It’s been a while between reviews so thought since I have a new Montana 5 (12.5 m) this was a good time to belt out another one out. let’s set the sense, I have been testing the new kite for about 4 weeks now and have had it out in everything from 5 to 18 knots, I have also had a chance to compare it to some other popular brands in a similar size range. Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first:
The Bag: Same as most of the bags out there nice big and functional, it can hold heaps of stuff including a second kite. One minor grip I have is the zips have been changed from the 04 model and quite frankly don’t work very well. So take care with the opening and closing of the bag the zips get stuck every now and them.
Overall build quality is as expected, Great, it’s up there with anything else on the market and the new color scheme is bright and astatically pleasing.
Bar and lines: The bar has come a long way in a very short time since the Montana 4 and now is at a level befitting this kite . What needs to be done now is for HQ to continue to refine the design. As I mentioned the bar is almost there but still needs a little more work particularly in the Chicken Loop area. The new chicken loop can be a little fiddly to reload, this is due in part to the size of the chicken loop eyelet and how it connects to the body of the assembly. I think if HQ increased the size of the eyelet a little it would make it less of a fiddly job to reload. Overall not really much more on the bar / lines, they are a real step up from the previous model.
First Flight: I was lucky enough to pick up the kite at the (Extreme kites) Labor day weekend fly at Sandy point, thanks Jason (Briskites). Winds on the day were sub 5 knots for the most part. This is light wind in anyone’s language and I wasn’t really expecting a great deal of action. A few tug’s on the front lines and the kite climbed to the zenith without issue, wing tips didn’t tuck in and kite took shape nicely. I had a quick static fly to see if there was enough to go for a buggy and found i had good pull even in the light winds. This enabled me to buggy up and down the beach on hard packed sand slowly but surely. As the day progressed the wind varied from 5 to 10 knots which provided a good test of both rider and kite.
On the day I had the opportunity to do some quick comparisons with other kites in the air just to see how the Montana stacked up. Good news all around, the kite performed roughly on par with similar sized kites. Brands represented on the day included the speed 3 deluxe 12 m, Ozone frenzy 2010- 13 m, PL –Vapor 7 m and the Speed 3 12 m standard. It’s good to know that you are able to play with kites of this caliber and not be left behind.
Now down to some real verifiable facts, a comparison between the Montana 4 and the Montana 5.
Firstly the Montana 4 was and still is a great kite, but the “5” is some much better.
In general light wind performance has been improved across the board. The kite has loads of low down get up and go (Grunt for the technically minded) in the lighter end of the spectrum. Turning speed has been improved massively which really bring the kite to life. I would go so far as to say HQ have doubled the turn speed of the kite from last year’s model. Finally the overall de-power range of the kite has also been improved and enabled me to take the kite out in 15 + knots and still feel comfortable.
In summary the 2010 Montana 5 12.5 m has better light wind performance, faster turning speeds, better De-power and a much nicer bar setup. So if you are looking for a reasonably priced low wind De-power kite you could do a lot worse than a Montana 5 12.5 m. I would encourage you to go out and try one and see for yourself.