Cabrinha Moto Vs the Drifter

Cabrinha Moto Vs the Drifter

We’ve had the new Moto for a full year now and we wanted to give you an updated review. This is going to be a shorter video but, unlike the Switchblade, there are some new insights we wanted to share. If you’re not familiar with the Moto, last year Cabrinha released a new kite in the lineup- something not to replace, but to complement the Switchblade, essentially a lighter and faster 3-strut version with characteristics of its own. This was a clever solution to a big problem for Cabrinha. 

Aside from Nano ripstop The 2020 Moto is unchanged this year

Why Does Cabrinha Have the Moto?

Everyone was asking for a fun, modern, three-strut kite, yet every time they changed the Switchblade, the purists got a little touchy. Anyone remember the backlash in 2013? Since then, they have refined that kite to a point that we hope they don’t change it. Hands down, the Switchblade has peaked for what it is. Back to the story on the Moto. By now you know that, in years prior, experienced riders were gravitating towards niche kites like the Drifter and the FX, two of our favorite kites but, frankly, not the best choice for everyone.

The Moto is effectively a light, easy, all-around kite kite to fly. I mentioned in our original review that while it caters to a more advanced, active kite flyer, it does not require one. So one year later, we’ve all put a lot of time in on this new kite. With new designs there is always a learning curve and it takes a lot of time to get really familiar with any kite.

As I mentioned, the Moto is unchanged for 2020. We’ve come to love a few things and discover a few trade-offs. For example, we love how easy and fun kiteloops are and we also found that, unlike the Switchblade or even the new AV8, the Moto lacks the grunt and low-end of these kites. These two things might be the most important takeaway for you to consider here.

The Moto is Amazing for learning kiteloops 

New Insights 

Of all the kites in Cabrinha's lineup, the Moto is the easiest and, depending on who you ask, the most fun kite to loop in the lineup. I say "depending on who you ask" because, frankly, the FX is fast, powerful, and designed for riders pushing not only their limits but the limits of the sport. The Moto takes things a lot less seriously. The loops are not super powerful and they will not yank you like the FX or have that consistent but intimidating pull like the Switchblade.

I’ve met a lot of riders who want to learn how to Darkslide or do backroll hand drags, but they have tried loops in the past and they are intimidated by the raw power of their kite. This is because most of these riders learned on a more powerful 5-strut freeride kite. These kites are easy to learn on, easy to jump and, while I don’t think they are hard to loop, they tend to be grunty and powerful. So anyone looking to learn easy loop-based tricks gets caught up in their own head and never tries. The Moto, being user-friendly like those kites, lacks the raw power and bar pressure, making learning loops really easy. Even for riders who have been looping for a long time, the Moto just feels at home with this style of riding. If you follow our channel, you know Blake Olsen and I are currently releasing an entire playlist focused on kiteloops. We used the Moto for a good number of shots and Blake is pretty stoked on that kite right now.

In recent years, it seems like everyone wants to be on the fastest and lightest-feeling kite, something that was more difficult to come by pre-2016. Like I mentioned, any kite that delivered was also incredibly niche and aimed at one category of riding like waves or unhooked freestyle, leaving a gap for hooked-in riders who love to jump, kiteloop and generally fly their kite actively. The Moto delivers and our team has been stoked on it.

The best trait of the kite is also its worst. It's fast with light bar pressure 


So if you watch a lot of Versus videos, you know we're huge on the trade-offs, things to consider if a kite is right or wrong for you. With more time on the water, we wanted to share what we found, hence, a review on a kite that has not been updated for the year.

The Moto is true to our original review, and hands-down the most fun kite to fly in the lineup for hooked-in riders.

There is a small trade-off to consider that happens in rare circumstances. What we learned was, for newer riders in light wind specifically, it can be easier to back-stall or hindenburg the kite.

With the light bar pressure, an inexperienced rider might be experimenting with the sheeting and oversheet the kite. This actually happens on almost any kite for new riders. I’ve seen it plenty of times while teaching lessons back in the day.

It's just easier to oversheet with the excessively light bar pressure. And remember, this only happens in the lightest of winds. I’m not trying to rip on the Moto here. We’re big on trade-offs and you almost always give something up for a benefit. For example, the FX is fast and fun, but it requires a more advanced rider. The Moto is a lot easier for beginners but, as it caters to advanced riders who want light bar pressure and a very fast kite, it's possible to make a rider error in light winds.

You can’t have these two attributes and expect a less experienced rider to know how to correct the problem. It’s important to remember this only happens when you are scraping the bottom of each size kite's wind range and if you mistakenly oversheet.

