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First serious freestyle kite


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Hello all,

Long time reader, first time poster. Being in my mid-30's with three kids, I was looking for a new hobby that I could share with them as they got older but also give me some time to myself. I saw someone flying a kite one day and thought, "duh". About 6 months ago I got my first dual line kite, a Prism Quantum. I've had a great time with it so far, but I'm finding myself thinking more and more that a lot of the things I'm trying to make it do would be easier with something a bit more high end. Quick turns seem to oversteer pretty easily, and snap stalls have a hard time sticking. It almost seems like the frame is flexing so much that it has a hard time recovering. Side slides are rough too, it always seems to want to fall one way or the other. It's also seems like a heavy kite, and needs a lot of wind to stay up, which is lacking around here quite a bit of the time.

Long and short of it is, I think I'm ready to step up to something a bit more serious. I've been doing a lot of research and would like to keep it near the $200 mark. Seems like you can get a lot of bang for your buck at that price. Based on suggestions I've seen here and reviews I've found, I've narrowed it down to:

HQ Infinity - Heard some good things and it's intriguing, but kind of an unknown for me. Can't find much info

Prism Zephyr - Seems to have a lot of great reviews and heard it can do lighter winds, but have heard some horror stories too.

JB Kymera - Looks great, people who have it seem to love it, but I've heard it can be a handful for people new to freestyle because of its speed. I could be way off, if so please tell me!

FW Soul - REally like the look and seems to have great reviews, but I've heard some iffy things about the standoffs on the wings and the stitching on the leading edge.

FW Silver Fox - good price, but I think the others would be a better choice for not much more

It's hard to find any good reviews of the Soul or Infinity, but I've generally heard good things. Figuring there are those around here who have tried all of them or at least a few, I figured I'd ask for opinions on what might be a good one to step up to. Right now I'm sort of leaning toward the Infinity or Soul, but my mind is still open.

Thanks!

Kris

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I wouldn't look at pricey too much, $300 broken down in a years times comes out to $5.77 per week needed to save for the pricey kite next year. Many people have junk in their basements or attics that

I wouldn't go so far as to call the SilverFox a "piece of *#@%", but admittedly it is my least favorite kite. I always seem to have issues assembling/disassembling it. My other two dualies are SkyBu

Don't be afraid to get a really good kite. You will benefit from growing into it. Frames can be fixed. Holes can be taped. Every trick started out as a stuff up!

I had an E2, E3 and Zephyr -- all Prism -- the E3 was my least favorite. I liked the E2 very much and the Zephyr even more, especially in light wind. I did break the lower spreader and put a hole in the sail on the Zephyr, but that was my fault -- yanking and spanking too much. I have heard many good things about the Ocius, and have seen it perform in person, but didn't get a chance to try it. It looked quite impressive and should handle lighter winds fairly well.

I currently own a Genesis, which flies well in normal winds, but has the original cross-active trihedral bridle which is tricky to adjust.

Keep your eye on this thread, because I'm sure that many other fliers will give their input soon.

And oops, welcome to the forum. I'm in Illinois, NW of Chicago. Perhaps we'll have a chance to fly together and trade notes.

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I've heard that a lot about the E3, people were really excited about it but almost no one seems to like it without lots of modifications.

I've looked at the Ocius, but right now am looking for more of a standard type kite to use when we go to the beach. I'm sure at some point I'll pick up a light wind kite and it'll probably be the HQ Shadow. Seems like a great kite for the price, the Ocius is noticeably more expensive.

The Zephyr is pretty much on the list because of the price. For around $200 with lines included it's hard to beat, but from what I've heard the other three are a fairly big step up. Right now I think it'll be either the Kymera, Soul, or Infinity, just need to get some more info, especially on the infinity.

Thanks!

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I have a Kymera, and I love it. I don't do slackline tricks, so I can't comment on the trickability of it. I also own a few Quantums, Dream On, Crossfire Comp,a couple of E2's,Nexus,a couple 4D's and my favorite, a couple old school Jam Sessions. The Kymera is really loud and it tracks beautifully. IMO you can't go wrong with it. Hope that helps. Welcome to the sport of kiting!

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I use a set of Prism quantum pro's and love them. I have an extra standard and ul I will be selling next month that are used and looks like they will be in ur price range. Pm me if you might be Intrested. Might be a great option for you. It's good to get into something that has a full wind range. Btw I also have the Kymera, shadow, as well and like them too. For me though the QP's work best for me for tricking.

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Thanks for the offer. Not sure about the quantum pro, I've heard a lot of mixed reviews from those who are inexperienced like I am. I was told they're great if you really know what you're doing, if not not so much. I've heard the Infinity and Soul are pretty forgiving for newer people, hence the interest.

I forgot to mention, I know someone will chime in and say to try them and get the one I like, which would be ideal, but around here no one has kites like these. Wish they did.

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I'm in the same boat. 4 kids and no more time to golf. I started off with the Quantum, but it is built like a truck and as heavy one too. I have one of the old design Premier Widows. Good price and just as capable as the Widow Maker.

Also, There is the Freestylist from Skyburner and the Crossfire from Skydog. Both very capable and within your price range.

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I am a novice dual line flyer. QP's worked great. But that's me. Prism gets a bad rap and most people take that across the board and let everyone know. There are a lot of great kites but you just have to find the one for you. You might have to buy and sell 2 or 3 and that's the way it is. Not putting a plug for mine but the used route is a good way to try them out. Already used and so ur not loosing money when u resell if you don't like.

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It's hard to find any good reviews of the Soul or Infinity, but I've generally heard good things. Figuring there are those around here who have tried all of them or at least a few, I figured I'd ask for opinions on what might be a good one to step up to. Right now I'm sort of leaning toward the Infinity or Soul, but my mind is still open.

