Sizes Available: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17m
Sizes Tested: 7m
All-around Freeride performance with precise steering, balanced & stable performance in a powerful delta hybrid airframe with a huge wind range. For the rider looking for a kite that provides an endless amount of fun on the water, the Lithium is the ultimate all-around freeride performance kite. Versatile in the surf, easy to ride, and light at the bar, the Lithium is predictable and stable in the air, and has incredible park ability. The powerful 3-strut delta-hybrid design enjoys a huge wind range and, combined with the wingtip shape and strut layout, ensures the quickest response through the window as well as instant relaunch.
Visit for more info: www.airush.com/kites/lithium/
This year the Lithium has undergone some significant mods with a slight change to its positioning within the Airush kite lineup. If you think about how Airushâ€™s single strut kites (One and Ultra) have encroached upon the all-around, do-it-all freeride territory, in response, the Lithium has had some performance tweaks to dial up its jumping chops and to spice up its appeal to the slightly more discerning freeride rider that does a little bit of everything. From the second we jumped on Version 13, we immediately noted some changes in feel and performance from the previous iterations. Most noticeably, you will see the changes in a slightly higher aspect ratio with a thinner leading edge to trailing edge distance and wider stance, with a leading edge that sweeps a little more aggressively into the wingtip for a more delta-hybrid shape.
Inflation Valve: Boston valve / nozzle attachment required
Attachments: Center bridle: Larkâ€™s head loops / Wingtip bridle: Knots
Centerline Split: Low-V
Front Bridle Options: Dual setting / three pulleys
Design and Features
As a performance all around freeride kite, the Lithium V13 remains a 3-strut airframe that does a good job of maintaining a sporty feel with material conservation that starts with struts that fall on the smaller size with a key blend of Dacron and Techno Force D2 ripstop with Kevlar bumpers to yield a carefully orchestrated balance between nimble performance, canopy stability and durability. The Lithium inflates with a large diameter Boston valve that requires the standard hose attachment for easy and quick inflation and deflation. If you seat the hose sufficiently into the valve it will remain connected through high-pressure inflation and deflation is super-fast when you unscrew the valve and let the air out completely unimpeded.
This year the Lithiumâ€™s front bridle got a tune up with shortened bridle lengths that are intended to speed up the steering response and avoid hooking around the wingtip, and for the second year in a row, the front bridle also includes a dual setting that allows you to choose between two modes: less bar pressure and more bar pressure (stock). The front bridle utilizes three pulleys to adjust the angle of attack and the pigtail ends with a larkâ€™s head loop while the wingtip pigtail ends in three knots for riders to choose tuning with clear labels to help newer kiters get their tuning dialed. The wingtip has three attachment points to further adjust bar pressure, with the stock setting rigged to the middle setting.
From the first tack off the beach we noted this yearâ€™s changes in the canopy and bridling with a sportier feel that highlights acceleration across the window and a lighter overall feel. If the Lithium was once the king of reliable sheet and go performance, this year, the new shape and bridling builds upon that feel to give you a bit more response to your inputs and punchier lift. Starting with the bar feel, on the front bridle stock setting we got a medium bar pressure feel, but with the front bridle and back wingtip adjustments you can lighten that up to put more load on your center lines and ease up for a very light bar feel. V13 still has that classic Lithium pulling power with progressive and intuitive power delivery along the throw. At the end of the bar throw we found ample depower which allowed us to dump all the power when needed which is what inspires confidence in sketchy situations. The depower also maintains the Lithiumâ€™s cross-over potential as a capable companion to follow you into light wind kitefoiling sessions as well as wave riding.
From the get-go, we could feel the additional lift and slightly more peaky acceleration of the kiteâ€™s bigger sends. One of the key elements of the new shape is that the Lithium manages to provide more lift and acceleration, yet at the top of the window the Lithium still felt incredibly stable and predictable even in some very gusty conditions on the beach. In terms of maneuverability, the steering response was very crisp with reactive steering that was active but not unpredictable and the steering arc remains largely pivotal for easy placement. We scored some notably high jumps on the Lithium which heightened our awareness for this yearâ€™s tweaks, yet the mid-air steering and flight path remained intuitive and without surprises as we also experienced good hangtime and soft touchdowns.
With its leading edge shape, the Lithium has been a long-standing winner in the easy and quick relaunch department, and this year there were no changes. From dead downwind in the center of the window, a little bit of bar input caused the wingtip to rotate up and the kite to taxi a bit before releasing. The relaunch was easy and reliable without much input required from the bar.
The Lithium has long been a trusted friend in the all-around freeride department, but this yearâ€™s tune up does a notable job of keeping the user-friendly qualities that has earned the Lithium its large freeride audience while instilling some extra performance that spices up the kiteâ€™s maneuverability and freeride jumping abilities. With the slightly lighter bar pressure and large wind range, we found the Lithium very easy on our body during longer sessions which makes the it a really comfortable fit for general freeride. As we indicated at the outset, the addition of the single strut One model to Airushâ€™s freeride category has freed up the Lithium to move slightly farther from its progression niche and gives it some extra juice for more demanding freeride performance while still being a great crossover choice for all kinds of conditions, from surf to hydrofoil.
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