Reviews written by IKSURFMAG

21 results - showing 1 - 10 1 2 3
 
Best
 
Overall rating 
 
8.2
Performance 
 
8.0
Build Quality 
 
9.0
Control Bar 
 
8.0
Depower 
 
8.0
Relaunch 
 
8.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    September 16, 2012
#1 Reviewer  -  

Best TS 9m

At A Glance
Best have come a long way since their bold beginnings all those years ago, the equipment just keeps getting better and better. This year the TS v2 incorporates their new material, Double Core RS, this is a canopy material that weaves two high tenacity filaments into the warp and weft of the fabric alongside the other fibres to ensure maximum resistance to tearing and better load handling. In short, it’s a lot better than your standard canopy material. The kite itself has been tweaked from last year to improve the speed and reduce the bar pressure. It is still aimed as a crossover all round kite that can handle waves, freestyle and freeride. The shape of the kite across different sizes changes too, in the smaller sizes the profiling and arc is different to the medium sizes, and the large size kites are aimed specifically at lighter winds. As such you get a kite that performs better in the given conditions no matter what they might be.

The Bar
The Redline Performance Bar v3 controls the TS v2 and this year it has had even more improvements made to it. In fact every moulded part of the bar has been re-engineered. Perhaps the biggest change is the “Sacrificial Insert System” this is a Derlin insert, which offers lower friction over a standard insert. This means the insert goes before the depower line meaning you can just swap it out without having to re thread any lines! Simple but effective, especially if you have ever had to actually change a depower line, it can be a real pain in the ass! The Redline Safety system is the heart of the bar combined with the Pro Cuff Release meaning you can ditch the kite with ease in a hurry and know it will be easy to reconnect should you need to. With no moving parts to get lammed it works really well no matter how badly you treat it!

In the Air
Speed and precision come to mind here; the TS v2 is no slouch when it comes to steering it around the window. The simple bridle and direct connection to the rear end of the kite, coupled with the wide tips have the kite shifting around like nervous girl on prom night. It’s so direct and the feedback is so good to the bar the kite feels like an extension of your arm and certainly not like it is 22m away from you. This lack of steering lag means it is more like a sports car than a super tanker and as such it delivers some blistering performance on the water. Sending the kite back through the window generates a serious amount of power and the TS v2 is a joy to jump with, the canopy shape and profile provides plenty of hangtime when you are up there, and a nice easy float down. Upwind is good, the low profile leading edge allowing the kite to penetrate the wind window and depower is excellent too, we had the kite out in about 30mph of wind and it still felt stable and the steering remained consistent.

Overall
We loved the TS last year, great range and fast, this year the kite steps things up a gear, even more responsive, super direct and very fast. If you want a great do it all machine, look no further!

Details

Suited Styles
  • Wave
  • Freestyle
  • Freeride
  • Light Wind
Sizes used
9m
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North
 
Overall rating 
 
9.4
Performance 
 
9.0
Build Quality 
 
10.0
Control Bar 
 
10.0
Depower 
 
9.0
Relaunch 
 
9.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    August 09, 2012
#1 Reviewer  -  

10m North Rebel

At A Glance
Where to begin, the Rebel has been the best selling kite in the North line-up for some time now, the original do-it-all machine, capable of racing, jumping, waveriding, freestyle you name it this kite can handle it. New for 2013 sees a bold colour way, which we love, improved one pump system, but more importantly a totally new strut concept. The new strut design aims to combine the responsiveness of a 3 strut kite with the stability of a 5 strut kite. The front sections of the struts are thicker and taper towards the tips. This makes the rear section of the strut very flexible allowing the kite to twist as it turns, but keeps the front section super stable. As usual the build quality and finish on the kite is second to none and it is great to see North are still pushing forward with development in this area and not just putting the same small features on the kites year after year. Every detail has been analysed and improved upon if possible.

