TEST TEAM NOTES
Medium size Ozone inflation. Tidy and great looking.
Pumping up the T5 it’s apparent that there’s a very flat area in the middle strut section at the top of the canopy where on most kites you’ll usually find some curve through the strut. The T5 is very flat, giving the indication that it was going to be very fast as it’s also nice and light weight. There’s a lot of seam detailing in the canopy and the production is very neat and tidy. In terms of overall build quality it’s bang-on with a good one pump and mid-sized inflation systems and is relatively plug and play.
The 52cm bar for the bigger sizes comes with 23 metre lines. The lines on the 46cm bar we had were quite short at 20 metres, which on a 7.5 metre kite is always going to deliver a sporty feel. Although lively and fun, a small kite / short line combination usually delivers quite lacklustre jumping performance, but as soon as we launched it the bar came alive and the T5 felt like it was packing some beans!
The T5 set-up is a lot of fun and brings a really usable and engaging performance feel to the freeride side of kiting. The deep canopy, thin leading edge and flat central section translates into a kite with a wide sweet spot in its rev range. There is a tendency for the kite to surge forward and back a bit as the shorter lines mean that it gets to the front end of the window quicker than you might be used to. The mid-aspect shape is in its favour though as it generates plenty of power very early so the key is for you to be able to allow the kite to get you up to speed quickly and then for you to keep up with the kite. New riders tend to over edge, forcing the kite very far forward in the window when they should be letting the kite work for them and going with it. The secret to this kite is staying light on your board and keeping your speed up with the kite so that it’s always in its sweet spot. Despite having good low end, that speed through the wind window combined with short lines will be a bit frustrating for early intermediates as they’ll find that it reaches that soft point at the front of the window too often. As soon as you pick up speed though it drops back to the sweet spot.
The T5’s immediate and quite abruptly power delivery is a contrast to the subtle, smooth higher-aspect feel that we got used to for most of this review. Nobile have a history of producing fast, fun kites that are light feeling and forward flying, and the T5 has taken that into a mid aspect shape that’s very easy to manoeuvre around and generate lots of low down torque. For good intermediate riders and above the fun factor in this kite is instant as it’s very rewarding being so responsive.
We were really well powered on it while lots of other people were out on nines. Considering the short lines the T5 boosts high and has bags of hangtime, too. Putting three metre lines extensions on it should see the kite turn into an incredible jumping machine and would increase the smooth feel in the handling overall, too. We knew the T5 was going to be fun to kite loop as its main asset is the instantaneous power that it serves up. Combine that with its quick, repsonsive turning and you have a very engaging kite. Quick and reacting precisely to input, it’s like being fired out of a gun when you pull that kite round a loop! If we gave that to an intermediate who is only just progressing on from nine metre weather and it would be a real eye opener.
If you’re looking for a steadily paced kite with very smooth power delivery, look elsewhere, but if you’re the kind of rider that wants to lay some rubber down on the tarmac this is great. Turning quickly and instantly, that dose of thick power at the bar is great fun and we really enjoyed tearing around on an already fast kite that responds even quicker on the end of short lines and out jumping most other people on bigger kites and longer lines, which was incredible.
The biggest downside of the T5 is that it reaches its top end fairly quickly and starts to grumble at the bar and hiccup in the canopy. But you just need to then change down, but the low end is phenomenal and you want to keep this kite in its sweet spot for the most fun.
There are more comfortable freeride kites out there with softer power deliveries and more manageable performance for most intermediates. But if you want to charge around on a quick, nimble kite with heaps of power on tap, then the T5 really rewards experienced pilots with a very engaging performance in what should be marginal conditions for the size of kite. In 20 knots this would be one of the first kites we’d pick up for a generally thrilling twin-tip session in regular conditions.
Instant fun factor for progressive riders who really enjoy the thrill of a good freeride blast around the ocean.
KW WOULD CHANGE
The top end could be extended a bit as when it gets to what is generally considered to be proper seven metre weather, you ideally want to be changing down sizes on the T5.
14, 12, 10, 9, 6 and 5m
T5 BALANCE POINTS
Build quality: 8
Full package: 7
Low end: 9
Top end: 7
Steering speed: 9
Turning circle: 4
Power through turn: 6
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 9
Cross-over: 6.5 (Intermediate / high-performance freeride)
More info at: www.nobilekiteboarding.com