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  • koma Windwing Batwing 12M Review

    By koma

    A Lovely Beginner/Intermediate Kite With A Smooth And Friendly Flight Characteristics. 

    Positives
    Built Tough
    Good Bar Setup
    Smooth Flight Characteristics
    Negatives / Considerations
    Slower Turning
    Doesn't Reward Aggressive Flying

    Rider: Koma (Jason) 
    Weight: 78kg dry 
    Experience: Intermediate'ish 
    Board: '07 Underground FLX42 (with Cabrinha Sync bindings) & '06 Naish Sol 136 

    windwing-batwing-kite-review-002-canopy.jpg

    After checking the Windwing Batwing for the first time down at Rosebud on the Saturday i'd had a good look at it and was keen to see how it flew. Shame there wasn't even a light breeze let along the 15-25kn the forecast called for, so i checked out the detailing. This kite is built quite tough. The leading edge was neatly finished with solid scuff pads at regular intervals; nicely finished and not too heavy. Reinforcing along the trailing edge felt solid and possibly even overkill compared to other kites on the market. The one thing i noted in the main sail was that there was no joins across the material, just a single canopy piece from LE to tail except for where the Windwing logo was where the main sail (black) was cut out and a red logo piece was stitched in it's place. 

    windwing-batwing-kite-review-001-wingtip.jpg

    The bar and lines setup is much the same as many other setups on the market but with a few important differences. The clip for the safety leash is rigidly mounted to the chicken loop on the top of the chicken loop. The depower rope and it's clam cleat (assuming the leash mount is on the top) are on the bottom of the chicken loop and remain quite neat and out of the way. I found it slightly difficult to adjust the depower to begin with until i became familiar with the direction of the calmcleat as i'm used to being able to see the cleat. If you wanted to you could very easily have the depower rope and cleat on the top which i would recommend. The quick release on the chicken loop is a very neat little piece of design with a nice small locking pin folding away from you and being held in place by the QR plastic collar. It has a groove in the bottom of it to make sure it stays in place and takes a concious but not difficult action to release it. Reassembly is relatively easy but requires a tiny amount of fiddling. I wouldn't recommend attempting to re-rig this underwater but it's significantly easier than some others. 

    windwing-batwing-kite-review-003-flight.jpg

    Once launched and in the air the kite has quite a smooth and stable style of flight. It is most definitely not a fast kite and required a reasonable amount of bar and effort to get it turning quickly. When the bar is cranked it has a slight delay before the kite commits to the turn and then smoothly arcs through it's turn much like the majority of bows and SLE's. Attempting to get it to pivot on a tip with very aggressive flying didn't reward me with any faster turning speed, so i'd say the kite is quite accomodating of mistakes. 

    With a bit of speed on the water and the bar held almost all the way in the kite makes smooth steady power sitting steadily forward in the window. Letting it ease back into the window by riding towards it rewarded me with a smooth increase in power giving me enough time to tension up the lines for a nice smooth load and pop. It took quite a firm edge to force it to the edge of the window. I only attempted to downloop the kite on transitions just to see how quickly i could get it to turn and from my tests i wouldn't recommend looping it. It's just not quite fast enough through it's turns to make it a looping kite. 

    windwing-batwing-kite-review-004-kitesurf.jpg

    The forte of this kite for me was it's boosting and smooth glide back down. A bit of speed with the bar held half way in and an enthusiastic redirection followed by a quick yank on the bar lifted me gently off the water into what i can only describe as a wonderfully slow-motion style jump. Holding the bar in and gently flying the kite back forward gradually brought me back down to the water for a nice gently landing. I haven't had a chance to check out the beach mid-way through a jump for a while, and whilst not stratospheric it gertainly rewarded the enthusiastic bar movements i was giving it. 

    windwing-batwing-kite-review-005-jumping.jpg

    One slight hiccup occured when i aggressively pulled the bar in and cranked it for a turn whilst the kite was easing back into the window. Much to my shock it caused the leading edge just for a brief moment to fold back under the kite. Quickly letting the bar out returned the leading edge of the kite back to it's intended shape but not before giving me a quick spook. I attempted to recreate this problem following the actions i described but it didn't do it again. Might put this one down to my over-enthusiastic flying clashing with the design intent of the kite. 

    Overall a lovely beginner/intermediate kite with a smooth and friendly flight characteristic.



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    User Feedback


    .Joel

    Posted

    Nice review Koma!

    I'll put the kite on the faster turning setting for you next time to try again.

    Regards,

    .Joel

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    koma

    Posted

    It's got a faster setting?! Sounds good. :)

    Mental note: from this point on i need to make sure any kite i demo/review is set up on it's fastest setting.

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    .Joel

    Posted

    When I set the kite up it had 3 steering settings, slow, normal and fast. I left it on the default factory setting for now to try, changing the steering speed i think will also change the bar pressure as well.

    Try it next weekend!

    Regards,

    .Joel

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    groundclown

    Posted

    Hello Guys,

    My name is Jonathon, from Windwing R&D. A little about myself. I have been power kiting for about 18 years now, and learned to kitesurf before ILE kites. I work for Windwing as a member of the R&D / design team. I like to ride groundboards, snowkite and water kite. I also like to fly 2 an d 4 line stunt kites.

