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Prism Zephyr

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 8:30 am
by Zippy8
Having been more than a little abrasive about this kite when it appeared a couple of years ago I'm as surprised as anyone to have accepted one in a trade. But I did so here we go :wink:

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It's not an unattractive kite. It's a very conventional shape and design. It's made from the same sort of materials you'd expect from any other kitemaker. There's a few oh ? moments in some details but nothing weird or puzzling and quite a few nice touches.

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Bridle attaches to the spine below the centre T.

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Clamped in yoyo stoppers.

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Base of spine tensioning attaches to sewn in area on sail and 17g. plug in weight.

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Covered LEs, tied in US, stitched bridle.

The wingtips are conventional nocks, with an end cap tidying it all up. The bridle adjustment has limiting knots to keep you within the working range. Framing is 3PT LSs, P100 LEs and, possibly oddly, a P300 spine (which if we are to believe Prism's latest design explanation is to give it poorer turn response and more difficult yoyos :P )

All in all, you get a nicely screwed together kite with all the right bits. It's a conventional design that sticks to well proven practices. So.... to the flying field :-)

I've only given it a short work out and on pretty ropey lines but it didn't surprise me with any bad behaviour. Axels were Fractured, the Back was Spun, the Yoyo Cométe was.... nah, let's not go crazy :wink: But it does the stuff. Maybe it's a little too eager to turn (ie; oversteers a smidge), I overcooked Snap Turtles more often than not and it took care to pop smoothly into a takeoff Fade. Nothing major and nothing I couldn't adjust to.

I reckon it's probably all the kite almost everyone could ever use. It's absolutely fine.

But....

I can't stop seeing a CdC kite up there and it's a well manufactured item rather than well crafted. For the forum-bothering kite enthusiast there are better badges to be seen flying these days with better quality (for a higher price). I'm not sure if this will be a long term kite for me - I've already got kites of a similar nature I enjoy more - but I'll give it a fair shake. I'll probably find some 5PT LSs too.

Oh yes... the case. This probably explains who this kite is aimed at. Room for two kites, both broken down (so not flown regularly). It might come in handy for something but I'm not sure what.

Mike.

Re: Prism Zephyr

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 10:35 am
by tunemx
Zippy8 wrote:
It might come in handy for something but I'm not sure what.


I think the case is just perfect for travelling fits to smaller cars or bikes etc.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 11:59 am
by adicakes
The stitching along the spine looks bloody ugly. :(

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 12:25 pm
by kareloh
We had an eggplant SephyrTX on loan and i thought it was pretty dissapointing in flight. I expected a light, easy flying and super floaty kite.
It felt sluggish and heavy. Build quality is nice and i did like the box it came in.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 12:48 pm
by Zippy8
kareloh wrote:
I expected a light, easy flying and super floaty kite.

It really is nothing like that. It's a Light-of-Standard kite, not even a UL, and flies that way too.

It felt sluggish and heavy. Build quality is nice and i did like the box it came in.

Yeah ? :-k There's mass there certainly but I wouldn't describe it in those terms. The build is fine without making me want to stroke and caress it :lookround: The box/case isn't a good solution for just the kite (I got a proper Prism sleeve in the trade) but might come in handy on (rare) occasions.

£200 in the UK though.... :shock: and it doesn't feel like two hundred quid's worth of kite.

Mike.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 2:59 pm
by Mark E Mark
Hmm...I can think of a number of other kites I would buy before this for £200.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 3:38 pm
by Zippy8
But you're paying £200~$250~210€ for a kite, two sets of lines, two sets of straps and a hard case. Now how much of that package is of use to Us Lot is debatable. It's a pretty good kite but you're paying for the other stuff too.

And yes, I wouldn't pay £200 for that package. I might have paid less for just the kite though.

Mike.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 4:00 pm
by damp_weather
Mike,

You didn't get this as part of trading away your black QPro did you?...


OK - My twopence. - The Zephyr - not my favourite kite, for its size and despite its framing, it is heavy - I measured it as 300 to 310 grams without tail weight. My scales might be out, but for comparison, the QPro standard is a similar sized kite and the same scales say that is 320 grams without weight. I can only guess that the weight is due to the sail itself. So I suspect that it is crying out for a reframe of the leading edges and lower spreader in P200 and 5PT.

We own one of the first ones to have been imported into the UK. The leach line quickly worked through its sleeve at the base of the spine. Hopefully this weakness was fixed in later models? The other problem with early models was that the bridle line sometimes was of inferior quality, elastic, and also the conventional stopper overhand knots on the pigtails would come undone during flying.


It is very good at tricks (just naturally slower than many kites - which is good for learning). But it dislikes lumpy winds more than other kites. Also the knots limiting the bridle adjustment should not be taken as gospel. A few months after it was released, on the Prism forum Mark Reed said that in order to fly in 1 - 6mph winds the adjustment should be taken to the top knot or 1/2 inch above it, and the top spreader should be removed.
Taken as it is supplied, then it has a sweet spot in 6 to 10mph.

