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Zen 1. impressions


Beaufort
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I think there's a misperception about what the Zen is built for. It was designed explicitly by and for iQuad to use for precision team flying in extremely challenging conditions. When you're a guest at a festival -- especially one where the organizers have spent a fair amount of money to get you there -- it's fly or die time. The Zen makes it a lot more likely that you'll fly.

Yes, there are other revs that a skilled flyer can work in those conditions. Hell, if the winds are that light, I'm probably happier flinging around my race-framed bridleless 2 than a Zen. But that's me as a solo flyer. If I'm flying with friends at the Washington Monument in those conditions, the Zen simply can't be beat. Yes, the Zen feels heavy on the lines. It's an absolute truck. But that sail loads properly in virtually nothing and the kite will do what you tell it to do.

There's no question that the Zen is a specialty kite...but then it's also priced like one.

Very Clear Words! I could not have said it better.

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This may be true however when I bought my Zen it was because a number of flyers told me it was "just like" the B1.5 but for low wind.

Sorry but WTF????? That`s almost too funny.

Of course a Zen will be "just like" a 1.5.....they both fly forwards, backwards, upside down, etc......but "just like" a 1.5 but for low wind.....NOT. That`s akin to saying a 2 is "just like" a 1.5 for high wind.... Way different flying techniques must be used for all 3 different sizes of that particular Rev design. On top of that....keeping with the 1.5 size...there is a huge difference in the way one would fly a full vented and an sul in their respective wind ranges.

I started on a 2...then bought a 1...and when the 1.5 was introduced I thought it (the 1.5) was too much of a compromise between the 1 and the 2. Because of this I didn`t like it at first but grew to appreciate the 1.5 for what it was. Now many years and versions later the 1.5 size seems to be the starting point for many Rev flyers, and when going up (especially) or down in kite size folks are flustered as to why a 2 or 1 or Zen doesn`t fly like the ubiquitous 1.5. They are similar but way different kites....and need to be approached as such.

Of course one`s flying style and wind preferences has something to do with it as well.....

bt

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  • 2 weeks later...

IMO I don't think the Zen should be advertised as a 0-wind flier.

<snip>

IMHO I think Revolution should advertise it as having a wind range of 1-6 mph.

I was having a discussion about wind at last weeks' fun-fly with a dualie pilot named Darren. He was saying that the wind, at sea level at the beach, is denser (and more consistent) than the wind we have here at 2700 ft. Hence, 1 mph at the beach is more flyable than 1 mph at the park in Vegas. Makes sense to me.

I'll take back these comments until I've had the Zen flying in some different locales.

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I will always remember the day I learned how much difference wind quality makes (as well as that I had apparently developed some low wind skill)....

I had driven about 30 minutes to a beach to fly in the blazing hot/humid sun on a day off to go do some flying, only to find that there was literally nothing but fumes. The 'wind' conditions were seriously low enough to fly an indoor rev with no risk of a gust coming close to stressing the frame. But I had suffered to get there and I was gonna at least try and fail miserably before I went home.

All I had with me was a 1.5 SLE sail with 3 wrap frame in it and 50' of 90# line and as I setup I had visions of me struggling even with a Zen or a race frame ... but I was busy setting up so I figured I may as well push through and work on those low wind skills I saw in JB's tutorial.

It felt like magic keeping that rig in the air ... it was work, but I was actually flying in 'wind' I could only barely feel if there was a gust. Hovering was out, even during a 'gust' but I managed to keep it going just like the tutorial and then some.

High humidity, smooth wind off the sea and sea level air all combined with a sprinkling of skill and I was flying in wind I never believed possible with anything other than an indoor rev.

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Zen Frame bends a lot, so the Race outer and 2 wrap or Zen center is the way to go. Hey, try a 3 wrap outer's, that is what I fly on at times.

Stiffness of the frame comes in at over 3 mph. So, when in the low low winds, if you are flexing the frame then you are putting in to much imput and need to back off a little. Yes it is a truck, but a nice flying truck.

Try the new French Bridle. Amazing for lowering the wind range even on this kite. Flying Smiles Kites should have some in stock, if not tell Eliot to make one JUST FOR YOU.

I fly team and it is a great kite when you need to perform a routine and the conditions are very light. Yes I could fly my lightened B-Series but the Zen wil fly to the corner without having to pump it, this is what I need. Smooth and reliable.

Axel's, no problem. Just remember that the kite is now 9 feet instead of 7.5 feet, and needs a little more rotation area to get around.

Do I recommend one to anyone, NO. If the winds are low just sit and talk to your friends.

Flying a Zen means moving. If you are in the low range, floating the kite and walking backwards for more forward is how I fly.

But if you have the spare cash, not spare change blue_cool.gif

then the answer is yes. Team flyers, it is a must for those fly or die times.

