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Starkites S-Bow review

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mark van haze
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Starkites S-Bow review

Postby mark van haze » Sun Jun 04, 2006 6:14 pm

Ive been testing the s-bow 5m today in Tarifa with very rough conditions. We had levante with 30-40 knots and it was gust galore! Eric from IKO and designer of the kite was there and so I had to try it as I like to compare all gear I can get my hands on.
For the ones who dont know me, I fly pretty much everything (sonics, crossbows, waroos, rhinos, type6, pulse, speed and others) and teach here in Tarifa as well as in Ibiza/Formentera. Even though I do sell kites too, I do believe that im not your average joe pimping or bashing gear, when it comes to my reviews.
Now the session was about 40 minutes and I was pretty much alone out there except for windsurfers with tiny sails (around 3.8 m or so). Thats always a sign for gusty levante at punta paloma (Tarifa). The s-bow was very stable and although I went by the book of typical bowkite rider errors, in order to provoke an inversion or weird miss-shaping of the fronttube, that thing was always stable. The usual mistake where you suddenly depower the kite (letting go of the bar or pushing it far out) right when you are fully powered up and then riding downwind to give the lines slack, well this just didnt affect it as the waroos, crossbows,slingshot td (they invert in this situation). It didnt even deform the leading edge (like my sonics do). Instead it just hangs in the air and drifts backwards without letting the nose of the fronttube dive. The reason for this (as I saw later on the ground and when someone else was riding the kite) is the shape of the fronttube (the nose is bent upwards) and that the canopy on the trailing edge seems to be bent a little upwards, acting as a "spoiler". In fact when the kite is on the ground, it doesnt lie flat with the nose of the fronttube touching the ground, its just above.
So then I tried various things that usually provoke inversions on my other bows and it wasnt budging. That kite is rock solid and I was watching it all afternoon (while i was teaching just close by) to see if it would collapse or deform the leading edge while others were testing it.
Now I have yet to let the kite fly through the whole wind window fully depowered (let go of the bar) to see if this will make it invert but I didnt have the balls with the winds we had, maybe tomorrow. This trick does miracles to any bow - my sonic goes all whop-whop-whop while it "squares out" and regains shape again several times in a row until it stabilizes at the end of the window. Not nice and scary, but it doesnt invert. The Waroo doesnt like this either - it inverts on this and collapses into the water. We will see what the S-bow does.
Now the bar and the feeling of the kite: Well its a pulley bar and the pulleys do what pulleys do. You need double the strength to pull on that bar but it only has to travel half the distance. Well in my opinion the bar pressure is far too high. I would compare it to pretty much any other pulley bow ive ridden like for example the crossbow (no mod). It makes the turning of the kite difficult and slow. Especially for a teaching environment where you dont always have students fresh from the gym, that is just too much to ask for. There is no comparison with the Waroo and much less, the Sonic. Also the pulleys used were already stuck due to the fine sand here. Eric did however mention that these are not final and will be changed in the next revision.
I believe by putting the kite onto a Sonic or Waroo style bar, this kite would profit a lot and become even faster on turning. I talked to Eric and he said that it can be done but thats up to the rider. He prefers this bar because it makes the kite less nervous and prone to error inputs from for example students.
Talking of turning: I didnt pull any kiteloops in these conditions (sorry but I wanna live a few more years) so I cant comment on its turning radius. It is however a slower turner than the waroo, by a lot (comparing the 5m Waroo to the 5m S-bow). I guess thats a trade off to the rock solid stability.
The kite itself looks bomb proof and has been re-enforced pretty much everywhere as shown to me by Eric. I agree with him that if you are looking for a kite that will hold at least 2 seasons (im talking of high wind areas) then you should be looking at the S-bow.
The chickenloop is similar to the Naish loops - gotta pull away to release and bye bye kite. There is a leash attachment on one of the frontlines and so heres the big moment: Does the kite flag out completely on a frontline or does it go into death spirals?
It flags out like any regular C-kite. I myself didnt pull the release but I watched another rider on it do it and the kite flags out - no bridle stopping it or keeping its shape.
What else is there to say? Well I liked it, overall very impressed with the stability and I see this as a very interesting kite for teaching and riding myself BUT not with a pulley bar. I want to ride it with a Waroo/Sonic bar tomorrow, maybe Eric will let me try that out. He said that he has tried it and that the kite is a lot easier on the bar but of course you need to move it more to get the same depower as on a pulley bar.
Ok lets see if I can give some more infos tomorrow.

