Bullet Review by Brine Boy on Sunday 21 November 2004
When ever you get a new kite to play with it’s so easy to rip open the packaging, attach the lines and show your flying companions what your latest toy can do without paying any attention to the instructions or bag just because it’s something you have done many times before. For this review I have tried to remember how daunting it is when you get your first ever kite. How easy are the instructions? How easy is it to set up? Having not flown a Bullet for several months when the Bullet 5.5m and 7.0m arrived on my front doorstep from Flexifoil, I was eager to fly them but due to typical British weather they sat teasing me every time I walked past them for nearly two weeks.
When unpacking the Bullet you can’t help noticing the quality of the bag. It’s a good size so you don’t have to fight it when repacking; there is a handle and shoulder straps so it can be carried in the hand or on your back. A side pouch with a strap which is great for your handles, or as I prefer, all important ground stake. The best thing about the bag is the mesh section on the front. Firstly it allows your kite to breath if its damp and secondly allows you to see what colour the kite is should there be more than one of you out with a Bullet the same size. There is something about the Flexifoil bags that makes you feel kind of special when walking across your flying field with a couple in your hand. The only thing that’s missing is a pocket to put your phone and car keys in! In the bag is your kite, handles or bar, safety system, lines, instruction book, sticker and a free repair voucher. I am a big fan of the repair voucher. I think any company that will repair or replace your kite should you damage it within one month, for free, in a day and age where nothing is free must truly believe in their product.
I spent a while going through the instruction book due to the fact power kiting is becoming a huge sport. Although I think it is safe to say I don’t think any store would sell a large kite to someone who has never flown one, unfortunately a lot of kites are being bought over the internet where there are no questions asked by the seller into the experience the buyer has. With a lot of councils banning and reducing the areas of which we can fly, safety, although sometimes boring, has to be something we must all participate in.
The instruction book is clean and tidy starting with the basic do’s and don’ts. After an insight into wind strengths and the wind window, it runs through what all the various parts of the kite are called and what they do. It’s nice to see things explained easily with diagrams showing exactly how the kite should look once all the lines are attached. Some clear pictures show how to launch and fly your new kite, and after showing how to pack away the kite and lines there is a very handy section on how to tune your kite to various wind conditions. All in all I think the instruction book if full of all the stuff we need to know without going over the top making you feel like it’s just too much and giving up after the first page.
If you are anything like I was opening a kite for the very first time, it is a slightly scary moment constantly thinking what if I knot or tangle that mass of lines the guys down the field call a bridal? It’s a relaxing feeling when you see that the guys at Flexi have attached the ends of the bridal to a piece of card that is also attached to the trailing edge of the kite. The card is clearly labelled as to what each line is called and where to connect it regardless of whether you are using handles or a bar. There is also a handy four step diagram on how to tie the lines to your kite using the all important larks head knot.
Down to the flying field at last and after nearly two weeks of no wind it was blowing around 10-12mph. First I tried the 5.5: it launched very easily and climbed straight to the top of the window and just sat there. I was impressed that it didn’t over fly and collapse when it was gusty. After a few minutes of static flying it was time to get on the board. The kite is very stable when over your head making it ideal for boarding or bugging for those times when you need to take your eyes off the kite. It is quick through the air, turns amazingly quickly and you can spin the kite on one line. The bullet has very little lift, however if you really power it up and send it straight to the top of the window you can generate lift for jumping. After an hour with the 5.5m I was desperate to have a play with the 7.0m. It has the same characteristics as the 5.5 and other Bullets I have flown in the past, yet they just seem to get better the bigger they go. It has so much power it’s awesome although they don’t have a huge amount of lift. If you power the 7.0m up it’s easy to jump with and due to the size of kite over your head it’s a nice slow landing. For me the 7.0 is the best by far. It’s very deceiving as it does not look like a 7.0m kite when it’s in the air. So many kites on the market slow down both in speed and turn rate which is a huge drawback with larger kites, however the 7.0 seems just as fast as the 5.5. Again, you can spin it within its width allowing you to work every ounce of pull out of the kite. It is extremely stable making one handed transitions nice and easy and the balance of the kite is close to perfect. With a bit of practice you can fly the kite slowly backwards without it collapsing: great for those occasions when you let your kite go that little bit too far to the edge of the window
Personally I think all of the Bullets are pretty close to perfect. They have the build quality, speed, manoeuvrability and loads of power perfect for newbies, buggiers and experienced boarders that don’t want to jump high all day. Also a great choice for a first kite as you will never grow out of it. Start off with a small bullet then as you get more experienced move onto a larger one. The small bullet you started off with will become your high wind kite.
KIT USED ON THE DAY
Flexifoil Bullet 5.0m & 7.0m
MBS Comp 16 Pro Board
Maui Magic Dragon Shield Seat Harness