At A Glance
This next kite needs no introduction, it’s had many years of design thrown at it and this year it comes with a complete overhaul for its 13th edition. The Bandit has always been known for its great cross over performance between wave and freeride/big air. This year sees F-One take this great kite and create two versions to maximize the performance at each end of the scale while keeping this a great all-rounder. We see the Bandit S: Tweaked more towards wave riding, strapless freestyle. The Bandit 2020: Tweaked more towards big air and freeride.
The Bandit 2020 is a 3-strut mid-high aspect kite. For 2020 we see some major tweaks in the design and shape of the kite as well as features like bridles and materials. The wingtips have become squarer on this version to create more speed and turning ability. The new Spider bridle has been tweaked to enable the kite to be pushed for maximum depower ability while retaining huge amounts of stability in the air. The new 130gr Double ripstop has been used to provide a lighter weight kite that still has tons of strength.
The 2020 Bandit works best coupled with the Linx bar, which is available in two sizes: 52/45cm or 45/38cm.
Sizes: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17m.
The Linx bar comes in its own carry bag which has a manual and Medium size kite leash included. The vibrant mango and slate colorway make it stand out from the crowd. However, the technical features and simple design of this bar make it a fantastic bit of gear.
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The bar itself is small in diameter with comfortable grip making it forgiving on the hands yet easy to grasp for smaller riders when unhooking. The molded bar ends have a variable bar size adjuster hidden inside them, allowing you to adjust from either a 52 to 45cm bar or 45 to 38cm bar with ease. Simply pull down the tag under the bar rotate the insert and your bar size is changed. Great if you plan to swap the same bar between different kite sizes.
The chicken loop is very easy to use and resetting is simple. The bar comes with a regular chicken loop however a wakestyle loop can be purchased separately and a simple upgrade done for those who like to unhook a lot. The single line re-ride safety system gives you confidence out on the water knowing you’ve got the most effective safety at hand.
The depower range on the center line is large and gives the ability to really dump power when on the water, with a simple cleat depower above to provide extra trim options from rider end. The range is great, however may be leave the bar a slight stretch away for smaller kiters.
The Bandit 2020 has grown into its new style and pulled it off perfectly
In The Air
The Bandit 2020 is immediately pleasing to fly, it’s very stable above head and boasts ease of use. The kite remains stable high, on the edge of the wind, in overpowered gusts or light winds. It just wants to fly. Stability isn’t compromised on the Bandit in various wind conditions and the kite also remains incredibly stable in the air throughout kiteloops, riding down waves, or in marginal winds for foiling.
The handing of the Bandit 2020 is exceptional, the kite has a light bar pressure however provides direct feedback into the bar allowing you to feel what the kites up too at every point. The turning of the Bandit 2020 is precise and again direct, turning quickly and remaining controllable when depowered. Loops and fast turns on the Bandit 2020 are fast and the turning circle is moderate, giving a well powered and forgiving loop. You are able to tweak the kite down lower if desired and the Bandit 2020 will provide a powerful yet controlled pull throughout with a quick drive back to 12.
Jumping potential has been increased on this Bandit, with the latest design shift to the two separate models. The Bandits fast air and turn speeds combined with increased forward drive make this kite a weapon for reaching new heights. Having great depower and stability in strong winds make it easy and safe to push your limits more while searching for new heights. Hangtime is not as floaty as you would find on something flatter in profile like the F-One Furtive but it has plenty of float for chucking in those board off and old school moves. The increase forward drive also enables this kite to perform fairly well unhooked, it’s not going to rival the WTF!? Kite when it comes to unhooked performance but it does allow the kite to go slack when unhooking in powered conditions.
We’ve talked a lot about how well this kite performs at high wind and advanced maneuvers but one thing this kite does very well is light winds. The Bandit 2020 flies well in light wind conditions and crosses over to disciplines like foiling and generic freeride for more entry level riders incredibly well. Tons of stability and upwind drive make it a great choice for those beginner – intermediate riders wanting a high-performance kite that is easy to use, yet will give them the benefits as they develop as riders.
The 2020 Bandit feels very light to fly yet has incredibly direct feedback on the bar. The depower range is vast yet performance of this kite has not been compromised in the slightest for those wanting to huck big airs and loops. Top score for graphics and colorways on all parts of this set up, from bar and kite to kite bag and bar bag.
Nothing to report in terms of downsides with the Bandit 2020.
The Bandit 2020 has grown into its new style and pulled it off perfectly. It’s still the super user friendly Bandit we once knew that works well in waves, foiling, for entry level kiters however, it’s been tuned to be the ultimate all round high-performance kite for freeride / big air riding. The kite is very well built, comes in some awesome colorways and has got to be up there as one of your choices for the best all-round do-it-all kites on the market. This model has less emphasis on wave riding than prior models however check the Bandit S “surf series” model if you are a predominantly wave / strapless rider.
This review was in Issue 82 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit F-ONE Kiteboarding