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2011 Blade Kites
Overview from Blade HQ
Every year we start with the same question… What developments should we focus on that will raise the bar on our ability to give our riders a high performance experience that is functional, dependable, safe, and affordable? It’s a general question, which is made more specific by considering each products specific progression objectives. There are some things common to all our kites, but each of the three kites we develop has unique goals, and so the principle solution to that basic question works out differently foreach kite.
All the kites are treated with the same high level build construction. We aim for the optimum balance between durability and performance. Many details have been improved and refined, such as the MAD2 connections, the control point connection stitching, or the reinforcements of the canopy at the connection of the struts and the LE. The visual design of the new kites is very invested. We worked with internationally recognized artists to create original work that goes beyond the usual sporty kite graphics to bring something fresh and exciting to kite culture. But more on that in a bit, first let’s look at what’s progressed in each kite.
The 2011 Prime is a true freestyle kite. 2010 its focus was an all around advanced/freestyle kite, and in 2011 the geometry is decidedly defined for dedicated freestyle and aggressive riding. Fast powerful turns, huge pop, direct feel, and continuous solid power through hooked and unhooked maneuvers.
To save words, this years Prime is unbelievably exciting and high performance, it’s the best we’ve ever made, and riders who like to push the envelope are going to absolutely love it.
The 2011 Vertigo is a seriously fun wave kite, and because of the those same characteristics, it is also an excellent beginners and school kite. It’s defining characteristic is stability, so riders get a very predictable flight which inspires confidence. Typically we have advocated the Trigger for beginners, but with the new shape of the Vertigo in 2010, and with the refinements for 2011, we feel that there is no better choice. The Trigger is slightly more sophisticated in it’s flying characteristics, and more powerful, while the Vertigo is comfortable sitting at the edge of the window, minimizing sheeting back, with the ability for massive depower. Additionally, it has tremendous stability while producing quick pivot turns. These characteristics make it a great wave kite, as well as an excellent kite for beginners and schools. The Vertigo handles high conditions very well, the upper limit of the kite is excellent. The Vertigo’s primary geometry is very effective and remains mostly unchanged, yet we refined the turning, especially focusing on the larger sizes. Generally speaking, the Vertigo is much gentler than the Trigger, and it will be easier to use for wave riders, beginners, lighter or less powerful riders (many women find this to be their weapon of choice). This kite has been drawing in the compliments worldwide from these riders.
The 2011 Trigger is the kite of choice for those who like to do it all. The Trigger is well mannered and designed with sophisticated flying characteristics. A beginning riders can develop their basic skills, and advanced riders will find the kite inspires confident progression. The trigger is geared towards a continuous “static” power, which means the rider will feel the kite all the time. The bar pressure remains the same as last year, being the highest of the three kites in Blade’s line. The 2010 Trigger preformed strongly at the low and mid wind range, and for 2011 the Trigger’s high wind performance has been significantly improved, increasing the kites over all range. An excellent all around refined performer, those who like having all kinds of fun and enjoy feeling some power will swear by this kite.
The construction changes for 2011 focused on improved durability for regular wear and tear, as well as extreme impact. Here are some of the refinements:
• bridle attachment point – Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the 2010 attachment points, we developed
a new technique which improves their strength and durability. This new construction is mainly constructed from the inside of the LE and has twice as many re-enforcements as the previous one. First the webbing is placed with one layer of insignia tape over it. The webbing and the insignia tape around it is then
double zig-zag stitched. Finally, another bigger layer of insignia tape is applied around the first one, and is again double zig-zag stitched all the way around. This new construction will handle larger LE impact loads as well as reduce wear from abrasion.
• Crash Proof insignia tape – The Crash Proof was introduced in 2010 and has been very effective, but in testing under extreme loads through out 2010, we found
the optimal width to spread these loads on a larger area. We increased the width of the insignia tape by over 50%. It now can withstand substantially greater impact
and keeping the canopy intact.
• LE connection reenforcement – After monitoring and analyzing load dispersion in crashed kites both in the material as well as through ultra slow motion video, we have isolated that key area that absorbs major forces during a crash as well as how those forces distribute at impact. The key area is around the LE and strut connection on the struts closer to the wing tips. For 2011 kites, this area has been treated with stronger construction and is being made with a double ripstop layer. The force during a crash will be distributed more effectively through this new connection and spread out evenly, ensuring durability of the kite at substantially greater impact loads.
• MAD2 connections – Blade’s one pump system maintains our functional simplicity to ensure reliability and ease of use. For 2011 we have produced a custom connector that allows elegant connection of the MAD2 tubes, with snap in place connection and disconnection which makes maintenance easier than ever before.
2011 blade bar
The Blade Bar featuring the second generation Swivel Dome quick release received further refinements for 2011. For 2011 we have made 3 main changes:
• Flying lines: We have been testing different flying lines in the last years, and we have found new lines which we feel are the best on the market. They only stretch about 1/3 as much as the previous lines, which is the main benefit we were after. Additionally, the wear less than the previous lines, and the breaking strength is a higher at 310kg.
• Center insert: the new custom machined stainless steel center insert is shaped to reduce dramatically the wear on the depower line, as well as protecting the EVA grip from damage.
• The Swivel Dome QR plastic has been developed to a less flexible plastic resulting in an overall stronger quick release which assures that the Swivel Dome does not release even under 400kg.