Wayne Dowler

Reflex review

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Wayne Dowler    1,459

Last Sunday at the Rockaway Beach Kite festival in Rockaway Oregon, I got a chance to finally put a Reflex through some tests. I had setup my SUL on 85' of 50# lines (low wind) and after flying a bit, a friend that owned the Reflex, said give it a try. So we swapped it out and put it on my lines and handles. It flew very well!! I really would have liked to setup my Zen on a duplicate setup and done a head to head comparison, but I only have a single set of those lines. Side note - since it wasn't mine, I didn't try flying it without the springs or doing a "dead launch".

I was warned that it is not as nimble as a 1.5, and after flying it, have to agree. But with a little time with it, I'm sure you can coax a little quicker turn from it, I did! It was every bit as fun as my Zen, (with hybrid frame and magic sticks) in those lower winds. I also did the "glide". For those new to this - it's taking the kite directly overhead, pulling the top lines, and having the kite glide back down wind! Very much like some of the power kite series. But --- the springs also prevent you from doing a "catch"! With the springs on, the sail is shaped in such a way, as to take the catch completely out of of the equation. So that can be a plus or minus depending on what you want out of the kite. Other wise it does everything any other Rev will do - slides, inverts, side slide, etc, and does it pretty well.

Rumor is Rev is phasing out the Zen and IMHO the Reflex would seem to be a very adequate replacement. The only negative would be that is it using a special frame designed for it, and all the 1.5 frames we have ,will not interchange. 

Still like to see how it flies without those springs ........!  ;)

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hyzakite    184

I'm wondering if a catch is really out of the equation or if it needs to be handled in a different method, time on the lines might make different/new tricks. I know the only way to find out is to buy one. I can picture turning it into a 6 line kite with hand brakes on the handles.

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Wayne Dowler    1,459

From what time I did have on it - a catch is not possible as it is setup! The springs reshape the top part of the sail, convexing it. No wind stays in the sail that way and the shape turns the thing into one big glider. You may find ways to make it do what you want it to do, but (I'm thinking you will have to mod it some way!

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John Barresi    4,002

Actually, it IS possible... If you pull the kite slack enough and get underneath it, following around while it "hunts" in glider mode, it will eventually come down... Just takes a while, it's like following a slow, lazy bird to its landing point.

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bookboy    16

I was considering a Zen (currently have full and vented B series) for the low wind days and possibly for flying close to home where low and variable inland breezes are common,

Is a reflex likely to be a better option? Or are they much the same in this regard?

Jonathan

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SparkieRob    1,502
I was considering a Zen (currently have full and vented B series) for the low wind days and possibly for flying close to home where low and variable inland breezes are common,

Is a reflex likely to be a better option? Or are they much the same in this regard?

Jonathan

Zen and a Reflex are 2 different animals in terms of flight behaviour.

I've flown a Zen. Slow and graceful.

Only seen a Reflex been flown. Very undecided about that wing.

One thing to consider would be a Diamond frame for your full sail. Capable of zero wind flight.

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Wayne Dowler    1,459

I have flown both - and the Reflex is very capable of low wind flight - but there is a caveat - light winds mean you have to move - a lot! If you expect the kite to just leap off the ground and do everything you've come to expect from your other sails, without working on the technique, you are gonna be disappointed no matter which kite or frame you get.

There is no "free lunch" when it comes to light wind, either you put in the time and learn or .......

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bookboy    16

Thanks for the feedback. I can't believe that after more than a year on these forums I failed to realise diamond frames were a low wind option. So a third element to the choice. I'll possibly be visiting The Kite Connection in my travels (after visiting Ocean Shores - not that I've planned my trip around kite stores!) and maybe a TKC white SUL with diamond rods makes another light wind option.

I do recognise the need for movement and low wind skill too, but wouldn't mind a kite that helps too.

Jonathan

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SparkieRob    1,502
Thanks for the feedback. I can't believe that after more than a year on these forums I failed to realise diamond frames were a low wind option. So a third element to the choice. I'll possibly be visiting The Kite Connection in my travels (after visiting Ocean Shores - not that I've planned my trip around kite stores!) and maybe a TKC white SUL with diamond rods makes another light wind option.

I do recognise the need for movement and low wind skill too, but wouldn't mind a kite that helps too.

Jonathan

A TKC White Ghost 1.5 SUL with a Diamond frame, French Bridle and Magic Sticks. A Low/Zero wind monster. 57597fd51b060_ImageUploadedByKiteLife1461465483218.185201.jpg]

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bookboy    16
2 minutes ago, SparkieRob said:

A TKC White Ghost 1.5 SUL with a Diamond frame, French Bridle and Magic Sticks. A Low/Zero wind monster.

Do the french bridle and magic sticks aid the low wind ability, or some other benefit? They're both things I've seen mentioned plenty of times but have never got around to figuring out exactly how they help.

