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 Post subject: Crossbow vs Nova, my 2 cts.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 11:15 am 
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Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Disclaimer: No affiliation to any brand whatsoever. Have owned Naish, North, and have used the Cabrinha Blacktip 03 the last 2 years. Haven´t tried any 05/06 kites. I weigh 75kg, use a WT 142, been kiting since 2001, advanced intermediate (no unhooked stuff), prefer waveriding. Never owned Takoon but like the brand and sort of expected the Nova to be the better one...

Conditions: South West Holland, choppy waters, gusty on shore wind, according to a nearby post 10-12 m/s at the start, slowly lessening to 8-10 m/s. Calculate it to knots and it might seem high, but in reality these measuring posts always seem to give a higher indication: anything less than 8 m/s usually isn´t worth going out.. Didn´t try my own kites that day but saw others ripping with sizes 10-14.

The Nova: there was a 12 to demo, no other sizes. Build seems fine. It has a set of pulleys at the kite. Tried it the first, for 15 min with winds 10-12 m/s, and after testing the crossbow again for about 15 min with winds 8-10 m/s, power was great both of the times.
In the water it has a soft feel to the bar. The bar is loose because of the depower system: UDS like. You could feel that the kite can depower well, but in the gusts your arms just aren´t long enough. The velcro stopper is a laugh, the rep actually put some extra velcro around it to add resistance. He said the final kite (as on sale here by mid august) would feature a "pro package" with a working stopper and a cleat system to fix the bar at any level... sounds beter but for now I didn´t like the feel of the bar or the steering, and the depower ability that it has seems to be wasted with the current system. The depower strap is too far away to comfortably reach it. Trying to spin the bar by letting it go results in the bar flying 1,5 meters away and you lose all power. Relauch was excellent though, and it is by all means a very safe kite because of this feature. My first run I was just trying to get used to the way it turns and jumps, different! When I tried it again after using the X-bow I was more used to the feeling and got some decent air; not higher than usual but definately more hang time. Riding toe side and using the bar one handed is possible, although the depower line under the bar would slap my hand on occasions..

The Crossbow: There was a 12 and 9 on demo. Build seems fine. Lots of pulleys everywhere: 2 sets at the kite and a set at the steering lines on the bar. Bar looks very solid.
In the air it has more bar pressure than the Nova, but also a bit more feedback, more the feel of a classic kite. Adapting to it seemed easier. The depower works a lot better: the power is nearly gone at the stopper ball, and punching it out leads to complete depower. Relauch was not a problem, even on a few occasions when it folded inside out after a crashed loop. I thought with all the bridles I´d be f** but they didn´t tangle, and it turned back into the relaunch position. On another occasion it hot launched in the middle of the window, but pushing the bar away prevented me from being catapulted. A big pro is the fact that the stopper works for spinning the bar, it won´t punch out doing this but do it fast because you lose a lot of power anyway..
By this time I was getting a bit more used to the way the kite was behaving a could get some decent jumps. The extra hang seems to open possibilities for board offs and the like, but then there´s the problem that you need to hold the bar down firmly or you´ll come down fast. Because it turns fast during the jump this will take some time to adapt to. Same thing for toeside riding one handed, which is less easy to do than with the Nova. Maybe the powerlock will make things a little better in this section, but it will probably remain a drawback on these types of kites.

Speed: I mention this separately because it puzzles me. Both kites (the 12´s) were alike but very different from the C shaped kites. when cruising the kite turns as fast as a 14, and delivers quite some power from moving it about. Parking it and pulling the bar towards you works just as well, but can be a bit of a nuisance with your arms so close to your body.
It travels up quite fast for jumps, and will turn back quickly during the jump, a bit too quick IMO because doing one handed jumps trying to keep the bar sheeted in for power makes the kite travel too far during the landing. This will take more time getting used to I guess.
The big drawback however was turning it through the window. Both kites initiate a turn quickly, but then seem to turn slower and slower. I crashed the X-bow a couple of times into the water during a kite loop beacuse of this. After a while I sort of figured how to do it by having the bar midway, sending the kite up far enough and pulling hard, and the kite now looped very fast.. Still can´t really figure it out, but another point of adaption I guess. The Crossbow is a safer kite to loop anyhow because if you crash the power is a lot less by pushing the bar away from you.
The 9 Crossbow felt more like a 10 or 12 in speed of turning, and I all in all I found it a lot more manouvrable and enjoyable, great for looping as well, although initially because of me steering technique I crashed it a couple of times.

A 16 X-bow or 15 Nova (which I haven´t tested) might work but I´m afraid will be really slow so not that much fun to use.

waveriding: too bad there were no decent waves to ride. In Holland we have wind driven waves, so in moderate windspeeds I have to loop the kite in order to stay on the wave. Because of the slow turning of the 12 I´m not sure it´s suited to our conditions. On the other hand, in high wind speeds It´ll be great to turn of the power and ride the wave; I think the combination with a dedicated waveboard will be fantastic because you don´t need to edge as much when using the kite.

