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 Post subject: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:35 pm
Posts: 109
I've got just a few days in on these so this won't be as comprehensive as I'd like but I know there's quite a few people evaluating a purchase that could use some information. As the season progresses, I'll update this with durability and other feedback.

For some context, my previous setup was voile pucks and sliders with Bomber Sidewinders. All of my testing has been on boards that I've riden for at least a full year with my old setup prior to changing over. Over the years I've ridden everything from soft boots with highbacks to clickers to mountaineering boots with both highbacks and plates.

Let's start with the Pros:

1. Dramatically more responsive than pucks. I was jump-turning some tight lines over the weekend and it was noticeably quicker and more precise getting from edge to edge. Instantly noticeable, very nice.
2. Better edge hold. Got to ride a chute that had slid out leaving an icy bed surface and it felt like I had a lot more leverage on my edge. I think the wider base of the bindings on the board gives a better contact point when you're putting a lot of weight into it. No flex like with the pucks.
3. Board feels tighter overall. Did a few runs last week without tip/tail clips being done up and it still feels tighter. I think this is also due to the larger platform on the board. There is definetly less slop between the halves now.
4. Closer to the board. The difference was very noticeable especially in firm snow. Didn't mess up my powder buzz or create a harsher ride which was one of my concerns going in.
5. Plates are lighter in my pack and fold up nice. I agree that my previous Bomber plates are overly heavy so maybe others won't see as much difference as I did. However, it was a pleasant change.
6. Stance adjustment is crazy awesome. I always ended up comprimising slightly with the pucks but not with this system. You can really fine tune the heck out of it and very easily too.

Cons:

1. There's some fiddle-factor when it gets icy. Had a day where I started out just barely above the rain-snow line and climbed my way into some pretty cold temps. Having to get all the ice off your board before seating your bindings is an irritant. However, having the binding right on the board is a beautiful thing for riding so it's definetly a worthy trade off. The last couple days have had colder temps and the powder brushed right off, complete non-issue.
2. Need to have the base screws tighter than what I'm used to. I was swapping these back and forth between boards and I didn't get it tightened down far enough one day which is likely due to all the loctite being worn off from swapping. Got out in the field and started moving the top adjustment plate around when trying to lock in my binding. Fortuntately, Keffler included a field kit with the right wrench and I got it tightened back down and went on my way. I'm ordering some more bases so that I can leave a set on each board and not have to worry about it. I highly suggest getting these things pretty darn tight and using loctite each time you swap them. It's more expensive to have a set of bases for each board than it was with the Voile pucks but I'm starting to think it's a worthwhile investment. For those of you that only ride one board for most of the year, likely not a big deal.

My ski buddies noticed my transitions are lagging but I think I just need more time with the system to get a rhythm down. The first day I screwed around with the pins a lot but it's already starting to feel faster. Overall, I couldn't be happier with the setup given the ride performance. I already can't believe I used pucks and plates for all those years, it's really that good.


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:17 pm
Posts: 280
Awesome review Wasatch_Don. Thanks.

I only have a few short tours under my belt but I wanted to confirm some of your review impressions. First, the ride mode is as fantastic as you mentioned. The combination of Phantom bindings and my new Dynafit TLT5s feels almost too good to be true. I also came from a pair of Voile plates/Sidewinders and the improved ride height and super solid interface of the Phantom design just plain feels awesome. I ride a 166 Venture Storm splitboard and a 166 Venture Storm solid--and I can honestly say that the ride quality and control of the Phantom/Dynafit system feels just as good (i.e. ride height, responsiveness, comfort) as the Burton C60 bindings/Vans Cirro boots on my solid Venture. My stoke level on the Phantom bindings is extremely high.

I am also still working out the sweet spot for the base plate screw torque. I find that if I tighten the base screws as much as I can, the ride interface won't spin freely and the install out in the field can be a little tough. I ended up tightening the base screws as tight as I could with a smoothly moving ride interface (i.e. I didn't tighten them quite as tight as I could)---and then applying locktite. So far, so good. If they loosen up, I will use your advice.

Another big thumbs up for the Phantom bindings!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 330
Location: Colorado
Nice write up. Look forward to more as the season goes on.

I'm looking into the issue of the board plates not being able to be tighten up without moving. I didn't have any problems when setting up my board. Could be a couple of different reasons that I'll be looking into. Thank you everyone for supporting this project. I really appreciate those who have handed over their money for some experimental bindings. Glad to hear it's at least a step in the right direction. Your feedback is very important and makes a difference. Thank you also for being patient with me as we work through what are hopefully, just some small issues.


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Location: Denver
Good review. So far I am loving the response and control of this setup. I've only had one real day on them so far. I had one of the base plates move on me the other day. I had swapped them that morning and didn't tighten them too tight, or use loctite (still dialing in my stance).

