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.
Will 2018 bring some game changing kites? We were lucky enough to get our hands on four 2018 A-brand kites. We tested the 9 meters of the F-one Bandit 11th version, the Ozone Enduro V2, the North Dice 2018 and the Slingshot RPM 2018. We put them on the menu of our test team on a sunny and -more important- windy place, with varying conditions.
Years before the so called game changers North Click bar or the Cabrinha fireball F-one invented a real game changer; the revolutionary multi-purpose Bandit. It has a brilliant and unique capability in the way it quickly powers and depowers by just sending the bar a few centimeter up or down. This way the Bandit gives such an easy and being-in-control, predictable feeling which made it a very popular kite. Beginners love its low bar pressure and more advanced riders will enjoy the quick, snappy behaviour and high wind usage.
But the revolution has come to an end. No wide inflate, no re-adjustable bridles, no single flag out safety, no swivel below the bar, relatively weak lines and still with damaging pulleys on the bridles. Don’t get us wrong, it is a good kite, but it clearly is lacking progress in the evolution of its design .
Carbon or no carbon? That is a relevant question when it comes to the twin tips of F-one. Both the Acid and the Trax are amazing boards when it comes to performance. The super comfortable Acid and the low – and up wind capabilities of the Trax made these boards very populair. But as we have many people around us riding happily on these two F-one boards we also have seen that a lot of the carbon version have a tendency to break. Luckily F-one Benelux has a good warranty back-up so most of the unlucky owners that broke one have a new board in no time.
According to the product video’s all twin tips haven’t changed much from ’15 to ’16. The boards still come with the F-one invention from a couple of years ago where the rail varies in thickness over the board from tip to tip; the Helical Rail Design (HRD). Most obvious changes for 2016 can be found on the new pads&straps and the new colourful designs.
For one whole month we could test the new Trax, Acid Carbon (large) and the Acid Girly edition in Tarifa to see how the changes F-one has made affected these boards.
A brilliant and visionary move back in 2008, when F-one decided to reduce its kite range back -more or less- to only one type of kite; The Bandit. It is safe to say the Bandit made a lot of kiters really happy, no matter if they where doing freeriding, freestyle or even waveriding. An impressive achievement. Whatever we will have to say about the Bandit everybody, including us, will be happy riding a Bandit. But is the ninth version still revolutionary? We could test five different sizes of the 2016 version for over one month to answer that, and many more, question.
We see the F-one Bandit as one of the inventors of the -more and more popular- all in one kite. A kite that can be used without almost any compromise for freeride, freestyle and wave riding. Where most brands have at least three or more different lines of kites (North for example even has seven different types of kites), F-one believes in focus on more or less just one; the Bandit (next to the Trust and the Diablo, a race kite). Marketing wise this is kind of tricky. A marketing theory is that if you have less options the chance you will buy at this company decreases.
After 4 weeks of comparing the F-one Bandit from 2015 (“version 8”) and the North Dice 2015, we have made quite some notes and remarks to fully evaluate the differences. We already made a description why we compare the Bandit and the Dice and what the similarities and differences are on the lines and bridles. This report is mostly on the performance (see below at “Details that matter”), the most important aspect of a kite. Any differences described here are on details. Both the Dice and the Bandit have much more in common than they have differences. We all felt very happy riding with both kites, whatever the rider or circumstances.
We tested 2 F-one twintip kiteboards; The Acid HRD 132*40 and the Acid Carbon 133*42 2015 boards.
F-one HRD twintips
The F-one twintip kiteboards stand clearly out from any other brands by its shape and size of the rail; it is really thick in some outer parts of the rail, but narrow in the middle. To our knowledge no other brand has incorporated this type of rail in their twintip boards. F-one used this so called Helical Rail Design (HRD) also last year (2014) on the twintips. We also tested these boards (see link, in Dutch) and we were very exited on how it works; A lot of edge when you need it (to pop for a jump), and sharp as a knife when you need to cut through choppy waters. Maybe something that comes close to this technique is a invention called “Rocker Flex Adjuster“. This adjuster, mounted on the place of your handle, will try to versatile the twintip. That is where we see the similarity. But it gets different if we talk money; the RFA will take yo another 200 euros out of your pocket, as the HRD rail will just be there with the board without extra costs… Continue reading Kiteboard test F-one Acid 2015 132cm HRD and 133cm HRD Carbon
Both Bandit and Dice have a 4 line set up. The Dice kite comes with a 5th line (hidden in a pocket on the middle strut) for the kite, which means a 5 line bar could be used on the Dice. The North bar is available in one size only and costs (either 4 or 5 lines) 439,- and you could choose between 4 lengths;19m, 22m, 24m and 27m. For a dice 2015 22m or 24m is recommended. In this test we used 22m lines. According to North a 5th line is added to a better safety, but further is has n’t got any extra functions.
The f-one “Monolith” bar, unchanged from 2014, comes with 21.8m lines. The bar is available in 2 sizes; 45 and 52cm (for 11m and above).
The differences between the North and F-one bars are mainly to be found in the details; Continue reading Bar and lines Bandit 8 and Dice 2015
So lets compare the bridle’s;
our assumption is that the way the bridles are set up is quite important to the feel you get from the kite. Let’s say maybe for 40% (and determine the feeling maybe just as much as the shape of the kite)? If we place both kites on to each other, as we did on the picture on the right with 9m’s, it doesnt appear to be so different from the Bandit to the Dice. They both have 4 to 5 connections on the leading edge. But the bandit has 2 pulleys, and the Dice just one on each side.
If we look closer to the pulleys, the North Dice (in blue) pulley doesnt have any moving parts. The pulleys of the bandit does have rolling parts (as the Bandit has had from the beginning).
Is this better? No! From my expierence a bridle line will -in time- be litterly scraped by those wheels, ending up broken, lets say in average use in about 2 tot 3 years. No need to say this means you won’t be able to control the kite any more if it brakes. So a small advice will be to check the bridle lines every now and then and make sure the wheel of the F-one Bandit pulley’s are not clocked with sand or by any other reason….And a small advice to F-one (as this scraping issue must be known by now?!); why not use a pulley without any moving parts….like the North Dice has.