The GTS has a pretty hardcore reputation. The German Core brand gradually gets more and more into the picture with short-line kite mega loop king Steven Akkersdijk and Joshau Emanuel being one of the major competitor in the Woo world wide leader board with a stunning 27.6m on the GTS4. To what extend can this C kite, with 3 struts and a high V-split, be getting the average kiter some more kicks out their sessions? Or is it just for a select amount of athletic dare devils that can really benefit from the GTS4?
The GTS4 with the triple ripstop canopy “Exotex” GTS4 is easy to recognize by its C-shape and white&black colours. Its “ears” however are not as long as other true C-kites (like the Wainman Maniac or the Airush Razor) and unlike most other C-shape kites it only has 3 struts instead of 5 (which doesn’t need to say anything about it’s behaviour as we have seen from the KSP Charger). On top of that Core also has a true (which we have never seen in real life) wake/freestyle C kite; the Impact. Which to us makes the GTS4 more an open C Kite, like the Slingshot RPM or the Ocean Rodeo Razor). The GTS4 has 2 battens and a nice 3 options for both the bridles (with pulleys) and the back lines which makes a wide range of settings possible. The inflate to the one pump-pump to 8psi- is Core specific. Similar to the North system, it does not need a nozzle and – in principle – you can use any kite-pump although only the Core pump seems to attach airtight. Deflation requires a small chip, stored in the middle strut, to be inserted in the valve to release the air.
The GTS4 doesn’t come cheap at 1349 Euro’s. One of its competitors, the RPM from slingshot is 60 Euro’s cheaper. But for sure the build quality is very refined and strong.
Bar and lines
We used the Core Sensor 2s+ bar which feels tight and light. The 2s”+” (add €30 to the €499 for the 2s) allows you to vary the line length to 18, 20, 22, and 24m by combining different line extensions.Two plastic coated lines run through the double inserts in the bar. What we love is the auto rotating swivel creating maximum safety. Together with the North Click bar it is the only bar we have tested which untwists by itself. It is a similar system as Flysurfer, Blade and Spleene but with one important difference; the lines are protected with plastic which leads to significant less wear. But there is also a downside on this construction: the resistance. When powering up and pulling down the bar the two line system creates more resistance than other bars. Pulling the bar with a lot of steering input – in particular when under-powered – becomes annoying and might even lead to RSI pains around the elbow. However, the bar has been designed with an eye for detail; for example the lower white ring is protected (better than the Click bar which is unprotected at this part) with plastic against wear.
The safety system features a turning release. This may be tricky one as it is currently the only brand which doesn’t have a push away safety system (on a single front line flag out, which is just according to our wishes). Not wrong, better or worse but something to get into your head before using the Core kite. We also couldn’t use it in the standard set up in suicide mode (the ring is too small to connect to your leash). A bit strange as it is marketed as “An easy choice for unhooked freestyle”. A “wake style pro set” is available to transform the ring into a suicide set up. Other brands (like North) don’t need such a kit to get it into a suicide set up.
The GTS4 lives up to its expectations as an extraordinary kite. It wasn’t easy to test it to its full extent.We tested the GTS4 along a North Dice 2017. Although the Dice is also not the sweetest kite in power terms, the power we got from the Dice is clearly smoother and more gradual than the GTS4. It also has a more predictable and easier feel to it, Although with the Dice the power can be quite crispy and edgy too, the GTS4 is much more a kite to work on because of its restless movements. The shaking of the firm cloth make the kite a bit nervous -one wonders whether a small midget is running around restless over the canopy eagerly and impatiently waiting for some action. We tried all three bridle settings, since a shift of one cm can make a world of difference in kite feel. In this case you can reset only the outer attachment point of the bridle. The effects are not that big as we have seen with other kites. In the wave setting (suggesting you can ride waves with the GTS, which we consider it unsuited for) the kite seemed a bit less nervous.
The high split on the front lines of the GTS 4 is similar as the North Quad bars, but the open C-shape of the GTS4 clearly give a different experience. It turns and loops snappier, but you also have to time your jumps even more precise. Get it right and with some proper wind force (i.e. a lot, since the low end is not its main attraction) you will be rewarded with a spectaculair boost. Keep the GTS moving in the air to prevent a quick decent, since it doesn’t keep you in the air like an Ozone Edge or North Rebel – quite the contrary.We wondered if we are good enough to be able to get the most out of its potential boosting. Most obvious attraction, which we loved is its (mega)kite loops. They are phenomenal. The GTS will give the thrill seeker what he is looking for; a snappy powerful perfect feeling. The high V in combination with its bridles makes it more attractive to loop it furiously through the power zone than for example the North Vegas. The Vegas takes more effort and more determination to get it going. The GTS show how the perfect mega loop should feel like. Which is a wonderful and rewarding feeling. But with this great mega kiteloop feel does come a typical GTS behaviour, which no other kite has. You should be ready for it. It is like being in an Asian restaurant with an undefined sauce next to your diner. How spiced up your diner is going to be is hard to tell. It may very well be a sauce which you can handle easily but at the same time it can get you caught totally off guard and burn you inner body for minutes. The GTS4 is just like this. You need to be a crocodile hunter and be ready for when things get snappy. It has a mind of its own and can get furious with the most snappy power (in a kite loop) we may have seen in the right -windy- conditions.
