Reactor Bars Concern

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by David R. Fielde » Mon, 10 Feb 1997 04:00:00


I met a guy during Race Week at Los Barriles in Baja who asked me if I
had problems with my Visual Speed seat harness.  His main webbing straps
(large ones) had worn out several times in one season and he was tired
of replacing the whole item for such an occurence.  I said I really
liked my harness but that my straps were fraying too.  He mentioned a
cheap repair he had just had done by upholsterers ($10 vs $45 or so for
new harness).  It then occurred to me to ask him if he used Reactor Bar
too, he answered yes.  After further analysis, it appears obvious that
the Reactor Bar design with "square" edges on the metal "loops" that the
straps pass through is much more abrasive than "tubular loops" that I
have had on other metal hook/bars, as that is exactly where both straps
have seriously frayed.  My first harness (forget brand - probably
Windsurfing Hawaii), with standard hook/bar, lasted for years and is
still being used by my daughter, while #2, a Ziener (sp?), almost
disintigrated in one season.

Subsequently, I had my friendly shoe repair guy cut a piece off each
strap and reinforce the wear area ($16, but it was San Francisco).
However, it seems an obvious design problem that ought to be easily
fixable??

My only other Reactor Bar problem was having the "spindle" bolt fail
("pop", hey, what just happened??), and getting to sail home sans "hook"
one day - fortunately/unfortunately at the end of a good but tiring
session.  Was replaced at no charge by the dealer, Berkeley Windsurfing.

Comments/observations from anyone else??

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by NLW TFW » Tue, 11 Feb 1997 04:00:00

You're right on on both counts, but there are three things you can do to
prevent one problem and mitigate the other.

When you buy a reactor bar, check two things. Check the square edges where
the strap goes through and exerts its pressure. Itf the bar edge is not
round, round it with coarse, then fine, sandpaper. That's the biggest flaw
in the product, and one the mfr (either way you interpret that) should
correct.

And run the strap across the front of the bar, not behind it. Insert the
strap through the slot from the rear, run it in front of the bar, then
back through the far sot. That way the strap doesn't take quite the degree
of turn at its pressure point as it does the way most people run the
strap. I'm considering glueing a short, slit, piece of plastic tubing to
the two pressure edges, because I have to replace harness straps
occasionally, too.

If I had to replace straps weekly, it'd still be worth it, because I don't
sail in straight lines. B&J and maneuvering are so extremely enhanced by
roller bars that they're worth any price to me.  But I sail every day the
Gorge blows for 3-4 months a year, and go through maybe a strap a year. So
what? I replace 'em before they break.

As for the roller pin/bolt: Locktite both screws when new. Reassemble. Let
dry overnight. Check it for tightness once a year. It'll apparently last
forever that way. My primary roller bar pulley has probably two summers,
or 600 hours of planing, times 25 mph = 15,000 miles, times 20
cutbacks/swerves/jumps per mile = 300,000 severe, highly loaded, usually
overpowered, slashes. Those numbers are conservative, especially the 20,
and it has not loosened once. I work the holy hell out of the roller
itself and its bracket, both in terms of horsepower transmitted and in
terms of rotation frequency and RPM.

So I check my pulley bolts by hand daily. I just curve thumb and finger
finger into a tight C, grab both ends of the bolt, and try to wiggle the
steel. If it ever moved, I'd disassemble, loctite it, and go sailing. It
hasn't loosened once since that first bar many years ago.

Fer $20 lousy bucks for the bar, plus a new, heftier strap for $10-15 per
year, to add power steering to my $2,000 toy, THAT'S DIRT CHEEP! At ten
times the price it's still worth it.
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by John Wrig » Tue, 11 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

>I met a guy during Race Week at Los Barriles in Baja who asked me if I
>had problems with my Visual Speed seat harness.  His main webbing straps
>(large ones) had worn out several times in one season and he was tired
...
>new harness).  It then occurred to me to ask him if he used Reactor Bar
>too, he answered yes.  After further analysis, it appears obvious that
>the Reactor Bar design with "square" edges on the metal "loops" that the
>straps pass through is much more abrasive than "tubular loops" that I
>have had on other metal hook/bars, as that is exactly where both straps
>have seriously frayed.  My first harness (forget brand - probably
>Windsurfing Hawaii), with standard hook/bar, lasted for years and is
>still being used by my daughter, while #2, a Ziener (sp?), almost
>disintigrated in one season.

