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Tkb Review: 2022 Ride Engine Elite Carbon V7

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

Ride Engine Says:

The benchmark in carbon-fiber hard-shell harnesses, the Elite Carbon continues to lead the way””this year at 25% less weight. We rethought every component on the Elite Carbon and intelligently pulled weight by using thinner, leaner materials whenever possible”” all without sacrificing durability and performance.

Equipped with Unity Ladder-Lock Straps so it’s ready to integrate with our Unity Spreader Bar, the Elite Carbon is still constructed using top-shelf 12k carbon fiber, which ensures a durable, strong Armor Shell frame in a lightweight, high-performance package. When combined with our Fusion Memory Foam and proprietary Shell Skin technology with Lumbar Lock shaping, the Elite Carbon provides the ultimate in connection, feel and support.

Visit for more info: https://rideengine.com/collections/harnesses/products/carbon-elite-v7-black


Tkb Says:

The Elite’s name says it all; it brings the top features and most supportive design to the Ride Engine harness line and offer riders incredible back support for their riding. As the direct descendent of the first hard-shell kiteboarding harness, the Elite encompasses years of research and development in the race to offer riders rigid support with the most ergonomic fit.

The Elite’s delivers the most ridged of hard-shell frames with the use of 12k carbon weave. The 12k carbon’s bigger weave allows Ride Engine to use a bit less carbon to reach the optimal strength while reducing weight. This year, the Elite’s waist band swaps from neoprene to ripstop in the quest to cut 20% from the weight of the harness.

One of the key innovations that help the Elite offer the best support is the integration of the Unity Spreader Bar system with its 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.

In terms of fit and feel, the Elite offers the tallest back and the widest shell width of Ride Engine’s offerings in order to provide the most surface area to disperse the loads of the kite. Of the three rigid shell harnesses in the Ride Engine lineup, the Elite has the most lumbar shaping in the shell and you can feel that as it meets the shape of your back. The Elite’s wider and taller stance concentrates the loads on the flat of your back and eliminates the load on your hips and on the edges of the harness template. It uses a smooth inner lining and the harness doesn’t move out of position because its shape locks into your anatomy. The Elite is the most rigid of the three harnesses, and with that you get uncompromised support, but you also loose just a little bit of torso maneuverability and it might take a little more effort to make a grab, but that’s certainly a price to pay for those who have back issues and/or want support and comfort.

Ultimately, with a 20% reduction in weight this year and some refinements in material choice, the Elite remains one of the most comfortable yet rigid framed harnesses with supreme support for your back. Combined with the Unity Spreader Bar, the Elite’s carbon shell works as a cohesive structure that tames the pull of the kite and evenly distributes loads to the center of your back for the ultimate comfort that spreads instead of focusses loads.


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