Does any bar fit on any kite? Of course it doesn’t, but there is more to it than the bar width, 4 or 5 lines or the length of the lines. While testing a bar from Kite Attitude we got deeper and deeper into the influence of the height of the split point of the front lines.
(See also an update on this)
Interesting stuff, especially if you just want to get your hands on a new bar, but don’t want to pay -the ever growing prices of the A-brands- up to 500-plus Euro. We not only tested the Kite Attitude bar, but we also interviewed some manufacturers which gave some interesting technical insights.
Yes, it it is ridiculous amounts of money. A new 2016 North Quad bar; 479,- Euro, a V6 Best RP bar 459,- , an overdrive Cabrinha 1X 2016 bar; a staggering 549,- Euro’s! Is it worth to buy an alternative? We got in touch with the French company Kite Attitude who sales bars for 279,- Euro’s. They call the bar Universal, for obvious reasons. We had a go with the freestyle/wave version. Not only to check some important details, like its safety system and the quality and feel of the bar. But maybe even more important to check its ability to be used on any kite without changing they way the kite is intended to fly. And that is where we got focused on one particularly issue; the height of the split point of the front lines. It is something you rarely will read about, but there are huge differences between brands and even within a brand from year to year in the height of this split point.
When we tested the Kite Attitude Universal bar on a North Dice the Dice wasn’t a Dice any more. The kite stalled a lot and was “searching” continuously for the right position. The only obvious difference between the North and Attitude bar is the height of the split point; North at 5.90m and for the Attitude bars it is 1.15m above the depower system.
When we interviewed North designers about the height of split point they answered that they test each year at what height the split point works best with their kites. North adds to the answer that they advice to add any line extensions (if you use them) below this split point. This means it is rather the split point distance to the kite which matters instead of the distance to the depower system. In any case it seems the place of the split point is a major thing to the way the (North) kite performs. We also noticed older North bars have even higher split points, which doesn’t
make things as universal as we would think. Alex Pastor mentioned Airush had changed their split point down without much issues changing bars among different versions of the kites. Below this review the Donatien, designer of the Attitude bars, extensively reacted on our findings.
When we took the same Universal bar on a F-one Bandit (7th version), which has the split point at 3.60m, there was some improvement compared to the test with the North Dice. The tested Attitude bar needed some depowering on the Bandit to prevent stalling, but it was usable without any further issues. Let’s say sub-optimal, although the Universal bar has more functionalities, is definitely much safer and the lines probably last longer than those of F-one.
(See also an update on this)
It goes without saying that using the Universal bar on any other low split point kite (which are the majority of the brands like Best, Cabrinha, Ozone, or other low split point kites) the bar just needs the same amount of lines and the same line length to get the same performance as with its own original bar.
The Kite Attitude Universal bar freestyle/wave version
The man behind Kite Attitude, Donatien Roger, is an experienced producer in the kite industry. Kite Attitude also offers other bars, like a girly version, the (strange looking) Totem and race bars. The website is a bit of a mess and far from slick looking. Donatien clearly put more time in the development of the bars. (See also his reaction and explanations on the different versions of the bar below the review)
The Universal bar features almost all possibilities which we know: a height adjustable depower strap (especially handy for smaller people!), a twistable depower line (a must for all bars in our opinion, since no swiffel works perfectly) and a single line flag out safety system that completely releases all power when used. A must on a four line kite. 2-line safety, like that on a F-one are not safe enough and will keep pulling in high winds when released.
The Universal bar most obvious detail is it quite a large (red) release system. We tested the safety a couple of times. The safety needs some more effort to release it than most other systems and re-assembling the system really needs 2 hands.
The size of the bar is not adjustable (2 sizes are available, 47 and 52cm), but this is not a major missing (and the Totem version does have this option, see the reaction below the review). For example we never change the size of our North Quad bar, although we use a 5m and a 11m on the same bar, but that is something personal.
The lines on the Freestyle/wave version have no specification on the manufacturer or test results, but look tough and strong enough. The feel of the bar itself is a tiny bit bigger than average, which gives a bit of a heavy feeling, while the actual weight isn’t more compared to other brands. There is no stopper ball on the bar (but is optional).
Advice on alternative bars
There are more bars on the market that are also remarkably less expensive than the bigger brands (for example a new Zian bar is around 250,- Euro’s). They can be used on other kites, but to keep your kite flying like it is made for, we give the three most important checks for an alternative bar.
1: Make sure the amount of lines (4 or 5) are equivalent to that of the kite. Some kites can be used with both options, and yes this makes a difference. For example a Dice with 5 lines gets a bit slower but holds it shape better in heigh end winds and there for jumps a bit better overpowered with 5 lines.
2: The line length is very critical. A few meters more or less and any kite functions completely different. Longer lines makes a kite slower but more power full, shorter lines makes the kite feel more alive. Take the length exactly as described by the manufacturer. Is there more options? Our experiences are mostly at its best with lines around 22 meter.
3: And, yes often forgotten but important, the split point height of the front lines. -> Read on in our update!
Although up to a few meter differences might not be much of a problem, we do advice to take the exact height as the kite is designed for. For example F-one kites at 3.60, North at 5.90m. Most other brands like Best, Ozone, Cabrinha and Slingshot are completely down (so at 0 cm). From our experiences up to a few meters differences between the original split point and that of an alternative bar is the limit between okay and clearly abnormal behaviour of a kite.
Kite Attitude Universal bar (47 or 52cm) with lines 279,-
Reaction from Kite attitude on the review:
For me the High Y, will makes the kite turn slightly better. A bit more pivotal and a bit better response smaller bar input needed, kind of power steering, but it has slightly less direct and less hard feel, bit of damphened. For Wave riding High Y-splice would be better in my opinion, High Y is my preference. Fast turning with little bar input.