>Comments/observations from anyone else??

I have had the same problem.  My North harness has lasted about
four years with no wear on the straps.  My new Visual Speed harness
was very frayed after a few weeks with the Reactor Bar.  I ended
up slipping a couple of short pieces of bicycle inner tube over the
strap and making sure the bar was on the *** instead of the strap
when cinched down.  I don't see it fraying any more because of the
*** so it must be okay.  That does seem to be an obvious design
flaw which could be easily remedied.

John
--

http://SportToday.org/~john

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by Fred Suffi » Tue, 11 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> I met a guy during Race Week at Los Barriles in Baja who asked me if I
> had problems with my Visual Speed seat harness.  His main webbing straps
> (large ones) had worn out several times in one season and he was tired
> of replacing the whole item for such an occurence.  I said I really
> liked my harness but that my straps were fraying too.  He mentioned a
> cheap repair he had just had done by upholsterers ($10 vs $45 or so for
> new harness).  It then occurred to me to ask him if he used Reactor Bar
> too, he answered yes.  After further analysis, it appears obvious that
> the Reactor Bar design with "square" edges on the metal "loops" that the
> straps pass through is much more abrasive than "tubular loops" that I
> have had on other metal hook/bars, as that is exactly where both straps
> have seriously frayed.  My first harness (forget brand - probably
> Windsurfing Hawaii), with standard hook/bar, lasted for years and is
> still being used by my daughter, while #2, a Ziener (sp?), almost
> disintigrated in one season.

> Subsequently, I had my friendly shoe repair guy cut a piece off each
> strap and reinforce the wear area ($16, but it was San Francisco).
> However, it seems an obvious design problem that ought to be easily
> fixable??

> My only other Reactor Bar problem was having the "spindle" bolt fail
> ("pop", hey, what just happened??), and getting to sail home sans "hook"
> one day - fortunately/unfortunately at the end of a good but tiring
> session.  Was replaced at no charge by the dealer, Berkeley Windsurfing.

> Comments/observations from anyone else??Try rounding the edges on the reactor bar.

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by Ian Lan » Wed, 12 Feb 1997 04:00:00

I've had a reactor bar for 4 years on a gaastra (dunno the name) wetsuit
shorts style harness.
I sail 4 days a week in season ( 7 Months! ) in Perth WA and 3 months
every day on Cocos Islands Indian Ocean
see
http://www.wantree.com.au/~pelican/holiday.htm

and I have not yet worn out the strap or lost the roller/bolt thingo.

I sposse I'm the luckiest windsurfer in the cosmos.

well not blind lucky, more dashingly dang smart with my gear choice
lucky.

anyway sand it strap sail it whatever it takes I mean imagine having to
service or dare I say it replace bits of your kit!!!!.....

As you were...

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by BarryWi » Thu, 13 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Another hint to prolong the life of any spreader and harness that uses a
piece of webbing that traverses from one side the other:

Run the webbing so that it passes on the hookside of the bar (away from
the body) across the middle. You can run the webbing the other way
(towards the body), but it stresses the ears of the spreader bar instead
of distributing the load across the full width of the bar. The webbing
will also last longer if you run the webbing  on the hook side.

The above does not apply to a harness that has separate left and right
webbing pieces.

Barry Ritchey

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by Edward W. Sco » Thu, 13 Feb 1997 04:00:00


: My only other Reactor Bar problem was having the "spindle" bolt fail
: ("pop", hey, what just happened??), and getting to sail home sans "hook"
: one day - fortunately/unfortunately at the end of a good but tiring
: session.  Was replaced at no charge by the dealer, Berkeley Windsurfing.

: Comments/observations from anyone else??

The hook isn't super durable either.  My old reactor bar's hook broke
right at the bolt hole at Coyote when I was out in the channel.  It was a
long tiring sail back.  I think it might've been weakened by hitting
something.  The spindle had resistance before the failure so it must've
been bent somehow.

