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Found 7 results

  1. BigTone

    Born-Kite Racestar 5.0M

    I’ll admit I’m a big fan of Born Kites. I first heard about them from watching a video by John Holgate about the NASA Star 2 kites a few years back. I bought some, and have been a Born-kite fan ever since. I also own 4 of Longstar 2’s, which I like a lot. I was waiting with some anticipation for the RaceStars. And when they were released I decided to get one pretty much straight away. But which size? I debated for about 24 hours with myself, and then, being cash-rich and self control poor, decided to just avoid any hard decision making and buy a full quiver. The kites arrived and sat there taunting me as I had injured my back and could hardly walk, let alone fly - until a few weeks ago at the 24th annual Blue Balls Buggy Bash at Port Waikato in New Zealand. The RaceStars are designed to be a buggy race kite. To go fast on a nice flat, hard pack beach. So in true kiwi style, we tested them in the dunes at port Waikato, because anyone can fly on the flat, but it’s in the dunes where kites and men are truly tested. As usual with Born-kites, the construction is top notch. Like many single skins, the leading edge contains small flexible battens to keep the edge in shape. The sail is pretty much flat, except for a few small triangular ribs that spread the load in places of high stress. This means that unlike most other single skins, the RaceStars are pretty much flat with no "ribs" running down the wing. The biggest difference with the RaceStar over previous Born-Kites is in the bridling. There is much, much less of it than with the longstar2’s and it’s made from a proprietary coated line developed exclusively by Born-kite. Less bridling reduces drag obviously but also makes for a much more pleasant experience when you crash in grass or on a beach with that horrible dry razor sharp weed - no more spending 20 minutes getting that dry seaweed out of the bridles. Born-kites are looking at using this new bridle line on the longstar3 as well. I ordered my kites fitted with the FAS (front area safety). This an optional fifth line safety that essentially folds the kite like a taco. I was intending to use a fifth line setup, but have since changed my mind, as I use an Ozone bar with front line flag out. (Several people asked what that extra line hanging off the kite was until I bundled it up and locked it into its retaining loop) I will probably end up removing it. Shortly after I ordered mine, I received an email from Steffen with a diagram showing that the RaceStars worked best with a 31cm extension on the steering lines. I made some pigtails up and took them with me to the meet. I hooked the 5m RaceStar up to a brand new ozone bar, on 25meter lines and launched it. The kite was responsive but a little twitchy in the air and was suffering a little from some back-stalling. Still quite flyable, but “not quite right”. I’m still fairly new to de-power kites, and still working out what to adjust when things don't feel right. Plummet was keen for a go, so I handed it over. He quickly confirmed that it wasn’t right and reckoned it needed a bit more backline. So we landed and added the recommended 31 cm extensions I’d made to the backline leaders, and relaunched. It was a different kite. No more tendency for back-stalling, much better de-power range, and just really nice to fly. And fly it does, fast, with a nice smooth power build up. Plummet hooked up the 7 and took off into dunes with it. He’s been known to have strong opinions about born-kites in the past, and as a very experienced kiter I respect his judgement, so when he got back pronounced the Racestars “Good. I’d definitely have one of those.” and then went on to give it a good review. I was quite pleased. I had a brief session with the 7 which was fantastic, but most of the weekend the 5 suited the conditions for me. The kite is awesome to fly, the 5 is incredibly fast to turn, which can make powered turns in the buggy a little hard as it tends to pivot around its centre, I think with a little practice fully powered turns would be fine. After a couple of hours tearing around the dunes I really got the feel for the kite and started getting some nice fast runs. The power comes on smooth and fast, but very controlled. As I said upwind performance is fantastic, Plummet says not quite as good as his Chrono, but it’s not far off. I certainly was able to go upwind better than any other kite I own and there were very few times I had to tack to get where I wanted to go. The kite was super stable in the air with no tendency to tip tuck and sat nicely in the window. As Plummet pointed out in his review, it would just drift back into the window when slack-lined and not wad itself into a ball and fall out of the sky. All single skins have a tendency to ‘flap’ (Aka “shopping bagging”) and the race star will if you are de-powered, but when even minimally powered up, the wing pops into shape is very stable with no flapping at all. I only mention it in the Negatives summary because - well - you have to put something in there. The RaceStars two-tone colour scheme with the black looks stunning in the air. There is something about the fabric or dye’s Born-Kite use that gives their kites a vibrancy of colour that other kites just don’t seem to have. I also spent some time with the 7 meter last weekend on a nice stretch of flat beach. And it was a blast. However, I was flying on a 50cm bar, and the kite definitely needs a bigger bar as turning was a bit sluggish unless I tent-poled the floats to give it a bit of extra leverage. But that’s not a kite issue, just something to be aware of when matching your bar up. I haven’t flown the 9 or 11 yet, but I am looking forward to it. So are the RaceStars any good? Hell yes! Fast, responsive, superb upwind, less bridling, and look good. Low bar pressure makes long sessions a breeze. Light and small pack up compared to a high aspect foil. And, as we discovered on the last day of the Blue Balls, fast to pack up when you have lightning storms approaching. If you are buying kite only, just make sure you add the extensions to your rear leaders to give that 31cm extra on the steering lines. I think Born-Kite are a great company who are competing in a tough market by doing innovative things - they haven’t always got it right <cough>longstar1<cough> but sometimes, when a company is trying to innovate, instead of just flog a yearly upgrade, it doesn’t quite work out. But they clearly learn from any mistakes and are committed to designing and producing top notch kites that get better and better. The RaceStars are definitely an example of their innovation and skill in the single skin space. So If you are looking for a buggy engine with serious get up and go, great upwind performance that looks great in the air, buy one - or four, you won’t regret it.
  2. jhn.holgate

