2018 saw the Rebel become a totally new, four-line capable design. In 2019, designer Ken Winner, addressed the small weaknesses brought to his attention by Duotone’s well-seasoned team riders and gained improvements in one quality or another, without affecting existing ones. For 2020, it’s all about new and even better materials.
WHAT WAS YOUR VISION FOR 2020 REBEL?
Materials play a huge part in the success of any design. Over the years, our partnership with Teijin and other suppliers is forever evolving. New materials = lighter weight. With our advancements in cloth and material, my vision for the 2020 Rebel was to refine the materials and leech panels to improve weight, leech tension and leech durability.
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT AND WHAT’S THE PROCESS?
It’s all about lighter weight and better durability which we achieved by reducing the weight gradient between canopy and Trailing Edge. In earlier Rebel models, the Trailing Edge was 160 g Dacron next to a 55 g Trinity TX Ripstop resulting in a 110 g cloth weight gradient. This, over time and use, tends to degrade the canopy. By mitigating that and implementing the Trailing Edge wave pattern in the past, other brands of course, followed our lead. However, now that we have the outstanding 70 g in the Trailing Edge, there is only a 15 g weight gradient, which means we don’t need such a drastic wave pattern in the Trailing Edge to sooth the effect of the weight gradient. Leech tension has been increased and set with more tension in the lighter cloth.
When it comes to Leech durability, we have long felt that putting 160g Dacron in the Trailing Edge was a good solution for durability. More so, a lighter material would be more attractive, if we could get it. Now that we’ve developed a better material for the Trailing Edge, we’re implementing it.
WERE THERE ANY CHALLENGES YOU HAD TO OVERCOME?
Testing the materials and making sure they had the properties we wanted was the first step. Putting them in the kites and tweaking the leech tension parameters was the next. It was pretty straightforward.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN DESIGN AND PERFORMANCE UPDATES FOR THIS YEAR’S MODEL?
Better cloth, slightly lower weight and better leech tension were the goals. They were achievable in the time allotted. We look for weaknesses in the kite and then worked to improve in those areas. Attempting to find other areas for improvement and then make those improvements in this cycle would have been too difficult. We don’t get much negative feedback on the Rebel, so hard to know where to improve. Perceptive users will notice a crisper feel and will see better durability over the long term.
WHICH LINE LENGTHS AND BAR DO YOU RECOMMEND WITH WHICH SIZES?
Sky Solbach and I mostly use 22m lines. Big sizes will have more power and longer power strokes on 24m lines.