by Tyler Brown/ F-One Team Rider
For the past 2 months I have had the pleasure of riding the New Bandit 6 in a variety different conditions. When snowkiting we tend to use larger kites due to the higher altitudes (thinner air) and also because mountain wind can be very unpredictable and shifty, so you don’t want to be kiting in super high winds. I have been snowkiting on the 11,12,14m kites. All of the sizes are super user friendly and carry the same characteristics throughout the sizes. First off, as I started to rig the B6 for the first time, I noticed the amazing attention to detail that F-One puts into there product. There is definitely something to be said about fine tuning one kite over so many years vs. turning out many different models. Top to bottom, the kite and bar have have grown over the years to become a sleek, simple, and effective unit.
The Bandit 6
The B6 has an amazing turning speed with light, but not too light, bar pressure. The 14m is the fastest turning light wind kite I have been on! For the same reason that it is a great surf kite, on the snow, it flicks across the window holding nice smooth pressure. Making your transitions effortless and fast. With the B6, when the wind gets light and your kite size goes up, you don’t have to compromise for a slow and sluggish kite.
The Delta-C shape offers amazing jumping ability! When you send this kite, be ready to get lifted! Due to the Delta-C shape it also offers great stability once hanging under the kite, bringing you down nice and smoothly and not too fast. It also loops super fast, creating nice direct pull through the loop and racing to the top of the window on your decent. It’s great to be able to loop the kite even in your lager sizes. With the B6 it’s possible! It is always a bit frightening gliding for the first time on a new kite. It’s quite a big commitment, and in Tahoe there isn’t any stepping stone gliding locations. It’s all or nothing. My first glide I sent off the back side of the Pacific Crest and travelled about 700 ft. of vertical. The kite was super solid and never felt like it was going to over fly the window. I love the monolith bar for this as well, as the velcro release won’t accidentally get pushed. I’m now very comfortable flying on the B6 and look forward to seeing how big I can go…
One additional mention, with the 3 strut design, the Bandit 6 folds up amazingly small. This makes it phenomenal for backcountry kiting. I kid you not, when packed up it is the same size as a foil. I love not having to compromise performance for ease of use when traveling in the backcountry.
The new Monolith Bar
I was sold immediately upon holding this bar, but there are a few key features that put it above and beyond. Because it is made with one piece of aluminum, it is extremely light, but has a nice solid feel to it. At either side of the bar you can adjust the line length without having to go to the kite. I am 5’8″ tall and with certain kites I have trouble reaching the far end of the throw, but with this bar and it’s short throw, that problem is eliminated. I am a huge fan of the simplicity of the quick release. It is about as basic as things get, and it works! This means there are no additional parts to break, or get jammed up with salt and sand, or ice. Finally, the quality is awesome! You’ll see for yourself. It feels very well made and doesn’t have any cheap plastic parts.