Pulling the bar for a turn left turn (in this example), the Y splice point will be moved (seen in space) from it’s mid position slighty to the left, therefore the left frontline will be slightly more straight (=longer distance), the right front line will be under slightly more angle (=shorter distance). So steering becomes a bit of power steering. The higher the Y-Splice to the kite the more the effect. For me it works on any kite but would certainly not go higher than max 40% line length. But yes it becomes indeed a different kite, all to you’re liking.
Hi Ben, thanks for sharing. More reviews to come; so keep an eye out on them.
As for the self landing with a high Y; With the Click bar this works pretty okay when just walking up on the two front lines. How did you try this?
We Test Kites
I love your reviews – this is only my bar findings of an intermediate rider, please advise if anything is incorrect…
I loved my Naish Pivots 2016 / 2017 I bought the first 2 years they came out, sheet and go, so easy for me as i was learning and just getting into wave riding. I bought a North Quad bar but realised the kites struggled on the high Y (thank you Kite Republic Melbourne for diagnosing!) A new low Y Naish bar fixed that.
I then changed the yellow “Toys R Us” Naish bar for the 2017 North Click bar which i loved despite having to ride for 2 months in Cape Town with a broken floater (new bar, no spares or love from North) but sorted by the UK dealer i bought it off – big thanks to Bracklesham Boardriders. And the kites flew great on this bar, but with the extended de-power i needed to pull the stopper down a bit to prevent the kites falling out of the sky when the bar was pushed away too quickly?? Is that correct? And I seemed to have a poor 9m Pivot as it just kept falling out of the sky, and the same was for experienced riders who tried my 9m and on a Naish bar too.
I then changed the Pivots for Core Section 1 kites and the new 2018 North Click bar which has been a perfect combination for me. I rinse the bar every time i can after use and through the de-power PU sleeve, and this bar seems to be lasting way better. Although i don’t like what i feel are poor quality North lines. (thank you for your review)
I also bought the Core Sensor Pro 2 bar which has a higher Y and wondered if the kites might fly differently on the Core bar, but i don’t think they do… I love the quality of the Core bar, its beautifully made and has fantastic lines, it def feels much higher quality… BUT i don’t like high Y – I can’t self land so easily, and on some beaches where I travel that is required / the norm, I know not on crowded European beaches, but on downwinders in Australia, remote Cape Town beaches and even Maui. Also I have had the steering lines caught through the Y after kiting upwind for an hour to get to a wave spot, only to have to return to the beach to fix (the lines weren’t just twisted, but caught in the Y causing high friction and obviously wear, i dropped the kite on a wave, so it was my fault) Also the Core release is a love hate, i don’t like it, it won’t one hand release on my rope harness, and if you have to re-assemble at sea it is really hard if there is any wind (esp on the rope harness). also the swan neck stainless steel / TPU joint above the release has caused a death loop (fortunately at sea) when the steering line got caught around it. Also had another death loop on the beach when the lines caught around the bar which is much harder I think on moulded floaters. I did have this once in Cape Town too when the North floaters were broken, but never when they have been in one piece. A lot of this probably wouldn’t happen to more experienced riders, but for me the 2018 North Click bar is amazing and i have knot and loops on each pig tails so I can connect to any kite. I also feel my riding has improved on the Click Bar as I am able to understand sheeting in / out much better now and adjust perfectly while riding, the systems with a rope I feel I have 3 settings, fully sheeted in, fully sheeted out and a midway point if i am lucky. I also found the sheeting strap would catch around steering lines when turning sharply in waves, and it’s just annoying in your line of sight. The clean view on the Click bar is like a clean windscreen. I realise the bar doesn’t make the kite fly better, I just feel it makes me better, if you are intermediate or beginner I feel it really helps, I think its actually a fair price and that all other bars are over priced, i feel it is easily 2 or 3 times better than a conventional bar. 😉
You are right about most parts.
Changing the distance from bar tot cleat could improve the range in Theory. But keep 2 things in mind:
1 you arm length would limit your reach.
2 if you would add length tot your depower rope after the cleat the capability of the kite would limit the actual wind range. Back stall (to long powerlines) is probably the first thing to happen when powering too much.
We Test Kites
After reading all the above. If I keep the bar width, lines and split the same as the bar a kite comes with then I can use another mfg. bar to get equal performance. But what about the power range? Does increasing the length from bar to cleat increase the wind range from low to high on all kites?
I have one of these bars and it’s been great. Simple. Well built. Good lines. Used with several different kites and no problems at all. The color choice is a little silly, but i got used to it. Other than that, we’ll be going back to buy more next time we need a bar.
good point! To add an another strange (to say the least) color mistake is the North 2017 bar. On the 2017 bar the blue part has been switched from right to left for 2016…imagine you are used to grab blue with your right hand, now you need to adjust is from one day to the other.
The importance of a maximum safety is still something which a lot manufacturers could work on. Think below the bar swivel, single line flagout and indeed colors on the bar!
Thanks for the contribution.
We Test Kites
Good and thorough review! I never heard about these bars before.
What kills them for me is the choice of colors however. Not regarding aesthetics, but regarding safety. Normally in marine traffic, green means right (starboard) side while red means left (port) side (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navigation_light).
Not many bar-manufacturers adhere exactly to this scheme, but most put red or at least the brighter color on the left. I have however never seen another manufacturer use exactly these colors and then mess it up.
This bar completely breaks with the scheme. The universal bar has green on the left, while the girly version has pink (red) on the right. Only the 2016/2017 Totem version seems to have green on the right.
For me this is an absolute No-Go. I can already see myself messing up the orientation after barspins. And after finally getting used to this bar, every other bar would require getting used to again.