Info - Control Bars


Kite Control Bars

The control bar is a solid metal or composite bar which attaches to the kite via flying lines. The rider holds on to the bar and steers the kite by pulling at its ends, causing the kite to rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise, much like turning the handlebars on a bicycle. Unlike a bicycle, the bar also can be pulled in or pushed out which controls the angle of attack of the kite to adjust the amount of power the kite provides. While kite control bars are made intentionally light, they must also be very strong, and so are usually heavier than water; bar floats made of foam are generally fixed to the lines or integrated into the ends of the bar itself to keep the bar from sinking if lost in the water.

A chicken loop from the control bar attaches to the spreader bar on the rider's harness. This allows the sheeting in and out action and also takes the strain of the kite power off of the arms, translating it to the core of the rider for more control and a lower center of gravity. The chicken loop also has a safety quick-release system that allows you to take all the power out of the kite in an emergency. Releasing the chickenloop flags the kite out on one or two of lines, rendering the kite unable to fly. The chickenloop is loosely held to the spreader bar of the harness by the lock tube.

The trim strap/depower system, depending on the brand, can either be located above the bar or below the bar integrated with the chickenloop. The trim strap/depower system allows a slightly more permanent setting of the angle of attack of the kite than moving the bar in or out, so on windier days you can pull on the trim/depower strap to change the default angle of attack of the kite, allowing for a slightly different range of power during flight than normal.

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Kite Fly Lines

Fly lines are made of a very strong, technologically advanced material, frequently Dyneema. Flying lines need to be strong in order to handle the dynamic load of various riders in unpredictable wind while also maintaining a small cross-sectional profile to minimize drag. The lines connect the rider's control bar to the kite through the bridle or directly to the leading edge. Most kites use a 4 or 5-line configuration. 5-line kites are becoming less frequent and typically only found on C-Kites; the 5th line is used to aid in water re-launching.

Fly lines come in many different lengths, generally between 20 and 25 meters as a standard line length for most brands. Shorter and longer lines are not unheard of; experimentation and application of different line lengths is common in kiteboarding. Longer lines will give more power when the kite is actively flown and can sometimes reach cleaner (less gusty or turbulent) wind higher up at the expense of slightly slower turning reaction of the kite and are most commonly used in light wind conditions. Shorter lines will speed up the reaction of the kite, allowing quicker turning or loops at the cost of having slightly less power. Short lines are commonly found used when just starting to learn kiteboarding and also preferred by surf riders to quickly navigate on or off of waves without being pulled off their board.

Line extensions are also commonly used to augment a set of lines to quickly extend or shorten the overall line length on a bar as you are setting up your kite. Extensions come in sizes from 1 to 15 meters in length.

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Control Bar and Fly Line Informational Videos