    Born-Kite LongStar 2

    Version 2 of the Born-Kite LongStar has just been released... Judging by the pictures - which is always a dangerous thing to do - it looks very promising. Starting at 289 Euro for the 3.5m it's also available in a 5.5m and 7.5m. The original Long Stars had enormous low end power and a really eye catching design - I'll be really interested to see how these go. More info here: http://www.venturi-power.de/index.php?cat=c24_Long-Star--2--LongStar.html Also, it looks like the Born Kite site has had a bit of a makeover. Stay tuned for more info
  3. jhn.holgate

    Born-Kite Longstar 2

    If you lay the longstar 2 next to the longstar 1, the first thing you will notice is that they're two very different kites. Aside from both being single skin and having lots of bridles, version 2 is a completely separate design. Flies quite differently too. The V1 longstar took me a few hours to come to grips with. If you've flown depower kites then V2 will be immediately familiar as soon as it's in the air. Longstar v2 uses a series of ribs and stiff nylon lines to hold a round nose profile and the rest of the kite is held in place by lots of bridling. A look through some of the photos will show how accurate the bridles are, resulting in a uniform and smooth profile. You can buy the longstar. V2 with a bar or as a kite only. I was supplied with kite and bar for the purpose of the review and it came in a compact nylon bag. Being a single skin kite, it folds up very compact and you could easily fit several kites and a bar in a std kite bag. The material feels quite light but of excellent quality and all stitching and seams are straight and accurate as have been all the kites from Born-kite that I've flown. There's no denying that there's a lot of bridles on the longstar2 so it always pays to check for any hang ups and give them a good shake when laying out the kite. The kite launches easily whether straight downwind or side launch. It makes power pretty quick too and builds quickly with apparent wind. This is a grunty kite. I was able to buggy in 5 knots up and down the beach - admittedly, I had to work the kite so I think 6-7 knots would be your minimum park and ride wind speed for the 5.5m. Letting the bar out to depower the kite results in a change in the AOA as well as a flattening of the nose-to-trailing-edge profile. You can see the belly of the kite losing tension and becoming slack. It doesn't actually get to the point of being 'flappy' unless you have the bar out and the cam cleat fully sheeted in - something I only did once just to see if I could get the kite to make some noise! Depower range seemed perfectly adequate - whenever I was overpowered, a quick sheet out of the bar and the drama was over. Here you can see what the kite looks like when depowered... Turn speed was a good compromise - not too quick or nervous and neither was it sluggish. The kite is very stable even in gusty conditions. In the air it feels quite 'sporty' and almost aggressive. It wants to be actively flown unlike, say, the NASA star 3 which is happy for you to sit back and cruise whilst almost ignoring the kite. It also feels relatively 'high aspect' in the air - coming out of a turn for instance, you need to let the bar out a little to get the kite up to speed in the new direction. Hold the bar in too much and the kite can 'choke' and begin to stall. It is a very well behaved kite - over five or six hours of flying both static and bugging, only once did the kite end up on the ground unintended - and that was a complete lull in the wind. The nose folded over a couple times in light and gusty conditions but recovery was immediate with a tug on the bar. Same if I wasn't paying attention and choked the kite - let the bar out and business immediately resumed as normal. Upwind performance was good for this type of kite, you won't be catching a vapor but you'll get there. Downwind performance is very good as was top speed. While flying in a cross onshore wind of around 14 knots, Trevor managed a 62kph on a downwind run with the Longstar2. Bar pressure was light to moderate proving to be no dramas keeping the bar held in for long periods. This is not a lifty kite which is good news for buggy pilots not wanting to get unintentionally lofted but perhaps bad news for land boarders wanting some freestyle. Pull the brakes and the longstar 2 reverses out of the sky