Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:18 am Posts: 6 Location: Tyrol,Austria
Gotta say I love mine....up on top of the mountain,with wind blowing ya down,snow whizzing past ya ears,gloves on and snow caked on your board....these bindings are so quick and easy to lock down to ride mode. Can't say the same for the karakorams(my opinion)....where everything has to be cleaned perfectly and lined up just as accurate. Not always easy in trying conditions... Would have no problem in making same choice again ..
I have used the new bindings since Christmas. Been out on them about 10 times. They are one of the best purchases I have ever made. They make change overs much simpler and you can do it easily with your gloves on. Except for the skiers that can rip skins with their skis still on their feet, the Tesla system puts me pretty much on par with my skier buddies for change over time. For the uphill I don't know if it is simply the drop in weight from my traditional bindings on the Voile plates or less friction on the way the "pins" are designed, but they seemingly take less effort to move the board up hill. The binding performance on the downhill is on par with my previous set up which was basic Salomon bindings on the Voile plates. I have the Afterburner bindings and weigh about 165 lb. The heel risers that can be engaged using your pole is a bonus on top of everything else. Yeah it mildly sucks to have to engage the tallest riser first befor engaging the more standard riser but that is a minor issue at most. In addition their customer service is great. I ended up sending my board down the hill without me on it and the board slammed into a tree at about 40 mph. The force bent the aluminum heel cups and even though this was not a warranty issue in my mind the Spark boys sent me a new set of heel cups with no charge. The $415 price tag is steep no doubt so I guess I can only say that if you are going to spend $300+ on Voile light rail or the original Spark Burner bindings, I would spend the extra money on the Tesla system. For me going from the traditional bindings to these was a significant jump in performance. I would give them 9 out of 10 stars with the price being the only negative. Time will tell if the parts and pieces hold up. I have already started rubbing the paint off the base plate in many areas but I don't think this will have any long term effects. Hopes this helps.
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:11 pm Posts: 34 Location: Seattle, WA
I had sparks back when it was all bent metal hardware, but a one piece aluminum baseplate (forget the name). I then had the Blaze with LT pins for 2 years.
I have around 15 days on the magnettos now. So far I'm MUCH happier with them compared to the traditional pin design. High points:
Lining them up for touring is incredibly easy, they just pop in place. As I wore the bushings and pin (after anodizing wore down) on the blaze I would find that I always had to fiddle with the angle of the binding to get the pin all the way through.
They pivot freely like a ski tech binding (dynafit), so you can click your heel to flip the tip up when making a z turn. Very easy. They do not have the massive slop of the regular voile pin, so touring in firm/challenging snow is much better.
Putting the board into ride mode is SO fast. Seriously just slam it on, flip the lever and go. No snow clearing of the baseplate or pucks required. You never have to worry about a pin pivoting forward when getting strapped in either.
All the things I liked on the old blaze, as much as I hate Burton their rachets are bomber and the straps are comfy. Weight is low. Highbacks have just the right amount of give.
Heel risers adjust with baskets, no need to flip pole around to use the handle to engage them. Tiny bit easier.
Downsides: When putting it in to solid mode in deeper powder, especially our heavy cascade concrete, you can bunch up snow under the toe ramp and have it not click down. Takes two seconds to clear, just knock away snow around your toes before putting the binding on and it won't happen in the first place.
I am still not a fan of the forward lean adjustment at all. Flipping the lever and trying to line up the piece with a tiny little number when you are in 40mph winds with spindrift just flat out sucks. I know what forward lean I want riding, it doesn't change. I want an adjuster that just turns out of the way for touring, ala karakorum or the old bent metal cube.
Powder basket on poles can just deflect flipping heel risers. I put some graphite on the pivot points occasionally and reduced this problem. Also got used to using the basket right near the pole.
Whether it's worth the change is up to you. I was very annoyed by lining up my pin, my old blazes had around 100 days on them, and getting the upgrade only cost me $80 out of pocket. For me it was a no brainer.