I have been lucky enough to have many sessions on these kites and I am so pumped that they are now on the market and people are getting them in their hands.
XL Kites in Fort Walden Beach, Florida, recently put the Flites up against 4 other light wind kites that they sell in their store.
You can read their review and watch the testing video here:
If you have not watched our intro video, with Ross Harrington, to this kite, please have a look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1xJT9wFmto&feature=c4-overview&list=UUQvsO4qr-S6CmslPvSJFcHA.
Looking forward to more reviews as you have a chance to have fun in light wind too.
All positive stuff. I see the new freestyle bar features in the video from XL Kites?
Yes, that is the new Freestyle bar. It is a clean and simple to operate above the bar system for those who prefer above the bar to the below the bar systems.
This new bar uses a clamcleat with shock cord build into the trim line to reduce the chance of the trim line wrapping around your bar when depowered.
Compared to the previous Freestyle bar, we have increased the throw and have added a stopper ball for those looking for this on their bar.
Look for this bar to be available in March, 2014. XL Kites has them available now.
I have friends who use their old (2010-2011) Rise 14m in pretty light stuff on rather large TT. I own a skim and a ‘‘small’’ TT. I was wondering if the Flite 14.5 was pretty equivalent to the Rise 14m in wind range (top and lowed)?
Also between the 14.5 and the 17m… I kind of hate anything larger than 15m as they tend to be sluggish, and top way too fast. I live in a gusty area where 12 knots really means 5 to 20 knots… 10 to 15 knot gusts are not rare but you just cannot always rig for the gusts as the hole are way to deep and big to keep you going.
So what is your take on the 17m top end for a 180lbs free rider who enjoys basic hooked in freestyle stuff (transitions, back-from rolls, etc). My first choice would be 14.5 as my favorite size is 10m so I could have 14.5, 10 and 7m quiver. perfect for traveling in the islands but my 138x40 might not get going in 10 knots+ with that. I also own a 12m so 17-12 overlaps nicely . but for traveling I prefer to carry the 10m than the 12m and I am not too sure about 17-10m… that is why having a idea of the 17m might help.
Previous to flying the new Flites, I been out on many brands and many styles of 14-17.5m kites. All were large and gave you that “pulls like a truck” feeling. Technically I was out there kiting but in general I needed a very large board to push back against the power of the kite otherwise I would be going downwind. Big kites would get you out there but the fun factor was simply not always there. Eventually if it was not windy enough for the 12 or less I would question going out.
After you get a chance to fly the new Flites, I think that you will find that the fun of smaller kites can be found in these two sizes. They do not feel sluggish at all and are not a challenging kite to fly or keep in the sky during lulls. They will give you a ton of grunt in your initial power stroke but will then go up wind very well. In my experience they handle the gusts very well but I have not experienced the 17m when REALLY over powered, only the 14.5m. It was still fun and I felt like I could do some sweet Toby Airstyle.
Without a doubt, the 17m will have a better bottom end and will get you through the lulls better than the 14.5m. It sounds like you were leaning towards the 14.5m, and I would tend to agree with you as long as you are willing to give up a little of your bottom end. I would also consider adding an Origin or a true light wind board to your quiver to really help you on the lower end of the range.
Is there a dealer close to you that would be willing to bring in a demo of each size?
The local dealer does not have the 14,5 but they lent me a 17 for my trip in the islands. Unfortunately it will be the 2013 bar but hey… Free kite. I ordered the 17, I own a skim but hope to be riding my small board in 10-12. The forecasts are not that good for that week so it will be my chance to test it in sub 10 up to close to 20 knots. Opted for the 17 as the 14.5 will overlap too much with my 12m which has an incredible lowend. If I feel that the 17m cannot be held a few knots above 15, I might change the order for a 14.5. I will write my findings here.
I have a 15m Flite and have been very happy with it. How does the 14.5 Flite compare to last years 15 Flite? Low end, turning speed, surf, relaunch? Thanks for any feedback.
