Very impressive handling, turning and power delivery. This really is a one kite fits all. On the hybrids, there's a nice balance between the C kite qualities of being able to spin the bar and get good power from the turn, as well as the almost, but not quite, 100% depower. Jumping is great on these hybrids as you get the benefits of the bow with loads of power on hand when you sheet in, but with even more initial pop as the kite moves/turns even faster to send you boosting. Friendly, fun and accomplished.
Flexifoil are touting the Ion as a true hybrid kite, which they believe is a big improvement on the standard bow kite design. In order to try and keep a reasonable feel to the kite, they've used a moderate aspect ratio design, similar to that of their C kite, the Fusion. The use of a bridle, however, allows a considerably flatter shape on the front of the kite, so when the kite is powered (with the rear lines tensioned), the additional lift forces created in the tips provide a flatter, more efficient shape. They believe the kite still feels like a conventional kite, but has much greater depower and is really easy to use, to learn tricks with, and enables you to enjoy a much wider range of conditions.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
NEAL: The first bow-type offering from Flexi has been eagerly awaited. I like this hybrid style, there are no pulleys on the bar so the bar pressure is light, and the kite is quick.
JAMES: Yeah the kite's really stable, it just sits there in the sky. Makes it really easy to get your board back on your feet and things like that. The quick-release on the chicken loop is the easiest I've ever used, and simple to put back together. The only problem I could see was that the centre line was a bit long, and the depower strap so far away. It was OK for me, but someone with shorter arms might struggle.
NEAL: Yeah now you mention it, it is far away. I was going to say that it's out of the way, though. The bar is nice and simple with loads of grip. Will definitely toughen those office hands up! Cranks upwind doesn't it? There are a couple of pulleys actually on the bridle that get the kite to tilt even further forward, and they don't affect the light steering.
JAMES: You can generate lots of power quickly because the kite is so quick. Got to be careful not to put too much back line pressure on though, by pulling the bar in too much in lightwinds, there is a tendency to stall. In the higher winds, it's a gem.
NEAL: Robust, looks good and built to last.
JAMES: One pump, nice.
7, 9, 12 and 15m.
This test is in issue #21