Core XR4 7m – 2016

Core XR4 - 2016 review Kiteworld Magazine issue 81

This test featured in Kiteworld Magazine Issue #81



Core describe the 4th generation XR4 as a ‘power delta bow’. Billed as a big air, freeriding machine that’s robust enough to perform well in challenging conditions, the obvious build quality certainly backs that up. Core are currently using a triple rip-stop canopy material (exclusive to them) in the construction of their kites. Coupled with rugged Dacron reinforcements and a very robust five strut airframe, the XR4 is certainly solid without being obviously heavy.

Very solid in the air, the airframe didn’t buckle or lose its shape when pushed. We rode the seven metre – a size that can have its behaviourial deficiencies in some models at the upper end of its range – and it didn’t flinch. The XR4 is in no hurry to back off when the wind gets up, requiring you to edge hard against it; the high levels of latent power that you have access to are very evident. Equally, at its low end the XR4 also generates plenty of power and punches forward hard with pretty effortless upwind performance.


Core XR4 - 2016 review Kiteworld Magazine issue 81


Core have reduced the length of the bridle this year for more direct feedback and snappier handling – and as you’d expect this seven metre is quick and responsive; perfect for experienced riders looking to go huge. At the same time the handling is intuitive and makes sense, so less advanced riders can get on with it too, although they will need to dial into it the slightly twitchier feel. This is especially the case at the upper end of the XR4’s range when a firm hand gets the best out of it. Very impressive lift for a small kite and, as you’d expect from a flatter kite, the hang-time is great and less advanced jumpers will appreciate the opportunity to just sheet in for good airtime. It’s not an automatic ticket to massive jumps though, but does reward good handling and the high response is a big draw for aggressive riders.

Power delivery is very firm and quick and you can have all the power you want delivered very quickly. Sheet the bar out and the kite maintains some power; we enjoy that constant connection, but less confident riders may find themselves wishing for more sheeting depower when maxed out. Diving it into the power zone and sheeting in has a similar outcome to when a turbo kicks in on a sports car; offering thrilling freeride performance. Although predictable, the delivery may feel a little abrupt while you’re tuning into the kite’s handling.

The XR4 gets quickly round a loop without too much of a yank, so novice ‘loopers’ will appreciate the boosting without feeling like they’re about to get walloped into another dimension when they loop it. As you’d expect the turn is relatively pivotal, but there is a decent, manageable tug.

Forward flight and quick-handling means there’s scope to use it in waves, though it is a little punchy for strapless riding in high winds. Unhooked, the XR4 won’t hold you back from learning basic manoeuvres, and although it doesn’t pull your arms off, anything beyond that will feel quite challenging.


Core Sensor Pro bar - 2016


The Sensor Pro control system is minimalist in look and clean in feel. Although really well featured, the finishing touches weren’t quite as complete feeling as the kite itself. A nice touch is the centre line system that allows you to untwist the lines simply by sheeting the bar in, although is more of a challenge when you’re fully powered. Overall the bar isn’t as polished a product as the kite itself, but if you imagine a Caterham sports car – the workings are visible, but the focus is on raw, connected, high-end performance. It’s like that. Relaunch of course is very easy – as you’d expect from that shape.


Hooked-in performance freeriding is definitely the aim of the game, although there’s enough crossover for tearing up a few waves, too. Less advanced riders may find it a little raw at first but once comfortable you can get some great boost performance in strong winds.


Impressive build quality, bombproof airframe and the direct handling and feedback.


The large amounts of power are delivered directly and reliably, but some freeriders will be looking for something smoother.


Build Quality – 8.5
Full package – 8
Low end – 8
Top end – 8
Steering speed – 6
Turning circle – 4
Power through turn – 4
Bar pressure – 6
Water relaunch – 9
Drift – D/T
Boost – 8.5
Hang time – 9
Unhooked – 6
Cross-over – 7
Ease of use – 8

SIZES: 13.5 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 & 5m


Here’s the official XR4 product video from Core

CORE XR4 – Gotta kite! from CORE Kiteboarding on Vimeo.


For more information on the Core XR4, visit


This test featured in Kiteworld Magazine Issue #81

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