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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:47 am 
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summersgone wrote:
In other notes, I modified my boots and tested it out yesterday, and I must say, on carpet, it feels VERY similar to my soft boot setup. I feel much better about my concerns with the riding being different. The only mod I did was the forward lean adjustment. Because of the way the flex of the binding works, I didn't feel I needed to do anything to the cuff yet. I'll try and show any comparisons with movement too from pictures.

Couldn't agree more, and thus far all I have done is inverted the forward lean stop plate. I really like the flex compared to my current Spantik/Burner setup. Need some damn snow to know fo sho.

summersgone wrote:
Overall, after two days, I'm super stoked. Keffler did a great job.

I can't echo these words strong enough! K-man, I was really leary about my decision to make the transition to HBs, but your binders with the TLTs seems like the perfect entrance point. Your an innovator, and your product far exceeds my initial expectations. Quite certain I will not be looking back on this decision with any regret.

Being someone with larger hooves, I will really dig the forward pivot point afforded by the Dynafit attachment point.

Can't thank you enough! :rock: :band: :disco: :bananas: :drinks:

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165 Venture Divide, Spark Franken-Burner, LaSportiva Spantik
163W Jones Solution, Phantom Alphas, Dynafit TLT5
162 Furberg


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:57 am 
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Thanks for the Phantom update. Had my first BC day last weekend north of Boise and 3rd season of transitions with Spark pins is getting old, so I'm watching you all on your Phantoms. A buddy has been on Randonee boots forever and shares your sentiment about skinning efficiency. SW Idaho early and late season BC can make for some bushwacking and up/down traversing and being the only splitter in my group has disadvantages - but not enough to push me to back to skis. Heel-locking on the Karakorams seems attractive for ski outs, but with my rockered Jones solution seems like it could be a handful in ski-mode. I ask because I'm ignorant for the ability of Phantoms to lock down your heels. Advice welcome and have a great season.


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:33 am 
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Great writeup summersgone, and awesome design and craftsmanship Keffler!


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:45 am 
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Location: a mile high COLORADO
I don't think a heel lock down is even necessary, but I heard that Keffler is playing around with some ideas... I have the k setup and I prefer to ski in telly mode, as the heel lockdown is sloppy and lifts about a half inch or more so the skating motion is silly.


Hey Keffler- whens the next run of these bindings?

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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:32 am 
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Ibis-
I don't think the Phantoms have much to do with touring mode so right now you're on your own for a locking heel since you tour on Dynafit toes. Either fitting a Dynafit heel between your ride mode pucks or possibly fitting a heel bail with a lever would work...

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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:48 am 
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Location: Wasatch
so as far as heel lockdown goes. If your heel risers are correctly adjusted and you have the voile set up(i haven't used the others) you can raise your heel up just a tad and then pull your shorter wire up and it will catch on the welt of your boot (tlt5's) not sure on other boots. Not a super bomber lock down but good enough for any small downhill that you don't transition for. give it a shot it works!

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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:42 am 
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Location: Whistler, Coast Mtns
heel lockdown-----go buy a pair of skis

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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:31 am 
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Thanks for the tips on heel lockdown...the whole idea of it makes my cringe anyway. I just wondered about options since Karakoram has had it for a while. http://www.splitboardbindings.com/produ ... echnology/


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:10 pm 
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Drop the knee there is no need for heel lock down.


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:07 am 
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Location: Durango, CO
An update after a few more days on the Phantoms. Yesterday I had day 11 on the bindings. I am extremely impressed still, and I am officially a hardboot convert.

Overall, still reiterating my initial thoughts after more days, this system is impressive. Keffler did an excellent job to bring hardboot enthusiasts a great bindings, and the perfect system for softbooters to make the switch to hardboots without compromising ride performance. Kudos to Keffler for his ingenuity in putting together such a good product.

Touring is great with these. I've done everything I can early season, minus bootpacking. From short crappy skin tracks, to crap sidehills, breaking trail in a few feet of powder. I've done up to 5K days. It feels excellent to have the hardboot. Its more efficient, comfortable, and the range of motion is awesome to have. I have had no hot spots and issues with the boots. Boots are cold though, with toe warmers when its <10 degrees, it makes it nice so your toes don't freeze up.

