Power Kite Forum

BAR thread

ColinW - 4-30-2019 at 06:03 PM

Here is a thread for bar building, light weight race bars, and simple long throw bars for newer depower kites for those that don't want to hijack the Gin Shaman 2 thread.
Have at her!

ColinW - 4-30-2019 at 06:40 PM

I was lucky enough to see some of Phillip's (pbc) fine craftsmanship when at IBX last month. I am a carpenter so was drawn to his beautiful wooden bars that were on raffle. His bars seemed sparse compared to the few pounds of aluminum and plastic with lengths of baubles and straps which seem designed to get tangled, more than function in a split second kite emergency that are offered by kite manufacturers.
I was not lucky enough to win one, but there were better homes for them anyway.
I should say that I don't fly depowers yet, but think that it's time...I've collected a few old LEIs and an arc that needs a bar. My kiting time is limited to when I can travel, so I've been too busy at the beach and on the playa with my fixed bridles to spend the time to learn and play with bars.
So, I am interested to hear about the critical elements of bar construction, and, what to me, looks like gimmickry and overly complex engineering, not to mention the prices being asked by the mainstream kite manufacturers, which seem exorbitant.

Discuss away.

Feyd - 5-1-2019 at 04:01 AM

In answer to Jeff's question about the shackle. Yes, there is some concern out there in regards to using shackles as a replacement for a chicken loop system. And rightly so, as not all shackles are the same.

This is the model I use...


I have been using these on various bars for about 10 years. I have it set up with a short trigger line (about 20mm) with a flag out stopper attached to actuate it with heavy winter gloves on. It works better than I hoped as all I basically have to do is "slap" it and it releases.

My only concern is that if I'm getting dragged it could inadvertently release. Which if I'm getting dragged may not be a bad thing.:D

It hasn't yet however.

It swivels freely under load and has never frozen or jammed in anyway. Breaking load is somewhere over 2000 kilos.

I have and have used other snap shackles. Some of which came with kites from the manufacturer. They aren't nearly as easy to actuate or as smooth as the ones I use. Looking online, they cost considerably less and actuate using a pin system. My understanding is these types are not nearly as reliable . I can say that the few times I've used them they are more cumbersome and donot release nearly as well as the one I use.

I'm intrigued by the new Speedlink. Lighter than what I have and the same basic function.

TEDWESLEY - 5-1-2019 at 06:31 AM

The Wichard Is the only shackle that I would use, while expensive, THEY WORK! The admonition about the 10$ helmet
is apt here. Shackles with a sliding pin release will jam with sand and ice. They are fine for boats, not for kites. The Wichard
is designed to work under load, pin shackles are not. There is a release used in dogsledding that works well but is not made from
Stainless. I've used one for years with no problems for the power strop when using Fixed bridle. Try Nooksack Racing Supply if

TEDWESLEY - 5-1-2019 at 06:39 AM

To be clear, I'm only referring to the model in Feyds post as Wichard also makes pin shackles.

nate76 - 5-1-2019 at 01:13 PM

Good info - thanks for starting the thread Colin. So Chris, what is the benefit of the Wichard 2674 vs the 2673? Seems like quite a few folks are using 2673 and might be a bit smaller/lighter?

And am I right in seeing that these cost in the $70-90 range, or is there some place I'm missing that they are cheaper.

I've been using a sliding rope harness a lot lately and it seems like this would be a nice way to connect.

nate76 - 5-1-2019 at 01:23 PM

For those of you who haven't seen it before, Greg at Boardriding Maui has been making some unconventional and streamlined bars for quite some time. I've always appreciated his ability to question standard conventions and ask if there is a better way. Fast forward about 10 minutes into this video and you can see his center line connection:


Though I've never tried one of these bars, they look like about 90% of the solution for what we're talking about - very simple/short connections and safeties.

I've wondered if you could buy just the center line setup from him and make the rest. I think it would be pretty easy to modify into a front-line flagout system once you got the the safety pin bits and pieces.

Feyd - 5-1-2019 at 02:51 PM

Quote: Originally posted by nate76  
Good info - thanks for starting the thread Colin. So Chris, what is the benefit of the Wichard 2674 vs the 2673? Seems like quite a few folks are using 2673 and might be a bit smaller/lighter?

