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Shiva Std (Cavaliers du Ciel)

 Cavaliers du Ciel, the French based manufacturer, is not as well known in the UK as the designers whose creations they manufacture. When these include the wild Dutchman, Robo 'le look et le style' Spitters, that's maybe not so surprising. Robo designed and flew the incredibly successful Kick kite (5 consecutive Dutch National Championship wins can't be bad) and has now developed the Shiva In five different formats, SUL, UL, Standard, Standard Comp and finally Vented.

Shiva (Cavaliers du Ciel)

Specifications
Model
Make
Dimensions
Frame
Sail
Mouldings
Bridle
Wind Range
Price
Shiva Std
Cavaliers du Ciel
235 x 120 cm
Avia Sport .230 + .220 (upper leading edges)
Polyester/Icarex PC31
APA/Jaco
Dynamic / turbo
4 to 15 mph
120

Clearly this kite is aimed at the competitive flyer although, as with most big wings, there's plenty here for the recreational flyer to enjoy. The standard version used for the test is the all Avia Sport framed version whereas the Standard Comp has a composite Avia G-Force frame and the Light and Ultra Light have Avia/Skinny and Super Skinny spars respectively.

DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION
In mainland Europe Cavaliers du Ciel are recognised for their range of quality, 'named' products and for consistently good manufacturing standards. Shiva is manufactured to a typically high level. The sail has 10 panels with a teardrop/third eye motif in the centre in two colours with wing tip panels in corresponding colours. It's not the most enervating sail design but pleasant enough. The seams are sewn with two rows of stitching in the current trend of simple laid over flat and with the edges hot/laser cut. The leading edge has a Dacron band sewn with the subtlest of zigzag stitches. Dacron is used again for reinforcements at the centre T-piece, tail and stand-offs with punishment-taking Dacron and webbing for the nose. There is no patch at the point where the top spreader meets the spine and this could easily wear through. The trailing edge is curved and sewn with a tape band and tensioning leech line. The wing tips are finished with a bungee loop and the spine with a velcro fastening. The kite does not have a trick line but one could be easily fitted if so desired.

The frame is mostly in Avia Sport .230, a carbon tube just under 6mm diameter. The exception is the upper leading edge which is slightly lighter Avia Sport .220. The leading edge mouldings are the popular APA version with stopper clip retainers at all four points and there's an Avia T-piece. The stand-off fittings are all the solid looking Jaco make with hard-top leading edge tips.

The bridle is dynamic/turbo with quite an extended yoke section. It's made from Dyneema cored black Dacron line.

Overall the finish of the kite is good with straight, even stitching all round and the kite has a solid, factory produced feel. There's a very slight curve to the leading edge and when fully framed the kite has close to a 90 nose angle. The two stand-offs of 23 and 25cm on each side of the sail give the kite a decent deep billow.

FLIGHT TEST
Given the competition nature of the kite it was tested on long (135ft/35m) lines as well as shorter (70ft/2Om) length to test out its tricky origins in the Kick. The kite is rock steady in take-off despite the turbo bridle. With its trailing edge configuration it is almost silent. Even in changing and steady winds its forward speed is constant and medium. Likewise, the straight line tracking is plumb line accurate and the speed consistent all round the wind window. The wind window itself is big, excellent for precision compulsory figures, and the handling on the edges is comfortable. You can fly a steady horizontal pass high up at90% and aground skimming 5% with equal confidence. There's little sign of tip flutter in stronger winds although the frame does distort a little as expected in a kite with medium to heavy pull.

The general feeling of comfortable stability and precision is reflected in all aspects of the cornering. Smooth steady loops are a doddle and, with its turbo bridle, it will perform remarkably tight spins (inside its own wing tip) in perfect control, hitting a straight line again with no problem. It square corners nicely with a snappy push/pull turn and hits and holds any angled turn and a straight line with ease. Hand movements can be agreeably small for a full sized delta but this means a little care is needed not to overcook a snap stall. Once stalled the kite will hold it well; it snap lands and tip stabs easily and will slide half a window steadily. A little floppiness in the Avia frame in the heavier manoeuvres would obviously be improved in the stiffer spreadered Comp version. It holds a good tip stand and will roll over and make a leading edge take-off, the kind of groundwork most people want to do these days.

Watching Robo fly there was never any doubting Shiva’s predecessor, the Kick, in terms of its trickability. The aim with Shiva is to keep that element whilst improving its precision capability. So, no surprise then that Shiva is well set up for freestyle/trick flying. Axels, cascades and extended axel sequences are all achieved relatively smoothly, even on long lines. The kite goes well into a fade and into flic-flacs and equally well into flat spins, lazy susans, etc. Like any full sized kite though, you need good coordination and to get everything just right to really nail the more radical, flat tricks. On shorter lines the responsiveness is that much better but, having such a tight spin and moderate speed, you always feel as though you've got plenty of room to manoeuvre. With the Shiva, short line flying is a lot of fun rather than hard work.

CONCLUSION
Together with Brahma and Vishnu, Shiva formed part of the great triad of Hindu gods but for many, Shiva was the supreme being, the absolute, the sole reality to become manifest in the world. This particular Shiva may not yet be up there with the gods but it will certainly take you several steps closer to heaven.

Good Points Bad Points
Very stable
Good trickability
Sail graphic
Top spreader/spine reinforcement absent

Verdict
Accessibility
Reliability
Design
Price/Quality ratio
Performance
Packaging
4/5
4/5
3/5
4/5
4/5
3/5

 

Kite Passion Magazine

This review was taken from
Kite Passion Magazine - Aug/Sep 98

 

General Kiting Info
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