At A Glance
The 2020 Navigator Bar was packed full of neat features and was a very well thought out design. For 2021 North have made minor adjustments and improvements which make this bar even better, which was hard to do with something that already worked incredibly well.
Previously there were 2 bars to choose from in size, 45-50cm & 50-55cm. 2021 sees North bringing a third size to market, a 38-43cm, best suited to small freeride kiters, young riders or freestylers and also an excellent addition for kite schools!
For 2021 the Navigator has a new omnidirectional grip with an offset finger bar making it super comfortable in your hands. They've also changed the colour from red/grey to a 'stealthier' looking design of black/green, in other words, North have gone down the route of their sailing background with port (red) and starboard (green). The grip is definitely an improvement from last year and makes the bar look a lot more premium. The thickness of the bar is ideal for everyone, it's not crazy thick, but it's not fat and chunky, it sits perfectly.
On the base of the bar, you're able to adjust the line length with a very easily adjustable system. With visible + and - signs, it's never been easier. In regards to the lines themselves, North use premium 100% Dyneema flying lines. Strong, thin and pre-stretched, this means less drag but high-end performance. The 22m lines also have a split at 12m. Removing the standard 10m top section will make your line length 12m's, ideal for foil racing, crazy loops and teaching. You're also able to purchase 8m & 6m line extensions if you want tighter turns or your preference is shredding the waves!
Kook-Proof flying line connectors will always ensure you rig up correctly. There's nothing worse than being eager to get on the water but not rigging up correctly, and having to start all over again. Designed to be exactly the same length so you can change the front and rear connectors, this makes the Navigator Bar suitable to match most of the other kites on the market so you can use this bar with other brands.
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On The Water
A real stand out for me is the Quick Release and Chicken Loop features. Reload faster after having pulled your quick release by the simple 'Click In' feature. You can do this with one hand, and it is effortless to re-engage the chicken loop after releasing, perfect if use a rope slider system on your harness. It's also great for learners who would benefit from this simple and safe option.
The interchangeable loops are straightforward to switch around. No tools are needed, and if you decide on the beach you want to change from a freeride hook to a wave style loop, it can be done in a matter of seconds! This year also sees the Navigator Bar have a slightly bigger standard chicken loop, which makes it great for teaching when you're swapping in and out with clients.
The depower and safety line run through the rectangular TPU tube and the system will un-spin automatically, so there's no twist in your lines, which again is a lovely feature to keep the bar in efficient working order. On the safety line, there is also a swivel which helps with fewer twists.
When riding, depowering your kite is super easy with the Clam Cleat depower system. North have placed a really simple grab loop which hinges off a small ball to make grabbing the trim system really easy when you're travelling at speed.
For those that have the older North kites but want a new bar then don't worry! The Navigator bar fits perfectly with previous kite models, a really great little perk that North have done for those that don't yet want to say goodbye to their beloved older kites.
The Navigator bar is a clean, simple and safe design that makes time on the water that little bit more enjoyable. If something was to go wrong, I know that I've got a really efficient bar to help me, and when it's all going right, there are just no complaints. North have made the minor changes that make this bar exceptional. Minor refinements are all the Navigator needed, and for me, the real highlight is the click in safety system and interchangeable chicken loops.
This review was in Issue 84 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding