Which Rods???

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Jeepster
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Which Rods???

Postby Jeepster » Sun, May 03 2009, 10:27 AM

There seems to be an endless possibility of niches to capture the kite flyer's attention. Single line, dual line, three line and quad line kites. Big kites, regular size kites, small kites and mini kites. Single kites, kite stacks, as well as, progressive stacks. Home built from an inspiration, home built from plans, store bought, store bought and modified, new kite designs, old kite designs. Collecting kites from famous designers ... both collecting just to have them and collecting them to fly. Kites from expensive materials and kites from the cheapest material possible, as well as everything in between. And, the above is just what I've personally observed in the last ten months ... probably missing other categories that capture the attention of kite flyers.

One area that I've taken an interest in is understanding rods and when you should use which rod in the leading edge of our Rev kites. Some flyers use a wind meter to tell them which rod set to use. Others simply fly with a given rod set in all wind conditions. Others do something in between. Hmmmm.

So, please share your knowledge in my area of obsession.

Yesterday at Galesburg the winds were low and gusty with just a touch of swirling to make it interesting. One thing Jamie and I noticed was that with the low speed winds and stiff rods in the leading edge, it was easier to keep the sail loaded. That meant, like with shorter lines, one didn't have to think so far ahead of the kite. Changes in control input were transmitted to the kite a little quicker than with the softer rods. The advantage of the softer rods was that, like with a vented kite, the wind gusts were softened and the kite wasn't so twitchy.

After flying for a while with both stiff and soft rods, we ended up sticking with the softer rods. Much like one would tend to choose a vented kite over a full sail when the winds are such that either sail would work.

Does this make sense? What has your experience been? Any other ideas for us to look at ... I mean rod ideas, not asylum ideas!!!

Thanks,
Tom

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Jim Foster
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jim Foster » Sun, May 03 2009, 11:22 AM

Yesterday Lynn and I went to our local park. We set up standard 1.5s with three wrap frames. The wind was a little light, and gusty. Flying was not great. We changed to two wrap frames. Kites flew just fine for the rest of the day.

I don't think there are any rules. We just find a combination that works for us and fly with it. If conditions change, we change our set-up.

About the only thing we never do is "beef up" our SULs for higher winds. We tend to use more kite with less frame. Full sail with two or three wrap. Vented with three wrap, adding a two wrap leading edge to the three wrap if necessary if there is too much flex. We have, on occasion, used a two wrap frame on a vented 1.5. Flys very nice in moderate, steady wind.

We don't use a wind meter any more. We set up what we think will work and go from there.

The above works well for us. Not every set-up works well for every flier.

There are so many kite set-up and handle set-up combinations it can make you crazy, if you let it. Don't let it. Just find what works for you.
Last edited by Jim Foster on Sun, May 03 2009, 11:30 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Chris
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Chris » Sun, May 03 2009, 11:36 AM

I typically fly with two wrap whenever possible. I prefer the "softer" feel of the lighter rods. Especially when the wind picks up, the vented with two wraps is a special feeling indeed :wink:
When things start to get gusty, I've recently started sliding a three wrap in with the two. I don't always swap the verticals out for three wraps though.
I NEVER fly with the Super Leading Edge anymore (the fat four wrap that used to come with the SLE) it adds far too much mass to the kite for my taste. I find it harder to control, and the kite wants to keep moving when doing clock turns or 180's.

And I agree fully with Jim, use whatever combination feels right, it's your kite after all :up:
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jeepster » Sun, May 03 2009, 11:53 AM

Jim,

Jim Foster wrote:The wind was a little light, and gusty. Flying was not great.


Did you change because of the stiffness of the rods and the gusts or because the 3-wraps made the kite too heavy?

Jim Foster wrote:I don't think there are any rules. We just find a combination that works for us and fly with it. If conditions change, we change our set-up.


