Inside Scoop - The 2011 Razor vs 2011 Rise
I've been getting a lot of requests lately to explain the differences between the 2011 Rise and Razor kites, so I thought I'd post a comparison.
Many of you will already be familiar with the past performances of the Rise and, in particular the massive jump forward we took with its 2010 6 strut design so I will try to frame this posting from that perspective.
The 2011 Rise remains a 6 strut kite, the 2011 Razor a 4 strut kite. By keeping the center strut absent from both these kites we have maintained a virtue first noticed and heavily commented upon with the 2010 Rise; incredible efficiency in flight. You will see very similar comments being made about both 2011 kites as well. (Both here and here).
This efficiency in flight results in both 2011 kites having incredible low end power. The Razor sits deeper in the window than the Rise does however and, as a result has a much more grunty feel when riding and demands that you dig your heels in to drive it to the edge of the window to depower. The Rise flies further forward in the window and offers a greater sheeting range due to its shape, allowing it greater high end depower and wind range than the Razor.
The Razor's more limited wind range does have some real advantages though, especially if you are not exposed to overly gusty winds. Primarily it results in a kite that generates constant pull, a fantastic feature for down winders, down the line wave riding, freestyle tricks, fast transitions and for beginners not yet familiar with the subtleties involved in sheeting a kite to avoid luffing or stalling. For Rise riders this larger sheeting range results in more available power per square meter once apparent wind speeds are developed as well a an incredible ability to absorb gusty, turbulent or variable wind conditions.
Both kites jump incredibly well, however there are significant differences between the two. The Rise jumps with incredible loft and glide, it's jumps are smooth and the hang time is augmented by a wide, flat arc to allow the rider to sail out of a jump with massive glide. The Razor boosts bigger than any kite I've ever jumped but does so in a direct, almost vertical way, tearing you off the water and leaving your stomach behind in the process. It has far less natural glide and hang time than the Rise but can easily be made to hang you up there with some active sining of the kite overhead.
Lastly, riders will immediately notice that the tighter arc of the Razor results in a faster turning kite. With the kite sitting much deeper in the window the Razor can be made to turn about it's center and cut back across the window quickly whereas the Rise follows a wider arc from further outside the window. Rise enthusiasts will know this means the Rise pulls to windward more readily but Razor riders will notice immediate results in fast, powerful transitions, especially when down looping the kite.
For my personal "direct" style of riding where I value immediate power to get me out of situations I all too often put myself in I will be riding a 6/8/10 quiver of Razors this coming 2011 season. However, here on the west coast big wind days with heavily variable wind conditions will likely result in me keeping on hand a 7 or 8m Rise to really enjoy those chaotic conditions. Riders who are looking to take their freestyle or wave riding abilities to the next level, who enjoy aggressive hard charging riding and massive gut wrenching jumps should look no further than the 2011 Razor. Riders looking for massive wind range and smooth power delivery across the full sheeting range of the kite or who love super high, lofty jumps with plenty of hang time will love the 2011 Rise.
I hope this helps guide your buying decisions this spring folks, as always - if you have any questions about the gear we encourage you to talk to your local retailer or to give us a ring. And remember - all of our equipment is backed up by our 100% Guarantee!
John Z - OR
2011 Rise SLE
2011 Razor SLE C Kite