    First I want to start by saying that, this is a very nice forum. I have looked around just a bit, but notice a much friendlier environment, and maturity. The reviews I read were well put together. I do not see a bunch of "Pimping" and "bashing".

    I just wanted to post a few comments about Koma's Review. I see that Joel had you set up on the factory settings. I typically use a 56cm bar with the 12 and 15.5 Batwing. two of our riders use 50cm and Boarding Bob uses a 45cm bar. I believe that I sent you guys the 50cm bar. I do agree that the kite uses a greater amount of turning input than some. However, even on the slowest turning, with the smallest bar, I disagree about the slow turning and "not a looping kite". The turns take an instant to initiate, but are tight and with fast forward air speed. I myself do huge (or often tiny) downloop transitions (I like oldschool board-off's). I often (many times per session) do backloops and F-16's. My brother Donald who only learned how to stay up wind in February, Has learned to do kiteloops, downloops and even a few un-hooked back kite loops, a few with rolls even. Donald is luckily to be loopin as he broke his leg this spring (Yes, kiting).

    All Windwing kites are designed to be stable and use a bit more bar input to perform turns. The Batwing's are designed around light wind and big air riding. They work well for free/ wake-style even in 10knts. I can explain the weird folding of the leading edge. It has happened to me a few times. It has happened to me when water launching it hot, and depowered. It can be caused by the conjunction of two things. First, the kite needs pumped to a solid 7-8lbs on the LE and struts. If the center strut is spongy, then it can allow the canopy to collapse, letting to wingtips pass up the center of the kite(while folding the LE). Also if the one-pump has been installed, then it is important to clip the tubes closed. This can allow the air to displace across the kite and into the struts causing it to flex more.

    Have fun on your next session. put the control lines on the furthest forward of the 3 pick-off's, and continue being aggressive with the bar. once used to the kite I am sure you will find yourself pulling tight little back loops on the apex of your jumps. down loops and the like.:yes3: try some freestyle, and hit the waves. Tell us all what the Batwing is all about.

    Thanks again for the great review!

    Jonathon Merrell

    AKA -groundclown

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    koma

    Posted

    Hi Jonathon and thanks for your interest in my review. It's always great to hear from someone who actually worked on the kite design to get a better idea of how, what and why.

    Very interesting about the bar length as it felt about the same length as the other bars i was using that day so didn't think anything of it. The slightly longer bar would most definitely change the turning speed for the better. I found (as i mentioned in my review) that the kite would turn reasonably quickly once it was committed to the turn, but found it a little hesitant to initiate a quick turn. What this meant for me whilst i was on the water was that during the downloops it felt like the kite was going to 'run wide' in the turns. It of course wasn't, it just required the bar to be held cranked for the turn a little longer than i'm personally used to. I tend to be a 'wrench the bar to turn then let the kite fly out of it' style rider, and the Batwing responded very quickly to any change in turning pressure which meant i needed to hold the bar cranked for longer than i usually do.

    Also to put it into context i had been flying quite an interesting array of kites that day ranging from my own favourite Naish Alliance 12 (slight wake-style delay on turning but quite rapid once committed), to Joel's '08 North Vegas 12 (very very fast turning with no delay), right through to an old ~2004 Flexifoil 15m C-kite (very slow but insanely powerful). What this meant was that when i began riding the Windwing Batwing i spent the first 10-15 minutes just tuning myself into the kite. My initial reaction was that it felt quite powerful but not raw and grunty much like a GK Sonic, but retracted that shortly after once i'd had some time on the water. It still provided a very smooth refined feel to the power, but still not that raw grunt i personally favour which is why i had described it as a 'well mannered' and 'forgiving' kite.

    Thanks for addressing the leading edge quirk. I had thought it might have been related to the LE pressure but as i hadn't pump/set the kite up was unsure what it had been pumped to. On the day of the review it wasn't using the one-pump system but good suggestion. I'm hoping to get a chance to give it another run this weekend (or next) and will pay more attention to the tuning and inflation pressure.

    Now i've just got to hope my shoulder fixes itself up before the weekend else i'll be the one taking photographs. :(

    If i do i'll be sure to give it a good hard wrench on the bar and get it moving for some good loops. I'll be sure to report back if/when i do fly it again.

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    groundclown

    Posted

    Koma,

    I hope your feeling better.

    Get your wife to find the "trigger-point" in your shoulder. The "knotted up" muscle band in your shoulder. Deep presure and kneading. A little pain goes a long way.

    There are a few things to try on the Bat. At the front bridle, where the small "check mark" shaped section is near the wing tip.

    There is a pig tail with 3 knots on it connecting the forward half of the small "check bridle" to the kite. The factory setting is on the second knot. If you move the bridle to the end knot(furthest from kite), this gives the kite a slightly higher static AOA, thus giving a gruntier feel, while also moving the forward tow points back, giving it lighter bar pressure.

    If you raise the bridle to the top knot (closest to the kite), this makes for a zippy feel- reduced sled pull, greater range of depower due to a more forward tow point, and raising bar pressure to the heavier side of things.

    Jonathon

    Sorry, I am in a hurry. Pm me if you want

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