Design and development of the kite was done by Matthias Franke. HQ released two other kites with this distinctive rainbow color palette: the Shade and the Flow.
Wingspan: 243 cm
Height: 93 cm
Weight: 305 g
Bridle: 3 point (no leaders)
Wind range: 2-5 Bft, 6-35 km/h, 4-22 mph
Upper Spreader: 6 mm pultruded carbon
Lower Spreader: SkyShark 5PT (smooth)
Upper Leading Edge: SkyShark P2X
Lower Leading Edge: SkyShark P2X
Spine: SkyShark P2X (2 piece)
Outer Stand Off: 3 mm solid carbon
Inner Stand Off: 3 mm solid fibreglass
Materials and build quality
The fabric used to construct the 22 panel sail is “Ripstop Polyester Light 36 g”. The fabric looks like Icarex but it feels a bit softer (like Ventex) and creases leave a light mark in the fabric. Colors are quite bright and saturated. Time will tell if it’s just as UV resistant. Nylon ripstop tape with a dark carbon-look print was used to construct the (covered) Leading Edge tunnels. Not my cup of tea but also not visible when flying the kite.
The Upper Spreader rub-patch on the Spine is a rather large piece of velcro (soft side). Dacron was used to reinforce the Center Cross, Tail section, part of the Trailing Edge and there is Mylar film to protect the back of the sail at the Spine and Stand Off area’s. The leech line is adjustable with a piece of bungiecord at the center cross. The nose is made from heavy webbing material in combination with dacron.
A three point bridle is fitted with a pigtail at the Upper Spreader connector. No leaders provided so make your own. You’ll need them. All mounting “hardware” is HQ’s own and they work well. Like I mentioned in the Zebra review: the Yoyo Stopper setup with the cable tie looks clumsy and is a real bridle catcher. There are much cleaner ways to solve this.
The overall contruction and sewing of the kite looks fairly neatly done with the exception of the left Trailing Edge reinforcement on the test-kite. The nylon tape is not following the shape of the sail too precisely which make the right and left wing a fraction asymmetric.
Flight and Tricks
The Mantra takes off quite easily and produces a nice even feedback. When the tension on the leech line is released a bit the kite becomes reasonably precise with a distinct buzz from the trailing edge. The frame holds it’s shape well, even in moderate to stronger wind. Corners can be flown punchy but the kite is not on rails like some of the precision-specific kites out there.
When executing the first tricks I noticed the kite likes being Stalled. My “go to” trick after that is a Half Axel to Fade (Fractured Axel) and it needs quite some slack and time before the nose Flares away enough to pull back to Fade. The Fade itself is nice and steady. The stock tail-weight is not enough to execute Yoyo’s consistently. I added a few grams and that did the trick. This makes the Fade a bit steeper so it rises faster compared to the stock weight.
Backflip based tricks like Rolling Susans, Rolling Cascades and Multilazies are easy to execute. The backflip is not that deep (no easy lifters) but deep enough and recoverable. Half Axel Cascades and Cometes feel controllable and steady. Taz Machines and Slot Machines can be performed with convidence once you find the timing. I haven’t been able to perform radical tricks like Crazy Copters, Yo-Fades and Cyniques but they might be very well possible with a bit of experience with the kite. I’ve had trouble with Backspins and Backspin Cascades since the bridle was caught on the Yoyo-stopper many a times. Installing other stoppers would solve that issue though.
The Mantra is well rounded kite with a chilled out and relaxed style which may appeal to enthusiast pilots. The price of around 230 euros is reasonable considering the framing but there are a few minor quality issues and details that prevent it from being up there with kites from the top sportkite manufacturers. Having only one color option contributes to that as well. I sure had a lot of fun with it. Give it a try!