I have spent some time on nearly all the sizes now and offer you all the following impressions. I promote LF gear but also give other gear fair judgement so I would like to think my reviews are honest.
I am a strong intermediate kiter @ 84kg
Haven't actually kited with it but have had it in the air a few times.
Looks good in the air and not to twitchy. Struts are very small so you
need to pump them up very hard imo. Can't wait for our next gale...
The team guys from up north have given them the big thumbs up.
A lot of range. I had it in 30kts and was nicely powered but felt as if I could have handled a lot more easily. Also had it in a gusty 20 kts and was still having alot of fun.
My personal favourite. Again alot of range (like 18-30+kts for me) and just
a sweet kite to fly. Very stable for trying new tricks and great in waves.
One of those kites you can jump on and instantly feel comfortable.
Good bottom and top end.
The best allrounder in the quiver (as most 12's are!). Turns slower than last years model but a very, very predictable kite with alot of low end power. I can get on this from 13kts easily upto around 22kts ok.
Very similar to the 12m feel but with the extra 2m for a touch more bottm end.
Pure pull. This is where I feel LF have branched off from last year compared to the 15/19 spectrum1 which were higher aspect boosters but more difficult to relaunch. The 17 reminds me of the R2 16m but with better top end and faster turning/lighter bar. extra struts, good for lower powered moves. Range for me is about 11-17ish kts.
This is the one I have been waiting for. Lets face it, you're either a big kite fan or not a fan. For me, if you want to get out on those very light wind days and not have to boat around on a directional or surf board then you need a big kite. The big kite everyone still creams themself about is the Rhino 2 20m. I used to have the R2 20, R2 18 and LF Spectrum 19 and have also flown, albeit briefly, the 04 Spitfire and CO2 20m kites.
The new Spectrum 20. Raw power sits between the R2 18 and 20.
Turning speed, imo as good as a 20m can be. I was managing front roll kite down turn transitions ok the the other day - mind you I was almost allways over rotating due to the float of this monster. The biggest jump I got in about 10-12kts was probably around 15feet but I could have taken a picture of the scenery while I was up there!
Suggestion - if you get one buy an electric pump!
I had a go on a friends R2 18 the other week and honestly don't know now why people get so transfixed on them. Sure they have raw power but what a bitch to fly. Kites have come some much further these days imo.
The Caution 20m was also a good kite but suffered a bit in upwind I felt.
Sorry - wouldn't rate the Cabrihna. The 19m Spectrum 04 was good but lacked the big kite grunt - it was more like this years 17m.
T0 summarize, I would almost group the kites in terms of feel/flying as follows:
If I were buying a quiver I would go either 20/14/10 or 17/12/10 at my weight. For a 2 kite setup I would go 14/10 or 17/12.
I won't go into the finer details of construction as I'm not qualified (or pretend to be) but I have given them a work out in the surf and haven't had any problems. I have only broken a depower strap full lit on the 10m.
This years kites don't boost quite as high but have alot more float and are more predictable (esp 10/12m) for trying tricks and wave riding etc.
They all relaunch very easily which was a bit tricky on last years models.
The construction has been beefed up considerably compared to last years.
Oh yeah - the bar! Well its pretty standard carbon bar with powerlock and spinning leash. The spinning leash function is not for beginners and I would recommend moving the leash to your spreader bar until you are ready to ride confidently with the spinning set up. I have removed the power lock function by slipping a plastic ball over the steel knuckle and replacing the power lock eye with a standard sanction eye and ride powered on the stopper.
The bar lengths/kites are approx.
27m colour coded prestretched lines with kook proof connectors.
5th line attatchment point but to be honest, the kites launch very easily so I haven'd had the need to ride with a 5th.
Guilly wrote:Why smaller?? we don't seem to have a ton of wind out here.
Guilly, if you have 14 knots and more when you go out take 14/10/6 if you have 10-12 knots and mostly not more then 22 knots go for 17/12/8... we here in Denmark have tested the 6' very much cause we get one or two storms a week at the momment! you can easely go from 6 to 10 I know it sound as a big jump but it isn't! 14 will get you going at 10 knots It get me going at 12 and I'm 90 kg. and on a very little board 120*40 with lots of rocker for waves!!!
I only flew the R4 14 and 16 and more recently the R5 10. I was a fan of the R2's but that's where it ended for me. In fact I though the R4 14 was woeful.
The R4 16 was ok.
Compared to the Spectrum 2 10, I found the R5 10 twitchy to fly and very on and off in gusty wind, lightly faster turning, less hang time, similar boost.
At nearly double the price it is no comparison and even if it were cheaper
I would still prefer the Spectrum.
Do you have any detailed pics of the kite? I have seen one flying, but didn't have time to wait to see it up-close; I had a downwindr to do!!!
In particular: center seam of the LE, attachment points...ah, just take a bunch of them!! Is it a one-pump-type system? Obviously I have intrest in them but I have not flown one sooooooo......I need as much info as I can get. Might have to take a trip 4hrs north to try one. that sux!
Most folks here have SS, North and a few of us are looking to a better quality alternative than Best, but want a performance kite that won't fall apart on us.