Power Kite Forum

How To: Making a new MUCH smaller HQ Chicken Loop!

FrontRangeJeff - 9-2-2014 at 09:26 AM

Hey Everyone:

Have had a couple people ask me about my ultra-small chicken loop assemblies I made for my HQ Apex kites (had an 8 and a 5.5)

First though: the problem I wanted to solve - which others have had....

The chicken loops on Apex's are flipping HUGE....the bar throw is flipping HUGE....the trim strap distance from the bar is flipping HUGE. What this means is that it is super difficult to reach the trim straps, especially in high winds....super tough to reach up and make an adjustment when you are leaning as far back as possible to hold an edge. Even more difficult from a seated position in a buggy.

There are several inches in this system that can be taken out with ZERO impact to the flying characteristics of the kites by shrinking the overall size of the chicken loop. Since this distance is "below the bar" any changes you make here have no impact other then the distance from your spreader bar to the bar and trim adjustment straps and how far away the bar is physically when sheeted out.

I took out about 2.5 Inches out of the length!!! This made it possible for my wife to even reach the trim straps easily. Anyone who isn't super tall may find this an improvement.

There are higher quality jobs for sure, but this totally works, is EASY, is cheap (can make 2 for under 30 bucks with leftovers to make more or fix mistakes)

Whipping twine (I used FSE Robline 08 from WestMarine.com)
Amsteel Blue or Equiv (I think I used 3/16" - total overkill - bought plenty extra - like 15 feet from WestMarine)
1/4" OD Polyethylene tubing from Home Depot (25' for like 3 bucks - used this for chicken finger)
5/8" OD Braided vinyl tubing from Home Depot (10' for a few bucks - used this for chicken loop tubing (what the Amsteel runs through)
A pack of 3/16" wooden knitting needles from a hobby shop (Cut down to a few inches in length to use as a FID)
Shrink Tubing (Used this to encapsulate the ends of the 5/8" to give a clean edge)

First and hardest part is to put a Spectra Loop Splice
into both ends of the Amsteel Blue resulting in about 7" of overall length. This isn't that hard but it is REALLY important to get this right - you do not want this line to fail!! It may take a trial run to get comfortable with this but I actually found these fun to make.

Check out http://www.instructables.com/id/Spectra-Loop-Splice/
this is a great resource for how to do this. Just know I used a cut down wooden knitting needle rather then a fid - I reduced the lengths of the tails to meet as close to the middle of the Amsteel as possible....trying to get as close to a full 3.5 inch of bury on each side as possible. I had 1" where after burying and covering the lines I had single line thickness. I tried everything to work one of the loops out when finished, I suspended myself from a hook and jumped up and down simulating massive pops and with 3 inches of bury on each loop along with whipping, I don't see how this can fail before something else would....

The end loops don't need to be huge - and can be held open with the extra pieces of the knitting needle that was cut off or a golf tee.
Whip the ends of the eyes as best you can....there are lots of sources on YouTube but I found this sort of tough.

Next, cut a length of the 5/8 tubing about an inch shorter (so about 6 inches). This will allow the eye loops to extend outside the tubing.

Then feed the 7" loop assy through the 5/8 tubing (a piece of string doubled around one of the new loops to pull through works great)

Next put some heat shrink or tape or whatever on each end of the 5/8 to protect the loops from any edges.

The final project of the new chicken loop ready to install should look something like the 1st picture.

Remove the original chicken loop by disengaging the release on one side then remove the second loop by using a flat screwdriver to lift the retaining metal piece...as shown in the 2nd picture.

Install the new loop reversing the process used removing the original. (Lock the "permanent side" using the metal piece around one loop while resetting the release on the other side)

Cut about 9" of 1/4 inch tubing.

Feed one end of this 1/4 tubing into the TOP of the hole found on the upper side of the HQ chicken loop block shown in the 4th photo. Next use a pair of pliers to angle the tubing down and pull through until 1/2 inch remains ABOVE the hole....trim any damaged bit from the end of the chicken finger caused by the pliers....when all finished it should look very close to the 4th photo. The small 1/4 tubing is used as the chicken finger...doesn't take much to keep the small loop on the spreader bar hook. I played with ALL sorts of ways to attach it and even some thicker tubing to the chicken loop but it is so small now that it is WAY too tight of an angle any other way I tried. If you mess up on anything you should have plenty of extra parts! Some well placed electrical tape or Velcro strapping can help the 1/4 tubing stay next to the plastic body of the loop assy if preferred.

Hope this helps somebody.


