IKON KITES REVIEW
IKON KITES (open celled foils)
Ive had the 8m 10m and 12m for the last year...yes I am a team rider, but I'm an instructor also, and I make it my business to inform student, not dictate, what kites are out there and what they do differently from one another (pro's and con's) and allow each student to decide what is best for them. With that, here we go.......
To start, the kites all come complete. Bar, lines, and kite with a killer backpack.
The bar ends are glued and riveted. Very strong.
The bar has a center "square", to help with one handed steering, kinda standard these days but you'd miss it if it was not there,.. Great Grip all around as well as color coded sides for the quick visual reference. The center hole is stainless steel and pretty darn smooth reducing friction on the SK-75 braided dyneema center lines.
The flying lines are also colored for the typical left-red right-blue system, only they are orange and grey respectively. The center lines are grey as well. They are very easy to ID on the ground be it snow, dirt , or grass....and very easy to untangle should that happen.
The QR (quick release) on the "lines to kite", above the bar as well as the trimming system (webbing with ladder lock buckles) all are in nice reach for me and work very effectively. They are also pretty easy to "re-load" should they pulled in high winds.
I'm 5'6 with a 1 inch "ape index"...in other words my arms are one inch longer then my overall body height....so I can reach farther then I stand high. The bar functions very well for me and other riders/student with longer and shorter arms alike.
The bar is very much like the Ozone bar as the chicken loop and chicken loop keeper stick, are right there, in your hands if needed. They release with a very easy amount of pull, but may be a bit stiff when new. They brake in quick. There is a nice leash ring to clip into for unhooked riding that is made of stainless steel on the chicken loop as well.
The Back has strap on the side and backside to facilitate both skis and snowboards and can certainly work great in the mountains as a tightly packed kite, still leaves enough room to bring all the gear you would need for a day out kiting in the mountains. I think that the webbing is a little stiff to pull through the buckles, but they work.
So with out comparison.
They are all Black and White....just right! They all have velcro to let out the sand or snow (or bugs) on the wingtips trailing edge. The cells are covered with mesh to keep things like snow, bugs and little gnomes out.
IKON LAZY $950 usd
The 8m Lazy is a very, very, stable kite. In strong gusty winds the kite handle like a dream (R.E.M. style) making it my go to mountain kite and storm kite. It is also a super awesome kite for the rider who is making the transition into de-power foils. It has great de-power, or "throw" in the bar and yet still light bar pressure, considering it is not on a 4:2:1 bridle set up. This means that the compound complex pulley (CCPS) system (2 pulleys each side) in most Ozone and HQ kites are NOT on this kite, but only this kite...the 8m the 10 and 12 have a typical for these days 4:2:1 set up....which basically means light bar pressure and still the same "throw" for de-power.
*What a 4:2:1 does, is mechanically distribute load from the kites pull and distribute the load, mechanically so that you feel less in the bar (you get less tired and less "kiters elbow").
The IKON LAZY is so dead on perfect in balance, power, and stability. It is SO good with out the CCPS, it is fast turning, very stable on the edge of the window, and super consistent when doing kiteloops and powered kiteloop freestyle tricks. Although some 8-9 m kites out there could "pivot" in turns any where in the window, the IKON Lazy turns fast enough (pivoting) but without loosing the stability, which I see often with other kites I have as the wing tips fold in at the edge of the window. The LAZY does not do this.
Im very happy with the durability of this kite (and all the IKON kites) as well. As there are no sewn in "tabs" (typical on most foils closed or open celled) that connect to the bridles lines...rather it is sewn as a one peice "zig-zag" within the individual internal cells "popping out", so to speak to accept the bridle line. So after a few missed handle passes on the mountain board....and having the kite crash on hard sand....leading edge down, CERTAIN the center cells would have been blown out, I was pleasantly surprised to see the kite had no such wounds.
May I add, kiting last winter and getting up on Mount Washington here in NH I was really glad to report that the kite packs up really small and weighs little enough to not be bothered by the kite in the pack as it is at times a good 2 hours to skin up to the goods!
IKON PATROL 10m $1050 usd
currently out of stock as this kite rocks!
All I can say is MOM.....now, flip your computer screen or lap top upside down and you'll read WOW...
This kite does have the CCPS, it also has the speed of any foil that you can find on the market that loops for freestyle and mountain climbing. It is light on the bar hard in the pull and is definitely my GO TO kite for doing hard days pushing freestyle and going uphill fast. It is very very stable everywhere in the window. It can be a LITTLE (note just a little) finicky relaunching, so you need to be careful to line yourself up with the wind so its really at your back as on the edge of the window, it tends to have a bit of trouble getting the "cavity creation" to push wind into the cells....but Ive only had to walk out to the kite a few times to open it up like a hoarse shoe to get a clean launch.
Teaching power kiting and snowkiting (in NH, ME, NY, and MA) with this kite, it has created a stream of responses that all lean towards the desire to purchase this kite. It is really user friendly but still has the performance to do virtually anything you want with a kite....almost.
Over all this kite is, for any ability level, a super great kite. If you had to get ONE....this might be the ticket.
IKON 12m Rafael. $1150 usd
Man this kite is a trip as you need to get a round trip ticket or you may not come down....
The days that Ive had this out have been light light winds on soft snow, hard snow, soft sand, hard sand,grass, dirt, even water... and every time the winds go up, get kinda strong and I am getting HUGE air and super constant pull from everywhere in the window. It can kiteloop pretty darn good although on a few kite 720 kiteloops, I felt that my timing was a little off as the kite was not done rotating, as I was plummeting back down for the landing. So a little adjustment to pulling the trigger in the rotations, and presto, the kite is killing it!
This kite for entry level folks (as the Patrol is too) is a great kite to grow in your ability and gain the confidence needed to progress into light winds or high jumps.
It is for a larger person not a light wind kite, but rather a super high jumping kite for the hills and flats alike.
So over all, my impressions......from a comparative stand point...
The Summit from Ozone, the older and newer Mantas, Frenzy's the new HQ Montana, Speeds....Ikon fits a slot that allows a slip shot. It fills the gap for a high performing kite, with the ability for a beginner to easily grow into the kite. I would be inclined to say that the IKON kites are almost a mix of Frenzy or Montana that got married to a Manta or Summit, had a kid, and the named it IKON.....
More later as IKON grows,....so will I and I'll update you.
IKON also has a line up of LEI's the Blind and the Peak
Check out the web site and read more on those...more to come later.http://www.ikon-kiteboarding.com/en/product/snowkite