I am Naish kiter through and through so my thoughts on the Torch are driven by a personal preference towards Naish kites...but I tried to be as honest as I could. I am sure that most kites are equal in many aspects which will force manuafacturers to come up with other methods of attracting first time buyers or real innovation that will set them appart from the competition...
Have been sticking with X2's till now, tried the UDS thingy a while ago but the whole thing was torn to pieces when the one line on my 10m broke in 30knot wind...kite started flapping like a bat from hell and next thing I know I was holding nothing but air...the UDS release pin tore my depower leash to pieces...then decided to buy a new Torch 12 (all blue)...was a toss-up between Cabrinha and Naish.
Haven't flown either X3's or X4's but compared to my X2 10 and 14 I found the following:
1)Very "smooth" pull
2)When the bar is extended there is almost no pull. I shortened the QRL rope but the effect was marginal. A bit of an arm workout in light winds because I almost have to fly the kite unhooked the whole time for constant pull...but in higher winds (16-25) its magic!
3)When the bar is pulled towards you the kite's pull increases dramatically...it really feels like you are stepping on the gas. I haven't been able to get the same effect out of my X2's, regardless of line length configuration.
4)Spinning rotations are definateley a lot easier...the extra pop created when pulling the bar provides instant lift...especially when not using the kite for lift (kite at 45 degrees)
5)Have jumped a bit higher with my X2 10m but the landings with the Torch is a lot softer.
6)The kite turns a bit slower than my 10m but not much.
7) The fith line creates a bit of a tangle when setting up and also after self landings but that can be ignored since the canopy stays rigid even when really turning fast...even gusts do not affect it much.
Only dropped the kite once during a wipe out and when I popped to the surface the kite was on its side getting ready to launch again...so the extra line must be doing something right. This has never happend with my x'2...not even my 8m
9)Self landing is quite easy with the 5th line...I bring the kite down and then slowly reel in on the center lines. after about 1-2 meters of line the kites falls on its back and floats in the air with zero pull on the lines...can't do this with the x2's
10) The single strut is a definite winner and to me this improvement is really great...it also looks very neat in design.
12) Kite bag is nice for a backpack but impracticle for storing the kite
11)Paid $1000 for the kite, bar shift system, lines and bag in Bahrain (only one kite shop selling Naish, North and Peter Lynn) - bit of a rip-off