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Kites! Kites! Kites! => Sport Kite Reviews => Topic started by: oldflyer on March 16, 2010, 03:20 PM

Title: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: oldflyer on March 16, 2010, 03:20 PM
After a month of test flying I am enjoying the Saber II sooooooo much that I thought I would write a brief review of this great kite. I hope you enjoy it and find it a useful review.

The Saber II next to Brunel’s Suspension bridge in Bristol England.


Earlier this year I was lucky enough to win a kite in an online raffle. The kite was the Saber II kindly donated by its designer and builder Will Sturdy. I never win anything so I was quite chuffed that the first thing I have one in ages was a kite. And this is no run of the mill average sport kite. It’s a top notch, beautifully made smooth and silky polyvalent kite. It tricks with the best and I’m really enjoying it. Every time I fly it I end up with a big grin on my face. It is just unbelievably rock solid in some of the tricks I enjoy most and it tricks wonderfully predictably and slowly. On top of all this, Will is a really nice guy. The best bit though is he is only 16 years old! Yes just 16 years old and already he is making top of the range kites that are as well made as the best kites I have flown from the UK’s top designers. The quality of Will’s sewing is superb and Will has used some really novel manufacturing techniques (more on these further in the review). I really am quite stuck for words here. If Will is making kites of this quality that fly so beautifully when he is only 16 years old, I can only imagine what he will be making in ten years time!

Unique construction traits

The Saber II has some really interesting construction features. Take a close look at the dark grey panels on the kite in the photo below. If you look closely you will see there are several lines of stitching criss-crossing these panels.


The next photo shows the panels close up. This part of the sail is actually double layered Icarex with a smaller mylar layer sandwiched between the two Icarex layers!!!


Will says that the second layer of icarex decreases the wear on the trailing section of the kite because he feels icarex is much more resistant to direct wear than mylar.

When I assembled the kite I noticed it had no trailing edge leech line. As a rule, I much prefer silent kites and I’m not keen on noisy kites. I was therefore a little dubious about whether I would enjoy the Saber. However, I was pleasantly surprised. There was no real noise at the lower wind speeds and, when the wind picked up, the noise was actually ok. The kite produced a deep rasping sound rather than an annoying higher pitched vibrating noise. I actually quite liked it. Will says he doesn’t use a leech line because a little bit of trailing edge vibration helps slow the kite down in gusts of wind and therefore helps with speed control.

The sail on the Saber II is VERY deep, deeper than on any other kite I have flown. The following photo gives you some idea for how long the standoffs are and just how deep the sail is…


So how does it fly?

In a word….. ‘smoothly’

I have to admit, I have quite a few sport kites in my bag and I have tried (and sold on) many others over the years that I didn’t really click with. However, I very quickly clicked with the Saber II. After endless hours studying ‘Trick or Treat’ and Randy G’s excellent online tutorials, I can do most tricks now but I can’t do them consistently. I usually pull too hard or at the wrong time or too quickly etc and I only tend to be able to pull off some tricks one time in every ten attempts. However, with the Saber II my success rate increased considerably. If I pull too quickly, too slowly or at slightly the wrong time this kite still responds. It’s as though it really wants to do the trick and just puts up with my often ham fisted inputs. It compensates very well for my bad technique!

The Saber II also does tricks very slowly compared to other kites I have. It only takes an extra second or so to do each trick but that extra second makes a big difference to me as it just gives my slow brain a fraction more thinking time to give the next input in more complex moves like the Jacob’s ladder. Whilst I’m on the topic of Jacob’s ladders, this kite does them beautifully. I could spend an hour or so doing nothing else but JL’s with this kite. I still can’t do them perfectly, but I can do them fairly consistently with the Saber II and they look really good. For me, there are two tricks that the Saber II really excels at – the JL and the Flic Flac. Flic Flacs are just so predictable. The kite sits in a fade or a turtle for ages and it locks into flic flacs and makes them exceptionally solid and repeatable.

Aside from these two favourite tricks, the Saber II will handle any other trick or combo that you want to throw at it. Everything looks good on this kite! Yo yos, Lazy Susans, Coin Tosses, Axels, half axels and backspins were all easily accessible

On top of all the very capable trick moves, the Saber II is also a great precision kite. Crisp tight cornering and rail straight tracking are all there. The kite also spins well within its wing tip. Tight turns seem centred mid way up the leading edge.

