At A Glance
The Bandit returns for its 14th edition for 2021. Last year saw F-ONE split the Bandit into 2 categories, The Bandit and the Bandit S (for wave riding and freeride) and both kites have received amazing feedback. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the 9m and the kite from the year before it feels like F-ONE have made minor improvements to make this already amazing kite even better. Turning, lift, hangtime and loops are many of the great qualities the Bandit holds.
Looking at the kite, it has a three strut build with a Delta C-Shape offering amazing stability and steering. The wingtips are the same as the previous year; they have a squarer shape which again, helps with the speed and turning ability.
F-ONE have altered the panel layout and added a new trailing edge reinforcement which gives the Bandit its sleek profile. The connection between the rider and the kite has never felt better and what you put in is what you get out! The balance between stability and manoeuvrability is bang on.
Because of the kites, Delta C-Shape relaunching is really simple. The pivot created throughout the structure of the kite allows it to automatically roll over onto one wingtip, so when, not if, you have a crash, getting the kite back into the air is somewhat effortless.
The Bandit is best paired with the Lynx Bar, which comes in 2 sizes. 52/45cm or 45/38cm.
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Sizes: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14m
Colours: Glacier/Slate, Mango/Slate, Papaya/Slate
In The Air
When it’s up in the air, you immediately feel how the Bandit 2021 sits so comfortably in the wind window. It’s very stable at 12 and handles the gusts well. Unlike some kites which don’t quite fly as well in lighter conditions, you don’t find that issue with the Bandit; it’s just so stable in the air no matter what the wind is doing!
I was really impressed with the handling of this kite. With a light bar pressure, it provides direct feedback to the rider, and you know exactly where the kite is, even after performing loops. One thing I was captivated with was the ability to switch the power on and off. With slight alterations to the depower you’ll feel comfortable quickly in overpowered conditions and lose no performance from the kite! Although F-ONE has the Bandit S for those wave riders out there, with the Bandit having such good depower, it allows you to change your riding style to shred some waves too. Obviously, this isn’t a wave designated kite, so if you go down this option, you’ll need to focus hard on your kite control as the Bandit S would offer better performance, but you can still have a lot of fun out there!
Firing upwind is no issue with this kite. Personally, I think this is a great kite for that beginner-intermediate rider who wants something that ‘does it all’. A great kite to charge you back upwind after trying new tricks and big jumps. But for those advanced riders, the Bandit is insanely good too. This year F-ONE have worked on reducing the drag and creating better forward momentum, which is proven with its upwind ability.
Jumping was my favourite aspect of this kite. I knew it was good from the previous models and having ridden some of the other 5 strut big air style kites I was eager to see how the three strut Bandit performed alongside those. With the Bandit having sharp, quick, snappy turns as soon as you sheet in to go big, you’ll explode up into the air. I felt so confident to go big on the jumps purely because I had 100% trust in what the kite was doing and where it was in relation to me. Never did I have an issue with the kite stalling and once in the air, I felt the kite was able to keep me there for some time with the best hangtime I’ve experienced within a three strut kite.
What you gain from the Bandit is sharper turns and a better ‘all-round’ performance not just in the air. If you’re a rider, who enjoys all styles of kiting, from foiling, to big air, to wave riding then the overall performance of the Bandit is a perfect fit. If you’re just focused on going massive, and Big Air is all you want, then the Bullet might be a better option.
What about those light wind days? It’s clear that this kite performs like a beast in high winds. It is also a super easy to use kite and the fact that it can cross over to other disciplines within the sport make it great the lighter, calmer days on the water. Advanced riders will get everything they can and more out of this kite. And for those riders who are in the early days of kiting something like the Bandit is great as it offers great benefits as you start to improve throughout your kiting career!
We’ve got no complaints about this kite. I loved the 2020 version, and I love the 2021 even more. It is a kite which gives me the option to do anything and everything on the water whilst performing to a high level in all areas. The linkup between you and Bandit is like you’re both ‘cut from the same piece of cloth’, it just works! Easily the best performing Bandit to date, its flying characterises and build quality make it really user-friendly and one of the best do-it-all kites out there. If you are a wave head, then look towards the Bandit S2, and if big air is all you are after, get the Bullet, but if you want an incredible all-rounder the Bandit 2021 is the kite to go for!
This review was in Issue 84 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit F-ONE Kiteboarding