At A Glance
The new North Click bar hit the market with a massive fanfare of revolution. Immediately the keyboard warriors shot it down in flames and picked it apart, while others thought it looked fantastic. We’ve been lucky enough to watch this bar develop over the years. While we read the comments online we had a little bit of inside knowledge and understanding about this new set up. It’s an ingenious system that comes neatly packaged by North in a very polished offering.
This bar trims the rear lines instead of the front lines; it is designed to work on any kite out there that uses a 4 or 5 line bar where the line lengths are all the same. It ships with pigtails which mean you can attach it to any kite and is packed with technology and innovation which we will aim to go through here.
The mechanism itself winds in both rear lines simultaneously; you just have to either rotate the bar end to power up or push the button to depower. Each wind or click adjusts the lines by about 2cm. On top of that the depower rope and safety line is now enclosed in a rectangular tube of TPU, this slides through a shaped hole in the centre of the bar. While this might seem innocuous it serves a very important purpose on top of stopping the depower line from wearing. As you sheet in and out this untwists the lines from any tricks of moves you’ve been doing.
There is also an adjustable stopper ball which you can easily slide up and down to set the bar trim level to your desired point. The depower throw on the bar is really long, now you don’t have the trim system on the front lines you can make the throw as long as you want. Riders with shorter arms can use the stopper ball to ensure the bar never goes out of reach when they let go of it.
A new Iron Heart V chicken loop has been developed and is available exclusively with the Click Bar, it features the same tried and trusted release mechanism but has ceramic bearings which are open so they can flush out any sand. These allow the centre and safety lines to untwist easily. There is also a new mode which keeps the suicide ring out of the way of the chicken loop too.
Overall it is an exceptionally well thought out and put together product, but we needed to properly test it to see how well it worked!
On The Water
We have ridden this bar a few times on North meetings, so to finally get our hands on one for more than a couple of hours was a real treat. The first bar North sent us was a final production bar from their meeting in Tarifa. The bar has been used for two weeks by dealers and shops out there and then sent to us. We’ve had it for about six weeks now and have not rinsed it, cleaned it or done anything other than treating it badly. We ride a mixture of sandy and shingle beaches, and we ride a lot. I’ve been using it on just about every test kite we have too, as I wanted to see if it really did work with all four line kites on the market. I’m pleased to report it does, and despite our abuse, it is working perfectly still.
We’ll keep using it throughout the year, and we’ll keep on abusing it and will report back after we’ve logged a few hundred hours on it as to how it is holding up, but so far so good!
Looking at how it actually works, it’s ingenious, lots of you will no doubt read this and be saying what’s wrong with the current rope and cleat set up that seems to have become a standard. Well, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with them, and how the Click Bar improves it. There is nothing flapping about in front of you when you ride. You don’t have to come off your edge and lean forwards to find the rope; you don’t need magnets or Velcro to keep things tidy, and most importantly you don’t have to look for it.
Stop and think about that for a second, I think the best thing about the Click Bar is the ability to trim your kite without ever taking your eye off where you are going. Once you have used it for a few sessions the movements become intuitive, and you can power and depower with your eyes closed. When you are foiling the ability to tune the kite without leaning forward is a real bonus too.
Another advantage is that when you crash the depower system doesn’t sink and pull your lines down. All your lines float on the surface along with the bar. That’s a significant safety aspect that we like. The mechanism is easy to use, you can depower the kite totally in under a second if you rapidly click the button. Powering up takes a little longer, but with practice, you can get that pretty quickly too.
We loved the never twisting lines; this was an amazing feature, and while we recognise there are bars out there that auto untwist, the North system does it very well and keeps the depower line safely inside the TPU tube. The sliding bar stopper is also great, easy to move up and down but it won’t let the bar move if you don’t want it to, perfect for old school tricks!
The new Iron Heart V is well finished too, the ceramic bearings are crazy, we could spin this thing for hours on end and not get board. Safety is paramount too and you know you have one of the best releases on the market with this setup. The bar is tuneable as well, depending on the kites you can adjust the V of the centre lines to suit just about any brand, change the pigtails, have 22m or 24m lines and it can be set up to a 5th line system too, making it very versatile.
An incredible piece of engineering, well put together and a very finished and polished product. We love it.
One of the biggest fears is sand in the system from our users on social media. Only time will tell how well the system stands up to seasons of abuse, but North have had bars on test for over a year with no issues, we’ll report back with our findings on its durability next year, North seem very confident and the warranty is there to protect you too.
The cost is expensive, you get a lot of engineering and a fantastic product for your money, but this is the Rolls Royce of kite bars, and you have to pay to play right now.
An entirely new way to trim your kite, the new Click Bar is a great piece of kit, and we love it. Use it with any kite, just have one bar for all your kites, no matter what brand, retrofittable and easy to use. We love being able to trim the kite without looking, never having twisted lines and not having to come off our edge to tune the kite. We can make small adjustments on the fly, even depower as we drop into waves. We’re predicting lots of brands looking at this method of tuning over the next few years. Get the future today with the North Click Bar
This review was in Issue 59 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!