Forums > Kitesurfing Foiling

Levitaz Bionic - First ride

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Created by dachopper > 9 months ago, 21 Sep 2019
dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
21 Sep 2019 11:02AM
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It's not very often you see race foil reviews.... I think mainly because it's easy to see what the top guys are on in the world foil series and make your own mind up.

I bought the 2019 bionic 3 months old from another guy, who said the moses rode better after riding the bionic. Once I had the foil in myu hands and wings mounted, I could clearly see there was a manufacturing issue - the fuselage looked like it had shifted while getting machined, and the flat rear stabiliser mount plate, was flat on two different angles. Result of this was the rear stab was on a 10 degree lean vs the front wing once done up.

I tried modifying it with some success using an angle grinder ( It's stainless steel and basically unsandable and unfile-able ) , but after an e-mail to levitaz they sent out a replacement free, which mounted normally.

The build quality and precision (apart from the first one ) , is good. The 110 mast almost had no pin holes, except for the area around where the fuselage mated and is very stiff.

Ride wise, the foil seems to get up at around 10 kts, and on the first session I had it up to 25kts, needing to put the bigger ( 30 or 45 ) shimm in and also shift the stance position forward which I'm yet to try.

Compared to my aluminium alpinefoil - it feels very planted and solid through the water except for the pitch. The pitch control is sensitive and I think needs a wider stance to help control it and keep it in the water... I also found the freeride kites are less forgiving on this foil ( If needing to pump them ) because of the increased pitch sensitivity at low speed. No comment on gybing or tacking yet as I had the stance set too far back and dare not try today. It is definitely harder to turn sharp and prefers more to track in straight lines than the freeride, it just feels like it has more inertia underwater when you try move it, and sharp turns don't happen.

All for now

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
21 Sep 2019 2:34PM
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The longer 65cm free ride fuselage is much less pitch sensitive than the 55cm bionic. But the short fuselage is better in chop as it very quickly adjusts height of the foil.
I haven't mastered gybes yet, riding it toe side is difficult and I'm not good enough yet high speed foot switches.

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
21 Sep 2019 11:36PM
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Are you on the short or long fuselage ?

I found it was ok enough to use if the kite was parked, but due to wind I had to occasionally pump, and if I did that then there was some tap dancing needed.

Need some good conditions to push it next time.

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
22 Sep 2019 6:58AM
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I use the longer fuselage as I only ride the Bionic in lighter wind with a 12 mtr Soul so have no need of the quick reactions of the short fuselage. Mine is an older model, came with the V stab, which is very hard to use, upgraded to the new Bionic stab and is now a great ride.

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
22 Sep 2019 5:16PM
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I tried to ride mine on the Raze board with the plate set to neutral, but I found that I was leaning off the back of the board.... what shimm are you riding on the rear? and where abouts is the mast mounted... forward a little of the rear foot?

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
22 Sep 2019 10:36PM
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I have my rear foot behind the mast, on my North 4'10 profoil board the mast is mounted at the front of the tracks. My straps are spread as wide as the board will allow. I currently have no shim at the rear and the ride is neutral at speed but I'll probably add a thin shim to get I little more front foot pressure.

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
23 Sep 2019 8:10PM
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Went out again today, with the stance changed, but I loosened off my foot straps which turned out to be a critical error.... what sort of speed you get with the long fuselage? ..... I'll readjust the straps and give it another go.... it does seem very hard to ride above 25kts due pitch

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
23 Sep 2019 10:45PM
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Your doing ok, I'm doing runs up around the 27 knots but finding once you pass the 25 knot mark tuning is everything and I'm still changing my setup and learning as I go. The shorter fuselage is quicker in chop, but harder to use. I don't think the longer fuselage is any slower but makes the foil a pleasure to ride.
i spend a lot more time on a surf foil, only using the Levitaz in the light stuff.

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
23 Sep 2019 9:21PM
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Good to hear, it was about 25 kts out there, and I was on a 9 C-kite, so not doing myself any favours..... should have tried the 7.

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
24 Sep 2019 6:06AM
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I only use the Bionic in 12 knots and under, that's when the water is smooth enough to actually enjoy it. Otherwise I'm on a surf foil. I have used it on a 7 mtr but not much fun, the 12 Soul is the smallest kite I use with it,

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
28 Sep 2019 8:16PM
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Alrighty - 3rd ride, footstraps and mast position + shims now feel good. 20-25kts wind riding a vegas 9 meter .... classic foiling kite :)

Controllable at 27-28 kts. I have the mother of all humms though. Starts at about 22kts, then at 25kts it changes up a note, and at about 27 kts it changes again to a very high note !!!

I've now since sanded the rear stabilizer fuselage mount flush with the fuselage at the front and back, as the shim made a 1mm lip at the front and ~ 2mm at the back. Then also sanded the trailing edges of both wings on the cambered side.

I then discovered that when I connect the front foil together, if I push the fuselage hard forward into the mast, and connect the most rear stainless bolt on the stainless bar first done up hard - while pushing the stainless piece backwards ( hard against the mast ) somehow that has taken out all of 0.5 - 1mm gaps that were at the front and rear of the stainless bar + front wing to fuselage. Don't ask how this worked.... it just did... for me.