Perhaps some grooves on the screw heads and adjustment slots like you see on some traditional bindings? I imagine that would be more difficult to machine. I imagine tightening properly and using loctite should eliminate this issue.

http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Burton-Style-Snowboard-Binding-Hardware-12-mm-Screws-Washers-/00/s/NTAwWDUwMA==/$(KGrHqQOKnME52NRU9wTBOsz88(bY!~~60_1.JPG

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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:20 pm 
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Posts: 472
Location: New Castle, Colorado
Great review:

Quote:
1. Dramatically more responsive than pucks. I was jump-turning some tight lines over the weekend and it was noticeably quicker and more precise getting from edge to edge. Instantly noticeable, very nice.
2. Better edge hold. Got to ride a chute that had slid out leaving an icy bed surface and it felt like I had a lot more leverage on my edge. I think the wider base of the bindings on the board gives a better contact point when you're putting a lot of weight into it. No flex like with the pucks. ...
5. Plates are lighter in my pack and fold up nice. I agree that my previous Bomber plates are overly heavy so maybe others won't see as much difference as I did. However, it was a pleasant change


Very interesting to compare the Phantoms to Sidewinders. For me the Sidewinders help dampen the ride while riding hard pack. Very interested to hear that the Phatoms are more responsive and lighter too.

Can anyone provide a comparison between the Phantoms ánd the Burton Race Plate mod http://splitboard.com/talk/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=12003

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Ride the Pow!
----
Venture Storm R 163 (2010), Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter, Scarpa F1 Boots, Bomber Sidewinder Bindings * Prior 172 Fissile (2012) Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:58 pm
Posts: 401
Location: slc
I did not tour or ride them, but I got my hands on Chimera board set up with Phantoms last night, and fiddled with them and was impressed! Tight, efficient, elegant design. With equipment progression like that, this diehard softbooter is considering investing in hardboots.


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:35 pm
Posts: 109
Quote:
Very interesting to compare the Phantoms to Sidewinders. For me the Sidewinders help dampen the ride while riding hard pack. Very interested to hear that the Phatoms are more responsive and lighter too.


The Sidewinders are great bindings and very burly. I didn't mean to say that the Phantom's are stiffer than the Sidewinders, I'm not sure how they could be given how overbuilt the Bombers are.

The key difference for me comes down to not having the Voile pucks and also the larger platform right on the board that you get with the Phantoms.

There's a lot of flex in the voile pucks and the Sidewinder doesn't have any attachment to the board other than the pucks. Because of this, I don't think you'll see much difference in sftiffness going from Bomber to Burton Race Plate, you'll still feel the pucks.

This is just my experience, I'm a bit bigger than most people here and have managed to break pucks each of the last two seasons. You may not generate as much flex as I do.

Given how close to the board you are with the Phantoms, you are going to lose some shock absorption. However, with the added stiffness and responsiveness, I'm more aggressive in driving through crud than I was before.

As an aside, I got out yesterday in some amazing conditions. I'm getting more and more confident with the new bindings and was ramping up my speed in the aspens and couldn't be happier. I feel like turn initiation goes straight from my brain to the board with no delay at all, extremely responsive compared to all the setups I've ever tried.

To have this kind of ride performance and still maintain the benefits of climbing in the TLT5s is just amazing, so grateful Keffler took the project on.


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Posts: 472
Location: New Castle, Colorado
Don I totally understand what you are saying:
Quote:
The Sidewinders are great bindings and very burly. I didn't mean to say that the Phantom's are stiffer than the Sidewinders, I'm not sure how they could be given how overbuilt the Bombers are.

The key difference for me comes down to not having the Voile pucks and also the larger platform right on the board that you get with the Phantoms.

There's a lot of flex in the voile pucks and the Sidewinder doesn't have any attachment to the board other than the pucks. Because of this, I don't think you'll see much difference in stiffness going from Bomber to Burton Race Plate, you'll still feel the pucks.


Given how close to the board you are with the Phantoms, you are going to lose some shock absorption. However, with the added stiffness and responsiveness, I'm more aggressive in driving through crud than I was before.


Awesome that the Phantoms are an improvement for you over the Sidewinders

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Ride the Pow!
----
Venture Storm R 163 (2010), Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter, Scarpa F1 Boots, Bomber Sidewinder Bindings * Prior 172 Fissile (2012) Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:55 am 
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Location: Colorado
I have one day of riding on the Phantoms. The first thing one notices is the increase in response, this is not subtle at all. I attribute this to the fact that the binding plate is directly on the surface of the board, and one does not have the flex of the Voile pucks. The increase in response makes edge control more precise and quicker.
I did experience some shift of the binding interface plates: good news is that they can only shift a little bit before the binding plate stops them from shifting farther. I am going to be experimenting with some different approaches to stop any shifting: first is to use solvent on the surface of the topsheet (my topsheets invariably get wax on them) to make it less slippery. If that is not enough, I will try some bike assembly compound, this stuff is a very light adhesive spray, a little of this spray on the interface plates will probably stop all movement. I always experienced movement with the Voile pucks until I added a third screw (ski screw) through them, so a little shift is nothing new.

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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:32 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:55 pm
Posts: 290
Location: Whistler, Coast Mtns
.
.
I'll quote Don because I'm in complete agreement with this....

