Evolving from the Type 8, a benchmark for five line freestyle kites in 2007, the Type 9 in 2008 is a supported four line design, providing an unbeatable mix of superior manoeuvrability, easy de-power, light bar pressure, easy re-launch and smooth progressive power. The Type 9 has also been computer designed with the greatest detail spent on seam accuracy in order to achieve a cleaner, almost wrinkle-free profile. Increased manoeuvrability in the big sizes was a big aim for RRD, in particular on the 12 and the 15, while at the opposite end they looked to slow down the smaller sizes to gain control over what in the past have been like little rockets. A cutaway leach increases the stability of the trailing edge and prevents fluttering. There's a new reinforced bridle with replaced spectra rope on the pulley areas.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
OLI: We had this out in really up and down winds that got really light at times, but it coped really well. There were enough gusts to give it a good go and it was really fast. I immediately thought it was really good for wave riding because it turns so quickly.
BEN: It really does, and because it turns so quick you can generate good power from that. I was surprised I was going on such a small kite when the wind got really light. I think for wave riding it's very good because it's so quick that you can correct yourself and you don't need to get everything perfect. You can adjust your bottom turn and get the kite back to where you need it, you don't have to be perfectly co-ordinated with the kite. Same with the top turn ? you can focus on your wave riding and then make adjustments to the kite to make sure you can keep going. You can loop it really quick as well. It's very good that way.
OLI: It was really nice for steering one handed; you can really adjust the kite with small movements on the bar, which was great for wave riding and it meant you could really concentrate on twisting your shoulders round.
BEN: You have to keep your eyes on it at the edge of the window otherwise it had a tendency to drop to one side like a C kite does, but that's only in the lighter winds and isn't uncommon.
OLI: You generally want to be using this kite its top end rather than the bottom, even though it coped well today.
BEN: I think it would be a great kite to use when it's powered up and then you have the RRD zip of course to be able to handle even more power.
OLI: The grip on the bar felt quite thick in the middle, which I liked. The fifth line on this one was too long, I'd like to play with that as it's adjustable. Overall build quality was good, it looks nice in the air and has one pump, too.
BEN: Yeah it feels a very lightweight kite and the bar is solid.
MATT: The grip on the bar wasn't the most comfortable, maybe it's just because my hands were so cold though! RRD only make one bar for all kites and you can alter the line attachment points to slow the kite down if you need to.
The Type 9 is a very competent all-rounder, and although quick, is a different specimen to the rocket-fueled five line C kite freestyle machines we've seen from RRD in the past. We have ridden the smaller sizes very powered up and they are brilliant in their top ends, and although we've mainly focussed on wave riding attributes on this particular test, the seven and the five metres are very adept in their handling and freestyle prowess too, with lots of floaty boost.
5, 7, 9, 12 and 15m
This test is in issue #31