This is a bit of a "from the hip" review of the Matrixx 2. No particular format in the way it's outlined, just our thoughts as they come to us. As such this may seem a little disjointed but bear with us and we'll try to paint you a picture of this great little kite.
First a quick word about some of the comparisons made out there between this kite and others. There's been a lot of discussion about how the Matrixx 2 stacks up against kites like the Lotus or Chrono. Really making those comparisons in our opinion is like comparing apples to oranges to potatoes. The Lotus is higher aspect ration (AR) and exhibits some of the traits that come with a higher AR such as higher speed and better upwind. The Chrono is a dyed in the wool racing kite. Even higher AR, even faster and even better upwind than both the Lotus and the Matrixx 2. Does this make the one kite inferior to any other? Not at all.
It basically comes down to what you want and want you need. Just like any kite.
Set up and launch. As far as closed cell foils currently on the market go that we've been fortunate enough to get to work with the Matrixx 2 is easily the fastest to get unpacked and into the air. We've heard murmuring of it being slow to inflate, slower even than the Matrixx 1. We didn't find that to be the case at all and in fact quite the opposite. The Matrixx 2, compared to the Lotus and Chrono (I know, the whole "apples/oranges/taters thing") is crazy fast to launch. However there is an occasional tendency for sticky intakes. Not sure why they stick but if the kite is packed away for a length of time the intakes may sometimes stick shut. We used to see this with Peter Lynns. Usually when it was cold and there was a lot of static electricity. Whatever the cause it's simple enough to just make sure they aren't sticky when you unpack the kite.
The HQ Matrixx 2 is a completely revamped version of the Matrixx series. Most who have flown the original Matrixx 1 would agree that it was a great kite. And those who demoed and/or purchased the Matrixx 1 with us agree that even in standard material and 15m as the largest size it was a respectable light wind kite. Especially for lighter riders. We all felt that the if they were to make a Matrixx in an 18m or even just made the 15m in ultra light material that it would be an awesome light wind machine. HQ delivered on both fronts. Not only that but they added a smaller sizing, a new bar system and have made ALL SIZES in 20d light weight material. In fact the kite in our opinion is a substantial leap forward in design. The HQ Matrixx 1 is still a great kite but the HQ Matrixx 2 is easily on part with "higher end" offerings and at a considerably lower price tag.
Flying the Matrixx 2.
If you were going to compare the Matrixx to an Ozone offering, the Summit UL would be a better comparison. (We did a side by side on the 2 which we will report on later) And from Flysurfer, the Psycho 4 DLX is the closest comparison. In fact the Matrixx 2 is in many ways a dead ringer to the Psycho 4 but better in some ways in our opinion. But with a faster turn rate, easier inflation and lighter bar pressure being just some of the differences. For those who were disappointed with the discontinuation of the Psycho 4 the Matrixx 2 is a more than suitable updated replacement.
Stability. Almost everyone who tried it remarked how easy going the kite is yet when pushed it's high performance attributes shined through. The kite has stability to spare. Even in our conditions it handles gust factor like a champ. The kite does this inherently and anything beyond it's natural tendency to manage gusts can be augmented by actively sheeting out as you would most kites. But it does it with surprisingly little effort. The wind ranges on this kite are 7m (16-30kts) up to the 18m (7-15kts) . We find these to be a bit conservative especially in the top end with experienced riders, but they are a good guide for choosing a size. The kite seems very consistent from size to size. The flight characteristics scaled beautifully with this kite. Everyone who's flown it agrees the kite gives a feeling of assurance that it's not going to do anything unexpected. It is really a rock solid wing.
Upwind. The upwind ability is good and the kite grinds up wind surprisingly well. Really respectable upwind ability and somewhat close to what you may find in the Lotus. If you can hold your line against the pull you can really get some great upwind progress out of this kite. But it will also rely on the pilot's ability to dial in their VMG. (velocity made good) Lower AR than a race kite but higher AR than a touring wing so the upwind is very good.
Turn rate. The Matrixx 2 in the smaller sizes turn fast. Very nimble and sporty. Larger sizes as expected are a bit slower but still faster than most kites in the 15-19m range. With it's lower AR it doesn't seem to suffer wingtip collapse and curl. It has a fairly pivotal turn rate with little loss of elevation. The kite responds well to aggressive steering and really shines with over bar steering if needed.
Jumping. The Matrixx 2 loves to jump. Super smooth power delivery and lift. Glides seem to go on forever and it really jumps like a higher AR kite. The larger sizes like 15 and 18m are a little deceptive. In light winds they can generate a lot of grunt. This gives the impression of power and speed but you will find that if you jump in really light winds it's easy to get air and stall the wing. The result, a slow flat drop. But even then, the impact is minimal.
Light Wind Performance. In terms of light wind the Matrixx 2 is a true performer. Though not in the same category as A Chrono or Sonic, in non-race conditions the Matrixx 2 is a great light wind kite. And although comparing the Matrixx 2 to Chrono/Elf/Sonics etc. isn't really accurate and very much an "apples to oranges" comparison, the 18m pulls almost exactly like the Chrono 15m. But with a much more user friendly nature and easier set up.
We want to add that the power delivery of the Matrixx 2 is amazingly smooth. One of the smoothest we've ever seen. This will be a huge benefit to riders who are just learning as it will reduced the chance of getting pulled over your edge due to powering up too fast. Really really nic
Depower and Bar. The kite's power management is excellent. The new bar system has a long throw as well as long trim range via clam cleat. The center leader/trim line runs through an unusual spinner that looks a little clunky but works awesome. Line twists a rare as a result. Aesthetically it may not be as flashy as some other bars but it's functional and reliable. The Matrixx 2 has a brake crossover line for use in landing and reverse launching.
Speaking of reverse launch, it reverse launches great. Even the 18m rolls over easily. More often than not, you can partial roll and easily fly it off the ice.
The bar is a straight forward, simple set up that works well. They have done away with the 5th line and the HQ Matrixx 2 now uses a 4.5 line grafted into a fly line. When the push away safety is engaged the kite flags off a single front line. It works but you want to be mindful of the possibility of another line snagging on rough ice and causing the kite to power up after being cut loose. Not too common but a possibility on rough hard plate ice. In those conditions, back stall landing via brake crossover is a better option.
We activated the safety system in a variety of conditions. It worked well though as with many front line flag out designs it had the potential to make a bit of a mess in your lines. However it always seemed to look worse than it really was and if you simply fed the flagged out line through it seemed to come back into flying condition with little if any trouble.
So in the end of all this we have to say that we are very impressed with the new HQ Matrixx 2. It's a favorite for those who have had a chance to try it and it is truly an excellent kite. The kite turned out to be better than we had expected and it is a joy to fly. If you are looking for a light wind kite the 18m is a great option and almost $1000 less than some of the kites out there intended for use in light winds. I know we want to shy away from comparisons with the likes of Lotus and Chronos but... the 18m pulls like a 15m Chrono.
It's worth noting that there is some overlap between the 15m and 18m in light winds. But the 15m turns considerably faster and if you are 180# or lighter the 15m might be a better choice for a broader wind range. And remember. There is a cherry on top. The HQ Matrixx 2 is closed cell and water usable. So you get an all season kite in the HQ Matrixx 2.
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Hardwater Kiting: You will not find many reviewers with more depower foil experience anywhere. These reviews are non-brand biased and based on our first hand experiences and those of our customers. The reviews are intended to educate and help kiters make the often hard decision of which kite to spend their hard earned dollars on.