F-one Bandit 11th version (2018)

F-one has shuffled its kite line up slightly. Now that there is a proper freestyle C-kite born, the latest Bandit can ease down a bit and focus fully on the less extreme side of kiteboarding. It is more friendly, gives a better indication where your kite is and has a bit more bar pressure. And with -finally- a new, but questionable, wide inflate we discovered how much the 11th version of the  Bandit has shifted towards a kite which is even better for a beginner than previous versions.

F-one Bandit 11th version
F-one Bandit 11th version

F-one

The marketing department of F-one isn’t afraid to state some daring wordings. Of course almost every brand brags about their product (how many times did we read about game changers?). And F-one is no different. What are they trying to say by “Starting from a blank sheet of paper is what you do when you have nothing worth keeping!” ? The Bandit is not completely redesigned, so it looks like this is aimed at other brands? One thing is quite clear, we dare to say on our blank sheet of paper: the introduction of a wide inflate and a single flag out safety took some time at F-one. They did not set the pace nor are they the benchmark for other major brands.

If you put things into perspective F-one isn’t a brand that just copies the ideas of other brands. In some cases it waits and see if new innovations from other brands properly work. For example the safety release switch from a Velcro to a push away safety system only was done after other major brands successfully did so. And when the French designers think they need to incorporate it in their line up, they will come with their specific ideas on those inventions themselves. Most of them are just a tiny bit different, but sometimes with a bigger effect as you may expect.

Bar and lines

As always the F-one bar for the Bandit has a split (“Y”) of the front lines at an unique distance at about 4m from the bar. Most other brands have the split as close to the bar as it can get. In theory it means that you cannot use other bars on the Bandit (read more on the effects of a different split on your front lines here). The good news is that this Linx bar can be adjusted to be set at a low split. Which means it can be used on most other brands. It is also the first edition with a single line flag out and a manual swivel below the bar, which is quite a lot safer as previous editions (and something which is incorporated at other brands a long time ago). Too bad F-one forgot to change the damaging wheels on the pulleys of the bridles.

The new bar can be set at two different widths. This isn’t new in the industry. By far; some brands have an adjustable bar close to 4 years already. But the way it is adjustable at the new Linx bar is different from any other brand. It uses some sort of an curved insert to create either +4 or -4 cm on each side which in total gets the bar a 8 cm difference on each setting.

Inflate

F-one bandit 2018 wide inflate hose
F-one bandit 2018 wide inflate hose
F-one large inflate "Reactor valve"
F-one large inflate “Reactor valve”

The typical F-one approach doen’t stop here. For example the twin tips have fins which only fit on a F-one board and the helical rails on the twin tips are also uniquely found on F-one boards. The same can (almost) be said about the wide inflate. F-one is the last brand to switch to a large inflate. They decided to incorporate the Reactor valve. A rare on, which we only know from Flysurfer’s Stoke. We understand a bit why, but we still think it is a bit of a mistake. The Reactor valve is one that needs an specific pump extension. An extension that nobody-except Flysurfer- has on its pump. The valve itself doesn’t stick out of the leading edge, which is probably the most important reason F-one choose for it. Of course there is a hose included in the package. But it is a bit like buying a new car with just one key. At some point you will be on a beach without the proper hose…

Test

F-one Bandit 9m 11th version weight
F-one Bandit 9m 11th version weight

Where did the battens go? Nobody explained, but we suspect leaving out the battens means loosing weight (as it now is just as light as an Airush Union or an Ozone Enduro and about 20% lighter as a North Dice (which has 6 battens).On the water the Bandit is really sweet and predictable. Its low weight contributes to its low end performance. Its high end is pretty much unlimited, but this is where things changed a bit. The canopy will start shaking sooner as previous versions. In a fully powered kiteloop it will really be out of its comfort zone. It will let you know so by making a sound that is comparable to a helicopter.

But what we love about the Bandit is that it is fast in its feed back and still got that typical snappy power release, which isn’t directly a beginners kite feature (and completely different from -for example- a Slingshot Rally, which is more suited for the more heavy and/or insecure novice). Combined with the (slightly) increased bar pressure it feels quite like an extension of your arms. The power comes so natural and so predictable that it is actually something that makes people feel comfortable doing new stuff. Adding the effect of some sort of a maximum pull it will add even more of that being-in-control feeling. Downside of these features is a lack of high end performance. The small chicken loop and the missing slack on the lines means unhooked freestyle sessions can be a disappointment for the experts in this field. But they don’t have to worry to much. Because that is exactly where the new F-one WTF kite comes into place.