I wanted to save the bar, so I had this sharp metal thing sticking out of
me.  Made for an exciting reach back!  Warehouse exchanged it, no
questions asked.  This was a while ago, and my others haven't had any
problems, so maybe they are more beefed up than they used to be.
--

     Ed Scott                             ShrEdding SF Bay    

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by Markus Huhtin » Thu, 13 Feb 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>My only other Reactor Bar problem was having the "spindle" bolt fail
>("pop", hey, what just happened??), and getting to sail home sans "hook"
>one day - fortunately/unfortunately at the end of a good but tiring
>session.  Was replaced at no charge by the dealer, Berkeley Windsurfing.

>Comments/observations from anyone else??

The reactor bar is the best thing that happened to my sailing in five years. The rolling hook allows very precise sheeting
especially while using big sails in low winds.

I usually let a shoemaker replace my harness straps every spring. A harness  can usually take two or three seasons before it
breaks (or gets stolen or lost). That means I wear out two or three sets of straps per every harness.  

I have broken two bolts from my bars. They usually simply wear out. I always have a spare bar in my car nowadays.

The bar gets corroded after I while, but that doesn't seem to weaken it much.

There are some things that simply have to be replaced every now and then, so I do not worry about that too much. But remember
to check the bar regularly. I would hate to break that bolt under Golden Gate Bridge...

Markus
L-10
JOensuu, Finland

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by M. Hlad » Thu, 13 Feb 1997 04:00:00

I have never used the Reactor Bar, but everyone I know that does has the
same problem with strap wear.

North Sails (in '96 anyway) had their version of the Reactor Bar. They used
the standard spreader bar with the roller flange welded to it, replacing
the hook. It seemed like a good Idea when I saw it.

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by Richard Marean Covene » Sat, 15 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Two thoughts: 1) I'm heavy, and abuse equipment, but my reactor works
better with the straps led from harness to bar end, then back to the buckle
on the same side, same with the other side. No fraying! ( I once had a
standard hook lock into my boom trapping me underwater in early winter..
Taking the webbing off was the only way out, so I pay attention even with
hooks which don't appear able to become secure to equipment.)
        2) The Reactor has an abusive edge, which has put several holes in my
board as I whack it with unsightly launches. I have no permanent solution
to this problem. ( I tried plastic coating the edge, but it didn't last.)

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by NLW TFW » Sat, 15 Feb 1997 04:00:00

CHECK THOSE SCREWS.

A very low percentage of sailors routinely stress their reactor bar hooks
more than I, just because few people my weight carry bigger sails, put in
more hours on the water, or swerve or crash as often as I. While hooked
into Reactor bars I've ripped the strap anchors off new harnesses, ripped
one harness to pieces, ripped deck boxes right out of brand new
top-of-the-line boards, torn booms in half several times, ripped my helmet
off my head, and sailed my 6.5 when the gusts were lifting spray off the
lake (because most of the wind was just 12-25). Yet I've not had one
Reactor bar or bolt bolt fail AS LONG AS I KEEP BOTH SCREWS TIGHT. Any
play whatsoever is fatal to the threads and bolts.

I'm convinced it's a maintanance thing, not a weakness. And if I had to
replace my Reactor bar weekly as part of the price of using them, I'd
still use them.

Mike \m/
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by MTVNewsG » Sat, 15 Feb 1997 04:00:00

  "I'm convinced it's a maintanance thing, not a weakness. And if I had to
replace my Reactor bar weekly as part of the price of using them, I'd
still use them."

Bullshit.

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by Stewart Legler 952-58 » Sun, 16 Feb 1997 04:00:00


: CHECK THOSE SCREWS.

: A very low percentage of sailors routinely stress their reactor bar hooks
: more than I, just because few people my weight carry bigger sails, put in

i would like to see some hard numbers for this data. what percent? what location?

: put in more hours on the water, or swerve or crash as often as I.

how many hours did you spend on the water? (as aposed to above it?)

: Reactor bar or bolt bolt fail AS LONG AS I KEEP BOTH SCREWS TIGHT.

you say you got a***loose? you got that one right!

s.l.

