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Kite advancements over the last 10 years

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kevink5516
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Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby kevink5516 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:58 pm

Hi All,

I'm new to the forum and apologize if I'm bringing up a topic that's been discussed numerous times already. I've seen some discussions about this in different threads but nothing specific to the topic. For background I started kiting in 2006 and was in the sport until 2010 when I moved away from kiteable locations and sold my gear. I'm looking to get back into the sport now and I've read and been given very mixed opinions on what age range is ok to consider when buying used gear (I don't have the budget to buy everything new). This has lead me to wonder just how much the sport has advanced in the last decade. For the sake of the discussion, I am looking at this from the perspective of a twin tip freerider only, I have no plans at this time to try foiling in the future.

On one hand, I've seen several opinions which say that you shouldn't by gear older than 2-3 years max because the kite performance and safety of new kites is so much better now than it used to be. On the other hand, I've read several posts with the opinion that kite design advancement has more or less stalled over the last decade and the kites coming out now are the same as prior years just with new graphics and marketed as the "latest and greatest" just as a sales pitch.

I'm surprised to see so much talk about improvements in safety system technology. Can anyone explain what these changes have been since it's not evident to me? I never felt unsafe on my old kites and even 12 years ago was able to pop the QR on the chicken loop and flag the kite in an emergency without problem. I've been watching a lot of product demo videos for kites from various brands over the last decade and I don't see any clear changes in kite safety. The biggest change I can see is that chicken loop designs have changed to now open the loop with the QR instead of detaching the loop completely from the bar. I do see how this would be helpful for easing the reassembly of everything in the water but is it any safer than the old systems?

As far as kite performance goes, I'm sure that kite design has advanced since I last rode my kites from the mid-2000s (Cabrinha SB/CB and Caution Answers). It appears that brands have really worked on specializing designs to better suite different rider styles over the years but have there been many other major advancements in kite design recently? As someone who hasn't followed the industry for many years, I don't see anything distinctively different when comparing kites from the earlier half of the last decade with ones from the last couple years. Will a 2018 kite fly and feel drastically different as the same, or a similar, kite from 2013? If the older gear is functionally very similar what's the harm in buying gear that is 5-6 years old as long as it's still in good shape?

Thanks for any feedback and input. I'm excited to be getting back into the sport soon.

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Re: Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby Greenturtle » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:35 am

Kites from 2012,13,14 etc that are in good condition will generally perform just as good as this years models and be just as safe- except- they are much more likely to leak air. Almost inevitable. Depending on storage conditions and luck of the draw. Where all the valves / one-pump nipples are attached to the bladder is the weak link in longevity for kites this age even if they’ve just been sitting around in a closet/garage/basement. They start to delaminate. (The rubber one-pump conector hoses also dry rot) Hot climates exacerbate the issue. Can be reglued / replaced to very reliable service again, if you are the DIY type maybe thats not a big problem, just be aware of that.

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Re: Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby leeuwen » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:01 am

I think for blanket statements 3 years is relatively safe to say not only material wise, with most likely some troublefree years, but also safety tech wise.
e.g. only in 2018 fone switched to single line flag out safety system.
So getting older gear means also figuring out if/when the safety system changed and getting an appropriate bar.
For beginners who maybe don't really know about all this stuff its safer to say: get a kite+bar from the same brand produced in the last 3 years and you are good to go.

Also most of the depreciation is happening in the first years so money savings have diminishing returns by getting older kites while the potential issues with the gear go up exponentially (see the dried up plastics comment above).
If you are willing to do research to really find out all the tech details of a kite model and bar in year X and are ok with potential plastics failing in the years ahead most kites up to 2015 are probably great.
Getting anything older then that doesn't make sense to me (money saved vs risks of old/worn gear)

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Re: Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby Havre » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:26 am

I believe my first kite - an Ozone Catalyst 2014 is still alive and doing well (sold a couple of times after I sold it). I would have no issues selling that to a beginner, it would probably be an excellent first kite for someone considering it would be cheap to buy. Doesn't stall easily and I can say it flags out very well :lol:

I store my kites in my bedroom - and they are always dry when stored. I never leave my kites in a hot car etc. And I basically never leave my kites on the beach other than for drying. How much those things matter I don't know, but clearly all kites from 2014 are not in fantastic condition. Really nothing different than an old car to me. A lot of old kites have never really been used. Got a friend who bought some kites a couple of years ago. Used once on water I believe and maybe once on snow. Sold them this year - like buying a new kite basically even if they are a couple of years old.