List price

F-one Bandit 9m 11th version (kite only) 1335,- Euro

F-one Linx bar and lines 535,- Euro

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12 thoughts on “F-one Bandit 11th version (2018)”

  1. Hi Niko,
    Good question. There are a lot of similarities, but also some clear differences. Most obvious ones are the fact the Union has much more settings options (bridle, lines etc). This lets you alter the kite much more to your preferences compared to the Bandit. In quality terms we think the Airush kites are a bit ahead of the F-one’s.
    In terms of performance it is not that much different. The Union may suffer a bit more from back stalling, but most aspects like jumping, and response are quite alike.
    Dave
    We Test Kites

  2. Hello Dave

    I am an intermediate rider and I am between the bandit and the union .

    What’s your opinion about this kites . Do you think that one of two excels in some points?

  3. Hi Will,
    Understandable question. A lot of people ride really happily with the Bandit’s, also unhooked and kiteloops. Things are just a little bit less radical compared to for example a Dice. The 30-50% deals sounds really attractive, I would say just go for it. Maybe a few years later you will be heading to more extreme and more firm kites like Gts4, Dice or even Vegas. Who knows!
    Dave
    We Test Kites

  4. Hi Dave,

    I am getting new kites this season and I will start learning unhooked tricks. I’ve been kitesurfing for 3 years now, just never been interested in unhooking, but now its time.
    It seems like bandit is good at everything with some flaws when unhooked. Also, I love kiteloops, which seems to be not the strongest side of this kite. Are these big enough flaws that I would consider another kite?

    Here F-one has great deals compared to North and other brands (30-50% cheaper) and that is one of the reasons I am considering it. Though, if there is a kite which would fit my needs waaaay better, paying more would be acceptable as well.

    Regards
    Will

  5. Hi Adam,
    Thanks for the compliment.
    Actually a lot of people ask about the differences between the Dice and the Bandit. We will try to get a special item on our blog on it.
    They kites are (getting) quite different. The Dice is more suitable for more experienced riders and has gotten more C-aspects in the last few years. When treated properly the pop (important for freestyle) is much more aggressive. There Bandit clearly has less slack on the lines. The Bandit has a more direct feel which is better for less secure riders and wave riders who always want to feel where the kite is.
    Dave
    We Test Kites

  6. Hi

    I really like the review, read few different already about f-one and this one is really honest.
    Anyway wanted to ask what kite would you choose between new F-one Bandit and New Dice in terms or overall performance heading to freestyle and ocasionally waves ?
    Does new Bandit really lack the slack of lines ?
    Thanks

  7. Hi Igor,
    The B11 is quicker in turning, but with-generate way less power.
    The bar pressure is higher at the B11.
    Low end (Dice on 22m) is quite the same.
    The Dice has stronger lifts and more hang time but the main difference is that the Dice has aspects which will be rewarded and suited most by more experienced riders. The B11 is easier to use and more suited for less experienced kiters.
    Dave
    We Test Kites

  8. Thanks for the answer, Dave.
    Could you compare B11 to the Dice 2018?
    Most interesting points:
    Turning speed
    Bar preassure
    Low end performance
    Lift
    Hangtime
    Bar feel(“direct”, “as if on elastic bands”..etc.)

  9. Hi Igor,
    The general problem with most magazine which do kite reviews is that they cannot be too honest about things they don’t like. Usually not far away from the page a review is written an advertisement is in the same magazine. And/or they might just not get the next version for a review. Sometimes the exact same words which are used by the brand is used in a review from a magazine, making a review more a marketing tool.

    There are a few exceptions (which Iksurfmag isn’t) who independently write about negative aspects (in this case the use of damaging wheels, weak lines and the deviating inflate could have been mentioned). Did you know all previous pumps from f-one have a fixed hose, which means switching to a 11th version means probably buying a new pump.

    For the aspects you mentioned are basically exactly in line as we wrote ” But what we love about the Bandit is that it is fast in its feed back and still got that typical snappy power release”
    Be aware we tested it 100% focussend for a twintip, and it looks like this part of the Iksurfmag review is related to use with a waveboard.
    What they should have mentioned that the response and power (especially on its top end) is less firm compared to other kites and its previous versions, partly because they took out the battens.
    Dave
    We Test Kites

  10. Hi! iksurfmag writes this in their review:

    “The first time I rode this kite I was blown away. While this is a review for the 7m, which we have ridden extensively, my first session was on the 9m. I’m a big fan of fast dynamic kites, and in the cross-shore waves that I was riding the Bandit excelled, in fact, it did more than that. It’s the fastest 9m kite I’ve ever flown, and I’ve been flying what are billed some of the best wave kites on the market in recent years.

    I thought I had a 7m in the air and had to keep looking up to check. When you really engage the bar, this thing whips around faster than a dog that’s been stung on the balls by a wasp. I’ve always found wave riding with a 9m a bit of a compromise, the kites never quite as fast as you want it to be and the 7m is usually the dream kite in any wave riders quiver. The new Bandits are quick, noticeably, so it’s an exhilarating ride even on the 9m.”
    What do you think about this?

  11. Hi Dominique,
    thanks for your compliment.
    No, its not Peter Lynn.
    It is the 2018 RPM.
    Dave
    We Test Kites

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