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.