The Bar
Wow, springs to mind, the North 5th Element bar has always been well thought out, designed and engineered, but often it has been argued to lack the simplicity of other systems. North have managed to put one of the tidiest bars we have seen on the market keeping all the same features as before whilst adding a revolutionary length change concept. The integrated floats that make the bar so beautiful pull out from the bar ends and twist 180 degrees to lengthen or shorten the attachment point for the rear lines and subsequently the effective length of the bar. Add to the that the Iron Heart safety, 5th line reliability and total depower, improved Warrior Cleat for the trim system and a super comfortable grip and you have a winner!

In The Air
We flew the Rebel in a variety of conditions to get a real feeling for it, it has definitely become a livelier animal than in previous years. The kite also seems a little more stable in the front end. Essentially the new strut concept works, the kite twists more and has a more responsive and direct feel when turning. This ability to move the kite with ease means you can generate more power through the power stroke and the low end is notably improved. The kite luffs and flutters less than last year too, especially when depowered. Unhooked the kite is very solid, allowing you to practice your unhooked moves in complete confidence. Jumping is exciting and the improved agility in the kite means you can really send it back through the window with some aggression and get some impressive hangtime. Upwind is excellent, as you would expect from a kite that is still used by some of the North Race team.

Overall
There is a reason the Rebel is one of the most popular kites on the market, it is versatile, and this year altogether more agile. Great windrange, easy to fly delivering impressive performance in waves, freestyle, freeride and racing arenas.

Details

Suited Styles
  • Wave
  • Freestyle
  • Freeride
  • Race
Sizes used
10m
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115
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Naish
 
Overall rating 
 
7.5
Performance 
 
7.0
Build Quality 
 
7.0
Control Bar 
 
8.0
Depower 
 
9.0
Relaunch 
 
8.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    August 09, 2012
#1 Reviewer  -  

10m Naish Ride

At A Glance
The Ride is a totally new kite, and a new concept from Naish, aimed at the rider looking for a simple kite that can just be “sheeted in” in order to deliver power. The concept is aimed at making the position of the kite in the window less important. Having deliverable power on demand means you can worry less about your kite flying skills and concentrate on learning new tricks. To deliver this Naish went for a two strut kite, the first of its kind from a major manufacturer in modern times. This two strut design allows for a flatter arc and gives the kite more power, so when you pull on the bar you can get up and riding easily. It also incorporates more rounded wingtips to allow for easy relaunch. As usual the Octopus Inflation System is present, and with just two struts the kite is pumped up in a matter of seconds rather than minutes! The kite also features the “Anti Stiction Window” which is a mesh panel that allows water to flow through the wingtip during relaunch. The kite features a simple bridle, which incorporates a high quality Ronstan pulley with bearings to spread the load for the front lines; the rear lines are a direct connection to the kite.

The Bar
The Ride Control System from Naish has been designed specifically for the Ride kite and it is designed around the 4 line bridled kite. It features 24m fixed lines, a through-the-bar safety flagging line so you don’t get tangled and can easily ditch all the power from the kite if necessary. Plus the Naish Smart Loop with its proven release system and below the bar depower cleat. There is also a sliding stopper and bar-end floats, the grip is soft EVA and very comfortable on the hands.

In the Air
The lightweight canopy and frame of the Ride means it will get flying very early, coupled with the flatter profile and the large power area in the centre of the kite it has a very good low end range to it. This is great as you can use a smaller kite than you would perhaps normally, which adds an element of safety. Remember this kite is aimed at the sort of rider who wants something simple that works, is easy to fly and safe. Having that low end power makes the Ride a good choice for riders looking to improve their skills in a comfortable environment. Turning speed is good, but more predictable than rapid which again makes it easy for riders to control and ensure they keep the kite where they want it to be. The real revelation is the “sheet and go” functionality, just pull the bar in and the kite powers up, sheet out and the power goes. Power delivery throughout the window is consistent and upwind performance is excellent. The Ride is a very easy kite to fly, dependable and predictable it will allow you to improve your riding at an alarming rate.

Overall
A new concept that delivers on its promises of offering “sheet in and go” kiteboarding that you don’t have to worry about. Excellent build quality and a very well made bar system complete the package nicely.

