Flite 14.5 and 17m - reviews

Total Posts: 43

Joined 2013-01-15

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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:
http://www.kiteforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2383535


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.

Cheers,
Todd


Total Posts: 574

Joined 2006-10-06

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All positive stuff. I see the new freestyle bar features in the video from XL Kites?

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andy

Dorset UK


Total Posts: 43

Joined 2013-01-15

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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. 

- Todd


Total Posts: 2

Joined 2014-03-06

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Hello Folks,

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.

Thanks


Total Posts: 43

Joined 2013-01-15

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Hi Flipper,

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?

-Todd


Total Posts: 2

Joined 2014-03-06

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Hello Todd,

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.


Total Posts: 98

Joined 2008-05-03

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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.


Total Posts: 43

Joined 2013-01-15

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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.

- Todd


Total Posts: 98

Joined 2008-05-03

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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!


Total Posts: 43

Joined 2013-01-15

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http://oceanrodeo.com/kiting/p/100-guarantee

If you cannot find a demo and are on the fence, OR has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.


Total Posts: 16

Joined 2013-08-17

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Todd - 22 May 2014 10:46 AM

http://oceanrodeo.com/kiting/p/100-guarantee

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!


Total Posts: 43

Joined 2013-01-15

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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.

-Todd


Total Posts: 16

Joined 2013-08-17

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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.


Total Posts: 182

Joined 2008-11-09

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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?


Total Posts: 16

Joined 2013-08-17

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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. 


Total Posts: 182

Joined 2008-11-09

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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.


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Total Posts: 511

Joined 2006-01-19

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I finally got my hands on the 2014 FLITE:  http://www.bigwavedave.ca/phpBB2/sailinglog.php?mode=

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Big Wave Dave your one stop weather site for S. Van. Island…


Total Posts: 98

Joined 2008-05-03

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Anyone used the 14.5 Flite in the surf? Low end sounds good but how’s the drift? The design shape suggests that it wouldn’t drift as well as the original Flite, which I have. How’s the turning speed compared to the 15 Flite? I can see it doing better in lulls because of the very significant weight loss. Thanks for any feedback, real close to pulling the trigger on this one!


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Total Posts: 511

Joined 2006-01-19

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I haven’t got my hands on the 14.5 BUT the design is the same as the 17 & based on the PRODIGY. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=q1xJT9wFmto Experienced local kiters here have duplicated RAZORS for the PRODIGY for surf sessions.

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Big Wave Dave your one stop weather site for S. Van. Island…


Total Posts: 58

Joined 2011-04-13

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Well our season has been off to an agonizingly slow start, but it’s finally begun.  I’ve only had a few sessions on the new flites, but here are the first impressions. 

Conditions are light seabreeze (steady 4-12 knots) with minimal waves. 

-The kites stay pinned in the sky in virtually no wind.  The 17m was flying in 4 knots. 
-Noticeably lighter construction than last years flites.
-Both sizes turn fast in light wind. The lighter weight probably helps along with a totally different design
-I got out riding on the raceboard in 7/8 knots with the 17m.  As the wind picked up to 10-12knots I switched to the 14.5m because the 17 was totally depowered and more than needed. The new Flites build apparent wind much much better than last year’s flites. It makes sense, the new ones are higher aspect kites.  The faster you go, the faster you go…
-Never really got to try and boost the big jumps- lack of wind, damn it. Lack of waves too.

First impressions are pretty good


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Total Posts: 511

Joined 2006-01-19

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Had my first session on the 14.5 . 10-17 knots was enough to cruise upwind on the baby (130cm) MAKO . A perfect overlap to my 10 RAZOR . It turns fairly quickly for a large kite & it doesn’t feel like a huge mass overhead. http://www.bigwavedave.ca/gallery/displayimage.php?album=23&pid=18489#top_display_media  http://bigwavedave.ca/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7213

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Big Wave Dave your one stop weather site for S. Van. Island…


Total Posts: 98

Joined 2008-05-03

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I was told the 17’s are all sold out! Looked on iKitesurf classifieds and I found a ” new” 17 for sale. Bought it and used it the first day I had it on a rare light wind Gorge day. No white caps, didn’t know if it would even fly. My friend launched me and to my surprise it popped up and stayed up with almost no pressure on the kite. Instant grin! Took off and motored up wind in less than 10 mph on the 165 Mako King. Looped it a bunch and just grinned again, so fast for a huge kite! It is really amazing! Wind picked up a bit to white capping and I started jumping. Felt like going up on an elevator then flying a hang glider. So fun! I got this kite for light days kitesurfing at the coast so wanted to check the drift. Started charging straight at the kite and she just stayed in the air with very nice drift. Can’t wait to ride some almost glassy waves with this light wind machine! And then snowkiting in almost no wind! If you haven’t tried this kite you are missing out on a whole new aspect of kiting. Never thought I’d like such a big kite, simply amazing! Great job OR!


