2018 North EVO review



Please note: the design and management team that produced this North product are now producing as Duotone Sports

2018 North Evo review



What you may not know is that North actually have two full time kite designers, Ken Winner and Ralf Groeschl. They don’t work together, and in fact are pretty much spurred on to beat the popularity of each other’s kites. Competition is healthy and the obvious winner is North who have nine different kite models in their range, from a single strut light wind kite, through to their specialised freestyle and wave products and they even have a ram air kite for foiling / racing, called the Ace. 

The Evo, designed by Ralf (who also designs the Vegas and Dice) has always been North’s go-to sheet-and-go super simple freeride power source, suitable for entry-level riders looking for simplicity, however team rider Tom Hebert also employs it as his most used kite because of its immense hang-time for huge board-offs or innovative glide-based tricks in a wide range of winds. 

This year the Evo is still a delta shape, but now has three struts instead of five and offers a more all-round performance with increased feel at the edge of the window. There is still plenty of power on tap at the bar and the Evo is still simple and easy to ride, but it has more turning performance and the kite feels more adaptive. 


2018 North Evo review


The bar pressure is now a little lighter and the relationship between available power and turning response is more closely aligned. Basically, the kite can now respond quicker to your steering input and you can do more with it. 

The obvious comparison in the range is with the Rebel (see last issue for the review), which flies faster and further forward in the window, has a bigger top end, feels like it has more gears and rewards a slightly more technical hooked-in pilot. The Rebel has 10% more elasticity to give more absolute height when you send it right for a boost. The Evo still has more grunt, is more rooted in the sky and is the more plug and play of the two. Although the boost capabilities are still very high and the lift is strong and commanding, the Evo’s climb speed is a little slower than the Rebel while the hang-time naturally offers more float. 

In our opinion the Rebel is the better high wind kite with more explosive lift and supreme flight characteristics, whereas the Evo gives you more easy bang for your buck, sits a bit deeper in the window, offers better bar drive and has the more simple jumping characteristics for a quicker reward. Where the Evo has really improved this year is in the turning feel, though. It reacts quicker and has more of a constant and rounded turn. It much more fun and suited to progressing with kite loops now and, linked to these lighter and more tuned handling characteristics, it’s also better for lighter riders and has become a more logical stepping stone towards the Dice. Slower and steadier than the Dice of course, it also has more of a grunty power supply that makes it easier for most people to use. Although the Evo requires plenty of trimming, it’s also the better cross-over kite compared to the Rebel when it comes to moving into unhooked tricks. Of course, with its delta shape, the Evo is super quick and easy to relaunch. 

At the kite, the Trinity TX yarn is exclusive to North and they claim it’s superior to any other yarns in terms of durability and dynamic performance. It certainly feels nice in your hands and the kite is rock solid in the sky. All North’s fixtures and fittings are not only strong, but they’re very clean and simple, too. We used the click bar on 22 metre lines with the Evo (there is a 24 metre line option).


2018 North Evo Click Bar review


The V2 Click bar can now be set up on three different chicken-loop sizes, depending on your riding preference (and whether you’ll be riding with a rope harness or not), the floaters have been upgraded with integrated rubber patches and there is a new V distributor, which is even easier to adjust for rigging up on different kites. Of course there’s the clicker on the bar end to depower which means there’s no more reaching forward to a cleat and potentially losing your edge. One often overlooked element of the Click bar is that, every time you sheet in, the bar automatically untwists your lines after a rotation as the covered centre line is slightly rectangular, so as you pull the bar down the line rotates in the swivel. Covered up, subtle, clever and smooth (there is a swivel above the chicken-loop too). 



The Evo is now more linear in the way it talks to you through power and depower delivery and in the smoothness of its turn. The Evo still suits a rider looking for powerful drive, but it’s now less fatiguing and more capable of being thrown around the window, whether you’re stepping into kite loops or riding waves The volume always stays the same and it rarely puts a foot wrong. 



The Evo is a very complete freeride experience. 



Some riders might prefer a bit more urgency, zip, poke and perhaps more of a spike in the kite’s character. The Evo is perhaps guilty of being a bit too clean! 



Build quality: 9

Full package: 9.5  

Low end: 8.5

Top end: 8

Steering speed: 6

Turning circle: 5

Bar pressure: 5.5 

Water relaunch: 9

Drift: DT

Boost: 8

Hang-time: 9

Unhooked: DT 

Crossover: 6.5 

Ease of use: 8.5


SIZES: 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m 





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