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Torch 2012 Review and Test - Update

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briansuntrax
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Torch 2012 Review and Test - Update

Postby briansuntrax » Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:09 pm

2012 Naish Torch

What revelation this kite is.

Every year we read how every new kite gets ‘more pop, longer hang time, quicker turning’ etc etc and very year we convince ourselves of the truth in all this marketing speak. The Torch range included. So for years the Torch has of course been fettled and fine tuned, but like most recent kites, the changes are often so small and the evolution so imperceptible, that one was left wondering if it was simply no longer possible to tweak the world’s best C kite. In fact I don’t even think the 2011 Torch changed besides a massive appearance upgrade over the garish 2010 color scheme..

2012; All is forgiven!!

This is no longer evolution; this is the re invention of the C kite. At last, a quantum leap you can believe in.

The improved bag, bar, lines and kite all ooze quality. As per previous years the, the excellent fifth line Shift System is retained.

The most obvious visual change, besides the best ever graphics (no more goblins in suits!!WTF??), is the shifting of the two end struts right to the wing tips. Add this to the stiffer but still narrow leading edge, and you have a super firm and efficient wing, especially at the tips making for instant turning response. The now stiffer canopy is on a par with a bridled kite. This firming up of the profile helps maintain the integrity of the aerofoil shape leading to a pronounced increase in efficiency and hang time. Glide is phenomenal and second boosts of lift available in mid jump with a quick pull on the bar, like an SLE. All this with no bridle, just the support of Naish’s excellent shift system. No bridle = direct feel.

The kite still has the typical C kite bar pressure. Not too much but still way more than most bridled kites. C kite riders love the intuitive feel afforded by this direct connection to the kite. The smooth and linear increase in bar pressure is arguably one of the best reasons for riding a C kite.

All round handling is sublime with no surprises. Kite loops are typically non pivotal, and pull suitably hard. Lift is excellent as the kite comes round.

Hooked in wave riding is smooth and predictable with way quicker turning response compared to previous. Depower is not as much as a bridled kite of course, probably around 80%. Although this is perfect for freestyle and freeride, a quick tug on the now easily accessible depower strap is sometimes needed when dropping into a wave to soften the pull of the kite in the bottom turn. Thankfully, turning whilst depowered (the Achilles heel of previous Torches) is now significantly improved.

No matter that this kite is targeted at the more experienced extreme freestyler, unhooked wave rider etc, the average ‘all terrain’ rider will probably wonder if it is still user friendly for cruising around, boosting a few jumps, hooked in wave riding etc. One myth needs to be dismissed. C kites are not the vicious unforgiving monsters (goblin in suit), that they used to be 10 years ago. These kites feel more like hybrids in terms of depower and usability BUT retain the bar feel and boost of a C. The SLE revolution forced the few manufacturers like Naish, Slingshot and Flexifoil, who continued with C kites, to start engineering usability and safety into their C kites. This is now done. A bridled kite is easier and less demanding for sure, but a kiter of any level can now also enjoy the superb response and performance of these C kites. Not to mention the ease of self launching and landing.

Where a bridled kite like the Naish Park (2012 not yet tested), will have massive appeal due to its slightly more benign nature delivering foolproof handling, better wind range, more depower, and more pivotal turning, the Torch will appeal to those who enjoy massive boost, float, kite loop pull, and that ever elusive bar feel. The unbridled direct connection to the kite is what it all about. Everyone is striving for it. ‘C kite feel’ is being claimed all over the place, but there is nothing like the real thing; The 2012 Torch IS the real thing and a whole lot more.

Wait there is more!! The bar is quite simply, a work of art. The finish and feel of the superlight carbon and grip are top of the class. Most importantly, the trim sytem is back where it belongs, above the bar. No fiddly below the bar hit and miss cleat adjustments anymore, this system works instantly and flawlessly. The centre line is at last sheathed in clear plastic, giving an awesome silky smooth feel. No more frayed centre lines (and nerves) after long after sunset swims.

Lastly; Naish’s R&D dept. finally realized that their riders could fight with their inflation valves no more. All 2012 kites get a little white plastic stopper ball in the valve. Wonder how many years of exhaustive testing Reo Stevens put into this? Brilliant! 

Steve Bertie Roberts


Test conditions:

10.0m tested in 12-18 knots flat water on Nobile twin tip.
8.0m tested in 15-20knots 4’swell on Naish 5’7 Global wave quad.
6.0m tested in 17-25knots 5’swell on Naish 5’7 Global wave quad.

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Re: TORCH 2012 REVIEW AND TEST - UPDATE

Postby PGH » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:45 pm

wow....youve made me sit up and think...

the torch is the one kite i keep thinking i need to try (love 5 liners) look like i'm going to have to get a demo one day.

been through the 5 line rhinos- vegas-fuels-hifi comps now back on 2011 vegas again.....it would take a lot to prise me away from north again...but for me the torch has 2 big +'s ......... much better graphics and one pump :thumb:

i know the naish bar is good but the north one is brilliant so evens there.
ps are you in anyway associated with naish..?? cause if your paying out 100% for naish then with reviews like that yu should be on the team... :D :D

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Re: TORCH 2012 REVIEW AND TEST - UPDATE

Postby tautologies » Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:40 pm

I've also tried the new torch, and what struck me is that it feels less jerky in gusty winds. So where I could not ride strapless before (uncomfortable in ultra gusty conditions) now it was a breeze. Also the low end seems nice. I've only had it out for a short run.

