The perfect crossover weapon between freeride and new-school freestyle, the 2010 Evo has a huge performance range to tickle nearly every rider’s fancy. A super stable delta shape offers a soft and predictable ride along with aggressive jumps and an incredibly steady C-kite bar feel that begs for you to unhook. Amazing low-end power gets you up and riding in light wind and an auto re-launch lets you go for broke without a second thought of getting your kite back up; just let go of the bar and the kite will do the work for you without the worry of any lines snagging on the wing-tips, thanks to new relaunch bungees. Construction details have also been improved to prevent wear and tear and the Evo can be ridden on four or five lines depending on your preference, making things easier than ever. A deflator pin, self-rescue handles and load distribution panels also make welcome appearances.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
We tested the Evo on four line set-up. Constructed with North's usual tough and clean build-quality, from the canopy right through to the lines and bar, but for such a high-quality product it's a little surprising there is still no onepump on the Evo. The bar is one of the most evolved in the industry; tweaked and improved each year it features incredible fixtures and fittings, from the beautifully manufactured, easy-to-use and re-assemble Iron Heart push-away quick-release just above the chicken-loop, to the fairly narrow bar grip that feels so good in the hands. The quality of materials that North use throughout is second-to-none. The above-the-bar cleat depower system is tough and slick, although we were quite surprised by how short the throw on the bar is and the short amount of depower there is to be pulled on, especially when we realised how grunty this kite is! It's got absolutely oodles of power for get-up and go. Having said that, we never felt over-powered or at any point as though the 20+ or so knots we were out in for the majority of the time we had the kite ever felt too much. The Evo handles power really well – it just has a lot of it.
On the water the Evo is as simple as kites come. There's no need to move the kite around much; just dive it and go. If ever there was a plug-and-play kite, this is it. There's only one option of where to attach the lines on the bridle, removing any confusion. Take it out the bag, pump it up and off you go. The Evo isn't super fast, but is rapid, sure and stable. It's not a really high-performance kite, but will do anything early intermediate to advanced riders want to do. If you're looking for the best handling powered freestyle kite out there, look for something else, but for the majority of people reading this, it's ideal. Of course the Evo is excellent unhooked with a little trimming and provides a surprisingly steady forward pull given the amount of power the kite has. It will be no surprise given the characteristics we've mentioned so far that you can jump huge and far on the Evo with the power stacked under the bonnet, meaning you can obviously get up and going quickly at the bottom end of its range. Although there is a lot of power, the delivery is lovely, not wanting to pull you over the front all the time as you might expect from something with such levels of grunt. It handles well at the top end as you can't over-depower it, which does mean that when you're riding in over 25 knots you may have to man up and dig your rail in to get the kite forward in the window, rather than just relying on pulling on loads of depower and riding around on a kite with loose back lines. Alternatively, you have the option of changing down a size before most other people at the beach will be able to. Quick enough for wave riding, the added benefit of being able to get on a smaller, faster kite sooner is ideal for kiting in waves.
North have found a brilliant balance between providing a lot of usable power without it being too much of a handful. There are so many times that this is good – beginners and early intermediates can get on with riding in lighter, safer winds without having to swing the kite up and down as they try to improve their board skills; big jumps and hang-time are fantastic and wave riders can down-size sooner to a fast, predictable and stable kite that will also drift downwind with them nicely while not hauling them down the wave though the kite's turns.
KW LIKED: Fun and spirited but simple handling.
KW WOULD CHANGE: Add a one-pump and just a shade more depower on the throw.
SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m
This test is in issue #46