In my humble opinion the Ashford Kiwi 3 is one of the best wheels currently on the market. A relatively new design it has a number of features and improvements over its predecessor (unsurprisingly known as the Kiwi 2) that make it a brilliant investment for novice and experienced spinners alike.
Personally speaking I was never much of a fan of the Kiwi 2, I have a number of friends who own and love theirs but never once did it pull at my heartstrings and it was only when the newer model was released in 2019 that I totally *got* their admiration for this wee workhorse of a wheel.
Unlike the previous generation the Kiwi 3 features a folding treadle which is an absolute game-changer for those of us who have limited space or enjoy travelling with our wheels to Spin-ins, guild meetings or holiday trips. Previously this option was only available on the Joy which, although beautiful, comes with a much higher price tag. More recently the option for a carry bag has been introduced and although it isn't an easy wheel to fling over your shoulder it does add extra protection for your wheel whilst in transit and ensures that bobbins and threading hooks don't get lost in car footwells (speaking from experience).
The bobbin capacity of the Kiwi 3 is a generous 130g, owing to the larger Sliding Hook Flyer - this is smaller than the Ashford Jumbo Bobbins but roomier than the Regular Bobbins and comfortably fits a small projects worth of plied yarn. From experience I can usually fit up to 200g of fingering weight yarn onto a single bobbin provided I have been attentive in adjusting the sliding hooks as I go.
If more space is needed however, or you're a lover of the chunky art-yarn this wheel does have the option for a Super Flyer which, although an investment, enables you to add a whopping 500g capacity bobbin with a huge 27mm orifice which will squeeze on even the floofiest of super coils! Unlike other wheels with similar adaptions, the Kiwi 3 Super Flyer comes as a single unit from the maiden up which means you can easily switch between flyers simply by undoing one bolt.
Conversely, if you prefer to spin lace weight yarn the optional High Speed Whorl is also available which gives ratios of up to 15:1 for a super fine, high twist yarn. This means that with just one wheel you can spin literally any style of yarn you wish and easily change between options when you fancy a change. Bearing in mind that the Kiwi 3 is the 'entry level' spinning wheel from Ashford this is phenomenal!
I have been using this wheel to teach spinning for a number of years now and, along with the Kromski Fantasia, is the wheel I recommend most often to beginner spinners. The double treadle with the footmen visible in front of the wheel makes it a comparatively easy wheel to learn how to treadle on although it does have a tendency to change direction if you don't maintain momentum. Resolving this comes with practice, as with any wheel, but as this wheel is directly controlled by the footmen simply stopping your feet will cause the wheel to pause until you can regain control and continue.
As with all of the Ashford range the Kiwi 3 is available in either a natural or lacquered finish. Despite the price difference between the two I would recommend investing in the lacquered version as it is a lot easier to maintain and gives a beautiful sheen to the wood. If you are artistically minded, however, or prefer the look of darker wood you have free range on design with the natural finish and Ashford wax is available separately.
bobbin change speed test*: 1 minute 10 seconds
*time taken to remove and replace bobbin and thread leader through orifice ready to spin