Forums Bindings Spark R&D Spark Highbacks :)
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  • #574492
    shredgnar
    643 Posts

    So the other thread must have been deleted but in case you didn’t see it, the general consensus is that the highbacks on the Sparks are extremely soft. Assuming this was done to save weight.

    The padding on my highback also started peeling off after 3 times out. Not a big deal because I have glue and am not afraid to use it but still pretty weak.

    I think Firstlight was the one who modded some burton carbon highbacks to fit the blazes. Has anyone found any other replacement highbacks? I have a few old pairs of ride bindings but those HB’s don;t even come close to fitting right. I really need some stiffer HB’s for this setup.

    #637308
    PedroDelfuego
    758 Posts

    Highbacks are superfluous!

    #637309
    shredgnar
    643 Posts

    Sure pal, keep.telling yourself that.

    #637310
    jimw
    1420 Posts

    @shredgnar wrote:

    I think Firstlight was the one who modded some burton carbon highbacks to fit the blazes. Has anyone found any other replacement highbacks? I have a few old pairs of ride bindings but those HB’s don;t even come close to fitting right. I really need some stiffer HB’s for this setup.

    Goddammit, is that thread gone too?? Hey firstlight, can you repost the pics of your Fuse mods with the Burton carbon highbacks?

    I did something similar with C60 highbacks on original Ignitions first, and now on the Fuse. I’ll post some pics (once I feel confident that this thread won’t disappear… :)).

    #637311
    ErinR
    6 Posts

    I had no problem using the highbacks from a pair of Salomon bindings, no mods required. In the process, I got rid of the Blaze ankle and toe straps (unfortunately, the Salomon toe straps didn’t work, but I had some Burton cap straps which worked with a bit of dremmeling.)

    #637312
    Scotty1974
    61 Posts

    I must say it’s a little concerning to me to hear that I spent $300 for a binding tray.

    I haven’t had any problems yet, but I just got them. Is anybody happy with the hardware on the bindings? There just seems to be alot of posts about the bindings breaking, the LT pins breaking, voile’s dual heel etc etc.

    It’s mildly discouraging as splitboarding gear costs an arm and leg and I’m not getting the impression that the quality is that high? Maybe we are only hearing from the percentage that has issues?

    I want to hear some SUCCESS stories to ease my worries!

    #637313
    PedroDelfuego
    758 Posts

    @scotty1974 wrote:

    Maybe we are only hearing from the percentage that has issues?

    You got that right! Its really all about you and your gear. If your going to be 5 miles from nowhere, you better have your shit dialed and have spare parts, if not for you then for your buddy’s gear.

    BTW: I spent $220 on just the Spark base plates.

    #637314
    firstlight
    721 Posts

    jimw as requested
    Fuse with carbon highbacks

    These are the parts that were removed from the original Burton bindings

    Since I took these photos I have replaced the ankle straps with burton ones too.

    Some binding info

    Adam West

    www.firstlightsurfboards.com.au
    www.firstlightsnowboards.com.au
    www.splitfest.com.au
    www.snowsafety.com.au
    www.mrbc.com.au
    www.backcountryglobal.com
    www.alpinefirstaid.com.au

    #637315
    jbaysurfer
    947 Posts

    @scotty1974 wrote:

    I must say it’s a little concerning to me to hear that I spent $300 for a binding tray.

    I haven’t had any problems yet, but I just got them. Is anybody happy with the hardware on the bindings? There just seems to be alot of posts about the bindings breaking, the LT pins breaking, voile’s dual heel etc etc.

    It’s mildly discouraging as splitboarding gear costs an arm and leg and I’m not getting the impression that the quality is that high? Maybe we are only hearing from the percentage that has issues?

    I want to hear some SUCCESS stories to ease my worries!

    Shit breaks, you gotta be prepared to fix it in the BC. It’s part of the sport. I love my sparks. I’ve had every model, and although my first impression of the highback was that it was too flexible, I find it to be quite responsive and well matched to my mojo rx. I’m a skinny guy so maybe that’s why, but I’ve decided I like them. The buckles on the fuses (since Will got his sourcing issues sorted out) are far better then the old blaze buckles IMHO. The straps…well I have one that broke and I’m not sure how, I think it was caught between the edges of two boards in my rocket box, but it only broke the end off. It still works, but I’ve got a backup in case something happens in the backcountry.

    Pedro’s right:
    If your going to be 5 miles from nowhere, you better have your shit dialed and have spare parts, if not for you then for your buddy’s gear.

    All of us “old school” spent 400 bucks on the iggy 1s and 2s and 350 on the blaze, so I’m getting a bit tired of reading this “my $300 bindings blah blah blah” :banghead:

    A pair of burton C02s costs more then a pair of fuses, and they were built off an existing binding platform that required no re-tooling, little engineering, and no imagination. They also don’t let you do what Sparks let you do in terms of backcountry travel. The fact you can get a splitboard and a pair of split specific bindings for less than a new pair of AT skis and AT bindings is a blessing. This sport’s got 1/10th the size of the market as AT does and our gear is CHEAPER!

