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.
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.
but if this was the auto industry they would recall the product.
This is not the auto industry, very very far from it....
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!
_________________ Talking about snowboarding is like dancing about architecture...
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.
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.
I don't think that a customer should pay $300 to be a product tester.
Now your insinuating that Spark doesn't test their bindings?
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?
This happens every single year! Sports manufacturers are always working on next years gear. They are riding it now for testing and it will be released next year in the fall. Are they supposed to release the same product for next season?
My toe strap failed at the top of Two Ocean mountain at Scrubfest! Was it a Spark strap? No. Was it a Burton strap? Yes! Did I go on the internet to complain to Jake Burton? No. Did we fix it at the summit so I could ride 3 more runs w/o having to go back to the car? Why yes we did! Did Will get a chuckle out of it? Oh I think he did...
I do stand by my "Absurd Analogy", Medical and Auto industries have absolutely nothing in common with Splitboard bindings.
I am sorry you don't like the Highbacks (neither do I, I ride Low-Backs!) and I am not trying to insult you. But it seems that you are worried about something that hasn't occurred. I don't want people thinking these are not the best Splitboarding binding available (they are IMO) because a few people don't like a Highback or a strap and cant stop talking about it on the internet. All people seem to do is complain on the internet. Lets all just go snowboarding eh? Instead of worrying about a strap breaking on a 50 degree chute, maybe you should be worried about crashing and rag-dolling through that chute, or God forbid if that chute slides. Anytime you leave the trailhead could be a potential S&R situation.
_________________ Talking about snowboarding is like dancing about architecture...
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:05 am Posts: 1538 Location: Colorado
I have broken enough Burton toe straps over the years, that as a general rule I carry spares when using strap bindings, a couple ladders in my pack and a couple in my board bag as well when travelling. Yes, it is too bad that toe straps sometimes break, but it is not all that unusual.
People get so butthurt when anyone complains about sparks around here. jeez.
the highbacks are the softest on the market. period. I have touched every binder made. this is a fact - the straps and rachets are weak and finnicky.
No, Spark shouldn't give free straps and highbacks to everyone, but for the love of god at least offer an upgrade. if I cannot buy a stiff highback, I will be pretty upset and spark will definitely lose a customer because I get my gear from every other company for COST MINUS 20%. I was trying to support the little guy and feel a little bent over from it.
For what it's worth, I used my Burton Proform to buy a complete different set of binders that aren't here yet to franken-binder my sparks. Buying two bindings to make one is pretty upsetting...the spark hardware is a joke. I broke a strap my first tour right before descent. Had to drop a 35 footer with a steep no fall landing without a toestrap. New straps - still broke. I have broken burton straps alot of times, but the sparks are far inferior...the material where the ladder is cut in is much thinner than it should be on the strap side. I didn't call for replacement, who wants a replacement of a product that failed with its first use in a precarious situation. Again, not saying ladders dont break, but laddering both sides is stupid, and I have never had a ladder break on first outing. It's not a coincidence and it was a new one.
I didn't call spark to complain or ask for free shit, because it's not like they are defective, they just leave alot to be desired in the strap and highback department and I should have known that and did know that the second i received the binders. I would have bought the baseplates and pins only for $250 if available simply because those highbacks and straps can't be trusted. You can flex them with your FINGERS. You cannot flex a C60 highback with all your strength. Hell, you can barely flex a mission or a custom.
I like hucking cliffs, I like steep no fall shit. I just can't believe people can defend those highbacks but to those who bought them, man up and fix them yourselves. you shouldn't have used them as you had a chance to inspect before use. i knew before riding once that the highbacks and straps were not very supportive. I personally wouldn't use the stock blazes for anything other than meadow skipping.
That being said, the interface is GENIUS. but the hardware blows. it's disappointing because I know it's the part that Will doesn't make
<Disclaimer: this is an unbiased review. people should know what they are getting when they buy a binding that is, for most, only available on the internet. Please don't delete this post as I will just re-post it on every other forum. I am trying to have a discussion here