Paramotor harness systems can be categorized by their in-flight hang
point: low, mid, high, or hybrid. Only judge a machine while its hanging,
not sitting on the ground. Note: hang point is the
same as pivot point since the paraglider riser and carabiner move as one
unit, pivoting around the base of the carabiner.
Low hang point is where risers attach at or below your
What is commonly called a mid-connection system is, in flight,
a high. When sitting on the ground it looks like it's midway between a
low hook-in and a high. The connection point is on harness webbing that
rises above the shoulders as lift begins (see "Underarm Bar" at right).
A high hang point (or attachment point) is where the risers
above the pilot's shoulder.
A Hybrid suspension moves after launch.
For a comparison of each system's vice and virtue, check out
Points: High or Low?. Pivot point is where the risers,
carabiner and any strap the carabiner attaches to, pivots on the frame or
Attachment Point: Hard or Soft
carabiners attach to the harness webbing it is a harness (or soft)
attachment as pictured far left. When the carabiners attach to a frame
part or short webbing that attaches to a frame part, it is considered
frame (or hard) attachments such as the 2nd picture at left, a
Walkerjet. All low hook-in machines such as the Pap, Miniplane Weight
Shift, Fly with weight shift kit, Airfer, HE, and others have
hard attachment points where the carabiners either attach to a frame or to
a short piece of webbing that attaches to the frame. The significance is
that the pivot point (described below) is usually the frame and not harness
original style Fresh breeze, pictured far left, is a mix of soft and
frame attachment systems because the carabiner attaches to a floating
metal piece that serves as a spreader bar. Since that bar is not attached
to the motor frame, the effect is that it behaves like a harness
attachment system. A new (introduced 2006) Fresh Breeze harness is more standard,
having soft attachments and better torque handling.
The SD, pictured 2nd above, is a high hook-in, frame (or hard)
attachment system where the J-bars are able to pivot up and down. Nearly
all original paramotors had fixed J-bars that the carabiners attached to
and these, too, are frame attachments.
Almost all paramotors employ some method of pushing (spreading) the
front harness webbing away from the pilots chest while under power.
That prevents motor thrust from pushing you uncomfortably against
the front of the harness. Distance bars, comfort bars, underarm bars, J-bars, etc. are
all way to accomplish the
Only the most basic and low powered machines do not use spreader
systems such as
the now-rare Fly 70 and Adventure F1.
Bars that pivot up and down are usually intended to
improve weight shift (better termed riser shift). Bars that pivot
outward (they must never pivot inward) are intended to improve
egress/ingress. When mentioned here, pivoting bar refers only to those
that go up and down.
Sliding strap refers to systems where the
front webbing can slide up and down through a slit at the end of each bar.
This is done primarily so the seat bottom can go flat against the frame
while running but it also allows weight shift in flight.
Fly Products and the Comfort-Bar Fresh Breeze use this method.
J-Bars. Early machines all came with overhead J-bars to better
distribute the heavy motors of the time. So the term J-bar now means
over-the-shoulder J-bar whether pivoting or fixed.
wheeled machines use high hang points. They frequently use the
paramotor's harness (like the Paratoys quad unit shown at
left) but sometimes hang from a frame. The frame mount method allows the
pilot to sit lower while keeping the pivot point above the thrust line for
All tandem trikes that I'm aware of use a frame mount since the frame
is used as a spreader system. They must balance the weight of the
passenger and allow moving the hook-in point to accommodate varying
Riser Shift (Weight Shift)
The purpose of weight shift is to move the risers differentially to
help turn. For a left turn, the
left goes down and the right goes up.
All machines have some weight shift ability but not necessarily by design. Any machine that
allows less than 3 inches of riser shift with normal effort is considered
to non weight shift.