Which paragliding harness is the best?

what’s my weight? it’s important to check
before you fly. what many people don’t know is the Advance compress bag
(you see it’s down there) if you just touch here and then you step on the bag
gently, gently … lift the wing up give it a second to calibrate. There you go! Have I got toys for you! so I’m gonna try
out the epsilon 9. I’m gonna try it with three different harnesses today so
you can get an idea of how that changes the feeling on the glider.
you might have one of any of these setups. so we’re gonna try with the
easiness so that’s a really compact reversible harness; it makes your kit really
light. we’re gonna try with the success 4, that’s a really good solid
harness with lots of back protection, a really nice upright harness. and we’ll also
try the lightness 3. that gives you a more of a racing kind of
cross-country harness set up. you’ll see it changes the overall weight quite
a bit so it’s important to decide how are you matching the wing with the rest
of your gear so you know where you are on the weight range. it’s a mid B glider
if I’m gonna fly two kilograms over the top of the weight range on a mid B
glider it’s still gonna be a mid B glider it’s not gonna dramatically
change the safety parameters on the wing. but it’s not officially certified beyond
that weight so the ideal wing for me would be the next size up so that I’m in
the weight range but for testing purposes let’s see what it does. and when
I’m on the easiness 3 I’ll be in a nice place in the weight range so that’s
fine I’ll do most of my reviewing with that harness in that weight. let’s check
it out. lightness 3 so this is with the Success 4
harness. you need a bigger bag because the harness is bigger so there’s more
weight with the bag and you’ve got a bigger harness with more protection. easiness 2 – you can tell I like this
setup. it’s a split leg reversible harness. I’ve got a reserve in there (all
of the setups I’ve had with a reserve and with my flying jacket and my camera
and my helmet) everything’s in there it’s a complete setup so you can compare the
weights. this is remarkably compact but you know
you’ll have a different feeling in the three harnesses so let’s take the
epsilon up into the air I’ll do the review on the three
different harnesses and you can see maybe there’s a difference in feeling? I
don’t know. easy liftoff, conditions are very strong
and they’re a bit lumpy. I can already feel it’s got a very
responsive turn I’m using a small amount of brake input there and I’m getting a
very nice 360 so personally I love this feeling I love the wing that responds
and it doesn’t need a lot of muscle to get it to turn tight Ears coming in nicely, fairly stable, nice descent rate. speeding it up a little bit on half bar releasing the ears, they come out on their own. I can see the other gliders are moving around quite a lot
it’s quite gusty, I’m feeling the wing is not pitching much it’s got a little bit of
pitch energy there it was going forward but it’s holding itself together in a
very balanced fashion. you can see there the range of motion I’ll try and keep it
steady and look up I’m not gonna do anything on the brakes now I’m just
gonna fly through this small turbulence and you can see the sort of
movement you’re getting of the wing: not much in pitch, a little bit in yaw
and roll but that’s to be expected that’s the air conditions. so it’s holding itself together very
nicely in the choppy air I’m not feeling like I’m getting any changes in energy
you know lots of retained energy and lots of speed that I have to then manage
it’s kind of averaging things out. so that’s the leading edge no acceleration and this is the leading edge on full bar my toes are right out on the bar I’m using the back risers just to catch
the glider a little bit that’s a clean and efficient feeling I’m in lumpy air and it’s not feeling scary and I’m hardly having to do much on the
pitch it’s a gentle acceleration. gonna test out
that spin on the corner, so we do a 180 degree turn I’m gonna climb out I’m
gonna put too much brake on the inside let it spin a bit. Ahh, it’s very very
easy, let’s do it again … spin it there and … it’s wanting to mildy go into a spiral turn. Let’s do it again, there in the corner a bit of a
spin very nice no problems there so slow flying,
cornering, particularly good. good resistance to spin, nice and responsive.
okay so that first flight was on the Success 4, that one, flying in pretty windy
conditions. I can’t really tell you the comparison, let me fly on the other
harnesses now and see if the feeling changes. I can let you know what the
difference is. The Epsilon feels very cool and it feels very similar to the epsilon 8
so far. I presume it’s been refined and cleaned up, it probably flies a little bit cleaner a little bit more glide but it’s the same
wing, same class, feels nice and easy. Thanks to Phil we got some nice aerial
