Choose your element from freeride, wave, jumping or looping, the plug-and-play Lithium does it all. The delta hybrid design provides a massive range, including extreme low end for the marginal days. Quick and direct due to the wing-tip position, it’s spectacular for wave riding one day and then for those big jumping sessions on a twin-tip the next. The Aramid Load Frame used in Airush’s Razor and Wave Team kites has been implemented for structural integrity and performance as the all-new Poly Load Frame, using more economical but very durable polyester fibres strategically placed along the kite for a more solid connection and to prevent stretch. The Lithium One (strut) 16m and Lithium Zero (strut) 18m models take light wind riding to a whole new realm, and in keeping with the Lithium style, are forgiving and easy to use, even in very light winds.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
We have tested numerous Airush kites on this Smart bar system for the last couple of seasons. Only very minor modifications in 2014 and there’s still very little to complain about. Here’s the skinny on their Smart bar: it’s relatively simple but functions as well as any other. No problems with sticky cleats as Airush use a more traditional webbing strap with extenders that are both easy to reach and also allow for plenty of throw at the bar. Neat and tidy for the most part, there is a bit of a dangle from a strap when you have the kite fully depowered. Below the bar there’s a great sized chicken-loop, good chicken-finger and super simple release and re-build mechanism, plus it self keys into the bar when unhooked. A nice unswiveller on top of the chicken-loop release works very well, although is smaller to grip than some. Job totally done. The bar sits in your hands beautifully, there are some little ridges on the top for your fingers to grip and overall it’s just incredibly unfussy and easy to use. Perhaps not the most robust to last a nuclear fall out, but there’s very little to go wrong with it, which is the same story up at the kite. Well made, neat and tidy and there’s a good one pump system, as you’d expect.
In this testing game, there are times when you get on a kite and within the first few seconds of launch we know we’re going to have a good time; when we know it will be simple, easy and yet still rewarding, and most of the time that is because the flying characteristics of the kite are very well balanced with each other. The balance, speed and steering on the Lithium are absolutely spot on for freeriding.
The Lithium generates power as soon as you move it, so there’s less need for moving it around to get going, but it is also very agile at the same time. There’s very little delay in the steering, but then it also doesn’t run away from you. It’s obedient, like taking a good dog out for a walk. The power plus points keep coming as the Lithium also provides plenty of juice when you keep the kite still but pull in at the bar, so there really is a majestic balance between accommodating the skills of the basic kite flier and those looking to steer their kite more aggressively. Providing good, intuitive speed (not too fast, not too slow) for an eight metre you can steer it widely or get it to pivot aggressively, offering plenty of options for the wave rider and booster alike. The bar pressure is medium and comfortable for the girls and the boys and is accompanied by the Lithium’s very impressive range. Depower at the bar is nice and progressive, and in waves or for beginners there’s a lovely balance between pulling in for power and sheeting out to switch the power off.
In terms of performance, realistically, the Lithium isn’t an ‘amazing’ jumper, but it is very, very easy, which for many riders will make the difference between them actually being able to boost good jumps or not. It’s easier to go big on this than a more technical kite, but if you’ve got really good skills, you can of course get a technical kite to go that bit higher. But the great thing about the Lithium is that it never flies out of its usable area, there’s always predictable power on tap, no stalling, no stop-start, it’s easy, responds and steers very progressively and is why you can throw loops on it and learn to become a really aggressive flier and inject some style into your riding.
Finally, pull on half the trim and the Lithium will happily help you get to grips with unhooked raleys and popped rotations. Then, when you drop it in the drink, the relaunch on the Lithium is the best in the Airush range.
Whether you’re looking for your first kite or simply for an uncomplicated, primarily hooked-in freeride machine that is going to allow you to enjoy every session on your quiver of different boards in a variety of conditions, the Lithium is a dream. Simple and uncomplicated, the Lithium is also dynamic enough to put a big grin across the faces of the majority of riders.
If you look up the definition of plug and play in the dictionary it will list the words ‘Airush Lithium’.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The Lithium is very linear in its performance, it doesn’t have that ability to provide oodles of torque in the top 3/4 of its rev range. So if you’re an advanced rider looking for that turbo charged performance, look at the Varial-X, which is also the higher performing unhooked weapon.
LITHIUM BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 7.5
Full package: 8
Low end: 8.5
Top end: 7
Steering speed : 7
Turning circle: 3 – 4
Bar pressure: 5
Water relaunch: 9
Ease of use: 9
SIZES: 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m
More info at: www.airush.com
THIS KITE FEATURED IN ISSUE #69