2013 Bandit 6 - First Impressions

2013 Bandit 6 - First Impressions

Postby dmarkle » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:02 pm

OK, this is a "first impression" review of the new 2013 F-one Bandit 6. Prying this thing out of Lost's grubby little mitts was tough indeed.

Me:
2 years of riding experience (maybe that's 1-1/2 actually)

Current Kites:
Bandit 4 10M, Bandit 5 12 & 14M

Tested:
2013 Bandit 6, 10 Meter. Red. Blowing 20+ kts at Frisco. Butter smooth wind.

On to the review. Those of you familiar with the flying characteristics of the B4 and B5 will be well accustomed to the B6 -- it's not a radical transformation like the jump from the Tres to the 4. It's basically an evolved Bandit 5. In terms of how this thing flew, those of you who know how I fly my kites have probably seen that I throw the kite around the window pretty quickly. Some have even noticed on the beach how much I pump up my B5's -- a lot. I do this because when I throw the kite around under load, the B5 has a propensity to change shape, giving an "uneven" feel.

I can say that in my short experience, the B6 improves on the 5's design by feeling more rigid when moved fast under load -- it's got a much more direct feel than the 5 -- IMO it feels more like a C-kite than any of its predecessors, but still remains powerful. At the time I'd reviewed the kite, I was going back and forth between my B5 12M and this B6 10M. Unlike a lot of C-kites I've flown, I didn't want for power. I also thought the kite had less propensity to backstall, and is a bit more stable than the 5, which, when flown low, tended to need a bit of "babysitting" to keep in one place.

I threw the B6 around as hard as I could, cranking on the bar, and I didn't find it wanting to change shape, deform, or backstall (with the trim pulled in about 3 inches) All in all, a worthy successor.

The new bar also has a grip that goes around the entire diameter of the bar. This should make for a bit more durability. IMO it's lame that the bar is white. It's going to get grimy fairly quickly, I'd expect.

In summary, the good:
* More stable
* More direct feel
* Fast as hell
* More colors actually look good this year

The bad:
* It costs money
* A beautiful snow-white bar which will probably be brown-yellow after 20 sessions.

The caveats:
* I didn't try the bigger sizes -- I think the proof for me will be how the 12 flies. Can it be as solid feeling as the 10? Surely you'll give up speed, but if it's as predictable and well behaved as the 10 I will be a happy camper.
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Postby Zdunigan » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:19 pm

Nice review Dave! Can't wait to try it out! Let us know how it does in the waves....
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Postby Lost » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:24 pm

David's review is pretty spot on. More depower, more lift and more stability. I am very excited about this kite. I was worried that F-One will not be able to improve the 5.

Here are some pictures from the first testing days.

David:
Image

Image

It was impressive to see the range of the kite David, Jeff S and me were in the same wind conditions on the same kite.

Jeff S going for an elevator ride:
Image

super stable
Image

I love the new graphics
Image
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Postby Zdunigan » Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:25 pm

How is the new bar?
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Postby Lost » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:59 am

Zach, they changed the alloy on the bar and they made a new grip. It feels very nice

Image

I had another session on it on the kite last Sunday and it kicks ass.

It generates constant power on the loop and catches you before landing. Honestly I dont think it is faster than the B5 but for sure it has more lift and hangtime than the B5 and for sure a lot more than the B4.

Better depower even with the shorter throw bar (which is awesome for me since I dont have huge long hands like Reid the Giant)
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Postby nimidvir » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:07 pm

So apparently my 11m B5 DOES have an upper limit after all. I learned it yesterday, the hard way, sitting on the beach watching the rest of the crew having a blast on their smaller kites (insert joke about balls' size or lack thereof ). At some point, I was so frustrated, I decided to trim my center lines two knots and go for it. I ran my lines and walked out getting ready to launch, but one of the lines ended up being tangled. I decided it was a sign for me to abort the mission. Another factor that solidified my decision was Zach coming in, hardly holding down his 10m B4, screaming "DON'T DO THAT!".

Anyway, after freezing my ass on the beach for 2 hours, I saw Vali in the distance, coming in from a whale-watching session, with his brand spankin' new 8m B6. That was my cue to "save" him from the hassle of landing the kite. He passed me his kite, and greeted me with a warm "fuck off".

I only got to ride for 20 minutes, so I can't really give an in-depth review. Two things I noticed right off the bat though, were the speed of the kite and the improvement on the bar's grip. It felt like I was flying a trainer kite, it was super fast and very responsive. The bar felt really good, and it looks like the new construction will eliminate the issue of the padding pealing off. I agree with Markle about the color, I liked the former black and white color scheme much better.

