I have been flying the OR Cypher 9m and 12m over two weeks and I am I very impressed with this kite. I chose the Cypher primarily because it was advertised as a kite for un-hooked wave riding and un-hooked free style and rides on both the front and rear lines.
I was flying the 2011 OR Razors, 8m, 10m and 12m and while they were very fast and powerful kites, if the winds picked up, they started flying like bulls on steriods. Also the Razor's could really produce tremendous power in an instant. Great if you're an adrenaline junkie or a heavier rider. You could try pushing a Razor to it's limit and you will always return to the beach panting because you can't keep up with a Razor. So I had enough of flying a kite that was always taunting me to go harder, go faster, go bigger. So Cypher it is for 2012.
Setting up the kite for the first time was a real suprise for me. There were no pulleys. The bridles are also fairly short. I haven't flown a kite with no pulleys since my C kite days. The Cypher also had a nice boxy shape and seemed well constructed. It does seem much bigger than a 12m actually. It really seemed to me to be a really simple kite. For some reason flying a really simple kite makes my stomach feel warm, like I just had a nice bowl or hot chicken soup.
I first tried the Cypher 12m in 25 knots of wind. Way too much wind for the kite, but it was new and I just had to try. My very first impression was that the Cypher flies extremely well with tons of de-power set. This is a kite I feel, I would go out kiting way over powered just to do some mega jumps. The kites jumps extremely well and the hangtime is long. It blew 25 to 30 knots for the next few days, and at no point was I inclined to use my Razor 8m or 10m. Probably because the Cypher was my new toy but I also decided that I would also get the 9m Cypher for those strong wind days.
I seldom try any free style when I am very over powered and in the beginning I also did not try this with the Cypher. But the wind kept blowing over 20 knots and I was getting bored just jumping. So I decided to try some hooked in raileys. Lo and behold... I discovered that I could pull a mega railey over powered and simply push my arm out and the power simply disappears and land it like a champ!
Then I discovered, I could ride really slowly with my arm extended, pull in the bar to power up, pick up speed, pull a railey, then extend my arm to de-power and land it like a champ! Awesome!...So I thought that if simply extending my arm switched off the power, then send back backrolls and kite loops are also possible in over powered conditions. So off I went at medium speed, send kite back to 12 and pull and boy was I yanked up hard, pushed my arm out completely and switched off the power and land. I am truly amazed at the Cypher in silly over powered winds, really amazed.
I then got the 9m Cypher and it also flies great. It is not as fast as the Razor and so the smaller sizes are not that intimidating. While I say the Cypher is not a fast kite, it is still faster than most brands agressive kites. OR fans will understand this. Many non OR riders simply get a shock at how fast OR kites are.
Up wind on the Cypher is okay, no problems. Downwind the kite drifts well such that if you land a wakestyle trick really hot and fast, the kite will drift back and wait for you. Bar pressure is medium and bar feel is excellent. With this kite, I really look at the kite less even when making big bar inputs.
In plain straight line speed, the Cypher is slow. This kite will create power from apparent wind only a little and then it's maxed out and the kite will not accelerate any further. It is probably slower than most freeride kites.
Turning speed is slow compared to the Razor (haven't flown a Rise since 2010) so i won't compare. But it's fast enough. For the 12m, I left the rear line on the medium speed and for the 9m, I shifted it to slow speed. there is another setting, more de-power - less depower. I left both kites on less de-power (Why would I ever need more de-power, this kite is the last word on de-power performance)
Re-launch is average. It certainly doesn't leap off the water as compared to the pointy delta tip designs. Sometimes a kite that stays on the water before a positive input is made has advantages because sometimes, I would hmmmm... like the kite to stay put for a while and wait till I steer it into the sky.
I kept thinking over many days why I enjoyed the Cypher so much. I think the main reason is because of the way it delivers the power. The power always comes on smoothly and it stays constant even when looping, certainly not like the Razor where the power can come on quite explosively. I really think this kite is going to help me land a lot of new tricks... hooked and un-hooked even when it's blowing really hard.
Some people describe the Cypher as between a Rise and a Razor. I have to disagee. It's completely different from both. It's a great kite for beginners and and practicing free style riders. This is especially so because of the huge de-power range of the kite.
If you're wondering why I have so many kites, it's because I am an Ocean Rodeo Dealer and also a kite instructor. But like every other kiter, I am always looking for that one kite that will help me attain nirvana. So far, the Cypher comes the closest. In fact it's so good i will be getting the 8m and 10m as well. I'll keep the OR Razors for my light wind days. Every other day I will be on a Cypher. I recommend this kite highly.