REVIEW SYNOPSIS: All-encompassing, refined performance, unmatched versatility.
Sizes Tested (m): 9, 12
Sizes Available (m): 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,17m
Control System: Monolith Bar
THE GOOD STUFF: The legendary F-One Bandit shows the high levels of refinement expected of its ninth incarnation and continues to offer a blend of performance that can handle any style of riding or kite discipline. The Bandit is not just the jack-of-all-trades master-of-none, but more like a kite that offers the power and control that lets you adapt, and conquer, any situation. This year’s Bandit is faster-pulling with a smoother depower band and more precise control in both the 9 and 12 meter. It’s an easy boosting kite, with predictable pull and pop and the Bandit feels crisp and light in the air, and provides direct steering and predictable and consistent power. The 9 meter was easy and great upwind and offers the depower sought after for handling in waves. The depower is also smooth and consistent and comes on and off smoothly without any pitch sensitivity. The twelve was very reactive and one of the faster turning twelves with some smooth power generation through the loop. While many companies focus on offering more models with tendencies for different disciplines of wave or park, or freestyle or high-powered freestyle, F-One has continued to keep the Bandit relevant by building into it the broadest range of performance. With refinements each year, the different Bandit sizes in the range are tuned for performance that you are most likely looking for in that size. The smaller sizes are geared towards waves and the mid-sizes for general freeriding. The Bandit combines C-kite style pop with smooth depower and fast and smooth turning and control. It may not have the extra boost and glide of some of the high powered, five-strut freeride designs, like the Rebel and Switchblade, but its combination of formidable boost and control, its ability to grant useable pop for unhooked freestyle performance and its silky smooth depower and handling for waves, makes it an All-Terrain Master.
THE TRADE OFF: The Y-bridle safety system with its double flagging front line safety, lacks the advantage of easily untwisting lines when the kite rolls into itself.
BEST FOR: Intermediate to Advanced level freeriders that want all-around performance with less compromise for any discipline or condition.