The Dice transformed over the years from a sweet lady to a tough brother. A bit challenging but a very rewarding kite. Less sweet and less forgiving but with a stronger pop and more aggressive potential. Very appealing for the advanced rider. We enjoy it very much. Each year when the new Dice arrives we sort of fear any changes . What differences will 2019 bring for the Dice?
For those who never used the Dice: don’t get distracted by any of the comments below in this review. If you are tired from just boosting around with a Switchblade, Rebel or any other kite with five struts. Or when you are looking for that bit more grunt and want to take your bump and jump with a Bandit or Evo to the next level? Take the Dice! Not because you are going to break your Woo record. Neither will it add any low-end power. But it will reward you by adding more fun into the kite game. Take some time to read the Dice 2018 review, since this will explain very well what the DNA of the Dice is all about.
One major marketing challenge is the change from North to Duotone. For sure the boys and girls from Boards&More, owners of the Duotone and former “renters” of the name North Kiteboarding, have been busy explaining the world nothing significantly changed the past few months.
The first hunch that nothing dramatically changed was confirmed when we put a 2018 and 2019 version right on top of each other.
The only visible difference is found in the trailing edge (see above). And yes, we had a real proper look at the two.
The first impression was that the so called changes are only colour wise. Speaking of colours. Just like last year the Dice has a three colour scheme with a black spot. But just about everyone is asking what that outstanding black spot is doing in the middle of the canopy? Is it a stain? Is it a fault? Apparently it is supposed to be an impression of a landscape.
At first sight there are no major changes. But Duotone does claim some improvements; “The wing tip area was updated last year to allow for a more dynamic turn and improved handling”. Most people- understand these words are likely to be influenced by a marketing machine. Which in this case is working at full steam. About half a dozen of pages of Duotone are present in almost each kite magazine lately.
Another -less impressive- statements is the “2 cm longer pig tail at the hard setting for making it the perfect set up for Freestyle/Wakestyle moves, offering massive slack”. How about we just depower our kite 2 cm? Same effect. So this is not innovation. This is marketing which is needed when you introduce a new version of the Dice each year.
Dice 2019 vs 2018 performance
Out on the water it takes a couple of sessions switching back to back with a (fresh) 2018 version to figure out if there is any improvements. As we did not spot any evident differences on land, it is kind of surprising that all testers agreed there is a performance distinction. It is a subtle difference and hard to explain, but let’s try it: the power build up is softer and comes to a -fantastic- peak, but a fraction later with the new 2019 version. Another big improvement in 2019 has been achieved in the way it loops. A megaloop feels so good. It goes round with less effort, smoother and catches you better at the landings.
In general the Dice 2019 seems a bit sweeter. The feed back of the kite gives the impression that the kite has a different aspect ratio (shorter from tip to tip and longer struts) compared to its previous version. Which isn’t physically true, since they are exactly the same in length and width. Important to tell is that those performance differences are just a fraction different. What is unchanged is its playful feeling. Pop the Dice at the very right moment and you will get a big reward. That is one of the reasons why it needs an advanced rider to get the best out of the Dice. So in short the Dice DNA isn’t gone for sure and for well over 90% unchanged. Luckily!
The Dice 2019 is -again- a very good kite for most of us. But some changes could have been introduced. For example at the lines and the advised pressure. Duotone didn’t change it’s -too low- advised 6 psi policy where brands like Naish already passing the 11 psi mark. That makes it seem like Duotone is behind at this subject to possibly increase the Dice’s performance even more.
The lines haven’t changed either. We did not test a 2019 bar but we know those Teufelberger Fl-10 lines (unchanged on the North bars for over 5 years now) are not the best that are available. Although the breaking strength seems pretty high at 330kg, those lines still break way too early. Stefanie Marisch from Teufelberger admits that the current catalogue offers better products. On top of that Evan Kruger, a line replacement specialist from www.infexion.nl points out that the Teufelberger lines with 8 strands loose more strength when spliced compared to lines with 12 or 16 strands. Interesting details but something we will get back on in another review. Let’s just say for powerful and demanding riders the lines will need a proper upgrade asap.
Duotone Dice 9m (kite only) 1379,- Euro