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 Post subject: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:13 pm
Posts: 86
This is probably the most honest review you will get of a Switch kite on Kiteforum.

After many years of faithful service, my dearly beloved 9m Trix got trashed in shorebreak. No kite lives for ever, of course, unless you never use it. Sand and sun, wind and waves all take their toll. The fabric weakens and tears. No point in having it professionally repaired, because something else will break.

Attachment:
Broken Trix 1.jpg
Broken Trix 1.jpg [ 100.38 KIB | Viewed 2147 times ]


I bought a 9m Switch Method to replace the Trix. I have used the Method about 10 times since receiving it, and I must say the two kites are about as different as you can get. This is how they compare to each other.

What I like about the Method.

1. Inflation. The Method is quick and easy to pump up, because it has a large diameter inflation valve and only 3 struts. The Trix has a small inflation valve and 5 struts, so requires more effort to pump up.
2. Tethered self launch and land. The Method sits very still when tethered, the Trix bounces around a bit more.
3. The Method is a good kite for getting through shore break, because it generates lots of power when diving.
4. It is a good kite for getting away from trouble, because it turns quite fast and generates power on turning.
5. It is a good kite for getting through white water, because it generates power easily by flying across the wind window.
6. It has a good low end (better than the Trix)
7. It has a good relaunch (better than the Trix)

What I don't like about the Method.

1. Over reacts. What I mean by this is that when I get the kite to change direction, it takes off like a rocket, and there is little I can do to control it. On the Trix, I just sheet out, and the Trix slows down and loses power. On the Method, it doesn't seem to make much difference whether I sheet out or not. When the Method flies across the wind window, it flies with lots of power until it reaches the other side.
2. Heavy bar pressure, far more than the Trix.
3. The Method gets overpowered easily in gusts. The Trix handles gusts better and has a better top end, probably because it has 5 struts and a shallow profile.
4. On the Method, the leading edge distorts when sheeting out while flying through the wind window in strong gusts.
5. I like a kite that depowers when I turn on a wave. The Method doesn't do this, but the Trix does.
6. Sometimes we have onshore winds and strong sidewash at the local beach. Then you have no choice but to ride waves upwind, in order to stay near your launching spot. Under these conditions, the Method pulls the board off its edge easier than the Trix, especially on big, fast waves.
7. I think one of the worst things you can do to a kite is fold it. Creasing the fabric often in one spot causes it to weaken and eventually fail. So I generally only let out the air from the leading edge, then roll up the kite with the struts still inflated. I have a station wagon that accomodates all of my rolled up kites. The Method has long bridles that get tangled with everything when the kite is rolled up and stored in the car. I try to keep the bridles inside the rolled up Method, but they still flop out and cause mischief. The Trix has much shorter bridles, and they hardly ever tangle with anything.
8. The kite does not sit flat when sanded on the beach. The centre strut sticks up like a weather vane, and the wind causes the trailing edge to flutter excessively. The Trix is very flat when sanded, and there is hardly any flutter.
9. The Switch bar is solid and sturdy. But there are lots of floppy lines hanging off the bar, that get tangled easily while unwinding the lines on a windy beach. The depower line has a tendency to wind itself around the centre line while kiting, meaning that you have to spend a few seconds unravelling it before you can make an on-the-fly adjustment. The GK bar in comparison is cheaply made, but has fewer floppy bits and is easy to maintain. The plastic centreline insert on the GK bar wore out after the first season. I replaced it with a stainless steel ring bolt. I also replaced the worn-out Amsteel depower line with cheap polyprop ski rope, which lasts for about 20 sessions before needing replacement.

Attachment:
01. Bar with eye bolt.jpg
01. Bar with eye bolt.jpg [ 29.93 KIB | Viewed 2147 times ]


Attachment:
04. New and old centreline.jpg
04. New and old centreline.jpg [ 61.36 KIB | Viewed 2147 times ]


In summary, the Trix is a user-friendly, unpretentious kite, Very easy to adapt to, no hidden surprises, but maybe a bit boring for advanced riders.

