Forums Boots Atomic Backlands with Phantom Link
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  • #830621
    karkis
    270 Posts

    I recently had the pleasure of a visit from my favourite space craft engineer, aka Phantom Splitboard Bindings, who showed me how easy it is to set up the Atomic Backlands for snowboarding, with a huge upgrade provided by his Link lever for ride mode.

    I’ve been riding in AT boots for the past dozen or so years, most recently (~5 years) i’ve been on a couple / few versions of the Dynafit TLT6 Mtns…. I actually had a new pair that i busted out just last year and modded up. It’s not much of a snowboarding boot out of the box and it does take some time, effort, commitment, boot fitting and warranty voiding to make it work well for snowboarding but i should say that i was quite happy with that pair of boots! After all those years of figuring out how to make them work with help from @jvosburgh, and @barrows thread on this forum, and Phantom’s cuff pivot replacement, i didn’t have much intention of switching up my footwear and having to go through that process of experimentation and learning with another model of boots….

    But @keffler knows my weakness (gear slut) and he scored a (barely) used pair of Backlands (carbon highback) in my size from Atomic so i was set to try it out.
    I’d shown John my take on the best buckle placement for the TLT6s and this was easy to replicate with the Backlands, using a plastic strap from a Dynafit buckle kit and a bolt from the BnD or Phantom cuff pivot kit. No rivets needed to be drilled as Atomic uses threaded fasteners rather than rivets. Then we replaced the ski mode lever with the Phantom Link snowboard mode lever, again just screw off, screw on, quick and easy (but don’t forget thread locker!!). And then…… we were done!! I did a bit of carpet testing and we messed around with some stuff, but doing what needed to be done took about 15 minutes.

    Backlands w. Link levers

    No drilling. No filing or grinding. Nothing irreversible. Warranty stands!!

    Stock liners in most lightweight / rando boots are pretty minimalist and the Backlands’ liners are exactly that. Maybe ok for a couple hours racing when your expectations are all about suffering, but nowhere near supportive or comfortable enough for full days of splitting. I put in an oldish pair of Intuition Classic RD wrap liners that were too packed out for my old (high volume) Dynafit One boots and they were snug and supportive in the lower volume Atomics.
    The Backland comes with optional tongues, soft and stiff, I put the soft ones in my pack and we headed for the hill.

    We sniffed around a bit for the best groom and we mached it a couple of times. I put the soft tongue in and we did it again. I took the tongue out and did it some more… I leave the tongues at home now. With the range of motion allowed, and the flex provided, by the Phantom Link lever, i don’t feel the need for any further modifications to the boot.

    The ride is a fair bit ‘softer’ than my TLT6s (I do use the old, discontinued, soft tongue in my 6s). By ‘softer’, i mean, on the toe side the flex is more progressive with farther range of motion, and on heel side the dampening is really nice, smooth. I ride with the cuff buckled quite loosely on both the TLTs and Backlands, there’s more medial and lateral flexibility with the Backlands. You can tighten the buckles for tricky split skiing or side hilling, if necessary, and on the Backlands the cuff buckle and the ride mode are separate.

    In tour mode the Backlands have as much range of motion as the TLTs. They are also significantly lighter (~850g Backland, shell only, compared to >1kg TLT, shell only, size 29, all mods included).

    Key points that make this boot work well include:

    The liner you use makes a big difference in the support you receive from the shell. I’ve tried a number of stock and aftermarket liners and i personally prefer soft flexing wrap liners for all around mobility and comfortable support.

    The carbon cuff seems to be the more reliable option. I’ve heard a number of reports of the Backlands cuff failing, all have involved the version with the plastic cuff. Carbon is stronger and lighter, and the carbon piece is more like a highback, it doesn’t wrap around the shin. There’s just a pretty minimal plastic wrap that’s riveted to the carbon and buckles in front of the shin, it’s easily flexed.