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Wayne Dowler    1,459

I don't use the French bridle, but do use the sticks on both my Zen and SUL as a way of limiting the LE flex. Plus if you do get a little strong in the input thing, the truss lines for the sticks make it impossible to "flip a wing".

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SparkieRob    1,502
Do the french bridle and magic sticks aid the low wind ability, or some other benefit? They're both things I've seen mentioned plenty of times but have never got around to figuring out exactly how they help.

Depends on who you ask...

I've never tried the Diamond frame in another sail so I can't give a fair comparison. The set up will fly, with pilot effort, in zero wind though. I got the Magic Sticks as insurance for the Diamond frame, a truss system in conjunction with the French. Skill will go far better than gear. For zero I prefer my Indoor rev on 20 feet.

One thing, the TKC SUL 1.5 is the same as a B Series except for the leading edge pocket. It is made from lighter fabric.

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bookboy    16
1 minute ago, SparkieRob said:

One thing, the TKC SUL 1.5 is the same as a B Series except for the leading edge pocket. It is made from lighter fabric.

That's extremely helpful, thanks. Makes me feel if I was going that direction I may as well just grab diamonds for my existing standard B series.

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Wayne Dowler    1,459

Lots of people disappointed in the latest batch of diamonds - look to see if there is a green band on either or both ends of the label. We have nicknamed them GL rods. Not sure exactly why, but they seem to have a different flex and tend to break easier, than the older plain label rods. Buyer Beware thing!

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Paul LaMasters    456

I have broken easily a dozen Diamond frame members but probably no one else abuses 'em as bad as me either.   I haven't seen a significant difference between originals and the GL branded pieces and just order five full sets of diamond frames for the Zen.  (hey, maybe somebody else needs one set in my local environment, total 51 tubes)

I have flown the Reflex (maybe 40 minutes) but I have worn out two Zens and there are hundreds of hours on the 3rd (newest one)

No free lunch in a dead calm, but most everyone who touches the reflex finds it easier to fly.  Does that "ease" transfer over to master class team skills on the line? no more so than Tiger Woods golf club could improve YOUR golf game.  It is still the pilot who makes a quad lined kite go and that comes after some significant time on the lines too

The french bridle holds the sail more tightly,.. like it is arc welded, not a bit of wiggle anywhere on the bridle.  Does that make a kite more responsive or twitchy? I can advise you it spreads the forces of flight over a greater area.  FB also grabs the kite from outside of the frame, so to your hands the kite just got bigger whilst still keeping all of that original speed.

The Zen is kind of a pig w/o the magic sticks,.... WAY too flexible, regardless of framing choices being implemented, but again this is just one guy's opinion.

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makatakam    1,558

I flew a Reflex (OPK) at the Elmhurst, IL 2nd annual kite festival in low, shifting, unstable wind. It does fly well out to the side of the wind window. It feels "spongy" and a bit slow to react, even slower than a Zen. The inputs for turns and spins require a bit earlier and longer timing, and it has a slight tendency to oversteer. It has slightly more wobble when tracking straight than a 1.5 Rev, I'm guessing because of the movement of the springs which create a "keeled" and then "not as keeled" effect as they move back and forth.

I won't make any judgement as far as liking or not liking it, but with 14 real revs and 14 home-made already in my bag, I was not enough impressed by it to add it to my line-up.

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Bill Clay    54

I wish I wasn't as much of a noob when I was 'sold' the reflex. I was told it was the latest and greatest technology. Wasn't told it was a one trick pony, in that there's no customization, swapping rods, etc. Some have called it a gimmick kite... I can see that now. In light of what I know now, I should have bought a 1.5 and actually had some versatility and options in rods and sails that could be used interchangeably... Sucks being a noob and not knowing what you don't know... :(


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riffclown    906

I put a review out in May on the site (where you purchased your kite from.)   I also had put up somewhat positive reviews on this kite at the Rev Site and other forums as well ahead of the curve (May).. I also didn't like the lack of interchangeability. The different size rods coupled with the new design for end "caps" seem to be steering you more heavily in the Revolution direction for parts.   I did like the way it flies but as you said, you only have what it came with.. The other option is to fly with the springs disengaged. That makes it more like a regular Rev but still some differences.. It's a very nice kite but with limited options..

I'd still give it the same positive review. I'm just not sure the marketing is properly aimed.. As you said it's almost geared to a newbie but the issues there are a newbie could easily miss the differences. It's a forgiving kite but if you've only flown this kite you'll probably severely over-correct on a standard 1.5 sail. We do need to get together and fly some before you buy more kites.. I'd rather you know what you want before you lay down the hard earned cash.. I have many options for you to try. You can then hit the store KNOWING what's important to you..

That's also why clubs are so important..I took mine to ODSKC and hardly flew it.. Others were trying it (with my expressed approval of course.) The 40 Minutes Paul mentioned above with the Reflex was most likely there.. Most of us will gladly share our handles with someone to help each other make informed choices.. Shoot we'll share handles on a kite to figure out if we like the color better..