I think the Method works best in its lower wind range with a big board. The kite is not really suited for powered up riding with a small twintip, because of its behaviour in strong and gusty winds.

In case anybody is wondering what happened to the Trix? I repaired it with a tube of contact adhesive and ripstop from a sacrificial kite.

Attachment:
Repaired Trix.jpg
Repaired Trix.jpg [ 91.51 KIB | Viewed 2147 times ]


{ SHARE_ON_FACEBOOK } { SHARE_ON_TWITTER } { SHARE_ON_ORKUT } { SHARE_ON_DIGG } { SHARE_ON_MYSPACE } { SHARE_ON_DELICIOUS }
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 Post subject: Re: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:26 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:45 pm
Posts: 54
Nice review! All of those things you said about the method are good news for me. For a wave kite I prefer to have split second reactions. I'm not sure it would be too fun for just freeride. What do you think? Do you have any plans for a nitro in your quiver?
My other thread (underdog kite) I mentioned the GK kite but the bar problem you encountered has me backing away from the company. I can deal with rubber peeling off and cosmetic things but having to jerry rig a solution from the hardware store is no bueno.


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 Post subject: Re: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:57 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:13 pm
Posts: 86
LastChance813 wrote:
I can deal with rubber peeling off and cosmetic things but having to jerry rig a solution from the hardware store is no bueno.


One of the cheapest and most effective mods you can do to your bar is with a pair of scissors. Cut away the neoprene covering on your swivels and CL. The neoprene is a sand trap, and the trapped sand will abrade your lines and cause them to fail. The neoprene also prevents you from seeing what is going on. Out of sight = out of mind!
Attachment:
09. Covered Mickey Mouse swivel.jpg
09. Covered Mickey Mouse swivel.jpg [ 51.39 KIB | Viewed 2049 times ]
Attachment:
10. Uncovered Mickey Mouse swivel.jpg
10. Uncovered Mickey Mouse swivel.jpg [ 59.09 KIB | Viewed 2049 times ]


The bar that you see in the first post is 5 years old. I kite about 3 times a week in the windy season, and once a week in the off season. That is about 84 sessions per annum, or 420 sessions on that bar! For the past 3 years, I have used it with 20m lines on all the GK kites I own, a 12m, 9m and 7m Trix, and an 8m Sonic. The original 25m lines got damaged when my kite washed on to some rocks, so I shortened them and used a Zeppelin bend to re-attach to short leaders. The Zeppelin bend is easy to untie, even after significant load has been applied, so it is the right knot to use if you need to adjust your line lengths. Just remember to sleeve it, that increases the breaking strength from 50% to about 90% of the line strength.
Attachment:
06. Powerlines connected to short leaders.jpg
06. Powerlines connected to short leaders.jpg [ 72.78 KIB | Viewed 2049 times ]

Attachment:
07. Zeppelin bend.jpg
07. Zeppelin bend.jpg [ 31.99 KIB | Viewed 2049 times ]

Attachment:
08. Zeppelin bend closeup.jpg
08. Zeppelin bend closeup.jpg [ 62.12 KIB | Viewed 2049 times ]


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 Post subject: Re: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:23 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2002 1:00 am
Posts: 3952
Location: OUTER BANKS (NC) USA. Owner of EPICKITES
The TRIX is a good kite. But if you want to do a good job and save some money, you should get in touch with KITEAID so they can sponsor you with your kite repair. Get in touch with them at www.kiteaid.com I am sure they will be happy to help you out. And if not, let them know that Dimitri sent you, since we use the KITEAID as our kite repair kit in all our EPIC kites.
:thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:34 pm
Posts: 49
Hi Zig Zag,

Great review man!
As for the repair job, you did what you could with what you had. We admire that! ;)

Like Dimitri said, next time try to have a KITEAID Sail Repair kit handy so you can do it right!

Happy holidays!

