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The harness is one of the most important pieces of equipment in kitesurfing.
The harness connects you to the kite bar and it gives you a zone of balance that allows you to steer and control your kite.
Since this piece of equipment is so essential, you want to make sure that you are choosing a harness that is right for your body and for your style of riding.
One brand that creates a variety of different harnesses is Ride Engine.
If you’re looking for a Ride Engine harness review, this article will highlight this particular brand and to showcase the different types of harnesses currently on the market.
What to look for in a good kitesurfing harness
Type of harness
There are two main types of kitesurfing harnesses: a seat harness and a waist harness.
A seat harness is often used during kiteboarding lessons because it is a good option for beginners. This is because a seat harness is better positioned for our center of gravity, so it can make learning kitesurfing a little bit easier.
A seat harness has straps that go around the legs and a large Velcro waistband to hold it snuggly against your body.
It resembles a rock-climbing harness but has more padding.
This type of harness takes the pressure off your lower back, so it can be more comfortable than a waist harness.
The downside to seat harnesses is that they are fixed in one position which can make it hard to maneuver.
In addition, the leg straps, while they do help prevent the harness from riding up, can be a bit uncomfortable, especially if you are kitesurfing without a wet suit.
A waist harness sits a little higher on your body, with one strap across your waist and then one tightening the spreader bar for a secure fit.
Waist harnesses are easier to maneuver in because the harness moves with your body, and the straps do not hit in areas that would restrict movement.
Waist harnesses also help protect your lower ribs during hard crashes. They can potentially cause pain in your lower back from being jerked around, though, so a waist harness is probably not the best choice if you have previous back issues.
Levels of hardness
In addition to the two types, there are also three levels of hardness: soft, medium, and hard shell.
A soft harness is generally pretty comfortable, but it does not offer very much support.
As a result, people using a soft harness will have to compensate for the lack of rigidity with their own strength.
On the other end of the spectrum, hard harnesses have a shell on the outside that holds you rigid and supports your back.
This type of harness is not always very comfortable because it is hard, but it is good for those who do not have enough strength to properly support themselves while kitesurfing.
A medium harness tends to work pretty well for most people. It will have a structured frame, but it will not be nearly as rigid as a hard-shell harness.
This allows the user to have some stability and protection while still maintaining more mobility.
Purchasing a harness
When you are trying to find a harness to purchase, make sure that the harness is a comfortable fit and that there is no excessive pressure on any one part of your body.
Also ensure that there are proper safety functions. There should be several straps that allow you to tighten or loosen the harness as needed. Harnesses should also have an accessible knife pocket.
Make sure that the harness you purchase is made of high-quality materials.
Good stitching, a good quality stainless steel hook, and cushioned neoprene are all examples of the kind of quality you should expect for a good harness.
Finally, and most importantly, make sure you find the right fit for your body.
The right size harness provides support, reduces muscle fatigue, and ensures your safety.
If you buy a harness that is too small, it will squeeze too tight and cause discomfort and pain.
If you buy a harness that is too big, it will ride up while you are kitesurfing.
To find the right size, measure your waist and use the sizing guides on the websites you’re ordering from to help determine which size to order.
About Ride Engine
Ride Engine was started by a man named Coleman Buckley back in 2010 when he started experimenting with kitesurfing harnesses in his garage.
None of the ones on the market were exactly what he was looking for, so he decided to create his own.
After a lot of prototypes and collaboration with his friends and professional riders, Buckley came up with the Armor harness, which was a hard-shell harness that was fully customizable.
This revolutionized the market, and his products became popular very quickly.
In 2014, Buckley joined a board sports company called 7 Nations and started developing various different product lines that continue to be refined today.
More than anything, Buckley and the Ride Engine brand emphasize collaboration and work with professional athletes to get feedback on what they need from their equipment.
They take all of this feedback and work to improve the products on the market and come up with new innovative designs all the time.
Ride Engine Harness Review: Right for you?
Ride Engine has several different harnesses on the market right now, including the Elite Carbon V6, Saber V1, Momentum V1, and a Contour V2 seat harness.
All of the harnesses include a lumbar lock that was scientifically developed from custom lumbar molds of more than 1,000 men and women.
The Lumbar lock conforms to your lower back and sides and gives you stability, support, and comfort.
The harnesses also come with different attachments for freestyle rides.
Each harness has a handle-pass-leash mount on the back and 2 forward-mounted D-ring leash attachment points for when a short leash is used.
The harnesses also come equipped with Unity Ladder-Lock straps, so they are ready to plug in to the Unity Spreader Bar.
While the spreader bar is sold separately, all of the harnesses are compatible with the bar.
Additionally, all of the harnesses have a low-profile design that provides support but allows for freedom of mobility.
For additional comfort, the harnesses contain memory foam that conforms to the shape of your torso and are wrapped with neoprene to protect from any rashes.
Finally, all of the harnesses include an easily accessible hook-knife pocket.
Each harness comes in 3 color options: black, navy, or slate gray. The exception to this is the Contour V1 seat harness which only comes in black.
Elite carbon V6
The elite carbon v6 is the first and best hard-shell harness on the market.
This is Red Engine’s stiffest and most supportive model, and it has the closest fit to the body that you can get.
It is made using 12K carbon fiber which provides a durable armor shell frame that is protective but still lightweight.
The armor shell also evenly distributes the weight between the bar and the shell which helps prevent the harness from buckling or pinching the skin.
In this newest version they have also added 4 mm more of the memory foam to provide additional cushioning and the most comfortable fit.
The Saber V1 is designed similarly to the Carbon Elite hard shell harness, but the frame of the Saber is built with a more pliable composite material.
This is ideal for the kite surfer who is looking for a little bit more freedom in their ride.
The structurally engineered shell provides a good fit and support while also enhancing the flex properties of this harness.
The shell has strategically placed contours that give more torsional flex all while still providing the lumbar support.
The momentum V1 is Ride Engine’s first soft-shell harness.
This harness is ideal for people who still want the security of the hard-shell harness but also want more mobility and flexibility that the hard-shell does not necessarily offer.
The Momentum V1 offers the same Lumbar back support via a molded internal support plate.
This harness will not necessarily offer the same amount of protection since in it a soft harness instead of a hard hardness, but it is a more comfortable fit and allows you to move more freely.
Contour V1 Seat Harness
The Contour V1 is Ride Engine’s first ever seat harness, and they sought to address all of the shortcomings of traditional seat harnesses.
The focal point of the design is the sacrum adjustment plate which is made out of patented CURV material that brings the elements of the hard-shell harness into a seat harness.
The sacrum adjustment plate gives a tighter fit along the sacrum by removing the gap that is prominent in a lot of other seat harnesses. This allows for more support and comfort.
The Contour V1 is also a lot less bulky than other seat harnesses.
It fits lower across the hips for added mobility; the leg loops are padded with neoprene for added comfort, but the padding does not add additional bulk.
The loops and the belt are both easy to adjust to get the perfect fit.
Ride Engine offers a variety of harnesses with different features, so you are sure to find something that works well for you!
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