I am going to have some fun with this kite!

So how can you get a Saber for yourself?

Will is very happy to take orders. You can email him directly at

The Saber II will set you back $240 and the UL will cost you $220 for ‘standard’ colours (Like mine with whatever colour desired where the blue is) Fully custom kites are +$20

A few more photos…


Excellent quality stitching…

Side view...

The weights…

Nice clean nose…


Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: tpatter on March 16, 2010, 04:13 PM
Thanks for the review - looks like a great kite, I would love to try one!  :)  (I too, btw, am addictied to JLs, perhaps we should start a support group!)

I also like the bolts for tail weights - practical, smart, effective.

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: xuzme720 on March 16, 2010, 04:53 PM
I think I want one!

OK...scratch the "think"!  ;D

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: xuzme720 on March 16, 2010, 05:52 PM
I was wondering if it has a 2 piece LE? I was also wondering about the dimensions overall...?

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: Will Sturdy on March 16, 2010, 06:36 PM
It does have a 2 piece leading edge.

Here are the dimensions
Wing span: 2.3 M
Height: .95 M

Lower spreader: 5PT 29.75"
Upper spreader: .22 poltruded tube 19.875"
Upper leading edge: P2X 28.25"
Lower leading edge: P2X 29.75"
Standoffs: 3mm CR 11.25"

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: xuzme720 on March 16, 2010, 07:51 PM
Got mine! As of right now it's sail #8... I can't wait! ;D

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: Dolphinboy on March 16, 2010, 10:25 PM
Good job, I can't wait to try one.

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: xuzme720 on March 20, 2010, 01:53 PM
Me either, as of right now I am looking at around mid May before I can fly mine...

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: xuzme720 on April 05, 2010, 08:13 PM
Will, Have you felt out the wind range on the Saber II? What does it like for wind?

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: Will Sturdy on April 05, 2010, 08:37 PM
It depends on how much you are willing to work it. It will fly with no/little foot work in 5 or 6 mph fairly easily. It can be worked in wind that can't be felt, but that's not fun. I'd say about 3 mph is the enjoyable minimum with good technique.
It's sweet spot ends somewhere just shy of 15 mph. It can be flown much higher, but it begins to take some work beyond there. At about 20 + it pulls hard enough that a light person like me begins to have some difficulty controlling it well. It still flies fine though. Tricks require a fair bit of movement in higher winds. In really high winds it can get slightly mushy without aerostuff spreaders, but I at least would only be flying in those sorts of conditions if I needed to for competition.

In short it does not have a restricted wind range. I don't think it's abnormally large though. A kite like the exile will go lower while a kite like the vendetta will go higher more easily.

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: xuzme720 on April 05, 2010, 09:05 PM
No, it sounds like an almost perfect range, at least for me. ;D When the wind gets up to 15-20+ the foils come out to play. I find it too hard, with my limited tricking skills, to even try in high winds. ::) I have one T&T vented that I can grab if it is just gusty, but I don't usually go out into the heavy winds if I can help it... 8)

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: xuzme720 on April 24, 2010, 06:10 PM
Will, you still on schedule?  ::)

Or maybe ahead of schedule!  ??? :D

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: xuzme720 on May 07, 2010, 04:37 PM
I got a long box in the Mail today! ;D ;D
Looks great, Will! I love it! The wife asked me why my latest kites all have black, gray and purple color schemes... She says she likes to see brighter color kites! And all this time, I thought she liked my kites in purple... ::) I had to explain why I was using/getting those colors. I guess I'll need to finish the second LeQuartz soon!

Sorry, got sidetracked... :-[
Thanks Will!!! ;D

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: Turbo23 on May 10, 2010, 06:41 PM
I also got mine on friday! I had about an hour that evening to get some time on her and here is what I found.

I have been flying a Nirvana SE the past few months as my primary kite. My other kites consist of a Cosmic STD, DS, Cosmic Ghost The Sabers inputs were not to far off the inputs I use on the Nirvana, I was hitting all the usual tricks (JL's, Cometes, Yo-fades, very fast flix-flacs, etc) quite quickly. I found the kite to transition very quickly between tricks, and the sail seemed to grab alot wind between each input. It cuts very sharp corners without any unwanted oversteer.