I agree with your "no rules." But, there is some general group knowledge that would help beginners make better first choices. When I changed to softer rods yesterday on the SUL and noticed how the kite reacted to the gusts, it was sort of a "dah" moment.

Jim Foster wrote:About the only thing we never do is "beef up" our SULs for higher winds. We tend to use more kite with less frame.


Now that's a good example of knowledge that should be shared with beginners. Pushing a lightweight sail by using heavy duty rods (or double rods) provides the opportunity to stretch, tear or wear out the sail before it's time. Besides, most times the fun factor disappears at high wind speeds.

Jim Foster wrote:We don't use a wind meter any more. We set up what we think will work and go from there.


Oh, but I love wind meters. I'm positive you could become a millionaire by getting folks to bet on the wind speed at kite festivals. Mike Kory put me on to this ... when the winds are low, the general trend is to guess too low ... and, when the winds are high, the general trend is to guess much higher.

Judging the wind by watching the trees and feeling it on your face seems to be adequate in most instances to pick a good setup for the day. I bought my wind meter 'cuz it was much less than half price ... $19.95. And, engineers just get a kick out of measuring things.

Cheers and thanks for the feed back,
Tom

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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jeepster » Sun, May 03 2009, 01:12 PM

Chris wrote:... when the wind picks up, the vented with two wraps is a special feeling indeed ...

Thanks, that's now on my to do list.

Chris wrote:... When things start to get gusty, I've recently started sliding a three wrap in with the two. ... I NEVER fly with the Super Leading Edge anymore (the fat four wrap that used to come with the SLE) it adds far too much mass to the kite for my taste. I find it harder to control, and the kite wants to keep moving when doing clock turns or 180's.

Why do you add the 3-wrap instead of changing out the 2-wrap? The 2-wrap and the 3-wrap leading edge together weigh about the same as the 3-wrap SLE. Since the SLE is about twice as stiff as the 2-wrap and 3-wrap combination, it might be that, once again, you like the softer feel of the two choices.

Chris wrote:And I agree fully with Jim, use whatever combination feels right, it's your kite after all :up:

That's the fun in this sport. Finding what you like.

Thanks Chris,
Tom

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TeamTrejo
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby TeamTrejo » Sun, May 03 2009, 04:25 PM

Currently I have Race Rods in both my SUL and Vented 1.5

For light or variable winds I'll fly the SUL unless I can keep the Vented in the air without too much work. Then I'll stick with the Vented/Race combo as long as possible. With increasing wind and it looks like the Race Rods are really bending and threatening to break (I've never actually broken one) I go to the 3 Wrap or 4 Wrap most likely the 4 wrap for stronger wind. I don't use a wind meter, it's all about how the kite feels on the lines and how it is preforming at the time.
Last edited by TeamTrejo on Mon, May 04 2009, 05:16 AM, edited 7 times in total.

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Chris
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Chris » Sun, May 03 2009, 09:17 PM

Why do you add the 3-wrap instead of changing out the 2-wrap? The 2-wrap and the 3-wrap leading edge together weigh about the same as the 3-wrap SLE. Since the SLE is about twice as stiff as the 2-wrap and 3-wrap combination, it might be that, once again, you like the softer feel of the two choices.



It's not so much about the weight, as it is the SLE is far too stiff for my flying style. I feel the two different wraps together just "feel" better.
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Jeff
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jeff » Sun, May 03 2009, 11:12 PM

I've never thought too much about it. I generally just fly the lightest spar I can. If it feels like too much stress for a 2 wrap, I'll move up to the 3, and so on. I've never doubled the leading edge. If it's too much for a vented with a 4 wrap, maybe I shouldn't be flying. :P
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jeepster » Mon, May 04 2009, 10:15 AM

Chris wrote:It's not so much about the weight, as it is the SLE is far too stiff for my flying style. I feel the two different wraps together just "feel" better.


