F-One Bandit 4, 12m, review in light wind conditions

If you compare it to the B3, the B4 is a race-car. Reduced weight. Stronger pull. Better hangtime. Direct feeling.

by Vali Puscasu

Bandit 4 size 12, Lens Jim Hopkins

I finally got my first session on my Bandit 4.

First thing I noticed is that it felt like a small kite when I took it out of the bag. It is light. Once I started inflating it, it turned into a bigger and bigger kite. This is a big 12! Looking at the details: the construction is awesome and the kite is well finished.
The reinforcements are good. There are two connector choices on the back lines.

It inflates really easily and the one pump works like a charm. A pleasant surprise right here—the new inflating valve has a stopper ball! It took a few years for F-One, but they finally listened to the general feedback. So you really don’t need to get out your gloves when you inflate your kite on a cold beach. There are no zip ties on the one-pump valves and minus two struts, suddenly you cut a lot of weight off the kite. If you compare it to the B3, the B4 is a race-car. Reduced weight.

So, I am self-launching the kite – there is no one else on the beach. I choose to drift launch. While the kite is drifting I am looking out on the water and don’t see any white caps. Well, I think, this is the true test. The kite drifts into the power window. I pull the back line and it is in the air. That was easy. The wind is light, maybe too light. 12 gusting 14. And I am on a small board. I wondered if I would even be able to float. From the first dive I am out… cruising and going faster and faster. The kite generates a constant pull and has a lot of grunt. I realized that the B4 delivers most of its power when it is parked at 11:15 instead of at 11:00, like the B3. My impression is that the 2010 13m B3 flies a bit further in the wind window but delivers a little less power. I looked up at the kite while riding. It felt like a delta, but it looks a lot like a C with its squared tips. Although the Delta angle is the exact same between the 2010 and 2011 version; I actually got confirmation of that.  There is constant pull and no lag on the bar feedback.

Onto turning — I went out on a 55 cm bar and later on a 45. For sure the bigger bar helps a lot. The kite turns much faster, and there is a lot less bar pressure. Of course on the 45 cm bar, turning will be slower, but even then the kite delivers constant power. The feeling I have on the turns is very direct. You pull and the kite it is already where you want it to be. If you are not careful that can generate a little bit of lift in the transition.

The wind picked up a little more.

Onto jumping — it takes a little time to get used to jumping on the kite. Yeah, here is where it feels different than the B3. You load and pop and expect the same lift like on the B3. Well, you do get the same lift and a little moooooore hang time… actually a lot more. If you are not careful it’s really easy to over steer the kite, but due to the hang-time, you still have time to correct the position of the kite and land safely. Not a lot of wind today to jump, but still I got enough lift and hang time. The kite is super stable and even when the lines are slack it doesn’t Hindenburg.

Onto top end — Not enough wind today day to test the top end of the kite, but I feel certain that I can take it out in the mid 20s. This 12-meter for sure will be my light-wind kite. I know that I might even be able to get away with just an 11.
I ended up the session in a beautiful sunset with a smile on my face!

Chesapeake Bay, sunset session, lens Jim Hopkins