At A Glance
F-One created a storm in 2007 with the Bandit, a whole new concept in kite technology the Bandit was a Delta shaped kite aimed at being really stable and easy to fly. It was also a kite that could do it all; ridden by the Pro Team and beginners alike it was somewhat of a revolution. Last year the kite was tweaked and refined to bring the public the Bandit Dos. But this year there was speculation about what the kite might be. Well the speculation is over! It is the Bandit III and this year it is quite different… The team wanted to improve the top end range of the kite and also the amount of control felt at the bar end. The kite looks quite different to last year and it is higher aspect with a much shorter middle strut. The real news lies in two improvements, which will sway a lot of people who weren’t convinced before. Gone is the long bridle, so now you have 4 lines all the same length on the bar. This hugely reduces the chances of the kite getting tangled inside itself in the waves, and also makes it much neater to pack away. Next up is an external one-pump system, which is just about the icing on the cake. Elsewhere, when you look at the detailing on the canopy, you can see this product oozes quality. At a time when some brands are cutting costs it looks as if F-One have gone all out at the factory!
This year the bar has been simplified somewhat; the trim straps on the rear lines are gone and replaced with simple floats. Under the floats are knots in the leader lines so you can still adjust the backline tension should you wish to. The Chicken Loop release has been slimmed down a little and works really well. It also has a solid plastic male pin that fits into the bar to lock the loop in place when you are unhooked, and the top part, which was plastic last year is now made from inox metal and has a loop for your leash for a suicide set up. The clam cleat above bar depower is back as is the mini 5th line safety which will totally depower the kite in an emergency. Overall the bar is cleaner and simpler than last year, yet still retains all the important bits you need to fly the kite.
In the Air
Last year when you flew the Bandit Dos it was quite tricky to distinguish it from the original, this year however the Bandit III is a totally different animal. Because of the higher aspect the kite flies much further forward in the window, developing a pull completely different to the Bandit Dos. In previous years the Bandit has always had a great low end, the new higher aspect ratio vastly improves the top end of the kite, but by using some clever profiling of the canopy the kite still develops its low-end grunt. The 10m gets going really early and coupled with a surfboard it could easily satisfy a one kite quiver for lighter riders. Another improvement over last year is the depower throw has got much shorter. Meaning that just small movements with your arms can dump the power from the kite and put it back on again. In gusty conditions this is great for maintaining an upright stance and allows you to control the kite rather than the other way round. In terms of performance the kite has improved too, unhooked it feels much more controlled especially as the pull is more forwards rather than directly down the window. It also does some impressive kite loops, taking a much wider more powerful radius as opposed to spinning on its axis. Riding the Bandit III as a freestyle kite it is certainly rewarding, and it really comes into its own as a free ride and wave machine too. Once again it seems the crew have cracked the versatility right on the head and the Bandit III will impress you in the air, wakestyle, on the wave or even just with the simple things like easy relaunching.
A really polished kite with that not only outperforms its predecessor, the improvements in the design also make it stand out against it too. Features like the one pump system and the shorter bridle will have previous non-converts reaching for their wallets!
This is about as good as it gets in terms of finish and all round performance. We used to complain about the lack of one pump and the long bridle. This time in terms of complaints we are silenced!
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One of the best looking kites out there in terms of graphics and attention to detail. Happy to perform with whatever conditions or style of riding you throw at it the Bandit III looks set to have another stellar year
This review was in Issue 16 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit F-ONE Kiteboarding
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By Rou ChaterRou 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!