Already the 2019 RPM was a clear advancement - for 2020 Slingshot puts with new cloth still another small shovel on it and develops the RPM a broader target group.
For the 2019 model year Slingshot had already strongly modified the RPM, in 2020 the conversion goes into the next round with small changes. We already know the new Flyline bridle configuration: The pulleys balance the canopy during the turning movements, but in the lower bridle segment there are rubberized bridle lines to the tips, which should increase the tension and thus improve reactivity. The geometry and the position in the wind window of the RPM can be adjusted by the two bridle attachment points on the leading edge. In the freestyle setting the kite gets a more pronounced, deeper C-shape. This should help it to get more boom when jumping, slack and drifting. The 2020 RPM gets a new cloth. The quadruple ripstop should make it stiffer and more durable. Slingshot continues to use the proven split strut design, where the cloth segments are sewn to the outside of the struts on both sides instead of simply being sewn in the middle at the top. Similar to Naish, Slingshot also offers a bar system in two different adjuster versions. The Compstick Sentinel Bar has the Adjuster above the depower tamp and is height adjustable. The Compstick Guardian Bar can be trimmed with an adjuster located above the Quick Release and is also equipped with a stopper. Both bars have no padded bar ends and a bar grip that is very rough for our taste. You don't run the risk of accidentally releasing the bar and it's also handy for handle passes, but if you're not used to the bar and don't have the necessary cornea on the inside of your hand, you'll get one or two blisters during longer sessions. Other manufacturers manage this more comfortably and with a similarly good grip.
Like the 2019 RPM, the 2020 version is bombastically stable in the air. The canopy looks as full and stiff as hardly any other kite in this group. Not even in gusty winds does the RPM start to wiggle its ears. No matter if fully powered or depowered, the canopy is always flown cleanly so that the profile does not collapse. Also otherwise the kite doesn't fold with the thick leading edge and the strong strut frame. The RPM only rarely produces stalls in gusty winds, then it can tip over the leading edge.
From 2018 to 2019, the bar feeling has already become minimally softer and less brutal. The 2020 version ties in seamlessly with its predecessor: Extremely precise, rich and calm, the RPM sits comfortably in the hand and offers perfect feedback at all times. It absorbs steering impulses without delay. In addition, it offers a large, yet very defined sweet spot. The holding forces are slightly above average, but do not require too much power in the arms.
The RPM is more playful in terms of its turning characteristics. Although it is still not one of the fastest kites and turns slightly larger radii with more power than the average, everything now appears much more filigree and not as brute as its predecessors. It flies clean and round through the turns, does not flutter at all and can be precisely varied with a slight steering angle in the radii. Despite its still powerful character, the new RPM now looks a bit more playful and effortless than the old models.
The thicker profile continues to produce rich performance and a powerful base line. So the RPM has not lost any of its power. Just as good is the low end, which can now even be pushed downwards with a manageable amount of bar power thanks to the more agile flight and turning characteristics. The depower is linear and very precise, so that the RPM can be finely adjusted via the bar. You can feel the horsepower in the high end quite clearly, but it remains well controllable even when depowered. When running upwind, the RPM flies far to the edge of the wind window, especially in the allround setting, and draws good upwind angles with only a little cross pull. In the freestyle setting it stands a little lower and requires more effort on the edge.
The freestyle machine has not forgotten anything, the RPM has remained true to its character. Hooked in, it is relatively easy and good-natured to jump, but it doesn't turn as fast as Bandit, Dice or GTS, so you have to send it backwards into the jump position with a stronger impulse and kick a little harder on the edge. Union and Dash also look a bit more explosive here. Nevertheless, even kiters without outstanding jumping technique can reach presentable jump heights and an average hangtime with the RPM. The true strengths of the twelve-strong kite come out as soon as it is let off the hook - especially in freestyle setting. The kite stands unhooked as if nailed to the ground and produces extremely powerful, but adjustable pop. With the RPM, you know exactly how the jump will turn out when you jump off. Even if you grab the bar crooked when passing, the kite will not spin. The sporty, but at the same time good-natured unhooked handling is unparalleled. The good idea of a lot of slack is garnished.
The freestyle specialist RPM has become more cultivated and broadband from 2018 to 2020, but by no means more boring. It continues to score with outstanding freestyle performance, but now, thanks to its somewhat more filigree handling, it also appeals more to sporty freeriders and all-rounders.
Would be awesome if you could state what SIZE(s) you tested and perhaps the kite's weight.
Hey! We had a 9m for testing, unfortunately we no longer have the test kite available, so we can't tell you the exact weight. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.