Total Posts: 182

Joined 2008-11-09

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Ok, I’m thinking of switching from my 12m Cypher to a 14.5m Flite. It will fit in with my 10m Razor and 8m Razor. I pretty much hop on the 10m at 16 knots, and we have a good number of days in that 12 - 16 range.

My questions are to compare the 12m Razor vs. 14.5m Flite:

How’s the boost? Is it more of a slower, more hangtime boost more like the Cypher in comparsion to the yank of the 12m Razor?
Unhooking - I like practicing new stuff when the wind is low, how is the Flite compared to Cypher and Razor?

Really, I’m not looking to ride at 10 knots, unless there’s waves. The main reason for the Flite is to squeeze a better session out of the n low wind days (12 - 14 knots, etc) and then boost my arse off around 16 knots before I switch to a 10m.

Any thoughts?


Total Posts: 43

Joined 2013-01-15

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I think that you will be surprised at how fast and light the 14.5m and 17m Flites feel.  To me they both feel faster and lighter than my 2010 12m kite from Brand X.

Depending on your weight, you may want to consider the 17m instead of the 14.5m.  If you’re over 180lbs, I would suggest going right to the 17.

I think that the Flite will be a welcomed upgrade for your quiver.

I’m stuck on trying to compare the 12m Razor to either size of Flite.  They’re quite different.  In a nutshell the Flite would have much better low and the Razor a better upper end.

The Flites jump well and have fun hangtime. 

As with all our products, the Flites come with our 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee.  So if you’re not completely stoked, we will accept it back through the dealer that you purchased it from.

- Todd


Total Posts: 98

Joined 2008-05-03

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I finally got my light wind wave session at the Oregon coast! After a couple of 5 mile downwinders riding dozens of almost glassy faced waves I’m hear to tell you that the 17m Flite DELIVERS! There were no white caps and as my 3 buddies sat on the beach (12m kites) I launch and started grinning again! I couldn’t believe I was planning out as the water was almost glass. The first 5’ wave jacks up and down the line I go. That big kite just sat there while I concentrated on surfing the wave, not flying the kite! If I needed some assist I just pulled in the bar and zoomed around the next section. As the wind came up a little it was even easier to park the kite and surf the waves. So Todd was right on the money with his description of the drift, fast turning and power of this “session saver”! After finishing the first downwinder I got a ride back up the beach, 5 miles, and my buddies were still sitting there! Yup, I pumped up and did it again! This kite is a blast to fly and definitely works very well as a light wind weapon in the surf. As all surfers know, less wind means better formed surf. The waves I rode that day were the best shaped waves I’ve ever kitesurfed!


Total Posts: 43

Joined 2013-01-15

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Thanks for posting your thoughts Pete.

I just returned from Surf Expo in Orlando, FL, and boy was the love for the Flite ever being shared by our dealers!  Lot’s of new dealers coming by too to see this kite. 

Feel free to keep sharing as you get more time on this kite.


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Total Posts: 6

Joined 2014-05-11

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This was a very good thread for me.  I had watched the XL Kites review videos, and then wandered this way, way back in May.  The good vibes I was feeling in the posts here for the 2014 Flites sent me to get one of my own.  I’m a competent intermediate kiter and this kite has allowed me to progress in jumping and boosting over my previous generation ‘light-wind’ kite.  The other kite ‘pulled like a tractor’, which was good to get me up when the wind was puffing at 10-11 mph, however the Flite has a solid pull without feeling over-powered.  Much more enjoyable to fly and very dependable in delivery.  It got me riding about 7-8 days more over what I think I would have been able to ride with my old setup (out of about 25 outings this past summer ).  And more than a few grins from the fun-factor of flying it…glad for the reviews early enough (in the season) to help get me onboard.
-Michael

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