Thanks!

Kris

I own ( or have owned) both. The Infinity is a nice kite, but without a shadow of a doubt the FW Soul is the better kite. Big, Slow, really tricky, tracks well and build quality is really good. One of the smoothest flying kites I've owned. Mine is getting a little well worn now and so only comes out occasionally but I'd have another in a heartbeat if it wouldn't cost so much to import into the UK. google 'Flying Wings Soul Review' and you'll get a number of good write ups ( also on Youtube). Great kite.

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The only two kites mentioned above that I would give the thumbs up to would be the Kymera and QPro. You don't need to be an expert to fly a QPro, it is rewarding to fly at any level of proficiency. When you get to the point that your attempting advanced tricks, or combinations of tricks, it is more demanding of proper inputs & timing. Kites like the Widow Maker are much more forgiving of poorly timed inputs. The Kymera is also more forgiving, and a little more radical in the tricks department.

Quality-wise, I would rate the Kymera higher than the kites from HQ or Flying Wings. It really doesn't get much better than the QPro, especially if you can get a QPro for the price of a factory kite. Kites like the Widow Maker are a little better, but you have to weigh whether the extra quality is worth $100 extra to you.

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If you can wait that long, the Frank Mots festival is held in Milwaukee on September 6 & 7 this year. Big international fest, many fliers. You can sample a large variety of kites there, if you can wait that long. Buy a cheap one to play around with in the meantime.

Or I can send you a Diode for free if you want it to beat on until you have the chance to try the ones you are considering. It's not a trickster by any means, but the price is right. I will check to make sure I still have and post back here tonight.

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Thanks Hadge, that's what I was looking for. Right now something big and slow sounds perfect to give me time to work on my inputs for tricks. Figures it's the most expensive one on my list.

The QPro sounds good, but I'd heard the same thing about it needing more precise inputs. Maybe something to think about for later when I'm not still trying to figure out what does what.

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As an aside, ever since I've found the Kymera, I've been wondering what kinds of things John did as a professional designing his own kite that made it different from what was out there. What was a must have, what wasn't he happy with that others were offering, stitching, weights, etc. I'd love to know.

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There are a lot of great suggestions above, particularly the Jam Session (I own two of them). I would like to add the Premier Widow NG to the list. There has been a ton of good things said about that kite (nothing negative said at all), and it is well made, moderately priced and framed in quality/easy to find Skyshark tubes. I would also like to suggest that you stay away from the FW Silver Fox. What a piece of *#@% those things are.

Ed

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As an aside, ever since I've found the Kymera, I've been wondering what kinds of things John did as a professional designing his own kite that made it different from what was out there. What was a must have, what wasn't he happy with that others were offering, stitching, weights, etc. I'd love to know.

Talked some to him about it - I know he was looking to get very precise cornering out of it, while still maintaining trickability! And as a tribute to the "old school" - LOUD too!!

He would have more details on it!!

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I would also like to suggest that you stay away from the FW Silver Fox. What a piece of *#@% those things are.

Ed

I've heard mixed reviews of the Silver Fox series and haven't had a chance to try one, just for clarity, the Soul ( as I understand) isn't made on the main FW line but in small batches elsewhere to a higher standard - at the time it was launched it was FW's attempt to interest the 'boutique' buyers and while not quite there it's pretty good.

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I would also like to suggest that you stay away from the FW Silver Fox. What a piece of *#@% those things are.

Ed

I've heard mixed reviews of the Silver Fox series and haven't had a chance to try one, just for clarity, the Soul ( as I understand) isn't made on the main FW line but in small batches elsewhere to a higher standard - at the time it was launched it was FW's attempt to interest the 'boutique' buyers and while not quite there it's pretty good.

Yes, it is important to be clear, and I apologize for being a bit too strong...FW has been around a long time, and has some true classics out there including the Soul...but, man, that Silvert Fox UL was soooo bad as a light wind flyer and a trick kite, that I will never buy another kite or anything from the folks who sold it to me, because they must have known!!

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I wouldn't go so far as to call the SilverFox a "piece of *#@%", but admittedly it is my least favorite kite. I always seem to have issues assembling/disassembling it. My other two dualies are SkyBurner kites, so maybe the bar I have is a bit on the higher side. I got the SilverFox vented for the high wind days. There don't seem to be very many options in that area.

I also wanted to +1 the suggestion of looking at used kites. You may be able to find something in your price range that normally goes for more. This forum and others have for sale or swap meet sections that are good places to look. That is how I ended up getting a SkyBurner WidowMaker when my price range was closer to that of the Premier Widow.

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FW Soul - REally like the look and seems to have great reviews, but I've heard some iffy things about the standoffs on the wings and the stitching on the leading edge.

Having re-read your original post, The leading edge stiching is straight stitch rather than the normal zig zag which raised a few eyebrows when it came out - mine has been hammered to hell and back and the stitching on all the kite has held up fine. It comes with 2 sets of standoffs - long ones for general flying and shorter ones to allow more 'floaty' flying - I just use the long ones. Standoffs attach to two little 'tabs' on the inside of the sail which leaves the back of the sail snag free - a good idea now used by several other makers.

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Okay, Silver fox is off the list. Right now I think we're down to the Soul or Kymera. I would do used, but there's actually a somewhat local shop that can order just about anything that I'd like to support if possible. I'm sure I could get a sweet one used for that price, but from what I've read the Soul, Kymera, etc. are pretty capable themselves.

Looks like I have some thinking to do, but any more suggestions would be great.

Thanks

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You might even be able to benefit from some smoother winds than us inland fliers when you head to the lake. That gives you options for kites designed for smoother winds and better conditions to learn in. The wind has to come from the right direction.

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