Whether you have a Polaris RZR, Can-Am X3, Kawasaki KRX, Honda Talon or Wildcat XX, one of the best upgrades you can do for your machine is to upgrade your factory automotive style belts to a four or five point harness. Not only are they safer, but they can actually be more comfortable as well.
There are multiple styles available from many manufacturers. Without sitting in a machine with them already installed, it’s hard to know what is best for you. Harnesses come in different widths, have various features, may use padding to make them more comfortable and use various latching systems. We’re going to take this time to go through some of the top harnesses on the market to give what we feel will make your decision easier.
First, the difference between four and five point harnesses. A four point harness comes with two shoulder belts and two lap belts. All four belts meet at one central location to hold them all together. A five point harness adds one other point of attachment called a submarine belt that goes between your legs and into the crotch area. The sub belt keeps you from sliding down into your seat in certain crash conditions. Not all UTVs are capable of running a five point harness straight from the factory though, so you may need to purchase an additional accessory or a different seat base to run this type of harness system.
We feel that the most important consideration for choosing a harness is the way it latches. There are two most common kinds of latches. The latch-and-link and the cam-lock. The latch-and-link belts are the most popular and most common. They operate as a hook and loop. The shoulder belts and sub belt slide onto the loop, and the hook latches onto the loop, holding it all together. The cam-lock latch operates as a hub. The shoulder belts, sub belt, and other lap belt push into the cam latch, clicking into place like a standard automotive seat belt.
The latch and link style is the most common and also most reliable and the cam lock style is the easiest to operate. The automotive style latching system is the one most susceptible to mud and grit however, which can cause it to to catch properly. For this reason, we don’t recommend them for offroad use. Additionally, most offroad racing organizations do not allow them.
On the topic of racing, when searching for harnesses, you have likely noticed some that advertise themselves as SFI rated. The SFI Foundation, Inc. (SFI) is a non-profit organization established to issue and administer standards for the quality assurance of specialty performance and racing equipment. Because the SFI foundation only rates for five point harnesses and higher, you will not see this certification for four point harnesses.
The most common required certification is SFI 16.1. When certifying for 16.1, SFI applies a load over a body block on the laps and shoulders and over the complete five or six point assembly. The harness must not break under 6,300 lbs for lap and shoulders belts, and 1,500lbs for anti-submarine straps. SFI 16.5 increases this rating to 7,000 lbs and undergoes additional examination for abrasion and slip tests. SFI certification is good for two years from the date of manufacturer.
Is a SFI certification needed to run a quality harness in your UTV? Not unless you’re racing and it’s required, however having that additional testing shows that what you’re buying has gone through stringent testing and is going to keep you protected as much as possible.
Finally, many UTVs have a safety feature built in that will not allow the vehicle to go over a certain speed without the seatbelt buckled up. If that is the case, you will want to purchase seat belt override, which will complete the loop and turn off that function. Alternatively, you can tie the wires together if you are ok with doing some basic wiring.
The One Must Have Accessory for Your Harnesses: Quick Release Harness Mounts
Ditching the factory seat belts and installing safety harnesses is one of the most popular modification that UTV owners make. However, removing the harnesses can be a slow and annoying process. Dragonfire Racing offers these quick release mounting kits for four and five point UTV harnesses. The quick release snap kits install easily and allow for quick removal for cleaning or maintenance. According to Dragonfire, these were invented by “race team technicians to hold harnesses securely even in the worst conditions, but also quickly detach for the scurry in the pits”.
They are sold per seat and eliminate having to unbolt your harnesses or slide them through the slots in the seats every time you remove them. We have found these to be a great time saver and highly recommend them.
PRP 5.3 and PRP 4.3 Harness
The PRP 5.3 harnesses are the most comfortable harnesses that we have used. The PRP 5.3 is a five point SFI 16.1 rated system with each strap being 3″ wide. The five point harness has sewn in shoulder pads that stop chaffing on the neck and adds extra comfort, especially on long rides offroad. Each harness includes all black hardware for cool styling. The EZ adjusters allow you to adjust your shoulder straps quickly, even if they are dirty or muddy. We’ve found that the PRP adjustment system to be the easiest of any harnesses we’ve used.
