2017 Ozone Reo V4 8 & 6M review

 

We review a thoroughbred wave kite with electric handling and high performance waveriding capabilities

 

 

This test first appeared in issue #86 in March, 2017

 

 

TEST TEAM NOTES: 

The Reo has a beautiful balance between a reactionary, fast turning wave kite style and a more park and ride set up. It just felt good to all of us from first launch; all black and shiny, great canopy tension and a very thin leading edge that offers the efficient, quick and performance handling that we enjoy in a wave kite. The bridle is relatively short and compact and there’s no pulley, so there’s very little clutter around the kite, either. 

Ozone have their own factory, which is evident when you look at how the Reo is stitched together. The smoother material feel and neat joins throughout are evidence that the kite is clearly manufactured to be within very small fractions of an inch of variation between each kite, so in terms of its aerodynamic poise, Ozone have been able to create structural integrity mixed with a light overall weight. The result is light but very direct steering with positive feel at the bar. Good forward flight mixed with the lightweight air frame means that the Reo drifts very well alongside you, too. 

 

 

The Reo doesn’t have the obvious low end performance of something more like the Airush Wave or the Liquid Force Wow, but as it always moves cleanly forwards in the window and steers very efficiently, there’s zero wasted movement when you move it. And that we think is the key element in this kite. Requiring low effort to steer, there are also no large spikes in power (unless you man-handle the kite to find them), so the generation of power is smooth and very linear. There’s actually more horsepower available than you might feel at first, but takes some know-how to find it. It’s just not as obvious, especially to an intermediate. That’s the quality Ozone efficiency coming in to play. 

Fast kites can occasionally be guilty of fluttering as they out pace themselves getting to the front of the window, but not the Reo, which has been tempered this year to ease up on its speed, but only in that section of the window. So you can be really aggressive with it as it seems to stop itself just short of moving too far out of the power and remains ready to react in an instant. There’s also no surge in power if you have the kite too high in the window. The feel for the amount of power you can control at the bar is highly intuitive. Need a shade less? Just a fractional amount of sheeting out will fix that without affecting your own balance or the kite’s position. 

Ozone produce four sizes of their ‘Contact Water Control System’ bar (38, 45, 50 and 55cm widths). Generally they recommend use of the 45cm bar with the six and eight metre sizes. We also used the small 38cm bar with the six metre. It’s neat, tidy well featured with a good line unspinner above the chicken-loop and smooth trimming cleat above the bar. It’s surprising how uncluttered and free your vision feels with a smaller bar in front of you, but it definitely made more work of the steering. Nothing you can’t manage, but the Reo loves moving, being flown hard up and down for top to bottom riding and is one of the best loop and go kites we’ve flown. A small bar makes all that steering more demanding on your arms, but the Ozone is generally one of the lighter and more nimble kites on the market. On the plus side the small bar reduces unwanted steering input, which adds to the feeling of poise. The 45cm bar is quite rightly, ideal. 

 

 

In terms of power both Matt at 95 kilos, and Jim at 68, were happy on the six metre in 25 to 30 knot conditions and neither had to touch the trim at all, such is the efficiency of the kite and smoothness of its flight. The Reo turns with similar drive to the F-One Bandit in its smaller sizes if you want a comparison, but the Reo has less of a spike in power, which is where the difference in a kite made for crossing over has its advantages and disadvantages. As we’ve mentioned the throw is really intuitive and no matter how quickly you sheet out to ditch power, the Reo keeps good airflow over the canopy and continuous forward flight. As you swing the kite overhead there’s not too much lift pulling up in your harness, especially at the top of the wave, allowing you to easily maintain your line around a turn, letting the board do its thing more naturally and without skipping.

All this adds up to a high performance kite that’s probably too quick but also too subtle for new wave riders or intermediates. 

 

SUMMARY: 

The Reo offers one of the cleanest and most comfortably connected ride sensations in the business. There’s enough of a spike in power through the loops in moderate to stronger conditions to keep bigger riders happy and you can man handle the kite to get more power if you need it, but in general, the Reo is designed to be your shadow, your discreet partner in wave attack. Good riders will be able to create power in low winds through the quick and efficient steering, but this year the Reo is also a dream as you move to its mid and upper end. In 30+ knots we were really comfortable on the six and didn’t get to test beyond that. 

 

KW LIKED: 

The clean connection and finger tip control of both the steering speed and power management. 

 

KW WOULD CHANGE: 

Very little, but bigger riders and intermediates are going to appreciate a more obvious spike in power to get them going. 

 

REO BALANCE POINTS: 

Build quality: 9 

Full package: 8 (Look out for a bar upgrade coming soon)

Low end: 7

Top end: 8

Steering speed: 8

Turning circle: 4

Bar pressure: 6.5

Water relaunch: 8

Drift: 8.5

Boost: DT

Hang-time: DT

Cross-over: 4 

 

SIZES: 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m 

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