RS V5 12 & 9M

WORDS BY: Jim Gaunt

TESTED BY: Bully and Jim


TEST TEAM NOTES: Read on for one of the best kites on the market for turning average conditions into great sessions. The V5 RS has had continued tweaks in refinement to a kite that already had an awesome ability to help you get the maximum enjoyment out of those usually frustrating 14-15 knot light force four winds (the 12 metre). The V5 now also has an improved, cleaner top end across the range, too. HEAD TURNING APPEARANCE TO MATCH PERFORMANCE Apart from what we think is a more exciting visual look this year (and a new bar which we’ll come on to later), the reality is that most riders would be hard pressed to really notice the difference between the V4 and V5 models in most conditions. Take the V5 out in stronger winds though, and the cleaner forward flight and extra stability in the wingtips have eradicated any rumbling felt at the bar when you reach the top 10% of the kite’s range. Throughout the kite, however, there have been tweaks to further add strength without adding weight in this all-round three strut hybrid shape. Eleveight make no claims about new space-age material implementation; we’re simply always impressed by the performance of their kites alongside the durability.

NO LOSS OF LOW END PERFORMANCE, ONLY TOP END GAINS The low end of the V5 is as good as the V4 – and it’s absolutely excellent – being so workable in light winds with no hint of choking or back stall anywhere in the window, no matter how rough you are with the bar. So you have this beautifully apparent low end power and a kite that continues to fly forward – which must be really hard to achieve as most kites with this much low end power quickly turn into trucks when the wind picks up several knots. The RS V5 12 metre doesn’t frustrate you when you throw the kite around – it just responds by developing smooth power. When you take a 12m that has good low end power in 12 – 15 knots in anything over 20 knots, you’ll usually find it quickly starts to feel over-physical. The difference between the V3 model of two years ago and last year’s V4 was as stark a change as we’ve seen in the RS’s iterations, especially so in the range of use at the top end. While you still need pretty good edging skills to comfortably manage the 12 metre in 20+ knots, the V5 is now even easier than before. Bully had this kite on test for a good while earlier in the season and has had some amazing jumps with the 12 metre. Whether on the nine or 12 metre, both have a very wide and accessible jumping zone. You don’t need any special technique or to be precise with the kite’s position to enjoy good jumping performance. However, there are further rewards when you get your technique and timing 100% right; hitting a good kicker with lots of speed results in incredible lift and hangtime but always with the controlled feel that you’re never wondering where to put the kite. The feedback is excellent and the RS V5 is perfectly nimble and responsive enough for kite loops. This kite can keep advancing riders as stoked as much as it will encourage early intermediates to gain confidence. In re-tuning the top end of a kite it often seems impossible not to sacrifice any low end performance, but designer Peter Stiewe has achieved just that. Bully recently took a session on an older V3 model that he had in the shop and reckons the difference between the V3 and V4 in terms of progressive, smooth power management in stronger winds was a big improvement; the V5 now further refines that very incremental sensation of smooth, increasing power delivery as you sheet the bar in. The V3 was more on/off in feel. The V5 is just incredibly easy and now has a much bigger overall range. The 12 metre in particular has to be one of the best 12s on the market for getting people going and enjoying kitesurfing in 15 knots. Yes you can go in 12 knots with some skills, but there’s a real sweet spot in 15 knots; you’re getting a good quality kitesurfing experience in average conditions. You’ll enjoy lift, hangtime, a great feel for the kite’s agility, poise for your first unhooked moves as well as floaty transitions. This isn’t the ultimate performance machine for the highest reaches of specialisation; it’s just a no-brainer for most people who mix big airs, playful tricks, average wave riding and relaxed riding sessions. The boost just gets better and better as the wind picks up without suddenly becoming overbearing. The user-friendly feel makes this a kite for all wind speeds, conditions and styles. The only reason you might choose another model is if you’re really into unhooking, or more purely wave focussed – in which case you’ll want a kite that turns in on itself quicker and drives further forward. However, the easy performance on offer here is going to help most kiters relish every session.

NEW CS VARY CS 4 BAR The Vary bar has had a facelift this year. Now in two models, the Vary and the Vary Plus, this is where a lot of this year’s improvement in terms of user experience really stands out. Previous Vary bars had everything we wanted from a control system, but just lacked some of the shine, polish and aesthetic appeal of others on the market. Now when you see this in a shop, the Vary is going to hold its own in terms of quality feel and detail. Available in two sizes: 42-50 and 47-55, the new performance features include a smoother swivel to untwist your lines, a redesigned Quick-Matic II release system that clicks simply back together, the depower line running through the centre of the bar has been covered for extra durability and less friction, the variable integrated bar ends allow you to adjust the rear line width and new thermo coated lines from Germany guarantee precision steering for longer.

FIXTURES AND FITTINGS You’ll see sturdy reinforcements throughout and all the fittings you’d expect from a modern 2021 model, including the wide inflation valve on the leading edge that your pump hose twists directly onto for a super easy, efficient connection. The RS V5 is a sweet looking kite in whichever of the attractive colours you choose and combines older C kite arc for turning with more modern open hybrid shaping for power management. It’s also precisely bridled, allowing ideal feedback from the kite, lots of depower and never any threat of wrapping the bridle around the wingtips if you crash the kite as it’s compactly measured to prevent that happening (and we’ve repeatedly tested the theory!)

“Primarily a twin-tip kite, the RS V5 can however stand up to any scenario you wish to put it through.”

SUMMARY: Primarily a twin-tip kite, the RS V5 can however stand up to any scenario you wish to put it through. This is a really safe bet for your wallet and is a toe-to-toe contender with the Duotone Evo SLS, also on test this issue. The re-launch is quick and hassle free, rounding off what is a superb tool for most people to go and really enjoy their kitesurfing across a huge range of conditions. Crucially, non of the standout low end performance that we appreciated last year has been compromised along with the development of smoother top end control. READ OUR V3 AND V4 REVIEWS IN THE KITEWORLD TEST ISSUE, WHICH IS ALSO FREE AND ONLINE: V3 REVIEW - click here V4 REVIEW - click here KW LIKED:

Enjoying a quality kitesurf session in 15 knots on a twin-tip. The 12 metre is surely one of the best on the market for powering you up before all your mates in those winds. Now with improved top end to see you up to 20 knots and potentially beyond, it’s very manoeuvrable, too. KW WOULD CHANGE: Nothing. This really is one of the most user-friendly, easy kites that also has fun, exciting performance on tap.

RS V5 BALANCE POINTS: Build quality: 8.5 Full package: 9 Low end: 9 Top end: 8.5 Steering speed: 7 Turning circle: 5 Bar pressure: 5.5 Water relaunch: 8 Drift: DT Boost: 8 Hang-time: 8.5 Unhooked: 7 Crossover: 8.5 Ease of use: 9.5 SIZES: 17, 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m

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