That's what Jamie and I found out on Saturday. It was easier to keep the sail loaded with the stiffer rod, but it was more fun to fly with a softer rod that dampened out the gusts. Since different flyers have different styles, that also explains some of the disagreements on the REV forum over frame sets.

The next time you're flying with a 2 & 3-wrap in the leading edge, please change out to a single 4-wrap leading edge. The 4-wrap has about the same stiffness as the 2 & 3-wrap combination, so the feel should be the same. There's a weight advantage with the 4-wrap leading edge ... the 4-wrap weights about 75% of the weight of the combo. Of course, if the winds are high enough to use either leading edge, weight probably isn't a factor in the equation. But, it'd be interesting to know if you can confirm that they both feel the same to you.

Cheers,
Tom

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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Sailor99 » Tue, May 05 2009, 04:56 AM

At the risk of being classed as a Philistine, I believe there is an awful lot of bull spoken around rev frames. The intricate scientific discussion of 2/3/4/rr/silver bullet/SLE frames would make more sense to me if there was some level of consistency in the rods. However I know that on both sides of the atlantic this has been shown not to be the case. On the US side I have seen data that shows 2 wraps can weigh the same as 3, or not. On the UK side I have seen stiffness measures all over the place!

So, the heretical comments:

When I started flying I was always changing frames, handle settings and checking my line lengths.

I now use race rods for pretty much everything. Not because I believe they are better but because I feel they are most likely to cover a wide wind range and therefore it saves hassle changing them. When it is really blowing I shove in an extra LE of what ever is in my bag.

I never equalise my lines anymore. The last time I did this I really stuggled to get enough brake to fly properly.

I never alter the settings on my handles.

I believe the human mind is a wonderful organ with an amazing ability to unconsciously accomodate vast differences in kite settings, and that the variability of wind as you fly makes the settings largely accademic anyway.

Flame suit on!

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Re: Which Rods???

Postby BillLamm » Tue, May 05 2009, 12:29 PM

Sailor99 wrote:At the risk of being classed as a Philistine, I believe there is an awful lot of bull spoken around rev frames. The intricate scientific discussion of 2/3/4/rr/silver bullet/SLE frames would make more sense to me if there was some level of consistency in the rods. However I know that on both sides of the atlantic this has been shown not to be the case. On the US side I have seen data that shows 2 wraps can weigh the same as 3, or not. On the UK side I have seen stiffness measures all over the place!

So, the heretical comments:

When I started flying I was always changing frames, handle settings and checking my line lengths.

I now use race rods for pretty much everything. Not because I believe they are better but because I feel they are most likely to cover a wide wind range and therefore it saves hassle changing them. When it is really blowing I shove in an extra LE of what ever is in my bag.

I never equalise my lines anymore. The last time I did this I really stuggled to get enough brake to fly properly.

I never alter the settings on my handles.

I believe the human mind is a wonderful organ with an amazing ability to unconsciously accomodate vast differences in kite settings, and that the variability of wind as you fly makes the settings largely accademic anyway.

Flame suit on!


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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jeff » Tue, May 05 2009, 12:44 PM

Sailor99 wrote:

So, the heretical comments:

Yes Jeremy, you are a heretic!

We shall now weigh you to see if you weigh the same as a duck, and then burn you. :lol:

Yeah, I don't bother much myself, either. If the kite's too heavy, in go the lighter spars. If it's flexing too much, in go stiffer spars. Beyond that, I've never really noticed the performance differences between them.

I would adjust my lines if I found them off, though.
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jeepster » Tue, May 05 2009, 01:10 PM

Sailor99 wrote:At the risk of being classed as a Philistine, I believe there is an awful lot of bull spoken around rev frames. The intricate scientific discussion of 2/3/4/rr/silver bullet/SLE frames would make more sense to me if there was some level of consistency in the rods. However I know that on both sides of the atlantic this has been shown not to be the case. On the US side I have seen data that shows 2 wraps can weigh the same as 3, or not. On the UK side I have seen stiffness measures all over the place!

