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UFO V2 vs. BRM Cloud

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pikovsg
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UFO V2 vs. BRM Cloud

Postby pikovsg » Wed Oct 11, 2023 4:09 am

Spent a lot of time testing the UFO V2 vs. Clouds over the past month. Some pretty clear results below.

Uses
Foiling waves, flats, freestyle, loops, plus a bit of Woo foil boosting

Sizes tested
4m UFO V2 and 3.7M Cloud E3
5m UFO V2 and 4.8M Cloud E3
6m UFO V2 vs. 6.2M Cloud E3

Time
Roughly 12+ hours on each kite

Bars
BRM bar vs. Custom UL bar vs. new Joystick bar

Thought some of you may find this test helpful. I'm a relatively competent foiler and as V2 UFO was released, kept looking around on forums and YouTube for months to find how Clouds compare to UFOs and other strutless kites. In full transparency, I should also add that I've been a BRM kite and customer service fanboy since the introduction of late C and early D model Clouds. Riding Clouds was borderline a religious experience for a bunch of us here in Boston as we learned to foil and began to use Clouds. BRM customer service was incredible. Clouds were incredible. Annual Cloud update reveals were incredible. Zipping waves on 4m dream-drifting Clouds while others ride 9-12m was incredible.

Right around the time UFO V1.1 was released, BRM's service began to have issues. Initially, it was the CCS lower QR line breaking due to the weave being right where the line would be sliding within the eye of the bar. The line would abrade and eventually snap (usually mid-session) after about 20 sessions. Won't go too much into this...

During this time, Slingshot updated the UFO V1 to V1.1, but it still had noticeably less drift, was heavier, slower turning, prone to backstalling, and just generally felt sluggish. All that said, it was still great to see some new competition appear in the mostly cottage-run sector.

Enter UFO V2. It flies like a completely different kite. I honestly feel like it's better than the Cloud in every way. (A moment of sadness, sigh.) Most noticeably, the power delivery during loops is really consistent. Which goes a long way when carving, riding waves and looping the kite. Cloud E power delivery is less consistent, with subtle to not-so-subtle spikes at the apex of a loop. Those spikes are felt less in version E, vs. D and C, but they're still there. Especially when you use one kite after another. Drift is noticeably better as well, possibly because of the much thicker leading edge. For freestyle, the V2 wipes the floor with the Cloud. Looping the kite, no matter how hard you loop or how much you loop is just a pure delight. The Clouds tend to invert on a powerful loop, esp 6m on down. Once it inverts the first time, the structure of the kite becomes less stiff and inversions begin to happen more often. Once it inverts, you gotta go back to the beach and undo it manually. After a whole lot of these inversions, I subconsciously began to second-guess looping Clouds. Happy to say - no inversion dread with the UFO V2. The loops are AWESOMMME!

A couple of things Slingshot could improve upon and some suggestons:

8m and up – bigger UFO sizes feel more sluggish and "pillowy" compared to the more go-cart qualities of the smaller models. I think the Clouds still hold the edge in the larger sizes, especially the 10m. Hopefully that's been addressed on the recent V3 or will be addressed on the V4.

Aluula UFOs - Holy shit this would be amazing! Please, pretty please. :)

Quality control - My new Joystick bar arrived with a bad weave on one of the front lines. Also, the new 4m UFO arrived with a decent leak in the leading edge. Both of these Slingshot addressed quickly and offered to replace without any hassle. It might just be and odd bad luck on my end.

Joystick bar - epic bar and a total game-changer IMO. The bar throw is awesomely long and is a pleasure to use in the waves. The bar ergonomics are fantastic, the bar diameter just right and the Flytech lines are soo nice. After a bunch of sessions, I think UFOs feel better with a slightly heavier bar since they have a bit more pull than Clouds. BRM bars don't have that same magic on the UFO as they do on a lighter-pulling Cloud. One annoying thing on the Joystick bar - please tweak the auto-rotating mechanism above the QR to work better at untwisting lines. After 1-2 sessions the bearings noticeably lose their smoothness and the bar needs to be unspun manually by hand. Not a major issue because a lot of foilers are used to a BRM-style manual bar. But it would definitely be super super duper nice to have that be butter-smooth.

That's all I got. I have no commercial connection to Slingshot other than awesome times at a Cabarete foil camp with Fred, having been a fan of his ballet-style riding and having the pleasure of sharing waves with the dude for a week.

Hope you find this comparison helpful.
These users thanked the author pikovsg for the post (total 9):
Gerwinnaar (Wed Oct 11, 2023 6:05 am) • KVL (Wed Oct 11, 2023 7:54 am) • lifeinthehood (Wed Oct 11, 2023 8:09 am) • nixmatters (Wed Oct 11, 2023 8:15 am) • Turbaani (Wed Oct 11, 2023 3:51 pm) • airsail (Wed Oct 11, 2023 7:57 pm) • vakiter (Thu Oct 12, 2023 2:31 am) • Nak (Sun Oct 15, 2023 2:30 am) • mm1854 (Sun Oct 15, 2023 6:38 am)
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max
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Re: UFO V2 vs. BRM Cloud

Postby max » Wed Oct 11, 2023 11:36 am

pikovsg wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2023 4:09 am

The Clouds tend to invert on a powerful loop, esp 6m on down. Once it inverts the first time, the structure of the kite becomes less stiff and inversions begin to happen more often. Once it inverts, you gotta go back to the beach and undo it manually. After a whole lot of these inversions, I subconsciously began to second-guess looping Clouds. Happy to say - no inversion dread with the UFO V2. The loops are AWESOMMME!