    The Phantom Link Lever is a crucial part of the picture for ride mode. I understand it can be used all across the current Atomic boot line up. It uses a spring to provide progressive forward flex on the toe side, and a bushing to dampen the heel side. Forward lean is adjustable from around 5 – 25 deg (adjustment requires tools). I believe there will 4 spring sets possible, it’s currently available with #3 springs (moderately stiff), although i’m now using #4 springs (most stiff). Spring preference will depend on the rider’s weight and preference, and the model / stiffness of boot.

    Link lever in tour mode

    Link lever in ride mode

    Link under pressure

    You can’t really tell but i have a lot of weight (100lbs +) on the cuff at a perpendicular angle ie directly onto the lever

    never summer snowboards
    phantom splitboard bindings
    dynafit touring
    atomic boots

    #830874
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    karkis, thanks for sharing! I was out with Phantom Splitboard Bindings yesterday, and noticed he was riding some modded Atomic Backlands Ultimates. I would suggest that for those not afraid of a few mods and who are looking for very soft (in terms of medially/laterally/torsionally) flexing boots they should consider the Ultimates. The Ultimates use a slightly different cuff arrangement, with a more minimal cuff which provides a lot of flexibility. On would probably have to add a cuff buckle to use the Phantom lever (preferred!), and this also allows separate adjustment of cuff tension and lean lock (also preferred) as you have here with the Backlands Carbon. Of course adding the buckle on the cuff should be easy. John was really enjoying the ride quality.

    #830875
    mgco3
    50 Posts

    Also a big thanks from me for the great write up! I had my first tour with the Link levers on my modded Backlands (alpine) two days ago and I am really impressed how good they work. Installation and forward lean adjustment is very easy and the forward lean is fine tunable. The upper buckle adds a lot of sidehold while skinning (I did not use it with my old mod, makes a big difference). The forward flex is quite progressive and the backward damping make it more easy to dose the edge hold. I still need to adapt better to the new ride feeling, but I can very well imagine the Link levers can turn a brand new Backland into an AT snowboard boot. Stoked!

    Amplid Milligram 163, Tour Operator 159 & LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alphas 14/15, Atomic Backland w/ Phantom LinkLevers
    https://mgco3.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/conathanjumpman/

    #830927
    Iu hyu
    6 Posts

    Hi to everyone,

    This is my first post, but I’ve spent many hours reading this forum before I made the change to hardboots.

    I’m waitting for the Phantom link, and I’m really thankful to the Phantom Team and John for his patience and answers.
    I just bought the Atomic Backland Ultimate. I have ridden 3 days with the boots without moods and just the top part with the less tension possible and I really like the ride. They are awesome with good snow, and acceptable with Pyrenees shity hard snow .
    I will writte more details on the backland boots forum: http://splitboard.com/talk/topic/atomic-backlands-thoughts-on-mods/

    world is our playground. keep it clean.

    #830930
    mgco3
    50 Posts

    Thank you for your input, Iu Salillas! Shitty snow rides shitty anyway, even with softboots 😉

    Phantom’s waiting list you are talking about is closed. The first mini series is already sold out. Now they are collecting input/thoughts from the people riding with the Link levers and they will bring em out for regular purchase next season (around 200$, probably from October/November on).

    Amplid Milligram 163, Tour Operator 159 & LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alphas 14/15, Atomic Backland w/ Phantom LinkLevers
    https://mgco3.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/conathanjumpman/

    #831027
    whistlermaverick
    312 Posts

    Haven’t been here in months and I check in to see what’s up and all the answers are here for the new boots.
    Modded up some Ultimates the last couple days, down to see the Intuition peeps today, see how they ride agin tomorrow. Looks like I missed the boat on the lever.

    @j.memay

    #844328
    Method
    150 Posts

    I am soon to enter the netherworld that is “fruit booting”.

    I have my backland carbons (only have the bog standard liners).
    I have my phantoms (including touring toes that no longer need adapter plate).
    They will be mated with my amplid milligram to produce the ultimate split boarding love child.

    The question is, do i need a US$200 spring to make the experience complete?

    Won’t be using the gear until Feb.