To avoid this, you need to have some kite skills and awareness in light wind, or you’ll simply want to fly the Moto appropriately powered. Not a crazy requirement by any means, but sometimes it's easy to forget when you have kites like the Switchblade or the AV8 that love to be flown on the bottom end of their wind range. They pull much harder in light wind and stay there even in the lightest of winds, but they are nowhere near as light or playful as the Moto.

The Drifter still reigns king for waves and hydrofoiling 

Moto vs. the Drifter 

When it comes to hydrofoiling, the Moto sits between the Drifter and Switchblade. Last year I mentioned I would do a versus video comparing these two kites. They both work but in this specific category there, is a clear winner. 

There are some advantages to all around kiteboarders who hydrofoil 


Think of it as a Switchblade with less bar pressure and a more pivotal turn. The benefit we found is that it lacks grunt, so there is the big advantage of not getting lofted off your board. The other benefit here is that the Moto has a smoother power delivery and instant response from the kite. In some instances when hydrofoiling, you need or want to be very active with your kite flying. It goes without saying that the kite needs to respond immediately. You can use a slower kite but you’ll have to think ahead. I’m sure some of you know what I’m talking about: those instances in lighter winds where some kites have a lot of delay. So to this end, we still prefer the Drifter for hydrofoiling, but for riders who want an all-around kite that excels with hydrofoiling, the Moto is the right choice.

The Moto works amazing in the waves but the Drifter works better. Shocking right?  


When it comes to surfing, the Moto is aimed at the waves. It actually does really well in them, but it’s not quite a true wave kite like the Drifter. Now, I never did a complete Versus video between the two, but I did want to touch on where they differ and why they both work great in this video.

The main thing to consider here is that you will be using them differently in the waves. The Drifter, being a true wave kite, has the advantage of--you guessed it--drifting. This means when your lines slack or you outrun the kite, you still have control and it will drift along with you on larger waves. This is much less of a consideration on smaller waves, but huge in instances where you outrun the kite. Beyond that, the Drifter has a very on-and-off depower, meaning when you sheet in or out, you can instantaneously power up or take away power. This allows you to fully ride on the power of the wave. It’s also customizable for different wind conditions like onshore or offshore.

The Moto tackles waves a bit differently and, while it’s not a niche kite, it works very well... so well that Dave from Cabrinha, who helped design the Drifter, now rides the Moto in Maui, so there is that… Back to the point, the Moto is fast. What this means is that, rather than drifting, the kite can keep up with a rider dropping in on a wave, so you are less likely to outrun the kite, though you do have to actively fly it.

The Moto is not so much an on-and-off depower, but the lack of grunt and smooth power delivery are going to help you not to get pulled off your board or outrun the wave. I’ve mentioned in other videos that I often size down on freeride kites in the waves. I do this for the extra speed and to take power out of those kites. You won’t have to do this on the Moto. It’s already fast and very effective as a wave kite.

Like the Drifter, you can still depower and really harness the power of the wave, more so than the kite. That said, you will have to steer the kite and you’ll always be thinking about it more than the Drifter that you can pretty much forget about as it drifts along.

The Moto works fine for freestyle ( Not everyone needs a freestyle kite) 


So something I didn’t really cover any ground on last year was the unhooked freestyle performance of the Moto. I’ll admit that I always much preferred the FX and even a smaller Switchblade from time to time, but I learned from speaking with some friends that the Moto isn’t a bad choice at all here. In fact, it’s not a far cry from the Liquid Force NV v8. In this regard, it turns out the Moto really is a solid all-around kite like the Switchblade. The best way to think of it is, you're giving up some low end power for playfulness.

In summary

The Moto is the Switchblade's younger cousin. They have a lot in common, but each has its own personality. Looking back, I now realize that in many instances I was sizing down on my Switchblade trying to get the benefits that the Moto offers when just using the Moto is a much more refined and fun means to that end. You give up the wind range and grunt for almost the same versatility. The Moto is incredibly fun for learning kiteloops, or for experienced riders who want smooth, easy kiteloops. It's not quite a true wave kite, but it rips in the waves and likewise on a hydrofoil. It’s not quite the Drifter, but has its own benefits. Effectively, it's a great choice for anyone who wants an easy-to-use, all-around kite with light bar pressure and fast, easy kiteloops.

Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic

Just a dude from a kite shop testing all the gear one session at a time.

Many people dream of quitting their job, traveling the world and pursuing their passions. Rygo is one of those people who pulled the trigger. A few years into a postal career, he decided to change everything and travel as a kiteboarder, freelance videographer & writer. His mission is to help people and share the stoke. Get out there and kite!


Producer of: Ride with Blake I Sessions I Versus I Destinations I Foil Fridays

26th Aug 2019 Rygo

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