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Switch Kites: are they any good?

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esg
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Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby esg » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:04 am

I never heard about Switch until reading about them on this forum. Their prices are unbeatable. And honestly, Naish, Cabrinha, North and other kite companies retail prices are almost insulting.
But I'd rather pay big dollars for quality. Than save some dough and get a piece of crap.
There aren't any reviews in the magazines(not that any of them provide any honest, constructive ones anyway).
I'm probably wasting my time asking. Since all I'm going to get is Switch team-riders saying they are the greatest. And all other brand affiliated kiters saying they are the worst. But is there anyone out there that has ridden them and can give an honest review on the performance of their kites and bars, customer service, part-replacement, quality, etc, etc, etc?! I'm particularly interested in the Element.
Thanks.

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Re: Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby Delmar78 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:51 am

I friend of mine has a 7m Method, I've ridden it twice with a Slingshot bar and it's a great kite.

I sell Fone and Slingshot btw. :)

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jkrug
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Re: Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby jkrug » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:58 am

i have a Nitro and a Method. i think the Nitro is a good kite; i think the Method is not a good kite. I don't like their bar. The bar pressure on both kites is very high. I've never tried an Element. The quality on their kites i own seems good to me. i did fly my Nitro into sea dunes w/grass, which put lots of pin prick holes in the LE bladder. I repaired it, but could never get the one-pump valves back through the LE correctly. it still flies, but the design is not good for 're-assembly'.

My final thought on Switch is that, if you can't try before you buy, it's worth buying-to-try one of their kites given their low prices.

peterheirman
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Re: Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby peterheirman » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:02 pm

I have no relation whatsoever with Switch kites and currently don't own any Switch kites.

Build quality is good. I see no difference with the 'big brands'. Some big brands do have lesser build quality for some of their kites. Please note: most of the kites are manufactured in a limited number of production sites in Asia: in many cases brand side by side with another brand.

Switch kites can offer kites a lower cost s they remove the distribution channel (direct online sales) and cut on marketing spending.
Their marketing is through "Team Riders" who get 25% discount and they have to lend out the kites for trials and who frequently post on kite forums.
Apparently Switch kites don't present a new range of kites like the big brands do. (I always wonder if these big brands really bring any innovations every year that really matters or is significant enough to notice - it's like fashion: you are flying a 2011 kite and the new 2013 models are already being announced!)

What you typically see: one kite surfer buys a Switch and a few months later you will see more Switch kites on the same spot.

So my advice is: track down a Team Rider in your region and ask for a try out for knowing bar pressure, speed of turning, jumping ability etc as these are very personal preferences.

From the above post: Some will love the Method some seem to find the Method bad. This is very personal.

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davesails7
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Re: Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby davesails7 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:01 pm

jkrug wrote:My final thought on Switch is that, if you can't try before you buy, it's worth buying-to-try one of their kites given their low prices.


What is the resale value like? If you buy a $600 kite and hate it can you sell it again for $500 or so? If you can, then it's definitely worth buying one and giving it a try for a month or two.

peterheirman
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Re: Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby peterheirman » Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:17 pm

@davesails7 - do you try out all of your kites before you buy ? That's nearly impossible especially for the smaller sizes. So you trust the big brands who can sell you a 'jerk' kite, but it's from a big brand so you trust it.

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tautologies
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Re: Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby tautologies » Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:21 pm

esg wrote:I never heard about Switch until reading about them on this forum. Their prices are unbeatable. And honestly, Naish, Cabrinha, North and other kite companies retail prices are almost insulting.
But I'd rather pay big dollars for quality. Than save some dough and get a piece of crap.
There aren't any reviews in the magazines(not that any of them provide any honest, constructive ones anyway).
I'm probably wasting my time asking. Since all I'm going to get is Switch team-riders saying they are the greatest. And all other brand affiliated kiters saying they are the worst. But is there anyone out there that has ridden them and can give an honest review on the performance of their kites and bars, customer service, part-replacement, quality, etc, etc, etc?! I'm particularly interested in the Element.
Thanks.

Lol this is the funniest post ive read in a while. Basically spending 80% of the post saying you trust no one...I don't mean that in a bad way but why ask then? :)
:thumb:
Good one

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pixelpedro
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Re: Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby pixelpedro » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:44 pm

As good as any other kite. I was a skeptic at first as well, but with the help of a local team rider, I was very pleased. So I got a 12m/9m Method, and love the kites. I was torn between the Wainman and Switch, but pricing closed the deal.

Construction: is top notch, I can't find a difference between these kites and my '11 Switchblades and my buddies Fuse, material seems a bit lighter, but I can definitely see a difference between Flexifoil Ions (my old kites) and any kite, really, I think Flexifoil build bomb proof kites.

