The LF Envy steps 'beyond delta', blending the popular benefits of the delta type kites with the proven LF Diamond Wing-tips and USB 2.0 bridle system on an all new three strut, lightweight platform. From this technology comes an all-round SLE kite with amazingly light feel, superior stability and top notch performance for all types of riding and conditions. Pure fun for everyone!
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Envy has a new bar with a much thinner chickenloop line than we've seen from Liquid Force in the past, allowing the bar to pass up and down it much quicker and more smoothly, aiding rapid depower. The chickenloop itself is rigid and a good, big size as standard. The donkey dick does its job and keeps you in the loop, but is also manoeuvrable for when you want to be in and out. The whole system looks slick, as we've come to expect from the 'Force, but what's quite surprising are the wings on the top of the chicken-loop release. This is a new system and, as a release is very effective; being nice and chunky and easy to grab and release. The thing is that when you're unhooking and have just one hand on the bar with one finger either side of the chicken-loop line, or have two hands butted right up to the chicken-loop with your thumbs underneath the bar, it can catch your knuckle. It was okay with two fingers either side of the centre-line, which actually reduces unwanted kite steering when you're unhooked anyway, but is just something to look out for.
In terms of build-quality it doesn't get any better than this. It's not overly bridled, everything is simple and is built like a proverbial house with bumpers and reinforcements all over the place in a powerful and robust looking shape. The kite holds its rigidity well with only three struts, meaning it is well-designed and also benefits from being lighter in weight. You expect it to have a good low end because of the round shape, and it does. There's a constant speed through the window, rather than a surging, providing a very smooth feel. This is added to by the fact that the bar pressure is really light. You get just enough feedback through the bar to know exactly where the kite is. What's also nice is that the upstroke is as quick as the downstroke, making the kite feel lovely to ride, intuitive and lively. It's not a boosty-boosty kite, but it jumps well with perfectly adequate hang-time. The Envy maintains power in the canopy too, which doesn't allow it to fly over your head and out of the window. Super-easy to fly it's not so quick and zippy that you'll lose control and put it in the wrong place in the window if you're inexperienced; but instead, the moderate feeling leaves you in command all the time.
Good in and out of the loop; the kite and bar feel very balanced with each other. The relationship between power and depower in the bar is just right, you don't get any arm fatigue at all.
The Envy is a very all-round and usable kite. The slightly deeper, faster foil on a delta kite works beautifully. It's uncomplicated, has good feeling on the bar and represents a really exciting time in kiteboarding if this is Liquid Force's entry-level product. A few years ago we were worried when we lost C kites to SLEs. Now all the problems have been ironed out and we're getting everything we want from our kites. This doesn't loop like a C kite, it's fast and pivotal, but is all about simple bridles, smooth, subtle and controlled handling, which reflects in your riding.
KW LIKED: The fact that whoever you are, you can get on this kite and have a good session.
KW WOULD CHANGE: The knuckle-dusting from the chicken-loop release when unhooked and your hands are in the wrong place.
SIZES: 15, 12, 10, 8, 6 and 4m
This test is in issue #43