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F-One has made some major changes to its 2012 product line. Returning for 2012 is the fifth generation of the Bandit Delta kite. US distributor Nicolas Ostermann walks us through their extensive lineup which now also includes SUP boards and paddles.
F-One’s signature kite, the Bandit, went through a major redesign for 2011. For 2012, can we expect more major changes?
With the Bandit, our goal is not to offer just a versatile kite but rather the best kite for each discipline and style of rider, from the beginner to the pro. To be successful in all areas, it is a real challenge from an R&D perspective and is proving to be much more complex than developing several highly specialized kites. The most difficult challenge faced with the B5 was to improve on the B4 in all areas. We focused on three areas: wind range, weight (reduce weight to improve underpowered performance), and maneuverability.
The 2011 Bandit 4 featured a three strut design and new canopy shape. Were any changes made to the construction or design of the Bandit 5 for 2012?
The whole structure of the kite, its profile, and its bridles were reworked to achieve the three main goals listed in the previous question. Its construction has also been updated, both in the use of materials and the manufacturing processes. Because the structure of a kite is soft, it can deform and twist allowing the kite to rotate. Therefore, maneuverability and responsiveness depend directly on the ability to twist, which we greatly improved thanks to a thinner leading edge, a new 3-point bridle system, and a new strut shape.
Reducing the diameter of the leading edge, with almost 25% less volume, brought an important gain in terms of weight and aerodynamics. The result is better performance in the low end and also in the high end thanks to improved handling. The B5 also has a new flatter profile. By reducing the curve of the profile, it is easier to depower to keep control in the high end. In the low end, a flatter kite is more forgiving when powered up, providing constant power. The result is better control of the kite aerodynamics, less lateral traction, and less effort in your legs when the wind picks up.
Each year, we test more than sixty prototypes and spend more than 120 days on the water to develop each new collection. Our initial objectives have been largely achieved with the B5 over the B4. It’s lighter, more maneuverable and responsive, even more forgiving, and ultimately more enjoyable regardless of the category you are in.
You introduced the Airlite bar in 2011. Did much change on this bar for 2012?
Want More? Get the rest plus info on 2012 gear from 18 more brands in the TKB 2012 Buyer’s Guide.
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