Details

Suited Styles
Freeride
Sizes used
10m
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Wainman
 
Overall rating 
 
8.8
Performance 
 
9.0
Build Quality 
 
9.0
Control Bar 
 
8.0
Depower 
 
9.0
Relaunch 
 
9.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    June 10, 2012
#1 Reviewer  -  

Wainman Smoke

At A Glance

The Smoke is the go to kite in the Wainman line up, boasting a huge range and offering performance in the waves, freestyle and freeride. The build quality on the Wainman kites has never been in question, and 2012 is no different. The construction is solid with reinforcement in all the right places. The kite also comes with plenty of trim options. You can fly the kite on the bridle which is recommended for wave riding, or set it up without the bridle for a more direct feel for freestyle. The kite has the long chord depth that the Wainman range is famous for and the leading edge sweeps all the way back to the wing tip. A great touch is the graphics on the inside of the kite, plus all the little attentions to detail. One surprise is the lack of one pump, Wainman are perhaps the only brand in the industry to have not come on board with this yet.

The Bar

The Carrot Bar is a fantastic piece of kit, so simple, very effective and it feels great in the hands. The depower line is encased in plastic to prevent wear; the floats are integrated into the winders. The chicken loop is easy to grab and release and very simple to put bock together on the water. Safety is taken care of with a single front line safety system. For the depower there is a an above the bar clam cleat set up that works very well and is easy to reach.

On the Water

The Smoke is unique in the way it connects with the rider, the short lines on the bar no doubt helping you to feel the responsiveness of the kite. It moves around the window with a speed and agility that can catch you off guard at first, but once you get used to the turning rate then it almost becomes an extension of your arm. In the waves it is one of the most natural kites we have flown. Jumping is great the speed adding to the kites ability to wrench you off the water. In the air the kite is predictable and offers plenty of float, the wide chord depth of the canopy helping you there. Upwind is good, not amazing, the shape of the kite lending it to low-end power and grunt rather than upwind ability. When the wind is blowing though this isn’t a problem. The low end is good, top end is far better, we were comfortable when others were on 7m kites.

For
The Smoke is well-built, a little different, very responsive and direct, great for waves, freestyle and free ride.

Against
One pump would make this kite almost perfect; the speed of the kite makes it more suited to Intermediates and Experts.

Overall
A great kite, it is easy to see why it is so popular. Direct, responsive and fast with almost limitless top end range.

Details

Suited Styles
  • Wave
  • Freestyle
  • Freeride
Sizes used
9m
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Liquid Force
 
Overall rating 
 
8.4
Performance 
 
8.0
Build Quality 
 
9.0
Control Bar 
 
9.0
Depower 
 
8.0
Relaunch 
 
8.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    June 06, 2012
#1 Reviewer  -  

9m Envy

At A Glance

The Liquid Force Envy is the all round machine in their range. Aimed at the rider who wants a kite that can do it all, whilst making kitesurfing easy. Liquid Force calls the Envy a “beyond Delta design and it features a fairly swept back shape to it’s profile, the Diamond Shape tips add to this. It is a simple three-strut design aimed at being lightweight to improve the flying characteristics. The bridle is fully integrated and a little more complex than found on some kites. Indeed the rear lines are integrated into the bridle as opposed to connecting directly to the kite. Build quality is excellent, union struts, segmented leading edge and plenty of reinforcements in all the right places. All Liquid Force kites feature the Max Flow inflation system; until you’ve tried it you won’t believe it. You can inflate the kite in seconds with minimum effort! On top of those innovations there is also plenty of attention to detail. The Envy reeks of quality whichever way you look at it!

The Bar

This is a polished bit of kit in itself, the floats and winders are integrated into each other to create a clean look Simplicity runs deep here, the trim is integrated into the chicken loop and the release mechanism is very effective and easy to reset. There is a moveoblo stopper ball and the depower line has plenty of throw to ensure you can ditch the power when needed.

