Core XR5 9m

Core XR5
Core XR5

Park and ride the Core XR5, just like a North Rebel. With impressive sweet long lasting jumps. The XR5, build according to Core’s high quality has a very firm, triple layered, kite cloth without any wrinkle what ever you do with it. But the XR5 is the opposite of a throw-around kite. Just as the Rebel or Ozone Edge you need to choose for this kite specifically to just go out cruise at impressive speed and make long floating jumps. Another acquaintance with the Rebel: It has exactly the same -quite high- price.

It will reward you sky wise and is a fraction sweeter as a Rebel. But it won’t challenge you to do anything outside of your comfort zone and it clearly isn’t made to go out on a directional for some slamming wave riding.

Core XR5
Core XR5

Core XR5

The 5 strutted XR5 (the “5” marks the fifth edition) is marketed as a high performance freeride kite. Exactly the same as the North Rebel. The performance label usually means less forgiving as a “normal” freeride kite, but also a more efficient (longer) kite. A type of kite that can result -disrespectful said- in the feeling you are dealing with a huge powerful truck. Useful to get you air born, but overwhelming for a beginner. Typically (older) people who started out kiting early -for some reason- feel acquainted to this feeling.

jumping XR5
jumping XR5

Just as the GTS4 kite from Core and similar as F-one and North the XR5 comes with a high split point of the front lines (“V”). This makes the choice for a different bar a bit limited.

Core has some idea’s of it’s own at some specific parts. Sometimes it seems a bit strange (like a twisting safety release) and some times they are right on top of the latest developments with the big(ger) brands like Naish and North. For example using triple ripstop Coretex, which seems to be the next step after the double ripstop. North -for example- has partly incorporated it in its 2018 models and Naish now even uses a fourth layer in their Quad Tex. Another example of the progressive ideas from Core is the idea of having an auto re-twisting depower line  We could state Core sets the safety standard for the future (although we did have some remarks on it as can be read in our GTS4 review). For example the same idea is implemented by the North Click bar. The feeling you get about the quality of the XR5 is that of a state of the art kite.

Generally speaking the XR5 has comparable aspects as the Rebel. To name a few: a high V, now (Rebel from 2018 version) both on four lines, both adjustable back lines only. Do both designers from North and Core mean that your best setup on the bridles is like it is? Or are they afraid to bother the rider with too much setting options? -> Update; these remarks are not correct; We got a very helpful adjustment on our review which does impact one and other. 

“Your review states that the XR5 (like the Rebel) has “adjustable back lines only” and does not have bridle set up options. However, Core hypes their “CIT” (Core Intelligent Trim) system and indicates both the back lines AND the bridle connection points are adjustable. Further, they indicate that that changing the bridle connection point affects the kite feedback, from more to less direct. Given your statement about (North and) Core designers being too “afraid to bother the rider with too much setting options”, it seems your tester was unaware of the adjustable XR5 bridle connection. Surprising really, as to miss that aspect completely you would have to both not really look at the kite that closely, and not bother to read Core’s literature for the review. To me it appears that in the haste to classify this kits as “just like the Rebel” there were some definite short cuts / oversights with this review, as I would have liked to have heard how it performed on the different bridle connection points.”

But the XR5 does differ at some (technical) points from the Rebel. The XR5 has no battens, the Rebel has 2, the XR5 has bridles, the Rebel (up until 2017) doesn’t.

But one thing is a striking resembling: both kites (9m’s) are 1400,- Euro (kite only). And that is not the cheapest price for a 9 meter kite, to say the least. Although an Ozone Edge is significantly more expensive, they both are one of the most expensive kites.


We had a go with the XR5 9m in about 22 knots and medium waves. It didn’t take long before we understood what the XR5 is all about. First of all it has very, very stable position in the air. Which should not to be mistaken with the stability you typically can get from a C-kite. Second is a feeling that the intention of the XR5 is to keep things going what ever the rider is doing. Where a C-kite does needs to give feed back suddenly when asked for (doing a trick or a powered move) and only stay stable when there is slack on the lines after performing a (freestyle) move. It also means it takes a hell of a input to get the XR5 out of position if you want to. Another way to explain its nature is describing what happens if you ask the XR5 to do a really powered trick. At the first glance the XR5 feels like it has a medium soft bar pressure and seems willing to go with you wherever you want. But when trying to swing the kite backwards the XR5 starts needs a big amount of effort. Resulting in a quite heavy bar feel.

