At A Glance
Now in its 10th consecutive year, the Liquid Force 2020 NV has a decade of development behind it. A classic hybrid freestyle design of an open C canopy, 3 struts and a short bridle system, it is the go-to option as a racier all-round kite.
For this 2020 NV, there has been a complete overhaul of the canopy design. This sees the NV benefit from squarer tips for increased response, especially when riding unhooked. An increased diameter leading edge and also a new leading to trailing edge canopy profile. All these together have resulted in a more responsive and tighter feeling kite.
In recent years, Liquid Force have upped their construction, and we can now see high end, strong, materials such as Teijin Triple Ripstop for the canopy and strong English Stitch Seams on the leading edge for maximum strength to weight. This, along with key reinforcement and bumper pads, allows you to concentrate on nailing that new trick no matter how many times you crash.
The LFK high volume Max Flow one-pump system makes set up times record-breaking, and the deflates are fast and simple too. We did forget our pump on one occasion so had to borrow a friend, (after a short heart-stopping moment thinking they wouldn’t be compatible and it would be session over before it even started), thankfully even without the special Liquid Force nozzle, you can pump the kite with the old-school valve in situ. Good session-saver thinking from the design team at LFK, and it certainly makes you appreciate the Max Flow system even more!
A strong duffle type backpack with a comprehensive repair kit inside completes the package, and the kite is available in 3 striking colour options.
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Sizes: 5,6,7,8,9,10.5,12,13.5,15 meters
The Direct Drive Control System is Liquid Force’s new bar which incorporates an on-bar trim system as opposed to the traditional centre line cleat. Working with R3 Design, Liquid Force have developed this bar to work with all their 4 line kites.
Starting from the bottom, the quick release is a simple push away affair with a robust release and moulded chicken loop. The security pin is easy to twist away for any unhooking and ensures a solid connection when clipped in. The safety leash connects to the single line reride system with the standard loop connection, which can also be threaded through the chicken loop for those who wish to ride in ‘suicide’ mode. The centre line has a PU covering for protection and a smoother glide, and there is an effective swivel situated directly above the quick release.
The bar itself is carbon composite for lightweight and extreme strength and is covered in an incredibly grippy yet comfortable EVA grip, which even in cold waters using neoprene gloves you a have a good hold of. Being a unique ‘U’ shape, this encourages sand, debris and water to drain out of the open bottom of the bar. The centre line insert is extra wide on the bottom to allow for easy turn and sheet abilities which is great for those days where you need to be working the kite.
The trim is operated by a simple Sidewinder control knob whereby you turn at ¼ increments to power up, and by merely bumping with the heel of your hand you can depower at twice that speed. This design works well in all winds, and even in very strong conditions, you can use this adjuster with ease.
There is a movable stopper ball on the centre line, and an adjustable High Y centre line splitter to allow you to not only customise your kites feel even more but also use this bar with different brands of kite which may require a different height split.
In The Air
We were able to use this 10.5m NV in a range of conditions which for a mid-sized kite like this gives a much better all-round feel. Starting in some lighter winds, the kite flies well. However, it does lack low-end grunt so do be mindful of kite choice on those in-between days. Once powered, the 2020 NV is a very solid kite with a strong pull through the harness and a firm pull through the bar.
Early intermediates and beginners will appreciate the slightly heavier bar feeling, which will let you know exactly where the kite is at all times without having to watch it. We did trim the kite slightly, which lessened this and was beneficial for unhooking also.
The 2020 NV flies well upwind with some good board work, again a slight bit of trim here will make upwind easier in those stronger winds, and the kite does like to sit a little higher than most to get those bigger angles. The kite turns well with good power throughout, and a solid driving feels on the way out.
Trimming the kite on the go is very easy, though does take a little getting used to if this is your first time using such a bar, so take a moment to familiarise yourself with it before heading out in the windier stuff. The Direct Drive Control System does feel relatively heavy in the lighter winds, so would perhaps recommend the Mission Control V3 for those who prefer to ride slightly less powered.
Relaunch poses no real problems, as usual in the lighter winds there is a little bit of pulling on lines involved, however as a more freestyle orientated kite, you are less likely to be out in these conditions.
The 2020 NV provides a great poppy jump with plenty of accessible lift and float. Sending the kite into a few loops is a real joy and certainly a good kite to work up your confidence on. Not the biggest loop out there, but the predictability and smoothness more than makes up for that and before you know it you will be pulling some corkers in the stronger winds.
This 2020 NV has had freestyle in mind with the redesign, and it certainly has improved the feel through the trick. There is an improved direct feel through the bar and better response throughout the move. That elusive slack has become more attainable, and there is a progressive pull on landing to engage your rail once again.
Great fun freestyle and freeride performance with a pokey loop, and confidence-inspiring unhooked abilities.
The 2020 NV struggles to produce much usable power in its low end so ensure you rig big on those in-between-size sessions.
The 2020 NV has maintained its feel from the previous version, with a smart lick of paint and some subtle design upgrades. The NV is a classic for freeride and freestyle riding for those who like to ride powered and feel a solid connection through the bar. The new Direct Drive Control System is smart and offers an alternative to the traditional clam cleat design; perfect for those with shorter arms or who prefer a more compact feel.
This review was in Issue 81 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Liquid Force Kites