Gin Genie Race 4 pod paragliding harness review

The Genie Race 4 is a paragliding harness for competition racers designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. It offers an inflated tailfin, a sleek pod with a windscreen and integrated containers for the two reserves. Phil Clark analyses his new purchase.

There had been news of the Genie Race 4 for some time during 2017. By the time the prototypes surfaced at shows like St Hilaire it seemed like delivery might be imminent, but it took another six months before I could get my hands on this beauty.

Gin GENIE RACE 4: fitting

Gin GENIE RACE 4 review: product shot

At 1.85m barefoot I’m right on the cusp between sizes. It was fairly clear right from the start just hanging in the simulator that the Medium size wasn’t to be. I couldn’t let out the upper ‘flight deck’ shoulder straps far enough and there was no room for spring clothing.

Harness fit is such a subjective thing, it’s well worth actively choosing a harness over buying blind and hoping for the best. The Large size of the Genie Race 4 had plenty of room to spare and being on the bottom end of the height range I opted to set up using the extra foot block in the pod. Setup was straightforward and the manual is clear.

Gin GENIE RACE 4: Construction

Gin GENIE RACE 4 review: seat area

I installed a Gin Anti-G, a light PDA reserve under the flight deck and a light Beamer 3 in the back (larger reserves would fit fine). The pockets under the seat and flight deck are really quite big, with plenty of room for packing bags or food/fluid/ballast. The rear pocket is a little tight for the largest Ozone rucksack but it still fits, including a normal concertina bag at the bottom.

Gin Genie Race 4 harness review
Photo by Colin M

The air supply for the inflatable rear section enters at the lower left and it’s worth making sure this isn’t blocked. Use the cinch cord to pull the pocket tight up to the back plate. The scuff sheet lining the bottom of the pod is a good idea too as the pod isn’t interchangeable.

Gin GENIE RACE 4: Launching

Gin GENIE RACE 4 review: launching

Launching is fairly straightforward for pod styled harnesses, as soon as the glider comes up the weight and bulk become manageable. Getting into the pod is easy, I’ve not struggled to get in yet and there’s no need for bits of bungee tangled in your laces or letting go of the controls to run the bag around with a hand. Maybe it’s because I’m using the foot block and the end of the pod is a little heavier.

Gin GENIE RACE 4: In the air

Gin GENIE RACE 4 review: flyby

Settling into position is good and I feel secure in the harness, it’s a similar position to my Advance Lightness but all that stiffness and structure is built in without having to tension the harness up using the foot plate. The visor definitely works in cutting out the wind noise and draught. I use it once high and settled, after I pull down the visor on my full face helmet.

I’ve only had a brief play with the stability strap but it definitely works and is easy to pull on or let out. It’s on some sort of ratio so you have to pull quite a lot for a little effect. Between the two extremes of full on and off there is a big difference in how the glider feels though.

Gin GENIE RACE 4 review: cockpit

The flight deck is perfectly positioned, ample size and at a perfect angle. You can even adjust the angle using the shoulder straps. The instruments don’t tend to get bumped or pressed during launch either. You can stow a battery pack under the deck if you’re running a ‘mobile’ flight instrument.

On bar the ratchet block pulleys are amazing, it’s so easy to have that little tweak to level the pulleys and then hold that position, there is some friction on the line as you ease off before the pulleys rotate so it will be worth checking for wear. Also, I swapped ends to get rid of the Brummel hooks, they are now in the pod with the line snagging slots hidden by O rings.

Gin Genie Race 4 review
Photo by Colin M 

Landing is just as easy as launch and it’s simply a matter of bending knees and rotating upright. Once I landed with the visor out but it wasn’t an issue, although it’s better to stow it.

Gin GENIE RACE 4: packing away

Gin GENIE RACE 4 review: packing

Packing is a bit of an issue as there is no easy way to store the visor/flight deck/reserve block. The video from the PWC shows the visor being removed but that was a proto and you can’t do it on the final version because of the way the reserve is stowed. I’ve taken to folding in the right side then the left with the block of reserve/deck/visor sitting out to the right side of the pack. This ends up being a misshapen lump to one side of the backpack but compression straps on the outside of the bag can help. It’s not comfortable to carry but then it isn’t meant to be hike and fly kit. Carrying on the flat for half an hour is easily doable and I rarely have to do any more than that. I bend my packed wing over the folded harness to help preserve the reinforcing rods. Make sure you have a large backpack to accommodate the bulk and you’ll be fine.

Gin GENIE RACE 4: versus the competition

Gin GENIE RACE 4 review: comparison

I looked at the Ozone Exoceat, the Kortel Kannibal Race 2 and the Woody Valley X-rated 7 but decided to wait the extra month for the large size Gin harness to arrive. I made the choice based on the low drag approach, having a minimal frontal area thanks to new style protector and intake for rear in nose. Of the four I think the Genie Race 4 packs smallest.

The Kannibal seemed too fussy inside. It had great lumbar support though between hips and ribs at the sides. The XR7 was too bulky underneath, I preferred the look / shape of the XR6. I was poking out the back of the Exoceat, for S/M/L they only change the pod length not the harness structure so it works best for S / M pilots only.

Because I used Flybubble’s Harness MATCH service I was able to see the alternatives side-by-side and get a feel for each before deciding on the right one for me.

Gin GENIE RACE 4: Who’s it for?

Gin GENIE RACE 4 review: front shot

What I wanted was a durable aerodynamic harness with space for the safety kit. What I have is the most compact version of that style of harness I can get. It’s clean, refined, well put together and I have no doubts it’s going to be with me for a long time. It is bulky but with the lighter class you lose the aerodynamic refinements and some of the safety aspects. So far I’ve only flown it with the high aspect 2 liners (Zeno and Enzo 3) and I look forward to trying it out with the sports class gliders. For me it was well worth the money and the wait.

Find out more about the Gin GENIE RACE 4 

Gin GENIE RACE 4: Review video

 

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