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Cabrinha Moto 9M Kite Review

“The Moto delivers in all disciplines. So, if you have a twin-tip, surfboard and foil in your quiver, this is absolutely for you.”



This is the second version of the Moto that was designed to sit between the very solid, powerful Cabrinha Switchblade and the more specialist freestyle / freeride FX. This year’s FX kite is now more freestyle oriented. The Switchblade is your ally for sheeting freeride as well as big hang time, boosting stability, beautiful board-offs and powerful kite loops. The new Moto fills the gap ideally, and if the FX has moved away from your cross-over freeride needs, the Moto is now the kite for you.

Along with the Cabrinha Ace Hybrid twin-tip, these are the latest tests we’ve done in the UK after lockdown was lifted. And what a combination they are…


We’ve had some dreamy conditions here in the UK, including ultimate nine metre testing weather, from flat water low tide through to building kickers and difficult high tide situations with big shorebreak. Winds from 22 through 32 knots; just ideal.

The Moto made an impressive debut in the competitive three-strut all-rounder market last year, but this V2 model has had all the edges smoothed out after many extra hours spent on testing and design. Where some all-rounders are really good in one particular area, like jumping for example, they may be more average at wave riding. It’s difficult to achieve great performance traits across all disciplines, but this second version of the Moto is definitely in the top few kites that delivers even freeride performance for freestyle, jumping, waves and foiling. Very refined and positive in feel, it’s an absolute belter.


When you inflate the kite using Cabrinha’s Sprint Lock inflation system (no need for a nozzle on your pump – just screw the end of your hose to the bladder valve) there’s a sense of dependency and confidence. For us Cabrinha really deliver on that first sense of satisfaction that you’ve spent your money well when you set the kites up. Perhaps over the years some kites have felt heavier than maybe they needed to be, whereas this year the Moto feels a bit more trim in your hands. There’s still a feel of quality, but the modern design process (thanks also to Cab’s Nano Tech canopy material), means the kite feels good but not overly beefy. There are the benefits of strength without the kite feeling so locked-up in the sky, giving added manoeuvrability thanks to being lighter and further refined in manufacture.


While still being more broadly built than many, the Overdrive Modular bar is tremendously well featured this year, the highlights of which are the multiple chicken-loop options allowing you to choose the perfect attachment for the style of riding you do, eg. for rope sliders or for unhooking etc.


At the lower end of the 20+ knot spectrum during the test, the Moto only needed a small bit of trimming for some basic unhooked back rolls and raleys, but then even when the wind picked up a lot later in the test, the sheeting range is so comfortable that we had all the depower we needed at the bar and didn’t need to keep adjusting the trim. Set and forget.

In terms of boosting height, hangtime and dynamic turning movement, the Moto is once again bang in between the FX and Switchblade. From having lots of control and steady hangtime for board-offs, to big, explosive boosts in strong winds, through to really exciting kite loops, the Moto naturally delivers when it comes to outstanding but easy performance.


The Moto’s forward drive and constant feeling of control at the bar are engaging without being tiring. The loops aren’t pivotal, but they’re so positive in the way the kite very smoothly drives around the window. Holding a lovely amount of power throughout the turn, there’s good pull and the satisfaction of being able to get the kite below the horizon from your viewpoint.

Going from the base of its loop the Moto drives beautifully back up to 12 every time without hiccup. Bully was absolutely frothing about how bang-on all his loops were and, even though he felt like he was getting the kite low, he would then always land very softly with the Moto catching him overhead. “It takes a great journey around the window. Wide enough to feel really good without being very technical or risky. It’s just what a strong wind freerider will want.”

The difference here with the FX is that the FX now hoiks and pulls you a bit more dramatically in the early stages of the loop and then backs off a bit as it travels up the window, giving the potential for slacker lines at moments. Hardcore riders love that initial yank, but progressing riders will appreciate the consistent feel and performance of the Moto throughout.


During the test and across vastly different tide states, the wind went from cross-on to more cross-offshore and with bigger swells and shorebreak. You know you’ve got a good kite when you can see other riders travelling in front of the kite too much and getting munched by the chasing waves. The Moto’s consistent pace through the turn and the fact it travels forward is very rewarding. The driving and turning consistency, in combination with the ability to depower when you need to, makes it very difficult to luff the kite and put it in the wrong place. Once again, there’s very little thought required; everything’s just very natural.


We didn’t yet get the chance to try the Moto while foiling, but all the behavioural characteristics of a brilliant freeride foiling kite are there. On a wave you can choose the line you want, go for it and the kite will just stick with you, drifting steadily with some slack in the lines, but remaining reactive and then driving forward and powering up just when you need to speed up around a section. The drifting balance is incredible and that poise in the window with a superb feeling of connectedness throughout the entire sheeting range are just what you want on a foil.


The Moto allows you to pull every trick out of your bag, regardless of discipline. A nine metre is a really interesting size because you could use it wave riding in 18 knots, or hang on to it on your twin-tip in 35. What the Moto does exceptionally well is perform consistently through that whole range. Some kite’s personalities change from one end of their range to the other, but the Moto maintains its personality and feel throughout, helping you develop a really clean consistency in your riding. There are lots of three strut all-round hybrid kites out there, but they usually favour one type of riding over another. The Moto absolutely delivers across all. So, if you have a twin-tip, surfboard and foil in your quiver, the Moto is absolutely for you.


This is one of the most truly high-performing kites for all disciplines.


Not much. This is a real multi-purpose tool.


Build quality: 9
Full package: 9.5
Low end: 8
Top end: 9
Steering speed: 7
Turning circle: 6.5
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 8
Drift: 8
Boost: 8.5
Hang-time: 8
Unhooked: 8
Crossover: 10

SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 & 4m




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