Introducing RRD’s brand new all-purpose freeride hybrid
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #98 IN MARCH 2019
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Addiction MK6 was launched in February as an all-new kite in RRD’s range and crosses both RRD freeride and freestyle ranges. In our minds though, the Addiction really does move into the realm of suiting a higher level of rider. We were always big fans of RRD’s long-running big air and old school freestyle kite, the Obsession – which transitioned a few seasons ago into more of a new school, unhooked freestyle kite – the Obsession Pro. We felt that the end of the old Obsession left a gap for a pure high performance big boosting machine. Yes, the Obsession was technical to fly, but it was always fun if you knew how!
Back to the Addiction and first up, a welcome change: RRD are now producing a small bar! We can’t complain about the Global bars functionality because it’s always been strong, simple and featured everything you need. Up until now they’ve provided just one size of bar – which was ideal for kites of ten metres and above, but at over 55cm (flying with 23 metre lines) felt unnecessarily wide once you move down to flying smaller kite sizes.
The Global V8.2 bar is now available in a shorter 48cm width (flying on 23 metre lines) and definitely on-point with all the gangsters in the freestyle world who love short bars – not just because they look and feel sexy, but because they reduce the amount of unwanted steering pressures you will exert on the kite while handle-passing.
The fact that you might not be handle-passing doesn’t matter, because the Addiction eight metre is rapid, and the small bar works perfectly. Yes, you have to steer a little more positively to generate a reaction, but the Addiction kicks into gear quickly and, not only that, it drives forward around the turn with purpose.
Our first impressions on the Addiction were that it’s fast! The first session was properly windy and we had been advised to set the front line bridle attachment knot to the ‘plus-plus’ depower setting in such conditions. This allowed us to properly depower the kite, which was important because we have always appreciated that RRD kites have powerful low end performance. In the ‘plus-plus’ mode you can really turn the kite off. When the edging force becomes a bit too much you can hit the pause button, which is nice in Cape Town’s big punchy gusts on the windy days. We thought, “Great, we can stay out on this kite quite a while,” which is especially good on your own.
That first session was really windy, up and over 35 knots, so obviously the Addiction had a good amount of accessible power at the bar, but mixed the ability to depower and power up again very quickly. It’s good fun because, while the Addiction wasn’t really aggressive with its power delivery in that mode, you can also shut the power-off quite quickly. You can go from zero to 110 and back again and quite often when you put kites in their super depower mode, you lose some of the character in power delivery. On the Addiction you keep the top part of the range and don’t suffer from it biting too sharply, either.
In those big winds we got some great jumps with a seemingly big sweet spot overhead. The Addiction also responds well to a good tug on the bar, however, because the kite depowers to nothing in that ‘plus-plus’ depower mode, you do have to get your steering and sheeting right through your flight to not drop out.
Even though we were using a small bar, the Addiction moves nicely, but it was still a small bar experience. It really feels small and compact in your hands. On a bit longer bar you’d get some even better jumps more easily, but on the small bar it did still jump well and the steering was felt manageable without being overly quick.
On the more powerful front line bridle settings, the power becomes greater but more incremental. The Addiction still has great jumping potential and good hangtime with a great turn of speed and control, however, when you’re not fully lit, you need more of a point-and-shoot technique to get it right, so you have to be quite accurate in sending the kite overhead. When you get it right, there’s a great reward in height though! (We do know that RRD have designed the 7 – 10.5 metre sizes to be more C shaped with bigger tips, and the 12 – 15 metre sizes to be flatter, for more boosty float in lighter winds and lots of hangtime, so this makes sense).
Where the Addiction really sings though is in its turns. Rapid turning response is aligned with a keen and eager forward flight through a loop. Once triggered the Addiction just wants to go and with that small bar you’re actually pretty much automatically always firing off quite a dirty loop. You can pull really hard and get the Addiction to spin a bit quicker, but for anyone who is looking for a fast kite that can still deliver a nice wide and reliable loop, this small bar combination on the Addiction eight metre works really well.
At it’s bottom end, the reactivity of the Addiction would also allow for some wave cross-over, more so than a pure bred freestyle / big air kite. For crossing into unhooked moves, the Addiction is balanced, poised and offers respectability, once again aided by that small bar set-up . Essentially this is quite a highly tuned weapon for an athletic rider who is primarily looking for a freeride / freestyle cross-over machine, but yet can also cruise as the handling is very balanced and the Addiction’s behaviour – although quick – makes sense.
We didn’t try the bigger sizes, but it seems they will suit the more lifty-hangtime craving big air rider, too. So RRD have covered all levels of big air aggression between the big and smaller sizes.
In terms of build, RRD’s graphics are actually individually cut panels of Technoforce D2 fabric sewn together for a strong and durable feel, there’s a quick-flow inflation valve that fits all pumps and of special mention are RRD’s rigid thread lines, that are unique in the industry and offer the most stretch resistance and are also easier to untwist.
In the overall freeride scheme, the Addiction is quite a technical kite to fly in terms of its speed and naturally powered turning arc, however there are really tunable settings to help you handle lots of wind and it’s a real weapon for any aspiring rider of an intermediate level and above. As we mentioned, the Addiction fills the gap that the Obsession left, which relied a lot on a kiter’s sheeting sense to fly it perfectly. The Addiction brings the jumping prowess, but has a far better loop and yet offers comfort and a logical riding feel.
The Addiction is a potent aerial weapon for those looking to point-and-shoot a really lively kite.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
If you’re mostly looking for comfort, there are smoother big air / high wind kites with an easier sweet spot for average technique, but on the flip side, if you’re ready, the Addiction has a unique feel and seems constantly set and ready to boost and loop!
ADDICTION BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8.5
Full package: 8.5
Low end: 7.5
Top end: 8
Steering speed: 7.5
Turning circle: 6
Bar pressure: 6
Water relaunch: 8
Crossover: 7 (Better riders will find the crossover score higher for freestyle / big air and some wave)
Ease of use: 7
SIZES: 10.5, 9, 8 and 7m
LIGHTWIND SIZES: 15, 13.5 and 12m