Let us show you around the cockpits of the kites we tested.
We spend a lot of time discussing bars, and there are many elements that we like to see on modern systems. Much comes down to personal preference. For example below-the-bar systems are easy to reach but can sometimes be slightly awkward to get enough purchase, however they do unclutter the section above the bar allowing for a longer throw. Above-the-bar systems aren’t always within easy reach of shorter riders, but other than that they are usually easier to use. Chicken-loop designs and safety mechanisms have come a long way, and many now have an integrated line untwister, which we very much approve of. These bars are your direct control point and can make or break your enjoyment of the kite and it’s great to see so much development going in to them. Does anyone remember the days of the home made bar systems? Sends a shiver down the spine now!
AIRUSH SMART BAR
Adjustable length / Medium diameter / Centre line covered in durable plastic – comfy against fingers / Mid-size chicken-loop with clean functionality and re-build / Tidy, easy above-bar trim strap system / Line un-twister above chicken-loop works, though grip is small.
BEST RP BAR
Mid-size grip / Sturdy, good size chicken-loop system that’s rigid and releases and re-builds very cleanly / Good, easy line untwister above chicken-loop / Above-bar cleat works well / Good example of fully featured bar.
Comfy mid-size grip / Oversized bar ends adjust width with a click / Super easy chicken-loop line untwister / Very tidy, easy trigger and super-quick re-build chicken-loop / Retracting above-bar trim straps / Bar pushes beyond full depower.
CRAZYFLY SICK BAR
Thin diameter with bobbles on rubber grip / Super clean layout / Light weight carbon construction / Smooth trimming – thin rope occaisionally jams in a bit when powered / Clean, functional chicken-loop / Good size loop / Lovely big line untwister grip.
F-ONE BANDIT BAR
Lovely, short, super-clean, lightweight bar / Thin diameter, smooth grip / Bling white / Clean, functional chicken-loop / Cleat system above the bar is very smooth with huge range / Need something to stop rope trim flapping when depowered.
Super-quick adjustable bar end widths / Excellent line untwister above chicken-loop / Clean, functional chicken-loop safety system / Adjustable distance above-bar trim and good cleat / If you can think of it, it’s on this bar.
Thin to mid-size diameter / Light weight / Slick and easy / Smooth below-bar trim but metal sheath a bit clunky on fingers / Ceramic line untwister doesn’t automatically untwist and requires a big stretch / Huge depower range / Above bar trim available.
Mid-size diameter with thicker central section / Comfy grip / Clean layout / Smooth above-bar cleat trim, although would benefit from a thicker rope at times / Pretty good line untwister on top of chicken-loop / Functional, standard chicken-loop set-up / Very straightforward. (Similar DNA as Starkite and Zeeko).
Very neat and functional design / Mid-size diameter / Smooth, tidy above-bar trimming cleat and minimal line / Clean, functional, easy, reliable chicken-loop / Easiest line untwister above chicken-loop / Oozes quality and function.
Mid-size diameter / Above-bar cleat is very smooth and clean / Centre line coated in plastic for longevity and smooth against fingers / Excellent line untwister / Functional and quality / Would be nice to see a stopper introduced.
Mid-size diameter / Firm feel / Clean and simple / Chicken-loop safety system works well / Line untwister needs more grip / Nice above-bar cleat trim and bungey retracts excess trim nicely / Would like to see shorter bar options.
SLINGSHOT COMP STICK
Mid to thick-diameter / Totally trustworthy and robust / Well engineered, clean, safety and chicken-loop system / Bearing for unspinning above the stopper requires a stretch to reach / Great line quality / Oh shit handles – lots of safety options.
Mid-size diameter / Comfy grip / Clean layout / Smooth above-bar cleat trim, although would benefit from a thicker rope at times / Pretty good line untwister on top of chicken-loop / Functional, standard chicken-loop set-up / Very straightforward. (Similar DNA as Nobile and Starkite).