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Tkb Review: 2022 Ride Engine Lyte

Sizes Available: XS, S, M, L, XL
Spreader Bar Sizes: 8, 10, 12”

Ride Engine Says:

Any company can make a lightweight harness. At Ride Engine we aren’t just any company””we are the originator of the hard-shell harness and we are proud to introduce the Lyte Curv® harness that provides the very best in no-compromise, lightweight performance while keeping the weight under 1kg. The ingenious Curv® composite material we utilize is not merely lightweight””its high tensile strength allows the shell to retain Ride Engine’s scientifically designed Lumbar Lock shape, which has become renowned for eliminating harness rise and twisting on the body.

Equipped with Direct Connection or Webbing Connection, the Lyte Curv integrates directly with our Unity Spreader Bar, which completely eliminates spreader bar slip and twist. Additionally making Lyte Curv the ultimate lightweight travel harness is our Cell-Lock Foam: thermoformed closed-cell foam that’s Lycra laminated to virtually eliminate all water absorption and keep the harness light no matter how long your session.


Tkb Says:

While the Ride Engine has been on a tear to reduce weight in its existing harness lines, at the same time, they released a completely new model that offers a fresh take on materials and design to achieve lightness with uncompromising comfort.

The basis of the Lyte’s chassis is the choice of materials that starts with the Lyte Curve material which removes the weight that comes with fiberglass and resin and replaces it with a lighter composite sheet that receives the bulk of its rigidity from the carefully designed shape. While some harnesses often use hydrophobic coatings to prevent water and weight absorption, the Lyte integrates materials that in their implicit nature do not absorb water. Working in concert with the Lyte Curve shell, every aspect of this harness is designed to meet the hard-shell goals while reducing its weight.

The first thing you notice about the Lyte is the lighter feeling weight in your hands before clicking it onto your waist. The chassis of the harness feels a bit thinner in profile compared to Ride Engine’s other models, and in terms of fit and comfort, the Lyte harness falls in the middle of Ride Engine’s hard-shell line of harnesses with a bit more flex and a medium-sized template. The Lyte’s shell is a slight bit taller than the Saber, but not quite as tall as the Elite, giving the rider a moderate level of vertical back support and coverage. If the Saber has the most amount of flex in its frame, the Lyte lands in the middle, giving the rider a slightly softer feel than the pure carbon shell of the Elite harness.

Much like the Elite harness, the Lyte does an excellent job of transferring load from your hips like a conventional harness and instead puts that load on your back. Compared to the Elite, the Lyte distributes load equally on both the center of your back (spine region) and at the edges of the harness template. The extra flex built into the Curve material strikes an excellent balance between distributing loads with a less rigid feel. On the water, the Lyte Curve material gives your waist and torso a bit more freedom to move as the material flexes as you go for a board grab or lay into surfing turns. The sides of the harness feel just a bit narrower which adds to the extra flexibility you get during tricks and general riding. The inner liner on the Lyte has some extra texture that gives the new material a nice middle ground amount of grip.

The Lyte is available with a webbing connection or with the Unity Spreader Bar system which uses a ratchet-style ladder-lock enclosure with hard tuck flaps that keep the spreader bar pinned to the harness’s frame. While there’s a lot of cool features built into this design, the significance of the Unity system is as much about what it adds as what it subtracts from the spreader bar equation. Gone is the old-school webbing that stretches and locks up with the wet/dry cycle of kiteboarding, and in its place, the Unity system reduces upward torsion of the spreader bar from the kite’s lifting forces and transfers that force into the entire harness frame.

When it comes to the Unity’s design, we learned that fit and adjustment are key to getting the best on-the water-feel. The trick is to run as large of a bar as possible (8”, 10” and 12” available) and to sink as much of the ladder lock strap into the ratchet this pulls the bar as close as possible to the frame, enhances back support and significantly reduces hook torsion.

The Unity Spreader Bar makes getting out of the harness easy by just pulling open a little tab and sliding the bar off of the tab. There are two latches on the actual spreader bar for getting in and out of the harness and there are two gates on either side of the harness 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. The Unity Bar lets you switch between 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 out the harness hooks requires removing four screws (3mm hex Allen) and there’s a pocket for a kite knife in the tuck flap.

The release of the Lyte brings together the extra performance that comes with shedding weight and bulk while still providing the hard-shell support that Ride Engine is known for. The Lyte does an excellent job of removing load points from your hips and dispersing the pull of the kite to your entire back and scores extra points for feeling light and flexible when you’re mowing the lawn or throwing big tricks. Harness fit and feel is a very personal choice, but the Lyte establishes a new middle ground that sheds weight and will appeal to riders of all skill levels.


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