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The new 2011 Rebel has had few major changes in appearance but plenty of tweaks, minor changes and improvements to the build and materials. Core to most of these improvements is the use of the all new Teijin Technoforce D2 canopy material with reportedly up to 40% more resistant to tearing and much less stretch.
The Rebel has been associated with power and stability for ages and is a strong and dependable surf kite as well as a proven freeride performer. The 5th Line safety system is the safest and most dependable safety systems available and the new bar feels sweet in your hands. Overall the least obvious but most noticeable chage will be the feel from the new and stronger, less stretchy Technoforce D2 canopy cloth, offering a much more crisp feel of the kite in the air. A great kite just got better!
Quite importantly is the improvements to the new North 5th Element Bar system in the Iron Heart IV and new Trust Bar.
A wave kite of epic reputation, I'll be writing more as soon as I get one in the air .
Sizes: 5m, 6m, 7m, 8m, 9m, 10m, 11m, 12m, 14m, 16m.
Rider Review - 9m 2010 Rebel
I finally took the new Rebel for a spin to put it through it's paces and find out if the hype resembled the facts. Wind conditions were gusty and frontl from 15 to 26 knots, dead onshore in large surf reef break (waves to double overhead).
The first thing you notice about the kite is it's very different to the 09 Rebel in it's build and also flying characteristics. The floating centre strut, new straight wingtip leading edge segments between 2nd and 3rd struts, new connectors for one pump capilliaries, new rear line bungee system and of course the new bar (which I didn't have), new pump and new large bag all are nice changes.
Attention to detail this year, outstanding! The kite pumped perfect and launched easily in the lighter side of the wind and climbed to 12 o'clock. It felt different straight away. The rear line bungees keep tension on the rear lines in the turns and when you combine this with the flutter free designed wing tips, the kite becomes silky smooth, almost ethereal to fly, it's also perfectly silent, eerily so!
It doesn't turn any faster than the 09, it doesn't fly any faster, it doesn't relaunch any easier and it drifts about the same. Bar pressure feels about the same, might have lost a little depower in the top end straight from the bar throw, but this is accounted for by trimming with the trim strap. Although all this sounds similar to last years, it couldn't "feel" more different!
The new kite certainly has a very unique feel to the bar with the kite silently turning and moving without flutter, there is no vibration through the bar from the flutter of either the canopy or the wingtips. It's a weird feeling and grows on you really quickly, kinda stealth like. It's evertthing that last years was plus more, it has a very rigid leading edge with no sign of structural instability and the whole kite is just smoother and far more polished. About the only thing I noted of significant improve was the more linear powe. As power is pulled on, the speed increases smoothly, same with gusts, when they hit, there is only controlled, silky smooth accelleration upwind.
Is it worth the upgrade? Yes, for the bar and safety alone, but the kite itself has entered a new realm of smoothness and refinement indesign. If you own a '09 come and take it for a demo, and tell me what you think, but don't expect it to boost bigger and turn faster etc, but it will impress you no less.
Darren Marshall 12/9/09
The EVO's shape offers incredible stability to allow you to enjoy freeride simplicity and an amazingly stable feel in the bar which makes unhooking to throw down your latest trick so easy for you to stomp it.
Bombproof construction and solid "C" kite like loops allow you to experiment with whatever kiteloop variation you can imagine. The low down power makes it easy to get up and planing in lighter winds and auto relaunch begins as soon as you let go of the bar. Now you have no excuse to go for it.
Sizes : 6m, 7m, 9m, 10m, 12m, 14m
North 2009 - Rider Review
Decided to finally get around to testing the EVO as a school kite option today. Our biggest concern was it's light wind flying characteristics so we decided to put it to the test at Scarborough in 4-8 knots of onshore wind. This is purely a beach test, I had no plans on getting wet on this day.
Getting it out of the bag it looked as schmick as every other North product I've ever unwrapped. The kite is beautifully made and this is evident as soon as you cast your eye over it. The EVO is 5 struts and has no one pump (which suits school use) and the valves seal amazingly well. As with other North kites, it has one inflate valve with no one way stopper and a release valve on the left wingtip leading edge. (You get used to this!).
The EVO has a clever little bridle system on the front lines for if you remove the 5th line and fly it as a 4 line. rear lines have the pigtail clearing bungee to aid in relaunch by keeping the lines away from the tips. Standard sweet North 5th Element bar and simplicity to rig, all colour coded and kook proofed. Once I was rigged it was time to launch. Admittedly this didn't go easily, but then you wouldn't expect a 10m to self launch well in 5-6 knots. With a bit of advanced technique and a bit of cursing it was up and flying. This is where it became really fun!