    Thanks.

    #844399
    mgco3
    50 Posts

    @method

    Yes, you need the spring. Peanuts compared to the total costs of your dream setup. These Link Levers are the next step of the revolution and worth every cent.

    Amplid Milligram 163, Tour Operator 159 & LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alphas 14/15, Atomic Backland w/ Phantom LinkLevers
    https://mgco3.wordpress.com, https://www.instagram.com/conathanjumpman/

    #844479
    ejorddny
    16 Posts

    Just did a few short tours with the link levers, well worth the $$$. They let me snug up the boots (I really don’t like a loose feel) without sacrificing flex. Really love the adjustable forward lean. No other mods to the boots for me.

    #844510
    Iu hyu
    6 Posts

    Yesterday I used my new phantom link.. and they worth every cent you pay….200$ + 20$ delivery in Catalonia.. I would love to get them cheaper… but….

    Without the phantom link I got a good flex and good feeling, just riding the Atomic Backland Ultimate with thick lines Dynafit Beast and the boots really loose. There’s more info about sizing up and fitting it in http://splitboard.com/talk/topic/atomic-backlands-thoughts-on-mods/page/5/
    Now, with the phantom link it’s exactly the same feeling than a soft boot, and all the advantages of a real backcountry boot when going uphill. They are only 24 grams per boot more heavy thank the Atomic link as you can see in this picture: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c2xRsJwILNw6VW38mlwd1HbGOSp2eEhs/view?usp=sharing

    I think the guys from Phantom use more modifications on Backlands Ultimate, but by now my modifications are more than enough. As you can see in the video I only changed the liners, the phantom link and changing the top rope:

    You can also make an idea of how the Phantom link works with the set up I use: Jones Solution Carbon + Phantom Hercules Hooks + Spark R&D Dyno Kit + Phantom Hercules Hooks

    world is our playground. keep it clean.

    #844587
    Method
    150 Posts

    Whaddya’ll on commission for phantom? haha

    Seriously, thanks for the feedback, I’ll get some then.

    #844629
    ejorddny
    16 Posts

    Commission would be nice, but after a week of resort riding them, I’m as confident with this setup as I am with soft boots.

    To add to how great the link lever is, I had some issues with the installation I wasn’t sure about. Sent a late Friday night email, Alex responded within minutes, asked if we could do a face-time call so he could see my setup. He spent at least 1/2 hour talking to me, making sure I had it right. Great customer service!

    #844773
    karkis
    270 Posts

    Just to follow up…
    i’d bent the shafts on the original set of link levers, so i was back on my dynafits while i waited for the new levers… John says that the new ones have a stronger steel that’s also heat treated, so 5-6x stronger. i beat up the old ones pounding out hardpacked landings at the resort… i probably won’t stop doing that so i’ll let you all know if the new ones can’t stand the abuse.

    @splitchef was wondering about the lower buckle mod, which just involved a plastic strap from my dynafits, i attached that to the cuff pivot and then put the buckle onto the strap. The pivot point is obviously further back than the stock mounting point, but the strap extended the buckle so it’s roughly same same, but higher, so the stock cable doesn’t need any mod for its length.

    lower buckle

    The one issue i have with this is this extension leaves the buckle up in space a bit, not locked onto the surface of the boot, so it flexes a bit which reduces the angle at which the buckle is oriented… if the buckle isn’t tight (i’ve been keeping them fairly loosely buckled), sometimes the buckle opens up. I don’t really notice it when i’m riding, probably because i leave em loose in the first place, but i’d prefer them to stay loosely buckled, rather than loosely unbuckled…. not that it seems to be much different functionally, i’m just a bit anal retentive about little things. If i tighten them up a bit they stay shut.

    side view

    Slightly related, it seems that the boot shell, which i had heat moulded last year, and felt great at the time, didn’t stay put over the summer… the shell seems to have settled back into its original shape so i’m gonna take em back for another go in the oven. Then i should be good to tighten up that lower buckle again.

