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Silver Fox versions - how distinct to the less skilled?


jedijon
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Whenever there's a request to recommend trick kites to newer or less skilled pilots, Silver Fox is always on the list. I'm in that category--I mostly fly around in circles and any time I'm doing slack line moves they're just random inputs.

 

My current sources of comparison are Prism Quantum, Jazz, E3, and 4D. Quantum is about what I like the best, stays firm on the lines whenever it flies but doesn't launch in light winds. The E3 is a bit slow in flight, and the 4D won't launch in no wind but does OK in light breezes...but until the wind picks up a bit the oversteer on inputs is pretty extreme.

 

I'd just grab a Silver Fox UL and see for myself--as I typically have light and inconsistent winds most of the time. But. I don't gel with the sail coloration.

 

There was a 2.3 pro version. It seems to be Out of Print. I like the look of that. There's a 2.3 and a 2.5 version--the 2.5 has the two distinct shapes on each wing and I like this well enough but not enormously. There's a 2.2 version that seems to be an entirely new entry by a different designer and I like the look of this a lot but it's much more expensive. I'd like to know how these compare. How do they differ, and how did they come to be? What's the deal with the multiple iterations.

 

Then there's the Acrobatx and a UL version. I quite like the simple color blocks of the UL, and it's cheaper still than the least expensive Silver Fox version. The Acrobatx itself, not sure. Haven't seen one in person and in some photos either the blue or purple look great or drab--depending. I've never cared for rainbow colored kites--but that's primarily when they're asymmetrical but on this one both winds are mirrored, so I think it would look reasonably vibrant if not too serious. If I were to get an Acrobatx, would it be just like my Quantum? They're in a similar price-point, are we talking different aspect ratio, wider wind range, or any differences to a less experienced pilot? If I were to get a UL version would it feel just like the standard but for lower winds, would it be like my 4D with the oversteer - with the just sort of floating there absent any real feedback in quite light winds? Do I need a much thinner set of lines than stock lines to get the immediate feedback...back?

 

Looks are pretty important. I'm not going to be collecting too many more stunt kites yet so "they all count", if I'm only going to get 2-3 more I'll want some I feel are beautiful, fun to fly and also to try to learn tricking with, and can expand the range of winds I can fly enjoyably in, and hopefully perform really well to justify their price--so if I fly say 1-2 times per month for just a few hours am I going to have a fun time switching between say 3 kites of any quality...or do I need something >$200 to feel like it's really a quality instrument. It's been hard for me to articulate what's "better" about more expensive kites beyond more careful stitching and construction, how do they feel different? Particularly to a beginner?

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Wow. A lot to unpack! Here’s a preliminary go on your inquiry on Flying Wings Silver Foxes (sometimes ‘SF’ here for short) and the Acrobatx.

I am familiar in varying degree with all of the kites you refer to, and here are my brief impressions:

The Flying Wings Silver Fox 2.3 and 2.5 are similar. As one might expect, the numbers in the names denote wingspan (roughly, in metres). They are both generally fairly largish in feel in flight, and require larg(er) hand/arm movements. Large(r) presence in sky. Very capable. Older design approaching 15 years or so.  

The UL versions have pretty much the same sails as the standard versions, with a somewhat lighter frame. In my experience they have only slightly lower bottom ends, compared to, say, Benson or Jest of Eve models in comparing STD and UL versions.

The 2.3 Pro: a later refinement of the 2.3 in weight, construction, sail and bridle. Still available from a few retailers. Have, and like, the STD; lusting after the UL 

The 2.2 is a variant (approximately 2018) incorporating Lam Hoac’s further tweaks incl layout, shape, bridle etc, and features such as ‘claws’ on the LE for YoYo manoeuvres. I find the 2.2 UL a more sleek machine flight-wise in comparison to its predecessor. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the 2.2 STD but I would expect similar handling but in higher wind. As in other kites, some tricks may be easier (or at least require slightly different inputs) in one version over another due to weight distribution, etc. Google the review.  

Acrobatx: also same era as the early SFs but a little smaller, at closer to 7 feet. Heavier build, using more economical materials, with pultruded carbon frame and a nylon sail. No leech line so can be noisy (unlike the SFs, which can be adjusted for this). Flight-wise, quite manoeuvrable. Trick capable but a bit faster than all the SFs generally, in my experience. Not as refined. Smaller hand movements required. Comparatively less pull unless windy and depending on bridle settings. Good bang for buck, especially at sale prices I have seen. Good upgrade from Quantum trick-wise imo. See the review in KiteLife in approx 2006.  The UL version has a much lighter frame and sail, and more of a finesse feel, but lighter handling as many ULs are. It is more $$ due to materials etc. Carbon-wrapped tapered spars in the frame.

Looks and appearance in all these including colours: being subjective, I can’t comment.  

Lines: I have several sets but generally use a set of 50# x 75 or 85’ on the ULs, or sometimes 90# in stronger end of the wind range. For STD kites I usually use 90#, sometimes 120# or 150# in more wind.

In summary, all of these are fine kites in their own way. TBH, to varying degrees, they might all be considered an upgrade over the Quantum, which is a fine but basic kite in my opinion. (I can’t help but think that more time with your E3 is in your future, as it, too, is quite a capable kite.) While I see and appreciate the place the Quantum fills, comparatively it feels rather … clumsy to me. If that’s not too strong a word. (I still like mine though!)

I hope the above is of some assistance. Any Qs, ask away. I am confident that there will be other views on this but this is my perspective. (Just a part-time recreational flyer with too many kites, if that is even possible.)

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