Bridles on the Core XR5
Bridles on the Core XR5

Its steady nature is on of the reasons the XR5 is a kite that deals superb to any wind changes and also comes with an impressive low end. It does have some what vague feedback on its angle, so you need to trust your guts it isn’t going anywhere while you are air born for example. But actually you don’t need to worry about its angle in the air; it is still the same as where you left it. A huge, long jump is the XR5’s major attraction. And as a bonus it will set you -quite easily- down gently.

Core XR5
Core XR5

Compared to for example a North Dice or a F-one Bandit the XR5 is a whole other game. The power sweet spot while pulling the bar is quite different. Stronger and shorter from the Dice, Bandit to a longer more graduate feed back from the XR5. It makes it less critical for the XR5 to get the moment right to pop for a jump, but it also makes the take off much softer (or less exciting). But it does get you up further and higher as the Dice and Bandit, certainly in moderate winds.

Pulling the XR5 into a kite loop isn’t too difficult. giving a steady, almost friendly, pull. It does makes a relative bigger circle and needs a more than fair amount of pull on the bar to get it around. This move however suits a Dice or Bandit better. The difference at a kite loop from the XR5 to the Rebel is much smaller. The XR5 is slightly easier but a proper mega kite loop with a big powerful yank is definitely not on the XR5 to do list.

All in all Core is one of the few smaller brands that can can truly compete on all aspects with kite from the big brands. But -sadly- that means also a comparable price tag.

List price

Core XR5 9m (kite only) 1399,- Euro


  1. Hi Elena,
    good that you had the chance to test them!
    We prefer the Nexus over the XR5 because it is more versatile.
    Generally we don’t like to mix up type of kites, but we can see the benefit of the low end of the XR5. Still we have a light preference to take both a Nexus. you will have more fun on the Nexus and are easier able to switch style (f.e. waveboard/strapless freestyle), while the XR5 has more boosting potential.
    We Test Kites

  2. Hi Dave,
    I had a second hand Liquid Force Envy kites, which got very old now and hard to ride, control and progress. I’m planning to get a new quiver of kites, and I had a chance to demo XR5 and nexus… I absolutely loved them both and now I’m having very hard to choose. I don’t do waves or tricks yet (just starting jumping) and ride a twintip only. I do love how easy is to turn Nexus, and I’m thinking about getting a 10mXR for lighter wind and 8m Nexus for stronger wind. Do you think it is a good idea, or shall I just take both XR or both Nexuses… thanks

  3. Hi Thiago,
    Thanks for getting back to us. It really is helpful for us and other readers.
    As for your 10m our first reaction would be a basic one; take at least a similar brand -and even preferably the same model- as you already own. Things like line length, knots and split point etc. can be annoying when trying to exchange a bar between different brands.
    We did ride the Nexus. It is a more easy kite over the XR, but also lacks some low end. Better for foiling and waves, probably not that different on these points compared to the Pivot. We did not test the Pivot yet from the last couple of years. So it is hard to judge on the exact difference between a Nexus and a Pivot.
    We West Kites

  4. About one year after had read this review I can now give my impression:
    I ended up getting a 8m and a 12m Xr5’s. Calling it sky boosting machines, is definetely not an exaggeration. The construction is pretty solid, however the 12m showed some micro holes on the canopy even have being used it less times than the 8m, what intrigued me. They also handle very different, as expected the 12 is way much slower than the 8m, but also tends to back stall more when in its lower limit. For example: I can get caught in a situation that the 8m isnt strong enought to keep me riding, but it wont back stall, in the other hand the 12m somtetimes still having power to pull me, but if I “lost the timing” for a moment, it will back stall. I prefer to fly both kites on the “fast turning” setting of the wing tip, and standard on the front. I really like the 8m, I can ride a 135 twintip from 17 to 35 kts, just using shorter lines on the upper limit. I fell that i “know” the kite better, the 12m is a little bit more tricky: it will could be give a super smooth ride in the perfect wind condition, however when is too close to the uper limit it can get quite scary d/t it power. Both kites are very stable, however when parked around 45 degrees they tend to “dive” you need aways keep a counter action on the bar – I havent feel that with the Dice’s for instance. I’ve just started throwing kiteloops, with the fast turning settings you can make a tight loop, however if you don’t commit properly, it will be a quite of a yank (at least for me, bear in mind that I havent tried any proper C kite to compare).
    Overall the XR5s are really well built kites, and definetely amazing freeride/boosting machines.
    Now a question: I am planing to add a 10m to fill the gap, however I am thinking in either a Nexus or a Naish Pivot… have you guys tried both to compare? The idea is to have this 10m also for some wave riding and potentially foiling…

