About the time I down-sized my canopy from a 150 to 135, I changed out the connection between my risers and lines from a rapid-link to a soft-link.
Shown above are my risers with the soft-link tabs sticking out. Normally you’d have the tabs tucked away underneath the risers, but I pulled them out so you can see them.
Apparently, the soft links are better than the metal rapid links because they take the shock of opening a little better.
Installation was quite easy: loop the the link through the lines and risers twice and lock it in. The package for soft links even has an easy to understand illustrated guide on how to do it. Just be careful when you remove the older links not to change the order of the lines, otherwise you’ll have a lot of line checking to do.
Performance Designs recommends you replace the links at around the same time as you would replace the lines. Perhaps the links will outlast the lines and you can use them for much longer, but as my guide at PD said, “They aren’t expensive.”
So far, I’m happy with my soft links. Having less metal feels smoother in flight and smarter when packing.