We have spent the last 3 days testing and comparing the following kites:
North Rhino2 14, Naish Aero2 16 and Naish X2 16, and these are our conclusions:
- Quality/construction: all these 3 kites have very, very good finish, good reinforcements, very good sewn and sealed seams, top quality valves, with a very light advantage for the Naish kites thanks to a (minimal) better attention to detail.
- Bag: better bag on the North with independent zipped pocket for bar and accessories.
- Bar: sorry, no North Scepter bar available yet.
- Stability overhead: The Aero 2 and the North Rhino2 will never drop from the sky (well, almost). These kites simply fly back to their right place after a lull. No matter if the kite is overhead or in an edge of the window, it just flies back until it gets powered. The X2 16 wants to so the same but not always succeeds. So "excellent" for the Rhino and Aero and "very good" for the X2 16
- Power: The Rhino 14 is more powerful than an Aero 16 which is slightly more powerful than a Naish X2 16. The Rhino is a powerhouse. Amazing. You would need almost an X2 18 to get the power of a Rhino 14. The Aero 16 has a little bit more end than the X2 16
- Lift: The Rhino 14 wins again. Jumps are high and sustained, even more than with the X2 16. The Aero takes you high but not so long as the X2. It is easier, though, to get good air from the Aero for most not very experienced riders, the X2 and the Rhino need an accurate timing.
- Steering: The Aero has the sweetest touch in the bar. It turns faster than the X2 16. The Rhino flies as fast as the X2 16 with and X2 bar but it needs a little more input in the bar, the feeling is not so sweet in the hands.
- Relaunch ability: the Aero is the clear winner. Despite this year's larger AR, the kite remains dead easy to relaunch. The procedure is less evident on the Rhino and even more difficult with the X2.
- Wind range: The X2 16 and the Rhino 14 have a similar wind range. The Aero 16 has a wide range too, much wider than last year but not as much as these other two. The Rhino can become a handful in strong winds if you do not have the technique and/or a good tiny board.
Overall, it is nice to see how the North guys have gone their own way. This kite has nothing to see with an X2, it has incredible performances, as good or slightly better than the X2, but it is a completely different kite. The North is all about power and lift, a kite with an incredible low end that remains usable in stronger winds if you have the board and the guts. The X2 offers a sweeter feeling and a better top end. The Aero 2 is close to an X2, easier and with not much worse performances than these other two kites....
We have been 4 people testing these kites for just 3 days. Rider's weighing from 65 to 94 kg. Boards used have been: Naish Mutant 4'8", North Robo and Wave's custom 140 x 37. Winds varying from 9 to 22 knots.
Opinions, further questions and bitter criticisms are welcome.