Yep, there is a deviation in the weight and stiffness of the various REV rods. Probably couldn't afford the cost of zero deviation. Since the deviation does exist, it makes it hard to listen when flyers talk out to the third decimal place about this rod combination over that one. But, there does seem to be generalities out there ... ie, with every thing else held constant, it's easier to keep the sail loaded in light winds with stiffer rods ... not unlike it's easier to fly in low winds with a shorter line set. But, if the winds are gusty, softer rods and venting do dampen the gusts and make flying more enjoyable. Which characteristic is the most important to you on a particular day will probably depend on your mood, who you're flying with and which rod set is in the kite when you take it out of the bag.

Also, since there can be a stiffness/weight deviation for different batches of carbon, a good lesson is to keep your rod sets together. Don't store your extras lose in the bottom of your kite bag.

As a plug for REV ... when I found a rod that was noticeably different from their mates ... noticed it while flying. Ben/Lolly replaced it without a hint of a frown.

Sailor99 wrote:When I started flying I was always changing frames, handle settings and checking my line lengths.

Yep, been there done that ... tried to keep my line sets within ... well, let's just say I was a kind of annul about line lengths. My son played a trick on me a few weeks ago. When I wasn't looking, he moved one of my top lines outward two knots on my handle. After I had been flying with them for about ten minutes he kindly pointed out what he'd done. Now, I'm not a expert flyer, but I certainly would have argued strongly that two knots difference between the top lines would have been noticeable.

Sailor99 wrote:I now use race rods for pretty much everything. Not because I believe they are better but because I feel they are most likely to cover a wide wind range and therefore it saves hassle changing them. When it is really blowing I shove in an extra LE of what ever is in my bag.

I never equalise my lines anymore. The last time I did this I really struggled to get enough brake to fly properly.

I never alter the settings on my handles.


Once you get past the initial learning stage, it seems that getting everything close to ideal becomes less of a necessity. You continue to fly with the odd set up, 'cuz you can and it's irritating to stop and change.

Sailor99 wrote:I believe the human mind is a wonderful organ with an amazing ability to unconsciously accomodate vast differences in kite settings, and that the variability of wind as you fly makes the settings largely accademic anyway.


Again, once you get past the early stages of learning, you're right. The story of putting a frog in cool water and slowly heating it up until he's cooked comes to mind. If we're allowed to slowly adapt, we can deal with most anything.

................................................
It looks like I need to do a better job of presenting questions in the future. The focus was intended to be on generalities. After trying different arrangements, what have you settled on as your favorite setup? How do you decide, when you get out of the car, which kite and which frame set to use? And, do you know why you like that combination?

Cheers,
Tom

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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jeff » Tue, May 05 2009, 02:34 PM

Jeepster wrote:It looks like I need to do a better job of presenting questions in the future. The focus was intended to be on generalities. After trying different arrangements, what have you settled on as your favorite setup? How do you decide, when you get out of the car, which kite and which frame set to use? And, do you know why you like that combination?

Cheers,
Tom

Pretty much like this...

Since I would always prefer to fly a vented if possible, I determine with an unscientific observation whether or not the wind was sufficient for a vented kite.

If no...is it too strong for 2 wraps with my SUL? If no, use them. If yes, is it too strong for 3 wraps? If no, use them, if yes, then I got my very first question wrong, and take out the vented.

If I'm flying vented, does it feel too strong for 2 wrap? If no, use 2 wrap. If yes, is it too strong for 3 wrap? If no, use them. If yes, is it too strong for 4 wrap? If no, use them. If yes, go home. :lol:

Actually, looking back at that, I missed a big step.

