Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jumping Stilt Reviews: Poweriser, 7 Stilts, Air-trekker, PowerStrider

When it comes to jumping stilts, spring stilts, Powerisers, and Powerbocking in general there seems to be a fair amount of Brand Confusion.

The difficulties start at the generic name for jumping/spring/power stilts and the sport of powerbocking. Adding to it is the fact that stilts made in the same factory are often named and branded differently by each importer and customer. Even the model names can be designed to confuse.

The USA enjoys having multiple brands of stilts available for purchase. As an expert, instructor, and independent dealer, DC Power Stilts is in a good position to review all brands of stilts brands to offer and to evaluate jumping stilts on their merits.

The major brands and models available in the USA are as follows:

Models: Standard, Advanced, Kids

The first licensee of the German patent, Hitech & C Co was the company to start mass production and consumer pricing to the market. Essentially they created the recreational market for spring stilts. Manufactured by a Korean company in the Philippines, their production quality has been decent over time. Although their design improvements are mostly related to making the product cheaper to compete better with the Chinese brands, they offer a good warranty and generally hold up well. Poweriser currently hold the patent for inventing the popular kids-sized stilts and generally stands by their products and offers a good value.

Verdict: We offer and recommend this brand for their durability and value.

Air Trekker & Chinese brands
US Models: CZ-Adult, CZ-Extreme, Youth, M115

Broken and stripped parts
The Guangzhou Up Wing Sport Goods Industry in China started as a knock-off producer, with PoweriZer (note the Z instead of S), but the confusion was ended via a court case that forced them to change the product name. They currently manufacture stilts under the following additional brands: PowerStrider, Upwing, Pro Jump, Fly Jumper. The Chinese have brought prices way down by lowering the manufacturing quality.  Many of their stilts were shipped with springs that snapped in half right out of the box (see photo).

On the plus side, the Chinese company has innovated design-wise by copying and mass producing the designs of some of the high-end stilts. As a result, they had some misses like the ill-fated tilting footplate models, but they also had some hits like the CZ Aluminum model which are under eight lbs each instead of ten. Being 20% lighter makes a big difference. While the design of the CZ stilts are very good for the price, the problem is that they suffer from cheap manufacturing and don't hold up with serious use. We recommend the PowerStrider Brand but they closed their doors after being unable to profit due to warranty claims from production quality. Parts for this brand is still available via the Air Trekker line and website.  

Verdict: These are the cheapest which makes them a good choice as a novelty gift or item, but these stilts break in various ways for those who regularly use them. 

The 7 League Stilts
US Models: GT Cobra

In answer to the demand for higher-quality mass produced stilts, stilts enthusiasts in Europe formed Future Tech to refine, improve, and test the designs for mass production in China. The 7 league Boots brand has higher quality parts and some design improvements: the springs are a bit more responsive, the cuff is held more tightly in place, and they are much more durable overall. Their 2012 introduction to the USA market didn't go smoothly because there were several fixes required to be made by the importer.

Verdict: Even though these are the most expensive stilts on the market, DC Power Stilts was impressed enough with this brand to acquire them and now offers the GT Cobra for sale in North America.

Other Brands ($1,500+)
If you would like more information about some of the $1,500+ import or custom build options, send your question and we'll respond with more info.  Generally the mass-produced brands above offer 99% of the same function for a much better value.


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