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Date: 30 Oct 2002
Review: 2003 [b]North Rhino II 10
[/b]vs 2003 Cabrinha BT vs 2003 Naish X2
Since most of the reviews available on the internet is either done by professional kitesurfers, kiteshop owners or someone who is biased towards a specific kite brand, I thought it would be a good idea to bring forward a review that is non-biased and objective.
My objective for this comparison is to bring forward a non-biased, objective comparison between the 3 top rated kites, as seen through the eyes of the average kitesurfer.
All reviews are done at kitebeach, Cape Town using a 142 Cape Doctor Twintip and a 55cm Airush reride bar with 30m lines. I have about a year's kitesurfing experience and weigh 70 kg's.
Part 1 of 3: North Rhino II (Demo kite provided by Suntrax - http://www.suntrax.co.za
The kite comes with an expandable shoulder bag. This years bag has been improved to include a pocket that fits the bar and big pump. The new North bar was not available at time of review.
The first thing I noticed when unpacking and rigging the kite is the new Hex rib struts. They look and feel a lot more solid than last year's struts and are North's equivalent to Naish's Rocket struts. Cabrinha's equivalent is the 3d struts.
The North seam shaped ribs are claimed to be 100% wrinkle free, and have tapered edges to the panels. The four smaller struts also have one way valves. The North one way valves are not similar to that of other kites. They are a new design that is 100% air tight against back flow.
The bladders are the same durable 125 micron ones used last year. I have been told that one of the other kites I will test, is going to use 80 micron bladders.
Stitching at the leading edge segments has been changed and looks more durable.
The kite has some extra padding on the Leading edge, just like the other kites.
Other than that there are quite a few cosmetic changes, but no significant functional changes are evident with the open eye. It seems like they use the same material as they did on last year's Rhino's. The stitching on most places looks the same as last year's and so does the material. Out of the three kites, the North is lacking most in the looks department. The kite does however look and feel very durable.
Conditions: 23 - 26 knots. Southerly wind. (Cross shore.) Kite Beach, Cape Town. Slightly gusty.
I do realise that I was taking the kite out in slightly overpowered conditions, but this is exactly the kind of conditions I wanted to test the kite in. North has always been known to be grunty kites with lots of low end power. In overpowered conditions they are not very forgiving. I owned the Rhino I range of kites, and my 9.3 had a range of about 14 to 25 knots.
Upon launching the kite I could immediately feel the kites natural tendancy to lift you into the sky. Yes, I was over powered but this kite had a tendancy to react on any line tension. And I could feel that unique feeling of stability that you get with north kites. The kite was so stable in the air. It would just sit there. No jelly fishing was present at all. I could leave the kite in neutral position and take my hands of the bar for 15 seconds. The kite would stay in the neutral position and wouldn't even move slightly left or right.
I had no problem going upwind and keeping the kite towards the edge of the window. Riding slightly overpowered with this kite meant that I had to be a little bit cautious. This kite has about the same power as a 12 or 13 square meter kite. Lots of raw power, and not very forgiving if you get overpowered. If you loose your rail with this kite, it's over. A Wipika airblast will forgive you, but the North will punish you.
Going over a wave and slightly backing the kite up towards the neutral position meant insane boosts. I couldn't believe how high I was boosting with this
kite without trying too. The natural lift that came from this kite was insane, it's almost like the kite is sucking you up into the air. Jumping on flat water also meant insane lift. The landings were increadibly soft - most times I floated down like a feather and couldn't even feel the landings.
Where North looses in the forgiveness of the kite when riding in overpowered conditions, they make up 200% in the friendliness and easiness the kite presents when jumping.
The bar pressure on some kites are too light to feel where the kite is in the sky. Most kites requires you to edge extremely hard before jumping, else you swing underneath your kite and your kite drops in the water. North kites make jumping easy, almost fool-proof. I did a test to see if I can jump with this kite without edging. The kite rewards you with instantaneous lift, you are always aware of where the kite is, and you never swing underneath the kite. It's almost like the kite corrects itself in the air. Proper jumping technique provides you with insane lift and soft landings.
The kite turns fast, but never nervous. The kite has a heavier bar pressure, you always know exactly where the kite is.
The most significant change over last year's Rhino's is the added lift you get when jumping. The kite also seems to have more grunt than last year's 9.3 Rhino. The Rhino's are not meant to be ridden in very strong winds. They have a lot of low end power and they reward with unmatched stability and durability. Jumping is incredible with this kite.
I wouldn't recommend someone to start out with this kite. The raw power of this kite could be intimidating to a newcomer. As stated before, this kite has about the same power as a 12 or 13 square meter kite in other brands. This kite will suit intermediate to advanced riders well who is looking for a good jumping kite that is stable and predictable.
I am still flying the kite for a few days, so I will update this report with my future experiences. I did not have the opportunity to test this kite's low end, but my guess is that this kite's range will be about 14 - 25 knots, with 16 - 22 knots being a comfortable, enjoyable range. After that it is on to the new Blacktips, and then to the X2. Check back in a few days to read the next 2 parts of this article...
