A nightmare for every kiter is a broken line. To make things worse it happens often right in the middle of a perfect session. Then the next step is thinking of a solution; buy the same lines or maybe look for an alternative?
Better to prevent than to cure
Probably the best way to prevent any breaking lines is investigating some time in what bar and lines you are using.
Which lines are the best?
One of the most important facts on a bar is the strength of the lines. A stronger line usually also means a thicker line. Thicker lines means more drag, so a stronger line will be beneficial for the durability but may also affect the flying aspects of the kite.
Finding out what you use is one thing (which is really difficult for most brands), but judging the quality of a line is not that simple. The first thoughts to a good line is a high breaking load, but there are more details that are important. When we made an initial comparing’s table, we found out it is quite complicated; information was inadequate, missing or even incorrect. To make things even more complicated many persons with a certain degree of knowledge will state that with kiteboarding we don’t reach this breaking load which is of usually easily over the 250 Kg’s (which is stated in units of daN, which is more or less the same; see a conversion tool on the web).
The additional aspects which are interesting to know are stated at the manufacturers of the kite lines. Aspects like from break load, weight, Stretching, diameter and some other information is given in the links below from some of the (Austrian Teufelberger and the Dutch Eurocord) Dyneema kite line producers. One thing that becomes clear is that simply stating a xxx kg line strength is not the way to compare lines. You need to know much more…Sadly current information is really poor. Most kite brands seem very good in bragging about the quality but it is close to impossible to verify. Brands that do state information, especially verifiable information like the brand and type of lines provided, should be rewarded.
Link to Teufelberger’s kite line range: http://www.teufelberger.com/uploads/tx_txconceptadownloads/14-05-16_Kite_Leinen_Folder_2014_web_01.pdf
Link to Eurocord’s kite line range; http://www.eurocord.nl/kitelines/introduction
As we got into this subject deeper and deeper the more complicate it got. More details to look into, old and missing information from almost all brands. On top of that we don’t know for sure which lines are better than others. What if your 500 daN breaking strength line stretches more. Or it is so thick it affect the flying of your kite. Is it still the best line?
We tried to list a few details we did find, but this is far from complete to say the least. It goes without saying that the list will be altered and added if new information comes in, but so far 9 out of 10 brands don”seem to care and don’t respond adequately.
Funny little details stated on line quality experiences can be found at the Switch kites discussion board; http://switchkites.com/headquarters/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2678 (where they admit to have switched to Teufelberger due to stretched lines from their previous supplier (but is also more expensive).
As most brands (like F-one, North, Best etc.) don’t reveal anything on their lines, there are also some remarkable issues found;Some issues we stumbled on when searching for information;
North Kiteboarding has released an upgrade kit for the 2015 Quad control bar. Before the upgrade there was a black part located at the split point, which damaged one of the front lines. Unfortunately North’s “upgrade” solves the scratching of this black part, but it doesn’t solve the second issue; One of the front lines comes without sleeve. Since the line is connected through it’s own line it will still get damaged. (It is even shown at the guided picture from North’s explanation, see below).
We contacted North by several means (FB, email etc), but we did not receive any response on our questions on the unsleeved line at the 2015 Quad Bar. update 20th July 2015; North did react but doesn’t want it to be published here.
Core Kiteboarding makes some percentile remarks on the lines used on the Sensor pro bar. It is better than nothing, but it doesn’t provide the real information;.. line sets are slightly thinner and 10 percent lighter, whilst boasting a 50 percent higher break load. All though we got some limited answers that this is 550 kg (540 daN), we still wonder why this information isn’t put on their website.
French kite line producer Cousin Trestec has it’s product line on-line in a pdf. The url for this pdf suggests these products are from 2011. It also states it produces lines for F-One, Slingshot,Takoon, Zeeko, Cabrinha, North, Best, Flexifoil, Rrd,Genetrix,Best, Ozone…This information must be outdated, since at least North, Best and probably a few others no longer get their lines from Cousin Trestec.
We asked line producer Teufelberger some questions by e-mail. Dieter Fellhofer from this Austrian company was so kind to answer them.
The answers from Dieter are stated below in purple;
My main questions are on the kite lines. I see you state them very accurate and clear on the web in a pdf. (http://www.teufelberger.com/uploads/tx_txconceptadownloads/14-05-16_Kite_Leinen_Folder_2014_web_01.pdf). The “NG” line seems to be from 2014 (as you can see in the url?).