footage there of swooping around on the epsilon 9, thanks Phil, always good
to have some team pilots around. and this is the lightness 3 so that gives you
a slightly different feeling in the air definitely you don’t feel like you’re
sitting on that big seat plate of the success, you feel slightly less of the
movements of the glider actually in the lightness but let’s get up in the air
and we’ll talk a little bit more once we’re up there. just leaning
back … lovely launch on that. super nice launching like that, just letting the
brakes go and letting the glider come up on its own Now on the Lightness, it’s a different
feeling here. how to analyze this? I would say there’s more of a delay
in the movements, it really does feel like I’m flying in a very long boat, if you know what I mean, you’re not getting those immediate
reactions of the wing. I can feel them but then the energy gets transmitted
into the harness and the harness has got a delay, a slightly wallowy
slowing down feeling. it’s very nice, it’s very mellow. so it changes the feeling of
the glider, definitely. the wing immediately feels less low aspect
actually it feels less like a little go-kart which you get when you’re on a
seat plate and you get that direct feeling of this little wing and you’re
going zip zip around because this has got no seatplate it’s like I’ve got
some sort of shock absorbers … that’s the word I was looking for! this whole
harness is a shock absorber so it’s like you’re driving a saloon car as opposed to
a rally car, you get these carving movements, I’ll show you, there’s the lightness there and it’s definitely smoothing things out turning into the corners more gentle. so that’s quite interesting. if you’re
finding that you’re getting maybe unnerved by bumpy turbulent
conditions it might have something to do with the seat plate and the harness that
you’re flying and this lightness 3 smoothens things out. okay having said
that, this sort of thing is not for everybody because you’ve got more of
this sort of delayed yaw like this, okay, I’m gonna swing a bit like that … you’ve got this sort of yaw that happens
with your feet because your feet are pointing out in front of you, they’ve got weight, your boots are out there or your shoes and your big heavy feet
are swinging backwards and forwards and it takes a bit of experience to get
used to pushing on the footplate. I’m pushing on the foot plate, down at the bottom, left and right, to equalize and level out, steady up that
yaw. so it takes a little bit of experience to be able to do that
comfortably and remove that movement from your flying. you really need to fly
this sort of a harness on the footplate. you’ve got your full weight and you
need to set it up right so that your your feet are nicely balanced and strong
on that footplate. then you get the advantage of the harness which is that
smooth feeling of really nice calm control. cool guys so now we’re in the easiness 2. let’s give it a try. A happy little lightweight feeling. easy to get the bar on this. I remember this feeling you kind
of sit up like a little monkey and then push out on the bar. This harness is
quite nice, it’s holding me towards the base of my spine, that’s quite nice. I probably want to do the straps up a little bit here. that’s
quite easy to do in flight, gives it a slightly better feeling, more contact
with the back of the harness. it’s nice and I can probably put you in there … whoops, you’re upside down! all right there we go. even a little bit
more. that’s quite nice. so it’s a more compact
feeling you know this the seating position in this I’m feeling like I’m
kind of sitting up to dinner. I’m more upright than the other two. and you can see there that with the
split leg I’m getting lift at one side or the other depending on which way the
wing is lifting. now that’s quite cool for you to learn which side the thermal
is. it’s a slightly softer feeling than the success
where you’ve got the seat board because it has still got some shock absorber in it
because it’s a soft feeling but it’s a separated feeling left and right. good
contact with the wing this way. I’m feeling it … the wing now feels like this [gestures], with the split leg, like one side and then the other
side. you definitely feel like the wing becomes two wings connected, it’s still
nicely smooth and comfortable. I think this is a very comfortable
position for shorter flights for scenic flights, coming down from a big mountain
or something like that but for a long cross country I think it’s not
going to be as comfortable as a success 4 with your feet on the stirrup or
definitely not as comfortable as a lightness. so I’m trying to analyze for
you what the feeling of the wing is you can see I’ve got more of that roll
with the split leg. on the pitch axis the glider still feels the same it’s very
steady and it doesn’t seem to be yawing, the harness kind of matches the wing
movement and this is quite a good position for any kind of SIV or any
