Looking for a super stiff hard shell with unshakable support? The Ride Engine Carbon Elite is the best in 2021. These are the stiffest the lightest low profile hard shell harnesses from Ride Engine (RE).
New Features For 2021
The newest feature is the attachment for the new “Unity Spreader Bar.” The harness now uses the custom-molded Unity Ladder-Lock Straps. These eliminate the use of traditional webbing, creating a no-slip, locked-in fit.
Next, the soft fusion foam core gets an extra 4 mm added to it. This internal foam molds to shape of my body, cushioning pressure and load from my kite. Over top, neoprene wraps around the edges of the harness to help reduce any pinching on my ribs.
Continuing from last year, Ride Engine provides the awesome shell skin technology. This provides ultraviolet, impact and abrasion resistance, plus water and tear Resistance. The construction of the shell is a 100% carbon fiber composite called 12k carbon. In my hands it’s rock solid and much more solid than the older Prime Series from Ride Engine (Hex Core).
Fit wise the profile of the harness is low and firm around the middle of my torso due to RE’s “lumbar lock” system. This is an ergonomic contour on the shell which locks into place along your spine. By locking in, you don’t experience twisting or riding up. This means the common back pain related to softer, flimsy harnesses is a thing of the past. For this reason, it’s a top kitesurf harness for riders that suffer from lower back pain. When wearing it, the precise fit of the shell distributes even traction over my entire back.
Ride Engine Sizing
Note: I find that for sizing it’s the same as last year. For reference, I am 5’10 with a 31 waist and I wear a small for in the Carbon Elite model.
Keep in mind for sizing a Ride Engine harness, it either fits your body or it doesn’t, there is no in-between. If it fits you are in for a treat, but if there is even slight movement, don’t pick this one.
It’s important to understand that movement is bad for kiting harnesses. Movement allows the harness to torque around and put painful pressure on your sides. If you feel significant movement in a harness it doesn’t fit you body shape,
For riders that do fit this harness it has an excellent and improved fastening system. Last year, they add dual webbed anti-slip straps that in 2021 stay right in place. Plus it uses a stainless steel clasp with buckle guards to stop you line from snagging on them.
The new unity ladder-lock straps are super easy to fasten, and the connection is ultra stable. It also has two front-mounted leash attachment points if you don’t use the rear handle pass.
Lacks A Spreader Bar
One thing to note, Ride Engine doesn’t include spreader bars. Their explanation is that every ride style is different. The company sells three compatible options including:
- Fixed hook spreader bar: the classic hook for freestyle riders
- Slider spreader bar: pass through cable for wave riders
- Special fixed hook spreader bar: designed for windsurfing
Bottom line: The Best Kitesurf Harness
While the Carbon Infrared is expensive, you definitely get what you pay for. What you get is the finest materials, ultimate lumbar support and safety to boot. Do yourself a favor and buy it.