Zeeko Notus 2010 10m2 & 7m2 in depth review
Last season I ran into the Notus in my quest for the kite, which would fit me the best. What really stood out for me was the tremendous amount of fun the Notus 9m2 gave me!
I was not the only one who discovered this new breed of kites: the 2009 series was sold out long before the 2010 model would even be available!
This season Zeeko presents their second incarnation of the Notus kite. It is a further development of the 2009 model: a so called crossover between a delta-shape, an SLE and a C-shape. Normally I give not much about marketing talk, but in this case I could not describe it any better!
A second kite model is available from Zeeko this year, the Notus LT. According to Zeeko this is the entry level kite. Only 4 struts, no one-pump and more suited for beginners.
That made me wonder: the 2009 Notus was everybody’s friend. It did not matter if you were a beginner or an advanced rider. Let’s see If that is changed.
Total number of sessions: 8 on the 10m2, 4 on the 7m2 (average 3 hours each)
average tested wind speed: from 12 up to 33kn. Most of them pretty gusty
Spots: wave, flat water, a lot of chop and currents. Also snow and ice!
Rider info: I do ride since 2002, 72kg (165lbs), no sponsorship or any other connection to any brand. I like big-air, rotations, wave-riding, kiteloops, unhooked.
Review 2009 Notus
I will compare this year’s model with last years. If you want to read that review, please refer to this link:
Zeeko 2009 9m2 review
The kite bag is almost identical to last year’s version. Except the front zipper is of a more sturdy type.
The kite does look a lot like previous model, although the print has changed.
Last year’s 13m2 and 11m2 are replaced by a 12m2 and 10m2. The 9m2 and 7m2 are still there. All kites have been modified a lot according to the designer. The low-end of the bigger sizes have been increased. The 12 and 10m2 should provide more power than last year’s 1m2 bigger models.
The one-pump system has new black thermoplastic caps over the valves in the LE. This must prevent the valves some splitting I presume. It all looks pretty sturdy.
The bridle lines are made out of a new material. Especially the line, which runs though the only pulley seems to be of a much more wear resistant type. I have used the kite a lot and I found no visible wear. Zeeko is calling it “Cousin-Trestec 979” line. It seems to do the trick.
Also the three steering line attachment points have been maintained for the 2010 model. This way you can tune the bar-pressure and turning speed.
Also new this year the ERA attachment points at the TE (trailing edge) on the 2nd and 4th strut.
Bar and safety
The bar itself is still a four line bar: one size fits all Zeeko kites! You can adjust the width from 46cm (7 & 9m2) to 54cm (10,12 & 14m2) by changing one knot on each side of the bar. The color of the bar is now white/red. It is still pretty slim. A Feature you hardly see on any other kite. Only the Flexifoil Hadlow kite has a similar thin bar as far as I know.
The power adjustment is still done with a conventional strap instead of a clam cleat you see on many competitors bars. Last year the strap could sometimes jam when you completely depowered the kite. This year a modification has been done, and it works pretty well. Simple, and it works flawless (even when the temperature drops under 0°C)!
Also the safety “5th” line, which runs through the hole in de bar is made from the special wear resistant “Cousin-Trestec 979” line.
The quick release stays open when you hook out due to the shape of the hole in de bar and de top of the quick release. Compared to the competition the release itself is rather outdated. As for the strap: simple, and it works flawless.
The bar is supplied with 20 meter lines + 4 meter extensions fitted!
E.R.A. (Easy Relaunching Assistant
New for this season is the so called ERA system. When the wind is in the low-end range of the kite, most delta/SLE/C kites have troubles sailing upwind to the restart position. With the ERA system it is possible to restart the kite directly downwind just by pulling the ERA line, which runs parallel to one of the steering lines.
This feature is developed for course racing. But especially lightweight riders in light winds will benefit from the system.
