Exploding onto the scene in 2010 with a bridled pulley-less C stylekite was something new for Ozone, and the C4 made its mark, stoking freeriders and freestylers alike. The goal for the 2011 C4 was to refine the kite as a whole, offering a better feel for riders who enjoy C kites, without compromising the ease and fun factor of the 2010 C4. A new Variable Bridle Geometry system was introduced, one that’s similar to the 2010 C4 and another with a more poweredup, heavier feel, perfect for freestylers. The system is simple and takes about 20 seconds to change, doesn’t involve adding or taking away any lines and the rider shifts the middle bridle lines up or down on pigtails to change the feel of the kite. Combining C kite characteristics, such as fast intuitive handling and unhooked performance with massive depower and back line relaunch, the C4 is an outstanding all-round kite for all levels of freeride and wave riding. Also with a new canopy profile designed for increased low-end and parked power and improved catch during kite loops, freestylers and wake-stylers will also feel at home with the 2011 C4.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Such have been the conditions in the short time since we've had this kite, we only review it this issue on its plug and play, straight out of the bag set-up. We will bring you more info on its Variable Bridle Geometry system next issue. The C4 was one of our favourite freestyle kites last year and we really had to take our hats off to Ozone going all out to launch such a landmark kite, bridging the gap between a C and a hybrid kite so well. The canopy is again incredibly crisp and tight up in the sky, so much so that it looks like it's not actually made of ripstop, but instead something more rigid. Mean looking and built with purpose, the air frame is remarkably solid. As soon as you get the kite in the sky and the bar in your hands you know it's been built by people who have an extremely good understanding of aerodynamics and what kites should be about. It's probably the 'hybrid C kite' that is the most C kite like out there. No pulleys, minimal bridle; its shape is full of purpose. It's also clear that Ozone always go that extra mile in terms of finish and build-quality.
This year they have introduced a quicker inflation/deflation one-pump system and once again the bar system is exquisitely clean and the trimming system very smooth and simple to operate via the cleat. The bar is grippy yet smooth, the self-righting chicken-loop is well sized and solid, the only thing to mention again with this system is that Ozone continue to use a pull down quick-release rather than a push-away one. We will also mention that it's not the easiest roll-over relaunch out there, but it's not difficult and does actually still launch easier than some five line kites. It's still a back line pull relaunch, but just takes a little longer than a more delta shaped kite, but then again, we are talking about a super high-performance C shaped kite, and you can't have it all. A very slightly deeper profile seems to make the kite hang back a little deeper in the window than last year and the kite feels a touch more grunty, like it's been reigned back a couple of degrees in the window, which is really appealing with a super steady, constant pull and holding the kite back from wanting to always fly to the front of the window. There is good forward drive though, it just likes sitting in the sweet spot. The loops are certainly well powered and not pivotal. It's fast and direct, but not unruly. On a kite loop you can control the kite the whole way.
It doesn't just surge and then get back into position when it's finished and, unlike most kites, the unhooked kite loops aren't as pivotal as you'd expect. The advantage that more pivotal kites have is that when you do a trick, whatever it is, when you land the kite might loop and change direction during the pass and be pointing the other way. On a very pivotal kite you can get away with this without feeling too much power to affect your trick. It might therefore be a bit more difficult learning some tricks on this because it does pull all the way through the loop and through the bar, but if you're a good rider, then wow, you will find this kite so rewarding. Great feeling and awareness, you just feel very attached to this kite all the time. Off the hook the kite is very stable and has consistent handling characteristics. The power delivery really is spot on, bridging the gap between C and hybrid very well.
As good as this kite is, not everyone will want or need such a performance tool. Yes, any rider could get on it and have fun, but intermediate riders will probably want a kite that leans more towards a hybrid than a C. However, if you are a C kite lover, there aren't many other kites that will give you that feeling but with this much comfort.
We believe the C4 set the benchmark for performance hybrid/C kites last year and somehow Ozone have managed to eke out even more performance from it.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We would probably only make the quick-release system a pushaway one, bringing it more in-line with the more widely accepted method across the industry, but that's a personal preference and you're used to what you're used to.
SIZES: 15, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7 and 5m
This test is in issue #51