Martin Vari's first entry into the market place comes in the form of the Condor One. Each size is constructed separately, from the ground up, right up to the individually sized bridles. A progressive bridle system allows for feather-light control, providing the rider with an incredible feeling through the bar. Supertough construction and top-quality materials mean it can stand up to the knocks of rigorous riding life and plenty of tuning options make it suitable for a wide range of riders and conditions.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The kite feels like the business from the go. The material used on the big bag is even quite different, it feels textured, strong, and the bar has a matching bag. Open the kite out and there are sturdy fixtures and fittings, immediately giving the impression that this is a tough kite. There's a robust one pump system and plenty of attention to detail, which is great for a first kite from any brand. The Condor One flies on a simple four line set-up and the bar feels well proportioned in your hands with good grip. It's not the most luxurious but perfectly adequate and there's nothing to fall out with on the bar itself as it's simple and uncluttered. A big red plastic push-away quick-release is very easy to grab and use and also to re-assemble. The safety system is a standard short fifth line to leash onto. Above the bar is the sliding stopper and webbing strap pull-pull trimming system, which was a bit fiddly at times and we had to keep an eye when powering the kite back up as the retaining strap (not pictured) on the depowering strap had a habit of retreating up above the sliding stopper when you repowered the kite all in one pull. So when we went to pull on some depower next time, occasionally the stopper ball came down with the strap when you pulled it, but once you're aware that can happen, you'll soon see if the strap has slid up above the stopper. Perhaps a much looser retaining ring of elastic would solve that as it would pass over the stopper much easier? Removing the elastic altogether certainly would. It's not the closest trimming system to your body, requiring a slight stretch for shorter arms, but is easier to depower than a below-the-bar system and you don't end up with loads of strapping around your waist when you've hauled on a load of depower. For a bridled kite it has quite a unique shape – it's not delta shaped, but seems much more rounded than most hybrids – and the first thing you notice is how well balanced and poised it is in the sky, seemingly flying equally off all four lines. It's a kite we got on and enjoyed from the first moment, which is an important asset, feeling alive and quick with a lot of feedback and control through the bar. The steering speed is spot on; quick and reactive with good feeling. There's no change in speed throughout the turn and it only backed up very occasionally when we stuffed up an unhooked landing and didn't have it trimmed enough, but a quick pull on the chicken-loop to unflare the kite and it would immediately fly forward in the window again, but this is perfectly normal for a bridled kite. For someone that likes throwing a kite around it's fun and doesn't require much trimming at all when riding in and out of the hook. The kite loops are respectable – not the most manly, but not really pivotal either and give you confidence to try them as you knew the kite would always make it round. There's plenty of boost in there too with good hangtime, allowing plenty of time to spot your landing as it brings you down very steadily. There's no rush up and down. So loads of time to figure out your transitions, which were beautifully floaty, leaving you hanging there with time to look at who is watching. No issues at all on relaunch. Although it's a first generation kite from a new brand, and excusing the slightly fiddly trimming system, this is right up there with the stand-out all round kites this year.
If you're looking for a good performing kite, that's extremely comfortable boosting, doing unhooked freestyle, kite looping and wave riding, then this is a really well balanced tool with good speed and power. Because it was so easy, balanced and well-behaved with good feeling in the bar it encourages you to try things and would work for early intermediates upwards as it ticks all the basic boxes too.
KW LIKED: Control and feeling through the bar, making the kite feel up for it and adept.
KW WOULD CHANGE: Slightly fiddly control system.
SIZES: 14, 12, 9 and 7m
This test is in issue #36