Friday, June 14, 2024
Kite Reviews2023 Kite ReviewsNorth Orbit 4 Review

North Orbit 4 Review

Brand: North

Kite Model: Orbit 4

Sizes Tested(m): 8, 9, 10                                     

Sizes Available(m): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14

Control Bar: Navigator Control System

Synopsis

The Orbit is a megaloop magician that sets itself apart for its ability to boost big but maintain the control, feel and handling needed in extreme situations.   

Likes

The North Orbit was one of the key designs that inspired the new revolution in the big air kite category and the fourth version of it gets some tuning and material upgrades to keep it on the leaderboard. The Orbit 4 has some new tweaks to its profile and bridles, along with lighter weight, PU bladders in the larger sizes and new lighter Dacron fabric in the frame keeping things crisp in the air. The weight savings and fine tuning make this year’s Orbit 4 more efficient through the lulls and even more reactive to rider input. The Orbit 4 also seems more stable while not powered up, which adds some overall user friendliness. As a higher aspect, five strut design, the Orbit loves to be driven with lots of power and conviction and it rewards the riders that know how to keep the pedal down and delivers amazing control in the upper end of the wind range. In overpowered conditions the Orbit excels and provides explosive lift, but with the power and lift you also need the right levels of control and handing that really gives you the confidence to boost big jumps and throw in some loops and manoeuvres. Our test team riders love the Orbit 4 and more so in in the 8 and 9 meter sizes that are perfect for those high wind, big air sessions. The key to getting the most performance out of a five strut kite is ensuring you are completely powered up. With the fully supported struts through the canopy, the Orbit truly excels in overpowered conditions. Test riders also commented on how easily and quickly the Orbit fires upwind, which is important because this kite is fun to boost with and offers that extra hang time with its flatter and higher aspect profile. When underpowered however, like any kite it has some disadvantages to lighter, three strut kites.  Compared to the traditional five strut hybrid or bow kite designs, the Orbit has a more direct feel with good feedback from the lines and quick turn initiation. Also new for this year are two additional steering feedback settings on the wingtips for a total of four settings. These allow the rider to tune the Orbit to the preferred feedback and bar pressure. Overall, an absolute dynamite kite as it really lends extra confidence and reliability in the upper wind range to any rider that wants to push their limits of big air jumping or just feel extra comfortable while super powered up. 

Drawbacks

Not as versatile or user friendly as some of the three strut, do-it-all kites, but for powered up twintip riding and boosting to the stratosphere with the most control and feeling available, the Orbit shines above the rest. 

Users

Intermediate riders that want that to learn to jump bigger and try some kite loops or simply want higher levels of comfort and control in the upper wind ranges should consider the Orbit a top choice.

Control Bar: North Navigator Control System 

The Navigator Control System ticks all the boxes for functionality within streamlined design. The Connect Quick Release trim loop remains one of the quickest and easiest to reset and has patented, single motion reassembly with seat belt style push in to reset with no need to pull up the cup like some similar click in style models. The Navigator also offers one of the only completely tool free changing of the trim loop that lets you quickly change the loop to a larger freestyle loop or the surf loop that features a metal insert on the inside of the loop to avoid friction wear from using a rope slider bar on your harness. Other features include the highest quality low stretch flying and leader lines and features a beefy plastic molded and hollowed tubing that covers the main and safety flagging line. The system offers great durability and keeps things clean and streamlined. The new embossed grip on the control bar has also been upgraded and features an oval shaping so the rider can feel if the bar is right side up after crashes or spins. 

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