Regarding the P300 spine, I suspect that P300 was chosen as it was strong enough to be used as a single unmodified piece of Skyshark P series. Otherwise they might have had the expense of inserting an internal ferrule where the centre tee attaches.

Agreed about the oversteer. Despite this, it is interesting to see it being used by two regular display teams at festivals.

The case has turned out to be the most useful part of the package for us. A true hard travelling case in just the right shape for a pair of kites - Somewhere to keep the SULs safe.

And £200 does seem alot to pay for this kite. - Just as well that, as well as the accessories that you get with it, there is a 12% discount on it at the moment, making the actual UK price nearer £175 + postage. This is getting closer to what it cost when it was released, and before the pound worsened against the dollar.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 5:07 pm
by Zippy8
damp_weather wrote:
You didn't get this as part of trading away your black QPro did you?...

I did not.

for its size and despite its framing, it is heavy - I measured it as 300 to 310 grams without tail weight.

I weighed it at 295g. with the weight. This makes it a bit heavier than another Light kite I have but it packs full reinforcement, quite a complex sail, etc. As I said... it's on the Light side of Standard.

So I suspect that it is crying out for a reframe of the leading edges and lower spreader in P200 and 5PT.

I think it'd be interesting to see how it turns out with 5PTs in LS and maybe 6mm stuffed into the LLE but it works quite well as it is.

Regarding the P300 spine, I suspect that P300 was chosen as it was strong enough to be used as a single unmodified piece of Skyshark P series.

I dunno but I reckon the bridle attaching away from the centre-T is at least part of the reason. With lesser spars I suspect you'd get a lot more wobbliness and occasional breakages in heavier winds.

And £200 does seem alot to pay for this kite.... the actual UK price nearer £175 + postage.

Even so, I'd be a lot more inclined to buy this kite if it were without the extras that might be nice but I either have or don't really want.

Mike.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 6:43 pm
by Fiction
damp_weather wrote:
It is very good at tricks


or...no it's not

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 9:30 pm
by damp_weather
Fiction wrote:
damp_weather wrote:
It is very good at tricks


or...no it's not

...Well it goes into deep back flips, and wraps easily...
When the wind is right, I feel that this is the most easy to trick of the current (E3 not included) Prism line-up.
The wind was right in the afternoon on (I think it was the) Sunday at Blackheath festival last year at a steady 6-8mph. I think you were nearby (several other Purley Wayers were there), but as I wasn't crashing nor doing anything more spectacular than axels, fades, Susans and rungs of Jacob's Ladders, there was no reason you should have noticed. - Of course none of the tricks were as fast as in the trick-out in the arena later that afternoon.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 9:39 pm
by damp_weather
Zippy8 wrote:
So I suspect that it is crying out for a reframe of the leading edges and lower spreader in P200 and 5PT.

I think it'd be interesting to see how it turns out with 5PTs in LS and maybe 6mm stuffed into the LLE but it works quite well as it is.
Mike.

Agreed that it works quite well as it is. The argument for a reframe went as follows: 1) The kite is almost as heavy as a standard, and likes being flown in standard kite sort of winds. 2) But the LEs and LS are thinner spars, and will be more likely to break. 3) As using thicker spars adds so little (<15grams) to the overall weight , why not change the 3PT for 5PT or P100 for P200 and have the kite framed in standard strength materials?
When the kite first came out, and the first breakages happened, some (at least two) early adopters did just this. They didn't report any problems afterwards.

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 6:18 am
by tpatters
I flew mine pretty heavily for 9 months and never broke any sticks. I even flew it in very high winds at times.

My complaint was the trailing edge wear. Mine was one of the earlier kites sold, so I would hope that they switched to a much better edge material.

Considering that the kite sits to deeply in a turtle and lazys and rolls up so easily, it really needs a tougher trailing edge. Mine wore out rather quickly, but the rest of the kite was in good shape.

I would for sure slap some sort of reinforcement on it if I get another one.

For sure, I think it is the best tricking kite that Prism has in its current line-up.

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 7:04 am
by Fiction
damp_weather wrote:
Fiction wrote:
damp_weather wrote:
It is very good at tricks


or...no it's not

...Well it goes into deep back flips, and wraps easily...
When the wind is right, I feel that this is the most easy to trick of the current (E3 not included) Prism line-up.
.....


You see I don't have a problem with that statement now that you've qualified it by saying it's better at certain tricks than other Prisms. Saying it's good at tricks when at that price range there are some pretty awesome trick machines available is a bit misleading.

I didn't go to Blackheath but so long as you were enjoying yourself that's all that matters.

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 3:35 pm
by Zippy8
Someone asked me about the case which has been discussed here, so....

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It's not a rigid case, the two halves are hard but flexible. Whatever is inside is well protected but not invulnerable. The inside is covered in soft fabric. You've got room for two broken down kites neatly held in place with velcro straps, three line sets held with bungee and a zippered pocket with a mesh window for both knicks and knacks. In a pinch you could even take a third kite outside in the channel below the shoulder strap.

It's not uncomfortable across the back when riding a bike and would be fine as aircraft carry on.

It's a quality piece of kit that I can see myself hardly ever using.

Mike.