Having to replace my windsurfing harness, Dakine T8, I took the opportunity to try a Ride Engine model. The choice fell on the Ride Engine Lyte V1, in the Direct Connection version. Here is the test result.
Ride Engine Lyte V1 Harness: Test
Ride Engine is a brand that produces harnesses, and which is very popular lately. But the models produced are really very different from each other. They are almost all designed to adapt very well to the rider's abdomen, but some are designed to distribute the load more on the hips and throughout the waist, others to concentrate it on the back, on the lumbar part, or even on the upper part, and, in general, considering the stiffness of the whole, they do it very well indeed. Therefore, we strongly advise you not to buy without infos, but to inform yourself very well before, and if possible to try them in the water too. And that is why this review can be very useful to you. Don't rely on general advice and opinions.
Impressions on the construction
Ride Engine is a brand of water sports equipment founded by Coleman Buckley, based in Hood River, Oregon (USA), which has been on the market for a few years (2014).
The Ride Engine Lyte V1 harness is a very compact windsurfing/kitesurfing harness. The dimensions are small: the shell in the central part has a height of 26 cm, compared to 33 of my previous Dakine T8. It is relatively light: dry, the measured weight is 1516 grams (bar included). But this is not the real strong point, given that the Dakine T8 weighs even less (1435 grams, hook included). As described below, the material with which it is made (Cell-Lock foam) practically does not absorb water keeps it light during use, and this is one of the peculiarities of this product.
When handling it, the other significant aspect that immediately strikes you is the stiffness both of the shell and the hook bar/adjustment straps system, particularly in the version we tested, with Direct Connection unit. Once adjusted and closed, there is no possibility of stretching or twisting of the whole parts.
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The harness, in the version with direct connection, transmits the power of the sail to the rider's body in a truly effective manner and without any waste, so that the riders can transfer it to the board. This model, more precisely, transfers all the load on the back, especially on the lumbar part, and not on the hips and waist, as the Momentum does. It is to be evaluated over time whether the stresses concentrated on this part of the back can cause any discomfort in some riders. It may also be useful, in order to avoid back problems, to adjust the harness so that it is not excessively tight on the abdomen.
However, if you fear back problems, we recommend the version with the webbing connection, or a less stiff model, such as the aforementioned Momentum.
If you are using this model, or another Ride Engine harness, and want to share your impressions, you can write them below in the comments.
Aloha. Fabio Muriano