  5. Hi Nicolas,
    You are welcome.
    We did not specifically test them on this part. Although the XR5 probably is better at most aspects over the Bandit it is hard to tell about this upwind ability. If you do a bit of wave riding the Bandit is probably better. A bit more foregiving and with a tighter turning. Boosting big jumps is better at the XR5.
    We Test Kites

  6. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the review. I hesitate between the Bandit 12 and the XR5. I’m am intermediate rider. Doing mainly freeride and a bit of waves.

    Wish one has best upwind ability ?


  7. Hi Francis,
    Thanks for getting in touch. We did rode the Evo ’19 and ’18. Unfortunately not back to back, neither with the older ones or the XR5. So not a perfect set up. But still we can say the Evo ’18 and ’19 -with one strut less- feels a bit softer and easier. We are surprised how ever how much wind range (especially the low end) the Evo still has. For a good test we should have gotten at least some of them together in one test.
    Sorry we cannot help more.
    We Test Kites

  8. Hi, what do you think between the Evo, Duotone 2019 or North 2018, it does not matter and the XR5? Could also be compared to the older ones like 2017 or 2016, I had those sonI know how they feel.

  9. Hi Brad,
    Ozone isn’t cheap either in Europe so we have heard this complaint before.
    As for the Nexus compared to the Fx, it is quite a difference. Indeed the FX has a worse low end, has back stalling issues in low winds and indeed needs some more active riding. But the reward is also much higher. We would recommend the FX if you are more experienced.
    We Test Kites

  10. Last question. I have access to great deals on Bandits 2018, FX 2018 and Core Nexus. Sadly Enduro are just way expensive in North America.

    I want a kite that’s good to learn kiteloops on, jumps high and handles gust well and user-friendly while fun (basically how you described the enduro!)

    Do you have any advices on which of the previous 3 matches the description best?

    I’m leaning towards the Nexus. The FX sounds fun but I keep reading people saying that it’s got a bad low end and you need to work it a lot.


    PS: the biggest selling point for your site to me is that it’s the online one which acts as a review/forum. Most other review sites have virtually no active comment section.

  11. Hi Brad,
    Some kites have a short power stroke. The power comes at a very specific, short, pulling point. Consider them more exciting, but also more difficult to find the best moment for the pop. Some of those kites also handle gusts less well and some people find them nervous (power too much on / off).
    The Nexus is not like that, the power doesn’t come by surprise. Instead is builds up over a long stroke when pulling the bar. The Bandit, Enduro and FX are typically kites that are not like that, but more like described above.

    And thanks for the comments/compliments. We use these questions to convince brands to let us test their kites!
    (That is why for example we cannot tell yet anything about the Naish Dash or Eleveight RS. We simply haven’t been able to convince them yet.)

    We Test Ktes

  12. Ok, I get the part about the Evo … it’s the “nice guy” of kites does the job very well but not as exciting 🙂

    I get the difference between bar pressure vs harness pressure but what do you mean by “the power is felt over quite a long bar stroke”?

    Is the nexus close to any of the following: Bandit, Enduro of FX?

    Thanks for all your work, Dave! Your site is really one of the best information sources out there.

    Considering the questions you get, I think a page comparing Key Performance Characteristics of different kites (the major ones) would probably be very popular. I think hardly any sites do comparative summaries.

  13. Hi Brad,
    thanks for contacting.
    The Evo is less exciting although it feels a bit faster (but the differences are small).
    The XR5 has more extreme capabilities like long floating jumps and the wind range is also superb.
    For a beginner the Evo is perfect, although indeed you will get on to another type of kite at some point.
    We have used the last couple of weeks also the Nexus. A lot of people liked it really a lot. It is again a bit faster than the Evo or XR5, but also more bar pressure and more ” alive” . For some more experienced rider though it was feeling a bit to heavy (the power is felt over quite a long bar stroke) and like hanging on something elastic or more indirect compared to a Dice for example. But on the other hand some complain to little bar pressure (cannot feel where the kite is) and too quick behaviour of the Dice.
    The Moto hasn’t been used by us…
    We Test Kites

  14. Hey Dave,

    you said before that “the XR5 sits between the Rebel and the Evo”, “the evo will get boring too quickly” and “the Rebel is too bulky”.