    never summer snowboards
    phantom splitboard bindings
    dynafit touring
    atomic boots

    #845001
    Narcus
    2 Posts

    Hey guys,

    I’ve been riding an AT-Setup since 4 years with Phantom bindings. Started with a modded Sideral which was ok to begin with but not the solution, especially in terms of comfort for my feet. Now I’ve been riding for 1 year in the Atomic Backlands (currently waiting for the link levers) but I still do not get the comfort I’m searching for. have often read about Intuition Liners (also mentioned in this thread). Do you have an advice which Intuition liner model would fit with the Backlands?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Marcus

    #845005
    splitchef
    41 Posts

    @karkis thank you for fixing the links on the pics and all the new info!
    I like that extender piece for moving the buckle. I’ll be doing that soon!
    @marcusinho I have used the intuition ProTour and last year got the Tour Mod for my TLT6s. I feel like both would work well in the backlands. I recently tried them both in my backlands. The Pro Tour has a bigger stiffer cuff and is a bit thicker over all. You might need to move the top buckle placement to have them be easier to close. The Tour mod is pretty thin but the customization you can do with it is nice.

    #845564
    Narcus
    2 Posts

    @splitchef: Many thnx for the advise. I’ve got a pro tour and got it it professionelly adapted. Feels superb on the carpet. Now I just need to get the levers – can’t wait to test it all together 🙂

    #845723
    Iu hyu
    6 Posts

    I uploaded a youtube video showing my Atomic Backlands Ultimate with the Phantom Link.
    It has english subtitles. Hope you like it:

    world is our playground. keep it clean.

    #845924
    lernr
    233 Posts

    Hey guys,

    I didn’t think I’ll ever say this but now my 2019 / 20 Backland Ultimates feel too soft even with the green spring! They are softer than my TLT5 for sure, and even softer than my Burton Tourist. I actually kept my back foot boot as is, seems perfect without any mods. The reason I got the Phantom Link Levers was to play with the forward lean on the front foot only – the 13 degrees was a bit too much when floor testing.

    I am running the original liner, thinking I may need to swap for something stiffer. Also asking Phantom if there is a stiffer spring to try… Any other ideas?

    #845983
    lernr
    233 Posts

    Hi again – Wrath sent me a message and asked if I can post his thoughts and mods here so let me try:
    Phantom Link Levers initial thoughts and mod.

    Atomic Backland convert, mondo 24, women’s version with grilamid shell and cuff; 170#, Amplid Creamer 163 diy split, Phantom alpha ride/tour, upgraded Phantom tech toes and now Phantom link levers at Baker. Also using the Backland boots for all my riding; resort and BC.

    The stock Backland levers seemingly work ok and have managed to ride fine due to the grilamid cuff is flexible enough and easily adjusted using the top buckle and power strap to dial in flex and movement from loose to stiff performance. The issue with the stock levers is that you can not easily adjust the forward lean without a mod. Some folks (mainly with the carbon version) note that cuffs are stiff but primarily there is no gradual forward and backward transition flex/give. Also, there is the issue is at the end of the flex range is a “hard stop” without much gradient nor dampness. Therefore, the Phantom Link Levers were apparently developed to address these issues.

    The stock Phantom Link Levers, ordered the stiffest “Green” springs rated for 160+ lbs riders. They look to be well made, sturdy and up to the task.

    After one day of use: My issue with the stock Link Levers, with the green spring: There was too much range of forward flex and there was not enough resistance provided by the springs. I imagine in part due to the more flexible non-carbon grilamid cuff…however with the stiff carbon cuffs the springs and range might work better. The backward dampening worked well. However, the top rubber bushing/washers that are used to dampen the backward movement appears that it will not hold up for very long.

    My issues with the Phantom link levers: The green spring was too soft which resulted in too much forward flex range that kind of threw me in to being over-committed on toeside edge. And the backward dampening rubber bushing felt rather harsh and was not going to be very durable.

