KITE TEST

NORTH ORBIT V3 10M

NORTH

ORBIT V3 10M

TESTED BY: Bully and Jim

WORDS: Jim Gaunt

ALL PHOTOS: North / Craig Kolesky

TESTER PROFILES AND PARAMETERS HERE

North have done a tremendous job in three years with the Orbit since V1. We’ve all seen what the Orbit can do in terms of boosting and looping in the hands of Nick, Jesse and Marc, by either finishing on the podium or winning the King of the Air as Marc did this year with this V3 model.

Enough about the pros, what about the rest of us? If we go back to the V1, it offered absolutely stacks of hangtime and great kite loops, also really good light wind performance, too. It did, however, have a few teething problems in terms of an occasional tendency to slip the clutch a little when over-sheeted at times. The Orbit V1 did manage to offer performance across a massive wind range though, which is very difficult to achieve while delivering perfect performance in all scenarios. The V2 model cleaned things up and continued to offer something different as a very sturdy five strut design, with very energetic jumping and looping performance for the pros and the masses. Now, in this new V3 Orbit North have really finely tuned the kite to have these really high levels of jumping and looping performance and have completely ironed out any stalling issues. So these similar levels of exciting performance are in combination with a kite that’s less physical to fly and also more accessible and user-friendly for a wider range of riders. Crucially, the Orbit V3 still offers all the delights that riders who want to go full send and loop with confidence are looking for. What really makes the Orbit V3 so enjoyable is the very impressive turn of speed. The forward drive is excellent, helping upwind riding and also when it comes to handling really strong winds. The Orbit V3 manages to offer incredible hangtime alongside fingertip control for steering the kite quickly. This kite isn’t just for the pros; it’s like a really good sports car that’s also a viable urban vehicle.

We criticised the V2 Orbit for being a bit too focused on delivering strong wind performance and therefore lacking a bit of bite in the bottom end. The V3 offers an improved bottom end, but it’s still in its middle to top end that impresses us the most in terms of how comfortable it feels in those conditions. North have promoted the lighter weight bladder that they’re using which, combined with bridle and canopy tweaks, really have improved the available power in 15 knots. On this ten metre you can now also have utter confidence to steer the kite really hard and not worry about back stall. This is a kite that really can immediately improve your jumping height. It’s easy to send the kite back and go high with incredible hangtime and still enjoy flying a kite that’s really responsive and nimble. In stronger winds though, the real Orbit lovers will still enjoy the huge power available. You’ll need extra tummy muscles to handle the vertical boost and hangtime. The kite loops may now not be quite as aggressive as the V1 Orbit with less power through the turn. As the V3 Orbit is lighter and more refined, on a really windy day it’s also become easier to throw around and is generally less physical, which in the end leads most riders to higher performance. The improved stability in light wind also makes the Orbit a viable option for foiling and Bully had several good sessions in the lighter 12-14 knot trade winds of Kenya this year; something he’s said he couldn’t manage on the V2 because there just wasn’t quite enough power. The Orbit V3 is still very much focused on twin-tip freeriding, but if you do ride a foil occasionally, you can be confident that the Orbit V3 will be well behaved in that situation. CONTROL BAR North’s Navigator 2022 bar is extremely clean, it’s also incredibly well featured, as you can see in the video below. It’s smooth, comfortable, direct and very functional with a single action safety reload and you can also change chicken-loops to suit different disciplines without the need to use any tools.

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“The improved refinement and balance in lighter winds, mixed with an equally solid and reliable strong wind performance, make this a boosting dream with huge amounts of hangtime easily on offer.”

“The improved refinement and balance in lighter winds, mixed with an equally solid and reliable strong wind performance, make this a boosting dream with huge amounts of hangtime easily on offer.”

SUMMARY: The Orbit V3 offers very accessible and clean handling for the pros as well as the masses who want to improve their jumping and freeride performance. The continued developments now seen on the V3 are highlighted in the incredibly balanced feel with a lighter sensation and improved low end. Big air Orbit lovers won’t be disappointed at all by stepping up to this latest version; it’s definitely worth it for the polish and all-round higher levels of potential performance. KW LIKED: The improved refinement and balance in lighter winds, mixed with an equally solid and reliable strong wind performance, make this a boosting dream with huge amounts of hangtime easily on offer. KW WOULD CHANGE: Some might argue that the Orbit could be faster or turn even more tightly, like a three strut kite, but if North sped up the turn and in doing so reduced the power more, then it would become too pivotal for that fun feeling loop that the Orbit V3 has. Right now, it’s incredibly engaging for good riders, but also perfectly accessible for anyone wanting to improved their jumping and looping, too.

ULTRA TEAM BALANCE POINTS: Build quality: 8.5 Full package: 9 Low end: 8 Top end: 9 Steering speed: 6 Turning circle: 5 Bar pressure: 4.5 Water relaunch: 8.5 Drift: DT Boost: 9.5 Hang-time: 9.5 Unhooked: 6 Crossover: 7 Ease of use: 9

SIZES: 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 & 5M

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