Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Friday, November 27, 2015

NIviuk Ikuma 25

 Notes before the test : This test reflects ‘ONLY’ my personal opinion and feel about the glider in question.
If you are a pilot looking forward to find some frequent positive tests and the usual nice comments, please be aware that my blog or page, doesn’t have this option…
My tests reveals the real side of the gliders in my own eyes and flying background, in describing how i see and feel them without the useless chit-chat and make up…
In order to be polite, clear, fair, and true to myself and to others, i cannot smile after every test, and write you stories of joy, peace and sing songs…Wings are so different and test flying them is very difficult but also a very beautiful task !
Sometimes, things do happen, and i confront them with my original nature.

Niviuk IKUMA 25

History: I have flown nearly all Niviuk gliders in the past and ‘in my personal opinion’ there were some that marked the paragliding world at the time like the impressive climb of the Peak 1, and the overall efficiency of the Artik 2.
Some gliders were a bit disappointing, like the Peak 3.
Then came along many other gliders, and some which were also successful, like the Hook 2 and 3, and Artik 3 and 4.
The Peak 4 was the latest one tested last week from my part, and i was really impressed by the amount of performance and comfort ratio. The climb in the very weak was a bit less than expected, but overall, the Peak 4 is a very nice and beautiful glider to fly for my personal taste.

In late 2015, the Ikuma from Niviuk was created in this new B plus category to compete with the current B plus gliders like the Iota from Advance ,the Mentor 4 from Nova and the Rook 2 from 777 etc…
So it’s only fair to compare the Ikuma to those gliders in the high B category.
The Ikuma has a slightly moderate aspect ratio of 5.7 flat.
I received this brand new Ikuma 25 from a special friend who sent it over, only for my tests and which i’m very grateful ! It was still new and factory packed. I unboxed it. It doesn’t have any flaws with very nice construction details, and flies perfectly straight and balanced.

The IKUMA has unsheathed lines from top to bottom, with only 2 lines on the A’s, 2 on the B’s and 3 on the C’s …

Launching the IKUMA 25 at 94.7 kg on my scale is straight forward and easy.
Once in the air, the brake pressure is moderate with some 15 cm to 35 cm of travel to get the glider into a nice turning radius. The first centimetres are also precise, linear and the IKUMA could be described as fairly agile.

Flying it in turbulent thermals felt very easy. The pitch is very dampened and upon entering thermals, the IKUMA doesn’t pitch forward at all, neither stays neutral, but slightly stop with a slight pitch back upon entering.
In strong thermals it needs time to enter at that load and the climb is a bit delayed.
Thermals biting is more efficient on the M4 S, Rook 2, or even the Iota 26 side at the same load where the Ikuma bounce a bit before entering.

This slightly pitch back behaviour of the Ikuma 25 at my load feels insensible in very weak conditions, without biting through, whether i let the brakes or with little brake or even with the rear risers, i was finding a bit difficult to have a competitive climb with the B wings around. The Rush 4, Iota, Mentor 4, were floating slightly better.
The airmass information didn’t also pass clearly from the risers either, but i had a nice turning ability inside a homogeneous core with the Ikuma confirming that it’s a fairly agile glider!

In turbulence the Ikuma ,Iota, Mentor 4, Rook 2 needs the same level of control to keep them overhead with a touch of comfort toward the Iota and Ikuma.

Doing some long glides wing tip to wing tip with a Mentor 4 S with similar load of 94.7 kg showed a slightly faster trim speed for the Mentor 4 S and slightly better glide angle and float-ability for the Mentor 4 S.
At full bar the Mentor 4 S has + 2km/h more speed and showed after consecutive times a more competitive glide angle also for the M4. Of course this couldn’t be the most important feature for a glider, but good to know.

The speed bar has relatively a moderate pressure and at full bar the leading edge is still solid and the top speed of 53 km/h at 800 ASL is usable. (load 94.7 on the 25 )

Big ears are stable, usable, with fairly good descent rate, and they reopen smoothly without a fuss.

The B plus segment holds some very impressive wings as seen on my previous tests and videos.
The Ikuma will take many of you into far places no doubt, but i need to place it for you accurately inside this category.
 After exchanging gliders with my friends with same results, and sharing their thoughts, I concluded that the Ikuma is a relatively comfortable B glider, with moderate performance in this segment and a nice authority on the brakes.

For me the overall efficiency in climb and glide, of the Ikuma 25 with 5.7 aspect ratio glider, that was intended to compete in this segment, didn’t impress me or fulfilled my needs into this fierce battle for the 2015, B category, performance toys.

Please consider that the amount of criticism for a certain product is balanced by the same amount of respect, admiration and expectations especially for a brand among the leaders in gliders industry.

Finally, and most importantly, it’s you, the pilot who will decide what’s best for your needs !
I’m just here typing my own letters…