Power Kite Forum

Advanced Kites [FB, handles]

Cerebite - 5-10-2019 at 01:18 PM

So there are a lot of regular and repeated discussions on here regarding the subject of "best kite for a beginner" etc. but few if any for the more "seasoned" fliers.
I and others on here are currently in the situation where we have been buggying for a number of years and need new/ replacement/ different kites. There are several folks who have the desire/ skill/ need for intermediate to advanced kites but we prefer to stick with FB and handles rather than make the technique and equipment transition to bars and DP. Nothing against the single skin DPs I just am not yet ready to make the switch over to DP.
Everyone knows and loves the Reactor/ Viper/ Vapor and their competitors but they are getting hard to find either new or used. This is, I know, because the land market is small to begin with and most of the competitive riders in Europe and elsewhere have converted to De -Power.
In my case it would be mid range [3 -5 m] as my agressive kites it that range have been worn out flying on Playa.
Best as I can determine the options for us are:

Zebra: http://shop.zebrakites.de/en/ZebraZ1.php
Thanks to D Cheeks for point out to me that they are still making kites.
Rather famously Popeye brought a set with him one year when he came to NABX/ IBX and everyone that I have heard of flying them has had good things to say about them.
Who in North America has flown or owned them and what have you thought of them as an alternative to the PL and other "race" kites? Can anyone speak to the performance differences between the Z1, Z2, and Z3 [and to a lesser extent from my perspective the Slope and Revolt Ultra [which are DP]]

Pansh: http://www.panshkite.com/
I know everyone has an opinion as to the merit of this manufacturer, either derived or from personnal experience. For my part I achknowledge that they are literally cheap Chinese knockoffs with the issues associated with that.
Ace, Ace II, Adam, Blaze, Cerberus, First, Flux, etc.
I own a couple small Ace [< 2 m] and a huge one [12m] but have not flown them "in anger" in a "normal" size range. I have 10 m Blaze & First as well [used to fly on grass at altitude in low wind] but again have not flow much or at all in the buggy with them.
I own and have flown well with the Adams [4.5 m & 5.5 m] and liked them but am concerned with the durability on the closed/ semi -closed cells on hard surfaces.

What other options are currently out there for this style of flying?

Bladerunner - 5-10-2019 at 01:40 PM

I don't remember Popeye bringing over Zebra kites but I know folks who bought His Cooper kites?

Dieter can tell you about Pansh. I think he is partial to the Blaze. ( some of the best graphics ever ) I think He liked the Flux also?

I had a 5m Ace that was a great kite. The panels were not all from the same bolt so some soiled and some stood up. I believe they stole from the 4.9 Blade for the design so the 5 is there sweet size. Smaller ones are too zippy with a big punch. The bigger one are all punch.

Flexifoil Rage.
SkyCountry Reflex.

Windstruck - 5-10-2019 at 04:52 PM

John, there is a quiver of Vipers for sale from another John from Oregon. Good dude; you've probably met him.


BeamerBob - 5-11-2019 at 05:19 AM

I was thinking everything Blade was saying.

Jon Ellis had some Libre Spirit kites that ran well and looked beautiful flying. Jon was like that though. I'd like to try a few of those.

Vapors are often for sale from UK and Europe on the Facebook for sale pages.

ColinW - 5-11-2019 at 03:16 PM

I would think PKD Combat would be in that mix. I've never flown one, but the big ones look fatastic going down the beach in low wind. Also their Century II soulfly; less race kite, but certainly a step up from intro.

There is also the Jojo Rm and Rm+. If you see any of these kites stay away from them, and send the seller contact info to me. I will take them off the market.:ninja:

Long live fixed bridles!

abkayak - 5-12-2019 at 06:29 AM

advanced kites don't have to be race kites...
blades and bullets can be nasty in a good way:thumbup:

Glx - 5-12-2019 at 07:02 AM

I would also throw in the mix PKD Busters as low aspect kites and the absolutely awesome PKD Centuries as high aspect ratio kites. I fly them both and currently only find myself reaching for the busters when the gusts are insane otherwise nice clean winds call for Centuries.

BigMikesKites - 5-13-2019 at 04:42 AM

I have a few Reactor/Sonics available. I might have some smaller sizes if i dig a little more.


