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Product Name: ION
Product Category: Hybrid
Sizes Available: 7m, 8.5m, 10.5m 12.5m, 14.5m
Release Date: Available Now
The ION is Flexifoil’s all around performance kite which excels for both freestyle and wave riding. For 2011, Flexifoil focused on integrating new construction techniques and materials to produce a stronger, more refined product. Operations Manager Martyn Hogg helped us find out more about what you can expect from the 2011 ION.
Now in its fifth year of refinement, the ION is Flexifoil’s hybrid C-kite. Many riders have commented that the 2011 model flies through the window much smoother with constant power and is not as reactive to gusts. What did you do to accomplish this?
There’s 5 cm more travel on the center line on the bar this year giving a bit more gust control and depower. The kite has seen the usual year after year refinements in shape and canopy accuracy but most work was done on the construction applied to the whole Flexifoil range.
Were any changes made to the bridle?
Only slight fine tuning was done. No major changes were made this year but we have been experimenting with some unique bridle configurations for future kites.
Flexifoil developed a new strut to leading edge junction for the ION 5. What did this accomplish and is this new feature also on the other kites?
The new strut to leading edge junction is much stronger and stiffer than previous years. This improves the solid feel of the kite and feedback to the rider and also makes the kite much more resilient to max power nose down crashes. I tried as hard as I could to break one in Dakhla, Morocco, much to the amusement of local riders who couldn’t break it either! The new strut to LE junctions can be found on all Flexifoil kites now.
Did Flexifoil change anything else on the construction of the ION 5?
The leading edge closing seam is considerably stronger this year. We tested samples to destruction and we saw a 40% increase in burst pressure to around 19 PSI (this was on a test LE section, please don’t try putting 19 PSI in your IONs!).
Will previous ION fans notice any differences in the kite’s low end grunt, high end wind range, or boosting ability and hang time? How about turning speed and relaunch?
Yes, especially if coming from an ION 3 or previous IONs. ION 4 riders will notice the extra solidity, canopy stiffness, and construction improvements. ION 3 owners will notice hang time and boost improvements and the wind range is bigger with more low-end power and more stability in high winds. Relaunch was also improved with the increased stiffness.
What level of rider and what conditions is the ION 5 best suited for?
The ION is best suited for intermediate or advanced riders but a beginner should have no problems on an ION either. It is intended to be a kite that you can progress on as far as you like for freeride or freestyle riding and also works exceptionally well in the waves. Just watch Billy Parker ride freestyle or watch Sean Mertens in the waves if you want to see how far you can go! The kites will handle all conditions: smooth, gusty, flat, chop, or waves.
What upgrades were made to the one pump inflation system?
All we did on this was increase the length of the neoprene covers. We rarely have any failures or complaints on the single point inflation system; we’re very happy with it!
Does this kite and control system offer 100% depower?
The ION and its control system offers “more than adequate” depower. The depower has been slightly increased in the new ION while bar pressure has been decreased.
Do you have any tuning tips for riders so they can get the best performance from the ION 5 in various conditions?
Yes, learn about rear line tension for trimming kites. It’s not as straight forward as using the shorter knot for more power. The ION benefits from having less tension on the rear lines. Getting the kite trimmed correctly can make a huge difference to any kite’s performance.
What is your warranty policy on kites?
We will repair or replace any product with failures due to a design, manufacturing, or material fault. When we assess warranty claims we will always look for signs that the customer has damaged the kite causing a failure but even if this is the case, we try and help get the customer riding again as soon as possible and at minimum hassle. Customer satisfaction is extremely important to us.