First to say the last year I only did some powerkiting with my kites - until my ATB arrives and I am elevated to a higher experience 😉
I own the Rhombus Firebee 5.5 now for half a year and I flew it quite often now.
For all those not wanting to read much further - it's a good kite and a cheap one too.
The Bee comes in a relatively nice backpack. The quality of the backpacks fabric however relates to the price, but you'll store only the kite there anyway, so who needs a trekking device?
The Bee comes kite only, so I took the handles and lines from my NPW to set up the kite. Since I bought it this year, I got a 2004 version with improved bridle and a better trim. So make sure to get a 2004 model!
The fabic is some kind of heavy for my taste, but the kite is very decently worked. It has reinforcements on the bridle joints and the bridle is made of sleeved dyneema. All joints are sewn properly, no sloppy sewing to be found. Overall the kite is very properly made!!! Due to the material used I expect it to last.
Starting and Flying:
Since I live in southern germany, there is not much of a beach the next 500 kilometres and usually I opt for a 'after work kiting' for the meadow next to the village I live. The windspeed is usually below 10 km/h so you'll mainly read experiences of low winds.
Once the Bee is set up, you have to give it a stronger pull to be convinced to start and work your way up. Since it has a racekite shape, it really loves flying in the airflow. So move the Bee and it will do what you want it to do. Once it stalls, you'll have to really work with the brakes to avoid having a sack of laundry dropping from the sky. It turns as you'd expect from a 5.5 kite relatively slowly, but absolute directly and on the spot. Overall the speed cannot be described as amazing, however in higher winds it picks up some speed quite fast and develops the pull accordingly.
Even in light winds, the moment the current is on the 5.5 is a hammer. Do some loops and find yourself 50 meters from your starting position. The lift is more or less negligible, but with the right technique you'll get some air. In higher winds flying this one is a full body workout delivered in 10 minutes. I can't wait trying this in winter!
Compared to the U-Turn Nitro (a 6.1 model) of a fellow, the Bee seems to me more forgiving and a bit more stable - but this might look different riding a buggy, plus the Nitro is definatley another class of kite. In gusty wind, I only experienced dropdowns when there was absolutely no breeze anymore - and I mean no breeze - then even moving the kite did not yield any results anymore.
So you won't find any comments about the power delivery and performance on a vehicle since until the arrival of my ATB, this kite is only used for powerkiting and here it really delivers! This kite is dirt cheap - especially in the light of the new Rhombus product in the market, the Amun, the prices drop. You can get a 5.5 Bee for less than 150 euro. The manufacturing is really very good, although you'll find some compromising in the choice of the material and the backpack (who's buying a kite because of the backpack?).
I am definately not sorry buying the Firebee 5.5, I'd do it again - at least for the price I paid. This is overall a good kite for kiters who keep the eye on the price for the fun they experience.
By : StZ