Love both kites, but the Sonics are my favorite. They are based on the vapor (distributed by Vliegerop who distributes Peter Lynn. ) But they handle much nicer (not quite as snappy). This is better if you are not in a competition. The market has switched to DePower I believe because there is more money in it. They dont realize by doing that you take out a big chunk of the people who want to do this, but not spend a fortune on gear.

i have youtube videos on the sonic and reactor

Cerebite - 5-13-2019 at 12:52 PM

Thanks all for your insights and comments. As I alluded to in my opening I feel that this is a good area for discussion and debate that is not currently being tossed around on this forum [I love the discussions on the Born, NPW, and single skin threads]

It seems I need a lesson in European brand evolution. I thought that the Zebras were a rebrand or tangent brand of the Coopers. Libre may be in that mix as well [i.e. sold in N.A. as Libre, Zebra in Europe].

Bladerunner: I would agree about the flight characteristics of the Ace but have not personnally flown the mid -range sizes. Thanks for the "reference" as to what brand / model/ size they are based upon.

Steve I have been eying the set of Vipers but I am not prepared to get a whole set [my squire will kill me] and the other folks I have seen looking are all looking for the same segment of the size runs [3 -5 m].

ColinW: I thought the Combats and Centuries were DP? more ignorance on my part I guess.

abkayak: I agree that advanced kites do not need to be race. Similar to the movement towards DP the race front [in Europe] is where the money for land kiting is and therefor where the development occurs. My challenge is to find advanced kites that handle gusts and lulls rather than demanding steady winds. It is less of an issue now that I am in the desert but when I was inland there were several "sessions" where I sawy 360 degrees of direction and volume between 0 and 15 kts. This I think is why I have owned a 8 m Reactor for over 5 years and NEVER had a good session on it [cant get rid of it because so many peoople love them].

BigMike: Thanks for the insight about the Sonics, did not know they were based upon the Vapors.

ssayre - 5-14-2019 at 06:02 AM

"This I think is why I have owned a 8 m Reactor for over 5 years and NEVER had a good session on it"

I know exactly what you mean about that. I'm inland and have owned a toxic 8m and a 8m blade. I haven't done any kiting in a long while but I made the switch to NPW and a Peak. They really work great for the inland choppy wind. I need more tractor like power for long grass too.

Cerebite - 5-14-2019 at 12:07 PM

Funny that you mention the Blade ssayre. My 8 [maybe 8.5 m] Blade [IV, IIRC] was/ is my kite of choice for med -light inland winds.
A previous owner did a lot of work on the bridling of that kite for those conditions so it may be a bit of a Unicorn in that regard.

NPWs on handles were my "2nd generation" kites [matching set of 1 m -12m KM4s] and I love them but "the speed gets lost in the grunt" and they need constant line tension attention to keep them correctly placed in the window and from nose tucking.

ssayre - 5-15-2019 at 06:15 AM

I had a full quiver of nasa star 2's I switched to which worked well. I flew them off a bar so they didn't suffer from nose tuck but they also didn't have the finite control that 4 line nasa's have either.

It's natural progression of an inland pilot. FB - Nasa - depower lol

Blitzhound - 5-15-2019 at 06:21 PM

I really Enjoyed the PKD Century Soulfly II's. I had the full Quiver. They were very solid kites on the playa...(PB of 54mph on a 4.5m at Alvord) They were even better on the beach. I don't know if PKD is still making them or not. I'm sure BigKid could answer that. They are DP's But the new Inferno's from PKD are absolutely wonderful kites.

jeepersjoey - 5-24-2019 at 08:40 PM

Hey John,

Dick has a few Centuries. I flew them and was thoroughly impressed with them. I seem to remember that there were two versions with one being thinner (fragile) than the other.

I am sure some of the others on here can fill in my ignorance spots on this subject.

Btw...it turns out that I destroyed one Vapor and put another in a wheelchair...with little chance of it flying again. Drat.

I may actually put the 3.2m Vapor for sale here and see if anyone wants it. It sucks that I got 1/4 season out of it. The fact that Tami owned it first might mean that I can get $100 for it! All but one of the internal battens are blown out! Physically, the kite looks great. Guts are just destroyed!


pbc - 5-25-2019 at 04:36 PM

Ouch, that hurts, Paul. What's the state of the kite that's only in a wheelchair?