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 Post subject: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA/Ashland, OR
I know this topic is as old as splitboard.com, but given a recent discussion on the TR forum, and personal interest in improving my own experiences I want to revive it here, only with a twist. This isn't a hardboot vs. softboot debate thread, I think that debate is played out, it's a "convince me, an avid softbooter, what hardboot setup will win me over". Talk boots, liners, cants, bindings, toepieces (I assume dynafit is gonna come up) mods etc..

I'd also like to hear weights, since many hardboot advocates have frequently cited this as a reason for hardbooting, and I think modern day softboot setups aren't as far off weightwise as they think.

I'm giving you guys a chance to convince me, I'm open minded, and willing to spend money on gear if I AM convinced.

Thanks in advance for the responses.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:20 pm 
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x2 on mods.... :thumpsup:
I can't count the times I see "A modded hardboot has the same ______ as ______"... Without any hints, tips, tricks, or details provided...


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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:26 pm 
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JBAY-well stated and good intentioned, but still a futile process. If you have to be convinced to ride a hardboot than frankly it's probably just not the set up for you. Better to spend your time and money on dialing in your soft boot set-up. The mtn plates are bomber though probably best for lighter riders as their soft and have a bit of flex which in the end is a big positive compared to like a burton race binding.

That said it is summer the best time for pointless debates.

Edit^^^ Snurfer beat me to it, I think all those mods are pretty well documented in the boots section, it gets quite long and detailed in there.


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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:36 pm 
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UTAH wrote:
JBAY-well stated and good intentioned, but still a futile process. If you have to be convinced to ride a hardboot than frankly it's probably just not the set up for you. Better to spend your time and money on dialing in your soft boot set-up. The mtn plates are bomber though probably best for lighter riders as their soft and have a bit of flex which in the end is a big positive compared to like a burton race binding.

That said it is summer the best time for pointless debates.

Edit^^^ Snurfer beat me to it, I think all those mods are pretty well documented in the boots section, it gets quite long and detailed in there.


Thanks man, but it kinda feels like you don't believe me when I say "I'm open minded".

I really am, or I wouldn't have started the thread. I've tried hardboots before and didn't like em, but didn't do any mods to dial em in, like barrows suggested. I wouldn't have tried them if I didn't seek to upgrade my experience.

In all honesty, touring with Burt and Zellers this spring convinced me maybe I should relook at hardboots (Zellers rips in em).

I know it's all been discussed here before, but rather then research thousands of old (and some out of date) posts, I figure I've met enough of you guys to just ask the question and get some feedback, I won't complain if someone says "look at 'this' thread for an example".

As you said...it's summer anyway! WTF else do we have to do (besides, climb, hike, and ride of course :-) )

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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:32 pm 
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UTAH wrote:
JBAY-well stated and good intentioned, but still a futile process.....


There is no such thing as a futile process when it comes to improving performance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZEJ4OJTgg8

When I see a hardbooter charge 50 degree spines seamlessly and with the same style and power as with "their" :wink: softboot setup, I will start to think more seriously. As for weight comparisons between a strap setup and plate setups, once again, anything is possible with innovation.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:46 pm 
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Location: SLC Bunk
I'll bite. I think some people on here hear someone mention hardboots and envision trying to shred in some heavy ass alpine boots. I also feel that too many people have had bad experiences with the wrong AT boot.

I spent several seasons splitting in softboots and strapbinders. I LIVE TO RIDE POWDER and I'm completely obsessed with splitting when the snow is flying. I've used Burton, Ride Delta MVNT, and Sparks. I never really had any problems with these setups but wanted to put a hard boot combo together to see for myself.

This last season I found an old pair of 2-buckle Dynafit TLT 3's. This is a very flexy boot that I couldn't imagine actually driving skis with but they are perfect for splitting. The narrower profile across the boot winds up with almost no snow build up while breaking trail or trailing teletards in the deep skin tracks of the Wasatch. Touring with the dynafit toepieces just made it even better. This boot also surfs the powder like a traditional softboot setup. I only used this boot in powder conditions before deciding that they are slightly too large for my feet. No canting was used with this combination.