In the Air

The Envy feels very stable and solid, a great platform to launch your assault from it inspires confidence. The depower range from the bar throw is very impressive, the integrated rear lines into the bridle giving you more depower than a standard rear line connection. This gives you the ultimate control at the bar in gusty conditions. It does mean the turning isn’t quite as direct as some, but the Envy is no slouch and responds to input from the bar well. Once engaged the kite can be turned on a sixpence, pivoting around its axis with zero canopy flutter, a sign of a well built airframe. The low-end range is impressive, the Envy develops a lot of power as you fly it around the window. The bridle then helps to assist the kite with it’s top end range, adjusting the angle of attack but still ensuring the kite steers. Jumping is great fun, plenty of power to launch you and good hangtime. Upwind is excellent too and the kite is easy to fly lending itself to a wide range of riders. The bar pressure is a little heavy, a symptom of the bridle system used, but it isn’t overwhelming or a reason to not man up and build some muscle strength!

For

Amazingly well built, with lots of attention to detail, very stable in the air, plenty of control at your fingertips and a good low end. Against
We could argue that the complicated bridle set up was a bit much, but it is this bridle that gives the kite its control and range, there ore no real complaints hero.

Overall

You won’t be disappointed, it’s a great all round kite that comes with some fantastic features, like the Max Flow inflation system. You’ll be out on the water in seconds with a great big smile on your face!

Details

Suited Styles
  • Freestyle
  • Freeride
Sizes used
9m
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10
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North
 
Overall rating 
 
8.9
Performance 
 
9.0
Build Quality 
 
9.0
Control Bar 
 
9.0
Depower 
 
8.0
Relaunch 
 
9.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    April 13, 2012
#1 Reviewer  -  

12 Fuse

At A Glance

The Fuse from North has been around for a few years now; originally the kite was a 4-line version of the very popular Rebel. It has always been a hybrid style kite, and that remains today. Since those early days it has evolved though into a kite of its own and is now aimed at the wave, freeride and race market. It features North’s innovative construction and build techniques, Technoforce D2 material is used throughout and the valves and one pump system are unique to North, the whole package works very well. It is a 5-strut design with a loading edge bridle; the bndle has been tweaked this year to improve range and handling.

The Bar

The North Trust Bar is a product of many years of development, it has been refined and tweaked year on year and arguably while it may not look the simplest of bars on the market it is certainly one of the most functional. The Iron Heart Safety needs no introduction and is one of the best around, you can untwist the lines by spinning the top of the mechanism, release and reconnection is very easy. There is an above the bar cleat that allows you to trim the kite and a sliding stopper ball allows you to rest your arms should you need to.

In the Air

If you like 4 line simplicity then the Fuse is probably the most versatile kite in the North range. The steering is precise and the kite flies really far forward into the window allowing you to get upwind with ease. The rear lines connect to two points on the wing tip rather than just one and this ensures the kite turns on its axis without ever collapsing a tip. This is great for kite looping and moving the kite around the window quickly without ever losing performance. Jumping on the Fuse is excellent, it really pulls you off the water with some force and delivers plenty of glide as you come down to land. The depower has a fairly short throw, meaning you have plenty of control at your fingertips in gusty conditions. The Fuse is a fairly easy kite to fly, it does like to fly off the front lines in waves though, so ensure you keep the power on throughout your bottom turn. It handles the waves really well, the precise steering allowing you to position it in the window where you want. As a do it all machine it can handle just about anything you throw at it, it is also a great kite for racing, the upwind ability helping it to keep you at the front of the pack.

For

North build quality, 4 line simplicity, great all rounder that can
handle just about anything.

Against

No bad points really, the bridle tweaks have improved it over last years model.

Overall

A great all round 4-line kite from North, handles the waves, freeriding and even racing really well. The Fuse has an excellent top and low end range and is very capable. If you want a do it all 4-line machine then this is the one to pick from the North range.

Details

Suited Styles
  • Wave
  • Freeride
  • Race
Sizes used
12m
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Blade
 
Overall rating 
 
8.4
Performance 
 
9.0
Build Quality 
 
9.0
Control Bar 
 
8.0
Depower 
 
7.0
Relaunch 
 
7.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    April 12, 2012
#1 Reviewer  -  

9m Prime

At a Glance

The Prime is in its 4th year of production now, and once again it is billed as a thoroughbred performance machine. It is a hybrid C 4 line affair with a short bridle on the leading edge to add support and aid depower, the rear lines are a direct connection. The wing tips have been tuned this year to deliver even better performance throughout the kites turning axis. The kite has a 5-strut airframe with a very sleek leading edge, the construction is good and there are plenty of reinforcements in all the right places. It features one pump as standard and each strut features a union connection to the leading edge to ensure you get a stiff frame to the kite.

