JN Kites, named after its founders in 2003 Bernd Jochum and Michael Nesler, might be known to you without realising it. Not only did they design kites for some of the big brands in the industry before 2003, but you might also remember that kite with the huge, funny looking flower on a kite…?! Yes that is a JN kite. We tested the latest models of three different versions they produce; The all purposeMr. Fantasic third edition , the pure performance oriented C-shapedPrima Donna sixth edition and the fast responding performance weaponWild Thing Revival 5th edition. The (list) prices of the kites and bars aren’t as cheap as you would have hoped. It is not a very well-known brand, which is not a bad thing if you want to ride something different from the crowd. The second-hand market is also a lot more limited for these kites.
The 4-lines Gaastra Pure 9m 2015 has 3 struts, a bridle with no pulley’s nor any battens and a high split point of it’s front lines. The very colourful green-yellow bag comes with numerous -functional- pockets and includes a huge size indication. The bag certainly does get the attention on the beach. The inflate is a classic wide -and quick- entrance to the perfect one-pump system, including a unique protection padding. The X2 bar is a bit thicker than most other bars but looks very slick at a first glance, including the lines.
Though when looking a bit closer to the bar, there is an issue: although there is a safety ring, it doesn’t fit over the chickenloop. The manual of the Pure suggests for suicide mode to connect both the chickenloop and the safety to the leach. Our North safety leach however did not fit. A bigger leash connection would fit, but it would certainly compromise the safety, since the end of Gaastra’s X2 chickenloop is wider at the end. The chance a leach connection will be stuck to the chickenloop when using the safety system is very real. So a safe suicide mode is not possible. This is a bit strange for a kite branded as A freestylers dream weapon.*
Dutch Gaastra supplier Newsports, provider of the test kites has read our review and had a reaction to this issue (see below review).
Gaastra’s website is very clear at the aims of the Pure; It is dedicated to freestyle competition with most direct c-kite character, optimized kite-loop performance. The kite indeed has a sort of C-shaped look to it, but for a freestyle kite the split point of the front lines is quite high. This normally ends up with a fast turning kite. Something the opposite freestyle kiters need.
The Naish Ride is on the market for a couple of years now. In the slick product video the “All-Around Freeride” Ride is mostly ridden by good looking girls and young kids (with a voice over from a guy who probably is trained to talk people in to sleep). This video and the many details on the website of Naish suggest that the Ride is intended for users who demand a reliable, steady, easy to use and not too powerful kite.
The North Vegas is a designated “C”-kite. It is one of the last kites that comes without bridles. Even the Slingshot Fuel, a traditional C-kites, from 2015 models on now have bridles. The Vegas has a very specific aim: Freestyle. Its shape, this year for the first time, done by former world champion Aaron Hadlow, has been set to “create a superior kite for our team riders“.
Wainman is one of the first, if not the first brand who made kites specifically designed for wave riding. Wainman kites are updated by a version, instead of “renewing” them each year like most brands do. The newest version of their wave riding kite “Rabbit” is the 3.0. We tested this kite in gusty 20-30 knot Levante (side shore) wind in Canos de Meca, Spain. The conditions were good with waves up to 3 meters.
The 7 different colors belonging to each kite size (5 till 14.5m) are characteristic for Wainman. An unique detail about Wainman kites is that they give each kite size a name. In our case (the 7.5) is called “mr Green”. Wainman present’s kite size up to 2 digits (!) behind the comma (all having 3 struts). For example they have a 6.25m, called “Gypsy”. Each kite size has a special dedicated aim, all explained on their website.
Our mr Green has lots of bright colors and a huge typical 3-rounds logo. Even the tips of the leading edge have this logo.
After 4 weeks of comparing the F-one Bandit from 2015 (“version 8”) and the North Dice 2015, we have made quite some notes and remarks to fully evaluate the differences. We already made a description why we compare the Bandit and the Dice and what the similarities and differences are on the lines and bridles. This report is mostly on the performance (see below at “Details that matter”), the most important aspect of a kite. Any differences described here are on details. Both the Dice and the Bandit have much more in common than they have differences. We all felt very happy riding with both kites, whatever the rider or circumstances.
“Clash”, a relative unknown brand which just makes kiteboard twintips according to the knowledge of the Spanish professional Alvaro Onievo.
We have tried the 1.38 by 40.5 “Reincarnation 2.0”,which is the largest of the 3 boards they currently make.
Although they also are sold with boots (complete for just 750,-!) we tried it with normal straps. We took it out to Canos De Mecca on a very gusty but windy (25-40 knots) day with from time to time some big rolling “ola’s”.
Both Bandit and Dice have a 4 line set up. The Dice kite comes with a 5th line (hidden in a pocket on the middle strut) for the kite, which means a 5 line bar could be used on the Dice. The North bar is available in one size only and costs (either 4 or 5 lines) 439,- and you could choose between 4 lengths;19m, 22m, 24m and 27m. For a dice 2015 22m or 24m is recommended. In this test we used 22m lines. According to North a 5th line is added to a better safety, but further is has n’t got any extra functions.
The f-one “Monolith” bar, unchanged from 2014, comes with 21.8m lines. The bar is available in 2 sizes; 45 and 52cm (for 11m and above).
our assumption is that the way the bridles are set up is quite important to the feel you get from the kite. Let’s say maybe for 40% (and determine the feeling maybe just as much as the shape of the kite)? If we place both kites on to each other, as we did on the picture on the right with 9m’s, it doesnt appear to be so different from the Bandit to the Dice. They both have 4 to 5 connections on the leading edge. But the bandit has 2 pulleys, and the Dice just one on each side.
If we look closer to the pulleys, the North Dice (in blue) pulley doesnt have any moving parts. The pulleys of the bandit does have rolling parts (as the Bandit has had from the beginning).
Is this better? No! From my expierence a bridle line will -in time- be litterly scraped by those wheels, ending up broken, lets say in average use in about 2 tot 3 years. No need to say this means you won’t be able to control the kite any more if it brakes. So a small advice will be to check the bridle lines every now and then and make sure the wheel of the F-one Bandit pulley’s are not clocked with sand or by any other reason….And a small advice to F-one (as this scraping issue must be known by now?!); why not use a pulley without any moving parts….like the North Dice has.
Independent testing of kites and kiteboards