If I was to make a general statement I would argue buying a kite that is around 3 years old makes the most sense financially. Then you can still sell it 1-2 years later without it really having lost much more value - and still limiting the risk that the kite will "fail" (whatever that means). I saw an Ozone Catalyst 2014 12m in Norway the other day being listed at €400. It seems to have been sold (the ad is gone). I sold mine for 450 or maybe it was 500 (to a friend so I know I sold it a bit cheap) some years before. Anecdotal of course.

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Re: Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby Kristan » Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:42 am

I'm not in this sport for that long and didn't hold that much gear in my hands, although I had a couple of old kites.

For LEI we got one pump, less struts, more threads in fabric, optimized use of dacron for lighter weight, new materials. But to be fair for the last 3-4 years there was barely anything revolutionary. Most of brands have been striving to create the most versatile three strut all-rounders that can do everything, leaving out specific kite models behind. Plus we have new breeds of kites while kite foiling became very popular.

Foil kite wise we saw rise of mid aspect ratio kites that kick ass. Soul, Hyperlink, FRS and many more.

People who say that you shouldn't get kite that is 3-4 years old probably mean used ones, because kites from that age fresh from the bag would perform really well. But they won't last as long as modern models, which are made of better materials.

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Re: Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby leeuwen » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:04 am

Kristan wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:42 am
But they won't last as long as modern models, which are made of better materials.
I doubt it. The plastics for the bladder/inflation systems haven't changed much (and arguably you can replace those)
For actual time on water (so not storage degradation) most kites are limited by the canopy/ripstop material wearing out.
AFAIK adding strands to the ripstop in the grand scheme of thing doesn't really do much for long-levity of the fabric.
Its all about marketing. Brand X is doing three strands ripstop so we will do four!
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Re: Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby dracop » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:34 am

Kite Systems and materials from 2010 suck compared to 2021

Safety systems are way better
Line materials ate way better
Ripstop is denser but not coated that much different
BRIDLES are way better at distributing load, killing power in a QR, not getting tangled as much, and expanding wind range

Kite shapes are better and more specialized in many cases

Aside from $$$, what is your time worth? The newer kites are easy compared to 2010 kites.

If you want to save, buy 2018/2019 gear - still good stuff for the most part and pricing is much lower.

Personally I am very excited to the major changes Aluula can bring; hoping to see it on larger brands other than OR soon. First with direct improvements to performance due to stiffness and weight, followed by kite re-designs that factor in stiffer stronger lighter materials and re-do the bridles which is what has allowed newer kites to be so much better than 2010 designs.

For a big guy jumping and looping big, this directly assaults some of my biggest problems with current kite gear.

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Re: Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby Havre » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:49 am

How many kites are worn out? Obviously if you are kiting 200 days a year it will happen, but most kites are not used like that. If you find a 3-4 year old kite hardly used - stored in a reasonable way - then I wouldn't worry for a second that it would wear out any time soon.

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Re: Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby elguapo » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:11 am

imo, the current infusion of paragliding tech into the kite world is the biggest advancement in the last 10 years..

Image

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Re: Kite advancements over the last 10 years

Postby Kamikuza » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:41 am

dracop wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:34 am
Kite Systems and materials from 2010 suck compared to 2021

Safety systems are way better
Line materials ate way better
I just want to be argumentative and disagree with that :D My 2010 kites are Crossbows and Switchblades, and the double-front line safeties have never, ever worn through and snapped on me like my 2018 bars have -- twice.

And I've still got the bars, with the original lines on. Admittedly, I wouldn't want to go big on them now, but I was right up to the time I got new kites in 2017.

My 2018/19 kites are nicer but the bar designs have let me down.

Oh and now I have to figure out how to recover the grip on one of my bars because it's worn through. Honestly...
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