Road harnesses, FIA harnesses. What’s the difference?

Everyone loves the look of the FIA harnesses available with 3″ webbing and twist buckle releases. But depending on your project, what your vehicles used for, they may not be appropriate. There’s a wide range of road harnesses produced for a very different application, so what is that difference and why would you choose one over the other?

EC Road harness belt features:

Click for our road harness listings

Road legal harness buckle at GSM Performance

EC Road harness belts can be noticed by a few key characteristics. Firstly they’ll have the same clip buckle with red button that you are used to with your standard seat belt. 1 shoulder strap and 1 lap strap will be sown together so that when the mechanism is released you can exit easily.

This is specifically designed into road harnesses so that the mechanism for entry and exit to the seat is universally known. In the case of  an accident, emergency services will know how to operate the new harness and buckle. This really is a key feature of the road harness belts we have available.

Road harnesses tend to use the same 2 inch webbing that is used for a standard seat belt. This is correct with 90% of harness belts on the market with only a few exceptions from OMP and Takata. Again this is to closely match the specification of the standard seat belt of a road vehicle.

FIA Harness belt features:

Click for our Motorsport harness listings

Motorsport buckle at GSM Performance

FIA Harness belts come with a very different mechanism. Instead of the universally known clip buckle they use a rotary twist mechanism which is designed entirely for strength and meets a higher level of safety standard. Each of the webbing supports from the shoulders and laps will clip into this mechanism individually. You can also add a 5th or 6 point to the base of the buckle which runs between the legs providing support during an incident.

These Motorsport harnesses will come with 3 inch webbing as standard or their are variations of 2 inch which are made specifically to be used with HANS devices. The 3 inch webbing allows for the load spreading to cover more of the torso and is usually more comfortable when used without a HANS. The 2 inch variation when used with a HANS device fits perfect into the devices groves and again will provide the correct level of support and comfort for the application. For more information about HANS harnesses please contact us.

Installation of harness belts:

Both the road harnesses and FIA harnesses will be available with 3 different types of fixings:

  1. Bolting plates
    1. Suitable for locations where space is tight and a bolt is easier to attach for a permanent fixing
  2. Clip in hooks with eye bolts
    1. These allow the harness to be clipped in and out of position with more ease using the eye hook
  3. Wrap around fixings
    1. This is only suitable for shoulder straps being secured to a roll bar or rear roll cage

The type of fixing will depend on how you want to install your harness belts. Harness belts are entirely universal by the nature of the product. Installation will need to be completed by a skilled professional. Set angles and heights need to be followed to ensure that the harness belt provides maximum support and safety. Schroth developed a very good fitting guide which we strongly recommend viewing.

What harness belt do we recommend?

Our recommendation will depend on what type of activity your using the harness for, if it’s a road car or race car, the type of seat it’s to be used with, if your going to wear a HANS device or not and how many strap points you need. So if you need more advice and want to talk to us, then give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Time to see the listings!

Our full range of road legal and Motorsport harnesses can be found on our sport seat and harness specialist website on the link below. We’ve split them out into categories to make it easier to locate the harness belt you want.

Click for our full harness belt listings