At A Glance
The Bandit has been a mainstay of the F-one line up for now over a decade. A do it all kite, it has changed from a prominent delta style to now a more C style delta kite with square wing tips, three struts and a compact bridle system.
2018 saw quite a major overhaul of the kite, and for 2019 there have been some key refinements, which result in a kite, which is tighter, more dynamic and further reduced the lateral pull.
F-One have stuck with the SUP inspired Reactor Valve for fast inflate and deflate. If you’ve not used one before be sure to familiarise yourself with it, as it’s easy to pump up with it in the open position and then lose air. The advantage of this valve though is it has been tested on hundreds of thousands of SUP boards around the world and is very strong and reliable with zero leakage even at super high pressures. Once you have the knowledge to set it up correctly is lightning quick and very effective. The instructions are on the valve so really there are no excuses!
The kite is made with the highest quality Teijin Technoforce double ripstop for longevity and strength whilst the new Force Frame ensures the stability of the canopy in flight by creating a skeleton using the leading edge, struts and trailing edge, which keeps the kite solid.
Sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 meters
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The Linx Bar stays the same for 2019, after the big update from the previous Monolith Bar in 2018; essentially you have all the best bits of the Monolith with added extras!
There is a single line flag out safety system as standard, a manual swivel has been added to the top of the chicken loop to untwist the lines, and integrated floats bring the bar right up to date. There is more, however, hiding under the hood as it were.
The new integrated floats house a bar length adjustment system. Just pull the inserts out of the bottom of the bar, flip them around, and you can go from a 45-38cm bar in an instant. There is also a longer bar which goes from 52cm to 45cm for the larger kites in your quiver and a new Freestyle Lynx Bar which is 5 lines and 42cm-35cm, it is worth noting the Freestyle Lynx bar is only compatible with the new WTF freestyle kite.
All in all, it’s a massive upgrade, and it addresses all the requests we have had for the bar in the past. Better safety, the ability to untwist the lines and integrated floats. All the great features such as the Chicken Loop release and the depower clam cleat remain, and this makes it a formidable offering.
“An incredibly versatile kite with dynamic and responsive handling.”
In The Air
The Bandit XII instantly feels tighter in the sky, the feel offered through the bar is greater, and the kite on the whole is livelier
We had the 7m out in some pretty tasty wind first off and loved how fast and direct the kite felt. The kite flies well at the edge of the window powering you upwind, and the reduction in lateral pull which the designers have been working on is noticeable. This not only increases the length of your session as you have more energy from less fighting, it also makes the entire experience simply more pleasant.
The Bandit XII has an increased top end we felt from previous models, and the depower works very well. The lower wind is good but you need to make the kite work for you. By trimming the kite slightly and flying aggressively you are able to generate some great speed which in turn produces plenty of usable power.
The Bandit XII maintains its huge ease of use factor, although this year the kite does offer greater lift and speed. For those enthusiastic beginners the Bandit XII will still be a great workhorse, however for those slightly more reserved riders the Trust would be better suited.
The Bandit XII certainly boosts, and big. The speed of the kite means you will need to be quite particular about your kite flying, and ensure a solid redirect to get a fast yet floaty landing. However with these things under control you will boost high, and get some huge hangtime.
The loop from the Bandit XII is really fun. Not a hugely aggressive loop, it is progressive and the kite really drives around while shooting you down wind quickly but still feeling engaged with the kite. Flying this kite we were inspired to try getting the kite lower and lower, something which you do not feel comfortable to do on many kites, and certainly shows the connected nature of the Bandit XII.
Unhooked freestyle is great fun with the Bandit. The kite is stable and there is fantastic feedback through the bar without being heavy. The kite drives so well that it powers you through your trick with incredible amplitude, a good slack, then drives forward again once you have reengaged your rail on landing. The small diameter bar here also feels good and enables a solid grip regardless of hand size.
Relaunching is pretty much automatic with the Bandit XII, and if you are struggling, a little tug on a back line will get the kite moving pretty quickly again. We dropped the kite between some pretty sizable waves, and under a few too, and had no issues relaunching quickly and effortlessly.
In the waves we were impressed again not only by the speed and drive of the kite, but by the constant connection felt at all times. Not to be mistaken as bar pressure, the connection is an intuitive feel through the bar. This small 7m Bandit was incredible in the waves, with good drift and impeccable behaviour it is easy to see why it is a favourite for so many riders.
It is worth noting that the Bandit XII is a kite that changes according to the size. The smaller kites are tuned for high winds, big air and wave riding, while the larger kites have better low end and freeride capabilities. Our only small issue with the 7m was the low end of the kite needed some good flying skills to maximise. However, on the larger sizes where low end is more important the kite delivers much more power at the bottom end of the range.
Great versatility, performance and range. It is the Bandit, but better, beginners, intermediates, and experts alive will all get something out of this kite. It doesn’t matter the style you ride either as this kite has you covered, waves, freeride and even freestyle the Bandit XII performs!
No complaints here.
It’s the Bandit as we know and love, just more. Faster flight, tighter turns, bigger jumps, more powerful loops. Excelling as a performance all rounder for freeride, freestyle and waves, it will inspire you to improve your ability in each sector. The build has been increased as well as the performance to create a kite which will not only physically last a long time, but will last your riding a long time also.
This review was in Issue 71 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit F-ONE Kiteboarding