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*FRENCH BRIDLES*


Hector Herrera
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Adding the "magic sticks" and their lines forms a sort of truss system that stiffens up the frame and prevents any bow tying by the sail!! Nice thing is, if you don't like it, it's easy to remove!! If you do, hey, you found something that works!! kid_devlish.gif

Good point SV!

There's still a debate going on in my head though. Adding the 'sticks and its lines, and the mass that comes with them, to my ultimate SUL Zen just flat out defies logic..... But I'm going to give it a try! Once they are commercially available ;)

Same for the French bridle.

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Cath & Elliott of flying smiles kites . . . .... . will be awaiting your phone call and visa information (soon).

I'm meeting Paul Dugard at Sandy Point State Park tomorrow for some airtime. I'm sure we'll abuse our zens, maybe even a side-by-side comparison, his box stock (w/Sissy sticks) against my all modified all over. We've got all the same line-lengths, #strengths and handle rigs. I certainly respect his opinion too. If all goes well I'll confirm with Will Sturdy the bridle's dimensions, what's on my Zen right now it already converted into a bridle board (gotta' love a youngster's enthusiasm!) So unless we "fiddle" with it some more it's going commercial.

I know how weird it sounds to add weight when you're working with an SUL or even an indoor kite. It's about WHERE you place it as much as WHY. I want the ability to remove as much weight as possible, but sometimes adding MORE is less work in flight. Mass + momentum make free lift, so if you yank a moment you can travel for some distance before another input is necessary. I have a very particular way of doing things and I'm used to it. Some pilots love how my kite flies (tuning & mods) and some quickly pronounce it "in no way flight worthy at all"!

If I change kites for different conditions I want them to be like golf clubs, everything is the same except the wind range target that one's made for. My indoor kite has to fly exactly the same (in feelings down the lines) as my ultra-high winder. So my indoor kite has a bridle and sissy sticks on the back. The handles are smaller, shorter, much lighter in weight and the lines are shorter, but the feeling transmitted is still the same. That killer glide remains too, which is something I've grown accustomed to over the years. So, if you release the kite handles with the leading edge pointed away, the kite glides off with the handles suspended underneath of it. It doesn't fall. You can watch it for a few moments and then trot down towards it and not allow it to impact the floor, either catching the kite or re-gripping the handles. You can go to the bathroom and return again, it's still not landed! If I have to keep all this crap on the kite then the weight saving necessary for indoor flight has to come from someplace else! You'd use Orcon instead of icarex and 125 carbon tubes with a P-90 leading edge instead of a "suitable frame". Since the frame is so flexible every flight command distorts it, so the bridle has to be really long (built further away from the frame). At the end of the day though, everything flies the same, regardless of the conditions because the same design features are incorporated into each kite. It just feels right in my hands (and maybe no one else's!?!!)

You have to be willing to experiment, don't trust anyone's opinion except your own, you try it and prove to yourself it didn't work. Most modifications end in failure, the journey is the most important part. You learn and establish your own expectations based upon that knowledge gained and shared. I didn't come up with any of this stuff I use currently, sticks, funky bridles, switching manufacturer's tubes or hybrid frames. Harold Ames hung rare magnets on our cooperative kites back in 1999. That weight increase didn't hurt performance because we placed it very carefully.

What happens is a wonderful question, you can always put it back to stock. Ideally you have somebody to share and compare with, that makes everything much easier and more enjoyable.

Add curvature to the downspars using the sissy sticks (means they're installed too tightly),... what happens? Cut down those down-spars by an inch,... What happens? (can't undue this one <LOL!> You get the idea, experiment, this platform is made to enjoy, fiddling with stuff is almost as much fun as flying. You'll develop your own expectations in feel and run with it.

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<snip> You can go to the bathroom and return again, it's still not landed! <snip>

Man, its a GOOD thing to laugh really hard first thing in the morning!! :lol:

I'm excited to work on some mods, down the road. I think I should totally settle on a particular way my Revs "feel" before I get into custom modding. I would love to have all my kites have that same "feel", and it really does seem like it would take some modification to get the full-vent feeling like the Zen feeling like the full-sail. In the meantime though, I am willing to try commercially available mods so long as I can easily return my kite to stock.

I'm very thankful for your pioneering spirit REVflyer! And for the way you report back on your mods - in some circles, people seem to like to keep their performance mods secretive (especially the R/C crowd!).

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  • 3 years later...

Bump.