    Lastly, modding and customizing your split setup is a time honored tradition and if you don’t like something, mod it so that you do.

    :twocents:

    #637316
    shredgnar
    643 Posts

    To be clear, the fact that the price has come down on sparks so much since the first edition is a testament that this company is definitely dedicated to the sport and it’s customers. Yes, there are just a few issues with some of the equipment which can be attributed to growing pains and them trying to cut the cost of production which in turn lowers the price for us.

    Shit I also got a faulty jones board this year with the funky hole pattern but the board rides great. Replacing straps, and highbacks are just part of the game of customization. Dialing in the bindings to your personal preferences. Customization is part of what started splitboarding in the first place.

    #637317
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    I wanted to add my two cents here, lest readers get the idea that one must replace the highbacks on the Spark Blaze binding. Highback stiffness is a matter of personal preference. My preference has always been for very responsive boot/binding interfaces, hence my general preference for hard boots on my splits. But, when it comes to highback flex, I see things a little differently. On my solid boards I run an old Burton C-14 (carbon) base plate, with the same leather straps (with new buckles) that were originally supplied with the binding. The C-14 baseplate is very stiff, which I like, but the carbon highbacks which came with this binding were way too stiff for me. I prefer a highback with some twist and give-here’s why: on a toe side turn a rider has shock absorbtion available through the muscles and connective tissues of the foot and lower leg, this allows one to hold their edge even while hitting small bumps and irregularities in the snow. Once on your heelside edge, with your leg pressing on the highback, the stiffness of the highback determines how much shock absorbtion is available-if the highback does not allow for some flex, bumps will change the angle of the board with the snow, and control of the edge will be lost.
    On my C-14s I use the Burton Team Skyback, a very tall highback (I like tall for response) but quite a bit more flexible than the stock C-14 carbon highbacks.
    With all the talk about how flexible the Blaze highback is, I went to the shop and checked one out. All I can say is that I like the stiffness of this highback, and for my riding would have no problem using it stock-in fact I would prefer it to a stiffer highback. My point is, different folks have different preferences, and for those considering purchasing the Blaze, do not assume that you will have to replace the highback to get the best performance out of it. Ride the binding and see how you like it-if you need a little more response, try a little more forward lean before thinking you need to replace the highback.

    #637318
    rughty
    620 Posts

    Although I agree that modding gear is a splitboard tradition (and something that I love doing), but not everyone is capable of performing many of the mods we do on a daily basis nor should it be something we all should have to “deal with”. Modding gear to personalize it is one thing, but to have to mod gear just to get it to work is another thing entirely… :nononno:

    I think the highback issue is probably a rider weight dependent setup. Us smaller guys don’t seem to be having as much of a problem. It would be cool if Spark sold their binders with options like stiffer highbacks and upgraded buckles/straps. 😉

    #637319
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Rughty:

    Excellent point. If Will could offer two highback options, regular and stiff, that would be a great way for riders to customise the bindings to their preference. I would also like to see different positions for the ankle strap, a la Burton. Changing the ankle strap height can make big differences in binding performance, and is a great way to be able to customise binding response to rider preference.

    #637320
    silver
    167 Posts
    #637321
    Scotty1974
    61 Posts

    So what you mean is this….

    Now available binding with issues…$300
    Next year available, binding that fixes all the issues of the last years $300.

    Hmmm…..don’t get me wrong I LOVE Spark’s product, but if this was the auto industry they would recall the product. NO WAY I’m shelling out the same amount of money next year to have my binding fixed. That’s not acceptable in my mind.

    I understand it’s a developing industry, but I just don’t get how you can release a binding that FIXES the issues that the current binding has and call it new. Can Toyota pull that? Oh those cars were the “whatever model”, our NEW model fixed those issues and is available NOW! I work in the medical industry and the FDA would shut us down if we did that. And for those that might not dig that analogy, what if your binding broke on a 50 chute of your life…not to far removed from a lifesaving medical device now.

    Sorry for ranting, cranky with the flu and that sounds like BS to me. I like the Blaze and they are apparently doing great customer service. But you can’t sell inferior product at at high price,then offer an upgrade and call it new. I’m pretty sure there is an “R&D” in the name and the R stands for research, not return. All these threads about the equipment breaking is discouraging. It should be addressed first instead of coming out with a binding right after your latest breakthrough model. Sounds like they released the Blaze without enough testing and as customers we’ve funded the R&D for the better model.

    #637322
    shredgnar
    643 Posts

    Scotty, I don’t think that the current binding is unusable, nor are the issues significant enough to recall the product. They are just quirks that riders who have been riding high end solid bindings for many years have with the product. I think that it is admirable that Sparks is making the improvements year after year and tweaking the design to make it better. Car manufacturers do the same thing on a much slower scale. None of the issues with the Blazes are life threatening nor are they issues that would warrant a recall unless everyone’s straps were breaking all the time. I have yet to break mine and if I did, I’m positive that they would be replaced in a timely manner.

