Cabrinha FX 12m 2018 Kitesurfing Review

Cabrinha FX 12m 2018

Reviews / Kites

Cabrinha 48,357

At A Glance

The Cabrinha FX stormed into the high end freeride freestyle crossover market on its first outing, and since then it keeps getting better and better, winning an army of fans worldwide. Now, for 2018 it has been redesigned and packs some of Cabrinha’s latest design and construction improvements as well as some new features.

The 2018 Cabrinha FX is well known for fitting its bill. It’s a three strut, modified C shape kite targeting the advanced freestyle through to performance freeride riders out there. The bridled C shape design allows the kite to drive through the window better than a traditional C, the reduced entry profile of the FX makes it quick in the sky ensuring it has got your back at all times.

For 2018 we see a new High Tenacity Dacron used on the FX giving the leading edge a tighter and more stable arc. Some usual Cabrinha suspects are present in the construction, 2DR Double Ripstop, Pure Profile Panels and the Sprint Airlock feature here. One of the most visible changes in design is the new leading-edge adjustments with Freeride, Kiteloop and Freestyle modes to choose from.

Available in 3 colourways: Blue, Red/Yellow, and classic Cabrinha Yellow/Black.

The FX is also compatible with all of Cabrinha’s control systems. There is the Overdrive series which has an adjustable size and Recoil/Trimlite depower options, or the 1X Trimlite fixed length series. All of which are available with either Quickloop or Fireball connection options.

Sizes: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14m

The Bar

The new Cabrinha bars have undergone some work; we see a new grip across the range, which is super comfortable in the hands and doesn’t slip at all during use. The 1X Trimlite bars have a new reduced size and streamlined bar end, soft and comfortable with built-in hidden back line adjusters for those who like to tweak their ride. We headed out on the 1X Trimlite 45cm bar with the 12m FX. The bar is simple and aesthetically pleasing.

The Trimlite cleat is smooth and easy to use with a great range of trim available. The bungeed Trimlite cord keeps the tail tidy and out of the way while riding. There is slightly more flapping than systems with both bungee and magnets, but that's being ultra-critical; it’s neat enough and works well.

Using the on-the-fly centre line depower is again extensive with a huge amount of depower range available to the rider. The new larger centre fitting does allow for a smoother experience when adjusting power and turning at the same time. The 1X safety system works well, and with the Quickloop, Cabrinha has one of the easiest, simple release systems out there. It’s super quick and straightforward to reset it again too.

“The FX is powerful, and the turns are rapid, boosting potential is huge!”

In The Air

The winds are pretty lumpy here now coming into the winter season, and the FX handled the gusts tremendously well. Up in the air, the kite boasts stability; it remains very solid with no distortion. The combination of this stability and the depower range gives you a lot of confidence when the conditions get wild. I’d like to say the wind range is limitless, but we all know kites can't fly when there is no wind, and the 40 knot squall that came through had me releasing for the first time in years. Extremes set aside, the FX has a massive wind range and performs throughout.

Relaunch on the FX is good, it isn’t as easy as a beginner’s model but is lots easier than a traditional old-school C kite.

Out of the bag, the 2018 FX comes ready to fly on the “kiteloop” mode. So we headed out on this to start with. The kiteloop mode is your classic FX to me. It's steady and responsive in the sky, so going huge and sending loops is going to be on your agenda. The “kiteloop” mode gives the kite a progressive feel, with the kite driving through turns and loops with a grunty yet smooth power delivery. Turning isn’t pivotal; it’s a moderate, fairly open loop. When boosting the kite is again very reassuring, and you can really feel its location at all times. The FX is powerful, and the turns are rapid, so boosting potential is huge. Hangtime is incredible on the FX too!

Moving onto the other leading-edge settings (Freeride, Freestyle). I was pretty sceptical that these would do much in terms of changing this kite, as some models with leading-edge adjustments have a barely noticeable change. This time I was blown away. Next up was the Freestyle mode, which instantly gave the kite a more traditional C type feel, the response of the kite on the bar increased, making it ultra sensitive and twitchy. The kite also becomes slightly tighter on the back lines with more stall available if desired. Getting dialled in it was time to unhook on this “freestyle” mode. There is a noticeable increase in slack created when in this mode, and personally, the increased bar response suits my flying the most.

Freeride mode is perfect for those wanting a slightly smoother less responsive flying experience. Learning new moves, or moving from a lower performance kite couldn’t be easier and when you’re ready just change a knot.

For

Big points for the new leading-edge adjustments, allowing the rider to customise the feel of the FX to suit every session. The 2018 1X fixed control systems new bar ends, and new grip have hugely improved its aesthetic and ergonomic appeal.

Against

Again, like the 2018 Switchblade no major flaws with the FX, it’s a superb kite. We noted previously that we would like to see the addition of a movable stopper ball to the centre line on the 1X control systems. The depower range is ample and perfect for the majority of riders and kites in the range. However, for those shorter armed riders or riders wanting the bar to remain closer when performing various moves may want to take a look at the Recoil control system options.

Overall

The 2018 FX is a must try for anyone wanting to progress with their freeride or freestyle kiting. Whether you are learning new hooked moves, wanting to boost bigger loops or stomp some passes, it’s going to suit your needs. It’s top quality robust construction, three new LE adjustments and customizable feel really make it stand out from the crowd.

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This review was in Issue 66 of IKSURFMAG.

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