This test was featured in Issue #67 - SUBSCRIBE TO KITEWORLD MAG HERE
NORTH DICE 10M
The Dice is a brand new model for 2014, aimed at the rider wanting a do-it-all machine with C shape flying characteristics. Designed to perform in wakestyle, freestyle and in the waves, the kite entertains on all levels using a light weight three strut configuration around a C shape profile. Lively in your hands, very direct and predictable in the air, the bar feedback is positive and the Dice is incredibly easy to fly out of the bag. Direct and fast, great drifting in the surf yet the jumping ability is easy and the Dice is also very good unhooked, which is why Tom Court and Airton Cozzolino are using this kite this year. If you want a kite for the maximum amount of fun in any conditions, choose the Dice as it's responsive, fast and great fun!
TEST TEAM NOTES:
In terms of quality, the Dice produces exactly the superior experience that we expect from North when you pull it out of the bag. Everywhere you look the product is bang on, high quality, and like all their products, very well thought out. The colouring this year is clean, simple and attractive, so all first impressions are very good. You know you're on a leading product.
The North bar is super light and works beautifully. The ability to switch the bar ends to effectively lengthen or shorten the bar while on the fly is very inventive, you don't need a bag of spares to adjust it. Just minor presentation updates this year, but it's hard to fault. Lots of range, a very smooth trimming cleat, excellent chicken-loop system and chicken-finger - this must be one of the best out there in terms of clinical design, clean ease-of-use in the way it works, releases, fits back together and presents itself. Neat and tidy, it has all the features and they're just nicely tucked away. Understated class is the best way to describe this system.
North always have a very interesting range of kites and are developing stuff all the time. This is their take on the all-round three strut model and first impressions lead you to believe they've done a very good job of it. As soon as you put it up you're very comfortable and you know this kite is going to look after you. Four lines with a five line option, there isn't much bridling and you therefore don't feel a lot of bridling in the handling. It's remarkably direct.
Even though you only need light input at the bar, the turning circle is quite drawn out, producing a super smooth, constant delivery of power. If we're going to start anywhere in terms of performance with this kite it's here. You can feel it all the way through the turn, but there's nothing aggressive about it. That constant feeling, without any stall and the drive forward make it lovely for wave riding. Always keeping up with you and retaining the feeling through the turn and without being physical, the depower works all the way along the throw, too. It's very predictable and when you pull in for power or sheet out for depower it all just happens so smoothly. There is no wishy-washy banjo playing on the bar. It never drops a gear and doesn't accelerate off either. It's not the fastest kite here but it also never suffers through surging too far forward, especially when riding waves, is resistant to gusts so you never find it too far forward and therefore stalling slightly at the start of a turn just when you need it to react. It's behaviour in the wave is stunning.
The bottom and top ends on this kite are just about right for what you'd expect from a really good ten metre, but again, what stands out the most are the way that it behaves at it each end of its ranges. Even right at it's top end it still delivers an ultra smooth, comfortable ride. In terms of boosting, it's not quite as sensational as some of the other kites this issue, but it still has a good jump and what's really nice is that because of its moderate feel, and the way that it's always delivering a very constant amount of power, is that the hang time is beautiful. Definitely good quality jumps with lots of control and grace.
Unhooked it's just so well behaved and doesn't pull your arms off. There is no twitchiness in this kite anywhere in the window or whatever the winds, and this translates through to its unhooked performance. The Dice is all about making things easy. If you've been a Vegas flyer for a long time, you'd notice that this has less attitude at the top of the window. A Vegas is always wanting to lift, it's eager, pulls a lot and is always ready to go. So when you first get on the Dice you may think it feels a bit benign in comparison. The Vegas is a great kite and very exciting. This is milder, but don't confuse mildness with boring. The Dice sits beautifully between the Rebel and the Vegas in the line up and if you're on a Vegas because you're a freestyle guy and you actually want to see a lot of improvement in your riding, then we bet if you got on this you'd actually find yourself landing a lot of tricks. You may sacrifice a bit of boosting ability going from the Vegas to this, but what you get to balance that boosting is just a ridiculously smooth, easy and comfortable ride that never surprises you. And it produces a great kite loop for a bridled kite, feeling very direct the whole time. Rounded out by an excellent relaunch, this is a phenomenal all-round performing kite.
Incredibly smooth and predictable, your riding will seriously improve on the Dice. Perhaps it's not as electric in terms of absolute performance in specific, specialised areas as other kites, but the super smooth predictability and impeccable behaviour in the Dice make it an incredibly useful, easy and rewarding tool for any situation and riders of all levels.
Reliability, predictability, smooth performance and super sweet power delivery.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
If you like high levels of torque, a punchy kite and bags of aggression, then this might not be for you.
KITE BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Full package: 9
Low end: 8
Top end: 8
Steering speed: 7
Turning circle: 6
Bar pressure: 5
Water relaunch: 8
Ease of use: 9
SIZES: 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m