    The soft highback (which is what this thread was originally about) does not make the binding unrideable. I started the thread to bring the fact to light that I prefer a stiffer HB as do many others, and it would be a welcome change in the future. Some people like the softer HB so I think that still offering it as an option is a great idea.

    #637323
    PedroDelfuego
    758 Posts

    @scotty1974 wrote:

    but if this was the auto industry they would recall the product.

    This is not the auto industry, very very far from it….

    @scotty1974 wrote:

    I work in the medical industry and the FDA would shut us down if we did that.

    Your analogies are totally absurd buddy. To compare Splitboard bindings to Automobile or Medical/Drug companies makes no sense, and hurts my head.

    Please tell me how a soft Highback could potentially kill a person if not recalled? Maybe they could choke on it. (Like I’m choking on your logic)

    Every year products get better, and every year people buy new ones. Do you suggest that Spark just give away new product because they were improved from last year? Should they warranty/recall bindings for 10 years, like a car that costs $40,000?

    This is a snowboard binding! I don’t think you have the slightest idea of how the sports retail/manufacturing works.

    Lets go ahead sue binding manufacturers, so bindings have liability coverage and cost $3500…

    “My gas pedal was stuck” should be a good thing to hear while snowboarding!

    #637324
    Scotty1974
    61 Posts

    First off Pedro, I’m not insinuating anyone sue anybody. Don’t see where that quote came from.

    And ya I’m mildly concerned that there are several threads about the bindings breaking or issues. Have mine broken yet? No, because they are new and need some more miles on them. Should I have to buy a $30 strap to carry around with me because of a potential lack of quality control? NO…My Burton bindings have had hundreds of days on them without
    breaking. So yeah after a 12 mile skin the other day that ended w/ a big storm and bailing in waist deep powder, breaking bindings could have been a S&R issue. Is the highback a real issue? Obviously not as much as the straps, so I apologize for ranting in a highback specific discussion, even though I was speaking about the binding overall.

    And I’m not suggesting Sparks give away anything. And regardless of my level of knowledge of the retail industry, I don’t think that a customer should pay $300 to be a product tester. Sure other companies come out with new stuff every year, but the point I was making is that you shouldn’t be creating new product simply to replace the old one due to design or quality issues. If the original worked and improvements were made, yeah it’s a new model. Sorry, a new model that says that it fixes all the stuff that we did wrong on the last one isn’t really copacetic, especially since the Blaze was just released. Maybe I don’t spend as much money as you or have a pro-deal, so $300 for a binding is alot and I pretty much expect the majority of kinks to be worked out before I buy it. NOT post release feedback from their customers.

    And my analogies? Simply trying to point out that although it’s only a snowboard binding, no company should be working out the bugs after a product is released. Sparks (assuming here) obviously saw there was enough issues with the Blaze that they came out with another model within 1 year, calling it a new model. I may not have all the infinite retail knowledge you do, but developing the improved version when the new one is still rolling out? Come on…why not wait another year and do it right? Point being what type of top notch product are you selling when you already have it’s replacement ready to go? Isn’t the Blaze supposed to be the latest and greatest? It’s only been out for a couple months and they already had to improve it.

    I hear what you’re saying and respect your opinion, but please don’t misquote me, put words in my mouth or try to insult me.

    And I do LOVE my Blazes…but I stand by my opinions. There’s obviously reasons why people are rebuilding their expensive, state of the art bindings with other manufacturers parts. I don’t think that should be happening.

    #637325
    buckchow
    356 Posts

    I’ve put in 100+ days of touring on 3 versions of Spark binders, and my experience with Spark R&D has been awesome, both in terms of the equipment that they have created, and their customer support if things break. Yes, some of it has – as will a lot of gear. Spark has warranteed that gear to my 100% satisfaction every time. I hope they continue to innovate and push the envelope of high functioning, efficient gear. Please DO NOT wait an extra year before rolling out the next versions!

    I think that the US medical industry should look to SPARK R&D as an example of a well-run, customer-responsive, innovative, accountable business that provides a higher quality of life to its customers, without killing them.

    Barrows is right on target with the highback flex issue. I happen to like the softness of the Blaze highback. I find I can still hold an edge just fine in steep firm snow and it doesn’t dig into my calf like I’ve found stiff highbacks have a tendency to do.

    Straps break. Look they just do. I’ve probably broken 10-15 of them over the years. I found the Blaze and Karakoram laddered toe straps both did break too easily with all the flexing that splitboard toetraps are subject to – they have both offered replacements and hopefully they will have better UNLADDERED toe straps next go around.

    To fix a broken strap in the backcountry, you need like 75cents worth of cord. If a broken strap leads to a search and rescue situation, then that was operator, not manufacturer, error.

    #637326
    Scotty1974
    61 Posts

    10-15 straps? Wow…that’s a bunch!

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