I've seen a lot of different threads addressing our new bar and lots of different questions/thoughts about it, much of it uninformed. Thought it might be easiest to create a unified thread where real questions could get answers from some of the people who have seen/spent some time on the bar.
We've been working on this bar for 5 years now, and I've had prototypes for the last 3 years in the office here. On top of that we have a few production bars that we've been able to demo out to our dealers during meetings held in Hood River for the past few weeks, so I feel that I can speak with a bit of knowledge on this bar, but anyone else with real experience is welcome to help answer/give feedback as well.
If you haven't seen it, the video introducing the bar is here:
The 5th line adapter will make the bar completely compatible with the Rebel and Vegas with their loaded 5th. Of note, the safety will still drop these kites to a front line, as with the quad bar.
Also from another thread I saw this question... "can you operate this trimmer in 5mm claw gloves? (winter is coming soon)
How many turns/ clicks does it take to fully de-power/power the kite?"
A. I don't know about using it with the claw gloves. The button is raised and the twisting mechanism is fairly simple to use, so I tend to think it shouldn't be a problem, however if someone has a change to try it out please let me know. If I can dig out a pair of winter riding gloves (or snowboard mittens) I'll give it a shot myself and report back.
B. It takes 8 clicks to completely depower the kite, but this can be done literally within a second if you simply hold the button down and allow the rear lines to spool completely. 8 half turns (4 full revolutions) will completely power it back up.
Also saw this one: "Looks cool and clean. How is the recoil when you push the button to depower under a lot of load, like when it's blowing 35 knots? And how reliable is the push button for depower after salt and sand get in there?"
1. Haven't noticed any significant recoil... Remember that the front lines are taking most of the load, so when you hit the button and release an inch of back line it just feels like you've dumped a bit of power, it doesn't rock you back or anything like that.
2. There is a flap incorporated on the underside of the bar where you can easily access the mechanism to either flush out the sand or simply rinse it with fresh water after a session. The instructions recommend you flush after every session and I'll second that thought, however as I mentioned we've had a prototype in the office for 3 years. It's been to Baja, the Oregon coast, Florida, Texas, and Hawaii (not to mention Hood River) and as far as I'm aware we never rinsed the mechanism and we never had any issues with sand or salt or anything else causing the mechanism to misbehave.
The durability/longevity/sand issue has consistently been everyone's (including my) primary worry, but the system is actually really really simple and so far seems to be pretty bomber. I can't guarantee anything (once you put something on the market just by sheer numbers there's a chance there will be someone who finds some fault that we simply couldn't have foreseen) but we have had several hundred pre-production versions out around the world for several years, in use by schools, pros, random riders, etc. and as far as I'm aware the basic trim unit hasn't had any issues.
From another thread: "
You could just flip the bar over and repaint it so the colors are right but being able to switch which side the trim is on would be nice.
If anything the trim should be on both sides. Wouldn't be surprised if having trim adjustment on one side only is to get around a pre-existing patent."
Flipping the bar over is one option, however then you will not be able to see the power/depower meter for which there is an exposed window on the topside of the bar.
As far as the patent, there was no existing patent for a trim system on both sides. The difficult part was getting the unit on the one side to trim both outside lines evenly. To have the one unit trim both sides evenly from either side of the bar will require much more designing. I can't really picture how it would be possible.
If you're used to holding the bar in your right hand, realize that a traditional trim system requires you to use both hands regardless... If you're steering with the right hand you'll have to use the left to reach up (or down) to pull the depower. In this case you'll have to momentarily hold the bar with your left hand and use your right to trim.
1. Craig has requested that they produce a wakestyle bar with the click system. At this point as far as I'm aware it is not in the plans. I'm guessing we'll have to wait to see how popular the bar is before making the decision on whether it is cost-effective to create a super-narrow WS click bar and/or a S/M width similar to our current 19 and 22m bar.
Actually looking at your question in more detail, no there is almost no chance that there will be a metal, drillable version. There is too much going on inside the click bar (realize that the bar is hollow on the top to allow the left leader line to go through the entire bar) to use our older-style metal bar, much less have it be drillable.
2. No plans to make a microhook adapter as far as I know. See above.
3. What's wrong with the stopper ball? It holds pretty well (takes quite a bit of load to make it slip once snugged down).
from another thread: "As far as I could see in the video all trim adjustments were made before launching, but although it was unclear there might have been one sequence where the trim might have been adjusted 'on-the-fly' immediately after a turn."
One of the main design aims was to make trimming more simple than existing above-the-bar and below-the-bar front line adjustments. You can power and depower while riding. Many of our pros have reported that after using the bar they find it so much easier to adjust the trim they are using it far more often than they used to with the result that their riding has improved.
In particular when I expressed some hesitancy about the whole concept, Patri, our wave rider from Hawaii, told me that he often finds himself on a wave and overpowered. In the past he either would get pulled off the wave or be forced to ride hunched over with the bar out, or contort himself mid-wave to reach out and pull the depower. Now he says that he can drop into a wave fully powered and quickly and easily tap the bar end as necessary to maintain correct trim.
From Robertv on another thread: "1. Five line setup -> kite now flags on one of the side power lines instead of on the 5th line. How does this affect how the kite flags and rests on the water? My rebel, after releasing, almost always re-launches into the air, flips around and only after some time lands on the water again. That often leaves it with both of the steering lines going over it, making it hard to get ready to fly again. How does it behave now, when flagging asymmetrically?
2. How does the position of the V split affect flying and safety in a 5 line setup? Why is it bad to have the V distributor too low or removed?"
1. As I mentioned earlier, the 5-line system still has the kite flagging onto a single front line, not the 5th line. The 5th line (when installed) comes down to a little loop just above the depower line. The design team tested the safety on Rebels and Vegas in up to 30kts of wind and found the system to work perfectly... The kite flags out and lands LE down slightly to one side of the window, so reriding is simple. I personally tested a 7m Rebel in 50+kts (not on purpose) and found that the kite dropped/flagged perfectly, but I had trouble relaunching the kite after it had been flagged out to the front line... the kite wanted to loop when I tried to let the safety back out so I was forced to self rescue. The designer told me afterwards that in this situation I should have pulled myself to the bar and either grabbed or leashed to the blue loop of the 5th line (at the time I was unaware that the safety didn't drop to the 5th line) and then I could have reridden like normal. To be fair, though, this was a one-time test, a 7m Rebel in 55 knot offshore winds is not a normal situation to be in, and I was happy that the safety worked in those conditions and I was able to self-rescue. Short answer: The safety seems to work in all winds, but somewhere over 30 knots it may be difficult to reride the kite after dropping to safety.
2. The height of the V split should not affect safety, but it will affect how the kite flies. Our 5-line kites are designed with a very specific length of that front "Y". I'll see if I can get Ken to give us more information on how that length should affect performance. I know I posted something from him in the past but I'll see if he has any newer thoughts on it.