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Naish X2[/b] 12 2003 vs 2003 Cabrinha Blacktip vs 2003 Borth Rhino Part 3 of 3
This is the kite that set the standards in terms of innovation, durability, jumping, upwind performance and speed for kiteboarding in 2002. There has always been a lot of hype surrounding the kite and I must admit that I was very sceptical about all this, and weather it could live up to all the hype. Naish has set the standard for kiteboarding in 2002, and by the looks of the new Aero and the X3, the follow-up to the X2, it looks like they are set to dominate the kiteboarding scene for 2003 too.
The kite was the first to future the Rocket struts, from which North and Cabrinha copied their own versions called the Hex Ribs and 3D struts. From a durability point of view all the kites are pretty much on par. The only major cosmetic difference between the X2 and other kites on the market is the vortex stabilizers. The vortex stabilizers serve as inflated tip battens that form part of the leading edge. Weather they actually make a difference or not is debatable.
The X2 has ball valves that work similar to that of the Cabrinha and features a big deflate valve on the leading edge that makes deflating the kite so much easier.
The X2 bar is a masterpiece in my opinion. It is the first bar that I have flown that doesn't need some kind of custom modification. It's got a fully functionaly safety system, a depower strap that doesn't lock up and a safety leash that will allow you to spin the bar. The coloured lines that comes with the bar are extra stiff and minimize tangles. The bar feels good, and really rounds off the package nicely. A simple yet very functional feature on the bar is the elastic on the ends of the bar that holds your lines together and prevents loose lines from tangling. Why hasn't anybody thought of this before? In short - the bar has everything kitesurfers have been asking for.
Conditions: I have been using the kite as my only kite for the last 2 weeks in conditions ranging from 7 knots to 25 knots. As a matter of fact, I liked the kite so much that I bought one for myself. I have used it in gusty, underpowered, overpowered and moderate conditions.
On Land: The kite is well behaved. Very fast. The steering and bar pressure is so good that one can fly this kite blindfolded. Very similar to the North in the sense that it just sits in the window. No luffing is present, this kite is solid in the air.
On water: This is where the kite really outshines the competition and lives up to it's name. The kite is really easy to fly and control. In overpowered conditions it is so easy to lean back on the kite to push it towards the edge of the window. It is almost impossible to do that with the North Rhino 2, and less easy to do with the Cabrinha Blacktip 2003, although still easy to do with the Cabrinha.
Naish has managed to make a very well balanced kite that is solid, yet easy to control without having floppy and jellyfishing attributes like that of a Wipika Airblast. It's got just the right amount of ingredients - enough grunt to comfortably go in light wind conditions, and enough depower to take the kite out in strong winds.
In fact, I have a range of 11 to 24 knots on my 12. Such a good range that this is serving as my only kite. I find the 12 to be happiest in about 17 or 18 knots. THe kite turns so fast that I can generate enough power to do a downwind in 6 or 7 knots, and I can stay upwind in 11 knots. 25 knots is the strongest wind I can hold the kite in with 27 meter lines. One can make higher wind conditions more manageable, and increase your range with shorter lines.
Jumping: THe X2 did set the standard in jumping performance, and they do live up to their name. Jumping in more than 20 knots of wind with this kite is ballistic. I go so high I get scared. However, the Rhino 2 might have overtaken the X2 in the jumping department. One might be able to jump slightly higher on a Rhino 2, but that comes at a price. THe x2 is controllable and almost has twice the range of the Rhino 2.
I haven't flown the Cabrinha long enough, nor have I flown a similar size to compare jumping performance.
Relaunching: I have had the opportunity to relaunch the kite 2 times and have found it to be really easy. Just add line slack and the kite will do the rest. Guaranteed.
Conclusion: THe X2 has set the trend and standard for kiting in 2002, and they are keeping to that. It certainly lives up to the hype and is everything people say it is and more. Since I have been using the X2, my kiteboarding has improved drastically. All my friends can vouch for that. I have given the X2 first place because it is the best allround and most versatile kite out there.
It is good in any conditions and is a pleasure to fly. The bar and bag rounds off a very good allround package and gives an extra edge over the competition.
Second place goes to the Cabrinha which follows very closely. It does most things as good as the X2 does, but doesn't quite have first place written over it. I liked the 14 Cabrinha, and thought it had a good range, although I doubt it's upper end range and it's ability to depower as I had some hairy moments in 14 knot gusts.
Third place goes to the North Rhino. North has made a very good kite for jumping. It is very stable and well made, but not controllable and lacks the range of the other kites. The kite is simply to unforgiving and powerful.
Articles > Kite Review: Caution 12 2003
Date: 21 Feb 2003
Kite Review: Caution 12 2003
I had previously owned older models of this brand, and the 2003 model is a great improvement, especially in the performance and stability areas.
Caution kites have always been of high quality. The 2003 model looks and feels the most durable of all the 2003 models I have flown so far. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got segmented struts, tip battens, multiple attachment points and a segmented leading edge.
There werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t any ball valves or a bigger valve to deflate the Leading Edge quicker.
The kite features 4 multiple attachment points on each side of the kite, but only comes with 2 pig tails on each side, which means that you have to manually change the pigtails every time you need to change the turning speed of your kite. Other kites have 4 pigtails on each side which makes adjustments easier and less time consuming.
