Core GTS 11m review
I wrote a review on the Riot xr and GT which explained the construction and quality. The quality of the GTS remains the same and in some points it has improved. The construction of the LE, canopy, struts, and one pump are essentially the same durable highend materials and stitching and every kite I have received from Core is flawless and they have all been free from defect.
New materials for 2011:
This year they have added what I had hoped, which is a new sleeved line material for the front primary bridal with a stainless steel line guide rather than a pulley. The secondary front bridal still has the pulley, but if you know anything about physics you will know that the load that this pulley is subjected to is a fraction of the main bridal pulley which carries most of the load and causes the most wear at that point. The secondary pulley produces very little wear to it's bridal and in a year and half on my original GT the line never needed replacing, but I did take it off and reverse it to distrubute the wear and it is still in very good shape and has not frayed. So no worries for all of you pulley fear mongers out there. I have never had a pulley break, but the stainless guide has a larger surface area and seems to wear on the line better and no worry about failure with these.
On the Water:
Main points when comparing to the GT is that the GTS has less bar pressure overall and less turning force is required. The shape of the kite is more c shape and has less chord depth which has made the lowend on the GTS only slightly less than the GT. As with all Core kites the airfoil has an incredibly powerful profile and creates a very stable kite in gusty wind and when depowered at the edge of the window the kite remains brilliantly stable.
Another main difference in the GTS is the sweet spot. Eventhough the lowend is a little less the kite has a very large sweet spot and big highend capability with nice control and stability lending to confidence. This kite is very poweful and you will find that when you are in the sweet spot (which on the 11m for me @ 185 lbs is probably really starting at 16-18mph to about 30-32mph) the kite always has power in it even when sheeted out. I never really pull the depower strap on any of my kites, but instead adjust the rear pigtail to the wind speed, so I am sure more depower can be achieved I just don't think it is necessary at my weight. The wind speeds I stated are based on park and ride flying with very little need to sign the kite other than water start. So, the lowend that Core states on all of their kites is very real the GTS just needs to be sined more on the lowend at my weight.
Turning speed is comparable to the GT 10.5m which is quite fast. Core kites maintain momentum and power through its full loop and generally do not stall at all. The lack of stall is always dependent on the riders ability to tune for the conditions. I won't say they can't stall because any wing can stall if you induce one by over tuning the kite for the given wind speed. However, their is very little if any tendancy for these kites to stall.
Another feature that is found on the full range of kites and sizes by Core is the brilliant feedback through the rear lines. These kites truely become an extension of the rider. The GTS maintians this connection to the kite through the feedback on the rear lines which allows you to quickly become comfortable with the kite and always lets you know where the kite is in the wind window. Some kites can feel very vaque through the rear lines and cause unwanted mistakes to be made. IMO this won't happen with these kites for the average rider and and this characteristic will make you a much better rider IMO. It is kind of like comparing the tight steering on a ferrari compared to the loose one finger steering on a cadillac. the differece is the connection, response, and feedback that ultimately make flying the kite more intuitive.
This kite is an excellent jumper. I would say the lift off is somewhere between the GT and the Riot xr. The GT has a powerful boost and quick vertical lift that is unlike any other kite I have tried. The GTS is a little smoother and has similar maybe marginally better float without the need to keep the bar sheeted in at full angle of attack. You will get better float on this kite by sheeting out about a 3-6 inches.
Core has placed this kite in the all around category with an empasis in Wakestlye/wave. The kite sits back in the window and produces really nice pop. The balance of power is oriented over the front lines which will make unhooking very available.I would think as long as you set your rear pigtail for the conditions you probably won't have to pull in on the depower strap to unhook. I am not a rider who unhooks so unfortunately I can't comment on this type of performance very well. do to the fact that the GTS sits deep in the window and is super stable and not twitchy on the bar input I think most wakestyle/newschool types will be finding this kite is a performer for them.
Overall the GTS is very smooth in gusty wind conditions, does not jerk you around, and has a very nice consistant power not on/off at all and the bar pressure does not get heavy.
Who is the GTS for? I would say it is an all around kite that will suit the wave, wake, and freestyler well. It may not suit the hobbiest freerider out there who wants a little more upwind performance and depower.The upwind performance is good, but it does require pushing your board a little harder.
The GTS in an excellent kite as always with Core. My favorite still is the GT, but I haven't had a full season on the GTS to really give it the tasters choice test.
One last thing...The ESP bar from core is universally compatable with all of their kites and does not need any reconfiguring between kites. Plus there lines are the best in the industry IMHO.