Wasatch_Don wrote:


Let's start with the Pros:

1. Dramatically more responsive than pucks. I was jump-turning some tight lines over the weekend and it was noticeably quicker and more precise getting from edge to edge. Instantly noticeable, very nice.
2. Better edge hold. Got to ride a chute that had slid out leaving an icy bed surface and it felt like I had a lot more leverage on my edge. I think the wider base of the bindings on the board gives a better contact point when you're putting a lot of weight into it. No flex like with the pucks.
3. Board feels tighter overall. Did a few runs last week without tip/tail clips being done up and it still feels tighter. I think this is also due to the larger platform on the board. There is definetly less slop between the halves now.
4. Closer to the board. The difference was very noticeable especially in firm snow. Didn't mess up my powder buzz or create a harsher ride which was one of my concerns going in.
5. Plates are lighter in my pack and fold up nice. I agree that my previous Bomber plates are overly heavy so maybe others won't see as much difference as I did. However, it was a pleasant change.
6. Stance adjustment is crazy awesome. I always ended up comprimising slightly with the pucks but not with this system. You can really fine tune the heck out of it and very easily too.

Cons:

1. There's some fiddle-factor when it gets icy. Had a day where I started out just barely above the rain-snow line and climbed my way into some pretty cold temps. Having to get all the ice off your board before seating your bindings is an irritant. However, having the binding right on the board is a beautiful thing for riding so it's definetly a worthy trade off. The last couple days have had colder temps and the powder brushed right off, complete non-issue.
2. Need to have the base screws tighter than what I'm used to. I highly suggest getting these things pretty darn tight and using loctite each time you swap them. It's more expensive to have a set of bases for each board than it was with the Voile pucks but I'm starting to think it's a worthwhile investment. For those of you that only ride one board for most of the year, likely not a big deal.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with the setup given the ride performance. I already can't believe I used pucks and plates for all those years, it's really that good.
My thoughts,

The bindings showed up earlier this on the weekend and I got out 3 days before the recent Coast Mtn Snowpocalypse has kept me riding the resort.



Picking the box up at the Post Office I thought damn, it's heavy.
I was stoked that right out of the box Keffler had it set up for my fit, including a small heel riser under the back heel.
Set it up and took it out for a few laps in the resort on firm conditions.
I was really surprised on how much of an improvement it was over my current set up. I only rode Voile Plates a few times before I threw them out and figured something else out.

Having already been on this
Image

set up for 30 days I had a good comparison with a system that already had more contact with the board.

The Phantom binding is just as much an improvement over what I was riding as the modded Spark plate was over the Voile plate system. I don't know how you guys have put up with that Voile plate but I can only imagine the Eureka moment moving form it to the Phantoms.

The Phantom system not only improved overall response but it made the board feel so much less than a splitboard, the closest I have had to feeling like a solid board under my feet. The torsional stiffness is vastly improved.


One other thing I noted over Don

Climbing/tour mode weight
-----Going from only having Voile pucks on my board for the uphill to the Phantom system added a fair amount of weight. When Keffler asked for input about weight vs strength we all asked for more strength so I'll be happy with the trade off for version 1.0.
That being said I still remember how heavy my first pair of Spark Fuse's were and how light in comparison Spark's are now. I can see version 2.0 is in the works and I'm sure these are only going to get lighter.



I think the best way to express how much of an improvement the Phantom system is that I've noticed I now feel the need for a softer board and I need to soften up my boots a bit. The little amounts of play that had been with the previous system are gone.




If you don't ride a soft boot then do yourself a favour and get a pair.




Waist deep on my Phantoms............

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 330
Location: Colorado
whistlermaverick wrote:
.


Waist deep on my Phantoms............

Image



Sick!

Glad you like them so far and thank you all for being willing to spend your hard earned money on these. I am working on the lighter version, but need more testing. I was wondering if these "solid" editions would be a little too stiff. I think the "Holey" edition will be a bit softer in flex but lighter of course. I can't tell you have happy I am with the quality of riders out there who are giving these a go. This is one of those projects that is truly built by us and for us few HB riders. I've got a few other things in the works that I think you guys are going to like. I'm not sure if you can get much more "grass roots" of a project than this (as much as I hate marketing buzz words crap), but this really is a small, small company with and even smaller bank account. However, with your continued support, I look forward to what Phantom is going to make in the future as I compile the input from all the riders who give me feedback. Again, thank you everyone. I really appreciate all the kind words of encouragement.

Happy Shredding.

-Keffler


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:55 pm
Posts: 290
Location: Whistler, Coast Mtns
keffler wrote:


I think the "Holey" edition will be a bit softer in flex but lighter of course.

This is one of those projects that is truly built by us and for us few HB riders. I've got a few other things in the works that I think you guys are going to like.

I'm not sure if you can get much more "grass roots" of a project than this
-Keffler



.........looking forward to another light mounting set

...........something like the 27g M2 Maruelli toe piece? Yes please

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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Binding Review
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:38 pm
Posts: 250
Location: powder central, bc, canuckistan
Phantoms are the bomb! :disco:
rocket science for space cadets....
whole next level and getting better every time Keffler fires up his brain

:bow: John

nice work!

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