In essence it is not a completely new system. Some older kites in the beginning of last decade had already attachment points to the trailing edge where you could add an extra line yourself. Sometimes this was an optional extra, on some kites you had to make it yourself.
Zeeko is offering the ERA system on all kites as default. To prevent accidents in case the system is fitted incorrectly, all bars come with the ERA system fitted, and ready to use.
To be honest, I was quite suspicious about the system. The Notus is one of the easiest and best restarting kites I ever tested, so why fit such a system? I also love 4 line simplicity after years of 5th line hassle. Now another line is added to the bar.
I have tested the system in surf and on flat water. But within four sessions I removed it. Did not need it.
Then came a day when the wind dropped suddenly. Almost all kites on the water could not restart, also my Notus 2010 was glued to the water…except a friend of mine with an even bigger size Notus 2010. He had it back in the zenith in seconds.
Then winter came. Normally not a drawback for some Dutch kiteboarders. But this year we had the strongest winter in 14 years. Our inland waters turned into thick ice-floors with occasionally 5cm of snow frozen to it. On ice skates, or just your snowboard it was fun again with the Notus….until I dropped my kite in 6 knots of wind. Next day I retro-fitted the ERA system. Boy, what an enhancement! Another downside of the system came clear: if you are the only one who has ERA, you are the only one who easily can land and restart the kite on snow and ice autonomous! This means you have to help all your mates every time they crash….a big minus
Looking for a wide wind range kite with the most C-like feel and feedback? The Notus comes pretty close. It does not have the downside effects of the delta kites, but does feature almost equal low-end performance and unmatched “semi” automatic water relaunch.
When performing tricks knowing exactly what the kite does without having to look at it is a big plus. The unmatched bar feedback the Notus kite gives you comes very close to some old-school C-kites. This year even the fastest turning/lowest bar pressure pigtail setting gives enough feedback.
Performance has increased in a lot of ways: more boost when jumping, much more pop when doing unhooked tricks (no need to shorten the lines anymore). But the best thing is no adjustment necessary when you want to hook out.
Stability is still on a very high level, although it seems last year model tops this one off by a fraction. I tested the kite on ice-skates. Due to the lack of friction it is very easy to overtake your own kite. Here the Notus demonstrated its stability when all four lines go slack many times: Excellent!
Kite loops are also one of the favorites tricks to do with these kites. Even the 10m2 is fast enough to perform big-air kite loops. Without any doubt the 2010 model climbs up after the loop faster than its predecessor. The pull in loops is absolutely powerful, especially advanced riders will benefit and enjoy it. For kite loop beginners I would recommend to start trying n low-end conditions with this kite.
The kite has noticeable more power, which in some occasions might be too much for the complete novice. To compensate this the new Notus LT fits in perfectly as an entry level kite.
- ERA system (Easy Relaunching Assistant)
- New wear resistant new bridle and safety lines
- More rugged front zipper on kite bag
- More sturdy one-pump system
- new jam-proof power adjuster strap
- Standard short depower line fitted
2010 performance enhancements:
- Faster steering
- enhanced bar feedback (unmatched on any SLE/Delta/Hybrid kite!)
- Improved low-end performance
- More power
- Significantly improved unhooked performance. No adjustment necessary
- More boost with jumps
- More pop
- More boost in kite-loops
- Climbs faster back up after kite-loops for soft landings
- ERA enables relaunch in even the lowest wind speeds. A must on snow and ice! Higher level of safety on water.
- slightly increased bar pressure compared with most competitors SLE kites will not suit everyone
- Outdated Quick release (but it works flawless)
What is still the same as with last year’s model:
- Very stable
- gust absorption
- class leading bar feedback
- excellent power control
- Low-end and mid range performance
- jumps very high, with a long hang-time
- Generates power in turns
- No sinusing necessary
Thanks to Zeeko kiteboarding
HJ11 for the Mirns session pictures, Micky and Rudo for the “cold” pictures