UP Trango X-Race review after 80 hours

New EN-C gliders are so expensive. Fortunately, an advert with acceptable price for slightly used UP Trango X-Race, sold by a very skilled pilot, was too hard to refuse. I fly at 90 kg from 78-100 kg certified range in Advance Lightness 2 harness and bellow you will find my extensive experience after about 80 thermic hours with it.

Trango XC4 is more suitable name, Or Trango XC3 light? Does not matter, Trango X-Race (TXR) for some reason is the real one. Unfortunately for a reader, probably a skilled XC pilot, I can compare it mainly to UP Summit XC4, or UP Kibo, which flew a lot in past. Few hours on Advance Sigma 10, LC Gyps or Skywalk Cayenne 4 would be too harsh for a serious comparison.

The material seems quite fragile. Glider goes with “lighter” trend, I would not mind extra half kilo for increased durability, but as price of this category drops faster then school gliders, if it lasts 500 hours I am fine with that. The same feeling I had from Gyps, slightly more durable from Sigma, Cayenne is much heavier and feel much more durable. Glider had 50 hours at beginning, with no visible wear/tear and after another 50, it seems still the very similar me but crispiness seems slightly lower. From design perspective, I do not like the balls on Cs as they are too close to Bs and difficult to grab in thicker gloves. The C handles are for some reason hated by UP. Also, I would prefer magnets at brakes, my left pin was impossible to attach. I asked dealer and he advised to put little oil. It worked as magic, and now it is possible to operate them fine. Unsheathed lines is a must for this category, they seems same as on Summit. Few times lines tangled at take off, I am a slacker, take off from rosette often – generally ears must be cared about more than lines.

Feeling of glider with almost 7 AR, EN-C is of course different than any EN-B, high/hot/top/other bullshit word Bs included. Gyps felt little more compact despite low take off weight from certified range, Sigma felt less dynamic if remember well. TXR rush to thermals significantly, causing a small surge, sniffing thermals very well if you let it go. The feeling is sensitive, but the stall point is not easily noticeable. I managed to land in deepstall once, fortunately I was just a meter above the ground when glider stalled, without any consequences. In turbulent air, glider is felt to work quite often, but I am still able to relax in not wild moments. Wingtips sometimes mini-collapse. Softening in wild conditions has been felt several times, few extra kilos would definitely help. I felt in charge even in wild air. The energy is well retained and unskilled pilot may be surprised pretty fast.

Handling I like. In Kibo – Summit – Trango models, the evolution of agility is obvious. Brakes are medium but possible to do tight turns without a halfwrap, which is similar to Sigma and Gyps. Cayenne has longer brakes. With halfwraps the control is short and linear with tiny movement. In spiral dive it is easy to maintain the set amount of sink without much effort but small movements make significant changes, not for newbies. The speedbar is softest I had, with traditional UP fluent responsiveness even when instantly pushed/released.

Big ears are perfect to handle, very similar to Summit. It feels like on a button, gentle touch the lines and ears are down. However I would call them small ears. They do reinflate itself with speed of a school glider, always. I like this and use it sometimes when I am long on the final approach or when sucked by cloud. Glider is very stable on ears. In practice, if I was sucked by cloud, ears+speed I usually maintained the same height (5-7ms thermals in the core).

Performance aspects:

Glider floats very, very nice. Even with my IMO poor thermalling skills in weak broken thermals, with TXR I was able float within the best. Once I was frustrated not able to catch my friend Viktor on Mentor 4, I had enough altitude so decided to find stronger/more compact thermal.

Best glide I have no idea, I glide on speedbar in 95%. Glide over Annecy lake at 11:15 Advance Iota seemed to have the same trim glide in calm air. My friend on Mentor 4 said it TXR is much better in turbulent air. All same sizes and similar loading. During soaring in weak conditions I did not find any worth-mentioning.

Glide on speed, be aware of BIG disclaimer to different size, different tracks in active air, different pilot skills and possible bad trimming in some cases. Compared to other gliders, Aspen 6 bigger size seems the same, the same size seems worse. Axis Venus 4 and Venus 4 SC same size seems the same. Advance Iota 1 against wind has no chance. Iota 2 was just little worse. Two liners are visibly better, but smaller Flow Racer,  smaller Enzo 1 and same size Boom 11 I was able to hold on with little luck; Enzos 2,3 and bigger Booms 11, UP Guru RFC and Meru was visibly better.

I felt the biggest improvement to my previous gliders is (unsurprisingly) glide against the wind.With medium thermal activity (2,0+ continuous rising) it was possible to fly comfortably against the medium wind (around half of trim speed) and I was able to achieve 40 km/h full speed with GR usually around 1:5.

Safety. I have flown in wild conditions several times. In turbulence the glider feels like riding a proud stallion. Few times it rushed forward almost instantly, and I always hit brakes slightly to calm it without issues. Sometimes it was just a half of glider which rushed forward.  The workload in turbulent air is far higher from Kibo, and quite higher than Summit, but I always felt as flying, never being flown.

I got several collapses, probably 20, most really not worth any deep description. Bigger ones (50-80%) was fine with active piloting, none to very little direction change. I would be scared to let it go. Did not get frontstall, and collapses on speed was just bumps, as I released speedbar immediately. Really strong manual collapses (80%) some direction change was difficult to avoid, I was afraid of stall.

As a summary – I really do not like the price of (any) brand new EN-C glider, it is simply too expensive for expected 2-3 years usage for me. But besides that Trango XR is a marvelous glider, providing extremely precise handling, top floating ability and behind two liners very nice glide at high speed.

The first days after I felt fully aligned with TXR, always a windy day (4 – 8 ms):

2 thoughts on “UP Trango X-Race review after 80 hours”

  1. Hello

    Last year I read your reviews on Summit XC4, they were very accurate, I changed from BGD Cure to XC4, I spent about 100 hours with him in the air, the second wing I used in this season is UP Lhotse, I like to use the mountains: -)
    now I came to the conclusion that it is better to have one wing (a difficult choice is a bad idea 🙂 I think about buying Trango X-race
    I am concerned only with the aspect of safety and comfort, active pilotage is something that I really like but ….

    and here I have a question, would you return to XC4?

    Best regards and congratulations on the blog!

    s pozdravem !
    Michal

    1. Hi Michal, I never regreted to step up to Trango XR, so answer is simple: I would not return to XC4. I think I simply grown up as a pilot because I am not scared anymore and believe I possess enough skills, just hope it is not complacency.

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