That is true. In the flyer we give a complete overview to our range of kite lines. As we are supplying just brand owners and/or OEM manufacturers with lines (with an industrial reel length, but not to end-consumers or kite shops), we design the lines later on depending on the individual demand of our customers as well. The technical design is the same, as this is the much more critical issue. F.ex., the flying lines of North Kites (FL-10 as front and back line, FL-9 as 5th-Element line for their 5-liner) has a specific look, but the line is used on the bars of Switch as back line as well. The front line is a FL-14. Anyhow, the finish of the bar, ie. the way of line cutting etc., is something like a secret of the manufacturer and/or the brand owner. North f.ex. is investing a lot of time and energy to find out the right way, simply to guarantee the perfect line set-up for their bars.
Is there a fixed frequency of updating the productline (like once every xx year?). And for what reason would that be? Is there also the possibility that you update one line and not the other?
The development is ongoing, but it is not comparable to the model years of kites and bars. Our main focus goes on updated in the manufacturing and pre-stretching process as well as in the impregnation. The fiber itself is more or less set with Dyneema® by DSM, but we are also the only manufacturers who is offering special high-end qualities of Dyneema, like DynaMax DM20 and SK99. Zian Kites f.ex. is going with our lines made out of the very expensive DM20 fiber. This fiber offers some additional advantages over the standard quality (called SK75 or 78).
I am also very curious on how much standardized the testing on the lines is? Is there some sort of ISO standard that is followed?
This is a very good question! There is no real standard around. As I was working for about 20 years in the windsurfing industry, I started with the kite line development here at Teufelberger about 11 years ago. The approach was to design a product especially for the kite application, starting with a plain piece of white paper. We invited the PMs of important brands to specify their expectations for a perfect line and this was the basis for a test set-up, which we are still using. For your information, “FL” stands for Flying Line and we started with FL-1 in 2005. Now in 2015 the very last prototype is called FL-41 – so you see that we have worked hard and developed a lot of new lines – not all of them were meeting our expectation, but all of these lines are tested in exactly the same way. This allows a perfect comparison for us and our customers. The test shows breaking load, elongation at 20, 40, 60 and 80 daN (kg), like Switch reported in their forum as well tests for UV resistance and, very important for us as well, abrasion resistance and finally creep (irreversible elongation). We have invited also magazines to our test facilities, to show them more about kite lines.
We try to find out which kite brand uses which line. This is mainly ment ot give people an isight of what they buy. I also saw that some brands even switched from brand after some own test. (see a remark on http://switchkites.com/headquarters/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2678)
I did not know this forum, but I think that this underlines my comments from above … I am totally convinced, that our lines are showing low elongation, but in combination with highest abrasion resistance and high breaking load. Okay, the lines are not so stiff – but you know why? A stiff line will never ever be abrasion resistant.
I also see sometime remarks on the web that Kite brands have a custom made coating. Is this from Teufelberger, or is it all you can deliver in the pdf? Or do they coat it at an own facility?
The coating (impregnation) for our lines are coming from our R&D, but we can customize the look (colour). Our customers can choose the line model, but the technical development is just done internally and is one of the secrets for a line to be a good one … or a failing one.
One more question can be a bit tricky, since it may be a critical one to one of your customers, so I understand if you don’t answer it; We saw a specific solution from North kiteboarding for an attachment of one of its lines without a (end) sleeve; you can see the picture here: I am not sure what line type it is, but I suspect FL-10. I think this connection is not meant without a sleeve (line upper left in white with red in it), but maybe you have an other opinion? The otehr 3 connections do have a sleeve.
I am not able to answer this question, because the line set-up on the bar and/or the detailed specification is worked out by the brand and the manufacturer. We are just supplying the line to them, but we do not finish the line. This would not be possible for reasonable costs here in Europe, to be honest …
The kite line looks pretty simply, but I can assure you that it is a really high tech product … with a lot of development behind it. Our company is 225 years old and is producing ropes since the very first days, but with the kite lines and their really small tolerances, our technicians learned a lot about fibres and impregnations as well – which was good, because now we understand the details much better. Do not forget that a lot of lines are paraglide lines, which are in the market since a long time, but these lines do not really match with the specific demand of kite lines …
Sales Manager Sports Division