The Bar

The bar remains unchanged from last year, it is very neat and compact and the bar itself is short, which gives you a nod to the kites performance. There is an above the bar pull pull trim strap and a sliding stopper ball on the depower rope. The chicken loop features a plastic release mechanism that you need to rinse with fresh water after each session to ensure easy release when dry. When it is wet it works fine, but if you leave it in the boot of the car salty then the release can be a little sticky, as with any safety system keep it running smoothly and it works fine. The grip is comfy and the bar is finished off with floats on the rear lines. You can also untwist your lines should you need to using a swivel on the top of the chicken loop.

In the Air

We have always enjoyed the performance of the Prime, and this year was no different. The kite is crisp and direct in the air, you can fly it around the window with some precision and it really packs a lot of pace into it’s movements. The thin leading edge on the Prime aids the performance characteristics even more, allowing it to penetrate the wind window with ease. Upwind is good, the kite flies quite forward in the window so it is easy to get back to your spot after completing a trick or a jump. Jumps on the Prime are fairly lively, as are the kite loops; it really pulls you off the water. The hangtime isn’t as good as the Trigger or a flatter arced kite, but you still get a decent amount of glide on the way down. Unhooked the kite behaves impeccably, the steering is still very direct and you have total control. Depower is good, although the range on the Prime isn’t as big as some of the other kites in the range, as you would expect from a kite of this design. The Prime has a much higher top end range than it does a lower end.

For

Fast direct and crisp steering, good control in strong winds, great upwind and good fun to jump and unhook with.

Against

Lacks a little range compared to the Trigger, but then this is a more dedicated performance orientated machine.

Overall

The Prime offers great performance and control, we loved the direct turning and the speed through the window. Great for unhooked new school riding.

Details

Suited Styles
Freestyle
Sizes used
9m
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Airush
 
Overall rating 
 
9.1
Performance 
 
9.0
Build Quality 
 
9.0
Control Bar 
 
9.0
Depower 
 
10.0
Relaunch 
 
9.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    April 12, 2012
#1 Reviewer  -  

8m Lithium

At A Glance

Last year the Lithium caused quite a stir, billed as a ‘do-it-all’ kite it was well received amongst riders and journalists alike. This year the airframe has been modified to leave it with just thee struts, but the designers at Airush have tried to maintain all the characteristics that made the kite so popular. The bridle is very simple and short and there is a direct connection to the rear of the kite. You can trim the rear settings to tune the bar pressure, which is a nice touch. The Lithium is a hybrid delta shape, with quite a wide chord and a deep profile at the leading edge.

The Bar

The SmartBar III is a culmination of development and design, and is packed full of features to ensure you enjoy your session. It features the Brain Quick Release, which is very easy to activate and equally simple to reset. You can also extend the bar length so if you have a couple of kites you can get away with just the one bar. There is a pull-pull trim strap above the bar and the depower line is encased in a PVC tube to avoid any wear. It is a 4-line set up for the Lithium with a "mini 5th line” total depower system.