without fuss. Similarly reverse launch is fuss free. But what I really like is the ability of the longstar2 to sit on its side at the edge of the window with the bar out and hands off. It just slowly bobs up and down while you stretch your legs, eat, adjust harness, talk, take photos etc. I also used this method to hand the kite over to Trevor and to land on a couple of occasions- I just dropped the chicken loop over a foot peg and walked over to the kite. I know this is not unique to the longstar2 but it is extremely handy. The kite has a front line safety - a simple push of the chicken loop sends the bar and lines up the line to the splice flagging out the kite on a single front line. This brought the kite down without dramas and was easy enough to reset. There is also now an option to get the kite with an FAS (front area safety) that causes the leading edge of the kite to 'scrunch' up when activated Overall the kite impressed me greatly and was a pleasure to buggy with. It was a well behaved, stable and versatile kite with excellent all round performance and I will certainly be saving my pennies to add a few to my quiver. I can't see any reason it wouldn't also make a great first depower as an alternative to the usual suspects. The bar supplied with the longstar2 had a comfy grip, a large opening for the power lines which did not bind when turning, a push away chicken loop, cam cleat adjuster on the power lines and the fifth line terminated next to the chicken loop in a ring which you attach your leash to. It also has a double ball and ring setup for limiting bar travel or using to hold the bar in place. Both Trevor and myself found this just a little too stiff and complicated to use easily. It is something I would try to improve or tweak if it was my bar but also not something I would lose sleep over or blow an extra hundred bucks on for a better bar. Bar pressure is not such that it's a big issue, but it would be nice to have a simpler, easier to use system. Each of the brake leaders joined the main lines via a stainless steel ring which provided a handy place to insert a kite stake when landing. Rings at end of brake leaders - a handy spot to drop the kite stake. Now I would much rather judge a kite on its own merits rather than compare it to another manufacturers product......having said that, the most asked question I've heard about the longstar2 is 'how does it compare to a Peak2'? So, for a couple of hours, both Trevor and myself flew the 5.5m longstar2 and the 6m Peak2 swapping kites on a number of occasions. Here's what we found. The longstar2 was better downwind- faster and holding its shape better. The Peak 2 went upwind a little easier with the longstar2 requiring more work and being a couple kph slower. The longstar2 feels more aggressive and sporty to fly, I also think it's a bit faster as I've flown the P2 a lot but never matched Trevor's 62kph that he did with the LS2. Perhaps the P2 has a little more depower but this is at the expense of a fair bit of flapping and noise. The LS2's depower range never left us feeling like we wanted more. The LS2 seemed a bit more stable and easier to handle on the ground. Turn speed was much the same. I think the P2 may have an extra knot of grunt in the bottom end with the LS2 having a bit more 'go' and power in the top end. The P2 clearly has a much better (and more expensive) bar and more bar pressure at speed. Shape-wise the LS2 holds a much more uniform profile. Is one kite 'better' than the other? No, I honestly couldn't say that. For me, they are both excellent buggy engines. They feel different to fly but both kites achieve the desired goal - aoxomoxoa!! The LS2 represents excellent value for money (at least in Australian retail pricing) and as such certainly deserves your consideration. Born-kite has produced a well rounded, versatile depower kite that should give the competition a run for the money. A big thanks to Trevor who helped me out over many hours on several occasions while we tested, posed and photographed the kites.
  4. Win a Born-Kite 5.5m LongStar 2!! Competition & Entry Details: http://www.extremekites.com.au/blogs/entry/265-competition-time/ The latest single skin depowerable from Born-Kite.de Competition & Entry Details: http://www.extremekites.com.au/blogs/entry/265-competition-time/ A huge thanks to Born-Kite.de for supplying us with the LongStar 2.
  5. jhn.holgate

