CORE Kiteboarding XR5 12m 2018 Kitesurfing Review

CORE Kiteboarding XR5 12m 2018

Reviews / Kites

CORE Kiteboarding 62,313

At A Glance

Core have always been renowned for their build quality, as are many German manufactured products across the world. Another year forward we are excited to see what new additions we have to not only the build quality but the technology they are implementing in their kites.

We recently got our hands on some new Core goodies and headed out on the XR5. Coming as a “does it all” kite, focusing mainly on the high performance freeride market, the XR5 is the 5th generation of the XR series and has undergone refinements up till now to make it the well known and respected kite it is today.

This year we see all the usual Core tech and construction suspects in the lineup; Coretex Triple Ripstop, ExoTex UR Dacron, CIT and the Speed Valve 2. However, we wanted to really take a look at the new shortened front bridles on the XR5. Over the years we have seen bridles across the brands getting shorter and shorter, this shortened bridle system provides the rider with a more direct, tighter feeling kite. Less distance from the kite also means less scope for movement in the bridles, ensuring your kite is ready for the next move when you are.

Available in either Black or White and a variety of sizes the Core XR5 can be flown with any of the Sensor bar range.

Sizes: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.5, LW 15, LW 17, LW 19m

The Bar

Further customisation of your Core Free is available by selecting your choice of bar from the range. Compatible with the Sensor 2, 2S / 2S+ and 2S Pro you can get the set up you desire.

We headed out on the Sensor 2S Pro and the XR5 as our choice combo. Boasting a titanium reinforced carbon bar, up to 24m (18+4+2) Tectanium Vario lines, ceramic untwist system, rotor release, supported single front line safety, vario width bar ends and the sensor adjuster the 2S Pro is a beefier brother of the 2S Pro ready to handle anything you throw at it.

When out riding it doesn't take long to notice just how light the Sensor 2S Pro bar feels in your hands. Within the first few movements of the kite, you'll find that the kite responds to every little movement. If you're looking for a slightly slower feel on your smaller sizes, you can swap the vario end attachment point to adjust the effective bar size.

Depowering via the adjuster on the Core Sensor 2S Pro is something you need not worry about, effortless to pull and bungees back in place to avoid any unnecessary tangles. For those with shorter arms, you can even adjust the length to the adjuster, bonus!

Safety is well thought out on the Sensor 2S Pro with your centre lines always untwisting by just pulling the bar towards you; it was effortless. The supported single frontline release ensured full depower but didn’t leave the Free flapping around all day mid wind window.

Oodles of quality material go into the Core bar range too, but what else would you expect.

“A real “Swiss Army Knife” of the kite world”

In the Air

One of the first thoughts I want to put down about how the XR5 handled in the air is the directness and associated feedback received from the kite, although the XR4 was still a fantastic bit of kit the XR5’s new shortened bridles really do alter the feel of this kite. The XR5 feels very intuitive in the sky and the feedback though the bar has indeed been increased. It’s still light on the arms and fast to turn, however now there is an increased sense of feeling for your kite no matter what you’re focusing on.

The XR5 remains as stable and solid in the sky as its predecessor. The kite has a huge range of depower available for the rider and with the shorter bridles you can get a bit more response out of it when the bar is pushed out. The kite flies exceptionally well in light winds and is always wanting to drive forwards, no stalling here.

As with all high performance freeride kites on the market, were not just looking for stability and key fundamentals. We’re looking for those stand out features that make it a great choice. The XR5’s turning speed, vast amounts of hangtime and directness really made it stand out during our tests, not to forget its power. For its size it’s got a lot of bottom end and a lot of control when you want it at top end! The XR5 loops are strong but rapid and fairly pivotal, a lot of fun!

While I wouldn’t say the XR5’s relaunch is fully automatic, it’s pretty darn easy! 90% of the time, unless you fully stack it and roll the kite, the kite does indeed want to drift round on its own, therefore a quick pull on one line and its flying again in no time.


Core gear really comes as fantastic all-round package. Not only does the bar boast tech and simplicity, the XR5 is a real “Swiss Army Knife” of the kite world. It’s got something for everyone, suiting riders from entry level right through to highly experienced professionals.


As with most Core kite reviews the only against here is; new Core customers please familiarize yourself with the twist safety release system as it is different to most brands on the market. Don’t fear, this doesn’t mean it’s any less safe, Core argue it is safer than a push away release as water pressure doesn’t effect it and twisting is a natural motion, think of the all the jars we open! You just need to practice and ensure you are happy releasing it before you hit the water.


We were really impressed with the Core XR5, we didn’t expect anything less to be honest but had some brilliant sessions on it and really got a sense of its versatility. It is an incredibly well built, simple to use kite that can be thrown into different scenarios, with ease.

It’s grunty and powerful when needed yet tunable to suit every need. Hangtime and boosting on this kite is really where it excels, it’s so quick and floaty you will be pushing your height barrier in no time. Best suited to intermediate to advance freeriders, however it does adapt to suit beginners and does perform in all disciplines.


This review was in Issue 68 of IKSURFMAG.

For more information visit CORE Kiteboarding


By Robin and Sukie
With years of kite sport experience combined, you can be sure you’ll be receiving the highest quality of knowledge on the best equipment the industry has to offer.

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