What’s new for 2016 for F-One? Pretty much everything! The entire range has had a huge overhaul with a major focus on not only the new vibrant colour-ways but also improving the performance and technologies within each product. There are updates to the Bandit, which is now in its 9th generation, but also the surfboards and twin tips too. It’s an extensive product launch with everything hitting the ground running at the same time, availability will be very soon for the new Bandit and product is already on it’s way from the factory to a kite shop near you.

As ever we will be testing as much of the new gear as possible, we’re off on the product launch in September so will be bringing you more updates then about the gear and how it rides.

Marie Switala getting to grips with the new gear!

Marie Switala getting to grips with the new gear!

The Bandit

The kite that changed the face of kitesurfing all those years ago gets further improvements for 2016. Once again it isn’t a massive overhaul, rather some tweaking to improve the performance of the kite in general. For the 9th Edition of the Bandit the team have worked to refine the profile across the entire span of the canopy, whilst at the same time improve the forward pitch of the kite on the bridle to improve the depower range at the high end.

Robert Graham has been working tirelessly with Raphael Salles and Micka Fernandez over the last year to refine the Bandit even further to create this new 9th generation kite. There are sizes in the range to suit everyone, with a 4m, 5m ,6m 7m, 8m, 9m, 10m, 11m, 12m 14m and a new 17m for 2016! If you can’t find your perfect quiver amongst that lot then there really is no pleasing you! As was the case last year the smaller sizes are designed for stronger winds and wave riding, having a bit more top end and a slightly beefier construction in terms of the materials used, whilst offering improved handling and depower.

“A better performer, the Bandit is easier to send to the top of the window for the jumps and offers more hang time. The kite flies faster through the window during the loops, showing no decrease in speed before rushing back to the zenith.”

The 8,9 and 10m have been designed to be really efficient whatever the conditions and are also aimed at a wide variety of disciplines. The larger kites, 11m and up have been optimised for lighter winds they have a focus on manoeuvrability and utilise a lighter construction too, characteristics that are important when the wind isn’t blowing. The larger sizes in the range also offer increased power per square meter to give you excellent low end range.

VKWC rider Robinson Hilario putting the Bandit through its paces!

VKWC rider Robinson Hilario putting the Bandit through its paces!

Unhooked riding has been improved, the kites ability to fly forwards in the window offering the rider increased power delay when popping and unhooking. Handling has also been improved with increased response and feedback at the bar, making the new Bandit extremely direct in terms of the handling.

The Dacron trailing edge has been replaced with twin layers of 52g canopy fabric, which is the TechnoForce double rip stop from Teijin. This cuts down on the overall weight of all the kites while still reducing flapping during turns.   F-One claim the kite is more solid in the window, with a smooth continuous power delivery whatever the wind.

“We have then modified the way the kite swings around its bridle and depowers, as well as the quality of the depowered profile. It is now more stable in static position on the beach but also in motion during flight.”

As soon as we get a test on the new Bandit we will let you know exactly how it feels!

Monolith Bar

The hugely popular and exceedingly hard wearing Monolith Bar gets a new anodising process which reinforces the external structure of the bar and blocks out all corrosion. It is still CNC machined from a single block of 6061 Aluminium but there is a cosmetic graphics change to bring the styling bang up to date with the kites. Naturally it meets the AFNOR NORM: NF S 52-503 safety standard too.

The Push Away Quick Release has has some minor tweaks too, it features tighter and stiffer elastic to prevent accidental release and the upper part has been shortened by one centimetre to increase the length of the depower line.

The CNC Machined Monolith Bar

The CNC Machined Monolith Bar

The full bar set up for 2016!

The full bar set up for 2016!

Surboards

Last year saw a big change in direction for the F-One Surfboard range, gone was the bamboo construction that the brand had become synonymous with and in it’s place was an HD Foam Flex Composite that proved to be exceedingly strong whilst remaining flexible and having a great feel on the water. F-One are utilising the same construction for 2016 and have tweaked all the shapes slightly to improve performance whilst adding an exceedingly bold colour scheme that gives the boards a custom look.

Micka Fernandez sets the rail at One Eye!

Micka Fernandez sets the rail at One Eye!

The boards feature the same Camel Deck that gives them such a unique feel underfoot and also the Heel Shock Absorber too, enabling you to pull off the latest strapless freestyle tricks with ease. The Signature has a new rocker line with a pin tail and is aimed at the rider looking for a carving machine. It is versatile in a variety of wave conditions and comes in either a 5’8′ or 5’10” both are a quad fin set up with Futures Boxes. The popular Fish light wind machine makes a return for 2016 with two sizes, a 5’6″ and a 5’10”, using the standard Bamboo Construction and lacking the Camel Deck this board is all about having fun in light winds.

Mitu Monteiro Pro Model

The Mitu Monteiro Pro Model has been one of the most popular surfboards on the market since it was launched, the iconic rider from Cape Verde has a huge following and a unique style. There aren’t many people out there that can ride deep in the barrel regular and then come out goofy and smash the lip into oblivion! There are 4 sizes in the range this year, a new, smaller 5’4″ model makes the line up whilst the 6’0″ from 2015 has been dropped. This echoes the move to shorter wider boards by a lot of riders out there and makes sense to us too.

Mitu Monteiro shreds the new 5'4" Pro Model!

Mitu Monteiro shreds the new 5’4″ Pro Model!

The shape is broadly the same, but there is a reduced concave area around the fins to improve the boards carving ability. The swallow tail and thruster set up remains and the Futures boxes are in effect too. Just like the Signature the board features the bomb proof HD Foam Flex Composite construction that proved so successful last year. For the strapless fans, and lets be honest if you are in the market for a Mitu you will be keen to at least bust a few airs, the board features the Camel Dec and Heel Shock Absorber as well as the Compact Grab Rail to make those strapless tricks as easy and as comfortable as possible!

The board has been designed with strapless freestyle in mind!

The board has been designed with strapless freestyle in mind!

There are two colour-ways and the graphics echo the custom feel of the Signature too. The 5’4″ and 5’6″ are available in the Red and Yellow fade while the 5’8″ and 5’10” is available in the Blue and Yellow fade design.

As always as soon as we get to swing a leg over these new boards we will get you an update and a full test. We have seen them in the flesh, we were trusted with a sneak preview during our visit to F-One headquarters in Montpellier earlier this year and they do look absolutely stunning, be warned, you will see and you will want to buy!

We’ll have Part 2 up soon which will take a detailed look at the Twin Tips and Accessories, the new foot pads and straps are rather special! It’s a bold new direction for F-One this year and we are liking it a lot… Check out their website for more details of all the new gear if you can’t wait for Part 2!

For more information on the new F-One 2016 products check out: f-onekites.com

Thu 20th Aug, 2015 @ 10:00 am

By Rou Chater
Rou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!

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