The Light XC has come of age in 2009. No longer can it be viewed as just a school or beginner kite; this new generation is truly the perfect crossover kite for all levels of rider. It boasts progressive power delivery, sharper handling and better all-round performance with a smooth bar feel. The Light XC is ideal for intermediates, beginners, schools and wave riders alike. As a low aspect, three strut kite, it's simplicity without compromising performance.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Beautiful construction as we've come to expect from Ozone. Everything really is tailored to an immaculately high standard. The workmanship is phenomenal, from the super clean and solid feeling bar to the stitching on the kite. This is the baby of the Ozone triple pack this year and is obviously aimed at the price-point market, coming without one pump and a slightly less high-grade bag etc. But that's about all they've skimped on. What's immediately apparent (as it is on the Sport and Edge ranges) is an incredibly tight canopy when the kite is in the sky. There's zero flutter and the wing seems to be incredibly efficient. The trimming system, as we've said for Ozone kites for a long time, is probably the best on the market for ease-of-use. It never sticks - even from brand new – is at an easy reach and can be adjusted to the millimetre with the ultra smooth cleat and the three balls on the line give you something good to grip. The bar also has a self-righting slot for the chicken-loop when unhooked, which is always a good touch. All small kites are nimble, but this isn't a whippet around the sky, it's 'sensible', which is a good word to describe many things about this kite. The turning speed is moderate – it never runs away from you, the depower isn't to the same level as some beginner and early intermediate kites, meaning that the kite always holds some power, which is probably why it flies and handles so well all the time. There's still very good depower, but just not 100%, but the other good thing is that the bar doesn't travel a long way from you to get the kite's full depower. The Light jumps satisfactorily but isn't on a race to the moon, it's good fun unhooked, offering surprisingly good pull, but does require a slight trim before coming out of the loop. It's never scary, but is assured and steady. The Light actually feels very much like a C kite in its handling, but with modern refinement and more depower. It's very positive, holding power as it moves around the sky, there's nothing off/on about it, it just behaves itself. We immediately got on it and felt comfortable, trying things straight away on a 30 knot day.
It's not going to set your heart on fire if you're looking for a super-boosty kite, or a mega looping monster, but for an all-round workhorse with nothing quirky and no real down sides, it's a good, honest performer that you just can't fall out with. It's a bit like a puppy – you can have a lot of fun with it, but you know it's never really going to threaten you like a bigger dog might, which is why we felt confident enough to rig the pulley bar on it in 30 knots of wind for the first time. Says a lot.
KW LIKED: Top notch build quality and throw-around user-friendliness that inspires you to try things.
KW WOULD CHANGE: The urgency. Could do with a couple more gears at the top end ideally for better riders, but then you should be looking at the Sport.
SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 8, 6 and 4m
This test is in issue #36