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Now one of the most established and well-respected brands in the kite industry, Eleveight have built a dedicated following and continued to grow organically. Their new kite releases leave no questions about their products' quality, and developments in performance have been exciting to watch as their range evolves and develops. The fact that they have stuck with their kite names and their kite’s target markets also indicates that they are clear at where they are pitching their kites and to evolve them accordingly. This is the 6th version of the RS, which has cemented its position at the core of the range as the essential ‘freeride’ kite that you find at the heart of most brands’ kite ranges. We tested the 9m RS with the CS Vary Bar Plus in gusty conditions ranging between 17-24 knots.
Out of the (functional and nicely designed) bag, the build and attention to detail on the RS is immediately noticeable and in the age of ‘lighter is always better’ kites, the RS can legitimately claim to have been doing this for a few years and is a noticeable lighter weight compared to the other 9m kites throughout the industry. Designed as a ‘delta hybrid powerhouse’, the RS has relatively thin and light-looking struts which reduce the amount of Dacron and thus weight. In addition to a super durable X4 Ripstop canopy, this makes the kite light and exceptionally durable.
In the air, the RS feels very well balanced and stable throughout the wind window. Through gusty conditions, the kite sat comfortably in the air, no matter if we were working the kite or just keeping it in the zenith. With a straightforward and direct feeling, we did not experience any surprises in kite behavior throughout the testing session. What was most noticeable was how the RS swiftly moves in the air and sits quite forward in the window, which results in very impressive upwind performance even when the wind drops down. The kite just drives you upwind no matter if you need to work it or not. In combination with a very comfortable grip on the CS Vary bar and medium bar pressure flying, this kite was not tiring and felt very easy to fly, something that is really important for long sessions and for ensuring you have the energy to continue pushing yourself right through to the last minute.
The RS, labeled as an all-around cross-over freeride kite, immediately impressed us with its performance when we started to play around with the kite. No matter if the wind was picking up or dropping in the moments, we felt that we could just play with our trick repertoire without feeling that the kite was not up for it. Jumping on this kite is easy for all levels of rider, and every jump felt very lofty with an easy parabolic flight – a big plus for entry-level freeride kiters. From small to high jumps, we always experienced plenty of air time. In the lighter moments of the session, unhooking felt well balanced and generated a good amount of slack (for a freeride kite) while sitting stable in the air. Looping also felt quite easy in stronger winds, with the kite turning quickly with a relatively tight arc. This kite definitely has some Big Air potential with its lofty jumps and quick loops, although if you really want to push up the WOO ladder the XS is the kite for that in the Eleveight line up…
Aside from the versatility, the RS has one more ace up its sleeve: wind range. The kite has a huge wind range, so no matter if you are working the kite in light wind or have to depower the kite while riding the gusts, everything feels smooth and comfortable. Overall the RS is undoubtedly a kite that will deliver a lot of fun to the majority of riders, from beginner to advanced. For kiters who just want to have an all-in-one kite to begin their exploration of various riding styles, not sacrificing ease and comfortable riding, this kite would be an excellent choice for your quiver.