I then acquired a pair of unused Scarpa Lasers for $150. This 3-buckle boot is stiffer than the Dynafit but has a better fit for me (I have painful arch issues on my right foot). Honestly, in powder, these things are just as surfy and fun and any other combo I've used (it may help that I ride an NS Summit on pow days). Also, touring is much more enjoyable with the narrower profile and less snow cake buildup. This may not mean much to those of you who don't get to tromp through powder each day or do lots of trail breaking.

Booting up in firm conditions is much much more enjoyable and secure as well requiring less effort and puckering.

The Voile mountain plate binding allows for a great deal of flex. So much flex that it took a while for me to fully trust them. I never released from the binding in the ~50ish days I've used them this year.

The only times I've felt as though the Lasers were less enjoyable than a more traditional setup has been while riding in really firm and shitty surface conditions and when landing airs. Knowing how to follow the corn-compass negates this and I've spent too much money repairing my joints to be launching off of things any more.

I'm sold. I don't plan on going back to my old gear unless I end up riding a chairlift at some point.

I think the perfect hardboot for the curious to try is the old Dynafit TLT's and MLT's. They are light. "Soft". and cheap if you can find them. The MLT is a laced boot. UTAH has a pair. I've thought about cutting off his feet so I can steal them.

I haven't weighed anything yet but the weight difference (in favor of the hardboot combos) was noticeable both in hand and on foot. Works for me.

:twocents:

edit: If anyone in SLC wants to try my old Dynafits let me know. They are 27.5's. I used them with the liners out of my Drivers. I'd be willing to let them go for really cheap or trade them for something.


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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:35 pm 
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Tks Stagger, only a 1/2 size off or I might have taken you up on the Dynafit offer. Are there any currently built 2 buckle boots? What are others using?

...and lastly, is everyone using voile plates? I do remember the flex you referred too, I think that's what made me think they were gonna break, but hey if you guys are rockin' em I take your word for it.

...ok..now really lastly..do the voile plates make you feel like you're standing way up off the deck of the board? That's one of the best features of Sparks IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:15 pm 
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jbay:

I would first suggest reading the threads in boots about the Dynafit Zzero 3, and mods, both Karkis and myself have posted there about mods.

For current boots, I would suggest Scarpa F-3s, these are light, come with an excellent moldable liner, and appear to be quite soft. The F-3s also have a mid ankle buckle, which mimics the ankle strap of a soft binding. The cuff on this boot is too high on the medial side, so I would cut down the medial side cuff to be the same height as the lateral side, or maybe slightly lower. Any time one decides to cut a boot, make sure to cut a little, and then test (carpet ride) and then cut more, always testing-remember cut a little at a time and make smooth cuts. The other mod to do is to slot the forward lean adjuster (the metal plate in the back of the boot): this allows the boot to have forward lean, but still flex forward (otherwise, forward flex is locked out when forward lean is selected). I also suggest that carpet testing be done with one soft binding/boot on one foot, and the hard setup on the other foot, and then compare the flexes-this can be very helpful when trying to duplicate the flex of your soft setup through mods.
Bindings: I do not like the Voile plates, but they are light, and cheap! The Voile plates place the boot quite high off of the board, and are not very confidence inspiring. With the F-3s one would probably not need cants. I like direct mounting plate binding toe and heel pieces to the Voile slider plate, this allows for a light, low, and secure setup. I have used both Catek and Burton Race Plate toe and heel pieces. I prefer to get flex out of the boot, and have the binding be secure and tight. A direct mount setup has to be done carefully, and cannot be adjusted for different boots, but it still the best way to go. Second best binding setup is the bomber splitboard binding, very well made, secure, and adjustable; but heavier and higher off of the board than a custom direct mount setup.
As for stances, this is quite personal, I would suggest that you experiment. I use 27-30 degrees on the front foot, and around 15 degrees on the back foot, with a 21" width.
I highly recommend using Dynafit toe pieces on the board for touring mode, even though they add a little overall weight, the benefits are well worth it.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:38 pm 
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russman wrote:
UTAH wrote:
JBAY-well stated and good intentioned, but still a futile process.....


There is no such thing as a futile process when it comes to improving performance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZEJ4OJTgg8

When I see a hardbooter charge 50 degree spines seamlessly and with the same style and power as with "their" :wink: softboot setup, I will start to think more seriously. As for weight comparisons between a strap setup and plate setups, once again, anything is possible with innovation.