 Most kites this good cost $300+. This is an amazing kite for its cost, the build quality is there, great stitching, and I actually really like the use of nuts as weights. Ive had trouble in the past losing weights to other kites, and this really simplifies everything. Ill be sure to get some pics when I get another good day to get out.

Thank You again Will!

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: tpatter on May 10, 2010, 09:47 PM
Here's a picture of one in red.


Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: Turbo23 on May 11, 2010, 09:07 AM
is that the tail section to a aircraft? I also dig the red!

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: tpatter on May 11, 2010, 09:25 AM
is that the tail section to a aircraft? I also dig the red!

They are decommissioned submarine fins - its a large art installation just below kite hill.   There must be 2 dozen of them - they look like a pod of orca whales swimming in the field.

The red is pretty sweet - this picture does not do it justice as you cannot see all the detail of the colors when in the sun.

Of course, we have been plagued with too little wind lately which is why I was taking picitures of the kite rather than flying it!  :)

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: tpatter on May 13, 2010, 12:06 PM
See this (I may have put it in the wrong place). (

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: photogbill on July 03, 2010, 12:44 AM
I've flown, bought, and sold many kites over the last few years ...gradually streamlining my kite bag to a few select favorites R-Sky NFX Manga, an NFX Extend, a Mohawk XS, etc. There aren't too many kites on the kite market that I haven't flown, at least briefly if not more ...and since I still thoroughly enjoy the above mentioned favorites, there wasn't much desire or temptation to add anything new to my bag.

That was before I flew Will's new Saber II. Although I usually prefer a slightly smaller kite, Will's Saber II doesn't have that 'heavy' feel that I didn't particularly care for in most larger kites I have flown. It also seems to do just about everything I can do with a kite ...very very well. It has moderate to light pull for a larger sail and smooth and precise.  After flying Will's Saber II at Treasure Island this past January, I knew it would be my next duel-line kite purchase, when my kite funds were replenished.

It just arrived via UPS...just in time for a planned trip to the beach this weekend!  ;D

I'm really looking forward to flying my own Saber II. I hope the winds are co-operative!

ohhh...and here's a pic. of SaberII #11. I was inspired to go with the same color scheme as the OP's Saber II.

Will has incorporated a couple of nice construction techniques. I like how he is doing the LE spreader connector cut-outs. They are rounded ...or oval (hot cut I believe) on the the ends which should prevent the dacron LE material from tearing as easily as a straight cut. He has also folded the dacron over on the inside of the LE strip and straight stitch sewn so that the open edge should be more durable and should not be subject to fraying. One more nice touch, IMO ...I like the way he beefed up and strengthened the trailing edge areas. Instead of using Mylar which tends to deteriorate and crack as it ages on a kite, Will has 'double layered' the entire large 'charcoal' trailing edge sail panel ...and added an extra 'triple' layer to the lower portion of the panel ...sewing vertical straight-line stitches on the three to keep them taught and from separating!

LE Cut-out:

...and yes ..I realized, after taking the pic, that the bridle line should have been over top of the connector.  ;)

Those new Skyshark 2PX rods look sharp!

Modified post to add a close-up photo of the trailing edge from the back of the kite;

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: Bob D on July 03, 2010, 04:38 AM
Now that's craftsmanship! That's why the boutique kites are worth it!

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: Jared on July 03, 2010, 07:30 AM
A very good friend of mine bought me a Saber II to thank me for some programming work I did for him.

Saber II #13 with my customary fluorescent orange highlights.

The winds have been a little too light for me to put in a lot of time on it, but I have had it out a couple of times already.  One of my favorite things to do with it is a straight vertical dive, then snap it into a 2 point landing just inches off the ground.  The cascades are really nice, too!

[to save space attachment deleted by admin]

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: Turbo23 on July 04, 2010, 07:42 AM
Here is a quick fly, it was pouring, I was soaked the kite was soaked but my friend got a Iphone vid:)
Sturdy Designs Saber II (

Title: Re: Saber II by Will Sturdy
Post by: asburyparkjohn on July 28, 2010, 10:08 AM
I tried it at Wildwood ... it tracks INCREDIBLE (holding straight lines and sharp corners perfectly with little effort) and to me was a PERFECT Precision/Trick kite or COMP kite if you will. Its a WINNER. I was not a fan of the Saber I Will because of the larger inputs required but you corrected that issue with the Saber II. I am tempted to try your SUL version next year at Wildwood ... winds permitting of course. Good luck with a great design!