Switch Kites C4X bar is good but not great

Switch must have worked a long time on this update. Their bar has looked pretty much the same since 2013 and with feedback from their riders they’ve been working on a complete overhaul. I’ve be using their old controller for a few years now and it’s far from perfect, but also has its good sides. Here I wrote about the anatomy of a kitesurf control bar.

 

C4X kitesurf bar
Image rights: Switch Kites
Let’s have a look at their new bar, which to my surprise isn’t all improvements.

Pros

Plastic coated depower rope

This should save a few sessions and bucks. I would wear my depower rope out once or twice per year. I always order two at a time so I have a spare one, but it’s always inconvenient when you think you have a few more seasons i it and it breaks while riding. The new coated one should last a lot longer. I had a Cabrinha bar with this solution and it lasted for years.

Trim bracket instead of swivel

The swivel was supposed to automatically unwind your twisted front lines. It never quite worked and more than often I untwist them manually with the below the bar swivel. The new bar dropped that idea and went with something much more streamlined which hopefully lines can’t get stuck on, which sometimes happened with the old bar when doing your lines on the beach etc.

Switch Controller2
Image rights: Switch Kites

Trim handle with velcro

This would have been easy to fix yourself, but certainly is an improvement to their previous cleat and magnet solutions who never worked. Now the depower rope should stay in place instead of tangling around the bar and lines which had serious safety issues.

Elastic flag line

If you unhook you either ride suicide or suicide with flag option. The problem with the latter and safer option with Controller2 was that when you trimmed the depower rope it would slack and the weight of the leash would pull it across the chicken loop, and it was very annoying to have it in the way when hooking in and out. My solution was to ride suicide with an added attachment point so I wouldn’t have to attach the leash to the depower rope (which would wear a lot on the rope). With the new plastic coating I can now ride suicide without wearing the rope, but more importantly with an elastic flag line the attachment ring should always sit snug to the QR. It remains to be seen if it works since the old bar also had an elastic line, but not elastic enough it seems.

Cons

The price

€380 for the new one, €245 for my old Controller2. Sure, improved materials, inflation and that fact that Controller2 is four years old, but that is a hefty price increase that bumps it up to the level of many other brands.

Fixed bar length

I thought we were going towards industry standard with 2-in-1 bar lengths. With my old bar I can switch between 55cm and 45cm in seconds, allowing me to ride all my kites with one bar. Now it seems Switch wants us to buy two bars to cover the ever so popular 9m + 12m (or similar) quiver.

Fixed floaters

We will have to see if this is an issue or not. It looks cleaner for sure, but with the old one you could very easily reach the lines and adjust or detach them.

To summarise

We can see that the new Controller 4X comes with a lot of improvements, but also some odd design decisions and a hefty price tag. Is it worth upgrading? It really comes down to preference and riding style, but it’s worth having a look at other bars in the same price range since both feature wise and price wise they are now very close to each other.

Get the new bar exclusively online (affiliate link)

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1 Comment

  1. Hi,

    I have used for the first time the new Switch bar and have come back to F-one right after it broke on a kiteloop. Our riding condition are kind of rough in Madagascar, but I wouldn’t have expected a bar to break so easily on a common trick. Maybe my model had been genuinely weakened by metal molding problem.

    http://www.kiteparadise-madagascar.com

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