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by NLW TFW » Mon, 17 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Sorry, most anonymous MTVNewsGuy, but an opinion CAN'T be BS, because an
opinion is just that ... an opinion, a preference, a choice. It wouldn't
matter whether Ken, Robby, Jason, Bjorn, hell, even you, disagreed. I
still will not sail without them. To me they're the most critical $20 item
in windsurfing.

That's my opinion.

When they went off the market a few years ago, I found and bought a
reserve stockpile of them.I've broken three hooks on "ordinary" bars; I've
never had a Reactor bar fail. A new Reactor bar every week is about 1/10th
the cost of a week's ski lift tickets.

Those are facts.

Get the difference?

Mike \m/
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind

 
 
 

Reactor Bars Concern

Post by NLW TFW » Mon, 17 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Hew, Stewie --
You bucking for Wilzone's and Chris's co-championship in the obnoxious
contest? OK, you win. But I'll still respond to your valid question.

You want "hard numbers for this data. What percent? What location?" Sorry,
but it wasn't represented as data. That's why I said a "very low
percentage". If I had data, I've have quoted it, if it meant anything.
What it was based on is that I have never noticed anyone else anywhere
near my weight consistently using larger sails in B&J sailing, which
stresses hooks a great deal because of all the transient loads in frequent
jumps and maneuvers. Serious, expert slalom and race sailors carry more
square yards, but their sailing is much smoother (because smoother is
faster) and they're on lower-drag boards, creating generally lower
transient hook loads. Of course, wave sailors who stay hooked in most of
the time also load their hooks tremendously. But what percent of
windsurfers sail waves ... 1%? 5%? 10%?

Now, because I see almost no one routinely using bigger sails in the
Gorge, let's just conservatively say that fewer than 10% who sail there
use bigger sails than I for B&J sailing.  

Now what percentage of sailors ever even sail in challenging conditions
like surf, the Bay Area on a big day, the Gorge on a big day, a ragin'
Kansas lake, etc? I'd guess it's way under 10%. So if you multiply the
first 10% by the second 10% (thats how it's computed, within certain
assumptions), I wind up in the 1% bracket. If the wind is gusty, I'm OFTEN
on my 6.8 when the majority are on 5.0s, and OFTEN on my 4.2 when the
majority are on 3.5s ... in the Gorge. When most guys, even many locals,
are blown off the water because they own no 2.8s, I'm still having a great
deal of fun ... on my 3.7. When my 3.2 comes out, there are VERY few
people left on the water. Once again, a low percentage multiplied by a low
percentage = a very low percentage.

1% is a low percentage. Even if I'm off by a factor of 10, it's still 10%,
and that's still a "low percentage".

I gather you read that "low pecentage" thing as a challenge, when in fact
it was just meant to support my personal experience that Reactor bars
don't fail often by themselves when rigged and maintained right. If they
inherently failed under stress due to a design weakness, a heavily used
one should fail quickly.

After all, many sailors justifiably pride themselves in using the smallest
sail that keeps them planing. For many reasons, including inefficiency,
more weight than the average guy, a preference for lots of power, constant
maneuvering (braking), and a loathing for slogging, I use relatively big
sails. That significantly affects hook stress. I've broken three
"ordinary" stainless steel hooks (all big, hefty Gaastras), but have not
yet had a Reactor bar or its pulley system fail as long as I kept the
bolts tight. I did have one loose***wear its threads enough to get
wobbly.

Time on the water? I try to sail every hour that blows >20 mph in the
Gorge or north Oregon coast during my 3 to 6 month "vacation" there each
year. I sail the rest of the year at home if the wind cooperates, which is
20-30 days. Most people say my sessions run longer than theirs, and when
the wind cooperates I rig, eat, and sail from dawn 'til dark. All that
also puts my accumulated hook load in a high percentage bracket. And while
"above the water" exerts minimal hook stress, I'd bet the hooked-in
landings more than make up for it.

So even though any numbers are certainly debatable, I still think Reactor
bar parts are inherently up to lots of hard use, and their greatest cause
of failure is poor maintenance. i.e., loose screws.

See? I didn't make it up. The only***loose in my quiver is the one on
my head, and I can't do much about that.

Mike \m/

Never Leave Wind To Find Wind