Kite: flies reaaaaally good, very fun, extremely responsive, super fast, and I mean freaky fast relaunch. One thing though, can't keep the kite overhead much on gusty days, tend to fly past you and stall out of the sky, I know you aren't supposed to keep kites overhead anyways, but from time to time I do to rest a bit. but as long as you keep it at 1 or 11, all good.

Bar: is ok, not as nice as cabrinhas, not as simple as flexifoil's, seems a bit fragile with so much plastic, but so far so good. Is simple, it works, a bit on the heavy side though. I love the 1 bar fits all. No more 2-3 bars.

Transaction & Shipping: smooth transaction on their site, great support forum, incredibly good customer service (so far), shipping was incredibly good, had my kites in 5 business days (I'm in Florida).

Overall, I'm really happy with mine, I didn't fly one before I bought one, just cause the winds here in the summer suck, and I was mainly trusting the shape, and if the kite does what they say it does, and from talking to a few guys that ride them in different locations, it did wjhat I was hoping it would do. But I got my kites 2 days before Tropical Storm Debbie, and flew my 9m in about 22-25 kts it was awesome, very stable, very, very powerful.

Try to fly one. Hope it helps.

I would totally recommend, these kites rock! Good luck!

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davesails7
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Re: Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby davesails7 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:13 pm

peterheirman wrote:@davesails7 - do you try out all of your kites before you buy ? That's nearly impossible especially for the smaller sizes. So you trust the big brands who can sell you a 'jerk' kite, but it's from a big brand so you trust it.


No, actually I don't think I've had a chance to try out a kite before I bought it. I have demoed kites, but didn't like the ones that I demoed.

Yes, I trust the big brands to not come out with a "jerk kite" more than a small new brand. I know the big brands do it too from time to time (Slingshot Link, 2010 Waroo...), but you'd hope they wouldn't release a kite if its a complete dud.

For example though, in '08 I read all good reviews for the Cabrinha Contra, so at the end of the season I picked one up for cheap. I rode if for a month or two, but didn't like it, so I sold it for about $100 less than I paid for it new. $100 to try a kite for a month or two isn't bad deal at all.

If I buy a Switch kite for $600, and can sell if for $500 if I don't like it, it's worth it. If I'm going to lose $300 to try out the kite though, it's not worth it.

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Re: Switch Kites: are they any good?

Postby windrupted » Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:08 pm

All kites are pretty good these days. I get Switch kites on the teamrider deal. All my friends drive Rallys. I drop kites in the surf and eventually they blow, so I never have a chance to resell them for anywhere close to what I pay. For me, this makes resale value less important. Switch are so cheap brand new, can't see anyone buying used. The best flying kite in my opinion (in waves) is the Rally. So easy to fly, it's a dreamy ride. But when my Rally friends drop one and get a hole in it, have you ever seen a grown man cry? One guy put his in the barbed wire. He sure had a long face. So much for re-sale..... I have never seen a kite fail due to defects since maybe 2008 or whenever they figured out how to make the valves stay on. It's always some form of negligence or simply big waves...at least in my cases. So no kite will last forever. For me, they have to be cheaper. When I look at other kites after seeing my Switch kites for a while, Switch is slightly stronger looking. Heavier feel than a Rally or a Park. Crashing in waves this is an advantage. The inflation valve is way better than most, space age looking and it doesn't break down over time. The bar is ok, but you have to change the rope out and it takes a long time, it almost requires a mechanical engineering degree. I've been through 5 ropes. The good thing is it never pops the safety accidently. To me, that is very important. The bridles eventually fail at the pulleys, but they designed it so that it still flys pretty good when the pulley line breaks. Then on the beach you can make the small piece in about 20 minutes and be back at it. I notice on the newer Elements the pulleys are now one piece, so maybe that problem is already solved. Hopefully all the big guys took notice of this "ingenius" new design. Sand makes bearings and wheels seize up. Pulleys are obsolete. Hooray for Caution, Switch and especially Slingshot!

Some of the Big Name kites go down when the pulley burns through the bridle lines and you have to swim. Not good near train tracks, or out in a shark exposed deepwater reef. Or in big dangerous surf exploding on rocks..... To me, the Switch kites are better designed, but slightly overbuilt. My 7m Method is working when a 6 Rally is working, and it is also fine when a 9 Rally is fine. I am sometimes overpowered or flying the hell out of it, I am working a bit harder, but saving lots of money! And my Method has been lucky so far, taken some pretty big waves and it doesn't blow out.....no visible distortion either. (knocking on wood here). These things are bomber, anyone who says different is probably trying to con-job a new kite after they tomohawked it onto some sharp object.

If it ever does explode, well I have destroyed much more expensive kites so the sting will be less. It's good enough that I will probably buy another one.


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