Here is a genuine, un-biased review of the F-One Bandit XI (2018) 9m & 11m, for those looking for new gear.
- Disclaimer: I'm a passionate rider, no affiliation to any brand, I buy my gear at the local shops like most of us, where I also get to demo occasionally some new gear every year.
- My usual program: I like to free ride on twin tips, old school big jumps with board tricks / rotations, a bit of wave occasionally, not much unhook and I haven't tried yet tried foiling.
- I am 75kg, been kiting for 11 years, I like riding oversized kites for bigger air time, from 12knots - 45knots+
- I hadn't tried any F-One since the Bandit 1, wasn't my cup of tea at the time. Though I heard recently that it's the most sold kite/brand in the world so they must be doing something right, so when I got a chance to ride one on the Gold Coast, I gave it a try with an open mind. They just don't have a very big presence yet in Australia compared to Cabrinha and North.
Those Bandits are perfect all rounders, they do everything super well, best depower I've tried, accessible for beginners and all the firepower you need for advanced riders, awesome kitelooper, good upwind, massive wind range, great jumping height ...
Trying those was so worth it that I bought the 11m and the 9m
- Favourite other kites I tried earlier this year : the North Rebel 2018 10m, the Ozone Edge v9 10m. Both slow as road trains alas but best big air & long floaty jumping kites I've tried (tried both in 28-30knots), I love them for that... just for that though.
I also tried a few other kites including the Naish Pivot from last year, but it wasn't my thing. Almost no power in the kite loops frustrated me a bit, even though the jumps are nice and long.
The LINX BAR (2018):
I really like it: very simple, thin, adjustable width at the end for smaller kites sizes, perfect bar. Only comment: they forgot the slider/stopper to do hands-off-the-bar tricks such as the deadman... I'll have to find a solution for that, any suggestions? That won't bother many of us though. 4.5/5
THE BANDIT XI (2018):
- Conditions: I tried the 9m in gusty 25-40 knots and the 11m in 15-30knots, both in the waves and flat water.
- Set Up / inflation : very fast and easy, unusual pump connection called the Reactor Valve on the kite but it works great. Self launch & land easy, relaunch is very easy. Bag and pump: good and strong, who cares? 5/5
- Materials : The kite feels strong and light. Most big brands like North, F-One, Naish... seem to invest in their R&D and even though kites performance haven't improved radically in the last 10 years (the best kites back then), the materials definitely have. They have a good reputation for durability and seem to have the right balance of reinforcements and protections over weight. So I'm happy with that. 5/5
- Stability and behavior : The Bandit is very stable and I felt straight away at ease in all conditions, easy to understand and to pilot as well as getting some very high performance out of it in no time.
- Turning speed: very fast turning, easy to steer, medium/light bar pressure for the 11m and light for 9m (I only tried the medium settings though, there is a lighter and a heavier setting on the kite back lines attachments), easy to control with one hand while feeling where the kite is without looking at it. Perfect. 5/5
- Kite loops: This Bandit is a kite loop machine, so much fun, easy to get a fast turn with steady gentle power to finish a jump or trick, and also easy to get lot more grunts if you pull a bit less hard on the bar and get a slower turn. It invites you to be more playful and adventurous. Perfect. 5/5
- High End: They depower instantly when pushing the bar, it's very impressive and so convenient. That allows you to ride big size in very high winds without being worried. The Rebel and the Edge V9 have that great depower too, excellent high end. I tried the 9m in 45 knots gusty winds and it was so much fun, jumps forever. 5/5
- Low End: I tried the 11m in 14-15knots and it was easy to go upwind, do some jumps and small tricks. Not a dedicated light wind kite or a low end grunt machine but excellent for me. 5/5
- Jumping: It's a great jumping kite, goes high with a great boost/lift and lands gently with or without kiteloop. It requires a touch of technique to go super high but it's easy to find the timing. The Bandit doesn't float as long as some other big air/floaty kites (Rebel & Edge), which are usually heavy and slow turning. 4.5/5 for air time and 5/5 for height.
