I know theres a ton of stuff out there on the development on the new comp series of the Solus', and I know its probably (ok, it totally is) pretty frustrating to keep seeing the same stuff (or way too much of it) out there but I figured I'd do one quick write up with pictures of what we've done to the kite, explain the differences and what I feel
they've done to enhance the kites performance, as well as kind of tell you what you can expect from the new kites. For this one I'm going to focus on the UL comp version, just for starters.
SO, when the Solus UL came out with 2pt leading edges and a p100 (which was then changed to a p1x) spine the kite admittedly could feel a bit spongy at times. It was a good tricker in the right hands, but to some the feel of the kite just didn't feel quite right, and the tricks, like its standard counterpart, weren't as accessible. Well, hopefully these changes will explain what we've done and what we did that helps the kite do what it should to, with a wider variety of inputs and styles of flying.
For starters, we've moved the standoffs out a bit towards the lower spreader fitting, as well as the inner standoff in towards the center T about a 1/4 of an inch on each side. This, also done on the standard, gave the kite a bit better tunneling on the sail and directed the wind down into the sail in a more organized/efficient manner instead of not having a super set form of tunneling like the original models. With this, we've also sewed a new nose with material between the top tubes and the spine. This difference almost created a bit of a 'cup' like feel on the top of the nose and gives the kite better tunneling from the top of the nose, straight the bottom of the trailing edge where the standoffs are attached in the kite. The nose now looks a bit more like the noses you'd see on any of Shawn Tinkhams kites (viper, vendetta, venom, and things of the like) to give flyers an idea. Picture is below, along with the moved standoffs. http://www.flickr.com/photos/97742217@N02/
(photos are labeled)
With the movement of the standoffs and better tunneling in the sail, which helped keep more even pressure on the sail and improved tracking a bit, we took matters into our hands to make the tracking even better. The bridle has been moved slightly, not much, to aid in tracking with a difference in the turbo leg on the turbo bridle (which there was a lot of conversation on in the first place on the old models), and lower spreader fittings being moved down a bit towards the wingtips which then slightly shortens the lower outhaul on the kite, making the nose sit back a bit grabbing more wind in the kite (on Jons kites, as you know the lower you set the knots on the angle of attack adjustment, the more wind you're grabbing. Now its just set back a bit farther from the get go). The movement of the lower spreader fittings downward also helped move some weight lower towards the wingtips which then helped with momentum based tricks and took off any tip chatter from the 2pts in the kite originally. This helped a lot especially on the high end of the wind range for tracking and making the kite less fidgety.
Now, with that being said and starting to delve into momentum based tricks, and with the bridle and sail geometry changed the way we wanted it, how is there another way to enhance tricks? Pitch tricks? Well from the get go I knew I'd like the kite to sit back farther in a backflip (turtle) or at least have a bit faster of a trick pace in pitch maneuvers. Well, I started to look more towards framing to help with this. Weight distribution needed to be re-examined as clearly, theres a lot of kite in the Solus in terms of sail area. The first thing we did was take out the 2pt leading edges and change it to something similar. Something a bit stiffer but not much and something that will help the kite sit back in a turtle a bit. So we changed the tubes to a P100 ULE and a P90 LLE. The P100s in the top add weight to the nose along with the upper spreader to hold it down in a backflip/turtle, and the lower spreaders and tail weight hold the kite down in a fade. Also with the use of non tapered tubes, the knocks at the end of a kite need small ferrules in them to fit in the tube which adds a minute amount of weight at the tips too. The difference is here in grams-
2pt tapered tubes- 9 grams
p90 (LLE) straight tubes- 10.5 grams
p100 (ULE) straight tubes- 13 grams
So, looking at it on paper you're really not looking at much extra weight here, especially with a kite with a bigger sail area like the Solus. The low wind range is virtually unchanged, maybe without that extra .5/.75mph on the low end without working hard. The biggest difference in the weight of the tubes is at the tips of the tubes which is what made the difference. The 2pts taper towards the tips of the tubes, which would be at the nose and at the very tips of the kite if they're put together in the leading edges. The straight tubes do NOT taper at the end which puts the bulk of the weight difference in the tubes in the nose, and the tips of the new UL model. This not only very much enhances rollups and pitch maneuvers, but it also enhances rotational based tricks on the kite as the weight is on the outsides of the kite at the very ends (nose and tips), and man is the difference drastic and almost every trick is significantly easier to perform.
What does this mean the kite will feel like? Well, honestly I'll admit the kite was a bit of an acquired taste as it was, and I was ok with that for a time with it being the first kite with my name on it but after receiving multiple bits of feedback that was something I wanted to change. You're looking at a kite with a totally new feel- something with better tracking, better weight distribution and significantly less if not zero 'oversteer,' that responds to a wide variety of inputs. I've spent a few hours today doing multiple tricks (540s, JL, rotofades, rollups) with a huge variety of inputs weather its hard or soft, fast or slow, etc and it kite responds similarly to almost everything, which is a huge improvement. The kite also feels less spongy and more solid which is something that I know a lot of flyers were looking for in the UL. A few of you have reframed the kite to 3pt leading edges and I will tell you not only is this option lighter but its also utilizes the concept of better weight distribution throughout the leading edges.
Sorry for writing a lengthy post, but I figured I'd keep you guys in the loop and would clarify anything that may of come up with questions. I really REALLY
love this new version of the UL, and I hope you guys will too. Video coming very soon when I get back from Pittsburgh from auditions.
Devin Cobleigh Morrison