At A Glance
We tested the 9m Bandit 7 a couple of issues ago, but as kites differ from size to size, we wanted to see what the larger sized kite had to offer for those of you in the market for a 12m. I’m not going to rewrite the intro, so if you have already read the 9m Bandit 7 test, skip to the On The Water section… If not read on from here…
In the last seven years the Bandit has changed quite a bit. From that first offering we saw in Montpellier all those many moons ago, to the kite we were shown in Mauritius just recently you would hardly recognise the two were related! However, the DNA is still there, the Bandit is a ‘one kite does it all’ machine equally at home in the waves as it is sat above some of the worlds best freestylers. The new Bandit 7 might look very similar to last year’s model, but it has in fact been completely redesigned by Robert Graham, the new designer on board, and the rest of the R&D team. The outline of the Bandit 6 remains, but there the similarities end. The biggest change is the new Technoforce material being used from Teijin. This is much stiffer and stronger than previous canopy materials and, as such, the kite had to be radically changed in order to get the most out of the new fabric. The profile of the kite has been tweaked to get the best low end. The Force Frame has had all the straight edges and corners turned into curves to increase strength. The bladder inflation points have been moved to reduce canopy wear. The strut tips and canopy in general has been streamlined to improve airflow and the team have worked hard to improve the “feel” of the kite and also to reduce its lateral pull.
A new bar with a new chicken loop release will be in the shops sometime in February, it should now have completed final testing and be on its way to the distributors around the world. There is an upgrade kite available so if you buy the kite now with the old bar you can upgrade the parts to the new chicken loop as soon as they arrive in shops. There is an upgrade cost, but overall it won’t cost more than buying a new bar with the kite. We did get to see the new bar and while we couldn’t test it in real world conditions it is looking very polished. As it stands this test was conducted on the current bar, which is still excellent!
On The Water
Having tested the hell out of the smaller sizes during our windy week in Mauritius, we were keen to see what the larger sizes were capable of. As we were headed to the usually light wind paradise of the Caribbean the 12m Bandit 7 seemed a natural choice to take. All of the F-One kites are different according to each size, there is no simple scaling on a CAD program here. The larger sizes have been designed to have a better low end and faster turning capabilities so you still feel like you are riding a smaller kite. In the air the Bandit 7 certainly looks aggressive, it’s a high aspect kite with a short chord depth. The tubes aren’t overly large to help improve the aerodynamics and the kites overall speed. As with the smaller sizes the kite is fast and responsive, it’s not as fast as the 9m, but it isn’t far off. As we know a lot of you Bandit riders are keen wave riders we would be eager to point out the 12m is just a touch too large for wave riding, stick with the 10m and smaller for that discipline. The 12m does, however, excel at freeriding, it delivers plenty of power and lots of drive upwind. Jumping is fun and entertaining with a solid pull off the water and a good amount of hangtime. Unhooked the kite is brilliant, and we have really enjoyed this kite coupled with a bindings set up for some wake style riding. The gust handling is excellent and the top end is very good too, if you have good flying skills you will get a lot more out of the low end as well. The kite needs a little finesse at the extreme low end to get the most out of, but its speed and agility help enable it to generate plenty of apparent wind.
Anyone looking for a high performance, fun to ride freeride kite. Freestylers and wakestylers will enjoy its stable, yet direct and responsive nature too.
We’d like to see the new bar on the market and ready to go now please!
Fans of the smaller sizes won’t be disappointed with this larger kite for lighter winds, if you love boosting big jumps and riding fast it is just the ticket. Equally, if you want a tool to deliver consistent pull while you pop tricks underneath it fits the bill perfectly!
This review was in Issue 43 of IKSURFMAG.
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!