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Armstrong vs Axis

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mister-z
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Armstrong vs Axis

Postby mister-z » Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:36 am

Time for me to update from my old trainer foil (because I bought it used and it's now falling apart), looking for advice on what brand to go with. Want something that can take a little bit of a beating and won't go obsolete in a year, so I basically have it narrowed down to Armstrong or Axis. I primarily ride flat water, no intention to get into waves any time soon. Can gybe successfully once in a while, and once in a _rare_ while I can do it without touching down. But I just want to progress on transitions, figure out tacks, carve around, 360s, sit on the board, stuff like that. Don't care about jumping at this point, but could see myself getting into some small ones this season or next. Also I live in San Diego -- 13kts is a windy day. So I want to be able to get out in low winds, like <10kts. (Obviously kite and skill are big factors for low-end, but maybe one brand outshines the other in light wind?)

Both Axis and Armstrong are nice and modular. Both seem to be very high quality. I like the lube-free corrosion-proof combination of materials on the Armstrong, and I assume (can someone confirm?) that it's a lighter setup since it's all carbon and titanium. Axis is more affordable (at least when you go with the aluminum mast, which I probably would). The Axis 19mm alu mast is said to be incredibly stiff. On the other hand, Armie cites some mast flexion near the fuse as a good thing, not a drawback.

Unfortunately I cannot demo either of these options before I buy. Would love to hear from anyone who's had the opportunity to ride both. Curious how the weight compares, whether one is more durable than the other, and also interested in a discussion of pros and cons when it comes to mast stiffness vs flexibility.

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Kamikuza
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Re: Armstrong vs Axis

Postby Kamikuza » Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:28 am

Mast stiffness...

For the same gear, I notice the difference in stiffness of the mast between 75cm and 83cm and I hate it ... so I don't understand how people say that a carbon mast that flexes more and is "better" than a stiff mast. I may change my mind if I ever get to ride a carbon mast ... but I'm scared of breaking them :D

Re. the Axis masts, they had them tested. The results were something like, taking the 16mm mast as the baseline, the carbon is 130% stiffer and the 19mm aluminum 220%. Apparently, you can make a carbon mast as stiff as aluminum but you give up any advantage of weight loss. I reckon if you're not a heavy rider and stick with a 75cm mast, the 16mm mast is stiff enough.

Axis stuff is tough. I'm impressed with how much of a pounding it can take :D

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Re: Armstrong vs Axis

Postby Jzh_perth » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:18 am

I’m a super happy Axis customer. Kiting a 680/400 surf combo. A close buddy has an Armstrong and seems happy with it. It’s super light compared to Axis but also twice as expensive. I’ve not tried the Axis carbon mast combo but that might be a solution ?

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Re: Armstrong vs Axis

Postby slowboat » Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:51 pm

I don't think you will go wrong with either. Both are very popular and have high levels of rider satisfaction. The Armstrong is more expensive but lighter and you don't have to mess with lubing the hardware. I don't know Axis that well but it seems like there is an extra adapter you need for some of their masts? My guess is Armstrong also wins on durability and resale but that is just a guess.

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Re: Armstrong vs Axis

Postby purdyd » Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:03 pm

Mast flex

I have a cloud 9 carbon mast that is a solid chunk of carbon and the Armstrong wood core mast and you can tell the difference in flex.

And there is a noticeable difference in weight.

To me it is a lot like surfboard fin flex. Stiff gives a lot of control the flexy fins can be a bit more lively. If they get too flexy and especially if they are slow to rebound, they can feel mushy. If they get too stiff, they can feel dead.

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Re: Armstrong vs Axis

Postby Rojbrown » Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:20 am

I want to bring this back up. I too am looking for a foil upgrade and have been following the posts on various models. I am stuck on getting a gybe without touching down. My time on the water is a limiting factor. Riding a Ke Nalu 580 foil which I've enjoyed (1084cm2). Being ever in search for the next "best" toy....well a new foil is calling. The Armstrong has appeal and mostly favorable reviews. Living inland there is no chance to trial it or others. Thanks in advance for any input.

