F-One Bandit 4
AVAILABLE SIZES: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14m
TESTED IN: La Ventana 24-28 knots, large chop
FROM THE MANUFACTURER:
For 2011, the Bandit 4 has a brand new shape. We modified its span, tips, profile, leading edge diameter, and lowered the number of struts to three. All this was done in order to get an extremely homogeneous kite. The sharp Delta angle at its center (patented by F-One) is identical to the B3, which gives the kite plenty of stability, depower, and auto relaunch. Three struts mean a lighter, smoother, and more dynamic kite. The squared tips allow two different back line settings and a cleaner aerodynamic flow during turns. The profile and the structure of the Bandit 4 is more rigid for better control and greater depower in high wind conditions. With the B4, we overcame a difficult challenge: It excels in every program with an unmatched feeling. It suits every style and disciplines without any adaptation time.
THE KITEBOARDER REPORT:
Out of the Box: The F-One Bandit, the original Delta kite, is now in its fourth generation and it has undergone a major redesign for 2011. It is now a three-strut one pump kite with square wingtips. The three struts are integrated into the canopy instead of being attached to the bottom of it. The bridle still features three pulleys per side but now the rear bridle is adjustable to change the turning speed of the kite. Despite the changes, the Bandit retains its Delta shape. Once inflated, you can see that the leading edge comes to a subtle point in the middle.
For 2011, F-One has released the Airlite bar which is the first bar to be built from one solid piece of aluminum. The ends, tubes, and center make up one single piece as opposed to separate pieces that are assembled together. This new bar feels light and rigid and every member of the test team enjoyed using it. F-One has decided to stick with a Velcro and pin safety release as they feel there is no chance of it being jammed with sand.
On the Water: The Bandit 4 is a very stable kite in the sky and we immediately fell in love with the feel of the Airlite bar. The bar pressure of the Bandit 4 is in the light-medium range, much lighter than the previous Bandit III. Turning speed is fast and the kite’s handling is very direct. Power delivery from the Bandit 4 is very smooth and the kite depowers a great deal within a short amount of bar travel. The Bandit 4 goes upwind well and is easy to relaunch. While carving on the large chop of La Ventana, the Bandit 4 drifts back in the window and responds to inputs instantly. Jumping performance is also very good and the kite zips back up to the top of the window after loops.
- The F-One Bandit 4 is a fantastic all-around kite that truly does everything well.
- The unique one-piece Airlite bar was very well-received by our test team.
- The Velcro safety release can only be operated from one side.
- Some riders may not like the European-style graphics.
The F-One Bandit 4 fits the bill as an all-around kite that seems to do everything well. It simply seemed to handle anything our testers could throw at it. It has a wide wind range, excellent jumping and upwind abilities, smooth power, and fast and predictable handling. It’s stable and relaunches easily. The new Airlite bar felt like the perfect size and the grip felt just right. We would like to see F-One move to a safety release that can be operated with either hand in an emergency. The nimble and direct handling makes it feel like you can put the Bandit 4 wherever you want it and the stability and responsiveness should serve well in the surf.
- Get in the habit of always putting the safety release on the same side so you know where it is if you need to use it.
- If you unhook a lot, consider moving the rear lines forward to slow the turning speed of the kite. This will make the kite more forgiving to small bar inputs during unhooked moves.
“The very direct handling combined with the nice feel of the Airlite bar make the Bandit 4 feel like a kite that you can quickly place anywhere in the window you want it.” –Paul Lang, 200 lbs., Surf Kiter