Every size of the TS kite is uniquely engineered for a specific set of riding conditions, covering all riders and riding styles. Every aspect of design, shaping, material selection and construction in the TS has been refined to bring each size even closer to perfection. Any rider looking for a high wind kite that is stable and predictable needs look no further than the 4 and 5.5m TS kites. Unhooked wave riders will find that the medium sizes offer the perfect blend of tight and fast steering responsiveness, light bar pressure and unhooked control, allowing them to express their style like never before. New-school riders searching for blistering performance will be blown away by the improvements in handling, power delivery and jumping from the mid-sizes. Hooked or unhooked the 7 -14m TS kites deliver greater stability, precise feedback and more performance than ever before. For course racing and light wind conditions, the 15 and 17m models are the most aerodynamically refined kites Best have ever made. Refined even further they have been trimmed back to deliver maximum light wind performance and racing advantages. Changes to the centre strut design and bridle positioning make them even easier to relaunch in the lightest conditions. With sizes ranging from 4 to 17m there is a TS for every rider and every riding style.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
In terms of build quality, Best are right up there pushing the top few and we reckon that their graphics have improved a lot too in terms of branding and flavour in recent seasons. There's lots of attention to detail on the kite, it's sturdy without being super heavy and has reinforcements in all the right places. Best's bar this year is a slick affair, dressed in nice, soft but grippy rubber and there are some big floaty bar ends that are soft on your hands during loops and that also make your life easy when wrapping your lines away. The chicken-loop release is a big red plastic collar above the chicken-loop that pulls back down and clicks back in quite easily if you need to, and the safety line has an attachment with two rings, allowing you to ride in suicide but still benefit from the safety when the chicken-loop release is triggered. The pull-pull above the bar system is a really easy to use and tried and tested system but the depower trimming strap does hang down on your knuckles a bit when trimmed heavily, but it's just a minor point. Adding to the plus points here is that there are no pulleys on the bridle, just a nice and easy set-up with one knot on the front bridle and two on the back.
We can only really comment on what this kite is like at its top end in strong winds, as that's all we had chance to take it out in! It was silly windy for the few days we had with the TS, but even in 35+ knots we were comfortable. It has a huge range and, if we're honest, we didn't need to trim it very much at all. There is so much depower on tap at the bar that it can be ridden out of the box, virtually plugged in and off you go. When the gusts hit, just dig your edge in a bit more and the kite moves forwards, soaking everything up nicely. The TS moves smoothly and predictably through the window without any jerking, even in these winds and if we'd been on a more sensibly sized kite we could have properly tested the loops. On this size in these winds, they would have been death loops. While it doesn't turn exactly like a C kite, there's still a reasonable amount of power and arc through the turn, which is good for freestylers and the lack of pulleys provides a great communication with the kite. The TS turning sits in the middle between pivotal and aggressive C kite. What we did manage on the TS was some stupidly big jumps, when that communication really became apparent. Not just big, out of control jumps and butt checked landings, but precisely controlled flights with very little impact on the body. You have to sheet out a little just before you pull the trigger to get the kite to move up through the window quickly and in control in these winds, but then when you pull down hard at the point of take-off you really fly because this kite has so much range. Stick it in the water and it relaunches well with just a pull on an outside line and, as the depower is clean and so good at the bar, it's one of those kites that you can be cheeky with and hot launch straight downwind of you without getting dragged miles from your board.
The TS is taut, it's tense, it's flexin'. If boosting and high wind riding is your thing then you will love this. You'll have to stay tuned for us to confirm its unhooked characteristics, but from the character and make-up of the kite you can see it's been built with unhooking in mind. The TS is a fantastic freeride workhorse and seems to have a fantastic high wind performance button built in.
Poise handling and control in high winds that translates into enourmous airs.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The pull-pull sheeting system works well, but isn't the tidiest when sheeted down, although this kite doesn't need a lot of trimming!
17, 15, 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 5.5 and 4m
This test is inissue #57