As soon as I got it up it flew remarkably well. Due to it's bombproof construction I expected it to be a dog in light winds and be very stally. Nope! The Evo climbed nicely to 12 o'clock and just sat there over my head making me nervous. First test power, dive through the wind window and even in 6-7 knots it pulled me forward several metres, sweet! Plenty of power so throw a nice loop and it pulled nicely pivoting around on it's wingtip with no hint of a squashy feeling turn, very direct.
The bar pressure is what I call moderate and steering effort is also moderate which means the kite is only going to do what you tell it to do rather thanit wandering off with lttle attention from the rider. After several minutes of fun flying it came down to brass tacks, how would it handle a luff situation in less than 8 knots? I pulled the bar in to full power and allowed the kite to edge as close to 12 o'clock as possible and as far into the wind as it would go, then suddenly throw the power off by pushing the bar away instantly. The kite simply drifted slowly back to a more stable position further in the wind window. Nice! Now the big test. Same as before only this time sheet out suddenly and run forward (downwind) several metres. The kite pitched forward, then pitched backwards and then forwards as it drifted back into the window again with slack lines for almost 5 seconds. WOW! We repeated this several times with same results time and again.
We found it very difficult to stall as well as luff. I've never flown a better behaved and more stable kite. I liked the lack of flutter taken care of by the trailing edge mini battens and the generous use of Dacron in the trailing edge for flutter resistance. I liked it so far.
Water Test - Finally got to take the North 2009 Evo 7m for a decent run in strong 25 knot squally conditions in a downwinder from Leighton to Mullaloo (snapped a board by Swanny which resulted in a long walk back upwind).
As expected from a 7m, the kite turns very fast and has masses of power when sheeted in as well as developing a bit of apparent wind power. The speed through the window is typical of the average 7m, not too ballistic but fast enough to be fun! As the wave conditions were onshore again I got to test out the drift factor, and again was very impressed, didn't luff or stall it once. The kite is punchy when boosting and should I have wanted to go crazy big, it would have easily done this. Depower is very good, simply sheet out and the juice stops, just like that!
The bar pressure is moderate and slightly heavier than what I am used to but wasn't heavy enough to annoy or bring on the pain in the arms/elbows. Steering takes some effort which suited me fine as that way there are no inadvertant steering mistakes. I didn't put it into the drink to test relaunch so can't comment here, but the kite really surprised me. Not sure what I was expecting, but the kite is excellent for waves and being a little heavier to steer would probably suit freestylers too.
Me thinks they'll make a great school kite.
This is the kite I'm waiting for after having ridden last years and being very impressed. The North Vegas is a "full-on C kite" with a heart of pure New School. And before we go too much further it would be wise to mention it still has two rigging options; 1) True "C" Kite with minimal depower, mad stability and desensitized steering. 2) The New School Freestyle mode where it has "C" kite feel but also has the hybrid depower and fast steering.
The blurb from North tells us that they have gone for a combination of feel from 2008 and 2009 so more back to grass roots pure "C" but with added speed for getting the kite back up to 12 to cushion massive mega loops hard landings. The new Vegas has gone from "U" kite back to "C" again! Hmmmm....
The kite has basically been designed to serve the new schoolers pushing new trickery to the limits and is the freestyle choice of all the team riders. The amount of punch from the kite is epic and the can still be setup in a 4 or 5 line configuration with stability and rock solid performance. This is a Hybrid kite but definately has the old kite feel about it, most old "C" kites were pigs of things, but this kite brings the best of new and old together in a really fun package. The 2010 kite also comes with the new 5th Element bar stystem of course making it one of the safest kites on the market in terms of depower and safety release system.
I can't wait for this kite to arrive to do a full rider review Kite arrives on 18/9/09 Stay tuned ......
North 2010 Vegas - Rider Review
This is a review I've been looking forward to. Test conditions were 20-25 knots gusting to 30 knots. Board 132 Jaime 2010.
I really liked the 2009 Vegas for freestyle riding and it was OK as a freerider but I liked others better, but Oh! You really need to ride the 2010 Vegas. For intermediate to advanced riders looking for a combo of freestyle and freeride ...... This kite is truly in a league of it's own!
The Vegas 10m (White and Black) is still multi pump so each strut inflates seperately. Bag because the valve is tight and takes some energy to pump past eh one way valve, good because you could ride a whole session with the plug out and it doesn't leak a bit. The leading edge pumps up quick (no one way valve) but need to squeeze neck to cap.
