Review for Flexifoil Atom 2007 12.0 Times tested:
15kn to 22knGood: Bad: Review:
Firstly, I am not a rocket scientist. And I sell all three brands.
There was a clear favourite for me amongst the 3, and I suspect what I like in a kite, the majority of people will like too.
Conditions were 15 -20 knots, choppy, wind fluctuating a bit at the beggining of the session and towards the end as well, basically it was lightish with strong gusts at the beggining, and same with less strong gusts at the end.
I used 2 boards with all 3 kites, a 1.52 x 44 Underground FLX and a 1.33 x 40 Carboards, I weigh approx 75kg and I was wearing blue budgie smugglers under my wetsuit.
Tried the Atom 12M first, Matt Snowdon tried the Waroo pro 13M, both kites were rigged on 25M lines on Flexi 50cm atom bars.
The Flexi turns tight, without lots of power in the turns unless you hold the bar in, it depowers to at least 90% on the range in the bar, flight speed is fast, and the kite can be worked better than some SLE kites to get power and stay upwind. I tested the safety which is a fifth line type of arrangement that runs from below the bar, through the bar to the swivel on the front lines. There is no fifth line to the kite, when the chicken loop is released the front lines a held and the rears are released by around 2M this is enough to flag the kite and it crashes to the edge of the window and can be relaunched as the bar does not tangle in the lines and the quick release can be put back together easily. Relaunch is like the Ozone Instinct, North rebel, etc, play with the tension on a rear line keep swimming to the side but keep tension on the lines.
Bar pressure is light with a great feel. Construction is excellent as you would expect from one of the worlds most experienced kite manufactuers. Single point inflation, externally plumbed, dacron framing construction for a crisp feeling kite and super easy repairs. Beefy bridle lines, minimal pulleys (none on the bar). Flying lines are 360kg and thin, plus they are split into 20M and 5M extensions, nice option. Bar is thin with excellent grip, rubber ends with line holders. Bag is similar in design to the Instinct, Slingshot bag. Has leading edge camber battens. Jumps easy, not as floaty as the SB or the Waroo, but still good and easy. Kite retails for $1849, great value IMO.
Next was the SB2, 12M which I have ridden a couple of times. It is a slightly more technical kite to fly in lulls or lighter wind, the sheeting of the kite can be harder to feel for some kiters, but the bar pressure is light and the kite gives good, light, rear line feedback. Not as tight turning as the Atom, but tighter than the Waroo pro. This kite had the best bottom end of all three on test, with the waroo pro 2nd, atom 3rd. Once the wind is up this kite is a pleasure to fly, very stable in the air with its single point inflation 5 strut design. I crashed in the water twice, simple rear line pull relaunch. I really like the shape and feel of the new 07 cab bars. Bridles are beefed up where they run through the pulleys, construction is beefed up from last year without adding much weight.
Flight speed is fast and boosts are big and floaty with rapid acceleration off the water. Easily my favourite kite out of the 3 on test, would be nice if cab could put the 20M and 5m line extensions on their kites, this gives riders so many more options, especially if they have two bar and line sets.
The bar stopper works really well and the bungied trim doovers make for a very clean and easy to spin bar design, with the leash clipped round the plastic covered centre line, below the bar. Retail $1949 for the 12M SB2 complete, also excellent value IMO.
Waroo pro 13M, is a grunty kite, slower to turn than the other 2 kites but probaly the most lift although the wind was dropping for the 40 mins I got on this kite, flight speed is fast. The kite can turn tight enough, but requires progressively more effort to do it and feels like it has plenty of power in the wider arc turns. Heaps of depower on the Flexi atom bar, did not test the safety or relaunch of this kite, because it was not rigged on the 07 waroo bar, which is similar in function to the flexi bar.
The kite looks great in the air, similar in shape from a flyers perspective to a Link. The construction of this kite is impressive, fully framed dacron around all struts and leading edge, and the leading edge is super thin and tough with a dacron outer with cuben bonded inner. I pumped it until I though my pump would break, I reckon I had at least 10+ PSI in it. No single point inflation but all valves have stopper balls and they all worked fine, in this 5 strut design. Bridles are beefed up where they run through the pulleys, these kites have 4 pulleys on the kites none on the bar.
Bag is simple but functional, better than on last years kites though.
The new bars are colour coded and have parts that are easily replaced when worn, should be available soon. The kite will retail at around $2100, complete.
I could write more, but breakky is up, we have demos of all the above kites and more, demo's are by arrangement with Kitepower staff.
Steve McCormackRider Profile
Weight (kg): 71-80
Preferred Water: Flat
Preferred Power: Good
Preferred Kite Size: 14.0
Most Used Kite Size: 16.0
Preferred Board Style:
Preferred Board Size: 131-140
Brand Affiliation: Shop
Similar gear used: For pictures and more reviews click here