Rhino 2008 12m review
Board Underground 07 Flx 138
Weight: 195 lbs naked
3rd ave San mateo, wind 12-20mph averaging 15mph
So I need to be clear this is only my first impression. I have no affiliation with North other than that I switched over to Rebels when they came out mostly due to my vow to get away from Bridles and to give myself the added safety of a fifth line. I have and 07 Reble 12 and 16m and the Rebel 08 9m. Previously I flew the Cabrinha Contra mostly in Socal. Been riding for 3 seasons and am fairly aggressive, back roll kite loops, front rolls. I suck unhooked I wish I didn't... So enough about me.
So this kite shows up in a huge bag. More like the size a 16m Rebel comes in. It is nice and loose in there from the factory, but when I rolled it up at the end it took up the whole damn thing. I think the swept shape makes it roll up less compactly, i'll need to experiment with different techniques. The bag is nice, regular upside down north system, so just make sure you zip up the side pouch before you go to avoid the yard sale.
Out of the bag the kite looks great, good lines, solid reinforcement, and Finally a One pump!
The Next huge thing I noticed that still sticks out in my mind is the extremely long front line bridle. This thing must be 3-4 meters long. Now because it is just 3 lines connecting to the kite without the spiderweb like system of other bridles I am not sure how much trouble this thing could cause. That being said there is definitely room to snag a wingtip. Coming from the Rebels with their simplicity this bridle gives me a little bit of an uneasy feeling, but maybe i'll get over it. Additionally the rear lines now have a 3-4m single line to attach your bar line to. And the 5th line is now a single attachment no longer the Y on the kite.
I used the standard 08 north bar set up for my 9m reblel. The rebel setting is to attach to the farthest knot out on the bar. Effectively shortening the front lines so the kite doesn't back stall. I don't think this is the best setting for the Rhino since it felt like the kite was flying a little too much off the front lines.
I also had the rear lines attached to the factory setting, which is farther from the Wingtip. This I also plan to change as the Rebel is a different kite on the fast setting.
FLYING: I had the distinct impression that I had not tuned my bar and kite to the optimal setting. The kite flew a little bit on the Slow side, actually I should rephrase that... The kite required a lot of bar input to turn, I very much feel this was due to the setting and not an inherent flying characteristic. If anyone has tuning tricks I would love to hear them. I was also flying my kite all the way powered up, but the wind was a little light, only 5 kiters out. The kite is extremely stable in the air. The bar pressure is just right. I have to say I like it a lot more than the 07 rebel. Very smooth but a great sense of kite feedback. Felt comfortable heading out, I couldn't make it back stall, but I would like to try it up a knot on the bar to see what it does with more back line tension. The kite Jumps HUGE, I was eating it all over the place because I was way off my timing, a great amount of float as well, soft landings once I dialed it in. I was watching the other kiters and honestly feel I was getting so much more out of the wind. One time when I was slogging along through one of the lulls I thought i'd just do a little jump and see what happened. I sent the kite and pulled the trigger and was hauled up 10 feet no joke. It really surprised me, I had no business jumping in that situation. Anyway, the next big difference I noted was the fact that I was pointing way into the wind. I initially wasn't all that impressed with the power and soon realized that I was pointing at such an extreme angle to the wind. Once I took a more reasonable tack I was flying. Now I don't have any objective measure of this kites upwind ability, but I was jumping like crazy in mediocre wind.....really trying to loose ground, and always found myself back in line with the launch after my tack back.
I remember when I got my rebel for the first time I had a crappy time on it, then got it tuned up and it was amazing. If I had to take the kite as it is now, I would keep it, but I think there is a lot more potential after guys like dazza and dwight have the time to mess with it. I look forward to putting the rear lines on the faster settings. I also am curious to try the kite with the 4 line EVO bar. I looked at the front line bridle and see that when released to one line it really flys off the line closest to the center, very close to a fifth line system. I always like the added safety of a 5th line, but this may be a good compromise.
So in Summary: on a 1-10 scale
Turning speed/bar input: 4
Bar pressure: 4- as in light bar pressure
can't think of anything more....... I hope to tune it up and give a more informed opinnion. Would love feedback on how to optimize the performance, and anyones experience with a 4 line bar.
Hope this helps someone