Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:08 am Posts: 134 Location: Melbourne, Australia
For anyone who's thinking of pulling the trigger on these, I thought I'd post a few photos.
I was hoping to field test them in Aus & NZ this southern winter, but I didn't get them until a few weeks ago.
My previous bindings were the Karakoram Split 30s and I was pretty happy with these, but they were getting a little beaten up. Eventually... I'd like to go full-fruitboot, but I'm not ready yet. So I looked to replace my old pair with something lighter.
They come in some 250g lighter than my old split 30s, which is quite a bit. With a new set of split crampons that are also lighter than my previous pair, the total weight saving is around 300g - not bad.
The significant savings would be in the toe strap, board mounting plates and the carbon highback.
New toe strap. These *look* a little on the flimsy side, but they feel super strong. I think I'll be carrying a spare pair as they age - they're extremely light.
The ankle strap is better constructed than on the Split30s and feels lighter.
It has a length adjustment on the inboard side of the strap to allow the strap to sit evenly over your ankle
The touring toe piece is exactly the same as previous models (which is good as I now have 2 spares!). I will carry a spare with me as losing your touring toe piece is probably the most critical thing when far from the trailhead.
The ride mounting plates are much lighter and smaller. They now overlap the board halves which may help the ride-ability by stiffening it. There's no play/wobble at all once you get it all dialled - took me about an hour. By virtue of the design there seem to be more options for setting your ride stance up i.e. more options for stance width and binding angles. Some people seem to fuss endlessly over a degree here and there. I just slap them on and work it out roughly. Does it feel comfortable? Yeah - now let's go riding (instead of f%$&ing whingeing about your stance!). Sorry, pet hate!
This is the heel side attachment point. On the old split 30s, these used to be on the side of bindings whereas now they're under your feet.
The front part of the ride attachment is now under your foot too and uses a lot less metal
As you can see in the first couple of photos, the (orange) lever to close the heel locks is now on the back of the binding (on the side on the split30s). The only minor problem I've found is that the bottom of the heel lock lever touches my ride mode mounting plates when the heel comes down. See below. It's nothing terrible, you can lift the heel lever slightly (without engaging the heel locking pins) and it doesn't contact anymore. Still....
The highbacks now have a better system for adjusting forward lean when going from tour to ride. The previous incarnation was always getting clogged with snow (when powdery e.g. japan) and I could only lock it back in forward lean about half the time.
Tour mode, for a longer stride.
Ride mode - only one twist required! The amount of forward lean is easily adjusted.
Here's the climbing heels. Allegedly, you can flip them up with the basket on your pole. At first glance they appear to sit quite flush with board, so I'm slightly sceptical - time will tell I guess. (sorry can't be bothered hunting for my poles in back of the garage to try it).
Low heel up
High one (I never really use this one)
The heel lockdown is a superior system than on the split 30s too. I could never get the heel on one of my old bindings to lock down without getting my boot out. It locked the binding using one of the climbing heels (required a special adapter for the climbing heels too). Here's the locking mechanism, it uses the heel locking pins to stop the heel lifting in tour mode. Again, pretty bomber with no wiggle at all.
For split-skiing (uggghhh ) I probably would NOT bring the heel lock all the way closed as I could see it being a little hard to unlock (leaning backwards with gloves on) being very flush and close to the binding. See these photos for what I mean.
My recommended heel lockdown position (pins engaged, but lever not fully up).
Fully locked - may be a little hard to unlock with gloves on?
The crampons are lighter and smaller than my old pair too, but look just as effective.
They're not cheap, 800 clams from memory. Field test will have to wait until January...
Take another look at the heel lifter. I think the intention is to flip both risers up (opening up the "V") and flip back and forth between the two positions instead of collapsing the "V" to change positions. I was down at the Karakoram office a couple of weeks ago playing with the lifters and made a similar mistake.