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Can anyone provide some information that would be helpful in purchasing used equipment, specifically kites?
This is probably a loaded question, but where are repairs acceptable (center of kite as opposed to being closed to the edges or on the edge itsself). Some postings seem to have been repaired professionally, others using some type of marine tape. How well do such repairs work? Will they alter the performance of the kite at all?
What else to look for? Faded colors indicating too much sun exposure (Does this hurt the bladders, or only when pumped because of expanding air?)
Have seen other postings stating that fabric is still crisp. Is this something that affects the kite, or something that makes the buyer feel it is in "like new" condition?
What about number of times used. Would a kite that has been ridden 60 sessions and taken good care of work as well as one ridden 10 times and also taken good care of?
What are the signs to look for of abuse or neglect, maybe like not rinsing off salt water?
Hope this isn't too much of a n00b question, but I don't recall seeing this addressed in other postings.
Oh also, what kind of discounts off retail would you expect to see with say, a used kite in excellent condition, vrs one that is a wreck, but will still fly well and is safe for learning? For a 2004 kite?
Normally, I'd go for late model equipment, and it seems with all the growth and progress of the sport that it is a smart thing to do. Because of the development of better technology, shouldn't that drive the cost of much older kites way down? If so, would a much older (hopefully CHEAP) kite be a good way to go for a first kite and forego the added performance and safety characteristcs of newer kites?
For learning, I typically do recommend a used kite. When you've got more experience and are kiting more, you will at that time be more interested in laying out some cash to expand your quiver.
As you've indicated in your questions, there is a lot to look for in used kites - type of kite, size, condition (what to llok for), what to pay etc.
There's enough to be said about "Buying Used Kites - A Primer", that it would be a great article for someone to write something up on. And there you go, you already have the title, if you want it.
I've helped many people get into used gear. Used kites can be difficult to guage unless you can actually look at it in person. There is a ton of used gear in great condition out there right now. I think that trend will continue, but I do think it is slowing down a bit as the technical advances aren't as big as they were two or three years ago. Although, there are improvements, just not enough to worry about for your first kite unless you have the $$$ and want to spend it.
General things to look for:
- Check out the leading edge and the tips of the struts. How worn are they? Does the stitching still look good? Any repairs? This is the highest - wear area, and can be a good place to see how well the kite has been taken care of.
- Bladder leaks: if you can, pump the struts up and wait around for a few minutes to see if they are leaking. Bladder leaks can usually be repaired, but it's a pain. Some leaks are so slow that you still won't notice them, and will only be a problem towards the end of a good session. Make sure to ask.
- Repairs: Every repair is different. Some are safe and won't effect how the kite flies. Others may be prone to tearing again. In general, be weary of anything that touches a seam. If a tear crosses a seam, I'd stay away. This is where you can start getting issues with kite performance. I have seen them repaired successfuly, but you can't be sure. I'd always look for something that was repaired professionally. Some smaller tears that aren't near any seams can be fixed with just tape. However, professional repairs are definitely the strongest fix.
- Fading: Kites are made of plastic. Plastic does break down and get more fragile in the sun. A lot of sun exposure also fades color. Some fading is to be expected, but stay away from kites with heavily faded fabric. The fabric will tear, and seams will rip more easily. Sun will have the same effect on bladder material.
- Crisp Fabric: The only thing I can think of that may make this more desireable is water shed. The less worn nylon is, the less water it will hold. This can effect the weight of a kite, wich can effect performance. I'd guess this is just included to make the kite sound "new". I wouldn't worry too much about it.
- Amount of use: The more something is used, the more wear it has. If you can, look at the leading edge (as stated above) and any other signs of wear. I don't think there is any good rule to follow about the number of times a kite has been used.
- Kite lines: If the kite comes with lines, you probably will want to get a new set to pack around with you in case the old ones break. Actually, this is a good idea no matter what. Lines do wear out and need to be replaced on occasion. Be prepared so you can get back in the game as quickly as possible in case of a break. I have friends that pack around extra bars with line pre-stretched and ready to go just in case.
I'm sure there's more info out there. Others may have different opinions. This should give you a bit of a foundation to stand on when looking at used kites.
Here are a couple of quick plugs for places to find used gear:
-http://www.kiteworld.net/used-kiteboarding.shtml (If you have any questions about gear found here, just give them a call. Ben is really good about helping out with this sort of stuff.)
-http://www.kiteboardingclassifieds.com (No one here for advice, but a good place to look anyway.)
I hope this helps. Good luck!
We have a number of used and 2004 models available right now, that could potentially be what you are looking for. Don't hesitate to contact us via email or phone to further discuss.
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