Sizes Available: XS, S, M, L, XL
Sizes Tested: M
Ride Engine Says:
Designed using the same proprietary data that created our Carbon Elite hard-shell shape, the frame of the Saber is built with a slightly more pliable composite material for the kitesurfer or windsurfer that wants a bit more freedom in their ride. The injected-molded shell has purpose-driven contours that deliver increased torsional flex while still providing the full benefits of Lumbar Lock fit with that coveted Ride Engine locked-in feel. The Saber comes equipped with Unity Ladder-Lock Straps so it’s ready to plug into our Unity Spreader Bar, eliminating spreader bar twist and maximum connectivity.
Visit for more info: https://rideengine.com/collections/harnesses/products/2020-saber-black
The Saber V1 is new for this year, bringing to the Ride Engine line a more pliable rigid back harness constructed out of composite material. The Saber V1 comes with the new Unity spreader bar system and all the other fit and finish details you get with the Elite Carbon at a slightly lower price point. The Saber series has a slightly shorter back frame; the side-to-side stiffness flex is a little bit more flexible than the Carbon Elite series and the torsional stability is significantly more flexible which gives you more movement without having to go as far as a soft shell harness. In some sense you get the best of both worlds—a harness that distributes load to the center of your back but also gives you the flex to move freely. The Saber features a smooth interior and a solid amount of padding and comes with a pocket for a kite knife and a remoable PVC coated line for a handle on the back.
We first noticed that it seems like the shaping on the spine isn’t quite as aggressive as the Elite Carbon and the height of the harness’s back and sides don’t feel as tall. There’s less of a lumbar bulge on the inside and you can feel the additional flex that you get from the composite material. The Saber gets the new Unity spreader bar connection system that uses a ratchet-style ladder-lock enclosure with hard tuck flaps that keep the spreader bar in place. It makes getting out of the harness easy by just pulling open a little gate/tab and sliding it. There are two levers on the actual spreader bar for getting in and out of the harness and there are two gates on either side that control the ladder-lock adjustment and sizing of the spreader bar. The levers have a little red visual button for indicating whether they are properly closed or not and the spreader bar has a tuck flap in addition to the ladder-lock straps, so you get an extra connection between the harness back and the bar. One of the key performance aspects of this new system is that it reduces upward torsion of the spreader bar from the kite’s lifting forces and transfers that force into the entire harness frame. The spreader bar comes in two different modes. You can have a sliding rope with a stainless ring or a fixed rope connection point in the center as well as both a windsurf and a harness hook. Swapping in the harness hooks requires removing 4 screws (3mm hex allen) and there’s a pocket for a kite knife in the tuck flap.
A feature we unintentionally discovered is that if you manage to forget to lock in place the ladder-lock strap adjustment levers on your hip, you might think this would lead to disaster. Luckily, Ride Engine anticipated forgetful kiters and designed the system to be kook proof. If you forget to close a lever, the spreader bar will not completely detach from the harness and you will not lose your kite. Additionally, the ladder-lock straps are numbered so you can set the harness to your size and remember your setting as well as ensure that the bar is adjusted symmetrically on each side, a feature which you don’t get with webbing-based harness tensioning systems. Overall, the Saber doesn’t feel quite as secure or all-encompassing as the Elite Carbon, but it does give your back support while giving your body more freedom of movement for those that desire as much flexibility as possible along with the support of a rigid frame harness.
Want to view all our 2021 Freeride Gear Reviews in one convenient digital guide? Get the latest product intel on 2021 kites, boards, bars, foils, wings and accessories bundled up in one nice and tidy 178-page digital package HERE. If you’re already a subscriber, log into your account to view our 2021 Freeride Gear Review Guide.