Zenith (HQ Kites)
Inspired by the Sandpiper, but so different
The Zenith Is yet another from HQ's big range of new kites for '98. The design team at the German company have definitely decided that the 'Midi' size two metre kilo is the way forward this year and they are now producing no less than eight kites In this category. The Zenith is the product of the British representative of the InVento team: Chris Matheson.
Once assembled, the Zenith clearly shows its design ancestry throughout the Sandpiper style shape, although there are some subtle changes to the layout and sail shape.
The Zenith has a fairly short spine, and a significantly deep sail, with lots of billow running from the stand-off right up into the nose area. The ten panel Ventex polyester sail is cleanly built with flat glued and zigzag sewn seams in a simple, retro style graphic with black at nose and tail and a four colour stripe running across the sail.
The 70s look is accentuated with radiused Dacron used on the stand-off reinforcement and on the sail next to the lower spreader joint. It also has reinforcements as necessary at the top spreader, T-joint, nose, tail and wing tips, where a line tensioner replaces the more familiar bungee elastics.
The trailing edge is held tight and silent with a leech line and a trick line is fitted. The kite uses APA leading edge fittings and moulded plastic parts from Exel. The quality of finish could not be faulted.
Getting the Zenith to do precise turns required measured and fine controls, and it is certainly no precision machine. When the pilot gets a little more aggressive and ambitious the Zenith really starts to shine: punchy axels, cascades, flic-flacs and yo-yos are what this kite revels in. 540s are possible at any location across the window, and the kite's real ability is the possibility of putting trick after trick into combinations which the Zenith can cope with without pausing to draw breath. The Avia frame took some fierce punishment and the fittings didn't budge. The kite did occasionally hook up a flying line on the knot at the wing tip but these could usually be untangled on the ground if it couldn't be done whilst flying.
The Zenith is a very well made trick kite which delivers a pleasingly radical performance to those who are prepared to work at it. It is not and was never intended to be a precise kite, but for the ambitious learner or dedicated freestyler the Zenith plays it hard and fast and rewards the flyer who has a more aggressive style with some outrageous combinations... get out there and do it!
|This review was
Kite Passion Magazine - April/May 98
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