That's how i knew I wanted a Shook so badly, a friend let me try his.. Find some fliers to hook up with before you get your next kite...

 

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Bill Clay    54

Not sure when/if there will be a 'next' kite... I feel like I got suckered into buying something that fit the company's agenda... Stupid noob...


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SHBKF    1,015

I have got one on the way (thank you my friend) & can't wait to fly it.  I am thinking it might be just the ticket for flying in some of the common conditions I encounter here in the inland mountain valleys.  Summer thermals cause fickle shifting, then dying winds that can be frustrating at times.  You get set up parked to fly & the wind shifts blowing your wing toward you. Then the wind ceases completely for ten minutes & you wait.... The tall vegetation in mowed hay fields make some of the slick ground recovery maneuvers too problematic to allow success at my level of skill.  But then the wind picks up & you begin again.  Not complaining, just mentioning my reality.  If I can do better with ground recovery that's a plus.  If it's floaty characteristics help me fly off the side further, that's good.  If it can go up & over behind me easily, another plus.  But this is all speculation & hope.  But isn't hope what encourages us to try different kites.  It is for sure another step along the path of my KiteLife.  And they say round these parts, "There's no accountin' fer taste."  And I am fortunate to have several choices of Revs to fly.  SHBKF

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riffclown    906
39 minutes ago, Bill Clay said:

Not sure when/if there will be a 'next' kite... I feel like I got suckered into buying something that fit the company's agenda... Stupid noob...


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I'm sorry you feel that way. No one should ever feel that way about a kite purchase..

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makatakam    1,558
19 hours ago, Bill Clay said:

Not sure when/if there will be a 'next' kite... I feel like I got suckered into buying something that fit the company's agenda... Stupid noob...


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I hope my review is not what makes you feel this way. It is not intended as a negative opinion, but only that in my case it will do not much more than the kites I already have. As a starter kite it should serve you well, and even make the learning curve less steep. The overall setup of this kite does allow you to fly in a broader wind range which is a definite plus for someone just starting out on their kite journey. The transition you will eventually make to other quad-line kites, including non-Rev (and there are many) will not be as traumatic as it seems to be described here. These remarks have been made by experienced (advanced) fliers, who can spot and appreciate, or dislike, very subtle differences in flight characteristics which may or may not blend well with individual flying styles or locations. At this point in your quad-life, and I absolutely mean no disrespect, these differences will be imperceptible to you. Carry on with what you have purchased; there are things this kite will teach you that a 1.5 will not, which will serve you well as you progress. The difference is like that between a swallow and a sparrow.

For me the questions are: Do I need one in my bag? No. Will I fly one every time I have the opportunity? Absolutely!!!

Most importantly, smile, have fun, and don't forget to breathe.

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riffclown    906

@Bill Clay There is at least one master flier that prefers the Reflex. I know that for a fact because he borrowed mine for a recent competition performance. He also is moving from the Experienced Class to the Masters now so I can assure you, it's not a bad kite by any stretch of the imagination.. The things that make it different might not appeal to everyone but even those that it doesn't appeal to still have generally good things to say about it..

It's still a relatively new kite and still in demand.. I haven't seen many on the secondary market and those that do get offered get snapped up fairly quickly. Take your time, decide what you want and throw it into the mix for a possible trade if you must.

Before you do that though, my offer to fly my kites stands. Let's get together and fly. I'll bring anything form the small dual lines to the Big Fixed Bridle Foils. Talk to me about what you like or don't like. I'll gladly help you understand your flying. (at least what knowledge I have to share) You might even change your mind about the Reflex..

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Bill Clay    54

You know, I've thought about this a lot today. When I first decided to dive into the quad world I read lots on the Rev forums about 'first kites'. My first clue should have been when I noticed almost all the posts were from like 2013 and that the reflex obviously wasn't mentioned... All the names, models, configurations were all kind of confusing (some of it still is). When I saw Rev was going to be represented at Ragallo, I thought what better place to get an up to date recommendation on what to buy, but from the Rev rep. After flying the demo 1.5, then a Reflex, the conversation went something like this:

Me: I thought about getting an EXP or 1.5...
Rev: Well you're a natural. Your skills will progress beyond those kites quickly. You need a Reflex.
Me: OK... duh...

Since then I've gone through excitement, buyers remorse, flying time, reading reviews, forum posts, etc., more flying time, learning a bit about ALL the other Rev models, rods, spars, lines, handles, defending Rev, defending my purchase, more reading and learning, feeling like a dummy, getting mad... Pretty much in that order. With the constant underlying thought that I was 'sold' what they were pushing and that this kite isn't anything more than a novelty that curious experienced flyers want to borrow to see what it's like and write a review or buy it, see it for what it is, then sell it and write a review.

I just hate feeling like the sucker noob that dropped $400 on a non-customizable 'nitch' kite that nobody takes seriously.

I feel like I bought a Yugo...


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