And am I right in seeing that these cost in the $70-90 range, or is there some place I'm missing that they are cheaper.

I've been using a sliding rope harness a lot lately and it seems like this would be a nice way to connect.

The weight savings is negligible for the added reliability. Yes, that is the rough price range. You can argue that other components may fail before reaching 2300 kg. But I tend to err on the side of caution.

Doing so has served me well.

jeffnyc - 5-1-2019 at 02:51 PM

Heya - just dropped in for a quick sec - got roped into another last minute job, so probably away for another week...

This thread is great, as I'm sure there are a lot of folks out there other than me interested in this. I just like to build things and know how they work, I don't really think I'm saving too much $ over a decent used bar.

I pretty much followed the bar thread on KF https://kiteforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=107&t=2395445&... at the bottom of the page are someone's notes on the carbon tubes + sizes. They sell them on eBay - I think a lot of drone/hobby folks use them. I had to do some sanding to get everything to fit. Got the leader line, depower + some other parts at kiteboarding.com, and lines from Greenhat (sk99) and Q-line I think from Murray's. The tubes were about $50 for 2 sets, the most expensive parts are definitely the lines and depower etc. Canibalizing old bars is definitely a good option.

I might try the Winchard at some point - I assumed 2674 was what you used, but there was a bunch of debate even on that one recently. But you never know who to trust on that forum, which is why I'm interested in your experience Chris.

And Nate, forgot to mention Boardriding Maui, another nice clean system. That's another release I have parts for, but for right now I really like the Flysurfer release, so I'm sticking with that for a little longer.

Will post pics next week when things here die down. But definitely interested in anyone else's experiences.

Feyd - 5-1-2019 at 03:23 PM

For my part, I'm not interested in the vague safety factor in DYI releases. I'd rather have the weight penalty of the shackle with known durability and failure factors. The shackle I use, an open non-pin design isn't prone to contamination. Though I've got very little use in sand, there is no way that I can see, sand being retained in the system. Its like the AK47 of shackles IMO.

Not to menation, the swivel function is very important to me.

TEDWESLEY - 5-1-2019 at 03:36 PM

Well said Chris. You get what you pay for generally. The metallurgy and forging
as well as finishing make a big difference in durability. Wichard has a top reputation in
the sailboat industry.

nate76 - 5-2-2019 at 05:22 PM

Hey Jeff, thanks for posting that thread. I actually ordered up some CF tubes and am going to give a crack at making my own light weight bar.

And speaking of BRM, I contacted Greg and he does sell just the lower connection pin on his website for $80 (he's calling it the "CCS Connection + Lower/Full QR")

I actually opted to go the Wichard 2673 route as it has the swivel you guys mentioned, although the light weight and simplicity of BRM's QR is still very appealing to me.

In my proof-of-concept tests, I've actually been cheating and using my Ozone shorty leash as a cheap and dirty test of a simple top hat/pin release system. But in a final go, I want to get the distance to the bar as short as possible to maintain maximum bar throw.

pbc - 5-3-2019 at 04:41 PM

Quote: Originally posted by ColinW  
I was lucky enough to see some of Phillip's (pbc) fine craftsmanship when at IBX last month. I am a carpenter so was drawn to his beautiful wooden bars that were on raffle. His bars seemed sparse...

Thanks, Colin. If you want to see a lot of the how and why of what I build, visit philipbchase.com The latest article, State of the Bar Art - September 2018 describes the complete bar I donated to the IBX event. I also have a discussion of the Cloud Connection system at my site. I think it is a marvelously simple system.

On the matter of snap shackles, I have used both the Wichard variants and the Tylaska T5. I had thought the T5 would be the one, but this week at JIBE has challenged it. The runouts at Jekyll Island were bad this year. It made for some very messy, very gritty flying. I think the T5 was sticking on release due to sand. I am 100% sure it stuck on reset once due to grit. When I tried to reconnect the gate, it would close, but not latch. I had to flush the sand out with my Camelback to get it to latch again. I think I also had one snag on release wherein the 5mm trimline snagged on the tip of the gate. More testing is required to verify that I saw what I think I saw, but I am getting skeptical about the T5.

nate76 - 5-13-2019 at 08:51 PM

Hey, so got a rough prototype of my bar working and have been playing around with it on my 7 and 10m Empulse kites. I'm waiting on some stainless steel rings to arrive so have not finished the depower line off neatly yet, but overall I'm pretty happy with it and it has been working quite nicely in static tests and a little bit of mountain boarding in my front yard.

