The 2015 Solo was a ground-breaking kite praised by testers for its simplicity, range and performance. As expected, changes to the 2016 Solo are of the tweak variety, but not insignificant. New for 2016 is the new Cascade Bridle. Aimed at improving leading edge stability and shared with the new Envy, this new bridle configuration features more attachment points to the leading edge. LF has also increased the stretch-and-tear resistant canopy material and added their interesting new Tension Trailing Edge pattern, intended to increase the tension on the leading edge and reduce flutter. The Solo is truly a unique kite; it has many of the all-around freeride characteristics of the Envy with only one strut and interestingly, the Solo covers a massive size range, 4.5 meter to the new 17.5 meter with only six kites. So each kite must be geared to cover a large wind range. By traditional thinking, this seems an impossible task for a kite with only one strut. On the water the Solo dispels a lot of traditional thinking. While certainly packing a lot of power into each size (the 6.5 meter has low-end not far off a traditional 8 meter) Liquid Force has managed to build a surprisingly high level of top-end stability into the kite. The 2016 model feels a little more stable and has less flutter in the canopy at the top end of its range than the 2015 model. At a time when a lot of brands are offering reduced struts or even no struts in larger sizes, it’s a notable accomplishment of Liquid Force to take their one strut concept and incorporate this approach into their smaller sizes with such success.
The Trade Off
With limited size options and minimal canopy support, Solo riders can expect to be riding overpowered and this kite will flutter more than others on the market. However, this kite offers surprisingly good top-end. Still, if we’re to point out a negative on a tremendous kite, it’s top-end stability and comfort.
Riders looking for a simple, lightweight kite with true do-anything performance. For a one, two, or three kite travel quiver the Solo is hard to beat.