Compared to the regular all-round Bandit of last year, the Twenty-Twenty 10 metre is more powered for its size and meatier in its feel. Not heavy, but certainly you can feel the feedback from the kite in your hands and, when it turns, it turns with more power.
Once again as we always expect from a Bandit, whether it’s this new model that’s been split into two lines or not, the character of the Bandit produces good low end and good top end, but the Twenty-Twenty is now a more physical experience with more bar pressure when you’re throwing the kite around the window. When jumping and looping there’s more required of you physically, but in return you’ve got a better performing freestyle kite, particularly in the loops.
It’s marginal as to whether the ten metre jumps as high as last year’s nine or ten metre Bandits, but it certainly turns more powerfully and engagingly. The Bandit last year was the kite that when you jumped and decided to loop you could really pull quite firmly on the bar and know that the kite was going to loop well above the horizon. So a great kite to go out and get your guts up to throw loops and, if you wanted a manly loop you had to finger tip control the loop, steering it lower and more powerfully through the window. The 2020 does that without you having to be mindful of the amount of pressure you steer with at the bar. Just pull on the bar and the Twenty-Twenty tracks round and generates more power, more line tension and more wang, giving you a more powered and nicer kite loop sensation. If you’re into kite loops you’re always trying to find that line tension and pull. The new kite definitely delivers that, particularly the 10 which was very set in its turn rate.
On the older model, like the ‘S’ this year, you can really determine how much you want to influence the turn with your input. The Twenty-Twenty is nice because you just pull and enjoy it. At the same time the sweet spot above your head has become a bit bigger. More power through the turn means you’re getting a very smooth jump while still enjoying the always generous Bandit-style sheeting range, which gives you the ability to go from comfortable power to explosive lift when you send it.
On last year’s Bandit and this year’s Bandit S, you can throw them around with much more free abandon. You can find power when you sheet in and not so much through the turn like on the Twenty-Twenty. If you treat the Twenty-Twenty in the same way it delivers more power as soon as it starts turning.
The ten metre feels more serious, the eight is a bit softer and more manageable in strong winds, but still with good forward drive and more air speed towards the front of the window. In needing more bar pressure to turn, when you’re hanging the Twenty-Twenty above your head for grabs or rotations, it remains more solid in the sky. It feels like the lines are further apart above your head, giving you more stability. Also for unhooking, the Twenty-Twenty is so much better. A really stable platform for good intermediates and beyond for all types of twin-tip tricks because of that clean forward drive and stability overhead and at the edge of the window.
We must mention the drift of the ten metre in waves too. We had two sessions where this ten metre was the biggest tube kite that we had in the garage; the waves were clean but the wind was light. The light wind stability, poise and drift is incredible and what a joy it was to be out enjoying the cleaner faced light wind waves and only needing to make small adjustments to the kite’s position as we made sometimes up to four tight turns in close succession on the wave. Quite remarkable.
The eight is a really important kite in a high wind, big air rider’s arsenal and the Twenty-Twenty really doesn’t disappoint. Fully lit on a kite that’s been specifically tuned for jumps and loops, it’s a dream. Less physical than the ten metre and obviously quicker, there’s also huge range, lots of depower and a gorgeous amount of energy to tap into.
Once again it’s more keen to fly forward than previous Bandits and than this year’s ‘S’ model. It feels more open, powerful and has more arcing drive through a turn and also delivers more explosive vertical lift and hangtime. It’s more punchy. Whether you’re dangling underneath it or looping, it’s very rewarding. Floatier than previous Bandits, it’s also not as fast or lighteningly direct. The turn initiation is slower, which works so well for jumping. If a kite turns a bit quickly, or stalls at the front of the window a bit because it’s so quick, then you lose the mid-loop juice that lots more riders are looking for these days.
All this said, the eight metre is still not a technical kite to ride. You can change direction or change your mind about something and really be quite aggressive with the kite and it will remain totally in tune with you. Do a jump and then suddenly decide to throw a loop on landing; because it has good depower and you feel connected to the kite for the whole range, you can sheet out and loop and still feel in control of the kite. It doesn’t go flaccid; always straight up to the top and no stalling. If at the apex of your jump you want to make some adjustments and dump the power because there’s someone in the way, or a wave is closing out where you think you might land, again you have so much control. Above all else, this is still a usable, fun, freeride kite and both sizes can still be thrown around and unhooked in moderate winds.
See the ‘S’ review for more info on the bar and build quality.
The Twenty-Twenty is really for those riders that want to use the Bandit for big air, hangtime and kite loops. At its top end, the ten metre Twenty-Twenty is more physical to handle than in the past, but the flipside is that it has better low end performance in 18 knots. The eight metre is totally dedicated to strong wind with stunning top end performance. On both kites when you’re moderately powered you can still throw them around, unhook and can combine airs and loops with some pretty decent wave riding.
Beautiful, constant arc for kite loops and lovely stability overhead for big boosts.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Looking for a faster, more pivotal turn, go for the Bandit S.
TWENTY-TWENTY BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Full package: 9
Low end: 8
Top end: 8.5
Steering speed: 7
Turning circle: 7
Bar pressure: 5.5 (for the 8m / 6 for the 10m)
Water relaunch: 8.5
Ease of use: 8.5
SIZES: 17, 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 and 7m