F-One have been growing at a pace the last few years and now sit proudly amongst the esteemed top 5 kite brands worldwide, the kite that started it all, the Bandit has been hotly observed by riders and journalists alike over the last 6 years. Now the Bandit 7 has been released, well at least the information about it has, alongside the rest of the F-One 2014 line up. We’re one of the lucky few magazines to have been invited to the meeting in Mauritius in two weeks and of course will be bringing you a more hands on view of all the equipment while we are there.
For now though here is a preview of the kite, and what we can glean from the information that has been provided. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a link to the 2014 catalogue in English which has also just been launched.
First up the new Bandit 7 isn’t the radical change we were expecting, last year the Bandit 6 was very much a progression of the Bandit 5 which was quite a change in direction when compared to the Bandit 4. Some of the dealers last year were disappointed that the kite hadn’t changed that much, obviously more changes make it easier to sell new kites to existing owners. However Raphael Salles and the team at F-One are not in the business of changing things for the sake of it. The progression from the Bandit 5-6 was one of tweaks and small changes to improve the overall feel and performance of the kite. This year the 7 looks similar to the 6 in terms of it’s shape. 3 struts, Delta design and very much a C-Styled kite is what we can glean from the information provided. No doubt when we get to see it in Mauritius we will get the full low down.
Something F-One have been working on for the last few years is reducing the “lateral traction” of the Bandit. In layman’s terms that means reducing the “pull” you feel at the bar. By reducing the pull of the kite, moves become easier and waveriding is more intuitive. At the same time they have worked to ensure that low end power isn’t lost and you don’t end up with a wishy washy feeling kite. Last year they certainly achieved that and the Bandit 6 was fantastic in this respect. This year the Bandit 7 has further improved on that, enabling you to perform tricks with ease and allowing you to concentrate on flying the kite with your fingertips rather than having to muscle it around the window.
The Bandit 7 is also stamped with input from the new kite designer at F-One, Robert Graham, we met Robert in the Caribbean earlier this year and he has a passion for kite design that is impressive, he also thinks about the aerodynamics of the design an awful lot with a heavy background in paragliding. Mika Fernandez has also been working hard on the testing and as usual F-One have piled through the prototypes in their quest for creating the best kite around. Over 80 prototypes have been back and forth in the development of the new kite.
The other big news is that F-One are now using the double ripstop material from Teijin, known as Technoforce, this fabric has been proved to be longer lasting and more durable than previous kite canopy material and allows the kite to withstand the forces loaded upon it for longer. It equates to a crisper feeling flying sensation and means the kite won’t lose it’s shape after heavy use.
As with all kite launches, the Bandit promises improved feeling, direct response and steering and of course a larger wind range. F-One have made a series of small adjustments to the kite in order to make a big change to the overall feel of the Bandit 7.
In other big news, it looks like the Chicken Loop has finally been redesigned, there isn’t much information about this at the moment other than this image. It will be available at the end of 2013, although as with all launches we can expect a few delays so perhaps it will be in shops by January/February 2014. It will also be retrofittable as a spare part on the Bandit 4,5 and 6 bars. We’re hoping we will get a hands on with a final prototype or early production model of this when we head to the meeting in a couple of weeks.
In terms of twin tips the range has been reduced with 4 main platforms. The Trax is still here, alongside the Acid and Next. Totally new in terms of name and design is the Spicy, a wakestyle board designed to be ridden with boots.
Helical Rail Design, or HRD as it is being touted by F-One is perhaps the most exciting bit of tech we have seen in the twin tip world for some time. The rail of the board is really important as it is this rail which reacts with the water, gives the board traction, helps to drive it upwind and control the spray form the edge of the board too. We’ve not seen it in the flesh, but the rail shape changes throughout the length of the board, performing different roles at different sections. Under the feet the rail is thicker and designed to create lift and deflect water away from the board (an end to those boards that shower your face with the wet stuff) then in the centre of the board the rail is sharp to enable edging and to offer good pop. Towards the tips of the board the rail is thinner to ensure good pop and grip when jumping. Overall this new set up promises to make jumping, riding and landing easier…
The Trax is still designed for the rider who wants to do anything, it comes in two versions and has been totally redesigned for 2014, a carbon and standard version will give you a choice of which board you want to go for. The Acid is aimed at the freestylers out there and comes in 4 versions, Carbon, Standard, Girls and Youth. The Spicy is totally new for 2014 and has been designed purely for wakestyle riding and use with bindings. Lastly there is the Next, an entry level board designed with early planing and ease of use in mind, there is also a light wind version of the Next. Full details on all the various sizes in each range can be found in the product catalogue which is linked at the end of this article…
As for the ever popular surfboard range, Mitu gets a pro model, you can bet that is going to be great at performing strapless airs and smashing huge waves! The 5’11, arguably the most underrated board of 2013 remains, if you haven’t ridden one yet be sure to check it out! The Signature Series and the Fish range also remain.
You can check out the full catalogue HERE with more details of all the latest technologies F-One are utilising for 2014…