Kite Confusion: 13m Element vs 12m Nitro vs. 15.5m Helium?

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icedub
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:34 pm

Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:34 am

Okay guys and gals, I know that it might be ridiculous, but I'm really having trouble figuring out what to go with for my "light wind" kite.

Me: I'm a 125lb (57kg) intermediate rider (jumping with small grabs, backrolls). I ride a 133 x 40 TT and my home spot is Lake Champlain, VT. That means the wind is rarely stable- it's usually building or dropping. My current quiver is: Element V4 5m and 7m, and Element V3 9m. The 9m is my most frequently used kite- I'll be on it when most other riders are on 12m and 13m kites.

I chose Elements because of the beginner friendliness, but am starting to realize that I rarely ever find myself in an ocean to surf, so I question whether they are really the best kite for my location. I also love how well they handle gusts, since that's what we get a lot of on the lake. I find the bar pressure on the elements to be tiring.. so I'm not about to replace my Element quiver, but I am considering a different model for my largest kite.

On to my dilemma. My current "light wind" kite is a Mutiny S2 surf kite that I picked up when I was a total beginner. It has a unique design (no center strut). I find that it pulls hard with heavy bar pressure, but doesn't go upwind all that well. It also is difficult to relaunch due to the missing center strut. When everyone else is on a 17, my 12 often doesn't cut it, even with a light wind board. That said, it rarely blows 14mph and stays that way. It's usually building.

I'm concerned that the 15.5m Helium will not really be usable most of the time.. that I'll be overpowered and wish I had something in between my 9m Element and the 15.5m helium. That said, it looks like the 12m nitro has almost the same wind range as the 15.5m helium. Is this really the case? And then there's the 13 m V5 element which supposedly has less bar pressure.

For my lightwind kite I'm looking for something that goes upwind well, relaunches well, and will still let me do some jumping in light wind. What should I do?
huili88
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:22 am

Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:39 am

It is tough because of your weight. I weigh 150lb and think the helium is just about right water relaunch is super easy but would be way too much kite for you. I have the nitro5 12m good if wind is steady and water relaunch is tougher because of increased weigh of struts. I think you should stick with the element for all your requirements. Ie is a little easier to relaunch then nitro, and has smaller size for your weight.
naishdude
Posts: 701
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:13 pm
Location: Belgium/Holland

Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:45 am

+1 ;)
cheers Dude :ugeek:
jumpinjoe
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:49 pm

Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:14 pm

I went from a 12m nitro to a 13m Element and at first was not sure if I'd like the Element (note I had a quiver of 1st generation elements years ago) but after using both for a while I decided to keep the Element. It's an excellent kite, goes up wind really well (slight edge to the nitro here), jumps really well (slight edge to nitro too), but where it shines is it's predictability - it loves to stay in the air even on those light wind days and it's power band is more consistent in that it does not generate too much power at times which the nitro will tend to do. I have had session where the 13m element was almost as good as my 18m helium provided I worked the kite a bit (I weigh 205#).

The added bonus is that the Element will be a better snowkite should you decide to do that on Champlain. Nitro's are great kites but just not the set it and forget it (park it) type kite like the Element.
Alysum
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:31 pm
Location: Sydney/France

Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:51 pm

Don't get Nitro if you already have Elements, they aren't as user friendly. The Helium is great, they are park and ride kites like the Elements but even more. Both go track upwind really well.
However at your weight you should be fine with an Element 13m. I fly my 13m in 15-21 kn and my Helium 18m at 10-17 kn (I'm 80Kgs).
E5 7m, E3 9m, H3 12m & Reo 9m
icedub
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:34 pm

Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:25 pm

Thank you all! It sounds like the 13M element is the unanimous choice. Now I just have to wait until the v6 comes out to grab a v5 from the factory outlet :D

Last question: How's the bar pressure on the 13m element? The bar pressure on my v4 9m Element is about as much as I can handle.
Alysum
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:31 pm
Location: Sydney/France

Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:32 pm

Bigger kites always have a bit more bar pressure IMO. My 13m V3 has more pressure than my 9m V3, it is a bit much sometimes however v4 and v5 have lighter pressure from what I've read... On the V5 you have more adjustment options too. Don't expect the V6 until next May/June I guess (that's when V5 came out).
E5 7m, E3 9m, H3 12m & Reo 9m
jumpinjoe
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:49 pm

Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:13 pm

I flew the 11m V3 this weekend and can say it has a lot more bar pressure than my V4 13m and quite a bit more than my V4 9m.
I think the newer kites have come a long way since V1, V2 and apparently even V3.
icedub
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:34 pm

Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:58 pm

I still haven't been able to pull the trigger on my light wind kite. Everyone here in the forum recommends the Element for my requirements. It's funny, whenever I've asked Switch directly about this (Felix via email and Susie via live chat), they both push heavily toward the nitro. I almost ordered one, but then had a change of heart. It just seems strange to go with something heavier (5 struts) vs. the element which is 3. I still can't make up my mind.. maybe I'll wait for the 1 strut to come out! Oh how I wish the Helium came in a 13...
kite*hawk
Posts: 618
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:17 pm
Location: Wilmington NC

Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:14 am

Yeah choosing a kite can be daunting sometimes. I really dont think you could go wrong with the Nitro or Element. your too light for the helium so heres what it comes down to. I would either go Nitro 12M or 13M element. The Nitros power is generated by kite speed. So inorder to get the most out of light wind with the nitro you have to actively fly the kite to get it up to speed. When I fly my nitro my kite usually always moveing even when I'm up to speed i still let it climb and lower to keep the power band up. It jumps higher and lands smoother than the element and has lighter bar pressure. The new spider bridal makes the kite supper steady,smooth and a gust muncher. The only downside is that its a little tougher to relaunch but once you learn the kite its no problem. you might get 1 mph lower wind access with the element but at the cost of higher bar pressure. sorrry everyone else but my pick is the Nitro since your into jumping and not surfing. The nitro will take your riding to the next level.
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