Different Hardshell Harnesses
Are you looking for a hardshell harness and want to know more about the differences? Read more about the different hardshell harnesses on this page. The hardshell harness one of the most popular models on the market, but why is the hardshell so good and is the hardshell harness worth the money? On this page we cover the following points:
- Ride Engine Hardshell Harness
- Mystic Hardshell Harness
- Dakine Hardshell Harness
- ION Hardshell Harness
- Manera Hardshell Harness
- Differences between hardshell and softshell harness
Ride Engine Hardshell Harness
The Hardshell harness has been on the market since 2016 and finds its origins at Ride Engine. Ride Engine is the inventor of the Armor harness. The Armor harness had a unique design that uses an integrated hard back plate. The result is an ergonomic closing system that looks super good and offers the best support to date. Ride Engine introduced three versions of the harness, the Hex Core series, Team series and Elite series - along with a metal and carbon slider spreader bars and a fixed hook. The harness has turned the entire kite surfing world upside down. The Hex Core from Ride Engine has become one of the most popular harnesses on the market. The hard shell offers a solution for riders with back problems. This harness has evolved over the years. The Hex Core has made room for the Ride Engine Prime, with a stronger shell and improved straps. One of the most comfortable, ergonomically shaped hard shells in its class!
Mystic Hardshell Harness
The success of the Ride Engine Hex Core harness could not have gone unnoticed. Other brands also started to respond to the demand for hardshell harnesses. Mystic later comes on the market with a hardshell, the Majestic X. This Carbon harness has a very stiff frame of Carbon and looks similar to the Ride Engine, but has slightly less padding and a less hollow shape. This makes him stand out from the Ride Engine, which is slightly more hollow in the lower back. The Majestic X has a Bionic Core Frame that is very stiff in the middle but offers a bit more flex on the sides. This makes it feel solid but still bends with your body during a jump or trick. The Mystic Majestic comes in two different versions, the Majestic or the Majestic X. The Mystic Majestic hardshell has a fiberglass shell that is slightly more flexible than its Carbon brother. This shell still offers the support you need but is a bit more affordable and has more flex. Both Mystic hardshell harnesses have a new battle belt that fits very well to the body and a HP system. For ladies, Mystic comes with the Gem hardshell, which is comparable in terms of features with the Majestic. Just like with the Ride Engine hardshell, you can choose from a fixed clicker spreader bar or a slider rope for the surfers among us.
Dakine Hardshell Harness
Dakine comes with its own hardshell in 2016. The Dakine C-1 hardshell harness has a low back profile and has a Texon composite back plate. Because of this he offers a lot of support and a fine distribution of the strength to the back muscles. This harness is not as stiff as the Ride Engine or Majestic X, but still offers good support during kite surfing. The Dakine C-1 is for riders who want a bit more flex in the back and more freedom of movement. The Texon material is very strong and durable for years of kiteboarding fun. You can ride the Dakine C-1 harness with a surf spreader bar (Maniac) standard fixed hook (Hammerhead). A versatile hardshell harness with two straps so that you can adjust it well to your waist. Checkout the Dakine C-1 Hardshell harness here.
ION Hardshell Harness
Kitesurf accessory brand ION has been making very good kitesurf harnesses for years and now also makes hardshell harnesses. ION produces harnesses based on a certain flex index. This index indicates how much flex the harness has so that you can purchase the right harness based on the flex you want. This flex index goes from 1 to 20, with 20 the most stiff harness they make. The ION Apex Curve 10 therefore has a medium flex and the Vice DS 20 is the stiffest hardshell in the range. In terms of stiffness, the Vice CS 20 comes close to the Mystic and Ride Engine harness and offers a narrow outline with a lightweight and solid frame. One true hardshell harness, designed in collaboration with Aaron Hadlow. The ION Apex comes in 3 different versions, the Apex CS 15 (stiff), Curv 10 (medium) and the Apex 7 (flexible).
Manera Hardshell Harness
Since 2019, Manera has also released its own version of the hardshell, the Eclipse. This Manera hardshell harness has a hard plate in the back, which gradually becomes more flexible on the sides. This adaptive shell of the Manera Eclipse offers different degrees of stiffness for an optimal ratio between flex and support. The Manera Eclipse is completely covered on the inside with a one-piece layer of 'Gel Foam'. This foam adapts to the shape of your body. A very nice harness in terms of features and design.
Differences between hardshell harness and softshell harness
What are the differences between a hardshell harness and its softer brother? Below we briefly explain the differences based on a number of factors.
Stiffness & Support
The main difference between a hardshell harness and a standard waist harness is the stiffness. A hardshell harness is made of one rigid frame, usually made of fiberglass or carbon, which means it squeezes your body less when there is pressure on the kite. The harness always stays in the same shape so that the forces of the kite are better distributed to the back.
The hardshell harness is made from the lightest materials, making this harness lighter than a standard waist harness. This is because less material is used. An additional advantage is that the hardshell harness also remains light on the water, because it absorbs less water.
In terms of comfort, we can state that the hardshell harness also wins from the softshell. On the water, your body is less squeezed thanks to the hard shell. Also the harness can be shaped better to the curves of your body. This makes the hardshell harness feel very comfy and makes it stay in place better. Make sure you always tighten the harness before you have the kite in the air.
Because the hardshell harness has a solid frame, this harness will last longer. Where a standard harness loses its support after a few years, the hardshell remains rigid and retains its shape. Hardshell harnesses are also made from the best materials, so that the durability remains very good.
Freedom of movement
The hardshell harness is a lot slimmer than the softshell and has a lower back. This gives you more room to move freely. The higher the harness, the less you can bend your body while performing tricks.
The hardshell harness is the harness of the future. Are you an advanced kiter and do you want to invest in good gear, then we always recommend to go for a hardshell harness. In terms of support, comfort, durability, weight and freedom of movement, the hardshell wins from the standard waist harness. Although there are cheaper options, the hardshell is totally worth the money because it performs better on all fronts. Ride hard (shell)!