- Waves: I didn't get a lot of time in the waves but it felt versatile and awesome for that, it drifts enough (not as much as a pure wave kite but I find those hard to use for anything else that wave downwinders). Though mono-directional boards are not (yet) my field of expertise, Mitu Monteiro would be a better reference to show what this kite can do in waves :) 5/5
So overall, the Bandit XI is an amazing combo of high performances, I've never ridden a kite that does so much so well. There's usually a trade off if you want a specialized kite for waves, or jumps or un-hooked,.. and this one hits the best notes in the disciplines I prefer, and probably too in those I'm not venturing (yet) much into. It's such a fun machine.
I think I'll use the 11m for < 35knots and the 9m for > 30knots for optimal fun and boost, even though they'd be fine outside these wind ranges. I could do 99% of kiting here in QLD solely with the 11m if I wanted a one kite quiver, but I know that my gf will love that 9m when she gets back into it, so one stone / two birds.
As always, I suggest not to spend too much time reading the marketing blabla of the brands, the best way to chose your kite is unarguably to demo it if you get the chance! I know the F-One national dealer does demo them on the Gold Coast, otherwise ask your local kite shop.
Good luck and have fun!
Thanks for your input, great review. I've also heard a lot of great stuff about those Bandits but haven't had a chance to try one yet. I see quite few of those on the beach here and I must say they seem fun. I'll see if I can borrow one.
I've been riding Rebel for ages and I agree, they're slow as and jumping is heaven. It really depends what your into and there are no kite that do everything the best. I also tried the Ozone Edge v9 and it jumps better than the Rebel, only by a notch but it's even heavier and slower.
For me it's time for an upgrade, Bandit is first on my list.
Great review! I have been riding Bandits for 11 years, tried so many other brands and always come back to it. I completely agree with everything you say; this kite is extremely fun, performs very well and is so easy to control. I do a bit of wakestyle and foil as well and it works extremely well too.
I'm quite surprised you take your 11m in up to 35 knots though . I usually switch to my 9 from 20-25 knots and I'm 85kg... probably because I am more focused on wakestyle and kiteloops than hang time. My preferred conditions are 30-50 knots with the 9m, it's so much fun...
Thanks. Yes you're right, I use the 11m in up to 35knots because it is great for airtime and old school big jumps and tricks, I'm a bit more careful on the kiteloops in the upper end :)
The wind range per size you suggest would be the most comfortable and recommended use I think. I just like riding overpowered.
50knots must be fun in the 9m! Can't wait to try that out but it doesn't happen very often in SE QLD.
WA seems more generous with high winds than here.
Have you tried the 12m?
Yeah, I got 9m and 12m and don't need anything else due to the wind range this kite can offer. I use my 9m 90% of the time but I usually don't bother going out under 20 knots ... WA can indeed be very generous!
Please post just prior to your next 50kn session on your 9m in WA, and I'll scoot down and watch.
+1 This reveiw sounds as desparate as the Buzz thread already....same poster opens 2 new accounts at the same time.
That doesnt carry any real weight ........
There's been more bandit reviews this year than Cauncy has posted about his fixation with Plummet and sheep.. Sheepzas!
I like those conspiracy theories. Though it's a genuine review, I bought my gear recently from Briskites in Brisbane from Jason & Travis (I got the last ones), nothing suspicious there.
I've been reading the seabreeze forum for a while and getting sometimes good info out of it, and I finally contributed with something worth sharing.
I see you regularly sell some Switch gear, big fan or rep I don't know and it's cool to support a brand, be open minded that some other toys can be really cool too.
I haven't tried those yet but keen to test if I see one around.
Great session on Tuesday in Brighton with the Bandit 11m in Brighton in 15-30knots winds. This kite jumps really high and actually floats even better with 1-2cm of depower on the front lines (full power seem to over-sheet a touch). I had so much fun with board off tricks and some other old school moves I didn't dare trying before with other kites.