Sizes Available: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10m
Sizes Tested: 7, 9m

F-One Says:

This year we present the second edition of the Bandit S, with major improvements to take wave riding, strapless freestyle or even foiling to the next level.

The Bandit S provides exceptional stability and control with total direct control of the steering anywhere on the bar throw. The Bandit S offers firm, precise and ultra-light bar pressure along with super smooth power delivery. Homogenous traction and amazing agility the Bandit S has been redesigned for extended wind range.

The Bandit S is reactive, light and drivey making it the ideal kite for foiling. The stability of the S during the drift is a great help on a foil especially when your lines are slack during turns or carves.

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TKB Says:

Last year was a huge year for the Bandit line with F-One splitting up the Bandit line into two distinct sub-models. The regular Bandit (sizes 7m-14m) focused on big air and freestyle riding, and the surf-specific Bandit S line (sizes 4-10m) honed the platform’s qualities for wave riding. This year is the second iteration of the Bandit S and while last year’s kite scored incredibly high marks for its precision performance, F-One has made some subtle changes to the canopy that boasts another level of refinement. A number of the changes made to the Bandit S’s LE segments and length of its center strut are hard to see, but you can visually identify the different panel layout by identifying the different seam structure toward the kite’s trailing edge

The Bandit S’ rigging features another year with the Reactor inflation valve which offers a high flow connection that twist locks the pump hose to the kite for easy and super-fast inflation and deflation at the push of a button. There are a number of kites and wings that now use this system as it has proven itself very reliable; just be sure to remember to tap the push button into the closed position (sticking out) before you start pumping or you will lose all your pressure when you remove the hose. The Bandit S comes with a single setting front bridle that utilizes two pulleys to help change its angle of attack. The Bandit S’ front bridle attachment pigtails have a knot and the wingtip pigtails also use a knot. The wingtip utilizes a bridle that has two knots for adjusting the effective center of effort point forward or aft on the wingtip. The top knot moves the connection back, lowers bar pressure and increases maneuverability. The bottom knot moves the connection point forward, increases bar pressure and reduces maneuverability. The stock steering setting comes with the bridle counterpoint set to be farther back.

Our first impression of the Bandit S2 was its incredibly balanced bar feel; the balanced bar pressure rings in on the low side of medium weight which gives you good feedback on the airframe’s performance but also feels really comfortable on your arms. Inputs into the kite feel incredibly crisp with the depower seeming instantaneous. One of F-One’s goals this year was to increase the S2’s turning response when the kite is sheeted out, giving you more control over kite positioning at various angles of attack. This extra steering control tends to give you a sense of security when you fly the kite aggressively into your bottom and top turns; the kite still depowers well while maintaining position control. The Bandit S is so agile that it can keep up with your every move, even when sheeted out. Its turning continues to be tight and pivoty, which is both incredibly crisp in terms of initiation and in speed, which allows you to put the Bandit S wherever you need it. The drifting on the S2 earns excellent marks, allowing you to choose your line without thinking about line tension and keep the kite engaged.

Overall, the Bandit S continues to deliver that perfect mix of surf characteristics that offers a really tight handling feel that is both controlled and precise. The Bandit S is hands down a top-tier surf kite, but it’s progressive power delivery, crisp steering and depower makes it a great option for all-around freeride for fun boosting as well as foilboarding.

Our Bandit S2 came with the Linx control bar, a dual adjustable length bar that comes in two sizes (38/45cm and 45/52cm) and features a single centerline safety depower that flags the kite on one line with the option to switch between a low and high V (high V for the Bandit kite and low V for the Furtive/Breeze). The bar’s color-coding is very clear with orange on the left and dark blue on the right. The center lines end in loops and the outside lines end in loops as well; the flying lines do not have any built-in extensions. The Linx features an above the bar cleat for adjusting power and a plastic-coated trim/throw line for durability. There is no sliding stopper and while you cannot adjust the length of the bar throw along the plastic, you can adjust the distance to the power tuning cleat. The quick release features a built-in swivel above the push release which also works as a quick-release travel guard. The release and reset process is a two-handed process. When you slide the release handle away from you it locks into position; to reset, you place the loop back into the gate, then raise the release handle with one hand and use the thumb of your other hand to push the locking gate down while letting go of the release handle to slide it back into place. While it’s not automatic, with some practice it becomes intuitive, reliable, quick and easy.

The below the bar stainless steel ball-bearing swivel rotates easily and allows you to untwist your front lines after rotational tricks with no problems. The Linx always feels a bit narrow with its shorter length, but the Bandit kites are highly responsive and seem to work just fine with a more compact bar. The bar ends feature integrated floats with retractable bar bungees and the outside lines can be adjusted for stretch. The Linx comes with an additional float above the center lines; this is to maintain positive buoyancy if you become disconnected from your bar. The bar ends have inserts accessed from the bottom that are used to adjust the effective length of the bar as well as tune the outside line lengths between five knots. The grip has a rubbery feel with a fine texture and the grip is fairly narrow in diameter with an asymmetrical ridge on top. The grip feels firm underneath and a bit more cushy on the top where your fingers wrap around the bar. The Linx, while unchanged from last year, continues to blend lower weight and simplicity with excellent comfort and function.

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Want to view all our 2021 Freeride Gear Reviews in one convenient digital guide? Get the latest product intel on 2021 kites, boards, bars, foils, wings and accessories bundled up in one nice and tidy 178-page digital package HERE. If you’re already a subscriber, log into your account to view our 2021 Freeride Gear Review Guide.

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