A few criteria I had in mind going into the project:
- Needed to be light weight.
- Wanted simple and very short Quick Release system to maximize bar throw/depower-on-demand.
- I also am starting to experiment with different size line lengths, so I wanted all my bar connections to terminate in a ball - allowing for a simple larks head attachment when swapping between line sets.
- Overall, keep it simple and clean.

As of now, I do not have a flag-out system, but plan on using a setup similar to that used on the Little Cloud Pelican bar eventually. But for the time being for testing and just horsing around, this is my current configuration:

So far, I really like it. Current weight is about 345g, compared to the 880g of my old bar. Although that number will grow once I install a flag-out system. Over-the-bar-steering without any sort of foam on the leader lines is a little more uncomfortable; I might add some tubing or foam there eventually - or not. I opted to do a simple wrap system for attaching the steering lines. This avoids possible abrasion issues where the line would exit through a hole in the bar. It also allows the option of letting out a couple wraps should you need to depower the kite more. I like the idea of keeping the center line super clean - time will tell if I end up hating not having a trimmer available or not. I was out kiting in the mountains this weekend and was making some mental notes of how much I use my depower strap in those sorts of conditions. It was quite a bit. You're typically climbing the hills fully powered, and then pulling the trim all the way in to keep your speed and lift in check for the descent. In that sort of situation, dropping the kite to let out a wrap or two on the back lines really isn't feasible. So it will be interesting to see if with the bar positioned closer to me, if I feel like I've regained enough throw to not need a normal trim system.

For a quick release, I ended up using Boardriding Maui's Quick release system. I had actually ordered up a Wichard 2673, but came to find out they were back-ordered. Between my impatience and the fact that I do like the simplicity of Greg's setup, I decided to try out his QR. I do like the fact that the BRM setup is so light and simple and gives a couple different connection options.

Regarding construction, I followed some of the suggestions from the thread Jeff mentioned. I ordered up a length of 25 x 22 x 1000mm Carbon fiber tube for the main bar section, with a 22 x 20 x 500mm CF tube that would act as an center insert.

Here is a link to the CF tubes I ordered - it cost about $41: https://www.ebay.com/itm/323665134722

I cut the 25x22mm bar down to 60 cm. For the center where I would be drilling out and passing the depower line, I created a 5 inch insert sleeve out of the 22x20mm CF tube, and then epoxied a 3/4 inch wooden dowel inside of that. A lot of guys are using a nylon insert, but really you just need something there with good compressive properties to carry the loads around the hole, and I thought wood might be a bit lighter. The 3/4 inch dowel fit a little sloppy, so I had some flocked cotton from another composite project that I used as a structural filler to glue the dowel into place. After that set up, I glued the 5in sleeve into the center of my 60mm bar.

Once all that set up, I drilled out the center hole and then used a dremel tool to ovalize it and clean it up a bit. Then I sealed the hole with epoxy and buffed it out:

For the bar cap ends, again I used a simple wooden plug. They have a small lip to them to help keep the back lines from slipping off the ends and caged. I also cut a small indentation on them that allows me to wrap the 1st section of leader line around them. This is helpful for tension-ing the leader lines when wrapping things up and it allows me use BRM's line-wrapping technique. I've found doing it this way actually works quite well and isn't as miserable as I thought it would be.

Anyhow, not a finished product, but thought I'd share some of of the fun I've been having so far....

nate76 - 5-17-2019 at 01:27 PM

Got a flag-out system installed on my bar; it seems to be working pretty good.

A little closer detail on how the flag-out works. Pretty simple:

Short video of it in action:

nate76 - 5-20-2019 at 08:28 PM

Hey, so for anyone who's interested, I've been having fun learning how to splice and make loop ends in the various lines. After struggling a bit, I was considering getting a set of the D-splicer/Ronstan fids to help, but they are pretty expensive. So I decided to try to make my own set 1st before dropping a bunch of money.

