An Old Kiteboarding Control Bar VS A New Bar
A kiteboarding control bar is often the piece of equipment that is overlooked when purchasing equipment for the first time. The control bar can change the performance of a kite and provides safety to the rider. This post will break down an “old” kiteboarding control bar into two categories, one with a lot of use and one that is more than 10 years old. We will compare each with the benefits of a new control bar.
Old Control Bar: with a lot of use
It is possible to have a more modern control bar that has a lot of wear and tear. A kiteboarder can distinguish a control bar with heavy use from a newer one based on the lines. Often times newer control bars will have a coating on the lines that make them stiffer. A visual reference will be that a more used control bar’s lines will look faded compared to a newer bar.
Conditions to be aware of
Here is a list of conditions to be aware of when considering the purchase of a used control bar.
- Centerline Stretch: If the center lines are stretched longer than the steering lines, then the kite will be more prone to backstalling. It is important to tune the control bar to assure that all four lines are equal.
- Depower Mainline: Most of the kite’s energy is absorbed through the depower mainline or the part of the control bar that hooks to the rider’s harness. Over time this piece can wear and break while in use. If this part looks worn, it is important to replace it to prevent injury.
- Trim Line: This is the part of the control bar that provides the ability to power up or depower the kite while in use. Sometimes this part can be worn down to the point where the cleat does not grab the trim line to properly depower the kite. There is no concern to safety, but it is recommended to replace the trim line.
- Knots in the Line: Sometimes a knot can appear in one of the control bar’s lines. It is important to remove the knot as soon as noticed. The problem with a knot in one of the lines is that it becomes a weak point. In time, the line can snap at the point where the knot is.
- Debris in the Depower Mainline: The safety line, that the leash from the harness hooks to, travels through the depower mainline on most control bars. It is important for the rider’s safety that there is no debris in the depower mainline. In a rare situation, debris such as sand or dirt could prevent the safety line from freely releasing the kite.
Old Control Bar: outdated features
Within the past eight to ten years, control bars have reached an optimal point of safety and performance features. This section will address “old” control bars from a general perspective of greater than ten years old.
Conditions to be aware of
- Safety Systems: The primary concern with older control bars is how the safety system works. Safety systems were over-engineered and did not always work in dangerous situations. These systems should be avoided, especially by newer kiteboarders.
Vs a new bar’s safety system:
- Resetting the Safety System: If the safety system worked properly, putting everything back together is more difficult on older control bars. It takes more maneuvering of parts to get everything aligned the right way.
- Line Durability: Even if the lines are new, older control bars tended to use lines that are not as strong as more modern bars. The test line strength on newer bars is more than it is on older control bars.
- Center Line Swivel: On old control bars, there was no way to unspin the center lines when they became twisted from a kiteloop or body rotation. The only way to unspin the lines was to do a kiteloop or rotation in the opposite direction. In more recent years, control bars have the ability to untwist the center lines if they become twisted. The latest Cabrinha control bar automatically untwists the center lines while riding.
- Bar Handle: New control bar handles have become more ergonomic and comfortable for kiteboarders. The grip itself feels more robust and of higher quality. Older control bars have a handle that is more simple and basic.
- Depower Mainline/ Loop: The depower mainline and the loop on older control bars was also more simple. Newer control bars have higher quality parts that help absorb more energy from the kite to last longer for riders.