I got some French Bridles from Flying Smiles and installed one on a 1.5 sail a couple of days ago. Was not as difficult as I thought it would be and now I have a question. What is the purpose of the "restrictor" legs from the center loop to the tops of the uprights? I haven't tried flying it yet, but when I put some tension on the line connection points the restrictor legs have quite a bit of slack in them. This seems contradictory to the bridle helping to stiffen/supprt the frame, as they just hang there limp.

If anyone can explain this to me, I would appreciate it. Thank You.

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I remember looking at some measurements of the French bridles, center was 10cm down and 69cm over on those "restrictor legs", or whatever the next person wants to call them. What do those measurements even mean? 69cm from the center barely makes it to the top vertical cap, no less making it to the vertical cap from 10cm below the center using 69cm legs. The distance from 10cm down from center to the hole in the top vertical caps are 70cm. So that 1cm less should cause tightness rather than slack.

Personally I would buy a French bridle as a pattern only, then make adjustments as you're making one from scratch.

With that bridle in your hands you can at least take measurements from all the points and see how they are coming up with the completed bridle. I see 14 different measurements per side, how many of the measurements match up to the bridle you have?

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Didn't do any measuring. I bought it from Flying Smiles. They make French bridles to replace the bridle on 1.5, 1 and 2 sizes of Rev. Should be install and fly, but just looks weird to me. This is the exact bridle developed and used by team Crazy Drivers and shouldn't need adjustment since it is built to their specs. Other people have purchased and used them and said they are great, so I just wanted to try it without having to build it from scratch. With that many legs it becomes crazy trying to tie all those bridle-to-bridle knots and come out with the right measurements.

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It sounds like the only people that can explain it are Flying Smiles or Crazy Drivers, because to me restrictor plates or legs would cause restriction, and if you are already starting with slack once the rods start bowing in the wind, it will increase the slack in those 2 legs, and could be cut off and have a better use as dental floss.

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The restrictor "limits" the amount of lateral movement on the center point of the bridle attached to the leading edge. You may like it without, as it's more similar to a stock bridle's wiggle-waggle.

The "afterburners" kick in when the kite is powered up and you want even more acceleration (huge surge of power forward regardless of the handle/leader tuning). They further distort the frame to capture more air pressure. Usually most of the energy is transmitted to the parameter edges of the kite frame. The attachment point to the tops of the down-spars is where you may see slack (say you were standing under the kite as someone else flew an inverted hover over your head). You can fetch-up tighter during the installation process (double wrapping the end=cap with the attachment loop on the tops of the down spars) or you can leave it as a single wrap (as most bridles are installed)

All the bridle attachment loops should enter the end-caps from the center of the sail, outward. You have more legs too, so you are spreading the stress over a greater surface area

I've probably bought 3 dozen of these FB string things, mostly in the 1.5 size. I crafted the installation directions and advised Will Sturdy on how to pkg\deliver the product so it's easily installed by anyone. I've given him specific kites to fit the bridle to as well. I didn't come up with any of this stuff, just adapted it for my own usage.

I was at Huntington Beach this past weekend and David Hathaway (Monkey, Team I-quad) had a go on my modified Zen. I was using it almost exclusively for 5 days since the wind never got any higher than 10 mph. He laughed and said his is tucked in a corner of the residence and never used. I've worn two of them out & couldn't imagine a better solution for low/no-wind! Jeff Burka figured he'd never need his, so it was left at home in DC. Both of these fliers are master-class holding box stock Zens and it's not cutting it performance-wise. Both found my wing much more enjoyable, instantly.

I've heard about hybrid mixed frames, but a Zen with a diamond frame is the hot set-up, PERIOD Since I fly very aggressively, I prefer a Travel Frame of diamonds, I will break sticks and I only want to replace a short piece on-site.

The french bridle alters the bending of the frame compared to what you are used to. A stock bridle bends the frame in the center. The french bridle bends on the outer thirds of the leading edge first, if you kick-in the afterburners also you are distorting the center portion slightly as well.

You don't need all the crap on my kites, but none of it is a detriment to low wind flight. If you were only going to do one thing at a time I'd say to add the Magic sticks first, (dramatically alters the glide) then the french bridle (more responsive to pilot commands), thereafter you are making the kite differently during it's construction. A tighter fit between the leading edge sleeve and the spar (only one tube fits and it's snug too = a tighter and more efficient sail). As for the extra reinforcing patches built into the leading edge sleeve? That is how the highest-end kites are made by Bazzer and Shook now, proven to double the lifespan of your kite. (the part that wears-out now for me is the trailing edge)

I might be willing to buy your old unused Zen, but I really like getting a new one from Revolution after BAzzer makes the sail and Eliot crafts the leading edge. Barbara told me on the way home last night she "understand" if I needed another replacement sail, but it's a definite "NO" to an early retirement for me. <LOL!>

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Thanks, Paul. Your reply has been very informative and helpful. I think I'll try flying it and then double-loop the restrictors at the uprights; I guess if they are supposed to restrict movement of the center attachment point then let's see if more restriction is better. Right now there's close to an inch of slack. Just doesn't look right to me, but then, what do I know?

