Kite Reels From China

A Variety Of High-End Reels

.. for big kites. There seem to be so many elaborate kite reels coming out of China! Perhaps it's not surprising that this has eventually happened, for 2 reasons.

  1. What bigger kite-fancying nation is there, apart from China?
  2. The appearance of high-end quality reels for big kites in the West, particularly the USA, would surely not have gone un-noticed forever, in China! Mmm, now that's a good idea ;-)

As for materials, there's a lot of stainless steel. Good strong, attractive looking stuff for kite reels that doesn't look out of place in the 21st century. However, high-impact plastic and shaped, polished wood also appear in these designs. Not for the line-holding reel itself, but for the mounts and grips.

I've been using the term 'big kites'. But really, anything as big as or bigger than our MBK Dowel Series kites would be more convenient to fly on one of these reels. Wing-spans of more than 1.2 meters (4 feet) in other words.

I love my home-made winders, but a shiny wide-diameter steel contraption would certainly get a kite down quicker! Not to mention improving my image as a serious kite flier, if I was concerned about such an aspect.

All reels are on an axle, with a handle or knob(s) to wind on line. A large proportion of all these kite reels also have a lock of some sort, to prevent further rotation when you've got the kite where you want it.

Here are some other features that might be spotted on the more expensive reels...

  • Ball-bearings for quiet and almost friction-less operation.
  • Variable-drag brake to limit the speed of the line when letting-out.
  • Padded rests and grips for comfort during those long flights.
  • Shoulder strap for comfort, particularly with the biggest kites.
A simple Stake Line Winder from Amazon is enough for most casual flyers though! Only the largest kites need something a little more sophisticated.




Fancy Reels, Interesting Variations!

Is your idea of a typical reel a simple drum on a stick, with a flange to hold the line in? Some of these fancy reels from China can look quite outlandish in comparison!

After looking at a whole bunch of images of these, I'll just list a few of the more intriguing ones, in the form of text descriptions...

Oh, by the way, Chinese manufacturers seem reluctant to actually give names to their kite reels! A catalog or serial number is about it, it seems. So I'll just list these as Reel 1, Reel 2 and so on. The last one, which does have a photo, is a real eye-popper!

Reel 1 A spoked, stainless steel design, mounted on a formed steel tube with padded rests. On the end of each spoke is a U-shaped piece which serves to hold the line. For rigidity, 2 thin steel rods run full circle around the perimeter of the reel, on both sides of the U shapes.

Reel 2 Gold anodized reel, or perhaps it's brass. Deep flat flanges, drilled with numerous holes to save weight. Not to mention saving money for the manufacturer! Mounted on simple steel tube, with padded rests.

Reel 3 Pure-white high-impact plastic reel, with a small number of sturdy spokes and a solid wall to hold the line in. A pistol-grip in the same plastic material holds the axle for the reel and also has a steel fitting which feeds out the line. This design appears to have a trigger built into the grip, to lock and un-lock the reel. The trigger is the same white plastic.

Reel 4 A solid circular plate has 2 shapes punched out of it, forming a hand-grip. Somehow a drum with solid walls is mounted on the hand-grip and is free to rotate around it. A very clean and compact kite reel actually! Perhaps not practical for the very biggest kites though.

Reel 5 A real mixture of wood and steel this one. Eight U-shaped pieces of steel are mounted around the perimeter of a wooden wheel, with large holes drilled in it to save weight. This composite reel is then mounted on a polished wooden pistol-grip. A small steel fitting feeds the line out. A bit bizarre really, and not what you would call a thing of beauty!

Reel 6 Another cut-out design. This time, a solid steel band rotates around the perimeter of the circular plate. On the band are mounted U-shaped pieces of steel, with 2 thin steel bars forming the 2 rims and connecting the U-shapes. OK, so a picture would be handy...

Reel 7 A rather spidery-looking reel with 10 steel spokes and a garish green plastic grip. The grip, plus the steel feed-out bit look a lot like one of those butane stove-lighters. No wheel in the middle, just the spokes attached to the axle housing. The U-shapes on the end of the spokes are quite small in this design.

Reel 8 Similar to number 7 except for a curious knobbly hub with holes in it, made of the same plastic as the pistol-grip handle. Large U-shapes on the spokes, in several different colors for reasons known only to the manufacturer!

Reel 9 This one resembles a large spider! 12 steel spokes mounted on a small metal disk, which in turn is attached via the axle to a slim polished wood handle. Rather small U-shape steel pieces on the spokes hold the flying line in place. No reinforcement around the perimeter! Just those spokes sticking out in all directions. It's different!

Reel 10 And finally, the most amazing, impressive piece of stainless steel kiting over-kill you might ever see... There it is below, complete with what looks like a disk brake like the ones on your car! When these kite reels were initially offered, they were asking for $600 each. Gulp.

Compare that with this Stake Line Winder from Amazon, which is fine for most small to medium sized kites.

Kite reels don't come more elaborate and expensive than this one!

 

You might have noticed that this site has a monthly newsletter...

For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!

So sign up today, and download the free 95-page e-book "What Kite Is That?" straight away. Info-packed and fully photo-illustrated.

And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.

 

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Sea-sick Barn Door Kite

    Jul 28, 14 05:06 AM

    This was an experiment with mounting a camera directly onto the kite. With winds gusting to over 30kph up high, the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite was selected...

    In a word, it was tricky. I mounted the camera as close as possible to the center of gravity of the kite, but it still ended up quite a few cm closer to the trailing edge than I would have liked. It was only practical to mount he camera - on its bendy tripod (!) - near the diagonal spars crossing point. Electrical tape secured 2 short tripod legs to the diagonal spars, holding the camera upright with the kite sitting on its trailing edge.

    It was a struggle to get enough lift to gain much height, and the kite swung dangerously from side to side. Might try the drogues next time! I did my best to urge the kite higher in mid-swing.

    Eventually, for a few seconds, the kite got to around 100 feet on almost 200 feet of 200 pound Dacron.

    A video clip will of course be forthcoming on Facebook. And only seasoned kite fliers will bother watching it all the whole way through, possibly wrestling with sea-sickness all the while. Hence the title of this post. Still, it was an interesting, if slightly nerve-wracking, outing! At shoulder level, the breeze measured around 9kph gusting to 18.5kph. Some low cloud over the hills was absolutely tearing along, perhaps up around 40kph.

    Huge Homemade Kites And Aerial Photography: This is often the topic for posts which appear here. New things are always being tried so sign up for my newsletter to stay right up to date with the latest developments!

    Read More




New! Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!

 

Return to Kiting Accessories And ... from Kite Reels From China

All the way back to Home Page

 

[?]subscribe
  • XML RSS
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

Are you just

holding the string?!

For so much more, try

MBK Tips'n'Ideas




E-books

Kite Book - Making The MBK Dowel Diamond Kite.

Download
"Making The
MBK Dowel Diamond Kite"
(see flight video!)


Kite Book - Making The MBK Dowel Delta Kite.

Download
"Making The
MBK Dowel Delta Kite"
(see flight video!)


Kite Book - The Big MBK Book Bundle

Download the
"MBK Book Bundle"





Testimonials...
(unedited)

"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

_________________

"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."

_________________

"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"

_________________

"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"

_________________


CLICK HERE

to try these books