Designed for intermediate to expert riders, the all-new Rhino is pushing the limits of kite performance to unprecedented levels. The '08 Rhino's flat delta geometry boasts the widest wind range, fastest flying speed and most precise angle-of-attack control in the North kite range. An increased number of canopy segments gives the '08 Rhino extreme profile stability making it the ultimate upwind racing machine; and the deep canopy profile gives it amazing low-end power and lift for long lofty jumps. By utilizing stronger, more stable cloth and better strut distribution near the tips North have further enhanced the Rhino's stability and ridged structure. The reduction and repositioning of the struts makes the Rhino's turning smooth, light and direct while also reducing the overall weight of the kite.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
CHRIS: Out the bag it is all presented and packaged really nicely. The bar is comfortable, not too fussy, very good throw and depower and the stopper is good. Standard quality North lines. It's got the little micro hook and I'm glad they've kept that on for no-hand tricks.
NEAL: I agree, people still like to do big jumps and they are so much better when you use that micro-hook. I think it's under-utilised.
CHRIS: The chicken-loop safety system is good and unfussy. Not as clunky as it used to be and more subtle but still very effective and simple. The quality of the canopy is all just beautiful. Typical North quality build. If you'd just dropped some cash on this you wouldn't be disappointed. Cannot fault the construction.
NEAL: Lots of battens though...it’s batten overload! But really good attention to detail.
WILL: Feels fresh colour-wise and looks-wise. Really bright and vivid and immediately exciting.
CHRIS: I had a few wipe-outs on that and it relaunched well enough. It's got great range, loads of depower and at the other end there's shed loads of grunt.
WILL: The leading edge shape helps it roll over and relaunch very well. The depower can be a bit of a reach away from you, but can be adjusted.
NEAL: When you first put it up it looks so different to everything else we've seen; the outline, angle-of-attack and where it sits. I'd have liked to have tried it in even more wind...you could feel there was a lot of range and it could have taken a lot.
CHRIS: Jumps are very floaty and with good hang-time; just pull down on the bar and up you go. It's got that paraglider quality. Feels like you have a fair bit of canopy above you. Definitely not an unhooked freestyle kite. When you unhook, the corners of the kites bend in and it just doesn’t like it. It's more of a physical kite to make turn, and the connection between the kite and the bar isn’t direct enough for me, but it's not aimed at my level of freestyle.
NEAL: This isn't a kite you steer with your hands in the middle of the bar. You have to man-handle it a bit, but that does mean you're not going to get any unwanted movements, so for early intermediates or for speed it's great, especially with all hat power on demand from just sheeting in. It's like a turbo and is so smooth.
CHRIS: Not a kite-looping kite at all. This kite is definitely going to suit a more intermediate rider and good for coping with blustery, frontal real-world winds.
NEAL: It coped very well in these gusty conditions and there was never a chance of getting pulled over the front. Very, very smooth to ride. All this power is available but there's not much responsiveness in the turn. Jumping off the back of a wave I was in the sky for days. Once you're up and riding the kite just sits there alongside you and you can control the amount of power you want so easily. Super-cruisy. Very good straight line kite and for racing it would be very, very good. I bet the North speed team use this kite.
Great build-quality and construction, super-stable and it’s not going to rip you off the water and the range on it is crazy. Early intermediates upwards will love this to allow them to focus on their board skills, riding upwind and getting used to simple power delivery from minimal kite movement. Very easy to ride up to a certain level, when its lack of rapid handling and responsiveness become apparent. This is a kite for chargers that want to ride very fast, carve and jump around the ocean in control.
9, 10, 12, 14 and 16m
This test is in issue #33