The fourth generation Prime builds on its predecessors no-compromise legacy and continues to deliver tight, technical all-out performance. The wing-tip construction was refined to further ensure power delivery is absolutely stable and consistent throughout every part of the wing-tip axis turns, hooked and unhooked. Fast powered turns in combination with the very direct steering of a perfectly engineered minimal bridle, results in the Prime's exceptional flight precision, technical control, and predictability. A skilled ride will love the direct bar feel, incredible pop and tight, powerful turns. For the Prime rider, depower is not a factor and the focus lies in smooth power delivery and precision control.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Prime has a nice plug and play element to it. It's simple to set-up with just two options on the back lines and that's it. It's certainly a C shape, but with hybrid elements, such as the four lines on a light bridle and pulley. Quite deep and aggressive, it's not a full-on C kite, but it is a performance shape.
The bar is quite small, nicely made and has been improved in build quality from last year. More robust now, it has a different rubber covering that's very comfortable in your hands and looks the business in black. The ridges on top of the bar are quite dominant and shaped nicely to bend around the back of the bar, feeling very natural in your hands. The safety system is a little bit clunky, but neat, tidy and works very simply. There is no self-locating key for the chicken-loop but the chicken-loop presents itself fairly naturally nonetheless, although there is a bit of a dangle in the loop because of the material sections on the side of the loop that cause it to droop a little. The safety line runs through the chicken-loop safety and is neat and effective and Blade have also implemented the dual suicide and safety leash riding option, which is great. The chicken finger is coated well and can be swivelled to the side of the chicken-loop out of the way. The chicken-loop itself is standard size and could possibly benefit from being a bit bigger for lots of unhooking. This year Blade have sorted their bar, next year hopefully we'll see a little fine tuning of the chicken-loop system in terms of stiffness. The pull-pull trimming system works really well and is super easy to use, although when fully depowered there's a bit of dangle.
The build quality is all there in the kite and it's quite deep and aggressive. It's not a full-on C kite but the Prime definitely has a lot of performance packed in. It's more of a freeride freestyle kite - fast and athletic. It's also very well balanced and you can just jump on it without having to adjust your technique as much as you would with some of the other C kites. There's a lovely direct feel at the bar and the kite isn't twitchy at all. Happy hooked-in and unhooked, the Prime performs exactly as you'd want. Power delivery is lovely and depower is very clean indeed. The air speed isn't stupidly quick, but the kite is very nimble and it jumps as well as any other performance C kite here. The hang-time is also very good and there's plenty of feeling throughout your trick. Power delivery is very smooth, not abrupt, but also not wishy-washy making it a very comfortable kite to fly. True C kites are more hard work. Turning speed is quicker than some of the more full-on C kites, but the Prime certainly has a nice drawn out, powered turning arc, responding well to input. A C kite is all about being to turn the kite and not drop power, and this does a good job of that. Learning to kite loop on a C kite is a full on and quite scary experience. Your general freeride kite with lots of bridling is much easier as the steering will be very pivotal and easier to loop as it turns much quicker and with less power. The Blade is in between the two, looping in a similar way to a C kite, but just not as brutally. Occasionally it needed a little more careful bar input and sheeting out to finish the loop, but this was when the wind was especially gusty. Feeling at the bar is lovely and there's plenty of depower available. Unhooked the kite behaves impeccably with lots of clean pull and finishing things off is a very easy line-pull relaunch.
The Prime is a perfect kite for anyone looking to take freestyle more seriously. It's not going to rip you about, but is manageable, fun and with enough performance to keep you happy for several years. A great effort at a performance freestyle kite and worth a look if you want to upgrade in performance without losing some of the hybrid home comforts you might be used to. We have really enjoyed each Blade riding experience over the last couple of years and their products should be real contenders in any kite buyer's consideration. It just all works really well.
Really accessible performance, but the Prime also has a softer side than the other C kites. Suitable for many more people looking to make progress in freestyle.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
There's nothing wrong with the chicken-loop system, it's perfectly adequate, but if we were being picky, we'd like to see it a bit more rigid next year.
13, 11, 9 and 7m