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The CORE XR series now reaches its 6th iteration, with the XR5 breaking various jump height records over the last couple of years. It’s on the same fusion of a delta and bow platform with five struts and a pronounced concave in the trailing edge. So how does the XR6 differ from the XR5? In our opinion mainly in the kite’s handling and overall bar feel. The XR6 is still unashamedly genre specific so you really know where you stand with it which is a good thing. The first thing we noticed when we got the XR6 in the air is that the turning speed is swifter. The XR5 was a big rigid five strut affair and required a little persuasion to initiate the turns. Some revised bridle positioning and a more rigid strut design seem to have made that initial crank on the bar give a much more noticeable reaction without being over twitchy. The bridling has definitely been made shorter, and it runs the same double pulley system as previously. Bar pressure also seems marginally higher than before, giving a less remote bar response. The XR6 is smoother throughout the entire depower range and seems to retain decent rear line tension, even when fully cranked in on the sheeting system. When you power up the kite with vigour, you immediately notice it actively spanning out, presenting more kite to the wind and increasing power. This is quite a design feat and clearly helps it achieve the trademark lofty performance.
From a materials perspective, a lot of the XR5s well tested elements carry over. The Exotech Dacron is noticeably stiff and rigid, the CoreTex three core ripstop has a heavy, silky coating and is built to last with no scrimping in UV protection. CIT modes on the leading edge allow you to tune to different riding scenarios and various rear attachments are present to adjust the bar pressure and turning speed.
For hooked-in freeriding – which let’s face it is the vast majority of riders out there – the XR6 is right up there with the best in the marketplace, but it quietly has the potential to unleash some serious boosting power. Think of it like the ‘Ludicrous’ mode on a Tesla, it’s there to unleash hell if you want it to. You can potter around as gently as you like with no surprises, or get high enough to give yourself a nose bleed. With a hydrofoil, we were pleasantly surprised. CORE have definitely been on board with the light kite revolution and the XR6 flies early and predictably considering it has five struts. All that sheeting ability and the more rapid turning speed make for some great freeride foiling, with a preposterously amplified upwind performance. Overpowered boosting is where it’s at with the XR6 and compared to the previous incarnation there seems to be more vertical boost and less downwind travel. Looping is more refined on CORE’s GTS series, but the XR6 does a pretty good job and is very precise and smooth in the air. The catch ability is also predictable and reassuring. The XR6 continues to be a precision tool for straight vertical boosting and definitely fits the performance freeride brief with Superman flight ability and precise power control. It’s a testament to how far the delta concept can be pushed and refined.
In a sentence: The XR6 is unashamedly geared for straight vertical boosting and hooked in freestyle, and in this it excels, feeling smoother and friendlier than ever before.