collapse scenarios because you’re already sitting up and your weight is nicely
close to the risers not back where you can swing. an amazing thing with this
easiness set up is the back of my harness here I’ve actually got nothing
in here I’ve got lots of space to carry stuff so if you doing some sort of volbiv or adventuring this actually gives you a lot of packing space
in the back while you’re flying but you are fully exposed so you’re probably
gonna have to wear more clothing to compensate for the lack of a speed
bag. but I certainly love how compact the
whole setup is and the wing feels very nice with this harness, very pleasant. I’m
aware of the lower protection with this harness. I’ve got an airbag. it’ll do
something but it’s not as good as the success 4 protection. all right so we’re going through some
rough air now because the wind is off to the north, you can see that I’ve got hardly
any penetration this way so it’s probably about 30 km/h on the nose which means it’s likely to kick off some
turbulence of little ridge in front in the treeline. you really get a feeling
with this harness that you can pull one leg down and it’s connected directly to
the riser that you’re leaning on so you kind of get more weight shift input
even than a seat board. like that, particularly if I’m just touching my
thumb against the riser and I’m using that to push away. it’s not pulling, it’s
pushing away, the force is this way that gives you quite a big weightshift effect, more than
enough for thermaling. this little harness is also very nice for adjusting
in the air because of the straps. the strength bearing strap is on the inside
and the adjusting straps on the outside so it’s not such a thick piece of webbing that’s going through the buckle Yeah, I’m really enjoying this harness. you do feel a bit like a monkey, kind of like sitting
in a little chair with your legs drawn in but it’s a very easy position, a
comfortable position. I’ve now got into a very comfortable position with the bar,
my legs are relaxed. I could fly for hours like this, not a problem.
I am fully in the win though, and I can feel I’m cooling down but I can feel the wing and in terms of
feedback from the wing this might actually be the most useful one, in terms of
feedback, I can feel the wing pulling left and right which is really what you
want to know. you can feel it directly, immediately. I’m just holding the brake there, right
there is zero break, there the brake is taking. down to the carabiner look at
that turn, can you see the quickness? I can actually do a 360 just with that
little turn, brake at the carabiner. that’s very responsive I think it’s the
most responsive in the class in terms of the quickness of the turn. because of
that I think you’ve gotta be careful that you don’t sell this wing to pilots that are too new. I think ideally you want to go on to the
Alpha first after school fly that for a year so that you develop the sensitivity.
you can really turn and respond quickly and just follow those tiny little bits
of lift without needing a lot of brake pressure. if you just let it go and you
leave it, it’s very balanced. it does tell you what the air is doing, left and right.
bear in mind I’m also in the split leg harness so it’s giving me more of that
feeling but you certainly feel which side of the wing is going into lift.
it doesn’t have much pitch energy forward. I don’t feel like I’m having to hold it
back and if I’m going on bar accelerating it it’s
very smooth steady. we went through some lumps there and the
wing held itself together nicely. you can use a little bit of the back risers just to
hold it back just on those little pitches that you get. so here’s the
brake. there it’s taking already. and this is my thermaling turn, I’m putting it down
to the carabiner. look at the speed of this turn, that’s a really fast 360, I
mean that’s a really good thermaling turn, that’s really tight. you do have to
be careful if you’re an inexperienced pilot and you put him a little bit too
much cornering you can see how quickly you’re going to a spiral. okay. maybe something that could be reigned back a little bit for the mid B class. so it’s suited to pilots that have got feel and
good judgment and aren’t gonna panic and put in too much input. having said that
the spin resistance is pretty good and it’s very mellow if it does spin so
that’s not an issue of actually turning too tight and getting the wing to slip;
it’s no problem. and it’s very resistant and very mellow
for the stall point so again no problem, no fuss. very easy. I like it, it’s the kind
of wing that I enjoy flying it’s going to be suited to pilots with a bit of
finesse. thanks again to our patrons we really appreciate your support. if
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appreciate your attention and I will see you in the next episode! Time to play. Is that thing still on? Oh, loving that sound!

