Tested Rebel 2017 9m back-to-back Rebel 2018 7m (on 4 lines). My impressions on 2018 are: more forgiving and better turning, less tendency to backstall, not as excellent depower. I felt less hunting of the window edge compared to 2017, so easier/more comfortable to use.
It was very gusty and I chickened out of kitelooping the 9m, but the 7m was very easy to loop. Not much of a pull, as expected of a Rebel. Very very slight lag on turns due to pulleys is nearly the same as the usual lag of earlier Rebels - I got used to it in 3 minutes and had no problem adjusting my timing for jumps etc.
The 2018 looks very Rebel-like in the air but flies more like a fac-simile of earlier Rebels. It provides similar performance but in slightly different way / different feeling. It fills the same marketing nice as earlier Rebels. It's another great 4-line Kite. Is it a good or bad thing? Dunno. Cheers and good winds to everyone!
I had a chance this weekend to ride the 14m Rebel and the 12m Rebel (both 2018) in about 14 to 16kts. I liked the 14 but I LOVED the 12m. Yes, I am sure that the Rebel can hold down a bunch of power (Toby knows this) but the low end of these kites is insane. I agree with everything mentioned above - it definitely felt forgiving and in some of the more advanced hooked-in tricks it seemed to carry me through with a consistent pull. All said, I have limited experience on previous year Rebels so cannot speak to how it compares. However, my overall impression of the 2018 is that its one of the best-boosting kites I have used in lighter conditions...probably excel in super powered conditions too but will report on this hopefully soon.
Sidebar - I spoke to a guy on the beach who is a die-hard Rebel fan and specifically indicated that "nothing will ever compare to the 2012" but he seemed to like this year's model alot. I'm going to try it more and will report but for now I'd say that this is perfect for anyone looking to go big and minimize their quiver.
Im surprised alot of people are upset about the loaded 5th coming off, but its completely compatible with the 5th line bar that all the rebel lovers have. If it preforms similar or just as good i dont see the issue!
I would be more upset that in 2018 all bars are sold without a chicken loop and leash!! How useless!!!!!
Im surprised alot of people are upset about the loaded 5th coming off, but its completely compatible with the 5th line bar that all the rebel lovers have.
2018 Rebel is compatible but not loaded 5th.
There is a small sensitiviness in people that comes flying Rebels for a decade that is not easy to explain in commanding the kite. Loaded 5th line has special feeling and i love it.
Is Rebel 2018 a great kite?
Sure. But after all these years i still want my loaded 5th line. Thanks North, durability in their kites is not a problem.