I changed the pigtails and couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do it with my bare hands as the hole that the rope needs to go through is really small. It took me 15 minutes to adjust the turning speed. I had to open the holes with my car keys, and even with my car keys I still struggled. This is a really small inconvenience that can potentially ruin a dayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kiting. You shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need additional objects to help assist in changing your kiteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s turning speed. This should be an easy task that you can do with your bare hands.
The kite comes standard with a Bar, 27 Meter flying lines and a pump.
The bag that comes with the kite is durable and a nice size. It feels durable, unlike the Naish bags that get dirty easily and tears at the webbing.
I was really disappointed with the bar. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come standard with a safety system. All the major manufacturers now feature a quick release safety system as standard on their bars. A good safety system on a bar is mandatory these days. Caution will have to come up with a much better bar.
I used a medium sized X2 bar with 27 meter lines for the test instead.
Wind: 14 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 22 knots.
The kite is well behaved with a solid feel. There is some flutter in the wingtip panels, but it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to affect performance in any way.
The kite has a real nice feel to it. The turning is nice and fast, and the bar pressure has a nice balance to it. Transitions are smooth and relaunching the kite is easy.
A lot of people compare the kite to the Aero 2, but I would say it sits somewhere between a Cabrinha Blacktip and a Naish X2. The kite has no tendencies to over fly.
Jumping performance is on par with that of the X2 and Cabrinha Blacktip. Landings are smoother than that of an X2 12. Jumps were fun with this kite. The kite was actually very forgiving in situations where you would normally under fly the kite just before landing.
When compared to a Naish X2, I would say that the X2 would probably jump higher, but the Caution has much better hang time. I was able to do really low inverted jumps, and the kite would just let me hover and glide me down on my landings.
I was impressed with the 2003 Caution. It is a high performance kite that is friendly to use. The kite will not be intimidating for beginners, and offers more than enough for the pros. Caution has made a kite that not only competes with the best, but outshines a few of the best in the overall handling area.
In terms of flying and performance the kite is up there with the best. Any signs of weaknesses carried over from older models are gone, but the company has failed to offer a good package. The bar does not adhere to current safety standards. A good bar costs in the Region of $180 and up these days.
My thoughts are that the 2003 Caution is not only a great improvement over the previous models, but also a very good kite. The final message that I want to carry accross is that the kite competes well in all performance areas, but lacks in the smaller (but very important) details.
Pros: Good handling, flying characteristics, durability, jumping performance, good bag, will appeal to both beginners and experts.
Cons: No safety system on bar, difficult to adjust turning speed with pigtails
Date: 03 Nov 2002
Part 2 of 3: 2003 Cabrinha Blacktip 14 (Demo kite provided by Cabrinha South Africa - http://www.cabrinha.co.za)
Other parts of this article:
Part 1: 2003 North Rhino II
Part 2: 2003 Cabrinha Blacktip 14 (Current article)
Part 3: 2003 Naish X2 12 (Coming soon)
The kite features the Cabrinha 3d struts. Unlike the other kites, the Cabrinha does not feature one way valves on the smaller struts. They do however have a
ball technology that blocks the air and works quite well.
The 3D struts did not impress me as much as the X2's rocket struts, and the Rhino's hex ribs, but they are a step up from last year's struts nonetheless.
The Leading Edge features a one way screw off valve (similar to that found on inflatable boats). This is a useful feature that enables one to pump the Leading Edge up really hard. Overall build quality of the kite is impressive. The kite not only feels durable, but looks good too.
The kite comes with a durable and expandable shoulder bag.
Conditions: 6 - 13 knots. Cross Onshore wind. Big Bay, Cape Town.
On land: Kite feels very stable. No tendencies to nose dive in light wind. No jelly fishing present in stronger wind.
Conditions were marginal early in the morning, averaging about 6 to 7 knots. I was able to stay upwind in a mere 6 knots.
The kite turned extremely fast. I could do loops with the kite without effort in light wind. The kite had consistent pull, and generated most of its power between 10 and 12 o clock. I find that other kites need bigger power strokes to generate the same amount of power. Once I got paining the kite had good consistent pull - the kite didn't stall against my body weight at all - it just rewarded with consistent pull.
In 7 knots I was doing some high jumps. Steering, overall feel and bar pressure is good. The landings were not as soft as that of the Rhino, but I would say that this kite has as good lift as that of the Rhino and X2.
A very well behaved kite that rewards with performance. Cabrinha produced an excellent kite. I am impressed and would say that this would be a serious contender to both the X2 and Rhino. The kite has more range than the Rhino.
The low wind performance really impressed me. The kite felt stable in the air with no tendencies to nose dive. I was going upwind in conditions that other people struggled to keep their kites in the air. This may very well be my next low wind kite.
Later during the day the wind picked up and I was able to sail in stronger wind. At 13 knots I still felt that I could handle plenty of wind. One of the local Cabrinha riders said he can handle the kite till just under 20 knots.
All in all, I was super stoked with this kite. If I could only have only one kite, this would be it.