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Cabrinha Xbow3 and Contra review

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colokiter
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Cabrinha Xbow3 and Contra review

Postby colokiter » Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:04 pm

I just finished spending 4 days in Hatteras on the new Contra 14 and the new Xbow 3 and I wanted to share what I found out about the kites. First, I've been on Cabrinha kites now for 2 years, starting with the Xbow and moving to the Xbow 2's last year. I spend about 2 months a year in Hatteras, and do not work for Cabrihna. I think that this and other forum are used by the manufacturers, so I wanted to be clear that I have no affiliation with Cabrihna.

First the Contra. Although I did not own a 14 from last year, I did spend a fair amount of time on one. Overall, the kite is definately constructed bettter - seams, leading edge, and trailing edge - which was definately a problem on the 07 kites. What I noticed immediately was the lift and the turning, which again are improved. The bridling is different from last year, more similar to the Omega with a pulley fixed to the leading edge, and it seems that the front fly line contacts are positions furhter back from center of the kite. I am 195 lbs and was able to my 142 Underground FLX with only 13 mph of wind just fine. The big advantage from last year was the top end of the wind zone, where the kite was much more relaxed. I stayed out when the wind was topping out at 24 mph and really did not feel out of control when the wind peaked. Last years kite did not handle the high end of the wind zone very well. My only disappointment was the "moderate" bar pressure., which was very noticeable. With proper tuning of the depower you can remove some bar pressure, but without tuning the depower the kite pulls like a truck. For a big kite, overall I was very happy with the changes - smooth and easy to fly.

Now the Xbow 3. Again, the construction is greatly improved - seams, leading edge, trailing edge, strut seams - and finally they have some good looking kites. The bridling is similar to the Contra and Omega. The kite flies very smoothly, again just slightly improved from last year, but the bar pressure has definately increased which is a disappointment. You have to trim the depower much more in order to manage the bar pressure, again not that big of a deal, except for people who already were disappointed with previous models bar pressure. The 3 defiantely has more lift for jumping and I seemed to stay in the air longer then with the 2. Again, I felt that the 3 was defiantely improved from a construction point of view, and slightly refined from a flying point of view.

The new bar was disappointing. The set-up is the same as last year, the big change is the grip which is in no way an upgrade from last year. The grip is slimmer and defiantely not as much cushion as last year. The swivel on the center line does not spin easily, same problem as last years. What may be interesting is that it is the 2N1 set-up, so in theory you could run the bar in a 1:1 set-up althiough the User's Manual does not recommend using it that way. Cabrinha is probably simplifying the number of bars they need to produce, but I have seen people run these kites in light wind in a 1:1 set-up, but if you do be very careful because you loose a lot of depower ability and the kite does fly very differently.

I hope this helps, again I would say the kites are better with slight improvements in flying characteristics, but constructions seems miles better.

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K3rM1t
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Postby K3rM1t » Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:22 am

You should post a pic of that Contra! I think the color scheme on yours is great and I loved watching it against the sunset last week!

The real question with these new Cab kites is whether they are worth the price. I love my Contra 14, but for a list price of just under US$1900 there's no way I'm going to upgrade. Doesn't matter how nice the new colors are!

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Postby V-95 » Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:24 pm

When you say the XBow 3 is a 2N1 setup, do you mean the bar or the kite? If the kite bridle attachments are in the same place on the kite as the Omega in a 2:1 mode, then I assume the bar pressure would be the same as the Omega in 2:1. Is that true? Or did you mean the bar itself has the capability to convert to 1:1?

How is the xbow 3 bar pressure compared to the Omega in 2:1? I find the Omega bar pressure unacceptable in 2:1.

Thanks,
Bill

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CaptainArgh
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Postby CaptainArgh » Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:23 pm

Nice unbiased review. Thanks for sharing that.

Maybe the companies are just starting to take the position that if you want a true bow kite, its going to have some bar pressure. And if you don't want bar pressure, buy a hybrid. That seems to be the trend I'm seeing in kites anyway... (but I'd rather have a light pressure bow)

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Postby RickyBobby » Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:53 pm

Bar pressure in Bow kites is a greatly misunderstood subject.

With a properly tuned Bow, you want to get going up to speed and then sheet out the bar a bit, alleviating the bar pressure.

This whole bar pressure thing has been blown completely out of proportion by those who are pre-disposed to not like Bows for one reason or another.

Maybe it's because I am used to the feel of a Bow, the bar pressure thing is not an issue at all for me. Also, I know where the kite is at all times.

Beware of where and who you get your info from concerning Bows and any other kite for that matter. Lots of misinformation floating around. You may be told what is what by someone who knows not a thing about what they are talking about.

colokiter
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Postby colokiter » Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:10 pm

K3rM1T - I agree, it did look good in the sky! I also agree that the price is really too high, but they are taking advantage of being on top of the market, at least right now and in their own eyes.

V95 - when I talk about set-up I am referring to bar set-up, which could be run in a 1:1 mode, although it is not recommended per the owners manual for either the Contra or the Xbow. I just found it interesting that they are supplying a bar that could be converted, easily, to run in that mode even though they do not recommend it. Overall, compared to the Omega, it slightly less bar pressure on the Xbow and similar on the Contra.

Ricky Bobby - my point to the bar pressure was to compare the 3's to the 2"s. I agree that bows require more tuning with the depower, and that during most riding bar pressure is not an issue as you pointed out, but in order to jump any of the bows, you have to hold the bar down, completely, or your ride is over. That's where you feel the pressure, that's where it has increased over last year, and if you read the begining of my review you would see that I have been using a quiver of bow kites for over 2 years - starting with gen 1, gen 2, and now gen 3 Cabrinhas. Yes, there's pressure compared to a C kite or some of the hybrids, again my only point was to compare this years to last years kite, thats all. Keep rockin' Ricky!

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Postby RickyBobby » Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:58 pm

colokiter: I actually was not refering to your comments about bar pressure. Just the general feeling that exists out there in the kitesurf world at large.

And yes, you must certainly sheet-in for jump, but adrenalin keeps me from noticeing.

BTW, I had/have xbow 1&2 in 9&12. At 75kg. the 9 gets used most of the time. What it lacks in size,it makes up for it in speed. I might sell the 12.

RB


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