KITEWORLD SUMMARY: Overall the kite gets a thumbs up, the heaviness in the bar being the only down point, but that's a personal preference matter really. This is an ideal kite for someone who wants to feel safe or a bigger rider looking for huge airs from an easy to control kite. A relatively early intermediate rider or upwards could go for one of these and have a lot of fun. Still packs some power, though.
This third generation high-depower kite is the latest creation from North’s R&D department. Fast and efficient, the Rhino has excellent upwind performance and direct bar feedback. The deep canopy profile and cam batten combo provide extra power to deliver ultimate low-end grunt in light air. North claim that mind-blowing lift and hang-time makes the new Rhino their best jumping kite yet. Its ability to completely depower makes it easy to set-up and pull the trigger for huge lofty airs that may not be suitable for the average user. North’s patented two-pump inflation system makes rigging quick and simple. Bridleless line connections and 5th Element systems give you addedsimplicity and safety.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
TIM: The usual high-quality from North and the new two-pump system allows you to get the struts to a higher pressure than you can sometimes get with one pump kites. Lots of attention to detail with rescue handles and wing-tip leading edge valves to allow easy rolling up at the end of a session. This is the same onesize- fits-all bar used by all the other North kites and I really like it. This year they've improved on the quickrelease and added a friction stopper that allows you toset the reach on the bar on-the-fly. The depower works well - you just pull the depower line out from the cleat to adjust it and the elastic strap jams it back in when you're done. The only things they could do to improve his bar would be to make the fifth-line tunable and to increase the friction on the stopper.
WILL: It is loaded with struts and even has small carbon ones to hold the canopy in shape. The leading edge is big, round and bulbous.
ALEX: It almost rolls on the spot and then accelerates. I can only describe it as a rolling ball in the sky.
WILL: The bar pressure is quite heavy and the steering seems to have that slight delay that you get with some bows because of the bridles.
MIKEY: You have to be forceful, which can be reassuring as it's not too quick, but when you want the kite to move fast you've got to muscle it. Huge jumps.
ALEX: You just hang in the air, but because of all that depower it feels very safe.
TIM: It handles really well, has a good, solid pull and big, lofty airs with really soft landings.
WILL: A lot of people like those micro-hooks in steady winds for cruising or doing old-school moves like deadmans.
7, 9, 10, 12, 14 and 16m
North Rhino 9m (Aug/Sep 07: Issue #28 Kite Test)