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Armstrong HA925 (and Flying V 200)

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Created by djdojo 6 months ago, 5 Nov 2021
djdojo
VIC, 1600 posts
5 Nov 2021 11:22AM
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Style: Freeride strapless kitefoiling
Conditions: 12 - 26 knots
Setup: 100cm mast, 50cm fuse, homemade pocketboard (95x47cm)
Kites: Flysurfer Peak 4, 3m, 4m, 5m
Level: Advanced
Disclosure: Have received help directly from Armstrong previously and Kitepower have been helping me out recently.

Short version: I know I said at the start of this year that the HS850 was the best all round freeride kiting wing for intermediate riders and up, (and for intermediate kiters that's still absolutely true) but if you're an advanced rider who loves to ride fast with small kites and hit high upwind and downwind angles, buy the 925. If you like things loose, add the Flying V 200 tail.

Long version: There are plenty of rave reviews of these wings from prone surf foilers and wingers, but not much from kiters, so here goes. My primary comparison will be with the HS850 as the range of these wings has substantial overlap.

What do I mean by "advanced," and why does kite size relative to wind strength matter?
Compared to the 850, the 925 is a little trickier to pop up onto if you're underpowered, and this is one area where "advanced" skills will come in handy. If you like to ride bigger kites, then the 925 is easy enough to pop up onto, but you also won't reap the full amazingness of the high aspect feel, because where this baby really shines is in how little power it takes to keep it going at high speed. For the powered-up freeride kiters, especially if you're using footstraps, the 850 is probably the better choice. Taking advantage of riding relatively tiny kites with the 925 also means you'll need to be able to pull off flying foot switches with your kite low and deep in the window, rather than hanging off it closer to the way race guys do. If you're still with me, get ready for the ecstatic rambling.

While it's a little wobbly on underpowered starts, once up to cruising speed the 925 is super pitch stable, and at the same time it feels like it is looser on the yaw than the 850, and rolls just as easily, though with a different feel and timing. This is the first wing on which I'm comfortable switching feet at high speed heading off the wind through big chop with close to zero line tension. The faster you go the more stable it gets, and it sure goes fast.

I don't use a tracker, but I'm sure this wing is faster than the 850, but more addictive than the speed is the feel underfoot. It accelerates down wave faces and with little increases in wind without any significant increase in lift - it just gets faster and awaits your commands for the next High-G-force turn.

(With a bit of practise this foil also stays up at surprisingly low speeds, you just can't stomp too hard on your front foot at really low speeds, it's more like you unweight your back foot to let it drop into the start of a pump if you get too close to stalling).

Digression - I was a latecomer to the Peak4 party but now I'm here, I'm addicted. The 5m is sort of a session saver for me but the 4m (on 14m lines, 15-20knots) and the 3m (on 12m lines 18-26knots) are the perfect match for the 925. (I believe Peak 4s are no longer available so the new model should drop soon.)

The 925 smashes upwind, solid even when underpowered, like the 1050, but faster. It really makes up for the average upwind abilities of the Peaks. The faster I can get upwind, the more time I have for riding downwind, and this is where the combination of ultra-efficient foil and ultra-light kite comes into its own. I thought my 4.8 and 3.7 clouds drifted well, but they are nothing compared to the 4m and 3m Peaks that have replaced them. The range of angles and lines that I can ride on Port Phillip wind swell on the 925 with Peaks is greatly increased compared to the 850 and Clouds. Yesterday I rode upwind from StKilda to Beaumaris on the 3m Peak in a 20 knot southerly and the ride back down was sublime. (A light bar comes in handy here because with the 600 gram kite just floating, you're sort of holding some of the weight of the bar and you still need to be able to feel for minimal shifts in rear line tension to make sure the kite is where it should be. My homemade bars weigh 130gm naked.)

The top end of the 925 for me comes at about 26 knots of wind. The limit here is not speed or an excess of lift, but more that the water becomes more turbulent and the bigger wingspan gets pushed around more. When I switch to my choppedHS625 I don't gain speed (the 925 is at least as fast), but I do gain control. There's an HA725 on its way and I can't wait to see what it can do on the windy days!