Sorry but in my experience, the only time an inversion will occur is when you have not pumped up the kite hard enough. I have been riding clouds since the C models. Only ever had one inversion, on my 3.7 Cloud D that i later discovered had a very very slow leak. I have ridden the D and E's in 2.8, 3.7, 4.8, 6.2 and 8m and never experienced what you describe at any other time. Maybe I am lucky or maybe I just pump up my small leading edge clouds to more pressure than you do.

I have owned the UFO V2 7m. It is a lovely kite with many strengths that I enjoyed and though it steered well, it steered like a truck compared to a 6.2 or 8m cloud D or E. This is not a bad thing depending on what your personal preference is in this area. I have no doubt that the smaller UFO's are much better in this area but I have not tried one so cannot comment.

The clouds are special and not to everyone's taste. They have been my taste for many years as I enjoy the feeling that they are alive. Having said that, I hope to one day try a small UFO like the 4m given that the 3.7 cloud is a standout favourite of mine as was the C3.5, my very first cloud.

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pikovsg
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Re: UFO V2 vs. BRM Cloud

Postby pikovsg » Wed Oct 11, 2023 4:03 pm

I hear you on the pump pressure. Maybe you are lucky with your Clouds. I pump mine at really high pressure - around 11-13 and they still invert once in a while, especially the smaller ones. I do a lot of backfill kite loops which sometimes turn into mega loops, which is when the inversions usually happen. No such thing with UFOs.

Could you expand on what you mean by 7m “steering like a truck”. Curious what you mean by it. In the post, I mentioned the 8m and above UFOs are not as good as Clouds quite yet. They feel a bit sluggish compared to Clouds and turn slower. Steering on UFO 7m is incredible and consistent. 3m opens up more capabilities as it’s more steady in the loops as well.

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Re: UFO V2 vs. BRM Cloud

Postby pixeldrew » Tue Oct 17, 2023 3:19 pm

My experience mirrors @pikosvg

I've sold my 6.2 D3 because that kite used to love to taco. No matter how hard I pumped it, i'm a heavier guy but give it a decent loop through the power and that thing would taco 9 out of 10 times. I couldn't trust it at all. I'm now selling my 8m E3 too.

The v2 of the UFO's are hands down the best foiling kites. I have a v2 6, 8 and 9, a v1.1 3 and 5. The 3m i'm keeping to teach my kids with and selling the 5m because the wind conditions here in South Florida don't really warrant a 5. I did get a chance to ride a prototype Aluula ufo and tbh, I didn't like it at all, didn't turn the same and felt a little too rigid. From what I understand, Slingshot decided to not go ahead with it because they didn't think it would be worth the cost for the perceived tiny bit of performance it might give.

I've ridden custom bars before and love them but for out of the box experience the joystick is phenomenal. If you're a beginning foil junky and haven't had a chance to get a custom bar, it's hands down the best off the shelf bar you can buy. Since there is no de-power cleat getting in the way, it lets you feel exactly where the kite is and allows for greater throw to ride upwind through tacks with ease. It just simplifies everything. There is a way to change the optimal trim of the kite and that is to use the knots on the ends of the lines. If I feel the wind is going to be a bit stronger I may use the knots to shorten the front lines, but generally I will stick on the same settings for consistency. Since the UFO's optimal trim is pretty wide you don't get much more finesse then what you get from just changing your throw.
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Re: UFO V2 vs. BRM Cloud

Postby Huib » Thu Nov 02, 2023 12:08 pm

I've had the Clouds for about 5 years now and love them. I use them with a custom carbon bar from Infexion.
The 3.7 and 4.8m are by far my most used sizes. I rarely use the 6.2m and the 8 meters maybe once a year. I think I make around 80 kitefoil sessions per year
During my first years of foiling I sometimes had problems with inverted kites, but this has not happened to me for at least 2 years.
It happens when you pull too much backstall into your kite when starting. If it happens you can solve it on the water by letting the wind blow into it on the other side. It is not that easy and requires some dexterity.

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Re: UFO V2 vs. BRM Cloud

Postby Onda » Thu Nov 02, 2023 5:20 pm

I am a real UFO lover. Best kite ever used, makes foiling so much more fun than anything else.
I really wonder why no other large brand than Slingshot has launched a zero strut kite for foiling yet. BRM is not relevant for me in Germany as they´re not available here.
Would be great to have some contenders for zero-struts in the market to bring down price and increase the choice.


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