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The RPM has been a benchmark in performance and versatility for the last eight years and is a true example of the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ school! Whilst the kite has had some incremental changes along the way, certainly in its material layout and new gust absorbing IRS bridle, it’s not strayed from the original (multi championship winning) formula too much. The 2018 model has had some tweaks and a graphics refresh but essentially has the same vibe as the excellent kite from the last couple of years.
We find that the RPM is at its most effective with bridle pigtails set to ‘get rad’ freestyle mode. Then this American warhorse provides a lot of downwind travel after you pop giving you ample time for your double handle pass. This is the signature characteristic which has endeared the kite to Youri Zoon, Carlos Mario and a wealth of day-to-day freestyle riders. Aesthetically it’s got those signature badass Slingshot graphics, and the build is very refined as you would expect for a kite in its eighth generation, with strategic use and joining of materials throughout. The trailing edge wear on the early generations has long been weeded out with plenty of Dacron darting on the back edge to ensure this isn’t a ‘one season wonder’. On the middle freeride setting, which is where most people would use it, you can chuck the kite around and it will provide a predictable and reassuring response. It’s not the quickest kite to turn, but with its freestyle leanings it’s not really designed to be. This slower turning speed in comparison to its stable-mates means when it comes to redirecting and heading skywards, boosting is slightly lacking compared to the competition. But loops are full of grunt and forward pull, so you won’t go that high, but you will definitely go very long.
For riding in the waves, the RPM’s predictable characteristics and fully ‘tuned-in’ feel make it a particularly good bet for onshore conditions where you are really working the kite. In this department it is as good as any dedicated surf kite that we have tested. For more ‘drifting’ conditions it also performs well although needs a little more input than the SST.
In a sentence: The RPM is a fun, dependable, and vastly adaptable kite which is one of the most popular kites on the market – and for good reason…