Started to hear some stories from kite repairers that are now wondering if some brands of kites are now building kite that wont last 3 seasons ??
Could this be the strategy ( from some of the kite brands) for us to have to replace our kit every two years from now on to achieve reliability?
Unless a kite has been thrashed / trashed I cant see a reason that a kite should need to visit repairier for a long time!
Perhaps we should start a 'longevity thread' here - kind of worried that I might only get a year or two out of a $2K plus kite !! - or 6 months out of a new 2nd hand model
What have you heard out there about the new 2012/13 kites and their Brands different approaches to equipment longevity?? - are they even thinking about the cash we splash??
I'm keen to canvas your thoughts!!
Buy two pairs of jeans, put one pair in the drawer, wear the other pair twice a week and wash that pair weekly.
After a year, remove the other pair from drawer and test the fit of both..........
It would be a very bad move for any brand to do that as there will still be brands doing lots of testing in new materials and looking for reliability in heavy conditions. As soon as one brand became known for using less reliable materials that would be the end of it for them unles they dropped their price heavily and moved into the low price point sector of the market.
Not in direct response to the thread, but as far as longevity is concerned, I find bladders and valves to go way before the kite itself deteriorates.
I have SS gear, 2 kites, used regularly and cop a beating. After one year problems with baldders and valves start, second year commonly replacing third year it becomes a serious pain in the arse. However after three years the kites themselves and the bar and lines are in very good condition, have not lost shape.
My point is, perhaps more focus needs to be directed toward the weakest link (bladders valves) rather than sewing on kevlar "wear pads" to give an image of durability where more often than not, the reinforcement is not required as its 90% aesthetics.
I think you need to look at a comparable sport and see if your concerns of durability are founded.
A kitesurfer using his equipment regularly during the peak season would use his gear far more than a sail boat using a spinnaker. But most spinnakers on a competitive boat would only be expected to last 3-4 seasons tops. Unless you are sponsored and get a new set every season.
The problem is manufacturers have to walk a tightrope between durability and performance, with one coming at the expense of the other.
From my experience/observation if you only get 2 seasons out of a kite you are either
a. getting out there so much and pushing it so hard you really shouldn't be complaining, or
b. You're not looking after your gear well enough.
FWIW My newest kite for 3 years old - I had a quiet season 2011-12 but I see no reason why I can't get another season out of it. I've had to replace pigtails, centre ropes, pulleys and lines on it, but I don't think that's unreasonable.
Admittedly my kites do live in the car through summer. Back in the day the adhesive used was very sensitive to heat and valves would peel off. This has not been the issue I have experienced on my newer age kites (2010 vintage), although if it were, I am sure they could spend the time on devising a design that will allow this, its a practical requirement/reality of kiting IMHO.
I have a mate the is very prudent and actively takes his kites inside after each kite and he has the same problems as I..
One of the issues is a simple design flaw in the valve. Easily rectified. Perhaps an R&D suggestions email box etc could be a good idea for some of these manufacturers..
I used to drag launch my kites and wore them out in a year.
Now teather launch and the wear rate of my kites has dropped significantly.
my oldest lei is 2010 so it coming up 3 years. it still looks crispy. to be fair its my least used lei.
But my most used kite is 2011 unit and its also looking pretty darn good. i'm going to get another year out of that sucker too.
PS i fly year round over 100 sessions per year. so my kites get alot of use.
To add to my previous post re R&D suggestions box, best suggestion each year gets a new kite..
I have been flying a 2007 model kite up until last weekend i self lauch everytime as no one is where i kite so i will test this therey and get back to you as the new 2nd hand kite is 2011 so we will see how it goes i think that 5 years isnt bad and yes the kite still flys good has some scuff marks on leading edge and some litle paches on some little cuts . It was just time to upgrade . I will still fly it from time to time as it is not worth selling it for $200 dollars if i was lucky . The lines look more of a satian colour than shiny but still no real sign of wear . Kite washed in salt water on pack down and left to dry lines , board and harness in fresh so i would say my wash down is working .
boosting low wind performance can mean using lighter cloths to keep the weight down which in turn means less life in a kite. kinda differentish point but still relevant
Interesting comments! All of my kites get used as much as I can - and at this time I'm more than happy with longevity - most are 2010.
BUT - I have heard that a prominant kite repairer is seeing alot more kites of a particular high profile brand for stitching failures and generally poor build quality - a 2011 or 2012 kite shouldnt be dominating 'failure repairs' (must be just out of warranty to be turning up in a kite repair shop??).
Its good to hear that there arnt any other 'horror kite brand' stories popping up as most of us cant afford to fork out for new each year!
Good winds and waves.....