SBC Kiteboard was invited to the distributor meeting in Mauritius, 800 km off the east coast of Madagascar. Over six days we tested the Bandit 3 in flatwater to waves in sizes 6m to 13m sizes, with twin-tips and waveboards. The Bandit 3 is as the name suggests, the third generation F-One delta kite, and is a highly refined kite for all conditions, a do-anything, high-performance kite.
What’s New Refined C-like Delta shape, F-One exclusive chicken-loop, wing tip geometry, bridle configuration, F-One exclusive pulleys, one-pump system.
Bar Setup and Safety Systems • Simple 4-line configuration with mini fifth line. • New F-One chicken-loop has an integrated one-side Velcro quick release. • Bar end floats cover a series of knots allowing back-line tension to be tuned and a stainless spinner keeps the front lines from being tangled. • Above-the-bar depower.
On-Water Performance The new Bandit 3 benefits from a new higher aspect ratio and new wing-tip geometry. The kite flies far forward in the wind, has nice low bar pressure, requires very little travel in the bar to depower the kite and has tons of high-end. The direct rear line connections combined with the smooth depower offers good power through turns and ensures the rider always knows where the kite is. For freestyle performance the kite is smooth and is easily trimmed to be super stable when unhooked. Wave performance is also excellent; the kite is easily depowered and parked for down-the-line performance or sheeted-in and turned hard in less-than-ideal wave conditions. Overall wind range is excellent, while care should be taken not to oversheet and stall the larger sizes in light winds, the kites have great low-end. Tons of depower is smoothly delivered, all with minimal bar travel. Tested side-by-side with a Bandit Dos testers found the new Bandit 3 to have way, way more top-end, much lower bar pressure, and to require far less travel in the bar to control the kite’s power. Overall the new Bandit 3 is a massive step up from the already well reviewed Bandit Dos and should be a winner for F-One.
Reality Check Now in their third season F-One delivers a refined and extremely versatile Delta kite and as such it’s hard to find fault in it. The kites tested were not 100 per cent finished product, and some minor bridle modifications were being made, which may explain in part why in light winds, particularly with larger sizes, it’s possible to get the Bandit 3s to oversheet and fly backward. While generally quite reliable, relaunch can also be finicky in lighter winds.
Bottom Line The Bandit 3 is an incredibly versatile kite that suits the needs of any rider from advanced freestyle to dedicated waverider. It’s versatility combined with the high levels of depower and massive wind range means the Bandit 3 could also suit a beginner who wants to start the sport with a high-quality kite that they will not grow out of.