I’ve written about control bars a few times in the past. Here’s one about the different leash connections and safety options, and this one looks at a handy DIY of a Y-split connector.
I’ve also reviewed Switch C4X Controller, which was good in many ways but left a few niche things to be asked for. In many ways, I feel the same about the F-One Linx. It’s 2023 and you are not going to get a poor control system from any of the well-known brands.
In fact, most of them use very similar solutions and only differentiate on the details around convenience. Every now and then a brand come up with something really innovative, but it’s not ling before it’s adopted by the other brands. This is a good thing. With safety being the most important factor in controller design, it can only be a positive if brands are conforming and standardising the safety mechanisms. You don’t want to hold an unfamiliar system in your hands when things go South and every split second matters.
F-One Linx Bar 2023 specs
Please note: I’m actually reviewing the 2022 Linx, but since the 2023 looks exactly the same I figure it doesn’t matter. F-One can reach out if they disagree.
- Adjustable bar length 45 – 52 cm (or 38 – 45 for the wakestyle bar)
- Adjustable high or low Y-split
- 24m lines
- 1.12 kg incl. lines
- All four lines end with loops
Riding with the F-One Linx Bar
Here are my subjective thoughts and feedback after logging six sessions in various conditions on it. All impressions are based on my personal preference, so what doesn’t work for me might be ok with you.
It took me a couple of sessions to tune the lines, from stalling the kite to have sluggish steering. I think I’ve got it just right now and this is of course not down to the bar but rather me coming from a very different set-up and not riding F-One kites. The bar has a number of steering line length adjustments in the floats for fine tuning.
Once dialled in the bar works like a charm for most part. It’s got a comfortable grip, the line swivel is easy to handle, the donkey dick keeps you securely locked into the chicken loop, but when you unhook you can move it to the side and out of the way.
The depower set-up could be improved
The depower is a standard cleat solution and is easy to adjust thanks to the big handle. The square depower rope plastic coating is solid and will keep the depower rope safe from wearing out. Maybe the square shape has benefits built into it, but I’ve also noticed a tendency for it to jam the bar or at least create a lot of friction when I sheet in at an angle (picture sheeting in with one hand during a transition). This behaviour is odd and maybe a one off or maybe it’ll get better with time. I hope it does because it’s pretty annoying.
The bar throw has a fixed length and can’t be adjusted. It just about works for my arm length but if you have short arms (I’m 175cm / 5’9) you might not reach the bar when it’s fully sheeted out (are all French women tall? Does F-One sell a separate bar for short people?)
F-One Linx is not a bar for freestyle
The chicken loop (CL) is on the smaller side and not ideal for unhooking. Most bars I’ve used didn’t have this issue but I guess because there is a large CL available as an extra they chose to reduce the size on the standard one. I still think there is a middle ground for us all-rounders who like a bit of occasional unhooking. This combined with a leash connection point that can’t be connected semi-suicide (with the CL through it) does not make it a good bar for freestyle.
I found an easy hack though (or two, really) which gives me what I want. I ordered a spare leash connector for the Core Sensor 3 which luckily fits beautifully and allows me to unhook semi-suicide, and without the leash connector being in the way when hooking back in. It sits nicely snug at the top.
My second hack is true suicide (no way to pull the safety release) but allows the leash to move over the bar and back to its original state after landing blind or wrapped. I’ve had this in place ever since I saw this being a feature on the Cabrinha QuickLink bar (possibly the most over-engineered bar in history?).
My third adjustment was adding pigtail extension to the line ends. These lines all end with loops, but my kites uses a mix of loops and pigtails.
- Adjustable bar length
- Adjustable high or low Y-plit
- Coated depower line
- Easy to untangle lines with below the bar swivel
- Depower line can untwist after spins and loops thanks to clever leash attachment
- Good build quality and comfortable grip
Could be improved
- Long bar throw that can’t be adjusted
- Small chicken loop
- No built in semi-suicide connection
- No adjustable line length
- Bar length adjustment gets easily jammed and requires a lot of force
- Integrated floats adds unnecessary complexity (industry standard nowadays sadly)
Another personal downside with the Linx bar are the 24m lines. That’s a common line length nowadays, but some brands make 20+4 etc, so you can switch between. 24m gives a bit more low-end performance but I’ve been riding 20m lines for a very long time and its just become my preference. The kite is a bit more responsive, and another benefit noone ever mentions is the smaller beach set-up required (something quite handy in the heavily tide-dependant UK).
Conclusion about the F-One Linx controller
I’m starting to wonder if the perfect kite bar exists. So far I haven’t seen it, but with customisation one could build the perfect bar with a bit of DIY. This is why I’m not a fan of the industry standard built-in floats making it harder to access and adjust lines.
The Linx bar is a solid out-of-the-box bar. If you’ve got long arms and are just looking to freeride then this bar will be near perfect part from the odd sheeting issue I mentioned. In my case it’s it’s ok with my small customisations but after riding it on my 10m Switchblade I think I’d be better off with the smaller size for reduced bar input and total control in the air.
If you’re interested in another review of the Linx bar, check out this video from MACkiteboarding.