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Kops Light (Kites Unlimited)

Keops

If the design of the Kops had its admirers and detractors, the Kops Light may be the one to bring them all together. This version retains the panel layout of the original but the colours are a little more conservative (purple, grey, white and black). The sobre look gives the kite great elegance and great presence in the sky.

Specifications
ModeI:
Make:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Frame:
Sail:
Bridle:
Opt. wind range:
Rec. Lines:
Price:
Kops Light
Kites Unlimited
113x230cm
280g
Super Dooper Skinny (Avia Sport)
18 panel Ventex polyester
4 point in sleeved Dyneema
2 to 12mph
80-150 lbs / 50to150ft
Around 170.00

The Kops Light does not differ in design superficially from the Standard except in colour. It benefits from the same standard of manufacture (from HQ/ Invento) but the frame and materials used are almost all different. The 18 panel sail is from lightweight polyester. The reinforcements, all in light Dacron or Mylar, are placed at all the relevant points: stand-off points, spine/top spreader, centre T cut-out, tail, wing-tip and winglet. Only the nose gets a heavier webbing treatment. The frame is considerably lighter than the Standard comprising leading edges and lower spreaders in Super Dooper Skinnys from Avia Sport, a tapered tube similar in weight to the Super Skinny but a little stronger. The spine is from Exel 6mm and the top spreader is 5mm tube, the stand-offs are 3mm carbon and 2mm ORP is used for the winglet stays. It's a shame that these little spars are not attached in some way to the kite as they are easily lost! Kites Unlimited have made an effort to improve the hardware and this version of the Kops uses APA leading edge fittings and HQ stand-off fittings elsewhere, has a trick line as standard, a sewn loop at the wing-tips and the spine is tensioned with a Velcro strap. The only let-down was the centre T-junction which we felt was a bit too bendy.

All the leading edge connectors are kept in place with glued clips something, which is good from one point of view but makes changing a spar difficult.

The sleeved Dyneema bridle is lighter than on the standard kite and comprises a four point layout favoured by Pierre Marzin. The top and centre legs are adjustable with a knot system with three positions and they in turn are lark's head knotted to the lower bridle leg which is also changeable. This bridle layout offers many possible adjustments and might therefore take some time to set up.

The instructions (in French) offer some advice on setting the bridle for differing conditions. The black sleeve has a Velcro closure and a gauze window which allows the kite to dry in the bag and makes it easy to find in your bag. A simple yet effective package.

 

FLIGHT TEST
From the first moments in a wind of around 5mph, the Kops Light was fast and showed strong acceleration. With just a little line tension it took off and emits a characteristic light whistle. Its enormous wind window allows it to fly very high, and stay stable out on the edges. It will fly carved turns and slow loops with grace and precision. Straight line flight is stable, but it seemed sensitive to gusts and turbulence. Over 10mph the pull was stronger and the kite started to deform noticeably. Acute angular turns needed delicate handling and the frame appeared a little bendy. The Kops Light slides well but not as easily as the Standard (probably because it is lighter); stops are similarly not so easy to maintain. Landings of all types are easy even in the centre of the window and ground work poses similarly few problems as the kite seems very happy balanced on a wing-tip. The Kops Standard is first and foremost a team kite known for its precision and good ability to perform tricks. What about the Light version? All the "spin" tricks are performed with ease; axels, helicopters, double axels and flat spins can be achieved with only a little time on the kite. With a little more experience we were able to get lazy susans and 540s. Things got a little more complicated if the wind got up at all, especially half axels and cascades. The Kops Light visibly doesn't like to be shaken around! One can get the kite to do this type of maneuver but the brutal hand movements make the frame deform badly. Turtles, pancakes and poison ivy are do-able in a light wind but are again difficult if the wind rises at all. Lastly, the Kops Light refuses point blank to do a yo-yo.

CONCLUSION
The Kops Light is not a pure freestyler's kite, but its limitations in the trick department are more than made up for by its superb performance in very light to moderate wind. The kite could perhaps have done with a slightly stiffer frame.

INTERVIEW WITH THE DESIGNER

KP: Pierre Marzin, why did you design a light version of the Kops, we've already seen the Standard fly in light winds?

PM: This version corresponds to the needs of the team. We have used the Isis for very light winds but between 4 and 8mph it gets too sensitive to fly as a team kite. In the same wind speed, the Kops Standard is slow and we needed a faster kite especially for ballet. The Ventex sail gives the kite very low porosity which helps it to accelerate and increases the wind window.

KP: In the test we noted that the kite lacked a little rigidity in moderate wind.

PM: From the start the design was primarily for the needs of the team which were precise and) did not include the need for a very wide wind range. Many people found it good looking and liked the way it flew, so the Kops Light found itself on the market. It is true that stiffer spreaders would increase the wind range, but as we only use the kite in specific conditions, it isn't a problem to us. It is absolutely possible to put stiffer spars in the kite, but the kite is designed for competition where the wind can be untrustworthy.

KP: Some freestyle moves like yo-yos are almost impossible to achieve.

PM: Some freestyle kites won't fly in a straight line! The kites' all round abilities have their limits. When we are team flying, we are happy right now to do axels, cascades, slides, take-offs and landings. It's hard enough to get those done in synchronization. The Kops Light will allow us to do all these things within its wind range.

KP: This version is only for competing team flyers then?

PM: It was designed for that, but it will suit any flyer who is looking for a well made kite that flies well. Not everyone will want to compete or fly precision figures. Freestyle flying is great for having fun on short lines and some incredible things are being invented, as English flyers are showing, but unless you are as gifted as Robo or Carl it is hard to make a show, to express emotion, with a trick. Freestyle is taking us on to new possibilities of expression which is a good thing, but I think that those who will really inspire will be using a kite that really flies!

GOOD POINTS BAD POINTS
Top quality materials
Construction quality
Big wind window
Easy speed control
Limited wind range

VERDICT
 
Ease of use
Reliability
Design
Price/Quality ratio
Performance
Packaging
3/5
4/5
4/5
4/5
3/5

 

Kite Passion Magazine

This review was taken from
Kite Passion Magazine - Sept/Oct 97

 

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Extras
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