The 14.5m Flite 2.0 is a completely different kite vs the Flite 15m V 1.0
You likely find that the 15m flies on apparent wind and does not have a ton of low end grunt but once the kite is moving it is a fun kite with lots of power. The shape of the 15m is not conducive to being a great light wind wave kite because it does not drift. Most will tend to find that it is fun for boosting once you have some wind in it. In the waves, keep it moving \ looping and it will keep you going.
The 14.5m is roughly 30% lighter than the 15m so right away you will be able to notice some performance differences. From there the shape is much different. The 14.5m drifts very well and turns very quick, most should find this and the 17m a great kite to use in the waves on lighter days. The new Flites will sit deeper in the window on the initial power stroke, coupled with the faster speed, you will notice that there’s a lot more grunt in the kite but after the initial power stroke it still goes upwind well. In the waves the kite will drift and hang for you.
Everything about these new Flites is easy and fun. Easy relaunch, stable, no back stall, and fast. They feel and fly like kites that are much smaller.
If you can arrange for a demo I would love to get your feedback of a side by side comparison from someone who has a lot of experience on the generation 1 Flite 15m.
Thanks Todd. I’m trying to get a demo but no luck, big kites not too available in the Gorge. I use my 15 at the coast on light days and snowkiting and you’re right on the money with your comments. Probably just have to buy and try!
If you cannot find a demo and are on the fence, OR has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
That’s what pushed me off the fence when I bought my 17. And for the record I am keeping it!
For years, we’ve used the term “session saver” in reference to a piece of gear that one always takes on vacation with them or with them on a kiting weekend.
On Friday, I “stole” a session and had fun when I had no business being out on the water. I was having a good time on top of that. I was on the 14.5m Flite and couldn’t believe that the kite was staying in the sky through some of the lulls.
I got my 5th session on my 17 this weekend. Went out when everyone was on the beach checking the forecast and sensors. I was joined shortly by a ozone 17 M.
This was the first session I got to ride it in wind that was strong enough to really play in and I had a great time. Most my other sessions were testing the lower range. Got some nice floaty jumps, loops and worked some tricks. Man you can darkslide forever with a 17 meter.
Spent at least 3 hours riding, I even stayed out even when 9s were coming out. By the end of the session the wind was gusting at least 25 mph if not more. I was fully depowered and had my hands full but didn’t feel sketched out. I do think I was on the upper end of what it could handle, any more and it would have gotten hairy. For the record I am 210 lbs and tend to ride a kite bigger than most around me.
I could have come in to get my 12 but I was having to much fun on the 17.
I am extremely impressed with how the kite handles and with it’s low and high range.
So, I’m debating this back and forth, because I’m of the opinion that if it’s below 12 knots you may as well not kite. I have a paddleboard for days like that.
However, here recently, we have had a lot of barely rideable days, 11-13 knots, etc. So I’m thinking if I can sell my 12m, going with a 14.5 or 17m Flite, coupled with my 10m/8m Razors.
I’m 6’0, 185 lbs, intermediate rider, split roughly 60/40 twintip/surf. I’m into kiteloops, boosting, and strapless surf.
Any thoughts? Are you guys just mowing the lawn at 10 - 12 knots, or are you actually getting solid sessions in?
I would think that at 185 lbs you should be able to get a solid session in with a 17 M with 12 knots of wind. I have razors in 8/10/12 and have the 17.
Of course it’s hard to positively tell what winds speeds I have been riding in with my 17 however I believe that at 9 knots I am mowing but at 12 I have enough power to play. I have been out in 5-10 mph winds and that was mowing, when it got over 10 mph I had decent power.
Keep in mind I am 210 lbs.
So, in light wind, I typically want to try new tricks, so I actually like having my 12m Cypher because it’s a bit slower and a bit more forgiving than the Razor. I’m guessing I would have the same sort of performance with regard to stability, turning speed, etc. between the 14.5 Flite and 12m Cypher and just gain low end.
Basically, I’d like to be able to mess around working on new things in 9-12 knots instead of the required 13 - 15 for the Cypher before I can jump or do anything.