Review by Denys K.
Spot: Point Walter, Bicton WA
"Soulkite ( http://www.soulkiteaustralia.com) has kindly organised a few demo sessions with the new Bandit 2016 and I was one of the lucky ones to try the new model.
I haven’t been able to find a review or test online yet. So, I have decided to share my first impression with you all.
Spot type: flat water
Wind: 20-25 knots
Equipment: Bandit 2016 9m with settings "in the middle" + twintip with boots
My weight: 85-90 Kg
My style: All around. I tend to do wakestyle below 25 knots and big air/kiteloops above 25 knots. I really enjoy all the sliding tricks (darkslide, hand drag, etc…) and don’t mind wave riding from time to time.
I have been riding with the bandit since the 1st edition 9 years ago and although the kite looks exactly the same as the previous edition, it "feels" very different. It is in my opinion the biggest difference in terms of behavior between 2 consecutive versions of the Bandit.
Here is what F-one has to say about the new Bandit: http://www.f-onekites.com/Products/Kites/Produit/BANDIT
This year, the bandit comes with a very colorful for style and as usually, you can choose from a large panel of colors. As I said the shape looks very similar with the bandit 2015. I haven't noticed any major difference on the bar except a change of color (blue on the right size).
Right after the launch, I immediately felt that the pressure in the bar has been reduced. The kite is also flying differently and tends to fly at the edge of the window probably due to the bridle changes.
On the water, the feeling in the bar reminded me of the Slingshot RPM and the kite flying behavior could almost be associated to the North Vegas.
Let's start with the cons. The immediate impression I had coming from the bandit 2015 was a loss of power, reactivity and control. Reduced
power because the kite is more flying on the edge of the windows. You need to balance/work it more and you get less acceleration and speed. Reduced reactivity: you don't get a lot of acceleration/power when you pull the bar and the kite turns slower. Reduced control due to the reduced pressure in the bar; I could not feel the wind gusts (lot of people will like this though) and how the kite is behaving through the bar. I had to ride the bar fully pulled at 90% of the time. This being said, I might have to further test the kite and get used to its new behavior. These are just first impressions based on a 30min session. I also felt a loss of power and hangtime in sent jumps but again, I might have to adapt my technique.
What I really liked about the kite:
Its stability has been greatly improved and it is now less sensible to wind variations and it is more consistent. After getting used to the kite, this might actually result in a better control. I also really liked the way the kite is quickly and nicely coming up to catch you after a kiteloop. The kiteloops feel better and more consistent. The major improvement I could see is probably the performance in new school. As the kite is flying more on the edge of the window, it offers a better slack in the line which is very very enjoyable when passing the bar even over 20-25 knots. Riders trying their first handle passes will love it. The reduced reactivity also offers better success chances for wake style tricks.
I could not test it but I imagine that wave riders will like the changes as the kite offers a better "dragging".
As a conclusion, the Bandit stays in my opinion one of the best all around kite. It appears its program is now a bit more focused on new school which is in line with the current trends. People who would like to have a all around kite and progress in new school tricks will definitely like the changes. Some Bandit riders will probably need a period of adaptation or change settings to get used to the new behavior of the kite. I'm personally looking forward to get one of these kites to further progress with new school tricks. Beginners looking for new kite will also probably like it as the kite is more stable, less reactive and forgives mistakes.
Feel free to share and leave your comments.
And thanks again to Soulkite for giving me this opportunity!"
Review by Denys K.