2013 Varial X vs Lithium

2013 Varial X vs Lithium

August 08 2012 / 9 comments

Whats the difference? As we hear this over and over again from riders.  Well, there is a huge difference. Enough so that Airush Kite Designer, breaks it down and explains the two kites feeling and design.

In 2013 the Lithium made some minor changes compared to the 2012, what were they and how does it affect the kite?

[MP] The Lithium 2013 has a new extra light bar pressure setting, Extra construction refinements (ie stronger for the same weight), and some added improvements to the Fast Bladder Inflation valves and fittings.

What type of rider is in mind when you designed the Varial X and Lithium?

[MP] The Lithium is designed for anyone, in any conditions. It works perfectly from first day as a beginner (the proof of this is the kite is EXACTLY the same as our DNA school kite, just with different graphics), up until top pro riders unhooked freestyle and wave riding.

[MP]  However, a rider at the upper end of this performance category, would be slightly more suited to the Varial X as its designed a bit more toward the higher end rider. The Varial X is better for unhooking, powered kite loops, and boosting.  Where as the Lithium works well, but is a bit more designed around ease of use, handling gusty winds, and super easy relaunch.

What type of turning and feeling do the Varial X and Lithium have?

[MP] The Varial X keeps it speed through the turn slightly more than the lithium.  This is great for the advanced rider who wants more power in a kiteloop or enjoys flying their kite around the window.  The Lithium is more suited to “park and ride” with using its better gust response rather than rider skill more so in the Varial X.  Both kites turn about the same speed really, its just a bit of a different feel and speed through the turn.

Do the Lithium and Varial X have the same rigging options ie bridle changes and back line adjustements?

[MP] Yeah, but the new Lithium has one extra “lighter” bar pressure setting on the front section of the bridle. The new Varial X is already pretty light on the bar so it doesn’t need that. They both still have the low, medium, high bar pressure setting on the back lines as well.

Why is the Lithium feel like it has more pull?

[MP]  The Lithium has more pull when you park it compared to the varial X. The varial X you need to fly around in the window a bit more to get the same amount of power. The Lithium also sits a little bit further back in the window which makes it feel like it has a bit more pull.

Some say that the Delta Hybrid design has more power than the SL-C design of the Varial X, Is this true? And Why?

[MP] Not that they actually have more power, but they deliver the power in a different way.  SL-C kites need to be flown (swooped) more to create the power, where as with delta hybrid kites you can just park it and it creates power.

The Delta Hybrid shape is renown for having excellent relaunch – How is the Varial X designed to achieve similar capabilities?

[MP] The Varial X still has good relaunch, but not quite as quick and easy as the Lithium which is more primarily designed around easy relaunch.

The range of the Lithium is immense, does the Varial X have the same range or different?

[MP] The Lithium wind range comes from the ability of the canopy to distort shape in gusty conditions giving a smooth feel even though the kite is parked in the same place. The Varial X can be used in a similar wind range, but needs a bit more skill in the “piloting” of the kite. The wind range works more by keeping the kite moving and generating power in lulls, and the reverse in gusts, ie keeping it more at the edge of the window.


  1. Jako
    August 08 2012

    I found that the Lithium actually gets overpowered quickly and tends to lose it shape, jellyfish, when taken to the upper limits of its wind range. Will the Varial X handle higher winds as it fly’s more forward in the window? Will have to get my hands on the new kites for a demo soon! New graphics look insane! Love my 2012 Lithiums though!

  2. Dan Turner (24-7 Boardsports)
    August 09 2012

    After using the sector V1,2,3 & demoing the VXR – I’m going Airush on my 2013 kites as well! VX 8, VXR 10 & 15.

    Cant wait :)


  3. Tom
    August 10 2012

    Can’t wait for my 2013 lithiums to arrive!!

  4. Brian
    August 10 2012

    The VX has fantastic high end but you will sacrafice some low end in terms of sheet and go riding like the Lithium has. Also, make sure you pump the kite up until you can barely pump and that will get rid of a lot of jellyfishing issues on any of the new kites. I think 8 to 10 PSI is the recommended pressure. I have a 8 and 12 VX and love them. They are outstanding.

  5. Jako
    August 13 2012

    Thanks Brian, will definitely give the 2013 VX’s a go as soon as the season starts!

  6. Chris
    August 15 2012

    I just ordered the 2013 lithiums (10, 12, 16) and cannot wait! Im a big guy at 220lbs and the 16m ONE is going to be my baby for where I live…

  7. Stu
    August 19 2012

    2013 Lithium is mega fun. I’m 92kg and recently took a 10m from 17 knots to 27 on a TT and it was excellent throughout. A real fun fun kite with great boosting and hangtime aswell.
    I’m going 14, 10 & 8 VX for my quiver as they are just nuts!

  8. Tony
    September 02 2012

    I’m debating these two kites in the 12m size, as my biggest kite. 80kg riding a surfboard mainly (this year) but riding 10yrs.
    My next (smaller) kite is a 10m Ozone Reo.
    Seems the Lithium wins in relaunch and probably is lighter?
    What about direct feel and turning speed?
    Our waves are generally less than perfect so realistically not as much pure surfing as ripping around (for me).
    Which kite would you say has a smoother power delivery, which is less apt to yank you as you whip it around?
    Which would you suggest? Not sure I’ll have a chance to demo.

  9. Markus
    July 10 2013

    I’ve been riding the 16 meter Lithium one-strut kite recently with short lines on the twin-tips that I designed and built specifically for my style of riding. It has incredible range, so I can fly it in 17 to 23 knots or so. I downloop in my transitions so I can carve fully powered, and this kite depowers very well so that I have plenty of kite control during my turns. I just ordered a “Dynabar,” so I’m looking forward to being able to carve further on my toe-side rail now.


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