At A Glance
Just in case you haven’t heard the news, all your favourite North Kiteboarding products are now being produced by Duotone. Same riders, same designers, same team and the same great products, just with a new look and a new name on the fabric.
The Dice has been around for years now and has an army of fans who I am sure won’t be upset by the name change as they care more about the kites handling than the name written on the side! The kite has been their all-around model for some time and is pitched at being the perfect choice for the freestyler who likes to dabble in the waves too.
Duotone could have chosen the easy path and kept this hugely popular kite unchanged for this new brand launch. However, they have instead chosen to enhance the kites performance further. The structural rigidity has been improved across all sizes, but the smaller more high wind kites have had particular attention paid to them. The goal being to make them boosting machines for the rider looking for those Woo scores!
The kite is still a 3-strut design, the leading edge and profile have been tweaked for 2018 to achieve the above design goals. There are multiple tuning options on the wing tips to give the kite a more freestyle or wave orientated feel and also so the rider can tune the bar pressure too.
Construction is everything you would expect from Duotone, they are using the exact same factories and construction techniques as they were when the kites had North stamped on the side. The whole set up is exceptionally high quality.
Sizes: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
As big fans of the Click Bar it was great to see this year's model includes a smaller version for the wake-stylers and freestylers out there. It will also appeal to the rider who enjoys riding with a shorter bar. In the past the Click Bar has often been considered too long, this new set up changes all that.
Last year there are some upgrades to the Click Bar which were great to see. Basically, the few small niggles from the first generation have been addressed, and there have been further improvements. The mechanism is unchanged, but the floats have been beefed up and reinforced to prevent any early signs of wear or damage (something we never personally experienced, but there were a few reports of an issue last year).
Also, the V point adjuster has been changed to be much simpler, it’s now a plastic screw affair, which allows you to simply unscrew and slide and then tighten in the desired spot. The line, which passes through the V point adjuster has also been reinforced, so there should no longer be wear issues here.
One of the biggest changes last year was the new chicken loop program, the bar is the first that we can think of that sells without a chicken loop. Don’t panic though this is for a good reason. You have the option of the Freestyle Kit, which comes with a longer leash and a bigger chicken loop for unhooking and freestyle tricks. There is also a Freeride Kit which comes with a smaller loop, positioning the bar closer to you for improved control, this also comes with a shorter leash, which is tidier when you aren’t unhooking. Finally, there is the Rope Slider Kit, this is the same as the Freeride Kit, but the chicken loop has a low friction metal tube, which the rope can then slide through at a far lower friction rate. Less damage to your rope and no risk of damaging the chicken loop either.
You still get an automatic untwisting safety system with a front line re-ride that works exceedingly well, the now legendary Iron Heart V release mechanism and a long-lasting TPU covered depower line. Also new is the dropping of the 5th Element Trust Bar, now if you want a 5th line set up it is an easy add-on to the Click Bar, it takes about 3 minutes to do and is really simple too.
We love this bar set up and have been riding it for a couple of years now, and for freeriding and waves we wouldn’t be without it, we highly recommend you try it out if you haven’t already!
In The Air
We got to fly the new Duotone Dice in a variety of conditions in Tarifa this year, from light wind foil action to high wind boosting and everything in between. Right off the bat, we were highly impressed. In overpowered conditions, the kite is incredibly stable and easy to fly. The results when you send the kite back through the window are impressive.
Huge boosty jumps with good hangtime are your reward. We were grinning from ear to ear every time we rode the Dice and with good reason. The handling is incredibly intuitive making it very easy to get along with, no matter what your level is. The wider tips offer excellent control and turning speed while the stable canopy ensures any power is delivered directly down the lines to you the rider.
Bar pressure is about right, not too heavy and not too soft. You get good feedback through your moves, even when flying around upside down, you can intuitively feel where the kite is at all times.
Upwind is excellent, perhaps not as good as the Neo but it certainly flies upwind with ease. Relaunching the Dice has always been easy, but requires some effort from the rider. That remains the case today, you need to master the technique to ensure you get a fast relaunch every time. Top tip, be dynamic and swim towards the kite to allow it to roll over and to the edge of the window.
Unhooked the Dice was impressive with good pop and excellent slack allowing you to pull off tricks with ease. A dedicated freestyler will, of course, get more out of the Vegas, but the Dice comes pretty close to that kite in terms of flying forwards in the window and dumping power allowing you to pull off the latest moves.
The dynamic handling keeps the Dice honest in the waves too, with a predictable nature the kite will see you hunting out bigger and better conditions as you progress in that aspect of the sport. Kiteloops are progressive, you can really pull the bar in for a more pivotal faster turn, or you can control the speed of the rotation for a more radical result and extra kudos from everyone on the beach watching.
We were massively impressed with the new Dice, the jumps were incredible with lots of pull off the water and a decent amount of hangtime too. Unhooked the kite is impressive and it’s dynamic handling makes it a great kite for the waves too. It is a very capable all-rounder! The build quality is incredible, as we have come to expect from kites from the Boards and More stable.
As far as we were concerned this is a better version of the Dice from last year, the stability in high winds has improved boosting confidence in the rider. The performance on offer for freestyle, freeride and wave riding is impressive!
This review was in Issue 70 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit DUOTONE