Did a few crash tacks and gybes ok... just need a little more speed. Starting to like it now !

What do you think of my secret spot :)


dafish
NSW, 1501 posts
29 Sep 2019 7:39AM
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man, what a spot!

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
4 Oct 2019 11:03PM
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4th attempt.... 28.55 kts, Any ideas on how to get rid of the humm? I tried following the levitaz video and it did nothing....

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
5 Oct 2019 4:43AM
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I followed the vid and it reduced mine, but it is still there though it is only very slight. Mine reduced the most when I worked on the tips of the rear stab. I guess the very thin stabs are prone to it if the water release from the trailing edge isn't absolutely perfect.
the 2018-2019 Naish rear stabs have a similar problem, their fix is to sand the underside of the stab (low pressure), and maintain a sharper edge , not round it. It worked but there was always a slight hum even after modification.

Juanpasala
1 posts
21 Nov 2019 3:36AM
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I ve been riding mine since the beginig of july, I got an older model with a 61cm fuselage and the new stabilizer, and at the moment I have it mounted on a custom board at 17.5cm from the back, and I am using a 65 cm stance.
I got it as an upgrade from a Banga.
At the begining I had a little trouble finding the optimum position for going upwind, but I found out that with a bit of front pressure the foil gains a lot of stability and speed whilst keeping great angles. I generally ride it in Either Souls or Sonic Race kites and I manage upwind speeds from 22 up to 25 knots which I find pretty decent.
My problem with the foil is on the downwind legs, as once I get above 27 knots the pitch of the foil becomes very unstable, and when I go above 30 knots it becomes downright suicidal unless you edge the board which tends to be a very scary experience.

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
21 Nov 2019 11:35PM
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That is the exact problem that I have. Interesting that you have the same problem, with the longer fuselage, I thought maybe the longer fuselage or the bigger rear stab would offer more stability. Now I think I will put money on the issue being the screw heads cavitating at high speeds and making the rear stab unbalanced, which is effecting pitch.

Next time I head out, I am going to put the cheese wax in all of the bolt holes , and see what I get. With my aluminium alpinefoil, I went from about 27/28kts, straight up to 31kts.

Also spoke with another guy who has riden a bionic and says 33 kts is near the top - bear in mind the bionic is a large foil, so I have since ordered the Aspect HW which is significantly smaller and more stable in chop / high speeds.

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
22 Nov 2019 4:14AM
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Same here, I find after you reach 25 knots downwind you really have to start concentrating as the foil does seam to loose some stability. I've filled and sanded my wings, better but not fixed, will be interesting to see how you go with the filling of the screw heads.

Pinko
2 posts
27 Apr 2020 8:11PM
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HI to all, finally I found a place where talking about Levitaz Bionic, I also own a Bionic and a Aspect wing with the old V stab, longer fuselage, I am now thinking to change to newer stab, do you say Dachopper is it worth of doing it as I find only rear wing in shops for more than 300euros in Europe which seems pretty expensive? Where have you bought your wing at what price? Do you guys have any second hand for sale?Cheers,Gordan

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
28 Apr 2020 5:41AM
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Definitely replace the rear stab. I sent an email to Levitaz asking about options to upgrade your foil. The offered me a 30% discount on a new stab. I wouldn't upgrade to the bionic fuselage as it is very short. I did build my own rear stab which I now know work as well as the Levitaz product. If anyone knows how to improve stability when approaching 30 knots, please reply. Mine starts to duck and weave a lot.

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
20 Jun 2020 12:07AM
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Standby..... looks like I will finally get to try out the screw head filling..... I am 99.9% sure that is the problem. I saw a picture of one of Florians race levitaz's and it looked like the entire screw assembly plate had been puttied / filled in to the point where there was a lump of putty where the metal plate was.

It makes sense, if a pinhole on the mast is causing problems, then a 4mm deep, 6mm wide crater that is the star shaped bolt hole is going to cause problems downstream for the rear stab. The rest of my mast / fins / fuselage is perfect so it has to be causing the problems

I see on the new model they have massively reduced the number of bolt heads, with only two that bolt the mast on instead of 4, and the rear end is completely streamlined with no bolts. They would still benefit from filling in whatever is there though.

It looks dam nice !



dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
20 Jun 2020 9:59PM
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Well, the word apocalyptic springs to mind when thinking about the wind and my session today!


It's been a few months, probably over 6 since I last rode it, and I could not remember the mount position I last used with the bionic. This time I went for about 1 inch of track visible in front of the mast on my raze board, and I found the neutral stance position was too much back leg bent, so next time I'm either going to align the track and mast at the front, or maybe try only 1cm visible track.

First went out on the 7m and the bionic and only just survived the upwind slog of a water walk to get into deep enough water for launch. Power up was not an issue, but depowering on the 7 vegas using the wakestyle bar.... well that was, all I could think about was - I should have used the 5, so after half an hour with a max speed of only 43kph or about 23 kts, I came in and swapped to my trusty, almost brand new North Dyno 5 meter.

