Innovation has always been at the forefront of the Ride Engine mantra, the company that brought the first hard shell harness concept to market and changed how we look at harnesses today. Now, backed by the team of founder Coleman Buckley, Brand Manager Gary Siskar and designer Julien Fillion, the company is pushing the envelope once again in the spreader bar realm and has expanded its product line to include four new harnesses along with foil/wing/surf foilboards. Gary Siskar unveils the highlights for Ride Engine 2021.
We have added to the team extensively over the past year. Inside the brand, a dedicated Brand Manager and designer were appointed to work hand and hand with the existing team. This has helped Ride Engine founder Coleman Buckley and the entire staff bring innovation and product extension to the Ride Engine line in addition to exploring new material technology and manufacturing. Much of this can be seen in the release of our new harness line that includes two hard shells, a soft shell and a seat harness along with a revolutionary spreader bar system that eliminates the use of webbing on the hard-shell models. We have also added to our eclectic external team of athletes that truly embody Ride Engine. We have welcomed Charlie Wise who is a young, underground West OZ charger in the surf, Alessandro D’Ambrosio a South African surf specialist that is equally at home in the barrel or 20m above the water surface and Vetea Boersma, a young, soft-spoken Hood River, Oregon, local that is lighting the global big air scene up. Mike MacDonald, another South African, is not just pushing the big air generation as a rider but furthering the category by establishing the Big Air Kite League (BAKL) for big air competitions for all big air specialists. Also, we can’t forget Angely Bouillot, the first-ever female competitor in the Red Bull King of the Air—she has been brought onto the global squad, and rightfully so, with her domination of the sky and ultra-free-spirit.
IS THERE A SINGLE INNOVATION THAT YOU WOULD FIRST LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT?
The Unity Direct Connection System is a standout for us in terms of innovation and redefinition of how we all will look at harness spreader bars in terms of holistic support and closure. The idea started by identifying what we felt was the weakest link that impeded unlocking the complete performance of a hard shell harness. For us, this was the webbing connection from the spreader bar to the hard shell. In addressing this weak link, we wanted to create an ‘exoskeleton’ that would unify all the parts. The exoskeleton offered in the Unity Direct Connection gives unrivaled support and a second to none connection and feeling of the kite. Secondary to this was the improvement of the closure system and adjustment. Nothing is new with harnesses drafting off snowboard style ratchets. There have been designs that surfaced over a decade ago, and though we were inspired by the materials and some components, we actually looked at motocross boots for a unique closure that is minimal and not subject to contamination from the elements. What we have arrived at is a minimal mechanical design that uses a ladder system and closure that once adjusted to your proper fit, it is set. A true one time set it and forget it adjustment.
FOR EACH HARNESS, WHAT IS THE INTENDED TYPE OF RIDING AND TARGET USER AND KEY CHANGES FOR 2021?
This year we greatly expanded the Ride Engine harness line. Now we have four models which include two hard shell options, a soft shell and a seat harness. All harnesses offer the best in class, high performance fit and function. The Elite Carbon and Saber hard shell harnesses use the Ride Engine exclusive Unity Direct Connection system. Our soft shell Momentum harness incorporates the same scientifically-backed shape of the Lumbar Lock found in the original hard shell harnesses and offers more flex for riders that feel a hard shell is not suited for their body shape or riding style. Keeping the hard shell DNA of Ride Engine, the Contour has a unique Curv material sacrum plate that distributes pressure and creates a perfect fitting seat harness. Both the Momentum and Contour are compatible with the new Unity spreader bar which allows riders to gain the benefits of quick entry and exit via the ambidextrous TensionLock levers.
WHAT SPREADER BAR OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE WITH YOUR 2021 HARNESS LINEUP?
We have two options in the Unity Spreader Bar. One is a fixed kite hook that has been designed with a great geometry that accepts all chicken loops and safety pins. Our other option is our wingsurfing / windsurfing fixed hook. The geometry is specific to these sports with a more open arc allowing for easy capturing of the harness line. All RE spreader bars are available in three size spans: 8”(20.5cm) / 10”(25.5cm) / 12”(30.5cm) and are sold separately to get the perfect fit for your size harness. In addition we offer a Sliding Rope Conversion kit that easily changes your fixed hook to a multi-choice rope connection.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ACCESSORIES OR OTHER PRODUCT LINES YOU WOULD LIKE TO BRIEFLY INTRODUCE OR DISCUSS CHANGES/HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2021?
We introduced foil boards into the Ride Engine line this past summer for surf foiling, SUP foiling, wingsurfing and kite foiling. Coleman Buckley does not just have harness knowledge in his head but also is a very accomplished, forward thinking surf and foil board shaper. We introduced a 5’0” Moon Buddy to the line. This board is optimized in shape for wingsurfing by packing 80L into a compact shape. In addition we have added multiple inserts for all options of strap placement. Keeping these boards ding free in transportation is always a challenge. Our answer to this is a fully redesigned Day Strike hydrofoil board bag line. The bag offers ample protection with padding that covers the top, bottom and sidewalls of the bag and is fitted with a full hook and loop slot allowing you to keep your foil mounted to the board.