I set the kite on Freeride settings for fast steering and minimum bar pressure with maximum depower. That worked, bar pressure was low end of medium whilst steering was super responsive and fast and depower was total over a short depower throw range. On launch the kite felt the most stable in the gusty air, perhaps with the short sheeting range it just didn't buck around as much at the bar and so felt more stable and smooth. Turned fast and felt punchy with power so hit the water. It felt quite quick as I rode away from the beach and threw a couple of moderately big jumps (Good for Vegas as they didn't go huge in 09 in my opinion). On one of the jumps I got a little out of shape and spotted the kite way out on te edge of the window. I felt the downwind accelleration and new it was gonna hurt so cranked the bar. To my bewilderment, the kite looped back the other way and made 12 o'clock before I hit the water. I did read about this in the dealers manual, but thought it was the usual BS. NOT! This kite is seriously fast when cranked in the power. I reckon the 10m turns as fast as a quick 7m when you really push it
The Vegas is so unbelievably sweet in turns, through the window, and in any part of the flight window, that you really need to fly it to appreciate it. Such amazing control, smoothest depower, predictabilit, speed, stability boost and on top of all that, it looks bloody stunning in the air. It has lost that upside down U shape from last year and is now just plain sexy.
At this point I'd like to say, that for more advanced riders, this is the most incredible kite I have flown to date ..... ever! I now need to test the kite in freestyle/wake settings to see if it is controllable as an unhooking type kite. If it is, it's a total winner. I write again when I can spend a session unhooking. 24/09/09
The Iron Heart II is the third incarnation of the North Chickenloop and now sets the market standard for safety and design. The new design is completely ergonomic and can be activated by left or right hand equally as easily. The safety is designed to release a 200kg load with just 7kg force even when caked in sand and wet and just 4 kilos when dry and clean. The entire release process must work within 0.5 sec. This satisfies rigid French Design standards. Easy to reset and no sharp components guarantee a safe release every time.
The Auto positioning head re-aligns the chickenloop with the bar every time you unhook so that when you need to hook back in in a hurry after a handle pass or unhooked trick, the loop will be exactly where you need it, facing you. The center of the bar is now a solid metal component with polished internal and external surfaces to reduce center line wear and make it smooth to the touch.
The new Roto Head of the Iron Heart III system allows the safety 5th line to pass through the centre of the chickenloop body and also allows the chicken loop to spin freely with load. This has the feature of allowing riders to spin the bar many times in the one direction and not tangle the safety line around the centre lines. When lines tangle or twist around centre lines on other systems, they may jam and render the safety system inoperative.
The bar ends of the North "Trust Bar" are able to be adjusted for width making the bar suitable for small and large kites (All-4-one). To change from wide to narrow, the floats are slid out of the way and the leader lines are simply larks head knotted to the opposite end of the short red line running through the bar end. This process takes about 10 seconds per side and can be done at the beach with no tools. The bar winder ends are coated with a soft rubber to prevent injury from contact in crashes and to help keep lines on after they have been wound. A bungee is looped over the lines to prevent them from unwinding.
The North Stopper Ball system is a simple sliding stopper for adjusting the maximum amount of depower of the kite so you can rest your arms in light wind conditions whilst taking the load off the bar. The amount of friction can be adjusted by removing the ball and re-installing it the other way up. Of course the stopper restricts the amount of depower the kite has and should only be used by persons who know what they are doing, and only on the water while well away from solid objects. Please speak to us about the stopper system when demoing our kites.
The Vario Cleat System is truly one of a kind in the industry. Not only does the vario cleat allow you to vary the amount of power by the trim system, but the Cleat can be moved up and down the depower line to change the ratio of trim to depower. This is truly unique and a major plus for kiters who want less bar movement but more trim, or for riders who ride waves and need more depower and less trim. The Vario Cleat can be adjusted on the beach with the kite landed and takes only moments to adjust.
The Standard safety leash setup is simple and effective. The safety leash is clipped onto the stainless steel ring inside the Iron Heart III Chickenloo. When the safety collar is pushed away, the chicken loop releases the bar from the spreader hook and activates the 5th line safety system totally depowering the kite in the event of an emergency. The new design also allows the chickenloop to spin freely below the bar which eliminates tangles below the bar like on many other systemswhen the bar is spun from tricks.
More advanced riders will appreciate the simple "Suicide" setting. Simply set the chicken loop to pass through the 5th line stainless ring and reset the safety release. Swing the donkey dick out of the way and you're ready to start unhooking. When a handle pass is missed and the bar is let go, the safety leash pulls on the chickenloop and avoids the 5th line safety system activation. This saves having to reset the bar everytime you crash. The 5th line safety system still operates but the Iron Heart III safety collar must be activate to release the stainless ring. This can be difficult or even impossible if the bar is beyong your reach.
CAUTION! Using the "Suicide" setup renders the safety depower system inoperative, and should only be used by advanced riders!
|Last Updated on Thursday, 07 July 2011 12:02|