    Born Kite Nasa Star 2

    I've been flying these over the last few years now and have done lots of km's in the buggy with them. The things that stand out for me are they are just so bloody easy to fly. They are Steffen Born's take on the NPW design with his patented 'air half pipes' which are two narrow panels down either side with bridles on each side to create a sort of 'half pipe'. I've never actually flown a regular NPW wing to say what difference it makes, but the Nasa Star 2's are incredibly stable with great directional stability when in motion. The other main draw for me is that my home has pretty gusty winds often characterized by lulls in the wind which cause my foils to tend to collapse and luff. The NS2's are very light and tend to stay up in the lulls. I have never had one luff, then crumple into a ball and fall back into the power zone and then suddenly unfurl. Both FB and Depower foils have done this to me plenty. My NS2's are made in EU and their stitching and construction certainly seem first class to me. The other unique thing about the NS2's is the depower line on the nose. Pull this line and the nose will start to fold over reducing power. Unlike a regular depower which will sit further forward and speed up when depowering, the Nasa Star 2 will sit back a little and slow down just a bit when depowering. Possibly an excellent thing if your on a longboard or skates with the kite high, but not quite what I'm after in the buggy. As a result, I tend to occasionally pull the depower if I get a sudden gust or I use it as a primary safety if the poo hits the fan and in those cases it works perfectly well for me. You can fly them on a bar as a two line kite plus the third depower line, or you can rig them on 4 line handles without the depower line. You can rig them up quite a few different ways to suit. I quite like the 2 line bar plus depower line - it's simple, steering is wonderfully direct and unless it's really windy and I'm super powered up, I can fly with one hand on the bar and wave the camera around with the other. Speaking of power, these things are the 4wd low range gear of kites. They produce power almost as soon as you start moving them. One or two sines and it's park 'n ride and away you go. The 4m pictured here is quite buggyable from about 10 - 11 knots up to 20 knots. I'll usually swap to a smaller NS2 around the 17-18knot mark. Being single skin, you can't bust anything if you crash it head first into the ground, it just crumples up. A quick step back and it flies up backwards, a quick turn and away you go again. Very handy - but there is a small price to pay for the backward launching ability - if you try and hold the kite steady in light winds and there's a bit of a lull, the Nasa Star 2 will drop a little then begin to fly backwards. A little disconcerting the first few times it happens but once you get used to it, you can feel when the wind is getting too light and you just move the kite around a little. It really hasn't been a problem for me over the last couple years. There are a couple limitations with this design. It has a relatively narrow window which means a: quite a lot of sidepull, b: relatively slow speeds and c: harder to get upwind. You won't keep up with a mid aspect foil or depower, so if speed and upwind ability are your goals, then this is not your kite. The sidepull also means you'll need a comfy harness or you'll tire the arms out pretty quick. Having said that, the wonderful ease of flying and stability have made these the only kite I have buggy'd with since Nov 2013. I've sold my Apex's and haven't used my Ozone Access since then such is my pleasure of flying these kites. Speed wise, I'd say I lose about 15kph top speed when compared to my Ozone Methods - but if I'm doing 40 - 50, I'm quite happy. The other feature of this design is very little lift. Almost none. If you're wanting to jump, then these are not the kite for you. If you want something that won't lift you out of the buggy when you put it over your head, then these are great. They probably will lift you in the wrong wind, but compared to most foils, there is very little lift. I've had the 4m NS2 on the beach running side by side with a 4m Octane (could have been a Ozone Flow...). There was only ever a couple kph difference between the two kites. In lighter winds, the NS2 would pull away a little. In stronger winds, the Octane/Flow would pull away a little. Performance differences between the two kites were small. Other advantages is they are relatively cheap and they pack really, really small. If you were going to do a bit of an expedition somewhere, you could do a lot worse than have a few of these stashed away. If you want a kite to cruise with that's child's play to fly with tons of low down pulling power, these are great. You will need a comfy harness and you'll need to fly with a bit of power to gain ground upwind but you'll soon get used to that. Safety is a big factor for me and the NS2's are slower to react to gusts than my foils - it gives me more time to react to gusts and the gusts tend to be absorbed a little more with these kties than something with a higher aspect ratio. These are the best kites that I've ever flown - not performance wise and not speed wise, but just for putting that stupid grin on my face when I'm cruising up and down the beach.
  6. jhn.holgate

