F-One have just launched a new freeride kite, the Trust! Aimed at the rider looking for a 100% freeride kite the Trust is the Bandit’s little brother. We were lucky enough to be one of the first people to fly the Trust on a recent trip we went on with the F-One Team. The finished kites had been airfreighted in from the factory in China and we got to ride the 11m in a variety of conditions.
Looking at the kite on the beach it has some distinguishing features over the Bandit 6. The leading edge is bigger, the aspect ratio is lower and the wing tips are shorter. You could argue it is a de-tuned Bandit 6 and you wouldn’t be far wrong, for the rider not quite ready for the Bandit 6’s high level of performance the Trust offers a far more forgiving ride with more rider feedback to help you ensure you know where the kite is at all times. A new feature is the drainage panel in the wingtip which is designed to let water out of this area of the kite when you relaunch. The usual excellent build quality from F-One is there in abundance and while the performance is aimed at the more beginner/intermediate rider the manufacture is still world class. Kevlar reinforcement and added strength areas on the back of the kite will keep it looking good and for the rider looking to tune their kite a little there are a couple of attachment points to allow you to adjust the bar pressure.
We didn’t get to see the finished bar, it wasn’t quite ready for us to see it in the flesh, but it is going to be made from the same high grade aluminium that the Bandit 6 bar is, in fact they are still calling it “Monolith”. There is a difference though, the bar ends are not from the same billet of aluminium these are added afterwards, the bar is being called the “Monolith Bar Freeride”. As a nod to the rider it is aimed at it has a clear green and red graphic to indicate the bar being the right way around, red being left and green being right of course. The same high quality depower clam cleat is used and aside from a couple of small differences the set up is very much like the excellent Bandit 6 bar.
In the Air
Straight away you will feel the difference between this kite and the Bandit 6, the Trust is a little slower, has a little more bar pressure and sits back in the window a touch compared to the high end kite from F-One. It has been designed to be slower to make it easier for less experienced riders to fly, more bar pressure to ensure you know where it is in the window and by sitting further back in the window it delivers a little more “grunt” which will help beginners and intermediates power through any mistakes with the kite. Forgiving would be a good word to describe the Trust, predictable too. If you’ve just had your first few lessons and want a kite that you can quickly progress on then this is it. Being a Delta C Shape the kite relaunches really easily, almost automatically in the right wind conditions. F-One have allowed and amount of twist to the shape to further help the kite off the water and of course the drainage wing tips help too. The low end is very good as you would expect from a low aspect kite likte this, sadly the conditions didn’t allow for us to test the high end so we can’t say too much about that. It is very intuitive to fly, just pump it up, launch it and immediately feel at home. Just about anyone on the beach should be able to get on with this kite very quickly.
While we have talked about this being a de-tuned Bandit 6, it still performs to a high level, kiteloops, big jumps, it’s all here and it goes upwind very well for a low aspect kite too. This certainly won’t be the sort of kite you grow out of quickly, in fact it is built so well a newcomer to the sport would be using this for at least a few seasons before progressing.
Make things easy for yourself, learner drivers don’t rush out and buy a brand new Formula 1 car, and in the same vein the Trust will allow you to progress your riding far quicker than a more performance orientated kite. If you are into cruising around and want a kite that will allow to make the odd mistake here and there and get away with it then the Trust is for you. It’s predictable, forgiving and c’est tres bon in our book. Can you tell we spent a week speaking French with the crew?