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Slingshot 2011 RPM Analyze This Kite Review

Slingshot RPM

TESTED: 12m
AVAILABLE SIZES: 4.5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14m
TESTED IN: La Ventana 16-26 knots, large chop

FROM THE MANUFACTURER:

We’re proud to announce the 2011 Slingshot RPM. The RPM is changing kiteboarding with its innovative 3 strut “Open C” canopy design. It delivers limitless high end performance options for all conditions. Excel your riding regardless of your style. The RPM is the one kite that allows for top performance while executing unhooked freestyle, wakestyle, and surf style. It’s also the first and only non “C” kite to take a PKRA championship podium finish. It delivers limitless high end performance options for all conditions. For 2011 we have added Split-Strut design.

THE KITEBOARDER REPORT:

Out of the Box: For 2011, the largest change to the Slingshot RPM is the addition of Spitstrut, which means that the struts are now integrated into the canopy as opposed to being attached to the bottom of it. The RPM remains a three-strut one-pump kite built on an Open-C platform, meaning that the profile of the kite is more open (flatter) than most other kites. The compact and unique Full Suspension front bridle features two pulleys per side and is highly adjustable to change bar pressure, kite feedback, and turning characteristics.

The 2011 Comp Stick bar is similar to last year’s version, but the depower cleat has been changed to be easier to use. It features a push away quick release, below-bar depower cleat, above bar swivel, rubberized grip, adjustable stopper, and comes if different sizes. Our 12m test kite came with a 20” (51cm) bar and 25m lines.

On the Water: For the sake of consistency among our testers, we left the RPM on the stock bridle settings. The RPM sits back from the edge of the window and is a very stable and predictable kite. Even though it sits back in the window, it shoots forward easily when edging hard and gets upwind well if you use your board to control power instead of sheeting out. On the stock settings, the RPM has medium bar pressure, but this is adjustable through the bridle.

Turning is smooth but not especially fast. Unhooked, the RPM is very well behaved as it remains stable and is forgiving to small inputs from the rider during unhooked moves. After crashes, we found the RPM to be easy to relaunch. One tester rode the 12m very overpowered and found that the RPM depowers very well.

PROS:

  • The RPM combines great C-kite like unhooked performance with the depower and ease of use of a bridled kite.
  • The highly adjustable bridle allows the RPM to be tuned for a wide variety of conditions and riding styles.

CONS:

  • The trim system on the 2011 bar is definitely easier to use than the 2010 system, but it’s still a little difficult to use.
  • The RPM canopy flutters quite a bit when depowered a lot.

THE VERDICT:

For 2011, the RPM remains a great all-around kite that a lot of riders will like. This kite really shines if you want a kite with C-kite unhooked performance mixed with the depower of a bridled kite. The adjustable bridle means you can tune the RPM to feel how you want it to. The stability (especially for unhooking), smooth handling, and easy relaunch will appeal to many riders. If you don’t ever unhook and want a kite that gets upwind easily without having to edge hard, take a look at the RPM Rally. If you are after a great all-around kite that performs well unhooked, try the RPM.

TIPS:

  • Pump up the RPM hard, but don’t worry about the struts looking soft when the kite is sitting on the beach as this is normal for a Splitstrut-equipped kite.
  • Rinse the front line swivel with fresh water occasionally to keep it working properly.

TESTER COMMENT:

“The 2011 RPM felt even smoother than last year’s kite. Even through sharp turns, the power stays smooth and even.” –Paul Lang, 200 lbs., Surf Kiter

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