Conclusion:
pros:
A big step forward in terms of safety and depower. If you have gusty winds, unsafe launches and especially offshore wind wave conditions it is a must. I prefer the X-bow because it´s easier to adapt to, the depower is more efficient and the stopper ball works.

cons:
-If you kite flat water, have a safe launch and constant wind you´ll probably have more fun on you current setup than using time to adjust to the new way of riding: keeping the bar sheeted during jumps and troubles with one handed riding to name the most important.
- The X-bow has a lot of pulleys and I´d hate to think wat happens when a line should break from chafing with sand; if I buy it I´d like to feel safe using it for at least 2-3 years and I´m not sure that´ll be the case..
- I get the feeling that Takoon put the Nova on the market before sorting out the bar (stopper, cleat) because of the introduction of the X-bow, which is understandable marketing wise, but may backfire on them now that IMHO it is still a bit inferior to the X-bow
- Most of all I think the price isn´t justified: OK, a 2 kite setup will cover a large range, but why should this mean we pay for 3? The added safety might prevent you from losing your life in a sudden squall: Is it our responsability to pay more because of that (yes) or should the companies be more ethical and make this feature available to everyone, especially newcomers to the sport (again yes).

Happy I could test them back to back, thanks to the reps for that. I was excited reading about these kites on this forum, and the marketin hype surely led me to believe I needed them fast. I still think I´ll need one, maybe a 9 for high wind days combined with a waveboard for extra range and fun, but I´m not in a hurry anymore...

FD (giving you a lot to read for just 2 cts!)


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File comment: windstats during test 15:00 till 18:00
wind 31-07-05.gif
wind 31-07-05.gif [ 5.95 KIB | Viewed 6038 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 11:33 am 
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*con: bridels on a inflatable...... ghey.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 11:46 am 
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Well, the bridles seemed to work well on the kite, even during some folding an turning after a crash. But yes, It will probably remain a weak spot. I´d really like to try a rapture just for comparison as they´ve seemed to avoid the whole bridle issue (at a cost of a larger LE and less windrange?)

FD


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:31 pm 
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Location: Netherlands
Good review FD :thumb: (you should also post it on a dutch forum).

I think I will also wait a while before selling my current quiver. A lot of Cabrinha riders are dumping their gear. It looks like the news of the Crossbow blew the bottom out of the second-hand market which was already pretty shitty.

The depreciation of my quiver is now so huge I will have to sell my 3 2004-kites in order to buy 1 crossbow :( (to hell with that idea). Either the crossbow becomes cheaper, or I will use my current quiver until they are worn to the thread...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 7:49 am 
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I´ll post a link on a dutch site, don´t feel like writing it all down in Dutch again..

I´m glad I stuck to my 03 gear from the depreciation point of view (if anyone is willing to buy any 03 gear, that is). Maybe this is where the shops may help out with a better resale value..

A few more things I forgot to mention btw:

1. Upwind performance on both kites are amazing, I could see other people on the water thinking they would outtack me from a distance, only to find they never even got close...
2. The 9 x-bow had good power in 10-12m/s but even then I needed to really sheet in; sheeting out would stop me instantly. It felt like the depower adjuster was pulled in, but it wasn´t. I haven´t discovered any adjustable pigtails and wonder if the toming is adjustable in any way to get more bottom power. A buddy of mine got on the 9 later when te wind was 8-10m/s and couldn´t hold his ground (weighing somewhat more than me and on a shorter board, WT 130). Other 12 meter kites seemed to have trouble at this point too, but I still thought the 9 would have more bottom power... the 12 x-bow and Nova were still powered up well in these windspeeds.
3. The takoon rep told me the nova would be priced 50-100 euros less than the x-bow. Even with the price difference I´d go for the x-bow though.
4. Still can´t figure out the way these kites react to steering input, can anyone with more experience on them elaborate?

FD


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 7:22 pm 
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Dude, sell your 3 kites and get one Crossbow, it'll have you covered.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 7:43 pm 
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FD, that is a strange last post... so your saying it doesn't have the reported extended low-end? I would think the flatter arc of the kite would give it more projected area and thus more low-end....

@Nin: I am a bit dissapointed at the moment in the whole kite market. If I buy a kite for 1000 euros, and I take good care of it. You wouldn't expect it to loose halve it's value within 18 months. The more expensive the kite become the more value they will loose... so I don't think I will pay 1500 euros for a X-bow...although I would like to own one (by the way, my wife will kill me :-? )


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:42 am 
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Well, If I'd have to own just one crossbow I'd like it to be the 9 because of the speed, and because I think the concept works best in higher windspeeds. There was a big difference in pulling the bar in or out, and I kept wondering whether it was tuned right, because from earlier posts (from lighter riders) a good low end was reported.

Then again, with powerlock, and preferably 2 boards (small twin and larger wave board) either the 12 or 9 would make an excellent 1 kite quiver depending on your weight.

btw, I haven't used my 17 blacktip in almost a year (I should really start selling it) because I love the speed of my 12 BT, and although it has little grunt it has an excellent range if you know how to sine it in low windspeeds and make use of shorter line lengths in higher windspeeds. Just holding on to your kit for more than a year helps you improve your skills a lot more IMO than buying new stuff each year..

FD


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:05 am 
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the velcro stopper problem seems to be solved on the serial novas.. got my hands on one this morning and couldn`t activate the safety without wanting it, when the velcro stopper was closed.

maybe in larger wind? i was out in sub 20knots and dying quick to 10 :-?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 8:14 pm 
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flying doctor wrote:
I´ll post a link on a dutch site, don´t feel like writing it all down in Dutch again..
FD


Thank you for posting it in English!

I love Holland.

:thumb: :thumb:


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