Cor GTS4 (kite only) 9m 1349,- Euro
Core Sensor 2s+ Bar with 24m lines (18+4+2m) 529,- Euro
Thanks for getting back with the details.
The GTS4 will do the job, for sure. It might just not be the best one, for example a FX or Dice sounds a more logic step. The GTS4 has a beautiful and maybe most firm canopy/structure we know. Some people find it quite nervous. But again describing it as a turbo which is on or of by demand is pretty close. But it will do the same in gusty winds and aiming for the perfect take off is more tricky compared to most kites. And it is at it best (very) overpowered.
Looping a Nexus isn’t what you are looking for.
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I’m in my early 30s and good shape. I’ve tried
-Airush DNA (most used). Since it’s a beginner kite, it’s not reactive and a bit slow which makes me uncomfortable trying things.
-Cabrinha (I assume it was Switchblade). It was ok. Felt more forgiving than the DNA but maybe a bit truck-ish.
-Catalyst. This was my favorite kite so far. Quite responsive and present. Felt less truck like although there was energy to be bound. I involuntarily did my first jump on this kite 🙂
Is the kite punishing outside of loops as well?
I read many “conflicting” reviews about this kite, some say it’s very well behaved but with a bit turbo on demands, others saying it’s quite a handful.
I have good deals on Gts and Nexus that’s why I’m asking about this kite rather than an Enduro (which would have been natural since I liked the catalyst)
We are a bit in doubt about the answer. Can you tell us which kites you have used and what you think about them? Also to know your age would help, since this kite can give some serious feed back if you pull a good loop. Young people tend to be able to handle/like it and more important don’t mind the impact/punishment it can give you.
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would you recommend this kite (or GTS5) for an early intermediate, starting to work on kite-loops and jumps? Or is it too difficult to handle.
I’m looking for a kite that’s a bit more dynamic and engaging than what I currently have. This kite looks very fun with powerful turns.
Mainly hoping to get good at freeride, hooked-in freestyle (loop based transitions) and maybe some day some megaloops 😛
Thanks for all your work!
(for other readers I translate your question in English)
Hi Dave, I am writing to you from Argentina. I sail with North Vegas and yesterday I tested a GTS4 13.5 a little bit windy and it seemed very stable and quite friendly, the only thing I felt in the jumps that fell much faster than with the vegas, I mean less hangtime than the vegas and do not achieve good heights. This may be because there would be a lot of wind or I need time to get along with him?
This is quite difficult to judge. Testing and comparing such big kites is quite a specific job.
The first question to you would be what line length you use on the Vegas to compare the Core?
Esto es bastante difícil de juzgar. Probar y comparar cometas grandes es un trabajo bastante específico.
La primera pregunta para usted sería ¿qué longitud de línea usará en Vegas para comparar el Core?
Hola Dave, te escribo desde Argentina. Yo navego con North Vegas y ayer eh probado un GTS4 13,5 un poco pasado de viento y me parecio muy estable y bastante amigable, lo unico que senti en los saltos que caia mucho mas rapido que con el vegas, osea menos hangtime q el vegas y no logre buenas alturas. Esto puede ser por que habria mucho viento o me falta tiempo para amigarme con el?
thanks for contacting.
Hopefully we can get our hands on it. For the moment there is no sign we going to have it. We always encourage to test, either by an unbiased reviewer (like us) or better by yourself. Try contacting Core in your region and suggest either of the two options!?
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Can you guys test a new Gts5 vs the Gts4?
I want to know what improved and if an amateur ride is gonna feel the difference.
The Dice is slightly smoother in its power, the GTS4 can be more rough on that. The low end may be slightly worse also on the GTS4 and it needs a (bit) more active riding style.
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great review thank you. Since you have ridden the GTS and Dice together are there anymore differences in its jumping abilities besides the feeling, like the expierenced lift and hangtime? Or its more or less quite the same?
Difficult question. I think the difference is too small to give you a direct lead. It will probably depend on a personal touch or view to see or feel any differences.
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Hi Dave, for learning unhooked do you suggest gts4? or dice 2017?. i saw in this article a small comparison, i need your opinion cause im closer to get gts4 even if i have 2016 North evo kites. thank you
Good review 😉
What a weird safety system… Turn to release, What ?
Why not a puzzle ? Hahaha
Does it feel natural to use it ? Is it easy to activate under pressure and load ?
I love the clean look of the bar though.
Actually owning North Dices, i still would like to try this GTS4.