It is Zen.  Simple.  Elating. Makes me feel connected to my world and environment like nothing I've ever experienced in my past.  As close to feeling truly free as I have ever got.
Im actually trying to view it as a form of meditation.  And I think I could, if I could get a field completely to myself.  No cars, people, etc...

~Jon
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ezme6
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« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2009, 04:54 AM »

[quote
Im actually trying to view it as a form of meditation.  And I think I could, if I could get a field completely to myself.  No cars, people, etc...

~Jon
[/quote]

Find you a friendly farmer with a hayfield. I did... Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2009, 05:02 PM »

I fly in an empty sports ground 9 times out of 10, with out anybody around and the beaches are only mine most days. I wish I could get someone to show me some kite handling. Been flying a Rev 1.5 SLE with 1/4" spar for nearly a year and having a ball but my French Connection does my head in some days. Having trouble with timing inputs. And only as flash as the odd 540 I fluke.
  I have some cheapies and you do really get what you pay for. If time is money they balance out in the end as the cheaper ones require much more tender loving care and repair. They fly as badly as they were built. Items are built for multiple model kites and are too tight or fall out or break too easily. Stitching is awful on some. (I can't comment on sail material as that's all new to me). 
 My problem is I can't refuse a good deal???  At the end of the day, I now know to stick to the recognized manufacturers. It has cost me a bit to get to here though.
That way I can't blame my tools.
Cheers from Aussie.
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Spz0
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« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2009, 06:46 PM »

  I have some cheapies and you do really get what you pay for. If time is money they balance out in the end as the cheaper ones require much more tender loving care and repair. They fly as badly as they were built. Items are built for multiple model kites and are too tight or fall out or break too easily. Stitching is awful on some. (I can't comment on sail material as that's all new to me). 
 My problem is I can't refuse a good deal???  At the end of the day, I now know to stick to the recognized manufacturers. It has cost me a bit to get to here though.
That way I can't blame my tools.
Cheers from Aussie.

Those are the kites that you modify m8.  Wink  Practice reframing -- try to make them lighter -- experiment with different bridles and bridle settings, etc...

Good winds m8

~Jon
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