Finally got to fly this kite. I’m behind on some gear reviews, so I’ll throw up this RPM preview while it is fresh in my mind. When I get around to it, I also throw up a review the Ozone Flow foil I have been playing with and the REV2s I bought last fall. Several folks have asked me how I like both those kites and I just haven’t had the time lately to post detail. So, on to my RPM feedback….
First, some background – I learned to kite on Fuels, moved to T2s and then T3s and am now on REV2s. So, you can see that I tend to stay on Slingshot kites. I like the company and their product, but I’ve also owned Ozones and Flexifoils at times when SS didn’t have an offering I was interested in. And I of course like to fly anything I can to compare.
I got to fly the 12M and 10M 2009 Slingshot RPMs for three days down in San Juan last weekend. In short I really liked the kite! If I were buying new kites now, I would probably get the RPM. But since I already own REV2s, I don’t think it is worth a switch for me as both are great kites.
The turning speed of the kite was great. More interestingly is how it turns. The RPM turns very tight. Its pretty cool…it doesn’t rotate in place or slide through turns like a bow kite and it doesn’t arc as much as the REV or other SLEs. It seems to pivot right on its wing tip. I guess that is one of the things that makes it such a great wave kite, you can get power out of your kite (turn it around) without having to take up a lot of sky. It will pivot with losing very little power and be right there for you. I think the REV turns a little faster, but the RPM turns tighter. In any case, the kite always did exactly what I needed it to do. I was never waiting on it.
It also is extremely stable. I was conscious of having more or less wind as conditions changed, but the kite absorbed the gusts. From the shore it looked more stable than the other kites flying. It didn’t fold in with gusts I guess. Also, the 3 struts make it great for travel as it packed up small! I easily fit 3 RPM kites and the board in a golf bag and it was all under 40 lbs. (I had the bars & pump in another bag, but there was cleary weight room and space to include them if needed)
Jumping seemed similar to the REV. I really didn’t get to jump high on it until the end of the 2nd day and all day on the 3rd. The 10 RPM seems comparable to the 11 REV2. I think the RPM may have a little more low end. However, the jumping was an absolute blast in the high teens and low 20s on the 10M. It would huck you off the water and you could just kind of float up there and had plenty of line tension on the way down. I’d never drop like a stone as I sometimes did on the Ts. (could just be knowing what I’m doing more – but the point is the kite was predictable.)
When the wind was lighter, I could still pop and play and was never at a loss to go upwind or carve down a small wave. Kite did not slow down when depowered. I kept it on the outermost wingtip setting (there are 3 inside that one) and the bar pressure was just right. Not too light, not too heavy.
The first day I rode the 12M and rigged the backlines on the 2nd pigtail from the wingtip (of 4). I figured I would want a little more bar pressure. It flew fine, but when I landed it for a break I moved to the wing tip and liked it better – less pressure, faster turning. The bar pressure is just right. You have a solid sense of where the kite is. Not too light, not fatiguingly heavy like the bows were.
Another REV vs. RPM comparison is that you get power as soon as you dive the kite and go. The REV is a kite that seems to feed off of apparent wind speed…so you don’t always feel the power till you’re on the go.
I did not get the chance to take the kite into any big surf. Prior to me being on the kites several folks rode them in some gigantic surf out near Isabella, PR and all the feedback was very positive. So it seems like the wave guys really like it. Two pictures of some of those sessions, below (I think this is Dale?);
I also heard the unhooked performance is excellent. I did not play around with this. Some REV owners used to comment that while adequate, the unhooked never felt the same as it did for them on Fuels. The RPM is supposed to bring that feel back with being a stable unhooked kite. On my bows I always had to trim it to avoid backstall when unhooked. That isn’t needed on the RPM (I’m told) but more importantly you just know where the kite is. I gather that the REV was so light and fast that it would loop too fast for some folks and they’d lose track of it. (The REV2 may have overcome this with the multiple attachment points)
I really didn’t have anything bad to say about the kite…I was very comfortable on it. It behaved slightly different than my REVs, but I liked all the behavior changes.
If you ride a REV or T3 you’ll recognize the bar and center line safety. It has the wider grip of the REV2 and T3 bars, but they have also changed the cutout so the CL line does not get much abrasion. These kites had been ridden pretty hard before they got to me and the CL looked fine. Not the usual fraying I see on slingshot bars after a few sessions.
Sheeting – It has the below the bar cleat that they have used for a couple years. On my T3s I found that the the below the bar cleat could be a bear due to the kite pressure on that line. Since everything is lighter on this kite it isn’t an issue. I still like to leave a tiny bit of rope in the cleat to make it easier to grab the handle (as opposed to burying it to the knob). My personal preference is still the above the bar cleat because I have long monkey arms and it is easier to grab, but I understand why they moved it down here. In short, the sheeting is fine.
Sizing – (mixing quivers), yeah, I think you’re probably good with a 15 Rev as your large kite and then an 8 – 10 or even 6 – 10 duo of RPMs. That’s give you an 8 – 10 – 15. I think the RPM sizes are like 9 and 11 REVs, respectively, although I haven’t flown the 8. I’d ask your dealer about that to be sure.
Seems to me it is a great surf and freeride kite. I’m not a big freestyle guy so I can’t comment on that aspect, but it did everything I needed from the kite and more.
Anyway, it is a great ride. Give it a demo.