When someone reviews a kite, the past experiences of the reviewer often has impact on the judgement. One that has been kiting with 4-line kite will probably love a kite with a 5:th line no matter what the kite is like otherwise. One that has been kiting nothing else than Cabrinha Kites will most likely don’t feel comfortable with a c-kite. What I try to say here is that you can’t just read one review and make a conclusion about a specifik kite from that single review, so my tips to you is to read as many reviews as possible about bandit kites, but lets start with review from a guy that is used with a 9m North Rhino -06, a 12m North Rhino -06 and a F-One Tribal.
Over the last two weeks I had the opportunity to ride with a bandit 11m and 9m, both from 08. There are many things to say about the construction, the water launch and the performance in the sky.
Lets start with the construction. The construction has some reinforcement upgrades compared to previous F-One kites. The seams along the leading edge and along the canopy are sewn in a way that strengthen the construction even more that earlier. On top of this comes reinforcements on special vulnerable areas. These reinforcements gives the kite a bit more weight, but it still feels light and far from dull in any way. The line system is simple. The outer lines are connected to pigtails. The two inner lines are connected to bridles forming a v-shaped line set up attached to the leading edge together acting as a 5:th line.
The bar is also simple. Only 3 lines emanate from the bar. The steering lines have adjusters which are very handy, just pull and release at optional knot. The 5:th line has also individual knots so you are able to put the kite in different power modes, less or more power depending on which knot you choose. The little molded plastic piece that enclose the chicken loop is “comfortable” in a way that it allows you to put your hand in the middle of the bar without getting your hand squeezed or scrubed in some way, perfect for one hand tricks. The chicken loop line is quite long, which is a good thing for a person with long arm, like me, but I guess that shorter people might find it a bit uncomfortable to eventually at some points ride with fully extented arms. However, in general, the construction and the bar are great, what about the flying abilities?
It’s blowing about 9 m/s and the 11m kite is launched for the very first time. I want to try the flying abilities before going out in the water and my first positive surprise is that the depower is top notch! When you let go of the bar and let it be thrown all the way to the top, then the kite pitch forward and loses all of its power. Some kites will drop down from the sky or lose their steering abilites when let go of the bar, but the bandit remains stable in the air and you’re even able to steer it in a controlled way. So far all good, it’s time to rush into the water!
I can easily ride upwind with my 72 kg on a 135 cm board, in fact there is more power in the 11m bandit than with my 12m North Rhino -06. The steering is fast and controlled, faster and more controlled than most other kites I’ve been riding in the 11m class. When it comes to looping, the bandit respondes perfectly when the bar is pulled. The kite loops in an arc which I think is better for kiteloops, compared to some kites that loop more around a pivot point. Once in the air the bandit provides you with long hang time and the kite is still incredible stable. You don’t have to keep your hands glued to the middle of the bar to avoid your hips to twist you in wrong direction. Some kites are too fast in my opinion, faster than their own good. Both the bandit 9m and 11m are fast, but still in a controlled way.
The bandit is excellent for unhooked tricks, such as the unhooked front roll to blind trick. The kite maintains the power needed to unhook at any time and to keep the speed when popping out of the water. When performing a kite loop the kite does not stall or is doubtful during or under the initial state of the kite loop. The kite runs smooth and steady throughout the whole loop. The chicken loop is medium sized, not the large one, still it’s very easy to unhook and get hooked back.
Sooner or later you always crash the kite in the water, when you’re failing a trick or because you’re a bad kiter, with a bandit that’s nothing to worry about. The kite will always land on the leading edge if you’re hooked in when you crash and a relaunch under those conditions is a piece of cake.
The 9m bandit kite has all the qualities already mentioned abobe, but it’s of course faster. And there is much power it the 9m! I can ride my 9m in the same wind conditions where I normally would take my 12m North Rhino. The bar is slightly smaller than the one for 11m, but it just feels more natural with shorter bar to the 9m.
F-One kites are a bit more expensive than many other kites, but trust me, the kite/dollar ratio is high! It’s like you would have the option to buy a boring shitty family car for $5k or add an extra $1k and get a Ferrari, the option is yours =)
Happy kiting and feel free to leave a comment if you have questions.