Kitelooping the Dice

Duotone Dice 8M Test Review

Looping Duotone Dice

This is our high wind performance kite of the year, but it’s also a helluva lot more than just that!

 

THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #104 IN MARCH 2020


Free issue of Kiteworld 104 and 2020 Travel Guide CLICK HERE TO GET THIS NEW ISSUE AND OUR 2020 TRAVEL GUIDE FOR FREE!


TESTED BY: CHRIS BULL AND JIM GAUNT. FIND THEIR DETAILS AND TEST SCORE BREAKDOWNS HERE.

 

TEST TEAM NOTES:

Of all the kites on test this year, the Dice eight metre is the least physical in the most demanding of conditions. When confronted with winds that are way over 35 knots, the Dice allowed us to always feel comfortable and in control; rather than having the kite and Mother Nature dominate us.

In strong and powerful gusts the kite doesn’t pop and stall; instead the Dice somehow just keeps smoothly flying forward, swallowing the gusts. Pushing steadily into wind, it doesn’t transfer that undulating energy down to you and never shunts erratically forward to completely alter the feel in your lines from one moment to the next. This shock absorption means you can still maintain a good, upright, controlled riding position whatever is going on around you. Hold your rail grip easily and, when a kicker appears, hit it with clean speed as hard as you like (or, perhaps more importantly, have enough control so you can ease back on speed if you don’t fancy it).

Dice colours

The Dice didn’t start life as a pure high-wind weapon, nor is it billed exclusively as one at the moment. This is a jack-of-all-trades, capable of a quick turn of speed and depower for waves and plenty of smooth poise when you unhook for tricks. This year designer Ralf Grösel has removed the pulley from the bridle to make the steering more accurate and responsive.

Before coming to Cape Town we rode the bigger sizes too; the ten and 12 are also quick; steering more like a nine and ten / eleven metre sizes respectively. Bigger kites with a lovely turn of speed that sit in a very positive, eager part of the window mean that in lighter winds you’ll always feel vitalised.

There’s nothing laboured in the way the Dice moves, whatever size you’re riding and when you’re averagely powered there’s a big sweet spot, so the turns are smooth and nicely powered throughout the sheeting range. In 15 knots, the 12 metre is a dreamy unhooked freestyle kite. The ability this kite has to perform across pretty much all freeride / freestyle / wave / foiling disciplines to a really high level is second-to-none.

Where the Dice differs to the Rebel is in sheeting power and the way it turns. The Rebel is a V-twin (lots of low down power and torque at low revs), whereas the Dice is the straight four and revs higher. Both are incredibly stable overhead, but the Rebel offers you a bigger sweet spot for jumping. The Dice has a smaller sweet spot, but you still don’t need to be super accurate with your handling to find a lot of performance. Incredible lift is still really accessible; providing the kite is above your head and you’ve got some speed when you sheet in, you’re going to go up.

 

Dice kites cruising

 

Usability

Although quick, the Dice isn’t a fire fly and the generous sweet spot combines evenly with the way the kite reacts, so it’s not twitchy at all. You need to be quite forceful with your input to get the kite to steer very quickly, but that’s why it works so well in strong wind; there is a bit of lag (in a good way) before the turn bites in this eight metre. You can be rotating and the kite won’t go all over the place and that intuitive feel means that you have less of those moments where you come out of a front roll thinking, ‘whoa, I’ve sent the kite the wrong way!’.

However, when steered positively, this is also a kite that on the right day you can use to attack waves, do fast turns, change direction quickly and sheet out hard. It responds well to rider input and although is easy to get on and ride normally, really likes being steered hard, allowing you to flow. The Rebel is far more park and sheet.

By choosing the Dice over the Rebel on the 40+ knot days out here in Cape Town, okay, you may not be able to jump quite as high (marginal difference) and you may lose a second of hangtime, but you get so much more control in demanding conditions for such a small sacrifice in that performance. In truth, you wouldn’t hold the Rebel eight metre down in 40 knots. It’s too much. Some of the massive, dirty gusts that can otherwise warp you downwind on most other kites, have less effect on you when you’re riding the Dice.

The first Dice models were almost too quick, flying a bit too far forward, but as the kite has developed that element has been brought under control. The Dice is untechnical to fly, but you can now steer it as quickly or slowly as you want. The power is very constant and the Dice doesn’t drop too much power as it progresses towards the edge of the window. Overall, and for all levels, it’s far more accessible and fun to fly.

 

Bully boosting

KW tester Bully sending a loop in full strength winds in Cape Town

 

Bully took the eight metre out on what was the windiest day we’ve ever seen in all the years we’ve been coming to Cape Town. It was truly brutal. Even very few pros went out and had a good session, but Bully was able to do board-offs and have the confidence to throw kite loops at 20 metres. He says, “It’s such a rewarding kite for doing loops in obscene winds, never faultering the whole way round.” Speaking specifically about eight metre kites (any smaller and the reduced amount of canopy actually makes looping more difficult to manage the float down after massive jumps), he says, “It’s really this and the Bandit that give me the confidence to throw kite loops in 40 knots, because of the speed, control and the way they turn. These kites give you strong wind comfort and confidence.”

 

Duotone Click bar

We have repeatedly sung the praises of the Duotone Click bar over the last two seasons. It’s classy, and does most things for you automatically. Search for more on our site. This year you can choose from three sizes of chicken-loop, depending on whether you ride waves, stay hooked-in all the time or do some unhooking.

 

 

SUMMARY:

Wherever your strong wind boundaries are, the Dice is a kite to feel safe on, whether you’re attacking kite loops in 30 – 40 knots, or just wanting to try some new but normal tricks in nine metre weather. For those sessions when conditions are off the scale, the Dice is the tool for the job. If you are a bit worried about power, or you are very light, this is also a great option for you. A delicious turn of speed and response to firm input also make it a great wave kite at its low to mid range. It’s as balanced as all-round hybrid kites come for unhooking and, finally, the sheeting range, speed and drift mean we’ve had some excellent foiling sessions on the Dice, too.

KW LIKED:
This is our high wind performance kite of the year, but it’s also a helluva lot more than just that!

KW WOULD CHANGE:
Nothing. But we’re excited to see how Ralf Grösel might somehow better it!

DICE BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Full package: 9.5
Low end: 7.5
Top end: 10
Steering speed: 7.5
Turning circle: 6
Bar pressure: 5.5
Water relaunch: 8
Drift: 7.5
Boost: 9
Hang-time: 8.5
Unhooked: 8
Crossover: 10
Ease of use: 9

SIZES: 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m

 

 

SEE KW’S REBEL TEST REVIEW

Find out more: www.duotonesports.com

 


Free issue of Kiteworld 104 and 2020 Travel Guide CLICK HERE TO GET THIS NEW ISSUE AND OUR 2020 TRAVEL GUIDE FOR FREE!


Back to search

Related Articles