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  • jhn.holgate Ozone Access Xt 4M Review


    Good depower and fast handling make for a fun high wind kite.  

    Positives
    Fast, responsive handling.
    Good depower ability.
    Reasonably quick.
    Negatives / Considerations
    A little 'skittish'.
    No cam cleat adjuster.
    Trim straps on side of bar.

    One of my favorite kites, the 4m Access XT was Ozone's 2010 model in it's line of beginner to intermediate depower kites.  It's a zippy little beastie too.  Normally, you would not even consider static flying with a depower kite, but I have to admit, the 4m XT can be a bit of fun.  Its quite a bit more responsive than the 09 XC and you can really work the kite vigorously to get some good power out of it.  That speed of turning does come at a cost though, this is not the most stable kite Ozone has ever made.  I would describe it as 'skittish'.  Sit it at the top of the window next to an older model (I did this with 05? Frenzy) and the older kite sits there like a rock while the XT bobbles and quivers and moves around nervously.  It's a lot more 'excitable' than it's 2009 XC predecessor.  Nor is it quite as robustly made methinks.  It's a little bit lighter all round - although it's never been a problem.

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    Quality is typical Ozone - nicely put together.  Mesh coverings on the cell openings.  It also has the 'blowout' 'valves' which are a couple of openings to the front of the kite made of stiffer material that won't open under normal circumstances but will open in the event of a nose down crash to expel the excess pressure - neat idea.

    Bar is nice - the primary safety dumps the kite to the brakes and is quickly and easily reattached.  The Access parks on it's brakes reasonably well but you do have to get the balance right between pressure on the power lines and pressure on the brakes - too much pressure on the brakes and the trailing edge will get wind under it and want to hop around, so a little thought is needed when you stake the brakes.

    Speaking of pressure, the bar feels quite light and comfortable when under way in the buggy with no great pressure on it from the brake lines.

    The 4m handles very directly and fast, it's just a fun kite to hoon around with.  Upwind performance is adequate and speed is quite ok.  I've managed about 66kph with the 4m and know of others who've gone a bit faster with it.  Wind range for me starts at around 15 knots or so.  By 18-20 it's a lot of fun.  I've had it out in a little over 30 knots and it kept me on my toes - particularly with this model being a bit more skittish than previous models.

    This was my fastest run with the XT in 30 knot winds.  You can see the wind is easily at 45 degrees or more cross on shore.  It goes downwind really nicely.  Very slow coming back but it did make it back..

    Others may well use it in over 30 knots but that's enough wind for me.

    Nearly forgot to mention the bag....it's huge!  You could probably fit 4 of these kites in there!

    Now the last couple of times I have bought Ozone depower kites, I really can't help thinking this company takes two steps forwards but one step back.  Yes they made it faster and more responsive, but that was at the cost of stability.  (It is still a pretty stable beast).  But they took the cam cleat adjuster off the power lines and replaced it with some bloody useless trim straps on either end of the bar.  Do you want to be trying to adjust two separate webbing straps either side of the bar in 25 knots?  I sure as hell don't.  The 4m doesn't particularly need a cam cleat adjuster as it's got a fair range of depower anyway, but they also left if off the rest of the range.  I think it was a big mistake.  Ozone must have thought the same as they re-instated it on the 2011 model.

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    Here's a vid I did 5 years ago when the kite was a little more crispy - actually, even though I have flown this quite a bit over the years, it is still pretty crispy.

    Despite not having the cam cleat and not being quite as stable as other Access models, I do get a kick out of flying the 4m Access.  They are a damn good versatile kite.  I much prefer this safety system over the one Ozone put on the 2014 Frenzy which I couldn't come to grips with.  If you've never flown one of these, you should try to beg, borrow or steal one for a test ride.  And if you have a recent model, I'd be keen to hear how it stacks up against the 2010 XT.



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