The first two weeks I had the 925 I still had my 212 tail. Once I got the V (chopped the winglets right away) I never looked back. I needed a fraction more negative shim angle on the V, but once I sorted that out, it was all gravy. The V makes the roll axis sooo much looser. Possibly too loose for some so I'd suggest starting with a 232/212 if you're not sure. The V is faster, and I like it's feel and flex through hard carving turns with both the 925 and chopped 625. The V is not everyone's cup of tea so demo first, whereas if the above description of the 925 sounds good for you and your style - just get one!

Happy riding. Hit me up with any questions.

AquaPlow
QLD, 1037 posts
5 Nov 2021 11:02PM
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Hi DJ Thanks for review
Q1. Change in handling with the shorter lines on the small Peaks? + can u ignore it more?The reason I ask is was actively flying and inconsistently figure 8 ing P4 6m to stop slacking lines when light and largish swells down winding - took a lot/too much monitoring.
Q2. Differences between 60 & 50 fuse handling?

Due to bias of lite winds its bigger front wings to use smaller kites locally..
Bugger just noticed U sold 1050 recently bit bullet on one today..
Cheers
AP

dafish
NSW, 1607 posts
6 Nov 2021 7:26AM
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Hey Aquaplow,
I can answer the second question. The 50cm fuse is looser, better for tighter turns etc. I rode someone's foil a little while ago who had a 60cm fuse and it was a bit more sluggish to get into those tighter turns and s carves.
I think I am going to have to chop down some lines on one of my bars and see what the shorter lines do. I am using 17 mt lines, but when you add the mixer lines it comes to about 21 mts.
Here in JB we can start with a larger front wing on and be on a Peak4 5 meter in 10 knots and as the wind increases move down in kite size, and then by the after noon move down on front wing size. I have not really enjoyed the 3 mt Peak as it loops uncontrollably fast at times, I prefer the 4 Reo, and also the relauch ability when I mess things up. When the wind is cranking it's easy to get spanked if you are a little off your game. My range is similar to Dojo in that we both ride the 625, 850, and 1250 with the wings cut down, and I am still on the 212 tail, we both ride strapless on pocketboards. We have had some really great phone conversations on techniques, kites, riding styles, boards etc. I think I might have had a tiny bit of influence on him with the Peaks. Those kites were an absolute game changer for me when I first rode one a couple years ago. I bought one immediately

AquaPlow
QLD, 1037 posts
6 Nov 2021 8:14AM
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Select to expand quote
dafish said..

I prefer the 4 Reo, and also the relauch ability when I mess things up. When the wind is cranking it's easy to get spanked if you are a little off your game.


Thanks.. Probably a waste of coin at my skill set going to 50 fuse..
A rare 25+knts day few weeks back.. where I arrived at beach b4 swell too big to get thru.. P4 4m. 4 minutes cruising to off shore island (Old Woman at Mudjimba) waves around both sides. Got vertically ejected where they met when riding north side swell. Bit under 50 minutes swim back I had flipper to help.. + beer and wings on the mind = High Tide at beach..
Plan to try short lines... Else LEI for high winds..
Wing ding is alternative just starting to try...
Cheers
AP

djdojo
VIC, 1600 posts
7 Nov 2021 9:22AM
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A divergence from the initial topic for Aquaplow and other Peak-curious cats: I'd consider the 6m a big Peak (and as such keep it on 20m lines or so) - the 5m I'll ride if I have to, but for me the real fun starts with the 4. My favourite days are still the nuking sessions on my 2.8m Cloud on 16m lines with the chopped 625 and Flying V.

If I found myself living somewhere that didn't have year round strong wind I'd move - simple as that. If I really had to hit light wind sessions regularly I'd look at the 1550V2 and a board with large surface area and minimal rocker to make getting on foil as easy as possible with the 5 or 6 Peak.

Peak 4 line lengths - I have made bars that I leave attached to each kite. Width is the distance between rear line leaders, not the total bar length.

5m - 18m lines and 51cm bar
4m - 14m lines and 48cm bar
3m - 12m lines and 45 cm bar

The shorter bar slows the 3m down a bit, but having spent hundreds of hours on tiny Clouds, I'm used to fast turning kites.

