What is the Rally GT?
Let's start with what the Rally GT is not. The 2020 Slingshot Rally GT is not the same Rally that you've used before. It's entirely new for 2020. They (Slingshot) went back and forth, deliberating a complete name change and landed on Rally GT (rather than an entirely new name, which could make sense with a kite that is such a far cry from the original Rally design). What is the Rally GT, then?
The Rally GT is Slingshot's "Do-it-all" kite for 2020. Every brand has one of these, right? The Switchblade, the Evo, the NV, etcetera. These kites are very capable kites throughout all styles of kiteboarding. From beginners to advanced; from waves to freestyle, these type of kites handle most riding styles well. In my opinion, Slingshot hadn't offered a kite like this before. The Rally (although insanely popular and a very good kite) didn't unhook very well at all. The RPM (although one of my all-time favorites) is pretty terrible in the waves. The Rally GT does both of these quite well. That said, you're not going to be overly impressed by its wave riding capabilities if you're already on SSTs, nor will you be excited about its freestyle/unhooking characteristics if you're riding RPM's. It's truly a jack-of-all-trades kite, and we really like that.
In an era where I have more boards than kites (foil, strapped twin-tip, booted twin-tip and surfboards), having a kite that you enjoy riding throughout the disciplines helps simplify things.
The Wind Range
The Rally GT has a quite impressive wind range. It has plenty of low-end grunt to keep a beginner happy in lighter winds and underpowered conditions, as well as having a massive top-end and solid feel when the wind gets stronger. I'd say that the Rally from previous years has a touch more low-end, with the Rally GT having loads more room at the top end of the range to play.
The Rally GT turns with the right amount of power as well, allowing the beginner to really learn to fly the kite due to the added boosts of power you'll get while sining the kite. This is something we see that happens often - a beginner that never actually learns to fly the kite due to constantly desiring that "overpowered" feeling. The Rally GT will give you the right amount of feedback in light winds when you cycle the kite throughout the window to keep up board speed.
Bar Pressure and Feel
Bar pressure is something that I think gets a bad rap. Certainly, there are people with physical limitations that disallow them from riding anything with any bit of pressure in the bar. Bar pressure, to most, is a good thing. The Rally GT has a moderate amount of bar pressure, something comparable to the RPM I'd say. Without any bar pressure (even light bar pressure), it's difficult to feel where the kite is at all times. For beginners and intermediates, this is absolutely necessary. Without feedback in the bar, you'll have no clue what's what when maneuvering your kite throughout the window, usually ending with a crashed kite (and whatever happens next).
The Rally GT has a very smooth and predictable feel. When you tell the kite to turn, it does - there are no pulleys on this kite, and the bridle is quite simplified. The only addition to the bridle comes in the form of a bungee that's designed to eat up gusts and keep the kite from surging. The turning speed is moderate as well - definitely faster than the Rally, which is where I think many are considering this a "performance" kite. Personally, I think it is on the performance end of the spectrum of these "do-all" kites, but not quite an RPM in terms of high performance.
Your technique is something that needs to be adjusted depending on the kite that you are flying if you're trying to jump massively. The Rally GT certainly isn't the Raptor when it comes to easily jumping big, but I still loved the big boosts from the Rally GT when I figured it out. Board speed is absolutely critical to send big jumps on any kite - especially the Rally GT. I found that I could go almost as high on the Rally GT 9 as I could on the Raptor 10. I'm not sure that many others will feel the same way (unless you take the time to sort out the technique). If you're looking for something that can jump well, the Rally GT will do the job. If you want massive jumps, go for a Raptor.
The Rally GT actually makes for a great wave kite. Its full wingtip design allows the kite to drift quite well for a model that is not dedicated to wave riding. It has a very quick and easy relaunch, direct and snappy turning, and bomber construction - all great characteristics to have when you're looking to ride in the waves. That said, if you're looking for the ultimate wave machine, the SST turns a little sharper and drifts a little better. Personally, I'd take the well-roundedness of the Rally GT for the little difference in this specific style of riding.
Similar to wave riding, foiling needs a kite that will behave well when you stop paying attention to the kite. The Rally GT is stable, predictable, and has a really smooth power delivery. It behaves quite well if you ride toward the kite and the lines become slack, making the dynamic nature of riding a hydrofoil that much easier. It relaunches very well in the lightest of winds, allowing you to push the envelope on a foil in sub-10 conditions.
We were actually quite impressed with the freestyle capability of the Rally GT! None of us ever found that the Rally from previous years was up to snuff in the trick department (beyond the basics), but the new Rally GT can definitely deliver. Doing anything up to intermediate freestyle (unhooked included), the Rally GT can make it happen. Its full wingtip keeps the kite from launching forward in the window like the Rally did, giving you that extra split second to toss in an extra rotation. Again, if you're looking for a top-performing freestyle kite, check out the RPM, but if you want something that can handle all other aspects of kiteboarding very well, consider this kite.
As a beginner, you're looking for a kite with a large wind range, stability, smooth flight, good bar feedback, and easy relaunch - the Rally GT can make that happen. Additionally, once you crest the hill past beginner, you've got a kite that can help you dabble in each discipline without being held back too much. Often times we'll hear "will I outgrow this kite?" The answer here is yes. The wonderful thing about kiteboarding is that you have so many different options for riding styles and kites that specifically suit each of them. Where the Rally GT works so well is that it will allow you to sample each discipline with a kite that can do it.
Say it aloud - "Thank you, Slingshot!". Thank you for one-pump. Thank you for split-strut. Thank you for making bomb-proof kites. Thank you for offering exceptional customer service and support. Thank you for making new kites this year! We're so excited to show the new Rally GT off, as it's truly one of our favorite new kites. If you're a kiteboarder, you'll be hard-pressed not to have an amazing session on the Rally GT no matter your flavor of riding style. The Rally GT is a kite that makes kiteboarding easy, from progression to cruising sessions. Give one a shot and you'll be thanking us!
An avid kiteboarder and mountain biker, Nathan Patterson is a staple on the phones here at MACkite. He joined the team in 2012 and with him came a wealth of kiteboarding knowledge and experience. Since then, Nathan has been helping customers on the phone day in and day out. Most recently, he has led the charge here in electric bike and electric skateboard knowledge. If you have questions, Nathan probably has the answers and if he doesn't, you can bet he'll find them.
17th Jul 2019 Nathan Paterson