Understated but exciting and one of the funnest kites of 2018 so far – we review the 2018 Nobile T5
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #92 IN MARCH, 2018
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Certainly one of the most striking kites on test – when we looked out at a sea of kites in Cape Town we could always spot the Kiteworld tester out there on the T5! A colourful kite that delivers super fun performance.
The general build is robust and while Nobile aren’t singing about their own unique materials that they’ve implemented, there’s nothing weak about the T5 build, which is strong, well reinforced and fitted with all the modern accessories, such as Boston inflate valve and steering speed adjustments on the rear lines.
Down at the bar Nobile have reduced the diameter of their grip this year and feels soft and comfortable. Again, nothing groundbreaking here but everything is present, including a plastic covered sheeting line, trimming cleat above the bar and floaty, soft bar ends. There is a line untwister above the chicken-loop which you can use to untwist your lines; it works, but it’s more of an effort to grip and twist than some. Chicken loop release and safety are perfectly usable, but basic plastic though the CL is a good size for hooking in and out of and has the two ring option for leashing to suicide while still being able pull the release and flag the kite out.
Basically the Nobile control system is solid and functional without the highest market production, but is certainly acceptable.
First session we took the T5 out in was a relatively light one for Cape Town, around 15 knots and the T5 comes out of the bag set on the second of four trimming knots that you have available for the front lines just above the trimming cleat. (The front lines were on their second longest setting – so we had one more option of adding more power, and this is a nice system for being able to quickly adjust the power of the kite during a session if someone catches your kite and you then don’t have to run all the way up to the kite). We had some immense sessions on the T5 7.5 metre in Cape Town last year in big winds and it was the most surprising kite for us in terms of performance. For a 7.5 metre kite it went absolutely huge and the quality of hangtime was so nice.
The T5 9m on this first session felt a bit more sedate in these lighter winds on the second front line knot. The knot sets the natural sheeting balance of the bar closer to the chicken-loop. There’s still plenty of leverage to move the kite smoothly around the window to generate power, but that bar position made the kite feel like a freestyler performer. Sure enough when unhooking on that setting the T5 is really stable and provides plenty of easy pop for basic freestyle. Even in lighter wind the T5 continues to fly forward out of the hook and as the wind picked up the unhooked performance remains manageable with Chris smoothly landing raleys-to-blind.
It’s very apparent how stable the kite is and at the same time the shut-off depower is immediate. Nobile’s first and main point in their sales pitch for the kite is that it has a huge amount of wave cross-over. Yes, there’s good turning and good power shut-off, so it will cross-over into waves, but it’s not the most rapid turning kite.
Initiating a turn does drop power though, so for waves that’s nice and for intermediates getting used to turns and downlooping out of transitions it delivers a nice smooth drive and doesn’t yank alarmingly.
BUT the best part about this kite is the power generation for twin-tip riding. Again, as last year it’s so much fun and you should take note of this kite in your research. We moved to the bottom knot on the front line adjustment above the cleat for maximum sheeting power in the kite and the bar’s natural position moves to halfway up the throw, still leaving you plenty of sheeting depower, but largely improving your sheeting power low down.
Overall we rate the jumping performance higher than its turning, but that is a nice combination for most people because when you send the kite for a jump you can hold our edge for longer as the kite is less physical as it moves but then you get that reward of lots of power at the bar and lovely lift when you sheet in with the kite overhead. It’s the opposite of a C kite that pulls from the moment it starts turning, which in that case requires a much more aggressive rider to get big jumps.
The T5 offers ease and playfulness and you will enjoy throwing it around. Generating good air speed you feel a powerful sensation of acceleration and despite it having an easy, low power and quite pivotal turn, when you sheet in that low down torque feels exciting. So for slow pace, floaty transitions you can really apply that torque and you’ll go up and up and then when you downloop out of a transition the kite jumps to life, but without a big and intimidating spike of power. It’s very nice.
We never got the T5 out in more than 30 knots but as it feels so rangey and controlled, it’s going to be a huge booster and feels like it can just keep going and going. This is a rewarding kite because it’s not scary in terms of the power it holds in the engine, but it has great performance when you start sheeting in and holds enough movement and agility to keep good riders really happy too. You’ll be surprised by its keenness to please the more you ride it.
Get to know the T5 in the video below!
The T5 is one of the most generally fun kites we tested this year. Chris actually closed his season out by riding it for his last session because it’s a good all rounder, capable of unhooking and going big without being brutal in tough conditions. Understated and under the radar, this is a freeride kite that ticks a lot of boxes. Producing a good low end and great top end performance, Nobile have done well to also prevent any stalling even with all that range. Looking around the market it’s a difficult thing to achieve and the T5 doesn’t flap around and out trim itself despite that big range and the profile still punches forward. As an intermediate you’ll be winning with this and have the choice of progressing down both the freestsyle and wave avenues.
Rewarding and fun all-round performance with genuinely easy tuning to adjust the kite’s character.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The Nobile bar systems are very functional and fully equipped, but are more generic than some of the leading players.
T5 BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8
Full package: 7.5
Low end: 8.5
Top end: 8.5
Steering speed: 7
Turning circle: 4
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 7.5
Cross-over: 9 (Freestyle, freeride, waves)
SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 9, 7.5, 6 and 5m