Riding, I can now say I am very impressed with the Phantoms. I feel confident riding anything at this point on them, and I can't wait for big lines to open up. It is a very responsive ride, and I've done everything from windbuff, to crust, to powder, open runs to tight trees. It has been great in everything. It is a slightly different ride than softboots, and it takes you a few times to get used to it. One thing that is not necessarily worse, but different, is the flex pattern on toe side turns. You notice this more on impacts than actually turning. With softboots, you get a bit more flex towards your toes, hard to explain here. With hardboots it basically hits the wall and you don't get much else. Softboots allow a bit more flex once you hit the wall so it is a bit softer on big impacts. But its not necessarily bad, just different. Another thing is the inward flex when you bring your knees together. I have a wider stance at 23", and I've noticed it feels a bit different on landings as well this way when you compress. I have not modified the inner cuff at all, but I may. I do get a bit of pressure on my rear leg, on the inside shin after a lot of riding. On every backcountry day, it wasn't enough downhill riding to be an issue.

The interface and changeover is a breeze. Now that I'm 100% used to the system, it is very very quick. I have found myself a few times looking around ready when everyone is still fumbling with their stuff. No measurements on timing there, but I feel faster. There is ice up issues to be handled. Since the interface is so tight on the board, you need to make sure you carry a voile scraper to remove areas where the board touches the bindings. I clean around the cleats, and on the underside of the board plates to remove any ice. Also, if you do have ice on your inner edges, it can make it difficult to get the system together. Just make sure to clean those 3 areas, and it is no problem on the system. Also, last weekend was bitterly cold at 10 degrees, 30mph winds, and the pins and interface still worked very well.

As for what people were talking about before:
Splitskiing - I lock in my highback with my boots for long splitskis, and I've had no issues so far. Its about the same as it was before, maybe a little better, but still sketchy as hell! I did a 2 mile splitski on hardpack and probably got up to 20MPH and didn't crash but my butt was quite puckered. John has a prototype heel lockdown that just uses a voile strap, but it is not for sale at this time.


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:51 am 
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Another excellent update. Thanks for sharing!!


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 Post subject: Re: Phantom Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:45 am 
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Location: New Castle, Colorado
Quote:
It is a slightly different ride than softboots, and it takes you a few times to get used to it. One thing that is not necessarily worse, but different, is the flex pattern on toe side turns. You notice this more on impacts than actually turning. With softboots, you get a bit more flex towards your toes, hard to explain here. With hardboots it basically hits the wall and you don't get much else. Softboots allow a bit more flex once you hit the wall so it is a bit softer on big impacts


Try riding your TLT5s with a Eliminator Custom Tongue (see: http://www.masterfitenterprises.com/eliminator.html). The Eliminator Custom Tongue has help me create a softer/dampen forward lean/flex (I do not hit the wall), while improving overall boot fit. I no longer have to crank down the boot straps to get the boot to fit. Now, I ride the boot snug to almost loose, depending on the conditions.

Quote:
Another thing is the inward flex when you bring your knees together. I have a wider stance at 23", and I've noticed it feels a bit different on landings as well this way when you compress. I have not modified the inner cuff at all, but I may. I do get a bit of pressure on my rear leg, on the inside shin after a lot of riding.


The Eliminator Tongue will allow for more lateral movement as I do not have to tighten down the top of the boot as much. Please consider a shorter width stance and/or cants. I believe the Phantoms come with cants. To me hardboot stance should feel natural (aka natural alignment) with no pressure on the inside leg.

Just my :twocents: as you may benefit without further modification to your boots.

Quote:
In regards to the rougher ride this is one thing that kind of gets old on hard boots. I think the next step in HB bindings is building in some sort of progressive dampening system. I few thin layers of foam sandwiched somewhere would do the trick, but that just adds height.


The rougher ride is one of the reasons why I switched (in 2011) to Bomber Sidewinder bindings. The Sidewinders give a softer-ride. Now I wish I could afford two pair of Phantoms. Awesome review!

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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 Alpha Initial Impressions
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:20 am
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Location: a mile high COLORADO
SG- that is a great review after enough days to build a solid opinion.


I would also like to echo the comments SG made, this truly is a great system.


The ski boot (tlt5) is amazing to tour in, the extra motion provided in the walk mode is so natural and easy that it increases your stride without even thinking about it. Increased my skinning pace a good bit, Side hilling and weird skin moves ( skinny trail, rock hoping, skiing) all felt very solid with the tlt5. Very comfortable to tour in. They aren't very warm on the cold days but they work.

As for the binders.... They are simple awesome, so easy to transition with and the boards rigidity is pretty FN good. The way phantom bindings lock into ride mode really brings the boards together and keeps them there. One of my favorite features is the simplicity of the bail lockdowns, Its super fast in and out and Im sure it will be nice to be that quick sitting under a loaded cornice or at the top of a chute.

SG- where are you as far as canting the bindings? Im using 2.5 on both feet but think either I double that, or start playing with the boot a bit more. I have some :doobie: ideas for making it flex more like a softboot without compromising the lower shell stiffness.

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