May 11, 2010
Author: SBC Test Team / Shane Thompson
Size Tested: 6, 8, 13 m
Style: Four-line Delta Hybrid, four strut
The Lithium steps into the Airush lineup where the DNA left off. It promises the ideal combination of optimal turning, auto relaunch and new-school safety features in a kite that is simple fun and easy to use.
Control Bar and Safety Systems
The Airush Smart Bar has some formidable upgrades from its predecessor the Cleat Bar which include push pin extensions for the first truly adjustable length bar on the market. The new push away quick-release trim loop called the BRAIN is easily engaged and also incorporates a swivel at its base which ensures that your trim line never twists. The BRAIN also houses a mini fifth line leash system that flags the kite from the front lines. The Smart Bar employs emergency flagging handles on both bar ends for added secondary safety. For those that prefer the above the bar trim system, Airush has a depower trim strap with double pull down, adjustment handles. There is also the option to convert the smart bar to below-the-bar trim system, by adding a cleat below bar. Topping this feature-packed bar, this control system also comes with three section of flying lines: 16 m, 6 m, and 3 m. This allows you to fly with 20, 25, 17 or 10 m line lengths. Great feature-packed bar and safety system that keeps Airush at the top of the field.
On The Water
The first thing you notice about the Lithium in the air is the solid canopy shape and good stability in the air. The Test Team was impressed by the low-end power of the Lithium LW 13, which had enough grunt to compete with the other even larger light-wind kites of the test. Like the DNA of old, it remains a simple to fly and very user-friendly. The Lithium generates smooth power quickly and efficiently and delivers the park and fly capability that benefits unexperienced rider or any one looking for easy to access performance. The flatter canopy section in the middle and no centre strut must give this great lift and glide even in lightwinds. This kite is an ideal choice for the progressing rider and intermediate big air, cruiser type. The good positional feedback inspires confidence with its stability and solid pull through the turns. The pivotal turning speed improves in the smaller sizes, as does the progressive amounts of depower making them capable wave warriors. As it sits back in the window the kite steers very well, even while depowered. The swept wing tips and canopy shape of the Lithium also ensure quick and effortless water relaunch, a vital component of any beginner or wave kite. Beginners to advanced freeriders looking for a stable and hassle-free light-wind kite should put the Lithium on their list. The smaller sized Lithiums will inspire confidence in the progressing riders, and allow skills to build quickly. The smaller Lithiums are also capable wave kites, with good depower, drift and control at all angles of sheeting.
The long bridles of the Lithium may cause a wrap-up problem in hairy wave situations. The larger kite can still back-stall but the overall drift and solid frame ensure solid stability and line lengths can be easily tuned to avoid this.
The Lithium has a solid feel and great stability that inspires confidence in progressing rider. With smooth power delivery, direct steering control and improved safety systems, the Lithium is poised to build a new Airush following.