Airush 2010 Lithium
The Airush Lithium is a brand new release from Airush in 2010. The Lithium starts where the DNA leaves off. The Lithium is a 4 strut Delta Hybrid aimed squarely at the beginner market. The Lithium is super stable, and sits back in the wind window for predictable handling at all times.
The Delta shape leads to "auto-relaunch"making re-launching a crashed kite childs play. The depower is almostb total withe Airush's new V3 bridle system which allows the bridle to lay the kit flat and pull from the centre of the kite when depowered. 5th line safety with only 4 lines.
The Lithium employs Airush's "Frame technology" which is just a Dacron frame around the panel edges to prevent major tears from leach to luff and and provide canopy rigidity. The kite is strengthened in all the right areas and has Airush's new FBI (Fast Bladder inflatio). God I hate cheesy acronyms!
The Lithium is also available in the LW or Light wind variant in the two larger sizes of 13m and 15m. The LW have optimized flattened geometry in the nose section of the canopy to improve upwind ability and increase speed.
At the end of the day this kite will appeal to the beginner market or people wanting a simple kite that just works for general freeriding.
All kites come with the new Airush SMART bar and BRAIN Quick Release system as explained below.
Sizes: 4m, 6m, 8m, 10m, 12m, 13m (LW) & 15m (LW)
Airush Lithium 2010 - Rider Review
OK, so the Lithium is a new kite for 2010, modelled on the DNA, it is squarely aimed at the entry level freeride/learner market. The Lithium is a 4 strut Delta Hybrid kite. It is designed to sit a bit further back in the wind window and be grunty and stable, it's also pretty quick on the turns. Test flown in 20-25 knots gusting a bit more.
Firstly, the bag. It's the smallest bag I've ever seen. My daughters school bag is bigger, now this is great when bringing it home from the shop and hanging on your wall (or in a truck ), but it's an absolute bastard to get back in the bag and forget it if you're in a hurry, you'll just have to stuff it in your boot and deal with it later. I finally know what the compression strap is for. Having said that, the bag is nice, well made and lux, it has a nice compartment on the side for the bar and a rig I haven't quite worked out on the other side for the pump (I made it work though not right).
The one pump system uses big bore but thin walled transfer tubes of which one kinked on me whilst pumping up due to long tube length and weird angle. Sorted easy enough and it pinged nicely at 8psi. The big Diameter tubes are great when deflating and rolling the air out, very quick!. The valves work well (sea easily) but are restrictive when inflating so a little more effort required when inflating the leading edge when compared to some other kites. The Lithium uses two sets of pulleys similar to Core kites so depower is total when safety system is activated (same as Core) which is great and the kite falls onto it's leading edge on the water into the wind. Makes self landing easy!
Once rigged, we tossed it up and no adjustments were necessary, it flew well straight from the bag. The Lithium does sit a little further back in the wind window but you tend not to notice it when flying it at 12 on the beach. The new Smart bar has a long depower throw which is a bummer, but they have tossed the old below the bar trim system, YAY with a capital YAY! The trim strap is well out of reach so a pair of extensions lead down to a more reasonable level where it is easy to use the Pull/Pull trim setup. The stopper ball is good but because you need the full length of depower to fully turn the power from 0-100%, then it's a little pointless in gusty wind, probably better in smooth steady wind.
The Lithium pulls hard when dived to get going and you take off with a good squirt of speed. It turns quite quickly but has a squashy bar feel similar to F-One Bandit Dos. Many people liked Dos so it shouldn't be a drama to most. The jumps are fairly easy, just send it, but you need a little speed and when you do send it, it will take you up, but it sits back in the window and will land you a bit fast downwind if you are over zealous on the trigger arm and fire it from 11 instead of 11.30. The kite gives good jumps considering it is aimed at the lower end of experience and gives decent hangtime when you get it dialled.
The upwind on the kite is fairly impressive considering where it sits in the wind window and I had no effort to get well back upwind, it wasn't a battle like on the older DNA's. What I really liked was it's power coming out of a downturn carved transition. Huge power when needed, just sheet in and go.
It's a good solid kite and will do nicely for the target market it is aimed at. Perfect for beginner to intermediate freeriders.
Airush 2010 Varial
The Airush Varial is also a brand new release from Airush in 2010 and takes over from the much loved but very tired Flow design. The Varial has been designed to be the "one kite fits all applications" for all levels of riders. Working on an SLE platform and incorporating Delta features, the Varial is the next step up performance wise from the Lithium.
Airush 2010 Varial
The Varial has a sleeker profile for greater speed and control in a wider variety of wind strengths. The sleeker profile also offers better upwind ability than that of the Lithium as it sits higher in the wind window. Being less pivotal in steering and more forward movement steering it will have more power in the turns and should have smoother power delivery in flight.
Relaunch is easy and will roll over and launch hot which is a good thing for surf riders looking to get the kite back in the air quickly. The Varial has good boost and controlled hangtime whilst being light on the bar for steering and nimble in the sky.
The new Varial also comes with the new Airush Bar system and allows customizable feel on the bar and adjustable bar throw.
Sizes: 6m, 7m, 8m, 9m, 10m, 12m, 14m
Airush 2010 Varial - Rider Review
This is a kite I was really looking forward to and got the chance to put it through the wringer today in 20-25 knots of wind SSW gusty in choppy water.
