The Reflex kite is a high-quality hybrid C shape all round kite designed by Herve Bouré.
Improvements have been made to bar pressure, turning ability and relaunch in the bigger sizes and across the range the kite offers a linear power and a progressive depower. For added simplicity Takoon have added a one pump system and the moderate aspect ratio offers an ultra versatile kite, allowing you to ride on anything on whatever playing field you want. The four strut design decreases weight and increases efficiency. The optimised bridle on the leading edge offers excellent stability, gives the confidence to progress and allows the best surfing ever. Leading edge diameters are reduced in the bigger sizes for more slide and upwind ability while turning speeds are increased to help position the kite quickly, making it perfect for side-shore waves. For freestyle the Reflex provides excellent pop for wake-style and huge lift for old school tricks. The wind range remains faithful to the Takoon spirit: simply outstanding.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Reflex is a pretty little kite, don't you think? Blessed with incredible plug and play characteristics, let's first start with the nitty gritty of its features. The bar is comfortable, all the parts work very smoothly and it has all the bits and pieces you'd expect on a 2012 model, but it's perhaps not finished quite to the same levels as some other models. The chicken finger still has the plastic mould code on it for example and looks like it's been cut off a strip at the factory and attached, but as much as we tried to find anything other than aesthetic faults with it, we struggled. Sure the chicken-loop release Velcro system is relatively dated now, but it's easy to use and put back together and on top of that the chicken-loop is a really decent size and holds its shape when unhooked. The above the bar trimming system is very neat, tidy, works with very little effort and has a Velco tab to keep it out of the way when you have the kite well depowered. The stopper is a little bit awkward being a twist and tighten screw, but once set is solid and you can adjust how hard it is to move. Finally, the safety line runs down the outside of the chicken-loop line so there's nothing to catch it when you activate the safety. Moving up to the kite, although there's a good one pump system you do have to use your finger over the valve when putting the plug in as it doesn't seem to have a ball valve to self-trap the air. These are minor points, but lots of people like to buy the finest in craftsmanship and will be put off by this. But in terms of plug and play, it doesn't get much easier with a simple and easy to set-up bridle and just two options for the backline setting.
In the air the canopy is very taut and the air frame seems really well designed and balanced. Strong, solid and dependable there's more than enough lift in the Reflex for intermediates and has plenty of performance built in to take you and your riding forward. The Reflex seems like the sort of kite that freeride designers have been aiming for for a long time. First ticked off the design list would be great relaunch with those really swept back wing tips, fantastic range and instant power pulling in at the bar. Lovely rapid, responsive handling without being too quick, the Reflex is intuitive and well-behaved. Turns are whippy and lack power, so the kite loop is fairly weak but it doesn't cough halfway round and has no dirty secrets throughout the loop. Describing it as middle of the road doesn't do it justice. It doesn't stand out in any one area over other kites, but it's the combination of the way it does everything that most modern intermediate freeriders are looking for that we like. Fast enough to be good in waves and with plenty of feel at the bar you can also dump the power really quickly for your top turns. Handling-wise the steering is light but the Reflex responds really quickly. Send it over you head, pull down and the floaty jumps hold you up there with lots of time to decide what you're going to do with the kite. That's what we mean about it being intuitive; nothing is hard work on this kite. Unhooking on it is fine at an early level – it's not really explosive, but it's not limp and lame either and doesn't drop back all over the window and stall as soon as you come out of the hook. From sturdy, grunty power at the bar getting beginners and early intermediates up and riding, through the fast relaunch and up to the capable unhooked and reactive wave performance it's got you covered. You're not going to push any boundaries with it, but the Reflex will certainly help improve your riding.
The Reflex is a good example of a modern freeride kite with all the features we want – relaunch, range, progressive power, good behaviour and instant power at the bar. It's a good tried and tested formula that works. Modern, good looking and robust, it's a great kite for any rider in their first few years looking to go out and improve their freeriding in a wide range of conditions. There also seem to be lots of excellent wave riding qualities, including handling, depower and drift – the smaller sizes should be really exciting in this arena.
Total plug and play simplicity.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Some polishing of some of the bar systems might be nice.
14, 12, 9, 7 and 5m
This test is in issue #57