The Takoon Reflex is all new for the 2011 season, bringing together the benefit of C kite feeling with the simplicity and safety of hybrid and bow kites. The design has been focussed on versatility and control and has a very broad range thanks to its four strut design hybrid C shape and moderate aspect ratio, providing a direct bar feel and consistent power across the window. The leading edge bridle allows for maximum power from the canopy and also allows the kite to depower on demand. Efficient and safe, the positioning of the struts in the four strut design maximises the kite's stability, pushing further into the window helping you cruise effortlessly upwind and there's also loads in the bottom end. Boost is provided in ample amounts and the swept back tips ensure the kite is as fast and as reactive as possible for new school freestyle or wave riders.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
It's been a while since we got our hands on a Takoon kite. The brand has an interesting history having been right there at the start, involved with Bruno Legaignoux and Franz Olry to name just two very important characters. What's clear is that they've focussed recently on making a seriously unfussy kite that is incredibly simple to just get on and ride. The Reflex has one pump and what seems like a well made kite and canopy with some nice little touches throughout. The bar feels comfortable in your hands, although isn't the most robust, but is well featured. There are no chunky mechanisms on the bar, it's all very dainty and smooth. The depower cleat system is silky smooth and the chicken-loop is a lovely round shape and good size but is of much thinner plastic than we'd usually see. The Velcro quick release on the chicken-loop is a bit dated, but it's a proven system that works.
Whereas other kites this issue have been 'front wheel drive', always charging forward in the window, this one relies a bit more on its back wheels, holding it back just a little bit more in the window. Not really far back where it chugs, but nicely balanced between having the grunt of a kite that sits back like a tractor, and the upwind drive of a high-aspect kite. The power delivery is very smooth and constant and you get a good extra amount of power by just pulling in on the bar. There's a lot of range in the Reflex and the kite sheets in and out beautifully with a lot of depower and power on tap just from your bar movements, so you don't have to move it around too much to generate power. Unhooking was good too as the kite actually doesn't need a huge amount of trimming before coming out of the loop. It's really well balanced. Boosting is nice and uncomplicated with plenty of juice at the top of the window and, as the Reflex isn't always trying to fly out of the front of the window, the feedback through the bar is good as the kite sits comfortably above your head. For little pop transitions etc. the Reflex easily provides all the pop and float you need without having really precise kite skills.
Turning the Reflex is a lot of fun. It holds a bit of power through the turns but has a lovely flow about the way the it rolls, bobs and weaves around the sky. The combination of good speed, quick turns, instant depower and the kite's slightly hung back position would make it a great wave kite, too – hooked-in or unhooked. Plus the Reflex has an excellent low end, so you could be on your small kite earlier.
The Reflex has a lot of good points, as at home in the hands of a first timer as an advanced rider with smooth, progressive power delivery, medium bar pressure and fantastic relaunch. Fast when you want it to be and always adaptable to different riding styles, the Reflex is a very steady, reliable contender.
Steady, clean pull and really adaptable characteristics.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We'd probably beef some of the fittings up a bit.
12, 9, 7 and 5m
This test is in issue #52