The 2008 Solo is a four-line kite for riders wanting maximum freedom in a performance free-ride kite. The Solo line is sized without compromise for the perfect balance between manoeuvrability and power. Ideal for beginners and intermediate riders it also takes care of the advanced riders that demand a more forgiving kite that performs well unhooked. Unique features include a short bridle without pulleys to eliminate wear and breakage, reverse relaunch, Dacron wing-tip panel reinforcements, bomber stitching, single-point inflation and a lightweight five-strut design. The Solo bar is safe, simple and lightweight with embossed anti-slip comfort grip, 1:1 simplicity, dual self-landing loops an adjustable bar length, simple releasable sheeting loop and stopper ball. 20 + 5 metre flying lines come as standard to offer different power and turning speeds and thebar is interchangeable between all Royal kites.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
CHRIS: There's a standard hybrid bridle on the Solo that's nice, simple and not overly-fussy. The one pump is very sturdy even though the kite feels quite light.
NEAL: Bar length adaptor is easy to use; just switch a couple of pig tails under the rear line covers. The depower strap isn't anything we haven't seen before, butis a reliable system above the bar. I think the 'Oh Shit' grab handles are just a bit too far away to be able toreach comfortably; there's a fifth line style safety system and a standard pin-pull quick release with a Velcro cover on the side of the chicken-loop. A downside for me is that the donkey-dick could be a little longer as there’s a tendency for it to come out of the loop at times. Depower is a bit of a reach, too.
WILL: The bar's nice and comfortable and there's no lag in the steering on the kite. The kite's not slow, but it’s not too quick either. Feels quite big for an 11 I thought. Grunty and direct and you get a good feel for where the kite was. I think the grunt made it a bit too powerful insome of the gusts today.
CHRIS: I think it’s nice, and it steers well and kite-loops a lot better than I expected. Good speed for an 11. I'm very excited to see how this kite progresses next year. There’s a lot of power available in this kite - when you're moving with it it's fine, but occasionally when changing direction you have to prepare for a good pull. Input through the bar is good though and the water relaunch is impressive.
NEAL: It rides so well unhooked that you almost need to tune it for hooked-in riding, rather than vice versa! Great range on it and I agree with Chris that it seems there is a lot of lift at the top of the window. When you want to take the kite up in the window to go in the opposite direction, there is more than average lift as the kite passes through the top of the window. First few times it catches you out, but is just something to get used to, and even enjoy! It means good, fun boosting. When you have it down in the normal riding position it is very comfortable.
CHRIS: It just takes a little while to get used to the feel of the kite when you first get on it, but that's normal. Once you're dialled in, the lift is great for jumps and transitions. I enjoyed it.
Good, boosty jumping kite with good feedback and handling through the bar. If you're into grunty unhooked freestyle there's bags of power in this, too and it's solid when riding out of the loop. Handling could be a bit softer for early intermediates so they should choose their sizes conservatively.
3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13m
This test is in issue #33