Spinning Spreader Bar – Review

Spinning spreader bar?– I think not

Never being one to accept what I am given, the ‘received wisdom’ so to speak, I have been trying a number of different ways to attach to my Kites. I’ve always flown ‘hooked in’ from day one – in fact I never knew there was any other way to be honest – that’s until I stumbled across Popeye’s super website. It was only then that I saw the error of my ways, by which time it was too late.

I have tried the Holt block arrangement as many seem to have with some reasonable success ,but it’s just not the finished article. I have yet to use a ‘top furler’ swivel in line with this which seems to be the ‘state of the art’ up to now. I am fiddling away in the workshop on something that I feel is better but that’s another story.

I want to turn to an item I bought some months ago, the Peter Lynn Prodigy ‘spinning’ spreader. There have been many people asking questions about this piece of kit on the forums and here’s my view. Although it ‘looks’ to be the ideal solution to our problem,there are some issues. I suppose before I write more I guess I should just declare what it is I look for in this piece of kit which may well chime in with your needs.

The spreader has to fit a wide variety of harnesses and to take a pull in almost any direction. It has to minimise the distance of the handles in operation so they don’t  go out of reach. On a turn ,I want to be able to spin the handles around and for my strop to ‘twist’ around following the handles.  I also want the strop to remain in-situ when I do spin the handles.  Sadly the Prodigy spreader has no bearings in where I expected them to be and I suspect that they would not last long even if there were. I’m told the top furler swivels many of us use to give us this flexibility only last six months before they need replacing anyway. That said the Prodigy is a well built piece of kit despite its design failings

The roller sheaf works well with two bearing in it although they are very exposed to the elements and of course to the ever present threat of sand.

The assembly stands directly out from the body (there is an obvious top and bottom to the device) when in use and unattached, and does not fall limply down to strike one in the unmentionables when moving on foot. And yes dear reader there have been moments when hardware has made breathtaking contact with the family jewels.  There is a small plastic tab in the throat where the strop is inserted and seemed to work OK on thick strops but thinner strops had the irritating habit of pinging out. Notwithstanding this though, the tab broke off on the first beach day. Easy to replace I guess but it’s not the ideal design solution.

I did consider grinding the pin out of my holt block and attaching it to the arm of the spreader as a direct replacement for the standard sheaf but the pay-off would be limited for one main reason alone  – the swivel on the prodigy will not swivel under load which to my mind is the unrealised promise of the prodigy spreader and to be truthful at anywhere from 50 – 80 GBP you’d expect not to have to be considering another  40 GBP for a top furler swivel, with the attendant increase in handle distance.

It’s funny how years of development and computer aided design has gone into producing kites and lines, yet in buggying it seems to be down to the semi professional and hobby engineers to create anything downstream of the kite and handles. I will be butchering the prodigy spreader to try and realise some of my dreams.

My advice is to save your money, or even consider buying the much better Peter Lynn Bullet spreader, drill it, and put a standard shackle in it. In short the Prodigy is a great idea, well built,  but in practice it does not deliver the goods.



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