The Flexifoil Storm2 is presented as part of the next generation of LEI (Leading Edge Inflatable) kites. With its multiple innovations in terms of aerodynamics and technical detailing, this is a kite that is high performance whilst resting easy to fly.
Adjustable carry bag, repair kit (bladders and bladder tubes), user guide, sticker, carbon fibre control bar with 27 metre flying lines but no leash.
Design - Finish
The finish is beautiful. The line connection points look alittle thin (but that's not to say that they aren't strong enough), the reinforcements and accessories are very good. The kite has 5 inflatable battens, the leading edge curving to form the tips. There are 3 attachment points for the rear lines and 3 for the fronts. One inflation valve for the leading edge and a deflation valve at one tip. The design and layout are very pleasing.
Control bar and safety system
The bar is colour coded blue and red for the tips and leader lines. The small loop on the front lines has a pin type quick release (to be used only in the case of complete release: bar and kite), and is also fitted with a short locking strap for the harness loop (this strap was a bit short for some harness loops and, with the risk of losing the kite, the manufacturer has recently made an extension piece available through the shops). There's no kite leash, it's actually integral to the de-power system.
The Storm2 is the new generation of inflatable kites. With its multiple innovations in terms of aerodynamics and technical detailing, it's a pure performance kite that is also very easy to fly. The Storm2 is designed for intermediate to expert level riders.
Actioning the safety system
You need practice to get into the habit of pulling on the ball situated just above the control bar. The de-power adjustment strap is in roughly the same place but the ball is easy enough to grab. The kite is neutralised with the control bar sliding up one line. You stay connected to the kite via the small harness loop (the latter not to be released at risk of completely losing your kite other than in extreme circumstances necessitating such action). To reconnect you have to get hold of the whole system, grab the end of the front lines and replace the pin. Easy enough but not out of your depth in water (and wasn't designed to be).
Same procedure as for any kite of this size and aspect ratio. No surprises, re-launches well.
The Storm2 has big power and delivers smooth, constant traction. It's a kite that has good presence on your arms allowing you to lean hard on your bar.
It's outstandingly stable in all circumstances!
General flying - handling
Not a super fast kite but with a good pivot. Clean, direct handling with no unpleasant surprises.
Really good. Can take you way up when you're well powered up, and stay there. And its stability makes big jumping very safe.
Pretty good. Being quite powerful it gets up to speed quickly in light winds and withstands gusts comfortably, no sudden kicks just lots of grunt.
General description of feelings, sensations: The Storm2 is a high performance, super-stable kite. It's powerful with good presence on your arms and clean handling. It's a very safe kite because of that, also because of its sensible flying characteristics and moderate forward speed.
Great stability and lift
Make sure you stay hooked into your small loop and get plenty of practice with the safety system. Then get out and enjoy, pull on that bar and get upwardly mobile!
Recommended skill level
experienced to expert
The testers' verdicts in a sentence
Caro, 34 years old, 62kg :
"I loved the stability and big lift ! It really gets you up! Good presence on your arms and allows you to steer positively to max its performance."
Fabian, 34, 80kg :
"Powerful and very stable, good de-power system and range too."
Francis, 47, 82kg :
"Just the right amount of manoeuvrability! I got the same feeling as with a really big size as regards handling and safety. Hyper stable and mad lift. I loved it for mid to heavy conditions."
Philou, 33, 80kg :
"I was knackered already when we did the tests but in general I'd say that it has great lift and gets going quickly in lighter winds, which is pretty surprising for a 12."
Christophe, 25, 55kg :
"Medium fast but very comfortable, you can steer very positively. Very good lift. Very stable and excellent wind range. Superb control bar, total liberty for riding, but I felt the quick release was perhaps situated a bit too close to the de-power system. And the de-power adjustment strap twists up and locks when you're fully de-powered."
Olivier, 25, 67kg :
"Quite lively and very good lift. The control bar is cool for rotations, freedom!"
By : Team Flysurf
My Intentions :
I bought this kite basically as my first kite, and as a stepping stone to prove to myself I could handle something larger (but I'm no beginner!). It has impressive power for a 2.5m kite, but it has its limits.
The Kite> :
Out of the bag, the kite's build quality was impressive. This is a good thing, considering I could've gotten twice as much kite for the same price! The kite was ready to fly, and so was I.
In Flight :
The first time I flew the kite was a few weeks after I bought it. As with any kite, I ended up with twists and such in my lines, but other than that the term "Ready to Fly" held true. The kite climbs quickly, and its speed can generate an impressive amount of pull! I underestimated this and was dragged down the beach a considerable length. I tried to bring the kite down, and it just wouldn't go! I realized that there was next to no tension on my brake lines, and that it had to be adjusted right away! I used the kite killers to bring it down as it was the only way and decided to wait out the gusty winds.
Once the brakes were fixed, the kite obviously became considerably more controlable. Stalls at the edge of the window were no problem, and I experienced very little luffing. Jumps were possible (surprisingly enough) by working the kite properly, but the kite is not designed/intended to create lift! I don't have a buggy, so I cannot comment on its intended use, but in enough wind I'm sure you could get going over 20mph a kite-powered vehicle.
As expensive as this kite was for its size, it is still a great value! Speed is certainly its strong point, and it clearly lives up to its name. Even with a kite this small, it was best to learn with in light winds. It's hard to tell how a kite will react while you're getting dragged around, no matter what the size.
I would highly recommend this kite for your high-wind kite bag!
By : wump
The Flexifoil 4.5 is my first purchase of what I would consider an "upper end" kite being in the somewhat premium price range. I do quite a bit of buggying and land traction activities and wanted a good all-around kite and in a size that would be useful in most conditions.
Everything looked great upon first inspection... a quality bag, lineset and handles with kite killers. The build quality of the kite is very evident all the way from the sleeved bridles to the gauzed leading edge inlets.
My first flight was basically static flying to get used to its' characteristics. The wind was bumpy (as usual here) from around 10-15 mph. The kite launched with great ease without adjustment to the bridle or lines. The first thing I noticed is how responsive it is to brake line tension and manipulation. It spins effortlessly and tightly enough that you can get out of a line twist with diving deeply into the power zone.
Power delivery is smooth and predictabledo quite a bit of buggying and land traction activities so I he handles are very comfortable and lend to the feeling of effortless flying.
A few days later I took it out again with my buggy in more moderate winds (25-30 mph). Even in those higher winds the kite was not overwhelming to control. I didn't feel I was in peril at any time as I would with a Blade III or higher aspect kite of that size.
This is a wonderful beginners kite as it doesn't tend to loft you and doesn't exhibit any characteristics that may alarm a new flyer. I would think it would be a useful kite for even veteren buggy pilots as well. Well worth the money in every way.
By : Bill Benson