North Click Bar 2017 — It is the best bar North has created?
North is calling it the “Game Changer” and the best kite control system on the market. After almost a year of riding across the world with it, I find it the cleanest bar on the market and the best bar they have created so far.
Although a big fun of North, I was never a big fun of their bars, especially the 5 line trust bar. Main reason, too many knots, balls and adjustments that no-one ever uses. The more complications you add to a bar lines, the more chances that something is going to get tangled or stack.
I had to release my Vegas and then could not get it up in the air. The reason, after a couple of kite loops, the center lines were tangled. On the power lines there is a useless adjustment (at least everyone I have asked has never used it) and it was not letting the fifth line feed through. The outcome was that the fifth line was a bit shorted and stuck with the power lines. The kite could not fully release neither fly. I had to pull my middle lines all the way to the kite (while the kite was still powered) and do a nice 30 minutes self rescue.
Another time I was wave riding on my Neo. The waves were very far from the beach so I was at least 2km away. My kite dropped and the lines were tangled above the V, which has a blue plastic stopper and a couple of knots. Being so far from the coast the only solution was to gly my kite with tangled lines and untangle when I was out. The steering lines cut one of my power lines, before getting out of the water and I had to self rescue again.
These were two example where the old 5 line bar let me down. With the click bar I never had such a problem, either on the 4 line setting or on the 5 line. The only thing you can see on your lines is a stopper ball and the plastic adjuster for the V height. There is nothing to get tangled or stuck and in both occations I would not have a problem.
Kiteloop all day — You lines are untwisted
I can now kiteloop (or backroll) all day and my lines will never be tangled. This is done by a very simple system called “Automatic Untwisting”. All lines are untwisted, even the safety one. The center lines that go though your bar, are inside a plastic jacket that is not round. When you untwist the steering lines, the center lines get untwisted too.
You have to be sure to put the bar in the water, so all sand is gone from the center lines. If not there are times where the bar would get stuck. I believe that there is some space for improvement here from North.
Also you have to make sure to untagle the center lines when you setup. If they are clean they will stay clean (no more untwisting after a loop or backroll). If they are not clean when you setup, they will stay like that though the whole session.
Click to depower — Turn to power
For me the click on the click bar was a nice solution to make the bar clean. I never had problem depowering my kite either from above the bar or below the bar using a rope. The only minor problem with the rope was when depowered that the rope was loose. So in this sense click depower was convenient, but overated.
That changed when I started giving lessons to my girlfriend. Initially I though the old bar would make more sense to her and be less complicated. After trying both bars out, she fall in love with the click bar.
On the normal bar it was very hard to reach the power depower rope. A problem I never had as I was taller. it can be adjusted, but if you are sharing or renting bars it is hard to adjust every time. Sometimes it was also hard for her to pull it, secure it etc.
On the click bar everything was easy and sensible. Click for less power, rotate for more. If the click does not work, pull the bar to create pressure on the steering lines and you have your click. Well, I placed an order for a second click bar for her.
Compatible with all kites
The V can be adjusted, which makes the bar compatible with all kites on the market. The bar can be converted in a matter of seconds between 4 and 5 lines. The fifth line also has a nice loop to pull the fifth line and relaunch your kite.
The bar comes with 22 meter lines and 2 meter extensions. To my surprice when you are installing the extensions, you do not add any knots on your lines. Extensions are added with loop to loop knots that are very slim. Then ends, which have jackets over the ropes are removed and extensions are added directly on the ropes. You them add the ends at the end of the extension. Amazing solution to keep the lines clean with extensions on.
I made the extension different color on purpose so you can see the link point. The loop to loop connection does not have any loose ends, which guarantees less tangles.
Things I did not like
Click bar is very good but not perfect. Good news the problems are minor and easily fixed.
Plastic V adjuster is creating wear on the safety line. Riders that use the bar 5–20 times a year or in light to normal winds will probably not notice, but if you go out often and in strong wind, you can see the wear after 10 sessions. This is my safety lines after 10 sessions, you can see that it starts to wear out.
The solution is very simple and since I did it I never had more wear. I placed some double rip stop material on the place where the wear is. I stitched it and made sure that every stitch has a knot, so if one is broken the rest stay in place.
After that I had no ploblems. Last month I ordered the new click bar and the dealer informed me that on the new bar this problem is sorted.
The lines look like they wear out close to the end loops, but it is just cosmetic. This happens on the ends where they are stitched to created the connecting loops. To created the loops they insert the end of the line inside the core of that line and then stick it (google Long Bury Splicing to see more). What looks like wear is actually the end of the line, which does not take any tension. So the problem is not functional at all and you don’t have to replace your lines.
The last problem I had with the bar was that the middle plastic rope going through the bar and the bar was sometime getting stuck. I noticed that after I put some water on the plastic and bar, it was sorted.
If you would like to purchase a Click Bar, I buy all my North stuff from SurfMarket. They are one of the most helpful and fast online stores.
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