It seems something very useful and easy; your own personal camera hanging above you, so you and your buddies get filmed on the water. But it is a bit more complicated and compromised as you probably would expect.
North is a big brand as in very well known around the world, but also in terms of the amount of different types of hardware. For 2016 North has roughly 8 different kites, 10 twintips and 8 different wave boards. An incredible amount and most of them are redesigned every year. Is this redesign a marketing driven thing or can we pin point some real improvements? To give you an hint; most North quiver is not really changed but tweaked.
We had the chance to ride most of the 2016 equipment for a couple of hours. Below you will find some highlights of the first impressions we had from it. In a further stage we give you more detailed reviews on all main stream kites and twintips.
Probably the nicest surprise of 2015 was the North Dice with it’s quick response, direct, light, wide wind range and an amazing quick depower on the bar made this truly do it all kite almost everybody’s friend. No wonder we were very curious for it’s offspring. The 2016 Dices were released in the beginning of september and luckily we were already able to get our hands on a 9 meter.
We were so excited to test the Dice 2016 we took it out the first time the wind did hit the coast. Unfortunately the wind was very light with just 16-17 knots of real on shore wind and big waves compared to the strength of the wind. So we did not expect we could take out the 9 meter, but curiosity killed the cat. Our lightest test kiter decided to give it a try and didn’t come back for at least an hour. Needless to say she liked the 2016 Dice and the kite already had an amazing low end in 2015. After she came back I could not resist to give it a try myself, 25 kilograms heavier then her, and even I could ride the kite in this light weather conditions. The low end is definitely better than last year but what more has been changed?
How much better is a twintip that costs approximately a 1000,- euro’s compared to cheaper twintips with similar features? We tested the North Team Series 138*41 cm 2015 to get the answer.
North produces a large quiver of kiteboards. With 10 different (in 2015) twintip boards to choose from it’s a good thing they have made an online tool to point you in the right direction. When you set this tool to “100% freestyle” it suggests 3 twintips; The Team Series, the Team Series Hadlow version and the already tried and tested Jaime.
According to the North website their North Select twintip is a 100% freeride board. It is described as a fast, light and responsive board and is build with Textreme Carbon. Out of curiosity we checked what Textreme Carbon actually is. Apparently it is not just a marketing term, but an existing material.
TeXtreme is the trade name of Oxeon’s “spread tow” carbon fiber composite. TeXtreme is different than traditional carbon fiber because the individual fibers are configured like extremely small ribbons, not round strands of carbon as with conventional carbon fiber. The wider, flatter orientation of TeXtreme carbon fiber means the individual carbon fibers nest closer to one another, producing a denser, stiffer, stronger interlace of carbon fibers. Since the carbon fibers are arrayed in closer proximity to each other there is less room for the matrix material, the “glue” that makes carbon fiber solid. Less matrix means more carbon and more carbon means better stiffness and energy management. It also means North can use less carbon fiber to produce an even stronger and lighter board.
Design North Vegas
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“.
We tested the new Vegas to see how it is any fun riding it “non-freestyled”.
Continue reading Test North Vegas 7m + 9m 2015 on 5th element and wake style bar
The North Jamie board is one of the most popular boards of North. The 2015 model is already the 10th edition. It got its name from Tarifa veteran kiter Jaime Herraiz. The website of Northkiteboarding has sophisticated choose&slide features which pops up “best match” with the Jaime when selecting 25% Freeride and 100% Freestyle. The Jaime, according to the North website, is “The real beauty of the Jaime however is its forgiving nature; it’s one of the easiest boards to ride, yet it is still packed with performance “. Continue reading Test Twintip North Jaime 133*40 2015
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.
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).
The differences between the North and F-one bars are mainly to be found in the details; Continue reading Bar and lines Bandit 8 and Dice 2015
So lets compare the bridle’s;
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.