As luck would have it, they worked pretty well and I don't think I need anything more. Below is a picture of the ones I made. They aren't the prettiest, but they work:

The smallest fid is made out of .039" music wire of the sort you can buy at a hobby shop like Hobby Town or Hobby Lobby [edit: or just find one of those yard flags used for marking gas lines, sprinklers, etc]. I found it worked for both the main kite control lines and the larger diameter leader lines. I later made the middle one from .062" music wire and it seems to work even better for leader lines.

The biggest one I simply made out of a metal coat hanger I had laying around. it worked totally fine for making splices in my depower/chicken loop line.

Anyhow, hopefully this will help someone else out who want to play around with making their own lines. Making these simple tools definitely made the process easier for me.

nate76 - 7-11-2019 at 06:12 PM

Hey so for anyone interested, it appears there is a Swiss company (Epirigs) making BRM-style QR systems that you can order for about $40 vs the $85 for the Cloud Connection System: They seem to be a legit company that works pretty closely with another Swiss CF bar company - SK Shapes.


I've made two bars now using a shared BRM connection system and am really happy with them both. They've actually become my preferred bars for the sort of riding I do.

pbc - 7-11-2019 at 08:08 PM

Nice, Nate. Thanks for the share.

doneski - 7-21-2019 at 09:38 AM

Oldie but goodie shackle

doneski - 7-21-2019 at 09:46 AM

doneski - 7-21-2019 at 11:34 AM

sorry for the 2 blank responses. text from my iPad would not display so I moved to a laptop. Anyone trying to build their own safety system will run into the same roadblock; sailing shackles are made for sailboats and not people and kites. The only kite shackle I could find is the Powerski-flex shackle which has been the only safety system on their kites for over 15 years. They have not changed it at all so I feel it's the safest choice for me and my kites. It's not for everyone but on land and snow it's great.

My bars look like the one in this thread but with a larger ring so nothing binds upon release.

I use the Paraskiflex shackle with arcs, peaks and fixed bridle with handles. I bet only a handful of people in the USA have ever seen a Powerski-flex kite and if they did it was years ago. They are totally under the radar but still have a following in Canada. I bought new shackles for my peaks a year ago but you'll have to call them because they are not listed on the website.

I made a video about this a few years ago. Google "paraskiflex shackle" and you'll find it.

Since the video I replaced the Peak 1 depower line and safety with a thin Amstel line so it doesn't bind in the little teeny tiny hole Flysurfer put in the bar and the eliminated the chicken-loop. Much simpler and lighter.

I also fly fixed bridle on snow and at the beach. I click into the handle strop and have a way to relax and fly with one hand while still being able to quickly unclip. Not an automatic unclip that some people have built but this one system works with all my kites.

jeffnyc - 12-6-2019 at 11:38 AM

Just saw this today. Nice minimal setup. $200 for just the bar though... Parts for 2 of them cost me $30 on ebay. No depower or quick release or lines.

Just to compare... Sardine is $200 and comes with depower + trim

And these are really nice, but waaaay pricey.

I saw that someone made a bar out of a carbon bike handlebar purchased from alibaba - that looked pretty cool.

nate76 - 12-6-2019 at 01:08 PM

Man, I love how simple Jeff's setup is - like the Chinese finger lock for the depower, and just wrapping the leader lines around the end to terminate. The only thing I'm not seeing is a flag-out system, or am I missing something. My guess is he doesn't worry about it for foilboarding/ inflatables. It would be easy enough to modify and put one of the front lines on a flagout.

Might need to build another bar...

jeffnyc - 12-6-2019 at 06:30 PM

He mentions on a couple other videos that he doesn't do flagout on his foil bar. I remember a thread on another site about that finger lock depower. Very minimal and cool, but I like having easier access, so I've installed clam cleats on my bars. I emailed them about those ronstan blocks a while ago (was curious as to whether they were strong enough for that use) but they never replied. Then obviously stole my great idea. (joking of course). I ended up using it on my 18m FS bar this summer, works great.

