Best High-Performance Unhooked Freestyle
Size tested: 11m Suggested retail: $1,849 (complete)
Sizes available: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14m
Test Team Report
The RPM stormed onto the scene in 2009 and established the open C concept as a viable alternative to C kite freestyle performance, with the added bonus of easier relaunch and better depower. The 2014 version continues with this key focus and steps up its game with smoother power delivery and more responsive, crisp feel. Test Team Riders gave the RPM top marks for its smooth unhooked pull, and it was ranked as one of the top kites for this discipline. The smooth and predictable pull of the kite with its wide wing tips and rock solid canopy make it ideal for those riders who want a fast riding kite that jumps easily hooked or unhooked. The RPM sits back in the window slightly more than many of the kites in the test, but it’s not sluggish or unreactive to bar input when you need it to be.
The RPM steering feels direct and responsive, and it likes to be ridden fast and powered up. Hooked-in jumping with RPM is not epically huge, but the controlled pop you can generate from the kite certainly is. If sliders and park-style riding is your game, the RPM’s performance is ideal. The badass graphics of the RPM suit the style and performance of this kite. Any rider looking for a versatile, high-performance freestyle kite should consider the RPM.
While slightly underpowered, some found the kite was hard to work upwind, as it sits back in the window.
Intermediate- to advanced-level riders who want the ultimate freestyle kite for unhooked tricks. Smaller sizes are wave-capable and will work great for unhooked waveriding.
Designer Notes: Tony Logosz
” Smoother power delivery and more responsive crisp feel” – This is due to distinct changes in the kite. For 2014 we no longer use a traditional Bridal pully. We use a frictionless ring that provides a different radius and a more direct feel. Combine that with the new ‘diamond’ leach panel configuration the kite will have smoother power and a more responsive and direct feel. This diamond leach configuration also makes the kite more durable with less fluttering.
Jumps easily hooked or unhooked, allows for pop – Slingshot’s recommended bar trim is 2″ (the sweetspot) – the more you pull the trim in the more slack you have. This will take away the performance on the kite.
The RPM is designed for pop without having to turn the kite – with the kite sitting a bit more back in the window this allows for more pop.