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Miniplane Paramotor
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Miniplane Paramotor

Miniplane Paramotor & Top 80 Market Share

Miniplane Top 80From: Top 80 Yahoo Group, April 2014

In my investigations of Paramotor engines for my use I've run into some differing opinions on things. It is said that the Top 80 is loosing market share and becoming less popular and less used. Of course competitors always like to cast dark shadows on the other guys.

As I understand it there are cheap chinese knock-offs that are gaining a foothold in the industry as well as an evolution going on with more buggy-trike use. Higher power, more affordable, more innovative engines are needed as a result.

Would anyone care to share any thoughts or predictions for the long off future (say 10 years) of the Top 80. Will the engine still be in production and still retain a fair market share of new unit sales ? Nobody has a crystal ball obviously so there is no wrong answer, thought, or opinion.

Since the Ultralight movement began in the 80's a fair number of very viable lightweight 2-stroke engines in the 15-25hp range have come and gone. The JPX, KFM, Westlake Arrow Marine, and others come to mind. Others still in production have become very expensive to maintain or nearly impossible to purchase (Limbach, Konig, ect). Prices for Hirth (Solo 210) engines-parts are said to have increased sharply in recent years for example. 

If it is thought that the Top 80 has a bright future another question comes to mind. What engine(s) currently out there may disappear in the near future ? There are a whole host of engines out there and surely a few will be going extinct before long. Again no wrong answer-opinion-thought.

-Shannon

 

I'm going to keep this short! 

The Top 80 has been around and will still be around in the future. 

The cost of parts are about as good as it gets for example a new piston and cylinder will only cost you around $230 most motors you can't even buy a piston for that. Chad keeps parts in stock. 

If you want a long lasting Top 80 use "fresh" unleaded premium fuel and "No Avgas" make sure the cylinder head nuts are never allowed to come loose. 

No matter what motor you have Go buy a good torque wrench learn how to use it. 

Lance Marczak 

 

Francisco DeSantis

I flew my first flight on a Top80 in summer 1999, have used it and keep using it ever since that flight (done at 5000+ feet ASL in Albuquerque NM). 

If I could only have $1.00 for every time some competitor or other brand dealer told me the Top80 was losing market share I would be a multi millionaire by now. I could say that again today. 

Francesco 

Oh and forgot to add every time this happened the Top80 kept selling, kept flying, kept satisfying pilots and gaining market share every year.

 

Mario Mohl

For years, the biggest criticism about the Top80 was limited thrust. One needed to fly efficiently and all up weight was limited as were high altitudes.

As Diego has continued to develop and refine various aspects, these limitations have become less severe.

The biggest hit though, has come from the paraglider side. Modern wings continue to get better, further easing up on the thrust requirements.

By now, there are several efforts under way to develop even smaller displacement engines, just because modern paragliders have made it possible.

Naturally, there will always be certain disciplines that require higher, instant thrust, as also smaller and extremely agile wing's limits are explored. Just another aspect of the same, new options opened up by better wings.

As wings continue to develop, with limitations becoming less stringent, low weight becomes even more relevant and in this aspect, the Top80 continues to shine.

For years, Diego was pressured to develop a Top100. I have heard very little of this in the last few years. Just wait, pretty soon the main market pressure for innovation will be to develop a Top60.

The above, applies mostly in efficiency driven environments, much less so, or at least slower in gas guzzler crazed USA.

Just you wait, pretty soon the Top80 will end up being a mid sized engine.

mario

 

Nothing To Sell

Yes lots of engines will 'go extinct', but I think the Top80 is more likely than most to carry on with it's market share. Why? because of what's actually important to the customer. Reliability, weight and running costs.

The Top 80 is at the top of the charts on all three counts.

There are lots of engine manufactures out there from Chinese knock off's to engines made by large moped engine manufactures which have all sounded great on paper then not measured up to the hype when flown in the real world. The Top80 has been around for a long time and keeps on selling though, usually discounted by first time buyers (not powerful enough, sexy enough or hyped enough). A Top80 is usually a second or third purchase motor after people have tried a friends and had enough of the other motors out there.

As (reflex) wings get more efficient, there is less demand for big powerful motors and all their inherent drawbacks. The Top80 is much more popular in Europe (and Asia) than the US due to pilot size and 'perceived' need for power. You see the US going more down the trike route either, because the customer purchases a big heavy motor and realise they cant run with it or the pilots are just too big to run.

I think it's going to take a big jump in small engine technology to significantly knock the Top80's market share and I don't see that happening any time soon.

Stuart.

Just a paramotor pilot of 8yrs and Top80 owner, with nothing to sell.

 

Very Bright Future

OK. 

I have to step in here. I bought my first paramotor in 1998 and started to teach full time in 2001. 

I have seen, tested and flew dozens of various motors including chines knock offs that often only lasted minutes.

I have to say that IMHO Top 80 is the most reliable motor on the planet with most thrust per weight and with the 125 cm T2 prop, also most quiet.

It is the only motor where the manufacturer participates in public forum discussion. 

I see nothing but very bright future for Top 80

Keep up the great work Diego

Andre Zeman
Powered Paragliding Ontario

Please note that I am not affiliated with Miniplane in any way. I do get dealer discount when I purchase one but that is the same for any paramotor company I buy from