First let me say that I want to be clear this review is based on very limited time on the Ozone Chrono. Most of it static flying and some of it riding with Coyotes. I am not a water rider, I have not flown this kite on water and as such if you're a water rider take this with a grain of salt. Not at all the basis for any legitimate review I know.
This said, with the limited time I've flown our 15 and 18m demos (about 5hrs total) I have some thoughts and opinions about them that I think are worth mentioning. Even if all my feelings and assumptions about them at this point get thrown right out the window after a season of flying them on the snow.
First, all the discussion and debate about the Chrono vs. Speed 4 Lotus. IMO don't even bother. They are two different types of kite. When/if the possible Flysurfer race kite is released then you can compare but for now I wouldn't bother.
Seems to me Speeds over the years have gotten closer and closer in design to the Psycho 4 and are more of a freestyle kite than the Chrono. The Speed's AR is lower, turn rate better and overall weight in Lotus material is lighter. As with all Speeds it's a light wind machine but it is also designed for a bit more user friendliness and fun for most riders. The Chrono IMO, clearly a High Aspect, super efficient race machine. Everything about this kite is geared towards a racing environment. It is not the most user friendly kite out there and as Ozone states it is geared for the advanced rider more than the average intermediate. The Chrono builds apparent wind unlike anything I've ever flown. Design wise it is in the same category as Elfs and Paraavis race foils. It will fly in nothing if you can get it moving and will actually pull in nothing. Enough to really ride? No probably not but it will glide through dead spots with ease I suspect.
Launching takes a bit of finesse. Lots of rear line is required to launch without front end collapse. Like an Arc if it has good internal pressure it launches with ease. Less than optimal pressure, a lot more work. As I said it will fly in wind I can't even register on the wind meter or feel on my face but you will never get it inflated in that. I used our Arc inflator to get the air in. I'm sure there will be those that will say if the wind conditions can't get it to inflate it's not worth flying in. We've heard this about arcs as well. My answer to that is those people are missing out. Especially on the Chrono.
Turn rate is very good for such a high AR. 18m of nearly flat kite is not going to be nimble but it's respectable and predictable if you have a good awareness of space. In a pinch you can tip stall or collapse a tip if need be.
There have been complaints about wingtip curl. I have not seen any sign of excessive tip curl on either the 2014 or 2015 Chrono demos we have. If you don't have full inflation there will be some for sure but not more than any other foil in the same situation. Anyone who is experienced with flying foils will tell you that there is always some moment where there is tip curl. Especially in dirty winds. I will say that the 18m, the one time I flew it (wind was 0 gusting to 3mph) I saw almost no tip curl that wasn't induced by me. My guess is when the only wind you have is apparent, it tends to be pretty smooth.
Gust handling. This is still the big question. The 15m handled gusts much better than I would have guessed. I was both surprised and relieved by this as the wind picked up while riding it with my skates. I would have been more comfortable on my skis but I never felt at risk on the skates. Gusts felt fairly smooth and allowed me to sheet in and out to offset them. Depower was very good, not even close to some of the other kites we've been flying like the Peak or Ozone Access or Summit but still not terrible. For my part if I'm riding the 18 Chrono, I'm not worried about the wind picking up much.
One thing that's interesting to me is the kite's weight. SHE AIN'T SO LIGHT! The material isn't even as light as Silver Arrow material and seems only slightly lighter than the fabric on the new Access. In the pack, it feels like a big kite but this doesn't seem to affect the flying efficiency in anyway. We are currently flying the Chrono on the Freestyle bar. I'm considering getting the race bar so people can demo the kite for the full race effect.
I want to note that if you have any experience flying older Peter Lynn F-Arcs that will translate well to the Chrono. The Chrono goes damn near straight up wind like the F-Arc but unlike the F-Arcs it hammers down wind as well.
Follow the video link to see what you can do with a Chrono 18m flying in nothing but apparent wind. http://youtu.be/VlBA3zKN2lo
So that's where we are now. The Chrono goes way beyond being simply a high AR kite like some of the fixed bridle race kites that have been produced over the years. This kite will almost guarantee you don't miss out on light wind days. Of course as we all know, light wind flying is the most expensive wind of all and the Chrono is no exception with the 18m being $2865 RTF. Definitely in the "Doctor/Lawyer" category or someone who is a diehard racer but in this kite you get what you paid for. In the long term this kite will get you a lot of riding days you would have otherwise missed.
We will do an updated review at some point and a long term one at the end of the season. We have both the 15m and 18m in our demo program so if you're in our neck of the woods and want to check them out on a day you don't think there's enough wind to ride give us a shout. I'm actually looking forward to light wind days to try them out more myself.
Bottom line. The Chrono is a "no holds barred" light wind beast. This kite comes at a premium price but if you want to almost guarantee not missing out on a light wind day this kite is the one that will get the job done. There are other kites that will do well in light winds but noting comes close to this.
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