I put my carbon bars on hold for now until I figure out a good system for the winders. Those little straws he (and others) use just look like an eyeball accident waiting to happen. And no winders (at least for me) are a pinched hand waiting to happen. I tend to ride in stupid light wind, and fish pole a lot to get the kite around. Since I'm still not on foil I'm just sticking with my modded FS and PL bars for now.

Love seeing your progress, Nate. Are you using it this winter?

nate76 - 12-7-2019 at 01:47 PM

Thanks Jeff. Ya, I've had my all my bars out now in the mountains - they seem to be working great. The latest one I used the "straw" idea with a hole that the leader line passes through - all my others had been simply looping the leader lines around the bar ends (like the pictures at the beginning of this thread). Both work fine - you're right though you can get a little bit of a hand pinch when you don't have anything holding the lines out from the bar. I don't find it to be bad though. I spend a majority of time on big kites and do a lot of fish-poling too...

I was playing around a bit last night with the finger lock design: It locks up great and is easy to pull in, but found the one downside to the concept is that it can be pretty tough to let line back out in normal flying conditions - since you have those front lines putting quite a bit of tension on your finger-lock. Messed around with it a little bit and I think if you keep the length of the line pass-through to no more than 1.5", you might be able to adjust it back out on-the-fly. Haven't actually tried it on a flying kite yet though. Might also be hard to do with gloves on.

Did get me thinking that you could use it on the outside leader lines for fine-tune (or even gross) adjustments. I've started using a ring setup for adjustment on my outside lines, but this might be more streamlined and certainly lighter.

I think I posted this picture somewhere else, but I'll put it here too since this is probably the more appropriate thread - a pic of my latest bar:

In case you're wondering, I was using some 1/4" plastic tubing - like the sort you use to plumb the water line on a refrigerator - at the ends until I decided whether I liked that method or not. Will probably swap it out with carbon tubes later on.

*edit: I did end up swapping out the plastic tubes with 5mm x 8mm OD carbon fiber tubes, posted at a 10 degree angle. Mine stick out about 1.5" from the bar - which seems about right for winding normal 24m lines and keeping everything tidy.

nate76 - 8-9-2020 at 12:02 PM

Hey guys! So after spending year or so of horsing around with different ideas, I figured I'd share what I've converged on as my favorite setup. I Kept everything pretty simple; the fanciest tools I used were a dremel and a drill press. I think you could get by without using a drill press though. Dremel tool is nice for rounding out the center hole.

Here's some final pics and a little video run-through:

jeffnyc - 8-9-2020 at 12:32 PM

That looks great Nate! The pointy ends make me a little nervous - maybe not as much of a problem in winter when you have goggles, but I'd definitely soften those up for water. Love the choices on the rest of the bar and lines, looks really nice.
Have you considered Ronstan shock blocks in place of the 2 rings at the end of your leaders? Not sure how much wear those go through, but might help a bit, and make the adjustment super smooth. Probably fixing a problem that doesn't exist :D
Speaking of the shocks... I replaced mine on my 18m (mentioned in thread above) with a Ronstan pulley... under tension it was way too hard to pull easily. Got me into trouble on a launch when wind picked up and I couldn't depower fast enough.

nate76 - 8-9-2020 at 07:42 PM

Yeah, I ended up sanding those ends down a bit more so they weren't quite so pointy. I just can't stand the thought of all that swing weight way out there on the tips, lol - that's what's been driving me to narrow them down. But these caps were plenty long, so sanding them down was better yet; think I've still got enough meat left that the lines won't jump the ends.

I did consider Ronstan shock blocks, but at the end of the day I'm too cheap to spend the money on them. They would look slick though, for sure...

jeffnyc - 8-10-2020 at 01:33 PM

Ah, I finally see the purpose... angle helps the winding, duh. I'm going to sharpen mine, been a lot of beach closures due to sharks last couple weeks, nice to have a multi purpose bar.
And yeah, the blocks would pretty much be a cosmetic addition. But you can color code them! :D
Nice work, good to have a system that works for your personal needs.

pbc - 11-15-2020 at 05:29 PM

I've updated my instructions for building one of my bars to reflect my latest work. This is how to build what I am flying this Fall. See Buggy Bar Build Book v1.1.0