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 Post subject: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 8:04 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 78
I haven't written a review in a few years, but I have got a lot of requests, and I have a lot of positive things to say about the Bandit. I got to try just about every size on the same day, so here goes.

I think it is important to state what kind of kiter you are if you are going to write a review. I am pretty much a tried and true aggressive free-rider. [pause for smirk]

I am 174 pounds (80Kg). I’ve been kiteing for over 9 years, and while I try the occasional kite loop, or unhooked trick, they are not typically neat. I spend a lot of time hooked in, and going big, tying to get the highest corkscrew front roll with a board grab I can get. Recently I have tried to move in the wake-style direction but with nary an aspiration.

Still I prefer pop to float, but I don’t want to give up hang-time. Until recently I was wishing I had never given up my old generation-one North Rhino, you know, 7 years ago when they were C kites. Since the whole ‘bow’ kite thing, I have simply not been satisfied with -any- kite.

In a nut shell.....(yes I’m the nut)....

Let me say this, hands down, the Bandit 3 is one of the best kites on the market. I have tried a lot of kites but I am very happy with the bandit. The first thing I noticed was the pop, C-style: pull the handle, POP! The second thing I noticed was the kite is far more powerful than most for it’s size. If your bread and butter kite is a 12 (as mine was) go smaller. I got an 11 and I am overpowered on it in conditions where a North Rebel, Vegas, or Rhino (08), or a Cabhrina Crossbow, etc. in size 12 would have been in their sweet spot.

But while there is more power, the kite is fast, and allows for more control. So you get more power under your control with a smaller kite, and more immediate response and bar feel. You know where the kite is at all times.

You control how much power is in the kite and this equates to faster progression. I may not have progressed as much as I think I have in the past month with the Bandit, but I certainly have more confidence, and I am having more fun than I have had in the last 4 years.

What size....

As far as picking a size goes, my opinion is not on what size will work for you for what wind range, it is more of a question of what you want to do with the kite. I can make the 11 work in 11 mph up to 30+ gusting around 40 (hold on tight!). But I can make the 10 work in about the same range say 12 mph up, and the 9 as well. Since we get fairly constant wind well over 15 at 3ed ave, any one of these sizes will get the job done.

The difference, like I said, is what you want to do with the kite. If you like balls to the wall power, effortless upwind, flirting with the edge of the speed spiral, and insanely huge jumps, the 10 or 11. If you want to try some serious technical tricks and you don’t mind working upwind from time to time, the 9 or 10. But seriously anything over 30 mph and the 11 is all about teeth grinding, leg pounding, over-the-top power. I’ve noticed a lot of people, especially those who are on their surfboard or directional a lot going with an 8-11 combo. But for me, the 8 on a twin-tip is a little small.

I had wanted a one kite quiver, leaving the rigging decision to be between my usual twin tip and a larger directional for light wind. The 9 would have been the correct size for that.

That’s right...If you are the sort to go for a one kite quiver and you are on a 12, the 9 is your Bandit size.

Your mileage may vary but so far I have found the 9 to work from about 12 mph up. I have to work to stay up wind with a twintip when it is light, but it's worth it to have a kite that I feel properly powered to trying anything with. And when I say 'work' I'm not talking about slogging and sineing the kite. Try it, it might surprise you, it did me.

Jumping....

The kite has pop. You know where the kite is, and you can control the power that is in the kite. So jumping is that old C-kite feel. The one thing missing (at first) is the big floaty jumps where you feel the kite catch the wind and you glide, often getting secondary lift from gusts etc. But here I qualify this with (at first)! What you get is immediate lift, which makes jumping and progressing so much fun. But those big floaty jumps are still there if you learn how to do them. It took me a couple of sessions, and I was getting just as floaty a jump as any kite I had tried. But thankfully the Pop style jump is the given, easy, no-brainer, and the floater is the learned skill. I have just hated all the recent kites that were the other way around (often to the extent that jumping just wasn’t as much fun.)

Ok...the bad....the bar....

F-One didn’t seem to set the bar very high on the Bar. They make one of the best kites on the market, but it’s like someone forgot to design the bar until the last hour. Luckily for us, the kite uses equal length lines, so just about any bar will do. (My favorite is the North Quad Control because it is the same bar length, line length, and bottom center line length as the F-One bar. Also, the bar is adjustable, so it has a 45 cm setting and a 55 cm setting, one bar will work for multiple kite sizes. All of my bar complaints were resolved with $420 worth of additional cost. Once again, with the North bar, I only need one.)

So what is wrong with the bar?

The first thing I would do is to take off the metal triangle thingy on the front lines. After a failed jump one of my front lines got wrapped up on this triangle and broke. I haven’t heard of anyone else having a line break, but I have heard several others get the front lines wrapped on the line slicer...uh, I mean _triangle_ leaving the kite difficult to control.

A side note is the bungee on the front bottom safety line. It seems like they were trying to avoid the leash-line-flapping-in-the-wind issue you can get with other bars, but the bungee causes the lines to knot up when you crash. Here too, the load bearing line on the front bottom seems flimsy and small, I would prefer this line to be made of a thicker higher grade line. I have heard of this one breaking a lot.

Second thing I would do is to add a dynamically adjustable stopper (like the ones on the North, Naish, or Slingshot bars). The bar pressure isn’t so bad on the Bandit, but it is on the higher side. Having a dynamic stopper helps to avoid ligament injury and simply makes going out and cruising so much more fun. It’s great to set the stopper let off with your front hand and lean over steering one handed off the stopper. Not only that, but it can also be fun to bring the stopper in and jump one handed. This way you don’t have to worrying about keeping the bar sheeted in. I use to love that about C-kites, and with a dynamic stopper the Bandit, and it’s signature power under control, feeds this addiction as well.