    The Mod: I removed the spring and the rubber damping washers and replaced them with hose. Specifically, car/auto vacuum line (softer) for the backward dampening bushing and gas/radiator line for the forward flex (stiffer) to replace the spring. Each piece of line was the same length of the bushing and the spring. Then adjusted the forward lean/angle from the 70mm (which is the Backland’s stock lever non-adjustible distance) to 75mm (length from pivot pin to latching pin). Tried 80mm and it was too much forward lean. Also tried the softer vacuum line where the spring sits and it compressed too much. The cost of the vacuum line was under $1 for a 12” and the stiffer gas/radiator line was about $1.80 for 12”…enough line for 3-4 sets of the link levers mods.

    Tools: 10mm open box wrench,
    2 philips head screw drivers,
    Silicone grease or spray to easily slip the hoses over the rod (but its not required),
    Metric ruler to measure the distance of the pins,
    Blue loctite

    Mod Results: In bounds/resort at Baker, with 6” of fresh typical PNW wet heavy cream cheese poo, firm groomers in the morning and sugar groomers in the afternoon. Riding an old Option stiffy freeride full cambered board, Sparks One Binding pucks and Spark Dyno DH bindings. The car/auto lines/hoses worked well. There was enough dampening both forward and back and the flex was firm, predictable in a significantly reduced range that resulted in the ability to dig in the edges and easily get the board up on toe and heel edges. Actually, the board, binding and boots felt more like an extension of my body with the ability to feel the snow/board and have excellent responsiveness of a well-tuned integration of the parts. Had memorable runs from top to bottom of chair 8, going skier’s left of the old terrain park that weaves around and hooks up the chair 7 to 8 groomer run. It was flat out flying over rollers, straight lining the dips…scary fun. Am sure at times, hitting mid 50’s mph without issue. Other runs were “death star” and the natural half pipe where the LBS runs. The set up felt solid, stable and assured.

    ***Note recently Phantom sent out a email note, that the 1st and 2nd production runs there was an issue of the pivot pin screws coming loose and falling out. The recommend fix was to use some blue Loctite…there is a youtube vid. There is also a youtube vid that shows you how to switch out the springs.

    An email to Phantom and they are aware of the rubber bushing issue and apparently working on a up-grade for next year…I suggested that perhaps the material could be a more durable poly material bushing like what is used on front end suspensions on cars and for skate board trucks. Also noted thinking about replacing the spring with a metal tube to eliminate or reduce the range of the forward flex. However, upon further thought, figured that the hose lines would be a better place to start and a idea; and I’m very satisfied with the results.

    The top/thicker hose is the gas/radiator line and the bottom/smaller line is vacuum line.
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Ej9OYu4jT-yC6mrH_wTMg6zVEOJeIOEa

    The small bushing above the square nut is the stock rubber bushing that consists of 2 rubber washers
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NLVGnj5j_keGWlZbG_aDkv1nBGZVMjk5

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zNHZ-j3cHAEnm-x2BltQ43Fav9Zmi4pa

    #846014

    Hey all,

    Joined the fruit booting community this year and have been out on the 17-18 Backlands (non carbon version) around eight times in a variety of conditions. Before any mod I was given a tip for riding pow: Keep the back foot in tour mode for a surfy feel. I definitely found this to be true and would recommend it to anyone waiting on the link levers. In harder snow conditions I found the lack of flex made for some more challenging riding, but overall still worth the switch.

    I recently added the link levers and will update the thread with my experience, but a carpet test blew me away for the difference in flex it actually makes. I do wonder if the carbon “high back” version would be the best pairing but I’m stoked regardless.

    Question: Is the cuff mod recommended? If so, is it to keep the heel more in place and provide the control of a traditional snowboard binding strap? Looks like I can get the Dynafit lower buckle catch bands for like $11 so just wanting to make sure it’s worth it.

    It’s cool to see a community of people taking the leap into this. My snowboard friends think I’m blowing one of the best parts of snowboarding (the boot) and my ski friends just don’t get it at all haha. Looking to take this set-up up Rainier this spring…Let’s Go!

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