Good morning....good afternoon....good evening,
A little history.
I run a kite dealership in Madison, Wi....USA and have been in the business for over 10 years. Riding 15.
I like a lot of kites on the market, but love very few. I'm tough on my suppliers when needed and I've been holding on to my 2012 Rally quiver for years due to not finding any other kite I've tried that I like better than the 2012 Rally in WAVES or super aggressive riding.
Each year, I have between 25-30 demo and school kites. Most are demos and I sell them off every year. Except my 2012 Rally's. Those green bags are still in my mix. THEY ARE NOW ALL UP FOR SALE. See why below.....
We've been on Slingshot's tail for years to bring back the 2012 Rally. They said they were making a new wave kite for 2016, so I was stoked, but also skeptical.
I'll get to the review and comparison soon.
I had a chance to try a prototype SST a while back and was impressed, but gave it a 4 out of 5. It wasn't quite finished.
I was still skeptical and told Neil H., that I'm skeptical and he said, "trust me Bob."
I had a chance this week to ride the 10m - 2 times, 8m and 6m all in a few days back to back to back. First I lent the 10m to a friend. I let him try it straight out of the bag, while I was training someone else. He's one of the better riders in the area and also loves the 2012's. So I'm a little nervous wondering if he's going to like it.
He comes back and basically says...."take my money."
Ok.....so if he's impressed, I need to try this kite. I let a second person try it and he loves it. I take it out and after riding it for 10 minutes, I'm screaming and yelling with no-one near me knowing I can NOW SELL MY 2012's. I found my new wave kite.
So here is the comparison. All of the riding was on our lakes, but I/we can tell a lot even when not on a powered wave.
In order of importance to me:
1) Turning speed.
2016 SST is Fast. Not quick, but Fast turning. Quick is good....Fast is great. The faster the better as far as I'm concerned. 6m and 8m are lightning fast. Similar to 2012 Rally. Check.
2) Turning radius.
2016 SST is more of a pivot turn if you need or arcing if you back off of the bar movements. Smother than 2012 Rally. Check.
Holy mother. This kite drifts with no flutter at all and once reengaged, doesn't all of a sudden pull your arms off. Much better than 2012 Rally.
*Side note: Some kites will lose the ability to steer if the bar is pushed out all the way or heavily depowered. Not this kite. I could rip deep downwind and depower hard and control the kite with one hand with just a tad of upper hand pressure to keep it in place. Damn Neil.....you told me so and I'm a believer. Checkmate. I'm done and convinced this kite rocks. The rest is gravy.
Huh? Stable to me usually means boring. Not on this kite. It's not only stable, but it doesn't flutter at all. I think it made a little noise once when I was doing a tack transition on my surf board and downlooped it right through the power zone, but not much at all. Much better than 2012 Rally.
Can't tell you myself because I only rode it with the surf board, but the other guys really liked it.
2012 Rally might be a tad better just due to a rounder leading edge curve, but the SST is excellent. I haven't had a chance to try in lighter winds.
7) Pull and power.
The 2016 SST has more pull than I expected. I'd say similar to the 2012 Rally's, but the larger size 2012's probably have a little better overall low end. Just a guess. The kite has a really consistent pull and absorbs gusts much much better than the 2012's.
The SST has a lot of depower, and I had no problem doing tack transitions with this kite. On some kites....2016 Rally's.....will pull too hard with the kite overhead when tacking. Not the SST....easy to do tacks. On our last day of riding, I was riding the 10m Lit....no problem, but should have been on an 8m. Went to 8m and was lit...no problem. Should have been on the 6m. Went to the 6m and was lit once again. Geez....this kite handles gusts like a champ.
For the first time, all my 2012 Rally's are now up for sale.
The SST is not only a phenomenal wave riding kite, but will excel in aggressive freestyle and freeriding.
The SST at first glance it looks like an RPM, but with a lot of the characteristics of the 2012 Rally.
It has a super simple short bridle and can't wait to try it also on my Alien Air foil board soon.
Any negatives? Not sure yet. Self inflating kites would be nice. I'll add something negative if I come up with it.
Since I'm a dealer, take it for what it's worth, but I'm also a critical rider.
Let me know if anyone wants any of these bad boys or wants to try them as a demo.
As always, buy with confidence from an Authorized dealer....hopefully me/us.