I would not run short lines on bigger Peaks - you lose more low end than you gain top end. And on the other side, I initially ran all my Peaks on one bar with the 18m lines until I'd built new bars and the 4m and 3m are so much nicer on short lines. Crisper feel, better upwind angles, and massively reduced fluttering and increased control at top end.

djdojo
VIC, 1600 posts
7 Nov 2021 9:50AM
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Back to Armstrong kit.

Best metaphor for 50 vs 60 fuse is loosening the trucks on a skateboard. If you've not skated then it basically reduces the resistance to turning, increases the responsiveness to any input, including, and perhaps especially, unintended input. For this reason the 50 is only for those who've done some time on the 60, have already chopped down a tail or two, put some positive shim angle on, and still want a faster-turning ride.

All other things remaining equal, one change that's a good rule of thumb switching from 60 to 50 is to reduce your shim angle by half a degree to retain about the same pitch stability. This has the added benefit of the more negatively angled tail "pulling" you into turns once you lean the board over and load your back foot. This further enhances the back-footed feel of Armstrong relative to most other brands I've ridden.

I sold my 1050 after a couple of weeks on the 850. I sold my 850 after a couple of weeks on the 925. The 1050 is still an amazing wing and hacks small to medium waves like nothing else. Also a general excellent one wing quiver for heavier intermediate level kiters. The 850 is still a rocking all round wing for the vast majority of kiters.

Keep in mind when I'm singing the praises of new toys that I live in a windy place and get to ride several days a week all year round and am often out for three hours at a time, so the gear I've arrived at is unlikely to be ideal for those with less time available to hone specific technique and less opportunity to ride in strong winds. On the very few occasions that other riders (who are some of the better riders locally) have tried my board and foil setup they have struggled to even get up on the foil. So when I say "advanced," I mean a level of skill that is comfortable in all conditions, can quickly adapt to new equipment based on real-time feedback (not relying on ingrained muscle memory), and rides in a way that other competent foilers enjoy watching and respond to with "I want to ride like that." I say this not to be cocky but to help riders avoid disappointment in buying gear that may not be a good fit.

dafish
NSW, 1607 posts
8 Nov 2021 6:06AM
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Select to expand quote
djdojo said..
Back to Armstrong kit.

Best metaphor for 50 vs 60 fuse is loosening the trucks on a skateboard. If you've not skated then it basically reduces the resistance to turning, increases the responsiveness to any input, including, and perhaps especially, unintended input. For this reason the 50 is only for those who've done some time on the 60, have already chopped down a tail or two, put some positive shim angle on, and still want a faster-turning ride.

All other things remaining equal, one change that's a good rule of thumb switching from 60 to 50 is to reduce your shim angle by half a degree to retain about the same pitch stability. This has the added benefit of the more negatively angled tail "pulling" you into turns once you lean the board over and load your back foot. This further enhances the back-footed feel of Armstrong relative to most other brands I've ridden.

I sold my 1050 after a couple of weeks on the 850. I sold my 850 after a couple of weeks on the 925. The 1050 is still an amazing wing and hacks small to medium waves like nothing else. Also a general excellent one wing quiver for heavier intermediate level kiters. The 850 is still a rocking all round wing for the vast majority of kiters.

Keep in mind when I'm singing the praises of new toys that I live in a windy place and get to ride several days a week all year round and am often out for three hours at a time, so the gear I've arrived at is unlikely to be ideal for those with less time available to hone specific technique and less opportunity to ride in strong winds. On the very few occasions that other riders (who are some of the better riders locally) have tried my board and foil setup they have struggled to even get up on the foil. So when I say "advanced," I mean a level of skill that is comfortable in all conditions, can quickly adapt to new equipment based on real-time feedback (not relying on ingrained muscle memory), and rides in a way that other competent foilers enjoy watching and respond to with "I want to ride like that." I say this not to be cocky but to help riders avoid disappointment in buying gear that may not be a good fit.


Nice analyses. You have a clear and concise way of explaining things that will benefit many riders. Cheers

eppo
WA, 8836 posts
8 Nov 2021 6:53AM
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Yeh man good explanation dude for sure.