In The Air

We really appreciated how well set up the Lithium was, it came from the UK distributor rather than the factory so he may have had a hand in it, but it isn’t often a kite pops out of the bag and the lines are set up exactly as they should be to give the kite perfect trim in the air. Quite often we are left trimming and adjusting the kite to get the most out of it. However;, the Lithium was spot on straight out of the bag. In the sky when you look up you will notice the low aspect ratio of the kite and the deep chord the Lithium has. It looks like a chunky beast for an 8m that’s for sure. The low end power this shape generates is impressive, the 8m really packs a punch for it’s size, but the clever bridling and line connection points allow it to depower and retain good steering characteristics. There is a good amount of throw within the bar, so you can instantly ditch power when you need to, without the need for long arms. That said if you have short arms the above bar depower strap can be a little hard to reach, especially if the pvc tubing has curled from being wrapped around the bar. The bar pressure is tuneable, so while we found it a little heavy for our liking on the medium setting a quick switch on the kite and it was reduced a touch. It is great to have these options on modern kites and will allow you to trim your kite to your style of riding. Through the window the kite is very direct and fast, this means you can be very precise with your steering and generate good lift for jumping, the Lithium is more of a glider than a rocket ship though, providing nice floaty airs with gentle landings. The Lithium would suit a lot of riders looking for a dependable freeride kite, it can turn its hand to just about anything, waves, freestyle or jumps. Beginners will enjoy the stabIity and easy relaunch while more advanced riders will appreciated the simplicity of the set up and the ease of use.

For

Solid construction, excellent bar set up, consistent performance even when depowered, large wind range with lots of low end power and extremely easy to use.

Against

As an all round kite the Lithium excels, the low end grunt needs to be respected though, especially by beginners and those new to the sport. Also if you have short arms you may find the trim lines a little bit of a stretch.

Overall

An excellent kite from Airush, we loved the direct handling and responsive performance. Small inputs into the bar had the kite exactly where we wanted it. The low-end power was great for riders looking to have smaller kites in their quiver and the depowor range available at your fingertips still made the kite a contender when the wind picked up.

Details

Suited Styles
  • Wave
  • Freestyle
  • Wakestyle
  • Freeride
Sizes used
8m
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F-One
 
Overall rating 
 
8.7
Performance 
 
9.0
Build Quality 
 
9.0
Control Bar 
 
8.0
Depower 
 
8.0
Relaunch 
 
9.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    October 25, 2010
#1 Reviewer  -  

Bandit 4 Review

At a Glance

With a pedigree running bock to 2008 the Bandit has arguably been the making of F-One. It turned thorn into one of the big international players in the industry. They now sit amongst the heady heights of the top 5 kite brands in the world in terms of sales. A lot of that has to do with the Bandit, and the chances are you have already heard of it and probably flown one over the years. So let’s cut to the chase, how do you go about making one of the most popular kites on the market even better? Tough call, but Raphael and the crew have approached it with their usual vigour. The Bandit IV is not just a tweak as you might expect, but a complete redevelopment of what was there before. The profile has changed, the canopy arc is different, there are two struts instead of 5 and the wingtips hove been squared off. Oh and if you always wanted a trim option your kite then this has now been provided. Just a bit of an update to the kite then!

The Bar

The new bar from F-One is still in the production stages, we got to see a sample of the now one piece aluminium moulding and we can confirm it is super light and really stiff. What we did get to try on our test 11 m we brought home with us was the new rigging set up on an old bar. The now chicken loop still uses the Velcro release system but this year sees a moulded plastic release handle, the same handle is on the end of the depower strop which is again above the bar. As over it is a beautifully simple system and the bar feels totally uncluttered. Whilst we liked the new chicken loop release we did feel it rubbed a bit on your hands every now and then. Perhaps with time it will soften up.

In the Air

Launching the Bandit IV you immediately notice the three-strut layout, and this is perhaps the most important aspect of the kite. The Bandit has always had good range, but by removing two of the struts the kite has become much lighter, the panel layout actually uses less Dacron in its Force Frame than the older versions too. The weighs loss means there is much more bottom end as the kite is keener to get up in the air in lighter winds. This then allows them to narrow the arc profile to give the kite more of a C-Shape. In turn that means the kite turns in a wider arc rather than pivot on its wing tips and develops a much more exciting loop curve. Does all this work in reality? Yes. The kite is very lively in the hands and the wider loop arc yet foster turn allows the kite to really loop like a C kite, it is also really easy to get the kite back up above your head for smoother landings. The wider tips make the turning speed come alive and the bridle, which is actually very similar to last year doesn’t detract from the “fool” of the kite too much. Perhaps most impressive is the stability in the air. We really thought that the loss of two struts would affect the canopy stability somewhat. But even in gusty conditions the kite is solid as a rock, considerably more solid than last year. In terms of the performance the kite is a blast to fly, the jumping this year is insane, we were boosting so high in strong winds we never felt we would come down! And the kite is so well behaved as well. Last year the Bandit Ill was a kite for everyone, this year it definitely has more of a performance edge to it. The kite loops, unhooked riding, speed and jumping capabilities are all notable. So is that going to leave the not so confident rider wanting? Well, no it shouldn’t, remember the Bandit IV is still a Delta, and that means whilst it has the performance to impress the best riders it is still a very stable shape that is so easy to relaunch it is perfect for people learning. Last year some riders felt the Bandit lacked a little in top end performance, this year they won’t be disappointed...

