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North Juice Vs The Mono: Versus Ep 11 w/Rygo

Posted by Rygo on

This week I’m going to a compare two kites that really fall into two different categories. 

Two kites built for similar but different reasons 

The Juice is North’s go to lightwind freeride kite while the Mono is their Freeride and foil kite. With that said, these are two very different kites built for different reasons but they do have crossover applications. 

So where do we begin? Let's start with the Juice. The North Juice has many of the characteristics one can expect from any modern light wind kite. On a side note, if you haven't tried a lightwind kite in the last 4 years, you’re missing out. They are much more fun and effective than they used to be. In 2011 I wouldn't have even considered using anything larger than a 12 or 14 meter. Now I find myself sessioning on 15 meters and larger more often that just about any other size. Mostly because light wind days are much more common where I ride but also because the gear is actually fun. Now, getting back on point here, the Juice has many of the characteristics one can expect from a light wind kite. Namely, its going to have a strong forward pull, lots of grunt, a delayed feel in contrast to any 12 meter and loads of power.

The North Juice feels like a high performance freeride kite should 

What you can expect from the Juice 

I’ve rode all of our brands light wind kites extensively and I’m always surprised by the sheer power of the Juice. With some brands, at 175 I’ll opt for a 17 m but with the Juice I almost always pick a 15 as the 18 is often just too much for me. I’ve used it a few times and if you’re looking for lots of air, that kite is the ticket but for those of us under 200 lbs sometimes it can be a lot to handle. Actually most lightwind kites are designed with rider weight in mind. Most brands have weight recommendations for their light wind kites, where going to big can actually be counter intuitive. With that said, for many lighter riders, the 15 is the perfect blend of lowe end and its maneuverable enough to really generate some power by signing the kite.

Regarding performance, you can also expect many of the same benefits offered by kites like the Evo or even the Neo in North line up. The Juice is very much a pull and go kite. Jumping is near effortless and the kite is characterised by big lofty long jumps and a softer decent.

The biggest difference you will notice is that like all lightwind kites, it does have a strong forward pull and a delayed feel.

You can expect many of the same traits common to all light wind kites

So what about the Mono?

When I first heard about all the single strut and no strut kites I was skeptical to say the least. The first time I tried them I was surprised to see see how stable they were, with that said, I was even more surprised when I finally got my hands on a Mono.

This kite has a surprisingly direct steering impulse and if I were blind folded I doubt I could tell it was a single strut kite. The main advantages with opting for a kite like this is how incredibly light the Mono is. You can get the 15 out in extremely light winds Where as with the Juice and all lightwind kites for that matter, in the subpar winds the kite is just going to be too heavy.

The 2018 North Mono is not only effective in light wind but fun to fly as well

With The Mono, the pull is very consistent and with the direct steering impulse it’s almost effortless to sign the kite and build speed. This is the first major point to consider between these two kites. The Juice is going to have a delayed steering impulse, meaning in lighter winds you’ll have to be a bit more preemptive when steering the kite. For inexperienced lightwind riders, this can create an inconsistent pull as you learn to accommodate with the delay. On the other hand the Juice performs better across the board regarding jumping particularly when the wind gets stronger. 

It’s really important to remember that these kites are built for different reasons and you should ask yourself what’s most important to you in the lighter conditions.

North absolutely had foilboarders in mind when they designed the Mono 

What other differences can you expect? 

So back to the Juice, this kite is more refined. It’s going to have that familiar all around kite feel and offer many of the same benefits you can expect from most modern performance freeride kites. Due to its weight, you won’t be able to get the kite out in as light of wind as a Mono

In contrast, with the Mono,right out of the gate, you can feel why this kite would perform well for foil boarders who might like a responsive lightweight kite to get out in subpar conditions and to that end, the Mono is the better tool for foilboarders. Now, while I mention that the Juice is more akin to normal freeride kites and lightwind kites, that doesn’t mean the Mono is simply an effective light wind tool. I actually found it to be a very fun freeride kite. Riders who prefer a more direct feel and faster kite could consider this as a light wind option. For example Angel rides the North Vegas as his normal kite and opts for the Mono in light wind conditions. The big trade off that I did find with going for a kite like the Mono and this is true for all the Single strut kits I've flown but it is easy to get over powered on these. I speculate this has to do with the simplicity of the design behind them as well as the direct steering impulse. While the Mono makes for an incredible light wind tool, when riding a twintip and you get to the higher end of the kites wind range, it’s easy to pick up a bit too much speed. All these factors made jumping with this kite different. Not necessarily bad, just different. Like any kite, when you try a new design, you’’l have to adapt and that usually takes a couple sessions to get the timing right.

While the Mono is not as well rounded it is an incredibly fun kite

Which kite is the better light wind tool? 

So between these two kites what one is the better lightwind tool? Well, that completely comes down to personal preference. The Mono is going to be faster, lighter, more direct and and more effecting in sub 10 knot winds but it can lose some efficacy when the wind picks up on you. while the Juice is going to be more familiar, handle stronger winds with more refinement, have a more delayed feel and operate much like most high performance freeride kites.

Riders looking to progress in lighter winds should give both of these kites a try. I’ve really come to love my lightwind sessions. I know a lot of people who love to be lit up all the time and yeah, those sessions are fun but there is something to be said about getting in a lighwind session at dawn. Usually it’s just you and a friend or two, the water is glass, the wind is consistent and it’s really easy to try and land new tricks before taking them to smaller kites.

Kristen Cooper having a fun light wind session at Yuckite in Progresso Mexico

So I hope you found this helpful, if you’re still debating between these kites you can always give us a call we’re happy to help you dial in the right gear. Like I always say, this series is an open forum so I welcome your input. I’ve haven't put in as many sessions in on the mono as I have the Juice so if you currently rider this kite let us know about your experience or if I missed anything in this video. If you ride the Juice feel free to chime in as well. It’s one of my favorite light wind kites next to the Contra. I think I’ll be doing some lightwind kite comparison in the near future here as well that will be fun.

Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic

Many people dream of quitting their job, traveling the world and pursuing their passions. Rygo is one of those people who pulled the trigger. About eight years into a postal career, he decided to change everything and travel as a freelance videographer & writer. This took him from coast to coast and a variety of countries. Nowadays you can catch him on the phones, doing lessons, or working on videos. Of course, he still makes a point to travel as often as possible. He is passionate about helping people and sharing the stoke with his customers and students alike.