22 thoughts on “Which paragliding harness is the best?

  1. Great video! Great Topic! Well done Greg!

    I've found split legs to be less responsive to harness input…your review seems to contradict that evaluation. I can def see the feeling being more sensitive. But do you find that you have to put more effort in for harness inputs with the split leg than the other two?

  2. Great review Greg! At 13:47 I can see you didn't buckle the top strap of the harness (I know it is not mandatory). I find that when i get into a committed torpedo position, not having that strap buckled the shoulder straps get too wide apart and it feels scary/dangerous. Do you have any thoughts on that? Cheers.

  3. I find that my current wing (Iota-1 27) is much calmer with a seat plate (Gin Genie Lite 2) than without (Sup-air escape 2). It feels very jittery and noisy, on the reversible, with the pod its a lot quieter. I suspect that its similar wing movements (I've not flown them both in the same conditions+site+day), but the pod just damps out more of the chatter. I fly at a similar AUW in both cases. Although this may be more to do with the two specific harnesses than anything to do with seatplate v's hammock.
    Another prominent reviewer often comments on the differences 2 kg make, does that apply here? Do you think the conclusions about harness feel would be consistent if flown at the same AUW with each?

  4. It seems that you like ADVANCE 🙂 . What about a WANI2 ? The way it behaves in the air is more like the success? Thx for a answer…

  5. Greg, thanks for all your informative videos, much appreciated! Can you tell me/us how does the Kolibri compare to the split leg harness (reviewed here) and the Lightness 3, in comfort, sensitivity etc? Any comments on hang point height for the Lightness 3 (which I believe is higher, than the Lightness 2) vs Kolibri. Can you do a video review of the Kolibri please? (I have read your write up vs Skywalk Range)….Cheers!

  6. I really enjoy your reviews and detail information about equipment and gliders, I am wondering if have any review of Icaro Buteo XC. I am interested on this wing but I have not seen that many reviews.

  7. Your work is f>>>ing amazing, thx so much; the learning never stops, you always give some extra input; love love, Namaste

  8. Greg, you are amazing, no-where have l read about the Success 4 being a ´sport car like harness, or a hard ride as you put it. I bought a Rush 5 at top all-up 91kg, and 94kg max, l bought the Success 4 at the same time and no-where is this harness written about as being a great, but sports-car like feedback, which it namely is; l found out immediately with my first flight, how hard this harness relates its sports car character. I have only flown 4 times with it but l am so fed-up with its feedback, even with 42cm belt width and my chest strap tight. I thought it was me, as usuel, doing something wrong, uhhhh! I long to buy another more normal seat!

  9. Love your vids Greg. Sensible advice as well as recommendations. If only more beginner/intermediate pilots would follow your advice there'd be a lot fewer accidents. Keep them going!

  10. Are you able to compare this glider to the BGD Epic? Particularly with relation to the brake feel which Greg seems to really like on the Epsilon?

  11. Greg, I just started paragliding, and have a Kortel Karver II, under an Epic wing. As split legs go, what are your feelings about the Karver? Ah, just found your video on the Korvel … I bet you'll answer my question right there. 😉 Thx

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