Hey I posted most of this stuff in another thread, but it's a little off-topic there so I thought i'd cut and paste it here as a review.
I was pretty skeptical about the low-end claims made for the speed kites, but I'm happy to report it is true that the speed 13 has a low-end that is comparable to about a 18-20 meter lei.
I'm glad I choose the 13 instead of the 17, The 13 works well in light winds with a big fast board, yet the kite turns fast, quite a bit faster than the speed 17 from what I've been told. I haven't tried the speed 17 myself.
So far the only thing I don't like is the safety leash attachment: its just a plastic snap buckle. On all my other flysurfer kites these things eventually fail, usually when trying to land the kite alone and overpowered. Eventually I'll do what I've done with my other FS kites and replace the plastic with a good metal snap shakle.
Here's the cut and paste stuff I posted in another thread:
PostPosted Fri Aug 26, 2005 9:27 am
I had my new speed 13 out this week along side a slingshot fuel 19 and a machine 20.5.
Wind was marginal. The local noaa wind sensor is down so no accurate measurement. All 3 riders about the same weight (around 85kg). I cheated by adding a pair of 7 meter extensions to the speed 13's stock 20 meter lineset.
I don't know why the speed only comes with 20 meter lines. If it's much better with the 20m in good wind then that's fine, but for what it costs Flysurfer should include a set of extension lines for light wind.
I rode my 150x46 Anomaly twintip, fuel 19 guy had a slingshot LFB directional, 20.5 machine guy had a 2005 slingshot sx twintip, the 137 I think.
My buddy on the fuel 19 with the lfb was very closely matched to me. We both had just barely enough power to work our way upwind, not quite enough power to really do any jumps.
My friend on the 20.5 machine was working hard just to hold ground, but if he had been riding one of my 150x46 twintips, he would have had enough power to decent jumps and transitions. I know this because I lent him my board when I had to leave.
For sure the feel for flying bridled foils and lei is slightly different. Same basic techniques but slightly different feel - hard to nail down exactly. I find it annoying trying to switch between the two.
Posted Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:07 am
The speed 13 feels like it turns fast enough on the stock settings. I noticed the soft steering setting is noticably faster, but in light wind the kite seems to loose power in the turns when set for full soft steering. I've only had two sessions on it so far and other one was in some really gusty wind - I did get a few very nice jumps with good hangtime then though.
I do hope to be doing kiteloops with the speed 13 but I need to fly the kite in some decent conditions to really make an assessment. The 2004 fuel 19 I know is not very good for kiteloops - a little too slow and it sits a little too far back in the window, but I can just barely loop that kite.
Posted Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:37 am
The speed 13 does kiteloops no problem on the factory set steering speed adjustment, even when it's a little bit underpowered. I think it turns about as fast as my psycho2 10M, maybe even faster. For sure it feels faster then the 2004 slingshot fuel 19, at least on the stock 20m lineset.
In fact I only really tried them for one session in marginal wind. I made them out of some old line, the second time I tried them out one of the main line extensions broke so I went back to the stock line length.
For sure I need to get some new extensions made up for use when needed, around here we frequently have days when there is lots of wind up high, but little or even no wind down at water level.
The kite is slightly wierd on the stock lines: it flys so far into the window that it looks like for sure it's going to luff if I park the kite overhead, but I haven't had the kite luff yet.
I really want to get a session in with some nice steady wind, but since I got the kite the wind has not been cooperating at all - it's mostly been either too strong or just barely not enough.
Tom, I saw your posts in another forum about getting overpowered with your 17. From my experience with other FS and also with 2-line foil kites, for sure you will get much better depower and gust control on the shorter stock lines.
Piotr S. wrote:try +1 hard steering for light wind..yes slower but WAY more power & upwind & lift,
Not sure if it actually adds more power or whatever, but that's probably a good tip anyway - the hard steering settings basically limit how much you can pull in the back lines (the manual says to disconnect it if you're using handles, where you would want as much throw on the back lines as possible and can pull on the fronts separately).
The reason that hard steering is a good thing in really light wind is that sheeting in&out a lot can "shake" the wind out of the kite to a certain extent (happens to big LEI's too) - so the hard steering limits the amount you can sheet in and reduces that somewhat. And on the soft steering settings, the kite stalls easier in very light winds (especially when you crank the bar hard) - so hard steering limits the amount of travel during turns and reduces backstall there as well.
It is slower turning, especially in light winds, but it could give you another 1mph on the bottom by providing more continuous power.
If I understand the diagram and what I'm seeing when I fly the kite, the reason the bar feels heavier is because you're no longer pulling on just the back line - you're pulling on the front on that side also (like with handles). That connector line limits how far you can pull the backs before the fronts are also pulled. Hard steering = short connector.
Soft steering does let you turn the kite faster, but it's also easier to stall it (full stall or near-stall) and thereby lose power - with a lot of finesse you can avoid this, basically by not turning the kite as hard...
I've also found the harder settings way better than soft in light winds.
Also, even if you don't have backstall at soft -1, you still slow the kite down especially in light winds, where on middle or hard -1 or full hard, you don't do this anymore and the speed through the window generates a lot of power.