The Chicken Loop: the “Donkey Appendage” that is intended to keep the loop on your harness, is too short to do the job. I like fast landings, but often the bar comes down if you choose to land in this manner. I have had several times where the loop came of the hook, and the one hand I had left on the bar was not enough to hold The Awesome Power that is the Bandit.

It was one such event when my front top line broke. Speaking of which, this brings me to another minor annoyance about the bar. The release mechanism is a one sided Velcro affair. I got dragged a bit before I was able to engage this release. It left me with a distinct lack of confidence in exactly the way the awesome power that is the Bandit, didn’t.

Finally: I would recommend the Bandit III to anyone, I didn’t intend on getting hooked on this kite, but it really is worthy of all the hype. I certainly am stoked. The Bandit III, North Quad Control combination really has returned my stoke for the sport.


Last edited by oqion on Sun May 16, 2010 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:07 pm
Posts: 18
Location: East coast UK
Great Review Oqion!
I looked at the Bandit III but was put off by the velcro chicken loop release.
Its great that you tried it on the North trust bar, I may have to revisit this kite before I buy.

I have narrowed it down to the North Vegas 2010, Bandit III and Ozone C4.

Have you tried the Vegas before?
If so, how does the bar pressure, turning speed and depower compare to the bandit III


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 Post subject: Re: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 78
I have tried the North Vegas, but not this years. I will be trying the Vegas 2010 this weekend.

Before buying the Bandit, the Vegas was the only kite I liked. I simply couldn't get my hands on one, so I bought the Bandit. They are both excellent Kites performance wise. People seem to be flying larger kites with the Vegas than with the Bandit. But like I said, I haven't flown this years so I don't want to make a comparison, yet.


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 Post subject: Re: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 9:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:07 pm
Posts: 18
Location: East coast UK
I would very much appreciate it if you could post again after flying the 2010 vegas this weekend, as I am not going to be able to demo before I buy.

As I mentioned I am most concerned with the differences in bar pressure, turning speed and depower.

I will be looking at a two kite quiver as near as I can get to a 9m and 12m.
I weigh about 78kgs and mostly ride in choppy conditions.

I am mainly a freerider but with some freestyle and waveriding. looking to unhook and kite loop to progress. (But that describes 75% of all Kiters probably.)

Anyway I look forward to the write up. Have a good weekend!


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 Post subject: Re: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 9:57 am 
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Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 9:13 am
Posts: 63
I'm interested to hear you're using the North quad bar on the Bandit III.
I'm wondering if it affects the safety at all? Are the depower lines are the same length and what happens when you fire the safety ... ie. is the depower line on the quad bar long enough for the bandit to roll onto its back and remain fully depowered?


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 Post subject: Re: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 10:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:59 am
Posts: 12
Location: Moscow, Russia
I too very much like the Bandit and a bar from North
The Bandit - my favourite kite
winter

Egypt


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 Post subject: Re: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 8:28 am 
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Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 9:13 am
Posts: 63
[Quote..... is the depower line on the quad bar long enough for the bandit to roll onto its back and remain fully depowered?[/quote]

Sorry, just to correct my own question... I meant to ask if the 'mini-fifth line' on the quad bar is long enough for the Bandit to roll on its back when the safety is fired? I think the mini-fifth (of life line or whatever its called on the bandit) is about 4m but I think the line on the quad bar is shorter?


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 Post subject: Re: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 7:02 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 78
Line Lengths.

The safety line on the North Bar and the F-One bar are about the same length. The North is slightly longer by about 10 cm. So the safety of the North bar is not a concern.

However

The North Bar has true 24 Meter fly line. The Bandit is advertised as having 24 Meter lines, but in fact it has 21.8 Meter lines. Using 24 Meter lines makes the Bandit less snappy.
I find that I much prefer the shorter lines.

I also found that I like the bar itself better from F-One. It has an ergonomic shape like the old longhorn bar...in fact, it resembles the longhorn bar in many ways. It is certainly far more comfortable on the hands.

I took the metal triangle off the F-One bar and went out to try it out. The result was rather upsetting. While performing a front roll, the outside lines somehow become tangled with the bungee line and this caused the kite to loop and to not stop looping. I was very surprised that this would happen. So I don't think simply taking the metal off is an option. Once again I found it difficult to eject. And difficult to reconnect the chicken loop afterward.

So when it comes right down to it, I suppose the perfect bar for me would be the Bandit Bar
with Bandit Fly Lines, and the North Lower Center Line Structure. But not even this would work properly because the F-One bar lower center line and safety line are not quite 4 Meters, so they you would end up with very short center lines. This is correctable on the outside leaders, but annoying none the less. They must have really dialed in the line lengths on the F-Once bar, but you would think that 10 to 20 Cm give or take wouldn't make such a difference.


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 Post subject: Re: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 7:14 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:04 pm
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bla bla bla....

Turns our Cabrinha has or had 22.5/18.5 Meter lines which worked out perfectly.

I also tried the North Vegas and Evo.

Evo: Felt like the bandit felt on 24 Meter lines. Less Bar pressure, but the bandit had less on 24 Meter lines as well.

Vegas: Jumps at the same height are longer and more floaty. There is slightly less bar pressure on the Vegas than the Bandit. The jumps are not quite as immediate, but they are smoother and last a lot longer.

I wonder what would happen if you put the Vegas on lines a couple of meters shorter?

Anyway, if that doesn't answer your question. Let me know.


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 Post subject: Re: F-One Bandit III review
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:07 pm
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Location: East coast UK
Thanks again Oqion!

So the bandit is more or less the same as the EVO.

Both of these have pulley's on the bridals, don't they?
Does the Vegas 2010?


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