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Gemini (Benson Kites)

 

The Gemini is a product of the ongoing collaboration between Tim Benson and top UK trick Flier Andy Wardley.  It is an unusual looking kite with radical flight characteristics The shape of things to come ...


Gemini (Benson Kites)

 

Specifications  

Name:
Manufacturer
Designer
Dimensions
Wingspan
Wind range
Sail
Frame
Spines
Stand off
Bridle
Wind range
Rec. lines
Price

Gemini
Benson Kites
Tim Benson/Andy Wardley
215 x 110 cm

87"
4-29mph
Ventex Polyester, 7 panels
5.5mm and 6mm Structil carbon
2
5 x 3mm carbon rods
Active crossover
3 - 18 mph

30-75' / 80-150lbs
140  (215 Euros)

CONSTRUCTION

The name Gemini, the twins, was given to reflect the fact that the kite has twin spines, and it is this layout which makes the kite look so unusual. The kite has twin stand-offs on each wing which create a flat channel running from the trailing edge to the nose, the trailing edge is also stiffened with Dacron to maintain the flat shape. A fifth stand-off is placed in the centre between the two spines, which gives the sail its 'W' shape. 

The frame of the kite is 6mm Structil Hi modulus carbon as used in other Benson models, although lighter 5.5 mm rods are employed in the spines. The lower spreaders have a long carbon sleeve between the T-joints made from a Skyshark P 200 tube. The top spreader has vinyl sleeves over each spine position to prevent sail abrasion and the sail has Mylar reinforcement in the same place. 

The sail itself is made from seven panels of Ventex polyester cloth beautifully sewn with the glue and zigzag stitch method. The graphic is again the curvy, snowboard style employed on the Outer Space, although there is no W on the Gemini, just a subtle Benson label. The leading edges are Dacron and light webbing is used on the nose area. The trailing edge has a leech line enclosed in a tape. The bottom of each spine is held in with velcro and Dacron. The sail reinforcements are mainly in Mylar, and Mylar runs from the tail to nose of each spine but Dacron is used on the two T-joint areas. The hardware on the kite is mainly from Tradewinds (leading edge and stand-off fittings) but the 'T' connectors come from Skyshark. 

Now the bridle. Are you sitting comfortably?! The bridle on the Gemini is Andy Wardley's latest masterwork (see the interview in KP 18) and a crossover active variant. The bridle is basically a similar layout to the active bridle seen on the Outer Space - and subsequent on Prism kites - with extra inner legs which attach each spine. When the kite assembled, these crossover legs look tangled but it is deliberate. Finally there is a tri line which runs from tip to tip via both spines with an ext leg to each outer stand-off. Overall, the standard of finish is excellent, and when you consider that each individual kite is assembled and checked by the designer before dispatch, the high reputation that Benson Kites has for quality is richly deserved.

 

FLIGHT TEST

The Gemini needs a little bit of wind to be at its best; considering the extra weight of the spars it will fly happily from around 3 mph of wind. The kite maxed out at about 18 mph which gives the Gemini a very useful wind range. The wind window is also ample. 

The kite is a freestyler conceived to do the most radical moves demanded by today's top trick fliers, but the Gemini has not sacrificed other flying qualities to achieve the aim. The Gemini has the distinctive smooth Benson 'feel' and is capable of reasonable precision if handled gently, tracking is nice and wobble free, angular turns are easy but only subtle hand movements are required to get the kite to turn quickly. When you turn to more radical manoeuvres, the kite starts to come into its own. When the Gemini is on its back or front it is capable of multiple rotations.

The kite will also rotate over its nose with consummate ease which makes fades a doddle to get into and flic-flacs easy. All this means that the Gemini will do multiple lazy susans, multiple backspins, easy flat spins and 540s and on top of that it will recover from almost any trick and come back for more. The active bridle is designed to give the pilot much more control when the kite is in the fade or turtle position and this control combined with the tracking ability derived from the two spines gives the Gemini an edge over many other kites in its class.

CONCLUSION

The partnership between the talents of Andy Wardley am Tim Benson has now beared its first fruit. The Gemini is a strikingly beautiful kite that is, pleasure to fly. The twin peak! of brilliance in the design are the quality of its 'classic' flight characteristics - provided by the twin spine arrangement combined with the ability to perform the most outrageous radical tricks courtesy of the flattened outer wing shape, Benson and Wardley have combined to surpass the Outer Space (last year's KP kite of the year) with a kite of true excellence in both build and flight quality. 

Good Points Bad Points
Radical trick capability
Superb construciton quality
Accessibility
Price
No instructions (yet)
Verdict  
Accessibility
Reliability
Design
Quality/Price ratio
Performance
Packaging
4/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
3/5

Review from Kite Passion
Oct/Nov 99

 

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