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I'm hoping to get an Indoor Rev for Christmas *wink wink, nudge nudge* After watching the Singapore vids JB posted, the Indoor looks like the way to go when there is 0-wind outdoors.

my order of attack goes 0-2 mph indoor rev, 3-6 mph Zen, 7+ mph 1.5 series, 12+ vented. Sounds a bit routine now that i look at it on paper but for the most part if there is hardly any wind at all or no wind or some swirly light wind the indoor flies great outside and the new frame they come with is fatter than the old style so they are made quite a bit stronger. If the winds are light to steady, ill get the 1.5 out and see what i can do but if i struggle with keeping it aloft, then i pull out the trusty Zen and it never lets me down. The Zen flys in some pretty bad wind conditions in my own expierence and handles diffrently but much the same. I was uncertain about my Zen at first but it has been my go to kite in horrible wind condtions and never dissapoints me. Like john said to me...." I am glad you found some Zen".

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Not sure when the frame change happened!! Kent might be able to reveal that!! The older Indoor came with what now is known as "skinnies", small diameter rods made especially for the Indoor! The mandrel that was used for making them got damaged (that's what's been told to me), so they started making the rods using the same mandrel that is used for the outdoor rods! So it is "fatter", but still a very light weight rod set!!

Without a bridle to even out the stresses the LE is under, you take the Indoor outside at your own risk!!!kid_devlish.gif

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The older indoor rods were labled 1.5 advantage. They stopped making these rods about 3-4 years ago when the mandrel got damaged. All indoor rods are now the same size as the standard 1/4" rods but the Indoor rods are much lighter, probably like 1 wrap rods. Newer indoor kites are now labled as "Indoor".

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<snip>

There's no question that the Zen is a specialty kite...but then it's also priced like one.

The Zen is a special kite which has been particularly useful to us in low wind conditions such as in Cervia 2011.

The fliers need to be familiar with the different turning interval to take full advantage of the larger sail area compared to the SUL 1.5.

We have been flying Race with a '3 wrap' center...

Felix

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So let me understand, most are using something a bit less flexible for the center, but keeping more flex at the ends?? I'm wondering how this makes the sail work more efficiently? Isn't the control "centered" in the sail? Or is it more of a "feel" thing? I have an older Rev1 and have noticed that you can't use the same amount of input on it that you can on a 1.5!! Either I've got to adjust my commands or switch to smaller handles!! Could it be the frame swap is an attempt to make the Zen "feel" like or respond like a 1.5? Comments?

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So let me understand, most are using something a bit less flexible for the center, but keeping more flex at the ends?? I'm wondering how this makes the sail work more efficiently? Isn't the control "centered" in the sail? Or is it more of a "feel" thing? I have an older Rev1 and have noticed that you can't use the same amount of input on it that you can on a 1.5!! Either I've got to adjust my commands or switch to smaller handles!! Could it be the frame swap is an attempt to make the Zen "feel" like or respond like a 1.5? Comments?

Hmmm! We flew Rev1s by choice for so many years and mostly used a 4 center with 3 for the rest. As the 3 centre with race for the rest will probably not be about 'stiffness' there may be a weight element in play here. In all honesty, I have not had much chance to experiment. We flew Zens in Cervia this year because they 'out performed' our regular Rev1s which we would tend to prefer over SUL 1.5s in Team. The bigger sails providing more visual impact 'an' all that'!

I really don't need the Zen to 'feel' like a 1.5. All the different models and configurations have different 'turning circles' and it is up to the flier to adapt to the nuances as far as I am concerned.

In light wind flying I go with agility on the ground and lightness of touch as the main components for success. I appreciate that the Zen spars may be best for a more relaxed flying style.

Felix

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Felix - What frame did you use for your Zen setup? Understand the visual impact of the bigger sail and that all the sails have different responses!! I have an SUL for light winds and use it with a 2 wrap frame!! When I fly alone, the 1.5's quicker response works fine!! Don't have a Zen, YET!!! Just trying to get some kind of understanding of why and how, changes affect things!!

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Felix - What frame did you use for your Zen setup? Understand the visual impact of the bigger sail and that all the sails have different responses!! I have an SUL for light winds and use it with a 2 wrap frame!! When I fly alone, the 1.5's quicker response works fine!! Don't have a Zen, YET!!! Just trying to get some kind of understanding of why and how, changes affect things!!

As above, Race with 3 wrap center...

Felix

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Felix - I see that now in an earlier post!! Thanks for the input!! So far I haven't tried any hybrid setups on my 1.5s, but maybe I will now!! See for myself if there is anything I like, now that I have some understanding of what a "straight" frame feels like!! The search for the elusive "feel" goes on!!! kid_devlish.gif

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