I won't let my Zen get away from me. Even stock out of the box, I love it.

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no, double wrap the other loop (on top of the down-spar's end cap) Mark. The restrictor is usually so tight I advise folks to untie and lengthen the legs slightly, thereby reducing the overall size of the restrictor's loops themselves. Not so much as to advise Will on changing his bridle boards, just a pinch.

Here's the test Mark. If you picked up the kite by just the two top flying line attachment points on the bridle,... are all those legs tight?

In gusty conditions you may very well prefer the loop we are discussing as a single cap wrap, so it doesn't surge forward unexpectedly. I fly with so much "down" in the tuning that the kite doesn't want to to do that,.... you have to FORCE it. You can even remove the restrictor entirely and have fun experimenting with it that way.

I've played with extending that center attachment point further away from the leading edge and banging' it down closer too. One way makes more sense for light, smooth wind and the other for those big changes in conditions usually associated with an approaching storm front.

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  • 4 months later...

Just wanted to hop in with a follow-up to Paul's posts from March. I've finally put sticks on the back of my zen (none of my 1.5s have 'em), a Flying Smiles french bridle on the front (with some minor tweaking by Paul) and a hybrid frame (2wrap center, race outers on the LE, Zen verticals).

My Zen was one of the first off the production line back in, what, 2010? It's never the first kite I pull out in light winds; I'd rather fly an SUL B2 and have fun on my own if there's not enough wind for team flying with 1.5's.

With the tweaks and tuning, Sunday was the most fun I'd ever had with a Zen. The kite tracked, turned, and stayed loaded in a way it never has before.

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@Paul: I'm still trying to get the FB to feel "right" to me. Of course the bumpy Midwest wind is not making comparisons easy. I'm sure that with time I'll get it adjusted correctly, and then be able to play with fine-tuning for specific winds. Is it specifically dimensioned to work with sticks? I prefer "no sticks", so if there is an adjustment I need to make for that, please tell me what it is.

@jburka: Oh yeah! Keeping that sail loaded in very light wind makes it sooooo sweet. I've had bystanders say, "I thought you need wind to fly a kite".

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the sticks give you a field recovery free that can't be matched without 'em,.... the bridle is more about a personal preference Mark. The glide is this,.. take the kite as high as possible and turn the leading edge down. Now from this position, throw the handles out in front of you (released completely from your grasp) and watch the kite seek the horizon, not drop like a stone.

The sticks alter the balance point significantly and add a support structure like the wires of a bi-plane's wings are tied together, so you can frame lighter and still survive and enjoy a little breeze even. I've compared 20 inch to 18's for the past few weeks. The longer ones are great for backlighting the kite, further away, more surface illuminated, but it will not come back to me for a "catch",..... instead it horse-shoe shaped flights around and seeks the downwind recovery described above, no matter where or how severely you yank. The 18 inch ones come back like magnetism, it doesn't drop from on high directly down to you, no it glides up and then slowly descends to your outstretched grasp.

We are still experimenting, but right now the two out-hall lines that feed from the center bridle point to the bottom attachment points are being shorten by the diameter of a Sharpie Pen with an overhand knot to pull this point more directly over the down spar.

The center point (of the bridle's attachment to the frame & center hole of the sail) can't wiggle left or right at all. In fact, al the bridle legs should be tight when picked up by the two top attachment points only. The length of this line can be varied, but my experience says it should be a "fist's worth of distance away on the Zen" to keep the widest possible wind range.

There a certain magic that comes from a Diamond frame on the Zen, it's not just lighter weight but also remarkably responsive too. You can flail all around SLOWLY and it will fill back up with air in a very controllable manner. You can half axel and leave it in a fade, without impacting mother earth,.. long enough for folks to notice who weren't watching you!

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I have achieved about a 10 to 1 glide ratio by weighting the bottoms of the uprights, thus changing the center of gravity of the sail. Works well, only adds 3/8 of an ounce of weight, total -- split shot made for fishing fixed inside the tube. We gotta get together and tinker! The "tail weighting" does achieve a glide characteristic similar to that found on the Speed Series kites, specifically the Supersonic, but less dramatic.

