GENETRIX UNIVERSE SERIES 9 & 7M
The 'CHE' and 'Union Jack' models are a long series of graphics to which Genetrix will add other themes. The Universe series is the follow up to the Origin 2, featuring a low-aspect-ratio, optimised aerofoil, four struts and one pump. Combining ease of access with reactivity, the Universe Series will put all riders at immediate ease. Quick and precise handling makes these kites the perfect weapon for wave riding and freestyle thanks to quick turning and relaunch. The kite turns on its tip, making kite loops very easy and the huge wind range provides comfort in all wind conditions. Fantastic, powerful boosts and easy handling mean that the Universe Series are perfect for the most demanding riders as well as those looking for an easy, straightforward kite.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
How refreshing to have the graphic options that we have with this Universe series. Choose to blast your way around with Che Guevara watching over you from the skies, or get pulled along by your trusty British Bulldog! The build quality is perfectly acceptable but not top end. There is a one pump system, a pulley-less bridle and regular valves, although this model didn't have a stopper ball in the valve, so required pinching. The second valve is at the end of the leading edge making it easy to roll the kite from one end to the other instead of having to roll both ends to the middle, which can be awkward in lots of wind. Although most of the fittings on the kite are minimalist, there is a beefed up trailing edge for strength. Just one option on the front bridle attachment but three speed / pressure choices for the back line. The back bridle is a long line with just one knot attachment point about three-quarters of the way down, although does leave room for you to add your own knots should you feel the need. The safety system works cleanly, running up through the centre of the chicken-loop and then through the bar, and although isn't as impressively clean and polished as some other brands, it does the job it's meant to. The push away release works on a pin system and above that is a stainless steel twister, which was quite easy to operate. There is a plastic piping covering the centre lines so there's no chafing on your fingers when your hands are butted up in the centre of bar, but there is a gap between the piping and the chicken-loop swivel that is just ever so slightly guilty of occasionally catching itself on the bar as you sheet in. The bar is fairly basic with slim bar ends although there's no elastic to retain your lines when wrapped up, so this system is for the rider who isn't bothered by the bells and whistles. The cleat trimming system above the bar works well and features a Velcro tab to hold it in place tidily. Looking for raw functionality, it's all here.
Pumped up the Genetrix feels good and solid and the shape looks powerful with that deep, flat central section that reduces down to the swept back tips. What you immediately get with the Genetrix is a good amount of power for its size. Sitting nicely in the window, the Gentrix drives forward but in a very constant position, so provides a very good low end for get up and go combined with pretty good air speed. We were absolutely charging around on this. From the first dive we knew the Gentrix packed a lot of energy and that it would be a fun jumping kite.
One of the most intriguing factors with this kite is its personality. It has bags of charisma in the air and is a very engaging kite to fly. Unlike most flatter-than-C shape kites with swept tips the Genetrix retains power with the bar sheeted out, but for good riders this is a very appealing trait, allowing for much smoother tricks with one hand on the bar, especially during floaty airs, rotations, transitions and pops off waves etc. The chicken-loop is really small however, so not ideally suited to lots of unhooking and as we were powered up on this kite in Cape Town we didn't get to try much more than a couple of tricks unhooked.
What you can be sure of are powerful jumps with a really generous, floaty hang-time. Combine the speed and the surface area and it's easy to see why the Genetrix provides such good air time with loads of float and lots of drive through the window. It also bangs upwind like an absolute train and relaunches very smoothly with a quick pull on an outside line.
The steering is very responsive and predictive. The kite responds very eagerly to input and there's plenty of feedback above your head, however although great for advanced riders used to the power, the kite would benefit from some more depower at the bar to make it more accessible to everyone, especially when the wind picks up. Sometimes when carving, especially in waves it's really nice to be able to throw your arm forward to ditch the power your turn. However, the flip side of that are that the Genetrix has a super combination of good low end power, manoeuvrability and speed, which is a difficult combination to achieve. Although it's muscly and fairly deeply shaped, the Gentrix gets further forward in the window than you might presume and in doing so allows you to use the whole wind window for jumping with lift throughout.
Looking beyond some elements on the bar that are less polished than we've become used to with some other brands, this kite made us smile as soon as we hit the water. Bigger riders who don't need the shut off in power and intermediates and above that are willing to dig an edge in when the wind picks up and sent it will very much enjoy this kite with loads of power on tap for its size. Although there could be more depower (there's still a good amount of depower, it just doesn't shut off), it's easy for an experienced rider to hold the power down as this kite has good aerodynamics, doesn't drop back and flies nicely into the wind.
High levels of engagement and fun in a kite for riders looking for plenty of power, manoeuvrability, board speed and boost. This is a kite flier's kite.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We'd add more depower and further improve the quality of finish in the bar system.
UNIVERSE BALANCE POINTS
Build quality: 6
Full package: 5
Low end: 8
Top end: 6
Steering speed: 6
Turning circle: 6
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 8
Ease of use: 6
SIZES: 15, 13, 11, 9, 7 and 5m