Fixed Hook or Sliding Rope – Which spreader bar is right for you?

Fixed Hook or Sliding Rope – Which spreader bar is right for you?

Ride Engine allows you to customize your harness by selecting your spreader bar. Not only do you get to pick the width that will fit your body the best (8”, 10”, 12”, 14”), but we also offer you the opportunity to pick between a fixed hook and rope slider. Picking your spreader bar allows you to customize your riding experience and have the best gear to match your style and discipline.

The most traditional setup is the fixed hook but there are many instances where you will find that a rope spreader bar can truly be to your advantage.

Here’s a quick feature-benefit analysis of the two:


 The fixed hook is by far the most popular spreader bar option. It was probably what you used when you were first taking lessons and is what most riders find familiar and easy to use. Fixed hooks give you a solid and sustained connection to your kite that gives you direct feedback. The durable metal construction will last the lifetime of your harness or longer.

Fixed hooks are the spreader bar of choice for Big Air riders and anyone who wants to send it huge.  Because of the stability of the connection, you can lean back against your kite, giving you something to balance against on those sketchy landings.

A fixed hook is required for sessions where you plan on unhooking. It goes without saying that you need a fixed hook for those days you will work on your back mobe. However, you might also want to unhook in the waves for a freestyle strapless session or some sick unhooked wave riding (we are looking at you Ben Wilson).

 However, fixed hooks have their limitations. Riding toeside or blind can feel clumsy because the chicken loops are locked into place. Also, the design of some chicken loops make it easy for them to pop off a fixed hook accidentally. 



A rope slider is just what it sounds like- a rope on your spreader bar instead of a fixed hook. This option is beloved by kiters who ride waves, allowing you to easily rotate your body as the chicken loop slides along the rope. Beginners will find that riding upwind and body dragging is much more efficient with a rope slider, and you can angle upwind more easily.

Rope sliders are popular for dedicated foilers for many of the same reasons. The rope allows the kite to move around you while maneuvering your board and lets you push the kite deeper in the wind window when you need that little power kick. Many freeriders also prefer a rope slider as it can make your ride cruisy and fun, even for the boosty sessions. 

It is important to pay special attention to the condition of your rope slider before each session, as they are prone to wearing out. Some riders don’t prefer rope sliders because it can make the kite feel loose and you don’t get as much direct feedback. Currently, we sell the rope slider as a kit to add on to your Unity Spreader Bar.



Countless hours of research and development have shown us that the spreader bar may need extra padding in the most intense conditions. We added a molded Mega Pad to our spreader bars for protection and support. Not everyone will need this added padding, but it can make all the difference for nuking 40 knot days or charging Big Air sessions with huge crashes.

Just got into Big Air but already own a Ride Engine Harness? You can purchase the pad as an add on to your Unity Spreader Bar.

Ride Engine Spreader Bar

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