Sport kite setup & tuning

jump links –

Setting up your kite…

Wingtip tensioning

Leading edge tension
    • The leading edges on my sport kites are encased in either 3.9oz Dacron or 1.5oz. nylon.  The perfect tension is one that just takes the puckers out of the leading edge.  Over-tensioning your leading edge will cause the fabric to stretch prematurely.
    • I ship kites with the leading edges properly tensioned, but the fabrics may stretch slightly over time.  If you need to re-tension the leading edge, loosen and re-tie the overhand knot.
    • If you need to make small adjustments to L/E tension, just put a couple twists in the closed-end loop before you hook it over the nock.
    • Please note that the nylon used in our UL kites will expand when wet and may cause temporary less-than-optimal tension. Please don’t re-tension the leading edge of your kite when it’s wet. The nylon will recover to its original size as you kite dries out.

Lower spreaders

It’s important to connect the two halves of the lower spreader at the tee before inserting the ends into the leading edge connectors. Making the joint at the tee last risks cracking the female lower spreader.

    • When I ship kites, the standoffs are not attached to the sail.  To install them, just twist and gently push into position.
    • I don’t recommend removing the standoffs on a regular basis.  Doing so could prematurely stretch the holes.
    • With the exception of the outer standoffs for the Mamba, the sail-side standoff fitting doesn’t get or need an o-ring.
    • The main standoffs on my kites tilt inward slightly. This isn’t a mistake, it helps push the spreaders into the T fitting.

Mamba notes –

The Mamba comes with two sets of inner standoffs, which allows you to make a change in the basic feel of the kite.

Let’s call the default standoff configuration the “classic” setting. This gives the Mamba a bit more of an “old school” feel. Turns are a little tighter, and axels are perhaps a little flatter. It also has a slightly lower wind range at both ends.

  • In your standoff bundle, you’ll find two .060 fiberglass standoffs, which go furthest out on the spreader, towards the wingtip. let’s call this hole #4. These are the only standoffs that have a retainer o-ring.
  • Moving inwards are holes # 3, 2, and 1.
Standard and vented
  • The longest of the standoffs is used in hole #3. This is a 3mm carbon rod @ 10.25″
  • Hole #2 is unused.
  • Hole #1  gets the shortest of the carbon standoffs. These are 3mm @ 8 1/4″
  • For the UL, we’re going to use the 9 5/8″ standoff in hole #3.
  • The inner standoff is 8 7/8″ and goes in hole #1
  • Again, hole #2 is unused
“Black Mamba”

The alternative setting for the Mamba is what’s become known as the “Black Mamba” setup. This gives the Mamba a bit more of a “contemporary” feel, as well as improved speed control. It also raises the wind range slightly at both ends.

  • Hole #3 gets the longest of the standoffs. This is a 10.25″ carbon rod.
  • The next longest standoff is 9 5/8″ and goes in hole #2.
  • The inner hole (#1) is not used in this configuration.
  • These settings are the same for all three versions – std, UL, and vent.
Standoff fittings
  • Fittings (measured from the outer edge of center T to the inside edge of the s/o fitting) should be at 6″(15.2cm), 14 5/8″(37.2cm) & 28 5/8″(72.8cm) for the Standard and Vented
  • The fittings for the UL should be at (need), 14 5/8″ & 28 5/8″
  • For the “Black Mamba” configuration, the inner fitting gets moved out to (need)

4 thoughts on “Sport kite setup & tuning

    1. For the most part, yes. The current generation has slightly shorter middle standoffs. let me know if there is anything specific you have questions about. You can find “legacy” parts specs via the parts archive link in the page footer.

    1. Hi Jim. My old yardstick has a mark at 22 1/4″ from the top outside corner of the nose, which I’m pretty sure is the roll-up position, but it’s been several years. You might verify this with a post on either the BMK Facebook group or the GWTW forum. Please let me know what you learn.

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