Sorry - been away from this thread for a few days.. Perhaps I can add a little..
I seems that at my progressing skill level and the usual gusty winds I'd encounter when I step down from my 9 m Lithium, perhaps the 6 or 7 meter Lithium is a better choice verses the Varial. This just came to mind. I've read recommendations about the Airush Wave 6 m being another option (is it too fast I wonder vs something like the Lithium in the same size range).
Again I would say this comes down to weight, The lithium is better for the heavier riders, the varial better for the lighter, but I would say that the Lithium can be more solid in the hand when overpowered than the Varial, so if you on the back foot (nervous from time to time) the Lithium may feel more trusting in the hands (it looses steering input progressively as it reaches maximum depower) apart for a little surging in the gusts. For confident lightweights who start throwing kites around in higher winds the handling of the Varial X will shine through, wether depowered or not.
windtzu wrote:I read that the Wave 9 m is an excellent "freeride" kite as well. I believe you may have expressed this somewhere in the forums. My only question is whether the 6 m Wave isn't too much of a jump stepping down from the 9 m Lithium. I understand the Lithiums have a bit more power size for size and the Wave is little better on the top end.
The Wave 6 is a fantastic wave kite for strong winds - but where the 9 is a fantastic wave kite AND a fantastic freeriude kite too, the 6m wave is more of a dedicated wave kite. It's very fast to turn, and has a lot of speed, in terms of forward pace, sits back in the window when needed but produces relatively little power for a 6.. perfect for waveriding, perhaps a little too fast and gutless for freeride..
windtzu wrote:So the bottom line; I understand their's no best choice, but a better choice and your recommendation >
Stepping down from a 9 m Lithium / riding both tt and waveboards/ riding primarily in ocean swell (I enjoy swell riding), chop, and experiencing small to med waves about 1 out of 4 times I get out.
At my 72 kg weight / starting in winds let's say @ 24 knots on up to a sane and reasonable max wind given my skill level as I time goes on / riding a TT Dundee (your recommendation - thanks and loving it) and an Airush Cypher 5'6 strapless. I found a used 011 5'6 Compact that I may consider for a high wind board, but I don't want to digress > so much gear so many questions. lol.
I narrowed my choices: the Lithium 6 m, the 7m, or the Wave 6 m?
I would say 6m Varial X!
Though there is no hard and fast rule, everyone's style is different, but dropping from a 9m Lithium, at 72kg, physics and my experience would say something like a 6m VX. 6/7m Lithium will be steady and trusted, but you will have a little surging if gusty, and limited efficiency and steering ability.. But not everyone wants this in 6m weather!
WildDuke wrote:I used to ride the One kite, another delta kite like the litium but have now moved to a quiver of Varial x's. Im very happy with the change. I like not having grunt all the time. When I want power, I just sign the kite once or twice and bear off a little downwind to get a little speed and BAM, I get power. It means I can control when I want grunt and when I don't. I havent flown anything else that makes me feel so much in control.
There you go...
No torque at a standstill but the power is there - you have to get some boardspeed going, then the power comes. When you get it all working the amount of power and speed the VX can store is extremely impressive. Unlike the Razor (which is the VX's sister kite) the VX will take big sudden gusts while the Razor will pull you off the rail, but for some the Razor is the pinnacle of kite performance IF your conditions allow. That said, it takes hard work to push your riding to a good enough standard to make the Razor look better than a VX or lithium in your hands..
windtzu wrote:Nice points guys @ control vs power. Let me see if I have this correct. When it's time to break out a small kite (24 plus knots), power isn't really an issue is it. It's about control. Advantage Varial.
However, if for no other reason I want to take out the smallest kite possible (perhaps, surfing in the waves), then the "diesel" grunt of a small Lithium is the ticket. Advantage Lithium.
I believe I've got it. Most kites have their "sweet spot." It all depends were you're at and where you want to go in your progression, and what you are doing with it (surf, freestyle, etc). I can relate to your car analogies > Lithium more like an suv and the varial perhaps like sports car. When things are going more slowly, the suv is a good call and when you need more off and on control with "higher speeds" the sports car is it.
That is very true, sweet spot is a VERY important thing. We have in the VX a sweet spot more for lightweights and/or for consistent higher speeds/winds, and a lithium more for heavyweights or lighter winds. What is interesting is finding a kite in the middle that can do both... for medium weights.. that sits back when you don't pull on it hard (delivering power and grunt), and moves forward when you do (maintains handling and efficiency). Add onto this extra depower of a hybrid and razor style forward turn handling, and you start to see a lot of potential... That is why I really suggest anyone in the 75-90kg range goes and tries a 9m Airush Wave. In my eyes it's exactly this, a holy grail, It's the best of both worlds. There are places for the other kites, and both are superior at the extremes of what they do, but the 9m Wave is an SUV and a sports car in one; the sweet spot is HUGE. Jumps well when powered too.
there is a test from kiteworld on this thread page - and a lot of airush info from the UK here;
Have a read of the wave test - it's an exceptional piece of kit for those undecided between the Lithium and the VX camp.
nicor wrote:but I hit a massive gust which had to be past 40 knots and the kite completely lost its shape, almost like folding in half and started to fall back in the window. However, it recovered very quickly, and I immediately called it a day. So the point here is that I feel the Lithium really performs quite well in a lot of wind (except for the collaping which I admit is a concern but I believe a right size lithium would have been fine), and I have not noticed any darting, but then again I was being extremely careful when manoeuvring the kite that day.
This can happen to all kites - these days the kites have almost total depower, so when it gets stupidly windy you take more and more power (or forward drive) out of the kite, but the drag the kite does not change. So what happens when you take so much drive from the kite that the drag is greater than the drive? It starts to misbehave! Like a missfire it coughs and flaps and generally freaks out until it's shape is restored by enough drive to make it fly. For heavier riders this happens later than lighter as they have more weight to keep the kite driving forwards..
BUT I have to say...
Depower is a privilege, not a right, as in the old days we didn't have any - and many riders these days think that when the kite is fully depwered, that's the top end... Not so. The top end is when the kite stops turning as well, and the efficiency reduces, which is normally half way through the depower. An overpowered kite that is regularly tapping into over half it's physical de-power is a hinderance to your session. It's won't turn, climb or handle any way near as well as the next size down, so if your kite does this, it's a sign you should have changed down 10-15 knots before!! It's also dangerous to push your kites this far, so be careful... They sheet out like that far for safety reasons, not so a big kite ca be used in unfeasibly large amounts of wind - I should also say that snow kiting has very cold dense wind - quite possibly twice the power of wind in Egypt for example... so 40k of -5 wind is SO much more than 40k or 40 degree hot dry egypt wind..
sorry for the length of post, but thought it relevant!