Forums Boots Atomic Backlands with Phantom Link
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  • #830621
    268 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

    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.

    49 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 and LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alpha 14/15, Atomic Backland, Scott Orbit II,

    Iu hyu
    3 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:

    world is our playground. keep it clean.

    49 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 and LabCarbon 162, Phantom Alpha 14/15, Atomic Backland, Scott Orbit II,

    311 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.


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