After spending a good amount of time on the 2014 line here is my personal thoughts on all of the kites. You don't have to point it out, I sell and I ride North so this post is going to be Super Northcentric.
- All I can say is, "it's about time". I have read all of the hype here on the forum. You have the die hard North guys all saying this kite is magic and it does everything and the naysayers that think it's over hyped. The truth is you're both right. This is the first kite that North has made that literally covers everything. If I had to own only one North kite the Dice would be it. The 2014 Dice really does everything, and it does it all on 4 lines.
The good: You can jump the Dice very high and it hangs similar to the Fuse (really long hangtime) The kite unhooks really well and slacks well for all of you wakestyle guys. The kite drifts down the line so if you have a surfing background and want to go down the line without thinking about the kite then this is the one you should try. The low end is really nice, a little better than the Rebel but not quite as much as the 2013 Evo. The top end is really good similar to the Vegas. It handles gusts better than any North kite that I have ever flown and really does do everything well. If you are trying the Dice make sure you are riding it on 4 lines, because even though it is a "non-loaded" kite it works better on the 4 line bar.
The bad: This is going to be very specific for me but probably not most others out there. I don't like bridled kites. I feel like it takes away from the crisp response of the kite. With North's non-bridled kites there is no input delay. You pull right the kite goes right immediately. With the Dice, it takes a second to initiate a turn. Once the Dice is turing it is extremely fast it just has a slight lag that you should expect from a bridled kite. From my personal experience the Dice relaunches fine although I have heard that in light wind it's not as good as the rest of the North line.
- Lucky me I don't have to be limited to one kite and for that reason the Rebel is still one of my favorite kites. I love the direct feel and unlike the majority of forum goers I freaking love 5 line kites. I have had many sketchy sessions where the 5th line had saved me trips to the hospital. I also like the ease of self landing and relief of bridle twists and safety on self launching I hope North never gets rid of the 5th line. Yes I understand all of the problems that the 5th lines can cause especially in the surf, however I'll still trade the inconveniences of a 5th wrap for the benefits listed above. As far as a wave kite the Rebel is still my choice. I am not a true surfer. I learned to surf because I kite so for me it is more important to always have power while I ride. When I am on a wave I am rarely drifting with the kite. I make a top turn then send the kite down the wave and when I make a bottom turn I have the kite facing the other way pulling me back up the wave and repeat. Pretty much I am following my kite up and down the wave as I am going down the line. If this is your style I would continue to suggest the rebel. If you are more of a classic surfer and like to forget about the kite I would recommend giving the dice a try.
The changes: If you are new to the sport I would suggest finding a closeout 2013 Rebel. Save some cash, it's a great kite. If you have been riding for awhile the 2014 is by FAR a better kite. Out of the bag the valve has been redesigned. It's way more efficient and makes pumping a pleasure. One of the major problems that I had with the 2013 is when you loop the kite the kite absolutely will not climb the window to catch you. This made for extremely tough landings and is ultimately the reason I sold my 2013's and switched to The Vegas. For 2014 this problem is completely solved. Another complaint that a lot of people had with the 2013 was the reduced low end. The 2014 is way better and back to the older style windrange that people loved about the Rebel. The 2014 also doesn't fly as far forward in the window as it's predecessor. With the 13 you really had to back the kite into the window before you loaded and popped, now the kite is always there ready for launch. The 2014 is similar to the 2012 with a far more refined feeling.
- I believe that the 2013 Vegas is also one of my favorite kites. From 2012 and previous I never really liked it. The kite was always way too aggressive and was truly built for the wake style park rider. For 2013 they really made it way more user friendly. They improved the relaunch, made the turning speed faster especially on the freestyle setting, and drastically improved the low end which was always the largest Vegas complaint.
There are only positive things that I have to say about the 2014. It turns even faster, and has even better bottom end the the 2013. It also slacks better (more like the older style vegas) and relaunches extremely well. One thing that I wished the 2014 Vegas had was the new inflation system but I guess North just missed the cutoff date. In and out of the park the 2014 is Vegas is sick. It still has the more user friendly edge to it while maintaing the bad-ass appearance and feel to the kite. If you haven't tried a Vegas since the 2012 and had been considering it, please give it another shot. "The 2014 Vegas is so choice"
- North has always marketed the Evo as a wave / all around kite. I always disagreed with this because in order to be a wave kite it should be responsive, fast through the window and depower well. This is the opposite of almost all delta kites that I have ever flown. The Evo always had the best low end worst top end. It was a great jumper and the hangtime was phenomenal, and the relaunch was the best in the industry. However it didn't loop well, it didn't slack well, it had way too much power for unhooking and it was always pulling me off of the wave. If you can't tell I wasn't a fan of the Evo, but it definitely had it's place in the North lineup as this was by far the easiest kite to fly and as a beginner this was the kite that you were going to want because it was easy to fly and was very simple through and through.
This year at Surf Expo I looked up at the North line and they had the Dice (which again is all the talk), the Rebel (which looks great) and the Evo which many people were passing over. I starred at the Evo longer than most and wondered what the hell I was looking at. It isn't a delta shape at all, it looked completely different. North is marketing it as there "all around" kite this year. I am freaking dying to try it and will post a review as soon as I do. If you like the older delta style kite out there (and I know there are many who do) you better buy up the 2013's while you still can. The biggest change for North's lineup is the Evo which is a whole new animal.
- Say goodbye that kite is a goner. I have heard some people who are sad about the Fuse leaving the line, but I say good riddance. If you liked the Fuse try the Dice and The new Evo (from what I hear from North) because you are going to like either of those kites more than you liked the Fuse. The Fuse had it's place but the new North's are all many steps beyond that of the old Fuse.
- This kite started as the inexpensive kite in the North line that was originally created for beginners and schools. Some of the bigger name riders started using it as a wave / park kite and they couldn't be happier. This kite drifts extremely well and hangs down the line since it's super light. I think this should be marketed even heavier towards big surf and wake style guys, but I haven't tried the 2014. If I get a chance I'll post a review here.
- The Dyno continues to be North's race kite. There are no changes as the 2013 kite is the 2014. Participate as I will, I am still by far the worst racer at Crissy so my 2 cents here aren't worth a penny. Talk to Sky, Ken, or some of the other North racers on why the dyno is the best kite out there.
If you have any questions or want to demo any of the 2014 kites send me an email or phone call and we'll go ride them.