For 2009 North have completely re-worked the Vegas to cover a wider range of conditions and riding styles. A slightly lower-aspect-ratio and wider wing-tips have been implemented for a very constant pull, extremely tight kite loops and improved low end grunt to please the C kite lover in you. The '09 Vegas also features a new three-in-one concept; three different settings that allow you to choose your desired feel for freeride and new-school at its highest possible performance level. The freeride setting offers the most versatility, ideal for free/wave riding, jumping and also unhooking. The more freestyle settings make the back lines less sensitive, causing less movement when you're throwing wake-style tricks.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Vegas is of North's usual high build quality, although they did have us over-excited with the Rebel 09 as they had finally added a one pump; the Vegas is sadly lacking. The bar is really comfortable with a good range of safety and adjustability and maintains good levels of simplicity. The stalwart of fifth-line safety systems, the 5th Element, remains and the fantastically functional push-away safety release has had a minor tinkering. But generally the bar looks as slick as ever with the usual attention to detail and it feels as comfortable and well-finished as North owners have come to expect.
The canopy shape is interesting and seems to have a hint of Delta shape about it ? more so than on any Vegas yet, leaving us to question how much of the original Vegas C kite DNA remains? You're immediately impressed by its stability in the air and the fact that it has loads of bottom end. On the typical five line set-up things feel very familiar and you're immediately right at home with the beautifully smooth power delivery. The steering is responsive, predictable and the kite turns with good power and speed; definitely more powered than pivotal. We had this kite out in a lot of wind, which made for some pretty exiting and rewarding kite loops, but they did require commitment. Unlike some hybrid kites that turn so quickly, producing very pivotal, spinny kite loops that become a little light and easy, this kite definitely has big balls. Some of the good old Vegas fighting spirit remains it seems!
Yes, this is one of the great models of the ever-popular Vegas ? it's just moved with the times - and it does everything asked of it well. There's loads of grunt and stability, so as well as being up to the job for the new school tricks, it's also in its element being sent for big, floaty jumps and manly kite loops. It's very fast through the sky with good upwind drive, it's as much fun unhooked as it is hooked-in, but does require a little tuning to get it set-up how we personally like it, but the more freeride, cruisy options make this kite adaptable for more people than we may have seen in the past.
There's loads of depower and the kite maintained good feeling through the bar; not super heavy but not too light either. You always know what the kite's doing and you're not left constantly feathering the bar like you are on some kites with a lot of depower. For intermediates and above it's hard to beat.
Overall the handling and flying characteristics are hard to fault, it was fun in the waves and never stalled once; always driving forward with good speed. Combine all these great characteristics with the rock solid construction and this is going to be hard to beat in the superclass freestyle/C/hybrid category.
Predictability and sweet handling. No riders ever outgrow that quality.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
If you own a kite with such high build-quality, it's a shame you're going to be left launching all your mates because they've rigged up quicker than you with their one pump kites.
14, 12, 10, 9, 7 and 5m
This kite test appeared in Kiteworld issue #37 (Jan-Feb 2009). Order your copy by clicking here
Watch a video giving you set-up tips for rigging your North Vegas 2009 by clicking here
Read the 2008 North Vegas test by clicking here
This test is inissue #37