Leighbreeze
NSW, 516 posts
22 Nov 2021 2:53AM
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Thanks DJ & Fish for the excellent explanation of your P4 kites line length verses wind strength makes a huge difference in control & feel.Have Quite a few peak 4s.
Also your comparisons on Armie HS & his latest
HA 925. Was wondering regards 60cm to 50 fuse change in performance,rear 232-212 & what to use regards shims.
I love hacking up wind and gliding back on swells.
The Drift of the P4s on the HS 1550 on light wind days
is just sublime.
Frothing now to try my HA wings with the different fuse & rear combos with shorter lines on the smaller P4s.
Looking forward to what Flysurfer come up with as a replacement for the Peak 4 ?

djdojo
VIC, 1600 posts
22 Nov 2021 4:41PM
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Hi Leigh, re fuses and stabs and shims - the best answer, given you already have the different components, is to spend an afternoon in a decent breeze trying different combinations. That's how you'd learn the most. Deliberately go too far positive (2 reds and a blue?) and see what that's like. Then you'll also be more attuned to subtler instances of overshimming, as well as the fun of extreme looseness, provided you're not trying to break speed records.

For me, I want to go as loose as possible (max positive tail angle) without getting an increase in back foot pressure as I accelerate. That gives me the capacity to go as fast as I want whilst retaining decent slipperiness and responsiveness.

Regarding Peak 4s - I consider the 5m and up to be big sizes, but maybe heavier guys who want to ride the 5 and 6 in higher wind ranges will like short lines on them too.

A little bird tells me the Peak 5 is not too far away.

Leighbreeze
NSW, 516 posts
23 Nov 2021 6:28AM
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Select to expand quote
djdojo said..
Hi Leigh, re fuses and stabs and shims - the best answer, given you already have the different components, is to spend an afternoon in a decent breeze trying different combinations. That's how you'd learn the most. Deliberately go too far positive (2 reds and a blue?) and see what that's like. Then you'll also be more attuned to subtler instances of overshimming, as well as the fun of extreme looseness, provided you're not trying to break speed records.

For me, I want to go as loose as possible (max positive tail angle) without getting an increase in back foot pressure as I accelerate. That gives me the capacity to go as fast as I want whilst retaining decent slipperiness and responsiveness.

Regarding Peak 4s - I consider the 5m and up to be big sizes, but maybe heavier guys who want to ride the 5 and 6 in higher wind ranges will like short lines on them too.

A little bird tells me the Peak 5 is not too far away.


Hey Dj yes cheers for the shim info.
Am probably just over careful by not using any shims and trying 60-50 fuses to start with.As well as just changing rear wings from V2 300 to 232 which gave me quit a bit e tra turn radius & looseness.
I will experiment further as I progress.
Being 110kgs I find the P4-5m my less used.Sold my 4m.My 8m-11m being my main light to moderate P4s
I run the larger 11-13m on 17m lines to speed up them up in turns,sometimes the 8m.But Will try the 5-6m on 13-17m lines Moderate to fresh .
Doctor Dave reckons Flysurfer aren't far away with the release of the P5 but very secretive understandably.

ice
VIC, 219 posts
9 Dec 2021 3:24PM
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Select to expand quote
djdojo said..
Peak 4 line lengths - I have made bars that I leave attached to each kite. Width is the distance between rear line leaders, not the total bar


Djdojo

did you make your bars using purchased components or just modify existing bar and lines?

djdojo
VIC, 1600 posts
11 Dec 2021 1:15PM
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^^^ ice - I use 20x16mm (2mm wall thickness) roll-wrapped tubes from Play with Carbon for the bar. Glue 8x6 inside 10x8 for rear line leader tubes. I fill the centre and ends with runny Q-cell - epoxy bog, supported by judiciously placed eva plugs whilst curing. Bote-Cote is my resin of choice.

I stick 3mm self adhesive eva foam on the centre of the bar where my hands go and wrap it with heat-shrink fishing rod grip.

I run a swiveling stainless insert system of my own design for my centre lines to minimise cutting into the tube, and therefore reducing its strength.

The hours I spend making these bars is a labor of love and not remotely justifiable economically compared to the recent wave of commercially available lightweight carbon bars. There are however features that I like about my bars, but unless you're a fanatic and pretty handy you'll probably find a perfectly good off-the-shelf option.

ice
VIC, 219 posts
13 Dec 2021 11:55AM
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thanks for sharing

sounds like a bit beyond my capabilities and desire...



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"Armstrong HA925 (and Flying V 200)" started by djdojo