I am a very happy C1 owner, sizes 5, 6, 8, 10. I've been on them a little over a year. I've flown kites with anywhere from 8 to 0 struts.
The characteristics of the Cloud I love are the incredibly fast turning, being able to downsize because they are more powerful, the drift, the ability of the kite to recover when you ride at it faster than the wind and the on/off sheeting characteristic. Packing up small is nice, but was not a feature that swayed me either way. The only thing that I don't really like is that it is harder to self land because it doesn't sit on the beach without being weighed down. For me the benefits over other kites I have flown are so huge that I am very happy to accept that.
I can't speak for other strutless kites, but I think the BRM Cloud is a big success. BRM is far from being just another "me too" kite company. I really hope Greg continues to develop the brand and in particular the Cloud.
Addressing a few things:
I think the cloud needs a lot less bar throw to work optimally.
I agree, but the phrasing is misleading. The Cloud needs a lot less bar input to work optimally - i.e. you should move the bar less than you would with other kites. But depending on your riding style, the kite can benefit a lot from large bar throw. Since switching to the Clouds, I modified mine to have almost 3ft of bar throw and I really love it. No more being pulled harder than I want in turns.
I don't really get the hating on the strutless design you see on these threads. If you don't like the idea or it doesn't work for you, move on and stop ranting - it's stupid. For some riding styles, it can work incredibly well. For mine, the Cloud works much better than anything else I've tried. For some people they'll try a Vegas or something else and that will be a magic kite for them and the way they ride. The way I see it, the Cloud is another option for riders. It's not for everyone, but then no kite out there is.
I think there are only 1 or 2 guys that have an agenda against strutless kites that will pop up every 6th comment with the same crying foul comments. The truth is, unless you have a trust fund or are a top rider, you can afford maybe a kite or two a year? if you're really lucky. So most people have a very small point of view of the massive range of kites and equipment available. So of course most people are going to tout what they know, and are ignorant to the dozen other brands that offer a similar product. Take it with a grain of salt is what I'm saying.
I have a Cloud 14.5 which I got to save my lightwind days and to foil with. After a couple of mistakes in getting water on the canopy, or other mistakes, you learn not to make that mistake anymore and you don't have as many relaunching debacles. I have wondered if a batten or battens to help keep the center portion of the canopy up would be a good idea and would help the water on the canopy issue.
When you are riding in really marginal winds, I have noticed what a difference having a dry kite vs. a kite that has hit the water vs. a kite that has been in the water for a time and the canopy has gotten fully wet can have on your relaunch chances. Some lightwind days I give myself a 1 or 2 drop limit until I call it quits because I know the kite is too heavy to relaunch again until it is totally dry. Then, if I have time, I take it onto the beach, find the hottest dryest patch of sand I can, and cover everything. Shake it all off, cover it again with more dry sand. repeat until no more sand will stick to the kite, and you have a dry kite ready to go again. Trying to relaunch a wet kite with sand sticking to it? Forget it unless you have some strong wind.
I like the quick set up and pack down. I like how it turns so fast, even when the wind is so light that the kite is barely hanging in the air. I still don't really feel like it's a jumping kite, (with a TT). Does anyone have any tips in that dept?
I did get to try a 10m Trip on my foil and that was a really fun kite. I had been riding my 14.5 and had been really powered up, maybe overpowered all day. Going to that 10m I really felt like I could lean into it and comfortably work both kite and foil. So maybe it was a great kite, maybe it was just the right size for the conditions, maybe both.