2010 Nirvana Rodeo 125

Flown 11/21, 12/21/2009, 04/27/2010 Photos by Tim Kaiser | See also Harness Myths

This is an update to an earlier review done in Nov, 2001, the fruits of actually following through on a promise to record my thoughts after a flight so I wouldn't forget. The original quick summary was because I waited too long. Thanks to Roy Beisswenger's (Powered Sport Flying radio Show) suggestion of recording the experience then transcribing it later. Hopefully I'll get another chance to fly this machine and record it, maybe during 2010 Beach Blast (see Events).

The Czech-made Nirvana Rodeo is a sharp looking unit. It's got high hook-ins and is powered by various Simonini engines, spinning a 3-blad carbon fiber prop. It is closely based on the French Adventure brand from which they had permission to use the original shape. Many changes have been made since its inception probably ten years ago. 125 refers to the prop size in centimeters. There is a smaller prop version that I would highly recommend for newer pilots--learn with the small prop, then add the bigger one once you've achieved at least a PPG2 level. The large prop has accordingly higher torque twist that could be a handful for newer pilots, especially lightweights. Smoothest simo implementation.

Flew the latest version of this on 2010-04-27 and recorded these comments. Harness easily disconnects. anti torque strap, like most, have pretty limited effectiveness. VERY smooth operation with 3-blade prop, Lots of torque (big prop), leaned back on landing and takeoff, you can move the connection point up to reduce this pretty easily to make the motor more upright. Doing so would reduce torque effects.

Weight: It's approx 60 pound empty weight (EW) hangs comfortably high and close on your body.

Harness & Suspension (-): Comfortable in flight and on the ground. Standard quick release buckles are used on the legs and chest.

Starting (-): Electric easy, nothing unusual with well placed switches and throttle starter button. There is also a pull starter in case the electric is unhappy. It charges in flight so you don't have to worry so much about running the battery down during a day of flying.

Ground Handling & Kiting (7): Normal for this harness style which was quite comfortable.

Launch (-): Everything was straightforward here as long as the torque was managed near liftoff. As the wing starts pulling weight you'll want to twist left. Gather decent speed before pulling brakes to lift off. Adjusting the harness to be more erect would reduce the twisting somewhat. It has a left hand throttle but I go back and forth so much I didn't even remember that until Eric Brown, a Nirvana owner, reminded me.

Forwards were easy with a smooth rim offering no resistance to the lines.

I was able to get into the seat easily using one hand to push down on the seat board's rear.

Climbout (-): Very comfortable and easy to get into the seat although. Even with a fair amount of torque-twist I was able to go to full power and could even counter the turn with weight shift alone. I was still twisted a fair amount, but the was enough weight shift authority to climb straight ahead using left weight shift (riser shift). Without any correction it does a fairly pronounced right turn at full power.

There is an anti-torque strap that can be used to reduce the affects of torque but it doesn't eliminate the left twisting. It primarily reduces the weight shift component of torque which is a minor part.

Flight (-): What a nice-flying machine. What makes it nice is that the harness is comfortable, has well thought-out adjustments, and doesn't impede movement of your arms.

Weight Shift (-) Weight shift is pretty good. It's not as good as most low hook-in machines but I was able to get probably 4 to 5 inches of differential riser travel.

Torque (-): With my light weight, leaned back adjustment, and the big prop, torque was pretty noticeable. The seller rightfully recommended that new pilots start off with the small prop which would make it quite manageable. He's had good results doing so with new students. Also, adjust the harness to be more erect.

Nirvana does offset the motor's center of thrust to help counter torque but it would benefit from more offset, maybe done on the hook-in somehow.

There is an anti-torque strap (described under climbout) but using it would impede weight shift authority.

Thrust & Throttle(-): Simonini power was smooth, plentiful and nicely responsive throughout. For a full-power test I waited until getting some altitude before going full bore then eased into it gradually. Remember I'm only 145 pounds and was leaned back so the torque twist was more powerful. Even with all that I was able to go to full power. It's hard not to like Simonini power.

Nirvana does some special plumbing of the carburetor to maximize power and throttle response and it seems to work well.

Endurance (-): On a reasonably efficient wing, expect to get two hours out of it pretty easily..

Vibration (-): Nothing out of the ordinary. Padding was sufficient and I didn't notice anything objectionable at any RPM.

Sound (-): I was surprised at how quiet it was given the minimal air intake filter. Comparable to the Fresh Breeze with most of the noise coming from the Prop.

Safety (-): The prop clearance was good but large netting openings are a drawback. I doubt it would pass the hand test (keep an open human hand out of the prop at all likely cage positions). Given the high prop clearance you might stand a chance if your hand didn't go through the cage. The three quick-release buckles were good and it seems there was a leg safety so pilots can't fall out

Construction (-): It's an extremely polished machine. The fiberglass frame, which looks nearly identical to the Adventure, seems stoutly built and aluminum welds looked good. All the components seemed to be high-end.

Reparability (-): The drawback to having the nice-looking molded body piece is that more stuff has to be removed to get at certain engine components. You can still get to the regular maintenance stuff, though, such as exhaust and carburetor, with normal ease.

If the molded frame breaks you'll probably have to jury rig a glue and reinforcement repair until getting replacement parts but the cage is a lot stouter than it might seem and it would take a good thump to damage it. But a crash will take more to repair than a welder.

The modified carburetor would need to be replaced with an equivalent unit from Nirvana so it might pay to have an extra on hand.

Transport (-): This machine is extremely well-engineered for easy break-down. It comes apart with Velcro and snap-on plastic pieces that were strong but light and easily used. You would need to box the fragile cage pieces but they get pretty compact.

The coolest part of its transport system was the roller-bag complete with pull out handle. That's a first. In the picture the prop is left on just because we weren't actually transporting it--I just wanted to see how it fit and it didn't take any great effort. This machine comes from the factory ready to travel, with it's own rolling suitcase.

Cost: Seems it was over $6000US but don't quote me. They are certainly not the low end.

Overall: It's a very good-looking machine much like the Adventure is, and quite comfortable in flight. It's well-engineered, comfortable and, once you get used to managing the twist, you'll love the smooth, quiet power and transportability.

There is also a very lightweight trike that this machine mounts to easily. It is so lightweight that it can be reversed launch, with some effort, by simply standing up and turning around, a process that I've done once.

© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!