"The length of this line can be varied, but my experience says it should be a "fist's worth of distance away on the Zen" to keep the widest possible wind range." Do you mean the center line that attaches to the leading edge? I don't understand. If it's that far away it will wiggle left and right, acting as a pivot. I've considered skipping it and attaching the inhauls directly.

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Let me put my $0.02 in here on the Zen and personal changes.

I've added the sticks - mostly for the stiffness they have added to the setup overall. I am using a hybrid frame - 2 wrap center, bl. race ends, Zen verts. Seems to keep the sail using the wind better, by not allowing as much distortion when you fill up and drive. Plus you do get the added advantage of not ever flipping a wing - the center truss line makes it impossible to get that much travel on one side! But from my end, it's all about how the sail works, and with the changes I've made - so far so good!

I've left my bridle stock, just gotten used to the way it feels on all my other outdoor stuff.

I've flown Paul's setup - I'd need to fly it longer to get used to it for sure. But I do understand his goal of making a more responsive wing!

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@Wayne -- I'm kind of working in the other direction that Paul is headed. I want the sail to be tight without stiffening the frame (sticks) so that the lightest puff of wind will keep the sail loaded, increasing the area of the sail without a significant increase in weight, changing the aspect ratio of the sail to give it a characteristic tending towards that of a Speed Series kite, and eliminating the tendency to bowtie and overcontrol in reverse by decreasing the depth of the "vee", and increasing the efficiency of the leading edge mesh by getting rid of it and going to a belt-loop style leading edge.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words:

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In my observations - Making the "VEE" shallower has INCREASED the chances of flipping the wing, Compare an SLE to a "B" - much harder to flip the "B" than the SLE - IMHO. That bit of extra depth helps connect the 2 wings and make them work together, not fight for dominance. In my eyes, the closer you can get to a square shape, the more wind it will hold. Wrong??

PS: so are you using a light but very stiff frame for achieving your goals?

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My bad -- the kite in the photos is a prototype. The vee will be much closer to square, which is where most of the extra 400 square inches of sail area will come from, although the prototype does not tend to bowtie as much as one would imagine just by its appearance. The sail is held tighter by the bow of the leading edge, which helps to keep both sides working together. You can see how much more it is bowed than the B-Pro standing behind it, with an almost straight leading edge. The frame is a hybrid, but I would have to check to see exactly what is where. I just used some spare tubes from other builds and got lucky, but plan on refining that to perfection also. I believe the LE outers are black race, Center may be two-wrap, Uprights are P90, but I would have to check to be sure. I just got a custom-sized diamond frame from Lolly a week ago that I want to use in the new version, depending on a few other variables, and it will have no bridle like an indoor.

I realize I'm way off topic, but here's a drawing of what I'm building.

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a brldle will spread the stress of flight over a greater area of framing, (therefore offering a larger wind range) so you still could do the direct connect AND a bridle all on the same kite. You're almost to a Blast styled shape, might you consider two down spars on each side Mark, its 'just notched corner taken off at the bottom?

KiteSquid and I did the Ryv 1.6 cooperative project back in 1999-2000 for the Smithsonian KiteFest (50th year anniversary is this April 2016), it had a 32-1/2 inch tapered down spar, was a no-sew construction and missing the leading edge venting, but kept the SLE leading edge tubes and was built laser straight (no curvature built into the leading edge construction). It also had a deeper "vee" 12 inches instead of nine.

We used a printing process to create solar system scenes from Illustrator on nylon and the two kite locked together in flight through rare earth magnets countersunk in vinyl tubing that also incorporated the spars' end-caps. (polarity matters during this assembly, HA!)

looks like a fun experiment, enjoy and keep us advised of your progress.

cuben fabric interesting to you yet?, since you're working towards no-wind anyway

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What is this "cuben" you speak of? Definitely interested!

This will fit a 1.5 frame, but has nearly 400 square inches more sail area, although I am considering changing the aspect ratio. I would prefer it use a regular 1.5 frame -- we'll see.

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Phil Broder stocks it at his kite builder site,

it comes in all different weights, backpack thickness, tent, tarp, super light weights too, like Orcon, that delicate. It's a laminated product, the strands aren't woven, it's "bonded",... comes is a couple of semi translucent colors. There's a Black 1.0 weight that's a perfect replacement to the out-of-production mylar-backed nylon I used to prefer for custom leading edge sleeves.

I believe those printed rev-sail folks in Europe are also offering a model of Cuben fabric in the near future, although I'm not sure of their exact weight.

Misses told me to buy some and give it a try,...

..... it's 35 dollars per square yard, Icarex, on the other hand (always reliable, dare I say the best fabric for sport kites?) is like half of that amount!

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