The Ego 3 has been totally redesigned and is now a performance kite for freeride, freestyle and wake. The three strut platform maintains the high performance attributes of the previous design as well as a more powerful shape, enhanced canopy tension, stability and smooth, powerful turns and incredible unhooked performance. The clean profile gives you much more from loops and hang-time and the wind range is huge. Add the Dacron frame and additional Dacron through the canopy and the Ego is one of the highest performing, rigid and bulletproof kites on the market, offering a light weight, fast turning kite with wake-style pop for all-round fun.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
You probably haven't heard much about Fluid kites. We tested their ATV kite for the first time in South Africa last year and were impressed as a first offering on test. The Australian outfit's Ego gave good initial impressions; the build quality is up there and it has all the features you'd expect, including a slimline one pump system and a huge dump/pump valve. For releasing air these valves are fantastic when you're trying to roll your kite away but the Fluid could do with a thicker nozzle adapter for a pump attached to the kite. If you turn up to the beach without your own pump, you'll need to borrow one with a wide attachment, which isn't always possible. The rest of the set-up has plenty of attention to detail. The kite rolls away very easily and then there's also no struggling getting your kite into a small bag at the end of a cold session as the back pack has plenty of space and a long zip. The bar and lines are great, the trimming set-up is neat and tidy with a cleat and ring system which is attached to the sheeting line, so there's no flapping. The canopy of the kite looks very taught and exciting with a very C-hybrid shape rather than leaning more towards a bow. We were expecting some good performance from the way the kite sits perched and balanced in the sky.
It was really windy on our first session. The UK has been battered by gales recently, and we were in the thick of it. Setting up the kite we put it on the bottom knot of two on the back line bridle attachment with the bride line itself set back on the fastest setting nearest the trailing edge of the kite. The kite felt like it had a lot of power when we put it up but we were disappointed with the steering as soon as we got on the water. The power delivery was just very strange and it seemed like there was a big gap in its rev range. It was flying depowered all the time and pulling in on the bar didn't make any difference. Even though it was pushing up to 40 knots we re-set the back lines on the 'lighter wind' setting, moving the attachment to the knot closer to the kite on the back lines. The difference was incredible. Suddenly the kite was super quick to turn, fast through the sky and more powerful. The speed is very good, advanced freeriders will love this for throwing about and chasing around the sky and it makes jumping a lot of fun. Boost is created by the speed of movement and sending the kite, rather than just lifting it above your head and sheeting in. The lift is really nice; fast and vertical. Like a lot of fast kites, the Ego doesn't deliver the most hangtime out there, but the jump is all about the vertical, quick lift and a lot of height, which we like. It's got a bit more of a rally car feel about it. You need to keep it moving but the bar pressure is very light, so there's absolutely no arm fatigue, but a beginner looking for a slow, steady kite on which they can lazily use the bar as an accelerator by just sheeting in, won't find that in this kite. You have to stroke it a few times, but the kite's manoeuvrability really pays off in other areas. When kite looping you can really commit to just pulling on the bar from the moment you take off. It gives you a bit of a tug, but nothing insane and it always makes it back round to the top. Turning fairly pivotally, for getting confidence in kite loops, it's fantastic. Experienced, more power-hungry loopers will want something that grinds you through the loop with a bit more power and punch.
Out of the loop the Ego is very manageable and doesn't sit back and chug as soon as you unhook. It flies forward nicely, providing a good balance between rapid hooked-in freeride performance and capable wake-style ability. Perhaps the hardcore wake-style riders will want something a bit slower, that doesn't respond quite so quickly to every input. Riding with hands in the centre of the bar is important, especially when doing tricks as it is so lively and responsive. This could imply that it's twitchy though, it's not at all. It's really well balanced and feels nice in your hands, but if you're not careful, that hooked-in front roll could easily turn into a front roll with a kite loop, which your friends will all be impressed with, anyway.
The Ego is like a high-revving sportsbike rather than a V-twin thumping beast that's going to pull your arms off. It's all about the top end in this kite, which is fantastic. We had it out in over 40 knots and never once felt like the kite was struggling. The stronger the wind, the better it gets. Heavier riders will find it a bit lacking in the bottom end, but lighter riders will feel right at home and ride for hours without getting tired. There's really good wave potential with this kite because of it's speed, but it didn't have that quick injection of poke that we sometimes need in wave kites to get us out of situations, or back onto a wave.
Incredible gust management and comfort on the water with exciting freeride handling and balanced unhooked performance and pop.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Give it a little more juice at the bottom end for heavier riders.
12, 10, 8, and 6m