Ok - I couln't hold off any longer - I got me a 16 X-bow this weekend!
Was all set to do a "scientific" low end comparison with my Speed 17 as the Wind was blowing 6-10 kts.
Pumped it up (7 friggin struts!!!!!!) - and launched. Wow.
Very steady and no lift with the kite sitting overhead.
Tried to go out on my 6ft Naish directional Sky Pirate (circa 2000) - no luck. Grabbed my brand new custom 18"x 5ft ply wood beast....and.....holly shit! I was ripping. No white caps - no chop and I'm flying across the lake. I was working the kite a lot and fully sheeted in most of the time (note that I added another not on the trailing edge pigtails for more low end). Was able to stay upwind for a good hour, but I think the wind dropped a little and I started losing ground.
Bottom line - I was very impressed with the low end. (I'd say 8 kts for 195lbs on a piece of Plywood) But since this was the first time on my Plywood, and first time on my Crossbow - I don't think I'm in a postion to make a fair review.
I hope to do a head to head comparison with my Speed 17 shortly.
I have a Crossbow 12M and a 2005 Nitro 14M- I weight 195 and typically sail in conditions ranging from 14 to 18 knots- In those winds I use the Nitro- more power and better jumping. I would only use the 12M Bow for conditions ranging 20 Knots and above. Personally- I think the 12M Bow sails like a 12M kite in light to medium conditions which for my weight doesn't work.
OK - been out on the x-bow 16 a couple of times now.
Although I did find I could ride it in aprox 8 kts on a big flat piece of plywood- its is Waaaaaaaay more fun to ride in the 15-25 kt range (i'm about 195lb with shorty)
As everyone says - the depower is amazing and gusts are not an issue.
When the gusts come - jump sheet in and enjoy your flight.
Bottom line - for my weight and style (weekend warrior who just wants big floaty air) I would prefer a different kite for winds below 15kts.
I'm about 185-190lbs in the buff and have nothing but good things to say about the CB. I was riding my 16m from about 1:30 - 6:30 yesterday using a Liquid Force WLF 140. Some runs I stayed upwind, others I struggled, but I had fun on the water on a day when my previous kites wouldn't have flown.
Seems like you've got the low end figured out.
Not familiar with the board - is it wide and flat?
Out of curiosity - how much sheeting in were you doing?
Consensus in other X-bow threads seems to be "resist the urge to sheet in to get low end and power and upwind travel - speed is the secret to x-bow success, not sheetng" - do you agree?
12m CB's are the go, just got the new CB kite and it's all over my 16m BFK from best, we're riding in say 12knots quite comfortable and the 16's that were out, were working them. Great all round kite and the fact that we can ride say 10-12knots up to 25-30knots with the same kite, Arian from underground kitesboards also backs the 25-30knot upper limit for the 12m, very impressive, this kite has taken NZ kiting way up to another level.