Slingshot’s RPM has done them very well, with two world titles and a dedicated and highly committed following. This year’s release has been given particular fanfare due to the addition of the new IRS ‘suspension system’ which eliminates pulleys, replacing them with a bungee system. Other improvements in materials are also evident, with the ‘diamond leech’ and new DP175 Dacron leading edge and strut material providing more toughness to an already-tough kite. Also present is a new One Pump – having pioneered the system several years back, Slingshot are now bringing the system up to speed with a ‘nozzle-less’ attachment.
We tested the RPM in Cape Town with typical strong, gusty and unstable winds but some nice flat water sections between swells, so a great chance to give it the full work out. It has to be said that that we took an instant liking to this kite. It’s exceptionally easy to generate power with quick, precise turns and you get great feedback at the bar enabling you to tune in and get the maximum out of the kite. Compared to previous versions of the kite it does feels less ‘bridled’ and more direct. There is that definite RPM vibe but it is more tuned up and more dialed in. The RPM is extremely stable when unhooked and sits relatively deep and very comfortably –it’s clear why it has such competition pedigree with plenty of control and more slack line than you would expect, with no sign of back stalling. There is a more direct feeling though so precise freestyle moves are rewarded.
The RPM has great lift to get that initial height and a nice progressive power through the tight turning circle. Being an open “C” shape, it still gives you that great lift for boosting – you can be aggressive with the kite to get the speed needed and when sheeted in it produces a lot of lift. It’s also easy to down loop for nice soft landings. Power delivery is smooth and predictable due to its wide wing tips and solid canopy and, when you need to get back to base, the RPM sits nicely forward in the window and gives you that constant power to track upwind, and it doesn’t flutter or jellyfish in strong gusty winds.
Overall and it has to be said that this is a very impressive kite. RPM devotees will certainly be satisfied, but freestylers who like a bit more ‘grunt’ may also be in the queue…