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One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:20 am
by androka
I'm interested if anyone else is trying to fly different brand kites with a single control bar. I use a slingshot compstick for my RRD Obsession, seems to work fine.

I'm assuming most 4 line kites want equal lengths of steering and power lines. However, there are other differences that could affect how a kite flies, like bridal length or where inner lines split. I'm just not convinced that they would make that much difference. Its painful having to purchase a new control bar for every brand kite you buy, especially with the Crissy swap meet coming up...

I've looked at several kites and visually compared bridal lengths. There are definitely differences in distance from kite. For example, F-One, RRD Obsession and Slingshot Rally/Keys have bridal terminating ends that are fairly close to the kite. Switch Elements have a lot more play in the bridal.

Also, different bars "split" the inner lines into a V shape at different distance from the bar. The slingshot compstick uses a swivel about 2 feet from the bar. F-One, RRD V3 split the inner lines 15 to 20 feet away from control bar.

Anyway, just wondered about this, I can't be the only cheap basterd out there trying to fly all his kites with one bar...

Re: One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:32 am
by WindMuch
These are good questions and observations. I think they're related to the recent "Useful Life Span of Control Bar & Lines" thread here:

I guess the question is: which do you trust more? The lifespan of your bar/lines or the kite itself?

Kirk out

Re: One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:45 am
by androka
yes, forgot to add that I replace the lines and depower cord on my compstick as needed. I hate the idea of tossing a complete bar just because lines are worn, however a full set of lines at can run around $180, add another $20-30 for depower and misc pigtails, etc and you are halfway to a new bar and lines.

Re: One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:01 am
by le noun
This is a question that comes back A LOT on this forum.
Do a little research and reading and you'll see there are plenty of topics treating this subject. :wink:

Re: One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:11 pm
by mikelu
Check out the Airush smartbar system, you might like it.

Re: One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:41 pm
by WindMuch
Mike is being shy. I'll post the link:

(I'm not endorsing anything here - just making it easy to see the product he's referring to).

Kirk out

P.S. I'm a big fan of bars where the front lines "Y" near the bar, not way out of reach. I self-land quite often and I like bars where you can easily reach the front lines to give the upper front line a yank to get your kite to flip down on it's face. The Slingshot Compstick bar is a good example of this and it looks like the Airush bar is similar.

One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:47 pm
by sc-surfer
OK, so brand opinions aside, here is the straight truth.

If your kites are designed to fly on equal length lines (meaning that at full power, bar pulled in to chicken loop) then ANY bar with equal line lengths will work. How well it works will be based on a couple of things.

All the bar does is make the back lines longer or shorter in relation to the front lines. The hangup you may run into is if your particular kite needs more bar travel to fully depower than the bar you have. MOST modern bars have a pretty long travel and should be fine. If your kite needs more travel than your bar has you may not achieve the maximum depower you kite is capable of.

Also, the range of adjustment on the trim strap plays a role in tuning the kite to fly in a comfortable position and adjust for conditions. Again, most modern bars have adequate adjustment range to work fine.

Where the center lines split doesn't matter unless it's within just a few meters of the kite. I haven't seen any modern bar that is set up that will cause a problem.

Kite bridle length won't matter either because regardless of how long they are, they are designed to attach to a bar with equal length lines.


If you are looking to buy one bar to fly multiple kites you want one that has a lot of bar throw and trim range. More is better. Too much throw will hurt nothing, you just won't use the full range. To little could limit the range of the kite.

I personally use the Best Redline bar for everything. It's by no means the only option but it is super well built, has a very simple and almost fail proof chicken loop release that I can reset with one hand even when it's full of sand, and a trim and safety system that is clean and functional. It's easy and very inexpensive to replace the chicken line and other parts as most are common and can be purchased at West Marine. It has a ton of bar throw range and if I want less travel, it has a sliding stopper that effectively reduces the travel. The grip is simple but comfortable and seems to last. My main bar is on season 3 with no signs of wear to the bar itself except for some fading. Most of the parts on bars are totally overbuilt and if replaced when there are visible signs of wear will be fine. Flying lines should be replaced more regularly for obvious reasons. I took a long swim recently due to a broken flying line. (granted they were almost 2 seasons old)

There's another recent thread about servicing lines and other bar stuff. Check it out too.

Don't be scared by the manufacturers hype. There is no magic in the bar. Find something that works for you and go for it. If you are unsure how a given kit and bar will perform, try it in a safe place the first time to get the feel for it.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Re: One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:21 pm
by Aloha
I'm on the new RRD bar and it is amazing

Re: One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:31 pm
by WindMuch
Aloha wrote:I'm on the new RRD bar and it is amazing

Why? What's new/different? Please share, Phil!

Kirk out

Re: One Control Bar To Rule Them All

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:40 pm
by troybo13
I started out on crappy Star Kites.

2 years ago, launching at 3rd Ave, just as I dive the kite the right back line parted. As could be expected, the kite went into a death spiral pulling me towards the rocks.
I ejected and the kite got mauled a bit on the rocks - but I was fine.

Ever since then I have a rule. New bar every 120 days or so of water time.
It gets a bit expensive with Slingshot but I change kites out too.

I just got the new 2013 Compstick with my 12m and it is a bit improved from 2012.

I have not tried the other bars, but I have piece of mind with my SS bar.