Tried out the new kite today in bumpy light winds on short lines (about 40 ft). It's interesting and different than a 1.5. Not as truck-like as the Rev 1, not quite as agile as the 1.5, but that's to be expected since it's about halfway between in sail size. I think I need more time on the handles to really appreciate the differences, and some smoother light wind. It would also help if I set up a 1.5 and a 1 or a zen for side by side comparison, but I did not have time for that today.
Pluses so far:
- Flies really far out to the edges of the window and even a bit beyond 90 degrees overhead. I could float up overhead pretty easily.
- Can launch even if it falls face forward due to the sail curvature.
- I found the "normal" inverted launch to be smooth, again I think due to the curve in the sail helping to get it into a normal flight angle
- Leading edge is doubled at the ends for wear resistance, like the B-pros and other higher end Revs
- New end cap design should be slightly less likely to snag - they slide into the rods vs. being an exterior cap. It's made of a different kind of plastic, and I think it's machined (not injection molded).
- Powered up, feels quite a bit like a "normal" rev. Even seemed a bit "faster" to me, but that could be the short lines.
- Very floaty if you lose the wind at the top of the window or want to gain ground flying down / inverted.
- Frame was pretty stiff - rods are a bit larger diameter than standard rods.
- Pretty light for the size of the kite.
Other notes -
- It was impossible to do a catch and throw, which is something I like to do when I'm flying short lines in light wind. I could not get it to fall to me no matter how hard I tried - it would recover and float downwind, but would not fall to me. Of course, this is one of the key things Rev was trying to achieve with the design of the kite, but for me it means I'm not as likely to fly it on short lines. It may be better for long lines in light wind, which is better for group flying.
- It may not hold position inverted at the top of the window as high up as a standard sail. That's a move that I practice since we have to do it a fair bit in team flying for ball and burst. The reflex spring changes the sail shape when it's lightly loaded, and that's a spot where you are lightly loaded unless the wind is blowing. I think it's a side effect of the design. This is something that I'll have to try out again in smoother winds.
- Rods are not interchangeable with other Revs due to the length and diameter differential (at least not with the 1.5). Haven't looked at the Rev 1 rods, but I doubt they'd fit either.
- Leading edge was tight - probably the brand new bungies. It was tough to get the outer rods on the center ferrules. In some ways, it felt like the tightness of the speed series kites - where the leading edge sail curves out towards you when it's not loaded by the wind because the bungies are so tight.
- The larger size meant that it seemed to require a bit more input than a 1.5. A bit slower to respond, and a bit more "pop" needed to load and unload the sail. That's to be expected based on the size difference.
- I did not try any axels, but I'm guessing they may be tougher to do and/or may require slightly different inputs to get it flat and around. The kite really wants to go into a falling leaf / floating mode when you get it horizontal to the ground, and the "reflex" is designed to get it to catch the wind and flip back to flying.
Overall, it was fun to fly. I'll need to spend more time on the handles to see if it becomes my "go to" light wind kite vs. pulling out an SUL or full sail 1.5. Probably will depend on the style of flying I plan to do and also whether or not I'm with other people. Perhaps I'll be on the Reflex when flying with other people or chilling out, and 1.5 if I'm planning on catch/throws and a more interactive short line flying style.