ps: ive looked for 5 minutes on the new review page and either im too dumb to find WHERE i can enter a new review or its just not visible enough *hint*hint*toby*

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thanks

Postby mentholelch » Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:54 pm

mark -> as the kite you tested: a rock solid review!

thanks a lot and keep up the good work!!!

cheers.fritz
:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

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Postby tomtom » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:04 pm

YES

This is REVIEW!!!

and please keep you independence!!!

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Re: Starkites S-Bow review

Postby HelldogBE » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:22 pm

[quote="mark van haze"] The usual mistake where you suddenly depower the kite (letting go of the bar or pushing it far out) right when you are fully powered up and then riding downwind to give the lines slack, well this just didnt affect it as the waroos, crossbows,slingshot td (they invert in this situation). It didnt even deform the leading edge (like my sonics do).



Now I have yet to let the kite fly through the whole wind window fully depowered (let go of the bar) to see if this will make it invert but I didnt have the balls with the winds we had, maybe tomorrow. This trick does miracles to any bow - my sonic goes all whop-whop-whop while it "squares out" and regains shape again several times in a row until it stabilizes at the end of the window. Not nice and scary, but it doesnt invert. The Waroo doesnt like this either - it inverts on this and collapses into the water. quote]

you afraid of pumping your LE up?

I've had the kite deform in gusts above its upper range but never invert, it happens more than on one occasion that I let the bar go as the kite goes from one side to the other of the window -> it never deforms in flight!!!

only when hanging statically above your head (11-1o while putting your board on with the depowerstrap pulled and bar all the way out, give it a yank and it will stay normal until a gust hits).


Does it flapper when depowered though? the waroo has this a lot when flying it depowered a lot, doesn't affect performance though.



I like it that the STARkite is a good one, but it doesn't overrule the other kites in any major way. (okay the SSTD inverts in the hands of experienced riders, I guess u can bash it for that in every review then. but my waroos were the first LEI's I got my hands on and the first time I had to use a pump and it never inverted even though I had it above its range the second time out!! saying that it inverts by flying it all the way through the powerzone totally depowered is a LIE though)


Greetings,

Helldog
(I'd like your reviews better if u didn't bash other brands to stay objective, afterall u only test them 40minutes. it's good to give an impression, but not a full review with comparisons in my opinion...)

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Re: Starkites S-Bow review

Postby bragnouff » Sun Jun 04, 2006 11:03 pm

HelldogBE wrote: Helldog
(I'd like your reviews better if u didn't bash other brands to stay objective, afterall u only test them 40minutes. it's good to give an impression, but not a full review with comparisons in my opinion...)

Actually I think it's a fair review, and 40 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to judge a kite once you're used to these kind of flat kites and once you know what to test and what to try so as to highlight its advantages and defects. Apparently Mark knows what he's talking about, at least about the Sonics, and for me he could be generally trusted for his opinion.

The only bias/flaw in this review would come down to the size of the tested kite as a 5m is a beast from a completely different kind that is hard to put in parallel with other brands' small kites. The 5m should be compared to a 5/6m only, otherwise this is as irrelevant as, for instance, comparing the 9 Waroo to the 11 Sonic.