For

Classic F-One build quality and design, faster, lighter and more responsive than last year the top end of this kite just stepped up a gear.

Against

Our only bug was the chicken loop release was a little annoying on the hands, being hard plastic it sticks out a bit. Other than that we really couldn’t find fault.

Overall

It looks like F-One have another winner on their hands with the Bandit IV, we wondered how they would improve it, but improve it they have, get a ride on one soon...

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North
 
Overall rating 
 
9.0
Performance 
 
9.0
Build Quality 
 
10.0
Control Bar 
 
9.0
Depower 
 
8.0
Relaunch 
 
8.0
Reviewed by IKSURFMAG    October 09, 2010
#1 Reviewer  -  

North Rebel 2011 Review (10m)

At a Glance

The Rebel is one of the most popular kites on the planet, it has a huge number of dedicated followers. The kite is aimed as a do it all machine, happy in the waves, boosting big airs, freestyle you name it the kite can do it. This year there are a few changes that are worthy of note. The centre strut “floats”, to allow the canopy profile to be shaped, as it should be rather than having to conform to the shape of the centre strut. The loaded 5th line design is back, this allows for increased depower with a shorted throw of the bar, perhaps the biggest change is the techno force canopy material. This super durable woven fibre cloth feels really tough when you unroll the kite for the first time. It is much more resistant to tearing than standard rip stop and should ensure you kite lasts even longer. The Rebel keeps the 5th line set up and there is no bridle on the kite at all.

The Bar

The 5th Element system from North has been at the top of it’s game for what seems like an eternity now. This year is no exception, the Trust bar features everything you need and nothing you don’t, making it one of the simplest, best put together systems on the market. The Iron Heart III is as solid as ever, easy to activate and very simple to put back together. The above the bar depower uses a simple cleat design as before and is really functional and there is also a sliding stopper should you need it.

On The Water

The Rebel 2011 has a certain urgency about it when you first launch it. It is eager to get to the edge of the window and delivers a smooth solid pull. Hitting the water in light winds the kite has a decent bottom end to it, whipping it around the window generates heaps of power and once up and riding you can relax the power strokes and let the kite do the work. The bar pressure is just about right to offer plenty of feedback without being too heavy on your arms. The turning speed is very quick and you can really get the kite to move through the air at quite a pace when you engage it This makes it ideal for waveriding on those days when you are looking to generate some extra power from the kite. Last year we found you had to really fly the Rebel off the front lines to stop it stalling during the bottom turn. This year it flies a lot better and you don’t have to think so much when you are waveriding with it. Boosting and upwind ability ore excellent and kitelooping is also a meaty affair. The kite is fast enough to get back to the top of the window yet it still delivers a solid pull. Last year the racers were riding the Rebel and that looks to be the case again this year. As you would expect at speed the kite is very stable and the short depower throw at the bar make the kite a dream to ride in gusty conditions.

For
Awesome construction, especially the techno fibre cloth. Fantastic all round performance with a 5th line, waves, big air, speed and freestyle are all achievable with the Rebel,

Against
If you don’t like 5th line set-ups then sadly there is no option for a 4-line set up with this kite. You’d be more suited to the Fuse.

Overall
The most popular kite on the market just got a little bit better, improved speed and flying characteristics means you can worry less about the kite and concentrate on your riding.

Details

Suited Styles
  • Wave
  • Freestyle
  • Freeride
  • Race
Sizes used
10m
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