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Re: Armstrong vs Axis

Postby jkrug » Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:19 pm

Rojbrown wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:20 am
I am stuck on getting a gybe without touching down.
i've been riding Armtrong for a while now and have nothing bad to say about it. BUT...it won't suddenly make you a better foiler. i came from using the Impulse Wing, and the Armstrong (i use 1200cm wing) feels smoother and more stable, but it didn't allow me to do things i couldn't do before. i think some folks think equipment will do that, but i've never found that to be true. it's a lot lighter than my old equipment, and that is a big plus. I've never tried an Axis, so cannot comment. I'm happy with my Armstrong purchase, and am not looking for anything better (if there is anything better). I guess all i'm saying is that I've had about 5 different foil setups by now, and though i do feel each one was an improvement over the previous, my skill level wasn't jettisoned immediately by any of them. It's like getting a new set of expensive golf clubs...they won't make you a great golfer overnight...or in my case, ever.
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Rojbrown
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Re: Armstrong vs Axis

Postby Rojbrown » Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:49 am

Thanks for the sobering feedback jkrug. Yes, I could have learned by now it's practice that makes one better rather then new gear. My time on the water is limited to a few days a month and a week or two traveling a year. Progression is slow. I spend most days fantasizing about the next session. Nonetheless I do plan to upgrade sometime this year. I'm happy with my Shinn Jackson board. Whatever foil I opt for will be paired with it. I'll keep following threads such as this to make an informed choice....as best as possible. I'll admit to searching for confirmation bias as well.....I just like the stripes on the Armstrong ;-)

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Re: Armstrong vs Axis

Postby marblekite » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:27 am

Started foiling on the Shinn Jackson and the P wing about 2.5 years ago. progressed to K then K2. P wing brilliant starter. The K2 is a lovely foil. I was worried I would just break a carbon model, so wanted to get most of the grounding and crashing done on an Alu mast. Went for Armstrong late last year, 850 mast, CF1200 and the HS625. Have now also bought the HS1050 and the HS1550. No experience with the Axis setups.

Like jkrug said...nothing quite like time on the water for learning. Is fun experiencing the subtle differences in wing performance. For instance the CF1200 is great but the HS1050 sublime. Was surprised how great the HS625 was particularly on the turns when compared with the CF1200 which gurgled and dropped me when turning too fast. The HS625 takes a bit of wind to keep going though...for me. All the Armstrongs are super smooth and totally silent and the setup is a dream to maintain...maintenance free. I havn't sailed the HS1550 yet and am hoping it is a super lightwind plaything that keeps my bulkage (86kg) out of the water in light wind lulls...we shall see.

One drawback of the carbon setup I dislike is the way the CF1200 can end up on its side and stayed upwind. I got used to the well behaved nature of the heavier Shinn Alu mast tracking down to me obediently after a wipeout. Was a pain to actually have to body drag back up to it. This is not a problem with the HS1050 and the HS625 which both sink on the Armstrong mast. HS1550 will probably float. So be ready to hone your body drag skills if you go for a large carbon wing and you are still falling off.
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Re: Armstrong vs Axis

Postby Kitehume » Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:52 am

marblekite wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:27 am

One drawback of the carbon setup I dislike is the way the CF1200 can end up on its side and stayed upwind. I got used to the well behaved nature of the heavier Shinn Alu mast tracking down to me obediently after a wipeout. Was a pain to actually have to body drag back up to it. This is not a problem with the HS1050 and the HS625 which both sink on the Armstrong mast. HS1550 will probably float. So be ready to hone your body drag skills if you go for a large carbon wing and you are still falling off.
Thanks. Just got the Armstrong hs1050 with 85 mast. My biggest concern was that it would float on its side.


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