At A Glance
The Liquid Force Solo hails from a vision of designer Julien Fillion to create a super light, highly responsive, high performance kite. Along the journey to create the Solo the team dabbled with no struts at all, but decided eventually that a single centre strut gave the kite some stability when the wind increased. The kite has been designed to have a huge wind range, especially at the lower end where its light construction allows it to fly in less wind than heavier kites. The profile has been developed to generate power and Liquid Force recommend sizing down when getting a quiver. It features a simple bridle system that is short and doesn’t use pulleys. It has six contact points on the leading edge and a direct connection for the rear lines. Maxflow inflation comes as standard and while the kite is light it is certainly well built, with lots of attention to the smaller details and plenty of reinforcements in the right places. There are tuning points on the wingtips to increase or decrease the bar pressure and setting on the pigtails to increase the range.
We’ve heard rumours of a new bar for 2015 from Liquid Force; we had the standard 2014 bar on our test kite however. The CPR control system comes as a 4-line set up and looks solid and uncluttered. Holding the bar is very comfortable due to the EVA grip and the whole set up is very clean and tidy. The non-mechanical push away quick release uses its simplicity to avoid any complications and it works very well. There are two options for attaching your leash, if you are unhooking then you can attach to the trim strap, which depowers the kite mostly all the way. If you want 100% depower then you can attach your leash to the safety ring. There are three size options for the bar, 45, 50 and 55cm. The lines are German engineered and stretch resistant, 20m in length with 3m extensions.
In The Air
We’ve had the Solo for a little while now and have flown it in a variety of conditions, our first session was a maxed out, top of the wind range affair and we were immediately impressed with the kites handling. Usually in these conditions a kites handling can suffer as the rear lines are so slack, but the Solo behaved impeccably. We did notice a bit of flutter in the canopy, which translated to some vibrations on the bar when sheeted out, but it is important to note we were flying the 9m in conditions where a 6m would have been fine. Despite this we really enjoyed riding the kite and instantly felt at home. We were really stunned with the top-end range on the Solo as it isn’t a skill that has been built into the DNA of the kite.
At the lower end of its wind range it instantly impressed with the power delivery and handling. The light canopy makes it very nimble in the air and the kite is quick to climb back up to the top of the window. In medium to light conditions the canopy also feels much more stable and we didn’t notice much flutter at all and certainly none of the vibration that we found when the kite was way overpowered.
The Solo is a brilliant wave kite, it drifts effortlessly and the responsive and direct nature of the turn make it great for powerful riders looking to use the kite as they carve along the wave. Hangtime is also an area that will pull in the freeriders, the kite delivers a lot of float in the jumps and will definitely put a smile on your face. Upwind is solid and there are no issues there at all. Kiteloops are more pivotal so it’s a great kite to learn those on without scaring yourself silly.
Kiters who travel a lot will appreciate the light weight of the Solo, it will make the perfect companion for remote surf trips, especially with the huge wind range. The kite is easy to fly and forgiving, relaunch is very good considering it only has one strut, while it’s probably not a kite for the absolute beginner it will satisfy a wide range of kiters, especially those with a penchant for airplane tickets and waves.
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Huge wind range, responsive and fast handling, medium to light bar pressure with an easy to fly nature that will appeal to a lot of kiters. Great upwind and good hang time, and if you like to travel, then the large wind range and light weight will add further appeal.
Although the kite will handle really high winds, it does start to flutter a little when totally maxed out and depowered. It’s a payoff that we would be prepared to suffer though, as the advantages we felt outweighed this small hinderance.
The Solo is a kite we keep going back to, if it’s 10m weather and a little fluky I’ll happily jump on the 9m Solo and a surfboard and have an absolute blast. Equally, if the waves are pumping, the wind is blowing and I want something to ride, the Solo keeps calling to me from the garage. I’ve been under it more often than not over the last month or so. Excellent wind range, especially at the low end, fast, responsive and dynamic to fly, I travel a lot and the Solo makes perfect sense to me!
This review was in Issue 46 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Liquid Force Kites
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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!