North Orbit V2 8 & 10M Kite Test Review

THE NORTH ORBIT V2 8 & 10M FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #107 ON OUR NEW FREE DIGITAL PLATFORM IN NOVEMBER 2020. THE PRINT ISSUE IS ALSO AVAILABLE TO BUY HERE



North Orbit V2 8 & 10M Kite Test Review

“The North Orbit V2 may share DNA with the best five strut hang-time kites on the market, but it delivers a uniquely unphysical flying experience, combining the nimble handling of a three strut for a range of kite looping arcs with very easy but rewarding jumps and hang-time.

TESTED BY: JIM GAUNT AND CHRIS BULL


TEST TEAM NOTES:

After two years of raging King of the Air success, including in 2019 with the pre-launch model, the Orbit V1 arrived with huge fanfare. A five strut kite with light steering input, it bridged the gap between the sporty kite looping nature of three struts and the thunderous hangtime stability of a five strut.

There was however one slight niggle. At the bottom end range, when you were sheeting the bar a lot and squeezing life from the back lines, there was a hint of a hiccup, occasionally needing you to sheet out a little to get the kite to move smoothly forward again. In truth, most people riding in regular ten metre conditions wouldn’t notice, but for experienced riders it was a small chink in an otherwise extremely polished big air suit of arms.

 

North Kiteboarding Orbit V2

 

TURNING AND POWER:

Sheet in as roughly as you like on the V2 and you will never get this kite to choke. Though this improvement comes with a marginal loss of bottom end torque, what you won’t fail to notice is just how good the connection is between the rider and the kite. We’re talking 5G not 3G. Although still light in pressure for a five strut, the Orbit V2 is easy on the arms and yet the feedback sensation from the kite through the bar is immediately apparent throughout the entire sheeting range.

The steering is also fractionally quicker and the kite turns inwards more tightly, too. The V1 was one of the few kites easily capable of looping low down through the window. Now, when you give the bar a good pull the Orbit V2 will loop tighter. Adding a more fun feel and less intimidation for most riders, while for the already primed kite loop addicts, the Orbit V2 is so well tuned that with a little recalibration of your bar input you can still get a gnarly, low hoik from the kite that’ll make your cheeks wobble.

 

PHOTO: Ydwer Van der Heide

 

INSANE TOP END:

The crowning glory, however, is the Orbit V2’s top end performance and immense high wind control without changing character in the strongest of winds. Bully’s had an 8 and a 10m since the start of autumn and still not had to break out the 8, comfortably riding the 10 on full power in 35 knots. It’s so incredibly smooth in strong wind. For perspective, the 20 – 25 knot performance is still ideal for most riders. It may have lost a little juice for bigger riders in 18 knots, however more than the equivalent has been made up at the top end. Generally speaking the Orbit is now more forgiving of mistakes. Kites like the GTS6 and Dice are faster flying kites, but they don’t have the Orbit’s overhead hangtime stability. What you don’t really have with the Orbit is the tighter turning pivot and shut-off power offered by the more cross-over three strut shapes.

 

NAVIGATOR BAR:

North Navigator Bar

 

North’s Navigator 2021 bar is upgraded with ergonomic changes, stronger lines, a new smaller size and more (read our interview with designer Hugh Pinfold here). Extremely clean, it’s also incredibly well featured, as you can see in this video!

 

 

SUMMARY:

The Orbit V2 may share DNA with the best five strut hangtime kites on the market, but it delivers a uniquely unphysical flying experience, combining the nimble handling of a three strut for a range of kite looping arcs with very easy but rewarding jumps and hangtime. You’ll appreciate the extra time in the air and soft landings. It’s made us rethink what a five strut can be in 2021.

 

KW LIKED:

Light but direct bar feedback, easy height and hangtime with insanely comfortable high wind performance.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE:

If you’re a beginner you’ll appreciate the softer forward drive of the North Reach. If you’ll be crossing over to your surfboard or foil, also look at the Reach.

 

ORBIT V2 BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8.5
Full package: 9
Low end: 7.5
Top end: 10
Steering speed: 6
Turning circle: 5
Bar pressure: 4.5
Water relaunch: 8.5
Drift: DT
Boost: 9
Hang-time: 9.5
Unhooked: 6
Crossover: 7
Ease of use: 8.5

SIZES: 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m

 

Watch the North Kiteboarding Orbit V2 product video here:

For more information on North Kiteboarding and their product range, visit:

www.northkb.com

 

READ THE NORTH ORBIT V2 REVIEW HERE IN ISSUE #107

 


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