The second I launched I thought to myself - the depower on the vegas was better than this, and think maybe the 5th line depower bridle on the kite was the wrong length - I'll have to check later.

Upwind was significantly better on the Dyno, but I couldn't really get comfortable with the back leg pressure I was having to hold, even leaned over with the kite low I could still feel it. Another 30 minute session and I'd covered 28 km, with the max speed of 48 kph, - being limited by the 2 foot foamy chop, and 30 - 35kt gusts pumping through which I just didn't have the courage to put the hammer down in.
I could feel the depower almost stop working as I approached 25kts which was problematic too.

For the twitchiness at speed I can't say that I felt any from the board, the kite was definitely more of an issue shifting my weight on / off the foil causing pitch changes... I have noticed most of the pro's these days are even going downwind with the kites low and the boards over slightly, maybe there is a little more in the technique. I think with lighter winds, and the wing moved forward a little, I'm pretty confident that could have been up around the 30kt mark, but that will have to wait for next week. I think I'm going to the lighter wind spot so we shall see



Pinko
2 posts
21 Jun 2020 2:47AM
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I got a new stab, it's now a totally different story, much more stable and easier to ride, got also a shorter fuselage. I am now thinking about trying putting on some shims on the stab and try to get more front pressure. Have you tried it ?

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
21 Jun 2020 5:33AM
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I have various shims and rear stabs to change front foot pressure. I always like some as it helps make the foil stable. Just don't go too much as at speed even a small shim has a large effect and as sped increases so can the foot pressure.
Currently I have the slightly larger main wing fitted and a larger rear stab, I loose a bit of top eng but at least I can gybe and tack so quite an enjoyable day out. I find the bionic set up quite challenging, good in a straight line but I'm not good enough to keep dry in the corners.

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
22 Jun 2020 5:36PM
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Select to expand quote
airsail said..
I have various shims and rear stabs to change front foot pressure. I always like some as it helps make the foil stable. Just don't go too much as at speed even a small shim has a large effect and as sped increases so can the foot pressure.
Currently I have the slightly larger main wing fitted and a larger rear stab, I loose a bit of top eng but at least I can gybe and tack so quite an enjoyable day out. I find the bionic set up quite challenging, good in a straight line but I'm not good enough to keep dry in the corners.





Ditto - What airsail said.

The trim shim and the mast mount position have the greatest effect on a comfortable stance and they kind of adjust the same thing - but the key is you need to be in a comfortable position = less fatigue = more control.

I think I've got the levitaz 30 size shim in the rear, and I find that to be fairly neutral for me, or possibly a tiny bit more back leg pressure with speed increasing which I think for me I am more comforable with.

One thing I have noticed is that there is a great difference in riding stance when heeled and cranking upwind, vs standing up more and going downwind at speed. I find I can feel comfortable with just about any setting or mast position going upwind where a lull from the kite can be countered by pinching, than when standing more upright with the kite higher in which case a gust or lull results in pitch changes.

Looking at how the quickest guys on earth race downwind, the stance and board is upright, yet the kites are low, I don't think that is co-incidence - any time the kite is high on any foil you are at the mercy of the wind somewhat more that if it is low.

Have a look at the body positioning from these guys, who are some of the best of the best - and pause it as they round the top mark and proceed downwind, you can see the boards are relatively upright, the kites are driven low and bear away until the kite starts to loose some line tension, but the riders all adopt the poo man stance upwind, and the reverse kanga stance downwind to balance, and then the board is still not leaning over but pretty straight - the big point is the kite position with is allways low, even when the boards are not heavily leaning over.

You can see in the tumbnail below which looks like downwind kiteing, kite is low, Florien has what looks like a more neutral stance, the guy behind him has his back leg straighter meaning more front foot pressure.... so he probably has bigger rear shimms... or his mast is further forward than floriens or both shimw and mast forward.

?t=430

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
25 Jun 2020 12:58AM
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dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
10 Jul 2020 7:43PM
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Good sesh today on the Bionic in 18 kts, 11 meter edge v9, upwind around 20 kts, 29kts downwind but running out of runway, could have gone a few kts faster relatively easily. board significantly stabler since i filled the bolt heads.


Puetz
NT, 2167 posts
10 Jul 2020 11:14PM
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Select to expand quote
dachopper said..
Good sesh today on the Bionic in 18 kts, 11 meter edge v9, upwind around 20 kts, 29kts downwind but running out of runway, could have gone a few kts faster relatively easily. board significantly stabler since i filled the bolt heads.



... ooooo 29 knts is smoke'n dude,,,,, niiiiice!!!!

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
11 Jul 2020 8:48AM
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Time to fill the heads ??

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
11 Jul 2020 11:38PM
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Trying the aspect small wing next week hopefully.. should pick up a few kts.

airsail
QLD, 482 posts
12 Jul 2020 5:47AM
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I thought the Aspect was larger than the Bionic wing, that would result in a slower top end?

dachopper
WA, 1505 posts
12 Jul 2020 12:11PM
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No - I got the Aspect HW - which is a lot smaller and by all accounts a lot faster



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"Levitaz Bionic - First ride" started by dachopper