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Zen/Black Diamond conversion

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Have you tried 'em?????

 

So, I love the Zen kite design, owning 3 of 'em currently.  They're all set-up differently too.  

#One has a Skyshark travel frame, (rods are Red & black) and it's a stock kite that has been rebuilt several times, new panels, replacement patches, 1/2 a dozen bridles worn thru, literally dozens of broken spars too.

The 2nd one is all busted out for ultimate no wind/indoors delicate, tapered 2 ply down-spars and a true original Black diamond set of custom 1/4 " spars.  The sail has a leading edge sleeve built tightly, to just fit that one 1/4 diameter spar.  Special material was furnished by me and I paid extra (above retail) for Bazzer to make the sails and for Eliot to craft the leading edge sleeves using this mylar-backed nylon instead is 3.9 ounce Dacron.  I can't share this kite for fear of damage to the remaining irreplaceable spars.

The 3rd one is the topic of discussion here.  Lolly & Revolution made a frame to fit the Zen length sail, but sized in the new diameter format we know as Reflex. I think the tubes are 5/16 (for comparison,... the SLE tube is 7/16").  It also came with replacement end caps as the stockers don't cross-over to fit.  Now remember, my leading edge sleeve just barely fits a 1/4 tube on this 3rd kite as well, so getting these fat boys inside there was really a chore (tighter than a damn condom!)

The wind range is still surprisingly really wide though, they flex and snap back just like a normal 1/4 diameter tube, but you have more mass to throw around too.  WOW it's like a 1.5 kite's pefect proportion of sail size to frame response.  Suddenly a Falling Leaf trick is a reasonable expectation! And the throw & catch changes radically towards a simplified and more easily reachable goal.  Naturally you can push the wind range much higher safely too because of the increased wall size diameter of these light weight tubes.  YES you can still fly the zen with the new reflex Black Diamond tubes in no wind.  It's a touch more work initially to gain momentum, but with the extra mass provided you also get something back FREE, a killer glide where the kite does all the work and you just look good watching it!

I run 18" (point 125 pultrude carbon tube) magic sticks + a 100# high test BL french bridle (both are available from Eliot Shook, who Reps Bazzer for the USA and does marvelous repairs if and when your kite needs a surgeon) on all three kites, so you're mileage may vary.

I have beat these new Reflex (Black Diamond) tubes pretty hard on frozen ground and concrete paved parking lots since before Xmas, so far I'm impressed enough to endorse them for anyone who's broken a bunch of tubes in their Zen.   A solution is available to keep your Zen in the air EVEN if used for lessons.  Big, slow, a nice feel down the lines to respond to, longer lines carried, to allow time to react for newbies ,... the Zen is always a favorite of mine when giving a lesson.  Folks "connect" quite quickly as it is predictable in flight, neutral and awaiting commands.

No, I don't know if these tubes will be commercially available, (or for how long) but I surely think it's a winner for me.  Just the kind of thing we have been waiting for!  Proof that Rev still cares about their old faithful clients, not just a new flier fascinated by quads.  Thank you, again, for offering me the opportunity to test this latest development Lolly. Excellent job!!!

best regards, -paul lamasters

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So the vertical tubes are also the same diameter/construction as the leading edge tubes, correct?  I would be very interested in acquiring & using a set of these tubes if they are made available.  I like the bigger sail of the Zen & also am fond the original Rev 1 format.  One of my best days ever flying a Rev was at the beach in light wind when I achieved Zen with my kite for an extended period of time.  The slow flying grace of that day hangs in my memory & I can still see it in my mind's eye as the big kite floated over the dunes arcing through the huge window that opened up for me that day.  But after that special time passed I was back to the mere flailer that I really am.   SIgh... SHBKF

My Zen is on the floor on the left.  My Sedgwick Cool Rev 1 is on the right.

med_gallery_7709_404_157805.jpg

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yes all the tubes are that same 5/16" thickness, therefore changing out the end-caps is necessary.  They might "cross-fit" 1/4 inch tubes but since I have 3 Zens it wasn't important enough to verify.

Amazing light wind performance is available and beefy enough to trust newbies or abuse the high-end of it's wind range too.

I recommend Eliot's Shook's French Bridle and most certainly the addition of the 18" magic sticks to stiffen the framework overall.   You'll find yourself looking forward to no wind and a dead calm every time you want to fly.  The fittings for the stand-off magic sticks have to be boiled in hot water to soften the material sufficiently to slide into position on the fatter Reflex Black Diamond tubes.

French-BridleFSK.jpg

zen#3.jpg

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Thanks for the good tip on boiling the fittings.  First time I made a magic stick set up I tried to ream the hole in the fittings.  Did not work too well with slightly over-sized drill bit but a larger tapered reamer finally cut the hole out a bit larger.  Laying the kite flat on the deck as you show is a good hint also.  I used my large table to lay mine out so I could get the lines symmetrical & tensioned very slightly .  I guess you could tune a bit by adjusting how the sail laid on the table giving it a little arch if desired.  But flat worked well & I was quite surprised at how much it changed the kite.  The setup allowed me to fly a Rev on short lines in my front yard for the first time.  Landing & taking off were so easy.   Have not tried the French bridle, yet.  SHBKF 

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My first coach was Jeffery Burka, an original early quad adopter (Rev flyer from the late 80's).  He's a true flailer (if not the original) who flies UP WIND (one handed & talking to you whilst NOT watching the kite) most amazingly on a Rev2 sized format, if given a choice!  If I own 60 quads, he's gotta' have more than that, after all I started in '93.  His only revolution kite with sissy sticks also sports the french bridle pictured above,... it's a Zen!  A long weekend at Dave Shenkman's kite-party gig in Huntington Beach convinced him of the need to match my loaner kite he was provided (honestly his logic? was "why bring no-wind stuff" to the west coast? seemed reasonable enough when packing.  My Zens are like a driver's license to me, going where i do, so he got a spare)

The Zen kite becomes a completely different animal with these modifications installed.  The only reason I'm mentioning Jeff is because in the Zen's case these mods are WORTH the trouble to relearn techniques based upon different feel.  You are taking a bi-plane and adding struts and guide wires between those too flexible wings, so it is instantly more maneuverable, tightly held and responsive with no tendencies like oversteer or lack of an adequate glide.

NOTE:  This set-up almost requires a larger steering wheel too.  You ain't on a no stinkin' go-cart folks, it's more like darn school bus.  Longer throw handles allow all of the slack tricks, at a very minimum, 15 inch no-snags.  My favorites for that big ole Zen are 19 inch titanium grade 5 tubes, 3/8 inch in diameter with all of the "bend" placed near the top, using custom fishing grips provided by Glenn Haynes.

Axels are timed with a sun-dial using 100 foot line lengths in a dead calm, you can even "change lanes" instead of rotating into the same position.  Very much of a two handed operation to dial it around slowly (or aggressively)

The Black Diamond Reflex tubes addition is very much in line with my expectations of a larger wind range and increased durability.  Again thanks REVOLUTION!5a589d104ed9e_Tihandles.thumb.jpg.f4bdff2013348ee883be2807c03ed8c5.jpg

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