There’s a lot that goes into making a paramotor good. Engine, prop, harness, frame, cage, fittings, and accessories must all work together. Surprisingly simple changes can dramatically alter safety and/or comfort. When reviewing a motor I try to bring any complaint to the dealer or builder to see if it can be improved by adjustment. It frequently can.
Empty weight means everything needed to fly except fuel (or batteries for an electric). That means the weight includes harness, gas tank, prop and oil (for 4-strokes).
Weight Shift (Riser Shift) Note: All machines have some amount of weight shift, even those that don’t intend to. The high hook-in fixed j-bar machines have the least but, even those can achieve an inch of riser differential (the whole purpose of weight shifting).
Motor’s can be categorized by suspension systems and pilots frequently prefer one over another, sometimes religiously. They all have their advantages and disadvantages and one is not better than another, just different. Certainly one implementation can be better than another which is the point of these reviews.
Motors that hang back (see picture at left) will tend to have worse torque induced riser twist than machines hanging more vertical. Plus tilted back motors are harder to launch and land. Frequently adjustments can bring a motor to a more desirable attitude. Although low hang point motors tend to have the most leaned back suspension, others can do the same thing if not setup properly.
There is no certification of paramotors save Germany and Austria. If certification were offered, hopefully it would test things like cage strength, starter safety, proximity of prop to gas tank and other criteria as mentioned in A Better Paramotor.