KITEAID Team


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 Post subject: Re: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:25 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2002 1:00 am
Posts: 3952
Location: OUTER BANKS (NC) USA. Owner of EPICKITES
Hello "ZigZag",
I really liked your honest opinion that you did comparing the 2 kites and was wondering if I can send you an EPIC "RENEGADE" model so you can review it and let us know what you think about the kite, good or bad. Just let me know what size you are looking for in the RENEGADE models or maybe you might want to demo the SCREAMER models.
If you have more questions this is my email: dimitri@epickites.com

Merry Christmas. :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:13 pm
Posts: 86
Hello Dimitri,

Thank you for your kind offer.

I'm the type of person who never sells kites. I fly them until they die. Even though I don't particularly like the Method, I will use it until it falls apart. When the Method is dead, I will gladly review (and possibly buy) a Renegade from you. I think it is in both of our interests to hope that the Method is not a durable kite. That way, you will get an early review, and I will get a different kite.

I admire your talent as a promoter of Epic kites. If your kiteboarding skills are anywhere near as good as your marketing skills, then you must be a very good kiteboarder indeed!


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 Post subject: Re: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:30 pm
Posts: 20
Zigzag - I had a similar experience with my 7m method when I didn't have it properly inflated. The method needs to be pumped up way harder than a regular kite (bc of narrow LE perhaps?). Once I started doing that I've never had an issue with it deforming under high load.

Also you could try the narrower knots on the bar to get the kite to slow down a bit if you find that it is responding too quickly with bar input. The higher bar pressure I find needs less input that a lighter bar-p kite. The benefit is of course you have more bar feedback as your riding (or underwater beneath a wave) and can easily tell where the kite is.

Happy riding!


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 Post subject: Re: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:13 pm
Posts: 86
Thanks for the feedback, sledrat. Other kiters on this forum have also noticed the buckling of the leading edge. On my Method, it happens when the back lines are momentarily slack for any reason. I think the kite tips forward and loses its positive angle of attack. The wind now pushes the top of the canopy, causing the LE to distort.

I find that when I kite in the bottom end of the Method's wind range, I can maintain tension on the back lines at all times, and I don't have a problem with LE distortion. At the top end of the windrange, I have to pull so much depower, that the angle of attack is very shallow. The kite is that much closer to where the air wants to push on the top of the canopy instead of the bottom. All that is required is a gust followed by a lull, the back lines go slack (because you sheeted out during the gust), and the next gust causes the buckling.

All of this means that the Method has a limited wind range in which it behaves properly. The Switch web site says "If you need to pull de-power you should be on a much smaller Method". Now you know why!


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 Post subject: Re: Comparison 9m GK Trix and 9m Switch Method
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:04 pm
Posts: 523
Location: USA
Hi ZZ:
Good report. :thumb:
You have not mentioned the wind range in which you used the kite or much about your weight, board and conditions but you did mention the M9 was more powerful and had better low end. The feedback on the Switch forum and Facebook is the M7 often replaces other 9sqm kites.
More info:
The Method is a relatively flat (70% high projected area,) low aspect, 3-strut kite with thin tubes and a transfer line SLE bridle to support them under load. The benefits of this combination are very powerful per square area, distinctive non-pivotal powered turns and excellent upwind ability. It was purposefully developed and tested extensively to create an extraordinary wave kite which can be used in smaller sizes and get you back to the line-up very quickly for more wave-riding and less back and forth upwind struggling. If the kite is highly de-powered and flown at near zero AOA (backwinded,) the load on the bridle is also highly reduced and naturally, the kite loses support. At this point, you have reached the top of the practical wind range and need to use a smaller or less efficient kite. Clearly, the Method is not the best choice for extended, highly de-powered flying in overpowered, gusty conditions and Switch honestly points this out as you mentioned. Some may see this as a problem or fault but those who use it as intended will find it provides a big opportunity to advance their wave-riding skills. The key is to use the tool for it's intended purpose.
Cheers!
ZigZag wrote:
The Switch web site says "If you need to pull de-power you should be on a much smaller Method".


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