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(disclaimer: The observations below are purely my opinion and are provided for the sole purpose of sharing information about new 2013 gear. I am not paid by Slingshot, nor did they ask me to post any of the following):
I've been flying Slingshot Rally kites for the past 3 seasons, mostly in the surf, but also at Sherman and in the Bay. I've had a few sessions on the 2013 8 and 10 meter kites and thought I'd share what I'm seeing with this year's model and about the changes they've made to the bar.
1. The 2013 Rallys are more stable. I'm not sure if this is due to the addition to some really small diameter (<2") struts on the wingtips but they handle gusts better and seem to fly in one area of the window better. Older models tended to race forward in the wind window in gusts. These aren't doing that nearly as much. My observation: Like.
2. The 2013 10 meter Rally has a good amount more grunt than previous models. Sadly, it also turns slower. My observation: Given the additional stability and power, yet slower turning, I'm calling this a 'glass half empty or half full' situation. It's all how you look at it.
3. The 2013 kites are somewhat heavier. This is due to the extra struts as well as slightly beefed up areas where kites typically tear/fail. My guess is since Patrick Rebstock is now riding Rallys, he's had some input in terms of durability in the surf. My observation: Heavier: Don't like. Stronger/more durable: Like.
4. Bar pressure seems the same as the 2011 and 2012 Rallys. It's medium to light, which I like as it doesn't make my elbow and forearms hurt after multiple sessions, day after day. My observation: (Still) Like.
5. Speaking of the bar, they've made the grip a bit softer. I think it could still be softer yet, but it's a step in the right direction. My observation: Like.
6. The bar is still hella heavy. Compared to bars from other brands, the Slingshot bar is a beast. My observation: Don't like.
7. They've made the hole through the bar for the chicken loop rope have a little ridge (they call it a "volcano""). Due to this and the resulting smaller diameter hole, there's less tendency for your finger to get pinched and rubbed by the chicken loop rope as the bar sheets in and out. My observation: Like.
8. in 2012, Slingshot started using WHITE grip on the left side of the bar (black on the right). I think all bars should have red on the left so there's consistency between bars of any brand. I wrap some red hockey tape around the left side on my bars but it's dumb to stray from the industry standard of 'red on the left'. My observation: Don't like.
9. They've added some velcro on the end of the floats/Oh-SH*t handles to secure your lines after wrapping them up. It works OK, but I still prefer bungee or something to just pull over the lines at the end of the bar. My observation: Meh, not a big deal, I still mod the ends of my bars with small bungee cord to pull over the lines when I'm done wrapping up.
That's the news as it's fit to print...
I'm noticing that despite the recent clear "specialization" of kite shapes / types within a brand's line-up in the last 3 years there seems to be a continuation of design trend pulling back toward free-ridability happening again this year
In other words the drastic specialization of the kite models are being gradually softened a bit to introduce more all-terrainability for each model & overlap of performance
In the Naish brand the evolution of the Park vs. the Torch or in RRDland the Religion vs. the Vision are some examples I've noticed. I think it makes sense as you market - if someone is going to buy just 1 quiver it is nice to have versatility even if you have a core niche / kite design style you prefer
Ya Phill, I think that makes sense. Most of us don't buy multiple quivers every year. I suppose we could but it gets expensive. (Honey, how about this year we don't save for retirement but instead get me another quiver or two... ) it makes much more sense to buy a quiver of kites that have good all around performance with perhaps a dominant trait that favors your preferred style of riding. Still leaves room for some variety, but how many of us want a kite that boosts huge, but is a bitch to ride in less than ideal conditions...etc...
I'm also noticing a lot of migration across brands / models going towards swept & clipped delta / open-C (high de-power C) or some kind of a variant of that design
Nice, honest writeup. It's always fascinating to see where companies take their kite design. There are always tradeoffs, but in sum generally things improve every year.
That said, nowadays, the changes are so minor, it's often hard to tell the difference between "it's just a new kite that hasn't been stretched out" and "design changes"
Liquid Force Kites/Boards
Here's what The Kiteboarder Mag has to say about the new Rally:
They look nice.
I've got my 2012 Slingshot Rally Observations here: My 6m and 8m are sold and it seems the buyer likes them a lot and they may soon buy my 10m...
What am I going to fly in 2013 though? We will see, don't know yet!
Just a point about bar pressure etc. I am still flying my 2011 Rally 8 and 10. The 10M is my favorite kite EVER, and based on your review, I will not be buying the slower (snif) 2013. More grunt? How could that even be possible?
On both my Rallies, adjusting the knots on the front and back lines changes bar pressure, grunt, and how far forward the kite flies when a gust hits.
Shorter front lines = Less grunt, lightest bar pressure, most depower when sheeted out. Best for gusty conditions.
Equal length = heavier bar pressure, even pull when sheeted out/sheeted in. Best for steady wind, freestyle, etc.
Longer front lines = More grunt, best light wind setting. The 10M "goes to 11" when you set it this way. If the wind comes up, too much bar pressure.
Don't know if you've tried messing with this, but it could affect some of what you are noticing to do so.
It says 10M, but it's really a 9.
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