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.
Broken Trix 1.jpg [ 100.38 KIB | Viewed 2149 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.
01. Bar with eye bolt.jpg [ 29.93 KIB | Viewed 2149 times ]
04. New and old centreline.jpg [ 61.36 KIB | Viewed 2149 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.
Repaired Trix.jpg [ 91.51 KIB | Viewed 2149 times ]