Hope this helps. I bought the 2017 ION Team Series Harness 4 days ago & have used it 3 times in great surf. All I can say is that it is really great. The guy at the shop was telling me to get it, "you won't be dissapointed". He was right.
What I like:
-the thing stays in the good spot on your back. several of my other harnesses would ride up when I would tighten them down. they would get pulled up & stay up. this thing doesn't seem to do that. not sure why.
-it feels good, has good back support.
-it's low profile. there is no hook banging around. i know i could lay on my board & paddle with it if i had to. i know i could swim with it if i had to. my old harnesses were to bulky to do that.
-it's pretty simple which i like
-the clip with the little red thing that locks it is pretty simple & seems to work easily.
-the rope is great. not sure it has resulted in smoother pull but seems to be the case. not sure why.
My other harness broke & I was reluctant to buy a new one. I went to 4 shops (I'm currently somewhere that has multiple kite shops) and looked at several brands: NP, Dakine, Mystic & Ion. For the price, this one was the winner.
Grabbed a CS Wave harness to check how to remove the rope and noticed 2 things:
1. In my last post I lied about the buckles... they are plastic, not metal as I stated. Still, getting it on and tight is not an issue.
2. Apparently the factory got a little carried away with the glue on some of these spreader bars. In short, it can be a pain to access the rope to add a ring or adjust/replace the rope. I have two solutions for you, the official one which some may find frustrating and the unofficial method which is less "clean" but also less frustrating.
Official recommended method to access the rope:
Start on the left side (as you wear it), pull the pad away from the plate. The included hook knife is a pretty good size to hold this space open so you can work on the rope. There is a metal plate in there along with a few inches of spare rope you can feed through the plate in order to free up some slack across the front of the spreader bar.
Then move to the right side (as you wear it). Same deal, pull back the pad. It can help to have some tweezers or needle nose pliers to reach in and grab the knotted end of the rope, pull out that excess slack you created on the other side, untie the knot, pull the line out the front and then either replace the line or add the ring or whatever you want to do, reinsert and tie off. Remove the slack from the other side, using the plate, if preferred.
Using a blade and straightedge cut a flap (mine is 2.75"/7cm long by 1.25"/3cm tall. Feel free to go shorter and/or move it outboard if these dimensions cause interference with the screwholes on smaller bars... I was winging this and am now thinking I could easily work with smaller flaps). Make two slices lengthwise and one short vertical slice on the outer edge so the flap is able to hinge on the inner edge (just see photos below). To make sure you don't cut the rope just make sure you're approx centered on the screw holes and make sure the vertical slice is no more than 1.25"/3cm from the edge of the pad. Do this on both sides et voile, easy access.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me or your dealer.
Hope to get my CS Wave this weekend, if and when needed I will try the factory method, if the glue is a bit much, then the unofficial method looks pretty good, and I suppose it doesn't really matter if the "flaps" eventually break off, "yes sir, it's the lightened custom model".
Last edited by jonysan on Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mick, go with the RE , I'm still getting the ION, seems like a minor detail, and I might use the rope slider or the hook spreader, maybe I'm insensitive but honestly sometimes I don't really notice the riding difference between rope and hook, I expect I would if I boosted more.
Think there's a little confusion... The buckles (4, 2 on each hip) that I was referring to as plastic are the ones you use to cinch or loosen the straps. The hook/closure mechanism is metal, as is the pin.
Totally get your disappointment, however... While it appears a bit ghetto when you initally hear the fix, I've heard that the current working model of the 2019 version of this harness literally has the factory using a tool to make this same cut for you, and initial versions of it are really clean and afford extremely simple access to the rope. Even with my ghetto 5-minute initial attempt using a rusty box cutter and wooden ruler it makes it super easy to access the rope and the flaps fold back perfectly.
I'm not a marketing guy, if I think something sucks I won't sugar coat it. I honestly think this workaround solves the access issue with no impairment to comfort/function and minimal cosmetic change. However, as I mentioned initially, I understand your disappointment, and if modifying your harness like this makes you uncomfortable I wouldn't blame you for choosing a different harness or holding out for the 2018.
Last edited by Dan-at-North on Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.