Fone Bandit III test report (from Randy Hereman)
First of all I want to start with the fact that I am an International team rider for F-one. If you want to know my experience about the new Bandit III, then keep on reading and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me @ randy @ randyhereman.com.
The Bandit III is a totally new designed kite. The concept (Delta C-Shape) is the same, but the profile has changed. The B3 (from now on I’ll refer to the Bandit III as ‘B3’) is nothing like the Bandit Dos or the original Bandit.
The new B3 will be provided with a one-pump system and the bridles are cleaner and more comfortable. The kites have a higher AR (aspect ratio), more lift and stability. The high end of the kite has got a lot bigger and the low-end remains the same.
The bar is provided with equal line lengths. Witch is ideal if, for example: you don’t have the money to buy a complete set of kites. Now you can just buy a kite only and use the bar from your other kites. The UPS on the bar has changed into a newer and better system. A lot more clean, and perfect for unhooking. When you unhook the UPS will click into the bar and remains there for the rest of your jump. When you want to hook back in the chicken-loop will always be in the same place. The safety system is still the same. It’s a little old fashion and could have changed into a newer system. But the most important thing is that this system will always work, regardless if there is sand or anything into it. The bar on the picture is not the production bare yet. This one will be white (and looking better :-).
These are the first technical differences/features that I can come up with. Now I’ll tell you about my personal experience and feelings with the new Bandit 3.
The first thing you notice when you are standing on the beach is the stability. It just doesn’t fall out of the air. I had the kite several times above me in gusty/unstable wind and the kite flew far over my head. Not a single time the kite dropped out of the sky. It just fly’s backwards, back into the wind-window and catches power again. Even after I missed a high handlepass and I dangled down on my leash into the water. The same thing but now even more extreme; the kite fly’s over my head, the lines are completely slacked (no more tension on the lines) and I stay underwater with my arms protecting my head, afraid the kite falls out of the sky and the lines are all around me. The kite slowly floats back into the wind-window and stays in the air.
When the wind picks up the B3 is still riding super comfortable. The difference between the B3 and the Bandit Dos is huge. Before, when I was to over-powered for unhooked tricks, I just didn’t get the courage to unhook and make my moves full power. This year’s kite has less bar pressure when you are overpowered and riders a lot more comfortable. Therefore giving me more confidence to unhook and try my moves, even if I am overpowered. Because of the higher AR, the kites are squarer instead of round (I hope everybody understands what I mean). Because they are more square they are less nervous, and more direct and precise during the jumps. Especially unhooked. When the Delta C-shape kites have a lower AR, the profile looks more round and the kites will sometimes go up or down when you edge. When it goes up you get more lift and go higher then expected and loose balance. When the kite goes down you will have obviously less lift and the kite will go down during your jump. Making it a lot harder to land. With big kites and light wind it was never a big problem. The wind is to soft and the kites react to slowly. But with kites from 5m2 to 9m2 you can notice a big difference. It is a lot more stable and better.
For unhooked riding there is a better UPS now (see above for more details) and the there is less drag during the wakestyle jumps (jumps with your kite low, without moving your kite), making it easier to pass. If you are used to the Bandit Dos then it will take a little to adjust to it, it is a different timing. But once you adjusted it will be a lot easier and better.
The last big change in the B3 is the kite loops. The kite is looping a lot smoother and makes a nice round loop, instead of just turning around the tip. I’m not a technical designer but I think it is because of the higher AR and the better c-shape.
The durability of the one pump system will have to prove itself over time. I’ve been riding with a one pump system, together with Pauline, for the last 6 months and only had some problems in the beginning; The canopy of the kite broke because there was no sleeve around the plastic and that was creating friction between the plastic and the canopy. Making the canopy weak and therefore breaking easier. Placing the one-pump more to the outside and putting a neoprene sock around the plastic has solved the problem.