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I started to venture into the world of Powerkiting with the Flexifoil Rage and very much got bitten by the bug. After 'mastering' my flying skills with that, I decided to move up to this more advanced kite called the Flexifoil IV Blade, of which I now have 2 - the Blade 4.9m and the 6.5m. Of the 2, the Blade 4.9m is probably the most popular.
Basically, you can get just the kite, or get a complete kiting kit that all packs away in a neat little rucksack. The kite itself is double-skinned to form a number of cells and in flight, it takes up the shape of a curved wing. You can choose to either have the handles for control or a control bar. Personally, I find the handles more fun. Lines (4 of them) are colour coded, so set up is a breeze. Overall, the quality is as you would expect from Flexifoil - excellent!!
Flying it is an absolute dream. Very good stability throughout the range, highly manoeuvrable, loads of power, even at low wind speeds, and absolute tonnes of lift. Keep it moving fast and the lift and power just keeps on increasing. What's really good is that you can alter the angle of attack on the kite by adjusting the bridle on the ground. This then alters how much power the kite has, between 'That's a bit strong' through to 'Holy S*&t!!!'. If you're not scared when you're flying it, you aren't doing it right because this thing will lift you off the ground, by a good few metres on some occasions, and throw you around and you begin to wonder at times who's flying who!! But it is total exhilaration and loads of fun and you just keep coming back for more.
It is definitely not a kite for beginners, but it is one of those kites that you will fly again and again for years to come.
Flexifoil are surely at the very top of the powerkite game - their designs are exceptional, I certainly know more people with Flexifoils than without (who fly kites at least!). For me the Blade IV is the best kite they offer, bar the wonderful Sabre, which I believe is now discontinued. I will review two models - the 3.0m and 4.9m kites. So I will try to be brief.
If you are new to kiting, I advise you begin with a 4-line, non traction kite before trying one of these - the 3.0m one turns faster than any other traction kite I have used and doesn't always pull smoothly, and the 4.9m one can be lethal with the amount of lift it generates. With the correct experience however, they are a great deal of fun to use. The larger of the two I own pulls in a very progressive manner, and the lift is superb, with the only drawback being the slow turning speed which can make it difficult to keep it in the sweet spot of the window. Having said this, it still out turns my friend's Flexi Bullet 3.5m.
The 3.0m Blade also generates great lift, but the transition from lateral pull to vertical lift is jerky, and has taken me by suprise on a number of occassions. With the 4-line bar, this is not a problem, but with handles I have frequently had the control pulled straight from my hands. Not ideal when you are scudding along the floor at 5 meters a second! Other than that, it is a very good kite - the sharp turning means you will be able to drag the kite back into the sweet spot nearly every time.
On a final note, I should mention that the safety system on the kites is brilliant, as is the harness loop supplied with the bar. Flexifoil make some excellent equipment.
I am going to concentrate on the Flexi blade 4- the latest version of the blade to be released, and without doubt one of the best tractions kites on the market. I think i can safely say that the mk4 is superior in almost all aspects to the previous models. Let me start with an introduction to the whole point of the blade series-
The Flexifoil Blade has combined the very best elements of all their foil kites over the years and has produced a kite with even greater lift and better stability than ever before. This series is aimed for the experienced user, to provide extreme lift for getting big air in the right wind conditions. Flexifoil Blade 4 is designed with a light weight and new turnable bridle, the kite can be adjusted to suit the rider's style and maximises the wind conditions.
Although easy to fly, and with great turn speed, the Flexifoil Blade VI is not for the occasional recreational flyer, it is for the more experienced traction kite flyers who want to feel real adrenaline when flying a kite. You really have to fly it to appreciate what sets it apart from the other traction kites on the market. People tend to love the arm wrenching pull and lift if this kite and so it's important to ensure that the potential Blade buyer knows how powerful the kite is and how they need to handle it.
Flexifoil have not sacrificed quality to ensure affordable prices in any way- i have had an in depth look at my 6.5m blade, and the stitching and material seems perfect- it sets the benchmark in superior quality.
