Mono - An inside view with Ken Winner
Mono - An insight view with Ken Winner
Flying a kite has never been so easy. Only one strut, brilliant low end and super easy to steer - that's the Mono. Find out together with Ken Winner what else the Mono has to offer!
What was the task at the very beginning of the development for the Mono?
Our first thought was to try fewer struts and see what tendencies and strengths we could find in zero-, one- and two-strut kites. We tried all those options and decided that a single strut in the center gave us a kite with a lot potential in waves, on hydrofoils and at the entry level.
Why one strut rather than zero or two?
Two tip struts make for a smooth-turning, low-flutter kite, but the leading edge stability is not all we could wish for, and there wasn’t so very much difference from a Neo.
Strutless is a very light and cost effective option, but having one strut gives a bit more stability, especially to the leading edge, and we like the relaunch reliability you get when you have at least one strut.
So what next?
Once we decided that a single-strut Mono could be good in all those ways that I mentioned above, we looked at weight. You save weight when you reduce strut count, of course, so we could have used really light construction and made the Mono extremely light, but we decided to go for more durability and so put more Dacron into the canopy. This makes it more robust for wave and entry level use. Even with bomber construction, the Mono still weighs less than a Neo of similar size. The 9 meter, for example, weighs 400 grams less than the Neo 9.
I understand Dacron in the canopy tip and leech, but why did you put Dacron in the canopy entry?
The front of the canopy is sometimes between the ground and the inflated leading edge and with careless handling can get holes cut into it. The Dacron panels pretty much eliminate that.
Isn’t canopy flutter a big negative for strutless and one-strut kites?
It depends on how powered you are and what you’re doing. If you’re riding along moderately powered with the kite parked, you don’t get much flutter. When you’re steering the kite and not very powered, you’re quite sheeted in, so, again, the tips don’t luff and flutter much. As you get more powered, you get more flutter in turns. In that case, turn initiation is smooth, quick and easy, but turn completion can be slowed a bit by flutter. Interestingly, this slowing of the turning is actually good for entry-level riders. Where a novice might find a kite like the Neo too quick and powerful in completing turns, the less experienced rider is often more comfortable with the way the Mono turns.
So how does the Mono compare to the Neo in the waves?
The Mono has a slightly softer bar feel, very quick turn initiation and even slightly quicker relaunch. Power, depower and drift are similar. The place where the Neo exceeds the Mono most clearly is in the lack of flutter and consequently quicker and more precise turn completion.
What makes the Mono good for a hydrofoil?
Since a lot of riders use hydrofoils in quite low-power wind condi- tions, a light-weight kite is helpful. You can ride a hydrofoil with the Mono 12 in about 8 knots of wind. The Mono 9 works in 10 or 11 knots, so it’s nice that the Mono hangs in the air and relaunches easily.
What are the main differences between the small and the big sizes for the Mono?
They mainly vary in aspect ratio, with the 12 having the highest AR at about 5.0 and the smallest sizes measuring in at 4.5. The 9 and 12 have higher AR because we felt it gave slightly more precise bar feedback.
Why should a customer buy a Mono?
I see three main reasons to buy the Mono:
› It’s an easy, forgiving kite to fly, so very good for someone new to the sport.
› It’s comfortable, light and easy to relauch, so good for a recreational hydrofoiler.
› It’s almost as good as the Neo in the waves, but a bit more affordable.