The Varial is a 5 strut Delta Hybrid and is the hyped up version of the Lithium in respect to performance range. Similar in build and design to the Lithium (read above for more details). Bag is too small, but looks great and if you read my Core XR review, this bag you could take into town. Helluva sexy bag, just too small to fit the kite in once it's been used without careful packing down.
The Varial felt quite similar to fly to the Lithium but was a bit faster and less pivotal as the brief says above. It boosts nice jumps, and delivers good hangtime. Definately pulls less downwind than the Lithium in jumps so landings aren't so hot, due primarily to wider turning circle. The steering is direct and turns the kite quickly, but with a similar slightly squashy feel to the Lithium. This is something you'd probably get used to as I know one accomplished rider who has been riding one for ages and he loves it.
Yesterday I got the chance to ride the Varial again. Wind was a very unsteady 15-18 knot. The Varial needs to be pumped up HARD. On my previous ride I only pumped the kite to the minimum suggested pressure (8psi) and had an issue with the kite. This time I pumped it to 10 psi as suggested by Airush designers and had no such issues again. The kite flew beautifully and made most of my trick repertoir seem easy. There still isnt a lot of downwind pull from the kiteloops but in most other senses the kite was very predictable and easy to ride. Boosted good jumps and had a good feel to it.
Upwind ability and relaunch was easy and the kite looked good in the air. Several others took the kite for a ride and also came in with similar positive comments . It's not a cutting edge kite for people looking for the nth degree of performance, but it IS a good solid all rounder which will cover most peoples riding requirements well.
I think the Varial would be a fine kite for the average learner to advanced intermediate to get out there and have some fun.
Airush 2009 Vapor III (Mid Season release)
The Airush 2009 Vapor III is released at the start of Australian winter so it has been around for a little while. The Vapor III is the versatile 5 strut hybrid design offering high performance "C" kite attributes in a user friendly Hybrid design.
Airush 2009 Vapor III
The depower is of hybrid whilst the flight and feel from the bar is pure"C". Relaunch is also hybrid in nature making it easier to rollover and launch more downwind.
Super stable and fast, the Vapor is for people looking to improve their freeriding and freestyle riding whilst not getting too far out onto the edges of "C" kite behaviour.
Sizes: 5m, 7m, 8.5m, 10m, 12m, 14m, 16m
Airush SMART Bar and Brain Chicken Loop
Airush 2010 SMART Bar
The Airush SMART Bar is a very clever design and although I don't like the name, the features it packs put it up there with the best. Firstly, the bar is extendable. Simply press the pin, remove the extendable bar end slide the special spacer onto the tube, then re-insert the tube back into the main part of the bar until the lock "clicks". Nice, now one bar makes traveling easier with two kites to save weight.
The new Brain quick release chicken loop lays claim to greater simplicity and allows spinning of the chicken loop benneath the bar so multiple rotations can be un-spun whilst riding.
The SMART bar fits all the 2010 kites and can be 4 line or 5 line, 45cm or 55cm long, and has multiple adjustability for all lines so tuning is easy. Airush have gone with the more simple and reliable strap trim system which is a BIG improvement over the below the bar cleat system of previous bars.
Some other nice features are you can still opt for below the bar cleat, multiple different line length configurations and improved safety leash. All in all, Airush have vastly improved the bar system for 2010. Now how about we work on a new name eh boys?
SMART Bar and Brain CL - Rider Review
Today was my first look and ride of the new bar system from Airush. It is filled with little innovations that are unique and clever and work reasonably well.
The bar length adjustment is good, it is easy to shorten or lengthen, and takes only seconds each side which is good. The bar feels solid in either short or wide mode. The bar diameter is good and grip is comfy. The centre rivet is good and feels solid. There are no line bungees on the end of the bar winders like on other bars to keep the lines on when wound which keeps the bar looking very clean. Instead the bungees are cleverly installed in the bottom of the floats on each sid. Not so clever is they can be quite difficult to get at when the lines are wound on the barespecially if you wind your lines on the bar quite tight. I'd suggest winding the lines on loosely. Once the bungees are in place, they work better than any other bar line bungees that I have seen on any system.
The Trim Strap is efficient but out of reach so extenders are added to gain access to the trim, this works well and looks neat and tidy and is a far cry from the previouly unworkable below the bar trim cleat system. The depower throw is long, quite long, but not out of reach (I have long arms). If you are short it may be a little issue so that you have to use the stopper ball. Twin depower lines and a safety line run through the bar for below the bar safety. This is clean and works well.
The Brain Chicken loop quick release looks a bit plasticky but seems to work OK. I didn't test the release today under load and note that it can be activated by either hand equally well. It is impossible to rest with one hand, this is definately a two hand job to reset it in the water and even then, it can be a bit tricky.
The spinning/rotating head on the bar we tested today was extremely stiff to turn and although it will turn with a bit of force, it certainly wont do it on it's own.
The donkey dick is long and chunky and gives you a nice feeling of confidence that it isn't going to fall out in a hurry. I didn't use the new leash system but did inspect it, it looks good and is simple and foolproof. Good quality snap gate clip on the end. Other great feature is the two piece line sets which allow you to change line lengths by removing the extensions.
Overall it is a nice innovative bar and only needs a few minor improvements to be a really great bar. The extendable bar ends are a real winner. Nice one!