The color schemes are the same as those for other Flexifoil models- Petrol, Rasta, Acid and Midnight- so quite a range. The kite comes in a nice backpack, although it would be better if it wasn't so 'surfer dude' ish.
The sizes vary enough for all possible wind conditions- 4.0m is perfect for higher winds, say 20mph+, the 4.9m is for around 15-20, the 6.9m is for 12mph+ and the 8.5 from 5mph upwards. The adjustable bridle system is helpful as well- you can reduce the lift by changing the position of the larks head knot.
I believe i'm right in saying that previous Blade models upon taking in sudden gusts of air, immediately hurl the poor guy on the end of the lines straight into the air like superman, then dumped him (or her!) to the ground when the kite had lost all interest with the wind.
The IV behaves, in my opinion in a more 'gentlemanly way', but without loosing all the excitement- It lifts up just as well, but seems to be that bit more floaty- drifting is a bit more enjoyable than meeting the ground at high velocity. I have had some amazing experiences with this kite, and would recommend it to anyone who has already had some kind of experience in flying power kites. Its not called the widow maker for nothing!
Value for money: Fairly good- i got my 6.5m all set up for around £370, which is pretty good considering the build quality. This kite is thoroughly recommended for buggying and land boarding alike, as well as static flying. An excellent buy.
I currently own a Blade 4.9, and have done so since the Blade first came out, in fact I had to wait for it to come from the makers Flexifoil. This is one kite that has lived up to its publicity as one of the world’s best power / traction kites. The Blade is now available in four sizes ranging from 2.6, 3.3, 4.9, 7.2 metres square. The small kites turn and move much faster than the larger kites. The large kites are for low wind speeds or if you want to really scare yourself! The Blade is air foil type kite, which means that the kite has no spars and is totally soft The kite requires the wind to fill it out and to give it it’s 'wing' shape which allows it to generate lift when moving forwards. The Blade is easy to launch without assistance and is simple to control using the four lines provided the main two lines are for steering with the brake lines used primarily to assist turning and to brake or de-power the kite when things get a bit hairy, which does happen. It is not a kite for the beginner as it is very powerful and can easily lift the flyer off the ground if your not careful. On the otherhand it’s ideal if you want to do jumping. The Blade was designed for traction and is regarded as one of the better kites for buggying it’s easy to see why as it provides plenty of power even at low wind speeds and is not prone to collapse due to the way the inlets to the kite have been designed. The only thing that could put some people off this kite is the price. The 4.9 Blade is currently around £350 including flying handles and a very good quality carry bag but excluding lines. One of the reasons for the high cost is that no short cuts have been taken in the materials used in the kite and how the kite has been put together, as the last thing you want is this kite to fall apart when buggying at 30 miles an hour. To sum up, if you want probably one of the best power kites in the
world then have a look at the Blade series of kites you will not be disappointed it’s a world class product at a world class price with world class performance and in my view worth every penny.
When I first wrote this opinion I did not own a Blade, I had however had the pleasure of flying one on several occassions, as a result of this I purchased one of the larger ones in the range. The Blade kite is available in four sizes ranging from 2.6 - 7.2 metres square. It is a foil, which means that the kite is made up of individual cells which fill with air so that the kite obtains a 'wing' shape which gives it lift. The Blade is easy to launch without assistance and is simple to control using the main two lines with the brake lines used primarily to assist turning and to brake. It is (at least in the larger sizes) not a kite for the beginner as it is very powerful and can easily lift the flyer off the ground. The Blade is considered one of the better kites for use when buggying and it is easy to see why as it provides sufficient power (given the correct wind speeds) is easy to use and is not prone to collapse (loss of shape and falling to the ground) and can be used in a wide areea of the wind window. Put simply the kite flys well over a large area and stays in the air very reliably and develops a lot of power. The only thing that might put someone of the kite is the price. The 4.9m is currently around £350 including flying handles and carry bag but excluding lines. It does however provide a good power to price ratio and as it is very popular it is sometimes possible to pick one up second hand.