Thanks for letting me ride your kite, V. At least I was able to take a bit of the edge off. Hoping for a full dose tomorrow.
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Postby radortho » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:05 am

I tried the 6 on friday in 25-28 mph wind. I was lit!!!!! on my 11m bandit 5, and was reluctant to take a kite only 1m smaller as I really wanted an 8m-9m that day, but Vali handed my the Bandit 6 10m and I was off!!! The kite has MUCH more range than the previous models, meaning you can handle the punchy gusts much better. The "6" has not sacrificed speed or power as it jumps and loops as well or slightly better than the "5" (which I did not think could be improved)....Also the kite is much more stable in the air and you can really park it in one spot and forget it, which was great as I was riding the rollers back after a very long upwinder!!! The take home message is that the "6" has all the good attribute as the "5" but with greater depower and better stability...my 2 cents :D
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Postby Lost » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:09 pm

I was on the same day on a B6 8m. The kite felt super solid in the gusts. Delivers better lift compared with the same size 8m B5. I felt that it was closer on power delivery with a 9 m B5 but with better depower. Turns fast with constant pull.
I think many people will be able to get away with a 8 instead of a 9 from previous year.

Mehdy and Nimi on the B6 8 m and 10 m.


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Postby Lost » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:47 pm

more update on the 8 m. I used a few weeks ago on a wave session in a secret spot on the bay. I was on a Trax board and I wish I was on my surfboard but I started initially the session planning to do a dangle session than catching the waves session.
Mehdy and I were planning to do an upwind session towards Terrorpin but we got super tired mid way and we just discovered this wave spot right in the middle of our session.
We discovered this long rollers and we start riding them. Let me tell you. It was like a powder day. The kite was turning fast with constant power trough the turn so I could catch the waves even if I was on a TT with no lack of power mid turn. Even if I was on a small board I had enough power to actually ride the wave. That was just because of the kite. Super smooth. My best session so far on this kite.
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Postby Kitemax12 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:03 pm

I had a chance to take out the 8 and 12m B6, one session each. (I own and love B5s, 11 and 14). The changes are not as significant as between the B1 vs. B2 vs. B3 vs. B4 and the B5, but still makes you smile and signal with a thumb up to the F-One design team.
The range is very impressive and there is an improvement on the low and high registers, as well. The bar feel/feedback also improved (is it because of the more C shape I see in this newest version?) The kite flies closer to the edge of the window and this translates into better upwind ability. It jumps higher with the same or better hang time we used to with the B5s. Looping: only very first impressions, just downloop transitions so far. It flutters less, which makes the move and the feel in the bar smoother (especially noticeable when doing it when the kite is massively depowered), one can stay on the strapless board easier during transitions. It is more stable in the air -closer to B4-, however it is as fast as the B5: hopefully less unwanted double kiteloops on unhooked tricks:)

I have not unhooked them yet. I have not done any aggressive uplooping/megalooping. Maybe tomorrow?
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Postby bkilical » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:25 pm

I had tried a demo of the B6 12M at Brownies, but it was during light wind for a short session. I went out to OBX last week and received my 12M B6 just before my trip. I ended up riding my B5 9M most of the time due to the strong NE winds, but I finally had a chance to have a nice long session with the new B6 last Thursday when the winds subsided a little and let me test the upper end of the kite.

The workmanship and build quality of the kite is very similar to the B5. The bar is improved as others have mentioned. I like the one piece grip much better in comparison to the previous bars.

Keep in mind that I had the kite at the upper end of its range. Thus, I can't comment on lower end grunt. However, it absorbed the gusts and was very stable during high wind conditions where I could have been easily flying a 9M kite. The kite loops much quicker and with a steady pull through the loop. I didn't unhook (above my level of tricks) so I can't comment on that. The biggest difference is the hang time. The hang time is absolutely sick. I felt the height of the jump was similar to what I had with the B5, but the hang time is much longer.

I can't wait to get back on the water with my new toy. Praying for wind.
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Postby Lost » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:02 pm

I got on my 7 and 9 last weekend. Both time super gusty conditions.
Both kites handled great specially on the top end. Very smooth depower. The 7 was like a dream in high 30s. Super smooth and constant pull. The jumping was nice too. Plenty of lift and hangtime. I am sure that the hangtime is better than on the B5. Riding toeside on these crazy gusts wasnt a problem. The kite turns also super fast. lens Justin

Image

Image
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Postby Kitemax12 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:59 pm

Finally logged in the first session on the 10m. It was surprisingly small, like my 8m. It produced a very smooth ride and jumped extremely well. I am usually riding my 11 with a 50cm bar, so I thought I might need it for the 10 as well. However, the kite is very fast and the 45 cm bar was perfect. The bar pressure is super light. (I have to pay attention to this as I was pulling it too close to me a couple of times and it almost yanked me off my surfboard.) Overall, I am super happy with it. Hope to spend a lot of time on it.
Happy New Year!!!
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Postby Lost » Thu May 09, 2013 10:33 am

I got out again past weekend in the OBX on the 7, 9, 10 and 11.

I was able to take the 10 in gusts up to 30. Very smooth power delivery on the top end of the kite and light bar pressure which really made a huge difference on my shoulder. Fearnow said that my 10 had a lot of power after he tried it. He was a little scrared to not damage his fragile body with too much power. I was surprised consindering that the guy kites always big kites in overpowered conditions.

Second day I took the 9 and the 7 in mid - high 30s and the kites had exactly the same behaviour making the transition from one size to another size very smooth. All kites shoot really upwind and ride a litte more forward on the window.

I rode the same day on a 8 b5 and after a few tacks I wanted to get back on the 7 since I felt that the B6 is a more fun kite to ride.
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