At A Glance
The Go has been Harlem's quintessential all-around kite since the start. Harlem calls it their high-performance all-arounder, designed for your everyday session and able to do just about everything you need it to... except get you beers! The most successful kite in the Harlem range, the recently released Go V5 is the best yet.
Harlem has always done things a little differently from the 'big brands' and is an exciting young brand with a fresh approach. They're not looking to release the trendiest colours or modern graphics; Harlem is purely focused on making durable kites that perform well.
Our UK testers did a review on the Harlem V4 back in 2020, but our first ride on this model was the Harlem Go V3 back in 2018. That kite was a solid performer and a clear representation of Harlem's goals - bomb-proof construction that comes from the company's foundation in kite repairs. The early models looked like they could literally handle a bomb going off! What we first noticed taking the V5 out of the bag was that Harlem has found a wonderful middle ground, where durability is still a top priority, but lighter materials have been incorporated to upgrade the all-around performance.
A feature unique to Harlem is the inclusion of Booomtags in most of its products. There is one embedded near the wingtip, so if things go sideways, a kind stranger may be able to help reconnect you with your gear... so long as they're in the modern age and know how to scan a Booomtag!
The unique shape sits somewhere between a delta C and a bow kite. This hybrid shape should blend the high-performance features that you might get in a delta C with the ease of use and safety you might expect from a bow kite. The single pulley bridle should allow the front lines to find their sweet spot on the kite a little bit easier, resulting in a more comfortable bar feeling. It really looks like the sort of kite that you'd want to fly every day!
Sizes: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14 (Harlem Light)
In The Air
After launching, we noticed good consistency in the bar feeling. Whether you had the bar sheeted in, halfway out, or fully depowered, you can always feel where the kite is through the bar. It's definitely a good start to the session - the kite goes where asked and takes direction well!
The turning speed of this 3-strut kite was neither noticeably fast nor slow; like the Goldilocks story, it was just right. It's one of those things you don't really have to think about, which is the ultimate sign of a user-friendly kite.
Harlem promises substantial low-end with the new Go V5, which was immediately apparent on the water. This kite packs a lot of punch and will get you up and going a lot faster than what the same sized kite from another brand or another model might do.
On the flip side, it does have a slightly lower top-end than you might expect. If you tend to be in super windy spots, you might want to go a size down from your usual, unless you love a kite with power. As always, all kiters are unique, and we all like different things. One of our testers loved the juiced-up power this grunty kite offered up in the super-strong winds of Cape Town, while one of our lighter weight testers tapped out earlier and needed to downsize. That said, both wholly agreed that the bar feeling and overall performance was spot-on and right in line with where the crew at Harlem has positioned this kite.
We were riding this kite in about 25-30 knots of side shore, lightly gusty wind with some large wind swell. The Go V5 is very stable in the sky and doesn't have a noticeable canopy flap or instability, either visually or through the bar. We're seriously impressed.
We tested the kite with the new Lead bar, which we're probably not supposed to talk about, but maybe we can get away with a few comments. The bar is super clean and our favourite bar from the Harlem lineup so far. The stainless steel construction feels super durable, and the click-in quick-release system was an absolute pleasure to use. Anyone who has not had the joy of trying a click-in quick-release needs to! It's as simple as putting on your car seatbelt, maybe even easier, and it's one of those upgrades to your kiting experience that you don't know you need until you've done it.
The relaunch performance was fantastic, and the wingtip shape and the pulleys made the kite not want to be in the water. In fact, our testers noticed that the kite always seemed to be where it needed to be in the window. It's absolutely a get-up-and-go kite that will take you from lessons to cruising up and down the beach to tricks and big airs.
We really appreciate the no-frills approach that Harlem has embraced. Their price point comes in a fair bit lower than some of the biggest kite brands, but the performance, quality and durability are there in spades.
Overall, we had a really satisfying experience on this kite. The Harlem Go puts the Go in sheet-in-and-go and will especially satisfy the power-hungry kiters that love a kite with lift and grunt. Smooth, comfortable, and as rideable as it gets, whether you're mowing the lawn or sending it huge, you can't go wrong with the Go V5.
This review was in Issue 91 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Harlem Kitesurfing
By Crystal VenessEditor at IKSURFMAG, Crystal Veness hails from Canada but is based in South Africa. When she isn't busy kitesurfing or reporting on the latest industry news for the mag, she is kicking back somewhere at a windy kite beach or working on creative media projects.