The Evo has undergone a huge overhaul this year with an aim to define its place within the North Kiteboarding line up. In previous years it’s always been the all-round weapon of choice but often sat too close to the Rebel to allow it to stand out on its own. This year we see a radical change in the design of the kite.
Gone are the five struts of old, reserved purely for the Rebel sibling and in is a three strut delta shaped design. The goal was to improve the flying characteristics and make the kite easier to fly with a reduced bar pressure. It is still billed as an all-rounder kite, but for 2018 it promises to be a friendlier and less demanding kite to fly.
North have always focused on specific kites for specific roles with their line up of the Rebel, Neo, Dice and Vegas, this year the Evo steps in as the kite to buy if you want a one kite can do it all machine that is as happy in the waves as it is busting out huge airs or freestyle tricks.
The Click Bar was launched to a huge fanfare last year, and the Game Changer (as it was known) has certainly stood up to the test of time. We had one on long-term test and treated it appallingly to really see how it would stand up to some abuse, never rinsed it, never really took any care of it, and it is still going strong today. Any fears of the mechanism not working can be firmly consigned to the bin.
This year there are some upgrades to the Click Bar which are great to see. Basically, the few small niggles have been addressed, and there have been further improvements. The mechanism is unchanged, but the floats have been beefed up and reinforced to prevent any early signs of wear or damage (something we never personally experienced, but there were a few reports of an issue last year).
In addition, the V point adjuster has been changed to be much simpler, it’s now a plastic screw affair, which allows you to simply unscrew and slide and then tighten in the desired spot. The line, which passes through the V point adjuster has also been reinforced, so there should no longer be wear issues here.
Finally, and one of the biggest changes, is the new chicken loop program, the bar is the first that we can think of that sells without a chicken loop. Don’t panic though this is for a good reason. You have the option of the Freestyle Kit, which comes with a longer leash and a bigger chicken loop for unhooking and freestyle tricks. There is also a Freeride Kit which comes with a smaller loop, positioning the bar closer to you for improved control, this also comes with a shorter leash, which is tidier when you aren’t unhooking. Finally, there is the Rope Slider Kit, this is the same as the Freeride Kit but the chicken loop has a low friction metal tube, which the rope can then slide through at a far lower friction rate. Less damage to your rope and no risk of damaging the chicken loop either.
You still get an automatic untwisting safety system with a front line re-ride that works exceedingly well, the now legendary Iron Heart V release mechanism and a long-lasting TPU covered depower line. Also new is the dropping of the 5th Element Trust Bar, now if you want a 5th line set up it is an easy add-on to the Click Bar, it takes about 3 minutes to do and is really simple too.
We rode this bar all last year, and for freeriding and waves we wouldn’t be without it, the upgrades this year are fantastic, and we would highly recommend you try it out if you haven’t already!
WOW is the word that springs to mind with the Evo, the boosting capabilities of this kite are incredible. We tested it extensively in Tarifa during some very challenging conditions from light airs to nuking gusts and whenever we sent it for a boost we were always surprised with how high the kite went.
It does take a little more control to achieve great results than the Rebel, which we tested back to back for comparison. The Rebel was that little bit slower with a more predictable feeling in the air, while the Evo was a wild rollercoaster ride that was ready to catch you out if you didn’t pay attention.
The three strut design is very stable however at the very top of its wide wind range, you do notice a difference compared to the Rebel in terms of the kites stability in the air. That said for a three strut all-rounder it is very impressive. Gust handling is good with a relatively short throw on the bar.
Upwind the kite delivers a solid performance with the kite eager to fly forwards in the window and generate drive. The turning speed of the kite is also impressive, and this is where it gets its excellent jumping credibilities. The fast nature means you can redirect in the blink of an eye for maximum take-off velocity.
Kiteloops aren’t too wild, and with proper engagement on the bar you can control the rate of the loop and ensure the kite picks you up each time as you swing back underneath it. The speed of the kite also lends itself well to the waves and the lighter nature with the reduced number of struts means that it can drift and hang in the air reasonably well too.
The wind range is impressive and with good flying skills, you can really eek lots of power out of the low end by moving the kite around the window. The upper limit of the 8m seems to be endless, if you want a kite for WOO scores in storms, this has to be a contender.
The Evo comes of age in 2018 sitting in the North Kiteboarding range as a competent all-rounder that is sure to excite you as much as it inspires confidence. It is stable yet fast to turn with great bar feedback and for the rider looking for an all-round kite that can handle a little bit of everything this should be on your shopping list.
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This review was in Issue 66 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
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Rou 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!
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