The harness also has a removable sternum strap, and a red latch guard on the lap belt. The lap belt bolts in. The shoulder harness and sub strap can either bolt down or wrap around a roll bar.
The PRP 4.3 harness is the 5.3’s less expensive cousin and is made exactly like the 5.3, except it doesn’t include the sub strap and as such, is not SFI rated. Both the PRP 5.3 and PRP 4.3 come in a variety of colors, including black, silver, red, blue, yellow and orange.
PRP 5.3 Custom Harness
If you are racing or thinking about getting out onto a course, the PRP 5.3 Custom Harnesses may be right for you. There are tons of options available for these, including quick release clips (you will still need to purchase eye bolts for these). Most importantly, the shoulder belts go from the the standard three inch padded webbing and then folded over and necked down to two inches to allow them to more easily fit a HANS style neck restraint that is required by most racing bodies.
Like Henry Ford said of the Model T, you can have any color you want as long as it’s black. However, even though PRP doesn’t offer the color options with this harness like they do with their others, the way you can configure it more than offsets the lack of colors.
G-Force Offroad SFI 5 Point Harness
Possibly the best value in five point SFI certified harnesses on the market today. G-FORCE Racing Gear brings years of extensive safety performance product innovation to the off-road market. The 3″ webbing used in the harness sets is made even more comfortable with sewn in shoulder/chest pads for all day use. On the go tensioning is made quick and easy with the lightweight aluminum. Even though these are roller type adjusters, we’ve found them easier to tighten or loosen than other roller style adjusters used by other manufacturers.
All hardware is deep midnight black for a more finished look. The harness set comes with a sternum strap that slides over the belts to keep them closed. This is the only slight knock that we can give these harnesses in that the sternum strap not as easy to use as others on the market that latch together
Pro Armor 4 Point Harness with Sewn In Pads
If you’re a recreational rider, the convenience and added value features of the Pro Armor harnesses are hard to beat.
The 3″ harnesses come with sewn in pads for maximum comfort while out riding. Each harness comes with a water resistant phone pocket on one side and a mesh light pocket with a puck style flashlight on the other. The shoulder straps are held together with an adjustable sternum strap. The lap belt and shoulder straps are sewn together to allow for an easier time to strap in to go riding. Lap and shoulder belts that are sewn together won’t pass tech for most racing bodies, however this makes latching them up significantly easier. The lap belt comes with leather patch on the quick release buckle so there is no pinching.
The Pro Armor harnesses come in a variety of colors including black, red, blue, orange and silver.
Dragonfire Racing EVO 4-Point Harness
Though we’re not usually a fan of 2″ width harnesses, we think these harnesses are not only comfortable, but also innovative. The EVO UTV harness contoured design and neck yoke distribute the jarring of the ride through the UTV harness rather than on pressure points. Its four point sewn in design and adjustable sternum clip makes for getting in and out of the UTV incredibly easy. Putting these harnesses over your shoulders is exactly like putting backpack on.
The EVO harness does require a pass through style seat, which can allow the straps to go through the seat instead of around them. The roller style tightening system can be sometimes a little difficult to loosen back up. However, if you’re looking for a comfortable four point harness, this set from Dragonfire Racing should be near the top of your list.
IMMI Click 6 Harness
IMMI has been making seat belts and safety products since 1961 and is the OEM manufacturer for the Polaris and Kawasaki Click 6 Harnesses.
We should address the elephant in the room. For all the added safety that a full harness offers UTV riders versus factory belts, the one drawback is freedom of movement that a retractable belt offers. IMMI came up with a solution in offering a retractable six point belt in an attempt to give the best of both worlds. The Click 6 Harness uses 2″ webbing throughout the system and buckles together with a standard automotive style latch. Adjusters are included on leg and waist straps to keep you securely in place, while the retractable shoulder harnesses allow you to reach up, lean forward and adjust like you would with a normal automotive style belt. Sudden stopping forces or unexpected angles will lock up the shoulder harnesses to protect you in the event of a mishap.
The drawback to the system is like first mentioned in the article is that there is the slim possibility that mud or grime can effect the buckle latching or shoulder belt retracting system. However, IMMI has an industry-wide reputation for being tops in safety products and testing and even have their own crash and product testing facilities. Their Center for Advanced Product Evaluation (CAPE), is the only crash test facility of its kind in the world.