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Postby mark van haze » Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:09 am

Totally agree on that you need to compare equal sizes - thats why i directly compared the 5m waroo to the 5m s-bow. Sonic only comes in 8m and so I didnt take that in direct comparison. However, the 8m does the same "square out shape" when in similar situations. Back in Brasil I only had the 9m Waroo vs my 11m Sonic so I compared what was there. In retrospect, I should not have done a direct comparison - agreed.

In reply to whether im afraid of pumping up the leading edge: No im obviously not and im fully aware of what importance a rock hard LE has for bows. But whether you like it or not, the waroos in 3m, 5m and 9m do invert (the sizes we use here most and the 9m is bridle modified). I teach on these kites and sell them so its not in my interest to bash them. I like them a lot but you simply have to be aware of the problems and how you can cirumvent them. Same applies to any kite, they simply arent perfect so you learn to adapt. A C-Kite will loft you if you misuse it (too much wind, kite in the zenith,etc). So you learn to adapt and use it CORRECTLY.
However, if you can IMPROVE a design so the rider does not have to adapt, all the better.
I doubt you have ridden your waroos in the winds we have here (around 30 knots) so you will just have to believe me, but even with a rock hard LE, the 5m for example (does not need the bridle mod) will invert in the mentioned situations. I dont mean flapping of the canopy, i mean that the kite in a matter of seconds inverts, flops back to shape several times in a row. And if you keep tension on the lines while its inverted, it will go down onto the water like a rock, LE first.
Again, this is not a waroo specific fault - its applicable to all the bows mentioned in the review above.
40 minutes is ok for me to get a good impression of whats possible and what not. Im not new to these kites so I believe I can tell you quickly whats up. Furthermore, ive been watching the kite over a period of hours while others were riding it, as mentioned in the review.
I dont think its necessary to film it and post it just to prove my point but if I can get my camera around, Ill collect the videos on all the bows we have here so I dont get crucified for bashing a single brand.

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Postby prep » Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:09 pm

Ive had the un moded 12m waroo out in 30kts. Yes it wasnt much fun, yes I was a bit worried about inverting but did it invert? no. In this situation the kite had almost no depower left and was more like riding my old C.

I even tried to give it a hand and did some terrible jumps where I swung wayyy out infront of the kite.

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Postby kitesurfbali » Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:34 pm

Well done Mark,
nice review specially for instructor looking for school kite.
Prep, did Mark talk on his post of the 12 meter Waroo!!!! :evil: I don't uderstand these guys that have to intervene in any discussion no matter if is pertinent or not!!!! :smash:
Bye Jankie

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Postby stunaite » Mon Jun 05, 2006 5:48 pm

Actually I am trying to decide which kite to buy between Waroo 12m and Sonic 11m. Price isn't relevant 4 me. Although I am an absolute beginner, I have read tons of articles on web. I want kitesurfing just in lightwinds and sooner on waves. Which of the kites, Sonic 11m2 or Waroo 12m2, should be my choice regarding this topics:

-Acessibility or Forgiveness (I want something easy to learn quickly)
-Inversion probabilities (Does invertion just exist at highend wind range?)
-Lowend windrange

In future I will buy a bigger kite, but for now, someone advise me to start with a smaller one, because is safer.

Looking forward to read your comments

Thanks

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Postby Megabear » Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:35 pm

@stuankite you´re off topic here, and its anoying. Read other post regarding this issue , or post your own topic, dont post in a review of a s-bow kite !

I tried the s-bow size 11 i think for 30 minutes ride in cabarete bay. I agree with many points made by mark van Haze´s points.

First the bar pressure is comperable to the crossbow in many terms. Bar pressure, (=high) turning, (=shit) and stability, (=good) , Depower (=awesome) IMHO. Didnt have it invertet, but basicly now nothing about this issue, since I´ve never tried it... Anyway just confirming some of Marks points.

I wouldn´t buy it though, but I dont like the crossbow either....I guess it is what it is, a very safe and easy kite for beginners. Similar to the crossbow.

(im probably intermediate, doing a little bit of jumps, pops, nothing crazy, and not in anyway affiliated with any companys etc. )


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