2017 Slingshot Rally 9m review

 

SLINGSHOT RALLY 9M

 

2017 Slingshot Rally review

 

TEST TEAM NOTES:

The Rally is a workhorse of a kite, which is why it has enjoyed such a long reign of success and popularity in the Slingshot range. Slingshot themselves say it’s the most versatile kite ever produced, with incredible wind range, manoeuvrability, low-end power and relaunch. The fixtures and fittings are awesome, with one of the easiest twist lock one pump valves that attaches directly to the pump hose. Throughout the kite Slingshot’s renowned and very robust construction is apparent with lots of reinforcements through the most stressed areas.

 

2017 Slingshot Rally reviewContinuing their industrial grade manufacturing theme, the bar isn’t the lightest or softest you’ll ever use, but it’s very robust, comfortably grippy and very reliable. The bar is available with either above or below-the-bar trim, both of which work very smoothly so you don’t unhook yourself when adjusting it. The chicken-loop is incredibly solid, well sized and has a clean push away release and there’s a nice stopper system above the bar. The new Slingshot below the bar spinner is among the best to operate. All-in-all, Slingshot systems are always very clean, sound in their detail and built to last.

 

We’ve ridden most versions of the Rally and thankfully Slingshot don’t play around with it too much, because it’s definitely a very usable design. Whether you’re just starting out and need something very easily, with good sheeting power, lots of depower and also super strong build quality, look no further. But equally, guys like Sam Light use the Rally’s immense low end in the big sizes in the kite park when hitting features.

 

The only area that we felt that the Rally could have been improved was in the rigidity of its wing-tips. It’s such a good fun kite to jump with in strong winds, but as we pushed it harder and harder in the past there was a tendency for the wing tips to flap a bit. The central section of the kite is so strong, developing such good grunt, but the tips didn’t seem to quite be able to stand up to the same tests in really strong winds without flapping a bit.

 

Although they seem to only make small tweaks to the design each year, this has been address for 2017 and so this is definitely the best Rally we’ve flown to date. The canopy is just so rigid, nothing phases it and it’s now wonderfully silent with no flapping at all.

 

Of course there are minor modifications in terms of materials, reinforcements, weight saving in areas and increased rigidity in others, but in terms of the riding experience, this is still the Rally we know and love. Slingshot definitely have ‘the look’ nailed – their products are aggressive in appearance, unique and exciting. These are very cool kiteboarding products from one of the original kiteboarding-only brands. A proud heritage certainly prevails.

 

The Rally has built up a reputation as an all-round freeride machine and it certainly has one of the best easy-to-use low ends per size, which is also combined with a very impressive top end. The Rally encompasses a very usable power throughout its range. There’s a lot there, but it’s very manageable and you can switch it on and off very smoothly. Extremely reactive in and out of gear (sheeted in or out), the Rally has that very friendly ability of allowing you to go along, stop, turn the kite and off you go again. There is plenty of depower, but it doesn’t depower to absolutely nothing, but that results in a very intuitive power with a lovely constant feel.

2017 Slingshot Rally reviewAs a standard hooked-in freeriding kite for all occasions – the Rally is right up there. The jumping is very easy and with just a sweep of the kite overhead you don’t need to be really accurate with your handling to get lots of really rewarding air time. It doesn’t give the punchy boost that experienced C kite riders crave, but the flight time and grace in flight are some of the highlights of the Rally experience. There’s loads of feedback at the bar and after what seems like very extended moments in the air it’s very easy to pilot the Rally down for a super soft landing. It’s very gratifying for riders that have just become obsessed with jumping and loops quickly and pivotally, so is also a lot of fun for learning to kite loop and make shapes in the sky like a stunt kite. If you send this kite back too hard, as you would with a C kite, it doesn’t respond as well as you think it might, at which time you’re probably ready for something else. But in plenty of wind there is heaps of floaty hang-time on offer.

 

The top end is very assured although it can get a little bit heavy going in strong winds for lighter riders, and your legs will probably give way before that canopy does! So big riders will love its ability to deal with big winds and the overall personality of the Rally is that it’s very forgiving. You can make mistakes in your riding and get away with it. Nicely reactive and forward flying, it’s a good wave riding kite in the smaller sizes and nicely mixes aggressive turns with the ability to sheet in for a quick burst of power if necessary. Of all the disciplines, unhooked riding is its weakest area, but for the unhooked tricks that the majority of riders are aiming for, such as raleys, back rolls, flat 3s etc. the Rally is more than capable. You will just need to trim the kite down first, but that’s not unusual.

 

SUMMARY:

Only minor tweaks year on year to what is one of the most dependable delta shaped kites on the market, a more rigid feel in the wingtips now adds to the clean sensations of the Rally. Solid in build quality, feel and handling, whatever your level, the Rally offers measured control at the bar with a very predictable and assured power delivery. Jumping straight into gear after quick, pivotal turns means the Rally is a lot of fun for fast freeriding and there are lots of enjoyable hang-time moments to be had.

 

KW LIKED:

Pure plug and play, uncomplicated freedom.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE:

The only very slight point, and it’s only high level riders that would notice, is that as a high-aspect kite and because it has a lot of range, one of the offsets is that occasionally in lighter airs, if you’re too rough at sheeting in, the kite can occasionally slip a gear. Well powered you can get away with anything and in general the Rally is one of the easiest kites to use, but we just noticed a slight tendency to drop back a bit with heavy ham-fisted bar handling at times. Most riders really wouldn’t even notice, though!

 

RALLY BALANCE POINTS:

Build quality: 9

Full package: 8

Low end: 9

Top end: 8

Steering speed: 6

Turning circle: 4

Bar pressure: 6

Water relaunch: 9

Drift: 7

Boost: 8

Hang-time:8

Unhooked: 5

Cross-over: 7

Ease-of-use: 9

 

Sizes: 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 & 14m

 

Here’s the official Rally 2017 product video from Slingshot

2017 Rally 15sec from Slingshot Kite on Vimeo.

 

For more information on the 2017 Rally visit

www.slingshotsports.com

 

This review appeared in Issue #83 of Kiteworld. Subscribe to the mag for the most in-depth tests out there!

 

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