Rebel 2013 vs Rebel 2012What´s the same and why (by Ken Winner)
The Rebel remains a 5-line kite, of course, and for all the usual reasons:
- Short depower stroke and crisp feel. Anyone who rides waves or has short arms or just likes a responsive kite can appreciate the importance of achieving full depower with a minimal movement of the control bar.
- Super stability. If it weren´t so easy to keep in the air you'd be forgiven for thinking it's made of rock, it’s that solid!
- Easy relaunch in light winds. Even riders who like four-line kites often add a fifth line to make relaunch possible in super-light wind.
- Safety. When you need to get total, complete and perfect depower in half a second, nothing else works as well as a 5th line.
Sizes 5 to 8, which naturally end to be a bit too crisp and responsive, have been tuned for a crispness and responsiveness that's just right. Not soft and slow but not uncomfortably harsh and fast.
9 meter kites can go either way, a bit slow and soft or a bit fast and harsh. We spent some time tuning this one for what we think is just the right feel in a wave and all-round kite.
Sizes 10 to 14 have been tuned for short bar stroke and a maximised crisp feel.
Tolerant of low inflation
Rebels work best when inflated to 6psi. They lose some performance at lower inflation pressures, but will still fly pretty well. By contrast, many kites on the market these days need 8 or 10 psi to fly correctly.
Segmentation, rib configuration
Aspects of the Rebel's overall geometry have not changed. There are still five struts, with the centre strut being a floating strut for momentary depower and luffability. Segmentation is much the same from tip strut to tip strut. Multiple segments through the centre of the canopy give good profile fidelity, while one straight segment on each side gives a flat profile where it can do the most good in resisting unwanted luffing and flutter. Five struts give needed structure while allowing for good performance at low inflation pressures.
Leading edge diameter
We kept the overall LE diameters fairly large right out through the tips to ensure rock-solid stability and tolerance of low inflation pressures. The new square tip is more tolerant of low pressure than the old one, so we could have reduced tip LE diametera bit, but chose not to in the interest of ensuring stability and reliability.The Rebel is an all-round and wave kite, so there's no need to try to minimize diameters at the expense of convenience, stability and easy relaunch.
The Rebel retains the moderate aspect ratio befitting an all-round kite. The wider tip helps us tune the kite for quick turning and precise bar feedback. The risk of the wider tip is that the canopy fabric can be less tightly controlled and can luff and flap more. We have paid particular attention to this issue and ensured a clean canopy shape in this area.
What´s different and Why
Every year we try to reduce undesirable luffing and fluttering in
the Rebel and this year we have made a further step in that direction, mainly achieved through fine-tuning of canopy profile. Luffing and fluttering occurs most when a kite is overpowered, or when it is turning tightly. In both cases, the feeling of the bar is one of vibration and imprecision. Reducing luff and flutter gives the bar a smoother and more precise feel. Most Rebels now are smooth enough themselves that much of the vibration we feel on the control bar comes from the flying lines vibrating in the wind.
The wider tip helps us tune the kite for quick turning and precise bar feedback. The risk of the wider tip is that the canopy fabric can be less tightly controlled and can luff and flap more. We have paid particular attention to this issue and ensured a clean canopy shape in this area.
New strut shape
The new struts, we call it the STREAMLINE STRUT are larger in the front for a more rigid connection with the leading edge tube. The quarter struts are thinner for less drag and weight, and because the need for rigidity is least at this point. The thin quarter stuts give the Rebel some of the flexibility and lower weight of a 3-strut kite without the big losses of range, speed, boost and top end that 3-strut kites suffer from.
Most obvious of the new construction elements in the 2013 Rebel is the element we call the "TE Force Spread” a layer of wave-shaped cloth situated at the boundary between our durable 50-gram D2 canopy ripstop and our super-tough 160-gram trailing edge Dacron. The dissimilar cloth weights between the two materials can result in excessive flexing and thus weakening of the ripstop just in front of the Dacron. The addition of the "TE Force Spread" layer mitigates and spreads the flexing of the ripstop and prolongs the life of the kite.
The new Rebel has a beefed up leading edge construction that allows for more durability at high inflation pressures. Frankly, one of the big advantages inflated kites have over ramair kites is relatively high inflation pressure. Pressure gives better shape stability and responsiveness to bar input. Being able to pump to a higher pressure has no downside. Other details, such as scuff pads that cover stitching and improved Lazy-Pump valves help ensure the Rebel is built to last.
Power vs. Depower
Recent Rebel designs have had a lot of power. In 2011 and 2012 we refined canopy profiles and angle of attack to improve depower, and for 2013 we have carried this process a step further to give a bit more depower without hurting the overall power.
Though the Rebel has been competitive in races over the last few years, it really is a wave and all-round kite and pretty much none of the testing for the 2012 model involved race boards. That said, the canopy profile changes made in 2013 result in Rebels that are a bit faster and more slippery than in previous years.