    Born Kite Long Star 3M

    A new design from Born Kite is the single skin Longstar. If you've seen the Nasa Star 2's or 3's you could almost imagine two of them stitched side by side to form a high aspect nasa wing. The Longstar is also depowerable - it has a line attached to the nose of the kite and when pull is applied to the line, the nose begins to fold over and starts to depower the kite. You can also dump the kite to the depower line as a safety feature. You can see in the main body of the kite how the bridles are split into two legs forming Steffen's patented 'air half pipes'. I believe this aids with directional stability. Also of note is the 5 line system on this kite. The bridles are split into power and brake bridles by a Z bridle that attaches them together. This means that when you pull on the power lines, ALL the lines are pulled evenly (including the brakes) but the brakes can be accessed separately by pulling on the brake lines giving you the ability to back the longstar down on the brakes as it doesn't reverse launch like a Nasa Star can do on just it's power lines. If you buy the recommended bar for the Longstar, you'll see the pulleys at the kite end of the lines. These pulleys are doing two jobs (as far as I can tell). They a: divide the power equally between the power and brake lines giving half the total force on the bar and the other half of the force on the main lines going through to the chicken loop. And b: the system adds a little bit of extra brake input into the turn making for a very smooth turning kite. And to static fly with this system, it is a very powerful and smooth experience with a reasonably wide window. There are transport loops to keep all the bridle ends neatly sorted (and color coded). There is also a nifty little plastic clip that you use to clip all your lines together before disconnecting them - you do it first when you're packing up and last when you're setting up to keep everything from getting in a mess. Although I have to admit that while it's a great idea, in practice I've found it fiddly and have stopped using it. The Longstar generates quite a bit of pull (and it can do so in really light winds) and I've struggled with having to hold the bar with both hands. Steffen has made a 'hook ball' that can secure the bar to the chicken loop, but it's something I think you have to setup before you fly as I'm stuffed if I can clip it while I'm under power. Mainly because of this, I've fashioned my own bar for the Longstar that I can simply hook a trapeze loop to - simple and secure. I've also done away with the pulleys at the kite end. My setup doesn't turn the Longstar quite as smoothly but is much simpler to use. Here's the original bar.... And my version.... The kite occasionally back stalls and this is corrected by either letting the bar out with the factory bar, or a quick tug on the depower line with my bar. In a few hours of flying the Longstar with the buggy, I think I only had to reach for the depower line on a couple of occasions. It's not designed to be flown from handles (as there's no way to control the backstall) but we flew it that way at Kingston and it was a lot of fun. Chook and Doug both said it was a bit like a Rev to fly that way and enjoyed the session. While the Nasa Star is known for it's low down the grunt, the Longstar seems to have even more. It flies with a lot of power and even in 10 knot winds, buggying is no problem. It turns pretty quick too, though not as fast as the Nasa Star. I feel the Longstar, despite it's high aspect, still sits too deep in the window. Upwind ability is only fair as is outright speed - from static flying it, I had thought it may sit a lot further forward in the window than it does. While I certainly wasn't expecting it to perform like a vapor, I was hoping for a little more speed and upwind ability from it. If you're buggying in a small area - the grunt and light wind ability are excellent and it seems to be a characteristic of these kites that they're very hard to make luff. I have never had a Nasa star fold into a ball and drop back into the middle of the window and then unfurl and it seems the same with the Longstar. The lightweight keeps them up in the lulls too when double skin foils start to struggle. Like the Nasa Stars, I'm only using the depower line as a primary safety. To use the depower on the fly, you'll need to have the bar released and then you'll have half the total force of the kite on the bar which I find too tiring for any length of time and it robs me of being able to point cameras or gesticulate rudely at any overhead drones. Landing is quick - pull the brake strap the Longstar will drop like a stone. Similarly, launching is quick and easy. The design is really eye catching - I don't think I've seen anything quite like them before and the quality is very high - as is all the Born Kites that I've flown. The Longstars pack down very small and light. Really grunty, light weight, crash proof, stunning design and it flies with real power and purpose are the kite's positive aspects. It just needs a little more speed and to sit further forward in the window - then it would be truly awesome.
  7. I found this interesting, Kitebuggyschule St.Peter-Ording teach the basics using Nasa Stars from Born-Kite then evolve in to course flying. It looks like a safe and fun way for both Adults and Kids to get people straight in to the buggy and moving around slowly to spark their interest. The last photo is quite entertaining Photos courtesy of Kitebuggyschule St.Peter-Ording ( http://www.buggyfahrschule.de )
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