2017 North Dice review

 

KW’s review of North’s best selling freestyle cross-over kite

 

TEST TEAM NOTES:

It’s rare to see many drastic changes to a product line year on year from North and similarly the Dice has seen subtle tweaks. Designer Ralf Groeschl told us at the 2017 North range launch in Tarifa earlier this year that, other than the Mono, the Dice was one of their best sold new products when it was launched back in 2014. Sitting within the freestyle cross-over category, the difference in the Dice’s performance-accessibility compliments the Vegas well.

 

North Dice 2017

 

Continuing the trend of making steady improvements, the Dice 2017 has been tweaked with a modified tip strut for more rigidity and a stiffer structure. The new model is noticeably more rigid and looks very taut in the sky. The new full block colours look clean and unfussy, adding to the purposeful impression of its hybrid C shape. As with all North’s kites the Dice comes with their excellent wide inflation valve that connects directly to the pump hose without any need for nozzles. Pumping quick and easily, there’s also a dump valve at one end of the leading edge to help you roll the kite up efficiently from one end to the other, which is useful when you don’t have someone to put their foot on the kite to stop it unrolling itself as you roll up the other end. We used the kite with the Trust Quad control bar and the very posh new Click bar. Both are stunning and have been reviewed extensively – check last issue or search online at kiteworldmag.com for previous tests.

As the different models of Dice have evolved in the last four seasons, the Dice has become one of the more polished multi-discipline freeride kites on the market. This year North have tightened up the feel at the bar especially. The Dice has always had an immense range at the bar, but with all that range the Dice has required a lot of bar movement (imagine playing a trombone) and therefore not the tightest connection in this category. This year there’s no lag at all and the refinements have allowed the Dice to really step into its own shoes performance-wise. Much more tuned and performance-based than the Evo, it’s fast and lively, but still offers instant depower and softer handling than the Vegas.

 

 

The bar throw still travels a long way and allows you to ditch all the power when you need to, but there’s no loss of connection this year with less gaps in power command as you sheet the bar in and out. We’re so used to North kites like the Vegas and even the Rebel being so highly tuned and tweaked that they actually have quite short throws, but within that short throw they offer a surprising amount of depower. The finite control you have at every inch of the throw is very pleasing for the well-tuned pilot. The Dice has more throw, but for the multi-discipline rider that offers so much potential.

This is a spritely kite for a rider that enjoys lots of interaction with their kite while throwing it aggressively around the sky. It’s light at the bar too, so isn’t fatiguing and as it’s so athletic you’re always inspired to throw it about, especially in kite loops. The tighter tips and more rigid frame provide fantastic feedback at the bar and lots of confidence to send the kite through loops at will. Mixing pleasing amounts of power with speed, the Dice has lots of predictability around its loop, inspiring you to push your limits, adding the confidence to throw in a grab or a spin as you send the kite. The power is incredibly consistent but it’s not too punchy, so once you’re dialled into it you won’t think twice about throwing loops here or there, which is why it’s an inspiring kite for intermediates and above. Yes, it’s quick, but if you’ve done your time on a Neo or Evo and are looking for something that combines both speed and a good dose of power without being over-bearing, then the Dice is an awesome kite to step on to.

While it doesn’t have the best low end, this is a nine that can handle lots of wind. Providing good air speed there’s also more than enough pop to show off to your mates in a broad range of conditions. If you’re a bigger rider then you’re going to need to choose a larger size Dice, but with all the depower on tap, that won’t be a problem as the wind builds.

 

North Dice 2017

 

In this all-round performance category, it will be useful to give you some perspective of the Dice compared to a kite like the Ozone Enduro that we loved and spent a lot of time on earlier this year. The Dice is lighter and a bit quicker than the Enduro, it initiates its turn quicker and is less grunty. In its DNA the Enduro shows signs of its design heritage that’s linked to its hardcore sibling, the C4, and is more legit than the Dice in terms of its unhooked grunt and stability for freestyle. Both have great loops, but the Dice offers a less torquey ride; the Enduro is steadier, gruntier and more gnarly round the bottom of the loop. The Dice also has a more extended throw, depowering to nothing, so offers more suitability for smashing top turns if you’re more of a wave rider than a freestyler. In terms of hangtime, we’d say that the Dice would jump higher, but bring you down quicker than the Enduro. If we compare it to a Vegas – if that’s what you’re deciding between – then the Dice is much less physical and this year’s improved feel and connection at the bar brings it much more up to speed with the Vegas in terms of performance, but makes life much easier for the intermediate across all manoeuvres. Against the Rebel, the Dice is the choice of the more athletic rider. Having the feel of a bigger engine, the Rebel requires more quad work in your legs and when you’re loaded up on the Rebel you know about it, which is great for those riders who are looking for classic, big, straight jumps. The Dice still jumps huge, but it’s faster and with more depower, so needs a more tuned-in pilot.

 

SUMMARY

The Dice is still a Dice, but with tweaks to the connection you feel and the kite’s ability to maintain poise and steadiness in strong winds, everyone, including existing Dice users, will be pleased with the modifications. More tuned, a bit more aggressive and now with more feel and consistency round the kite loops, everyone from intermediates and upwards looking for a quick, spritely and very confident all-round performer will have nothing to complain about.

 

KW LIKED

Improved consistency in the connection you feel with the kite across its entire bar throw and in stronger winds.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE

Big riders will want more low-end grunt, so they should choose their sizes aggressively.

 

DICE BALANCE POINTS

Build quality: 9

Full package: 9

Low end: 7.5

Top end: 9

Steering speed: 8

Turning circle: 5.5

Bar pressure: 5.5

Water relaunch: 8.5

Drift: 7.5

Boost: 8.5

Hang-time: 7.5

Unhooked: 7.5

Cross-over: 9

Ease-of-use: 8.5

 

SIZES: 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4m

 

Here’s the official Dice product video from North

 

For more information on the Dice and North product range visit

www.northkiteboarding.com

 

This review appeared in Issue #84 of Kiteworld. Subscribe to the mag for the most in-depth tests out there!

 

Back to search

Related Articles