Finished Loop.jpg - 113kB Locks.jpg - 228kB Tubing_Hole.jpg - 202kB Finished Product.jpg - 160kB

B-Roc - 9-2-2014 at 11:48 AM


soliver - 9-2-2014 at 06:33 PM

Very cool! I just got a Montana 5,.... Wondering if it has the same issues with Chicken loop size.

PHREERIDER - 9-3-2014 at 07:19 AM

good job!

made a few , and definitely tight and tediuos

Smeagol - 9-3-2014 at 11:01 AM

Nice idea. I was thinking this same thing the first time I tried out my Apex III. I have fairly long mutant monkey arms and even I had issues reaching that stuff. ;) Might have to try this.

FrontRangeJeff - 9-3-2014 at 02:51 PM

I really found the stock lengths to be crazy....I am about 5'8" and I'd almost have to leap up for the trim adjustments :D. It was impossible if I didn't keep my harness absolutely tight at all times. I am sure I looked like a crazy person trying to reach them a few times. Amazing what the few inch reduction yielded - went from not easy to absolutely piece of cake. My wife certainly benefited the most since she had no chance to reach them before.

Phree - it is indeed tedious but glad it sounds like it worked for you...they do get quicker to make but whom among us would ever need more then one or two?:D The first couple iterations took me forever but by the time I "went live" with them I got to the point that I could bang them out in an hour or so. I found the whipping to be the most painful. I have big fingers so trying to wrap things became a lesson in frustration and always devolved into a series of expletive laced tirades.

PHREERIDER - 9-4-2014 at 01:37 PM

beautiful things by our own hands sometimes include a path of suffrage....you got true deeper enjoyment hooked up!

B-Roc - 9-4-2014 at 01:41 PM

Hopefully someone from HQ will see this thread or similar comments posted elsewhere in the past and get about the task of just making a smaller chicken loop design. I remember comments about the throw length from earlier versions of this kite and the M and that is one of the main reasons I've never bought either though I've been tempted many times. My 14m eskimo also has a large chicken loop which makes it tougher for me (at 5'7") to trim sometimes if its powered and I'm really leaning back. Unless you are unhooking, there is really no need for a large chicken loop and I doubt many of those who are interested in the Apex are also interested in riding unhooked.

yeti - 9-4-2014 at 07:11 PM


Unless you are riding these kites like grandma in a gentle breeze, wearing the harness around your ankles, you will probably have an issue with bar throw discomfort at some point. I'll be mentally noting this for the next time I break out the foils.

Kiteflyer933 - 9-4-2014 at 08:41 PM

Yes, we need someone to sell smaller chicken loop or bar with shorter throw and chicken loop, for Foils....like the Cabrinha Siren's bar.....and I need one for this coming Winter fun in the sun:thumbup:

DAKITEZ - 9-4-2014 at 09:45 PM

Excellent job Jeff!

I was thinking to do the exact same thing for the last couple versions of the HQ depowers but never got around to it. I'm glad to see you did it and happy it works well. This fix does nothing to decrease the performance of the kite just simply gets the controls closer to the pilot. I would say this is very beneficial to anyone under 5'10" to 6'. I think most pilots over 6' would have no problem with reaching the controls.

You should consider selling these. I'm sure you would have some buyers. I would be happy to send anyone your way that needs this.

FrontRangeJeff - 9-5-2014 at 09:10 AM

Thanks all,
I too can't believe this has never officially been addressed. I searched high and low before I decided to make my own; found plenty of others having the same problem but no solutions. I love doing everything myself so was happy to tackle it and enjoyed the improvement but maybe some might be dissuaded from modifying their gear. Fortunately returning to stock is a 30 second job so no harm no foul.

I'd be happy to see anyone make use of the instructions! I'd assume at some point HQ will offer an accessory? They are crazy not to. I know some buyers specifically chose other kites just due to this...so it does have a market impact IMHO. If anyone has trouble getting one together let me know - I'd be happy to help them out by providing a ready to install loop and pre-cut chicken stick at cost.


Smeagol - 9-5-2014 at 11:59 AM

I'd buy one. :D

utahtami - 9-5-2014 at 09:08 PM

Any idea if it would help with size over stock Ozone Access?

At 5'3" it is a reach for me.

FrontRangeJeff - 9-6-2014 at 08:08 AM

Hey Utahtami!

I just looked at my Chicken Loop Assembly on my Ozone Summit to refresh its design....I can't remember exactly what the Access CL looks like but assuming it is similar to my Summit.

