This test featured in Kiteworld Magazine Issue #82
TEST TEAM NOTES
We’ve enjoyed testing Nobile’s closest offering to a full on C kite for several seasons, having been an easy kite to perform to a high all-round level, mixing performance freeride and freestyle capabilities. Extremely jumpy yet manageable, it also moved quickly and cleanly through a loop.
This 2016 model has everything we’ve enjoyed seeing on the latest kite designs. Pumped up via the popular mid-size Boston valve singe-point inflation system, requiring the middle size nozzle, it’s easy to inflate and deflate. There’s no doubt that the kite is pretty well constructed, cleanly stitched and certainly feels built to last. The five strut layout features the same very flat middle strut as previous 50/Fifty models – so flat that it has almost no profile, like a floating strut. The central canopy section is also very flat for a C-style kite, which usually provides lots of power potential. That being said, this is a fully bridled C kite, though doesn’t feature pulleys to maintain directness while still offering the rider good levels of depower.
Moving down to the above-the-bar trimming system that is operated by a cleat with Velcro and features a nice, thick line, making it really smooth to operate. The pre-moulded bar ends are good looking, comfortable and tidy, the robust line quality is excellent. Three sheeting lines go up through the middle of the bar and are covered in plastic to provide smooth sheeting against your fingers. Other excellent additions that we’re fans of are the line swivel above the chicken-loop and there’s a stopper too. The chicken-loop itself keys back into the bar nicely when you unhook to help present the chicken-loop appropriately for easy hooking back in.
The chicken-loop release operates via a push-away plastic collar. To re-set it just push the end of the plastic chicken-loop back into the slot, you’ll feel it lock into place and then just click the plastic collar back down. It’s a good idea to get used to this release mechanism as it is a bit clunkier and requires a little more force to eject than some, but again it works, keeping the bar and chicken-loop a nice distance from you and all-in-all the 50 / Fifty has the modern conveniences you could be looking for, including a good quality bag, bar bag and finishing touches.
In the sky it’s immediately apparent that, in line with this being a ‘C-kite-like’ design, the throw is much shorter than on the freeride kites we’ve been riding lately, and is also shorter than last year. If you’re a hardcore C kite rider you’ll be more at home on this as it doesn’t shut off completely any more. It’s also very powerful for its size, which is a big plus point.
As a nine metre, the power is excellent and we were also surprised by just how quickly the 50/Fifty turns. Feeling and looking like a C kite, the turns are a bit different on this as you only need to inject moderate input to get a really quick turn from the kite. The juicy low end power with that flat section in the middle of the kite translates into good jumping performance, but it does need pumping very hard to ensure canopy stability in flight because all the struts and the leading edge are very thin, however it’s these design elements that also add to why the kite is so fast. The jumps require more micro-management in terms of control and input at the bar in order to maintain consistent, easy flight, but that’s because this year Nobile have definitely re-programmed this kite for the more wakestyle-freestyle rider, rather than the freeride-freestyle rider. For jumping the 50/Fifty needs treating more like an older C kite in its jump; really swinging it back and not sheeting too much. So many modern freeride kites really appreciate sheeting in during jumping, this is a little different.
No doubt it’s more legit now in terms of its freestyle characteristics and it looks the absolute business in the sky. Punching consistently forward in the window it’s ideal for unhooked tricks as it remains very poised. The power in the loop has also been reduced – last year it was a lot of fun for throwing pretty punchy loops. If you’re looking for that boosty-loopy sort of C kite, you should look elsewhere. Instead the 50/Fifty is more for the focused handle-pass rider as there’s way less consequence when the kite loops, spinning almost on a dime. The big advantages added to the kite this year are that is has lots of get up and go power for a nine metre, mixed with a very manageable but lovely, steady power and poise unhooked. It doesn’t shift backwards at all in the sky, so whatever trick you’re pulling, there’s no surges in power, good moments of slack and you know where it is, so when you need to move it or loop it out of a trick it can also do that quickly.
The 50/Fifty has been re-vamped as more of a focused wakestyle-freestyle rider’s kite. Less absolute depower on a shorter throw, it’s also higher in profile in its design specs and handling, so the 50/Fifty will see you well powered through any lulls and charging back upwind in your heat box in no time. Super comfy bar with all the accessories you need, it’s also beautifully poised and steady, maintaining forward flight and a consistent pull unhooked. Reduced lift and punch high in the window have added to this freestyle feel.
Great looking kite that’s well featured and now very focused on freestyle performance.
KW WOULD CHANGE
If you always enjoyed the boosting and looping performance of the 50/Fifty, just be aware it’s a bit different this year if you’re looking to upgrade to this model.
50/FIFTY BALANCE POINTS
Build quality: 7.5
Full package: 8.5
Low end: 8
Top end: 7
Steering speed: 7
Turning circle: 7
Power through turn: 4
Bar pressure: 5
Water relaunch: 7
Ease of use: 6 (for freeriders). (8 for freestylers)
SIZES: 14 / 12 / 10 / 9 / 7 & 5m
For more information on the Nobile 50/Fifty