First, look at what's already in my kite. If I can safely fly with that frameset, then I usually don't bother changing it.
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby BillLamm » Tue, May 05 2009, 06:21 PM

I am going to throw the lit stick of TNT into this thread... (if it needs to be its own thread I apologize and trust the admins to move it)

I am looking at making a quad kite with hardware store friendly items... (this is my game with most of my hobby's)

is the weight/flexibility of the rods super important to the handling of the kite or are we speaking of the fine subtleties of flying style and low wind performance??

that said... what is the average weight on a set of rev rods ?? is looser or stiffer better for a beginner?

(need a smiley with fingers in his ears, ready for explosion)

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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jeff » Tue, May 05 2009, 09:23 PM

BillLamm wrote:I am going to throw the lit stick of TNT into this thread... (if it needs to be its own thread I apologize and trust the admins to move it)

I am looking at making a quad kite with hardware store friendly items... (this is my game with most of my hobby's)

is the weight/flexibility of the rods super important to the handling of the kite or are we speaking of the fine subtleties of flying style and low wind performance??

that said... what is the average weight on a set of rev rods ?? is looser or stiffer better for a beginner?

(need a smiley with fingers in his ears, ready for explosion)

I'd say that for the most part these details are as you suspect...they may make some difference in precision flying, and they certainly have a lot to do with being able to fly in low wind.

One of our members, Hector, has a quad that he made that has a stainless steel leading edge. So, really, the kite will fly with anything, given enough wind. I would say that a lighter frame probably has less inertia, so that comes in handy for fast stopping and turning.

A while back Mike posted the weights of a few framesets. If I can find that, I'll link to it.
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Jeff
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jeff » Tue, May 05 2009, 09:34 PM

Ah, here:

http://www.ikeclub.org/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=705

Mike wrote:My new SUL and a set of race spars arrived today. How about some weight comparisons?
I weighed my new SUL spars and my old SUL spars and Rose's less old SUL spars. Both Rose's and my old SUL spars weigh the same.

Weight of a single spar / entire frame set:

New SUL spars 12.5g / 68g
Old SUL spars 17g / 89g !!!
Race Spars: 13g / 74g

The flex on the new SUL and old SUL spars feels about the same.
The race spars are decidedly stiffer.
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Jim Foster
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Jim Foster » Wed, May 06 2009, 01:03 AM

Jeepster wrote:Jim,

Jim Foster wrote:The wind was a little light, and gusty. Flying was not great.


Did you change because of the stiffness of the rods and the gusts or because the 3-wraps made the kite too heavy?


We changed to get lighter rods. Wanted the stronger sail and bridle because of the gusts. Worked just fine.
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Sailor99
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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Sailor99 » Wed, May 06 2009, 04:33 AM

Jeff wrote:One of our members, Hector, has a quad that he made that has a stainless steel leading edge.
Wow!!! That is amazing. I will be sure to quote that to a few people.

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Re: Which Rods???

Postby Babbman » Wed, May 06 2009, 02:42 PM

Sailor99 wrote:At the risk of being classed as a Philistine, I believe there is an awful lot of bull spoken around rev frames. The intricate scientific discussion of 2/3/4/rr/silver bullet/SLE frames would make more sense to me if there was some level of consistency in the rods.


ah ha! but that would assume that there was actually some consistency to the winds, especially here in the midwest..... can't remember any day of glass smooth winds in the 4 years I've been flying. Every outing is like an exercise in judging what they will do and not being disappointed when they do the opposite.

I went the route of getting a set of every size rods and kites for every type of winds figuring that at any time, in any conditions, I would have something to fly. A few years later, either I got lazy as hell, or just learned how to handle most everything using a 1.5. Since I did that, I'm happier and my wallet weighs a little more.

But seriously, for myself, I have 2 main kites that I use: 1.5 standard, 1.5 vented. I have 2/3/4/race rods. I use race rods for 95% of my flying, even in low winds. I'll switch to 2 wraps only if I have to... I just find the range that the race rods give me is most appropriate for the ups and downs we have in our winds here.

I also find that experience, ability and patience seems to have more effect on flying than rod weights in a lot of cases...

Chris (aka Babbman)

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