Unfortunately the locking mechanism on my Ozone CL is comprised of an angled metal flange that locks under a metal ball/pin. To make a smaller one for an Ozone would require something mimicking the metal flange. Totally doable but best done by sacrificing the flange piece from an existing ozone CL to ensure a proper fit.

At 5'3" I totally get the reach issue!

utahtami - 9-6-2014 at 09:08 AM

Would it be easier just to hang from my arms a couple hours per day?

FrontRangeJeff - 9-6-2014 at 11:00 AM

might work but then your knuckles might drag the ground when you walk like mine do!

propylene22 - 11-15-2014 at 08:24 PM

Hell I'm 6'4" and I have a hard time reaching the cleat sometimes. Particularly when I'm leaning way out. I'll have to try this. Jeff, you got any riding plans for xmas?

FrontRangeJeff - 11-17-2014 at 10:58 AM

Hey Dave,
If you have any problems making one let me know - since we are in the same neck of the woods.

Over xmas Joanna (wife) will be around here and a bit around the Pueblo area, to which I will certainly be taking kite gear...been teaching the nieces and nephew and Brother in Law all to kite and will continue the saga down there at their huge local park...or in the mtns to snow kite if there is coverage.

Do you snow kite? Land Boarding around here is probably going to be out for a while considering how saturated the fields have to be. My local area still has some snow. Always nice when a blizzard shows up - can snow kite for hours just minutes from home but doesn't happen frequently enough.


trickyrickxx - 11-17-2014 at 12:35 PM

Hi I have recently got a HQ Montana m6 9.5m as my first depower kite. I have noticed that I have trouble with the throw of the bar as I am only 5'3. If I was to make one of these smaller chicken loops would this help with me reaching the depower straps and with the throw of the bar. Thanks rick

FrontRangeJeff - 11-17-2014 at 01:28 PM

Hi Rick - I believe the Montana 6 and Apex 4 use the same chicken loop / HQ bar assy (If I'm mistaken someone please chime in).

With the same bar and CL assy designs then absolutely - a smaller loop like the one I gave instructions for above would take out several inches out of the difficult reach to the trim straps as well as how far the bar is physically for you!

Hope this helps!

trickyrickxx - 11-17-2014 at 01:33 PM

Thanks for the quick reply I will have to get the bits together and give making this ago because that bar goes along way away for me. I will post results on the finished product. I haven't ever done anything like this so am looking forward to this little project. Thanks again

FrontRangeJeff - 11-17-2014 at 01:51 PM

Happy to try and help-glad to see I wasn't the only one thinking this was bogus.

The distance to the straps along with distance to the bar during a big gust while letting the bar out can be really challenging! HQ's are so darned far away...but seems many manufacturers also have these distances a little on the long side.

Keeping the harness from riding up also helps a lot! U2U me if you have any questions w/ the steps and totally post the results! This mod can always be undone so no harm no foul by putting the stock CL back on (I misplaced one and it took me forever to track one down)

Just be sure to bury the tails of the splice as far as possible and whip tightly; you don't want the line to come apart-that would be not be a good thing.

trickyrickxx - 11-17-2014 at 02:04 PM

Thanks Jeff I will defiantly message u if I run into any issues with any of the steps.

trickyrickxx - 11-19-2014 at 03:50 PM

I am just waiting for the tubing to come. I decided to wrap the splice with electrical tape and tested it and it did manage to take my whole body weight so should be good to go soon

TEDWESLEY - 11-22-2014 at 09:48 AM

What you are making is called a Brummel splice. the whipping is only to keep the splice together when it is not under load.
since the tubing will do that, you can eliminate the whipping. If you do want to whip the splice, I would use a lock stitched
whipping where you sew trough the splice from 90degree sectors with perhaps 8-10 stitches in two directions not very tight.
Great idea on your part. The bar reach has been a stretch for me as well on the Neo2. I'll be making this change today!

FrontRangeJeff - 11-23-2014 at 09:00 AM

My two cents - the whipping or stitching proved to be kind of critical. The Brummel tail bury is tough to get to standard lengths if you want a minimum CL length. With an instant load then the splice locks nicely but in light winds without big bury the splice can start sliding.

If the tubing is INCREDIBLY tight it will lock in place but when I tried a few smaller diameters to go that route I couldn't physically get the line through and opted for whipping so I didn't have to worry about it.

again - just my experience(s)
individual results may vary...always wanted to have a use for that in a real context

trickyrickxx - 11-26-2014 at 02:09 PM

Finally got round to finishing my loop today just got to wait for the wind to pick up so I can use it lol