    I’m not sure I understand exactly. You seem to say that the Evo moves faster than the XR5 is a faster/more agile kite but yet is more boring. I had the impression you were assimilating faster kites as more fun. Am I misunderstanding something?

    I am considering buying a quiver of Evo 2018 since I’m looking for an all around beginner friendly kite … but if it’s boring maybe I should look somewhere else 🙂 (an XR5 maybe!)

    Have you had a chance to try at a Core Nexus or Cabrinha Moto?
    Those look like interesting kites.


  15. I have flown core xr4s for 1 year now and have around 80 hours on a 8m and 12m, came from bandits. I would assume the xr5 handle similar. I can ride my 12m in 9mph winds with 136 board, nice kites, but slow to loop, tough build, but hate the high split, it will only flag 50% , not good it high winds. It jumps big with great hang.
    The feedback on the 12 with the fastest setting is still slow, you haved to put your hands to the outside of the bar and really crank it hard. The 8m is my favorite size which after i demo this kite i bought it, it was fast and boy did it jump. Too bad the 12 doesnt handle the same, where i kite now is lite wind so the 12 makes due when everyone else is on 15-17m. Core is a good kite but too much money, i bought both kites used, but like new.
    My wife has new rallys which I’ve flown, pretty similar flying tributes, but way less money

  16. Thanks Dave!
    So looks like XR5 will be! Surely I will give my feedback when I get it.

  17. Hi Thiago,
    Thanks for contacting and even more for the compliment! Nice to hear you seem to be back in the (kite)game.
    Your Wainman bar is not going to work properly on both the Core or the North kites. The split of the front lines is too low. Assuming you will buy a kite with a bar the XR5 seems a proper choice. It more or less sits in between the Rebel and the Evo (2018 versions). The Evo will get boring too quickly, the Rebel sounds for sure a bit too bulky and rough for your skills+weight.
    Let us know when you got the kite and properly can tell what you think?!
    We Test Kites

  18. Hi, first of all, thanks for your reviews! It seems to be the only ones that are not trying to sell every kite!
    I am a beginner in the sport, altought Im doing it for about 1 year I did take a break after a knee injury (not kite related). Im 66kg rider and only have one Wainman punch 10.5, that i love it. Im going to buy a 8m kite, and I am between the Rebel and the XR5. What do you think would fit better, i mean one that should be suitable for a beginner (starting to risk some tricks, toeside etc) but i will not outgrow quick? Or do you think an evo or core free would be better options?

  19. Hi Maurice,
    Thanks for the compliment.
    The XR5 had a great low end, but it might Just need a fee knots more to get the 9m Wieling.
    As we speak we are testing the latetst Bandit in Tarifa
    Together with the Enduro2 and some 2018 North kites.
    We need a couple of weeks to write things down…
    We Test Kites

  20. How good is this low end? For example can a 75kg guy ride it in 18 knots wind with a 9m xr5 on a twin tip?

    I love your reviews! When are you gonna test the new f-one bandit2018? I love to see more reviews

    Greets, maurice

  21. Hi Paolo,
    Point taken, we may have missed this one.
    We will get the review changed.
    Thanks for the input!
    We Test Kites

  22. Your review states that the XR5 (like the Rebel) has “adjustable back lines only” and does not have bridle set up options. However, Core hypes their “CIT” (Core Intelligent Trim) system and indicates both the back lines AND the bridle connection points are adjustable. Further, they indicate that that changing the bridle connection point affects the kite feedback, from more to less direct. Given your statement about (North and) Core designers being too “afraid to bother the rider with too much setting options”, it seems your tester was unaware of the adjustable XR5 bridle connection. Surprising really, as to miss that aspect completely you would have to both not really look at the kite that closely, and not bother to read Core’s literature for the review. To me it appears that in the haste to classify this kits as “just like the Rebel” there were some definite short cuts / oversights with this review, as I would have liked to have heard how it performed on the different bridle connection points.


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