Personally I prefer the depower under the bar, but I can understand people that unhook a lot prefers it above. I'd also add they have added a plastic sleeved center line through the bar. :D

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Re: TORCH 2012 REVIEW AND TEST - UPDATE

Postby esganmoro » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:46 pm

tautologies wrote:I've also tried the new torch, and what struck me is that it feels less jerky in gusty winds. So where I could not ride strapless before (uncomfortable in ultra gusty conditions) now it was a breeze. Also the low end seems nice. I've only had it out for a short run.

Personally I prefer the depower under the bar, but I can understand people that unhook a lot prefers it above. I'd also add they have added a plastic sleeved center line through the bar. :D

Taut, PArk vs Torch 2012 10mts......what would you choose? I don´t know what to do. I ride 2011 Torches and loved them. But now i´m looking for some new kites and ??????.-
I use them in flat, some waves, some unhooked, mostly hooked tricks. I use the 10mts from 15 to 30 knots, and worried if i can do that with a Park. Can you help me pleaseeeeee?

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Re: Torch 2012 Review and Test - Update

Postby james » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:32 pm

PGH

as good as the review is, it is a safe bet that the account that brian at suntrax is posting under is for the importer/retailer for Naish in SA.....

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Re: Torch 2012 Review and Test - Update

Postby blind » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:18 pm

The 2011 Naish Torch was absolute crap, tested 8 and 10 meter. The actual material felt like some kind of flag in the air, plus the kite being very unstable, vulnerable to gusts, hardly any depower, user-unfriendly and a definitive aggressive rider's kite. Even the 2010 Torch was way better then 2011; hope in 2012 they made some positive improvements, which i'm reluctant to believe in.


Guys if you think Torch is good, try C4, Vegas, Fuel (similar to Torch but better), not to mention other kites.


briansuntrax, you sound like a guy who works in Naish's marketing department.

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Re: TORCH 2012 REVIEW AND TEST - UPDATE

Postby tautologies » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:26 pm

esganmoro wrote: Taut, PArk vs Torch 2012 10mts......what would you choose? I don´t know what to do. I ride 2011 Torches and loved them. But now i´m looking for some new kites and ??????.-
I use them in flat, some waves, some unhooked, mostly hooked tricks. I use the 10mts from 15 to 30 knots, and worried if i can do that with a Park. Can you help me pleaseeeeee?
Hey, my preference is still the Park..but this is the first time for a long while I would even consider using the torch on a more regular basis. Though I have not done a side by side on the park and torch i think the park has more pull for the same size. If you can ride the torch in that wind, you can almost definitely ride the park in the same. I think you might experience a little transition *pain* as the feel on the bar is a little different, but I think if you use the stopper a little on the park you get more of the park feel. I think the park is an easier going kite, and it handles gusts better...not as much bungee riding..I'm not sure if it is clear what I mean.

Now the new torch though seemed to have both a better low end and gust eating ability that earlier models, but I still think Park is better in that respect. I am no hard core rider. Park 10 is my all time favorite.

briansuntrax
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Re: Torch 2012 Review and Test - Update

Postby briansuntrax » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:02 am

@blind and @james

Yes briansuntrax (me) is part of Naish distribution in South Africa - not trying to hide the fact, hence posting under my name.
Reviewer Steve is one of our long time friends and customers who has ridden/owned almost every Naish kite model ever built and is an exteremely capable and enthusiastic kiter. He is critical yet constructive, hence his less than glowing comments on the 2011 Torch's - in fact he kept his 2010 Torch's for last season. His opinion is highly respected in Cape Town.

Sorry for any misunderstanding :D

Brian

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Re: Torch 2012 Review and Test - Update

Postby steve bart » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:35 am

I wrote the above review, and have enjoyed the comments so far, especially the Torch vs Park debate (or any other similar hybrid).

Both kites are excellent and the choice will depend largely on the range of riding styles a rider expects one kite to handle. For pure freestlyle, boost, hang time, unhooked wave riding, and an all round more aggressive feel, the Torch is the obvious choice. It handles any other type of riding with ease, so is a great allrounder.

I can only comment on last years Park, unfortunately injury has prevented me from my planned Park test today. However, based on last years, I found the Park to especially excel in hooked in wave riding. The pivotal turning and massive depower allow you to free yourslelf up from the pull of the kite completely, and surf the wave with a loose natural flow. Better than the Torch. I did not enjoy the soft bar pressure, and with the shorter lines, which added to the sharp wave riding response, there was a corresponding lack of boost. For an all round uncomplicated easy going kite with great wind range, the Park is a winner.

Will report back on the 2012 Park asap.

Steve

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Re: Torch 2012 Review and Test - Update

Postby Chef » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:19 pm

"Wonder how many years of exhaustive testing Reo Stevens put into this? Brilliant! "

None, he was on Cabrinha last year and still is :lol:


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