Review by: cbuffalino, 2013-08-27
I bought my 1996 Triathlon used for $650 and was excited to move down to 7 cells, get a good deal and have something that had a steeper angle than my PD Pulse. I had flown one of these previously on a student jump but didn't remember how it flew. So far I have put about 10 jumps on the canopy, below is my quick assesment:
Fabric was in "like new" condition, estimated between 200-300 jumps. Still crispy and shiny (sat in a closet since 97). It packed nice and easy, no problems stuffing it into the bag. The previous owner did a good job maintaining it and the canopy retained most of the previous owners folds, making it easier to pack.
When packing the first time, I employed the same exact method used for my PD Pulse 150 (nothing special), and had a nice soft opening, on heading. On the second attempt, I got jerked- not to the point of a "hard opening" but less smooth than desired. Slider came flying down over the front risers, and the opening moved left to right and eventually settled in on heading. This could have been because of packing technique, or body position, but I tend to think it was my packing.
On the next hand full of jumps, I made sure when quartering the slider to stick the slider nose a little further out to catch air quicker and aid in properly staging the opening. I also did 2-3 gentle rolls of the nose inward and left the center cell visibly hang out. I did not push the nose into the pack job. This arrangement has worked perfectly for me and all of my openings are gentle and on heading. The slider, even if it pops down quickly will not come down so hard that it covers the risers or toggles- which is a common problem with this canopy (as I have read). The slider grommets are larger than the more common #25 grommets most canopies have these days, but are great in their own respect because it has no resistance when moving them over the risers/toggles for a behind the neck slider stow.
Another note about my packing technique: I always, even with my Pulse, use a second pull up cord to tie the large rings on my 3-ring system together to make sure the risers stay the same length, which has helped dramatically in my on headings.
Generally pretty great! On heading and soft, if the pack job and body position are in check.
Note: My particular Triathlon's lines are about 5 inches out of trim.
WL on Triathlon: 1.24 WL on previous PD Pulse: 1.12
Turns are very gentle- there is no feeling of G-Force even when burying the toggle.
Recovery arc seems to be medium- after the toggle returns to full flight you gently settle back into the saddle and the canopy levels out smoothly
Glide is good due to its flatter trim, but there is a noticeable sink when compared to the PD Pulse, which can glide FAAAAAAR without any special maneuvering. Rear riser inputs to flatten it out further are noticeable and you can hear the canopy changing its glide when you do this.
Control length to me seems medium and the response is medium as well.
Front riser inputs respond smoothly and again no feeling of G-Force even when doing multiple rotations. In my experience when you use dual front riser inputs in final approach to land closer to the target you have to yank a little more than expected to get the change you want, but this could be due to my inexperience in accuracy landing or that my canopy is out of trim.
The flare is good and comparable to the PD Pulse. The canopy hasn't popped back up on me, except for once when I caught some extra turbulence before touching down. The stroke is one continuous motion from full flight to flare, just like the Pulse. Similarly, if you flare too low it won't drop you on your ass and you can recover a potentially botched landing and look like a badass when you stand it back up after a little foot drag. The landings are gentle and when compared to the Pulse you are coming at the ground at a noticeably steeper angle, and faster.
Random Note: The length of the lines is much shorter than on my Pulse, so when landing the canopy is closer to you. Almost every landing I get a step over or lines caught on my camera, so if possible after landing, grab those fronts and pull the canopy forward, or turn 90 degrees to get it to fall to the side nicely.