Russman, perhaps it is time that you make you own equipment decisions, rather than fetishising the equipment choices of others?

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http://protectourwinters.org/
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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:59 pm 
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Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
Some of this has been covered. To each their own, I am only speaking from my thoughts.

I also hardboot carve on groomer days in bounds. I ride softboots for inbounds powder. I primarily got the AT boots for spring corn riding on the volcanoes, but now use them for all my splitboarding.

I ride the F1s and F3s and will write up a comparison and the mods I have done to them when I get a chance. The F3s have been on Tramdock a lot recently for about $350. The other boot I really like (Rebecca has a pair for splitting) is the Dynafit Zzeros.

For me, the up is most of splitboarding and there is absolutely no comparison (for me) between AT boots and softboots. From skinning to crampons to walking on dry trail my F1s and F3s are so much nicer than softboots.

When skinning, I have a much better and more efficient stride. Skinning in softboot bindings, even with the highback as far back as it will go, I find my stride limited and less comfortable. The Dynafit toepieces are wonderful to skin with and control of the skis is much improved. It is so nice to get the bulky softboot and strap binding combination off my feet for skinning.

Crampons that easily go on and clamp down are great. Kicking steps is much better and in general having a hard, sharp edge (without crampons) to move around on firm snow makes life much easier. It certainly makes me feel safer to step out of the dynafits on steep firm snow when I have skinned as steep as I can and need to transition to crampons.

The F1s and F3s have a bellow that makes skinning and walking on dry trail really comfortable. They are a bit more difficult when front pointing firm steep snow though (still better than softboots). I will probably get a pair of AT boots that has a rigid sole if I find myself doing more front pointing up more steep slopes.

Regarding the down, as has been mentioned, the boots will need to be modified. Ski mode will not allow you to bend your knees enough and will restrict the movement of your legs too much and walk mode will have no stop on the forward lean for heelside. Your heelside will suffer and it will be hard to keep your knees bent. This could be okay on most powder days but will definitely cause problems on firm and steep snow. Most boots have a straightforward modification to the walk / ski mechanism that will fix this issue. The tongue can also be changed or modified to adjust flex.

I am close to being completely happy with the down on my AT boots. Just a few more tweaks once I get back on them next season.

I consider flex in the binding system important. I ride F2 alpine binding toe and heel pieces direct mounted to the Voile slider. They allow more lateral flex than the Cateks that Barrows uses or the Bombers but less lateral flex than the Voiles. I can have cant and lift if I choose with this set up but I ride flat / flat. Cant is personal preference. I have ridden the Voile mountain plates for a season, but I do not trust them for riding where coming out of the binding will have dire consequences.


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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:48 am 
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Great post Buell. Glad to hear the F boots are working for you. If I was in the market for new boots I would almost certainly be going with the F-3.
RE:
"I consider flex in the binding system important. I ride F2 alpine binding toe and heel pieces direct mounted to the Voile slider. They allow more lateral flex than the Cateks that Barrows uses or the Bombers but less lateral flex than the Voiles."
I hear ya, but with the (extensive) mods I have done to to Zzero 3s I now get so much medial/lateral flex out of the boot itself that I no longer need (or want) the binding/boot interface to flex. You are right, the Cateks do not allow for much movement with their very thick bales. I have Burton raceplate toe and heel pieces as well, with thinner bales. The Burtons are also a little lower to the plate. I am trying to get a custom slider plate built, which will allow me to drill a mounting hole pattern for the Burton toe/heel which will allow for adjustment, will report back on this if/when it comes to fruition.

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Quiver Killer inserts

http://protectourwinters.org/
http://14ersnowboardproject.homestead.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:25 am 
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i broke out the digi scale the other day, and ive been compiling some weight data from various websites.

scarpa f1 - 1350g
scarpa f3 - 1470g
scarpa spirit 3 - 1760g

my old vans Daniel Franks - 1190g
Spark fuses' - 980g

soft boots and sparks = 2170g (just one example obviously)

i havent found the weight of a dynafit toe piece yet, anybody know that?

a little fuel for the fire, so to speak

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 Post subject: Re: Hardboot setups even softbooters will love
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
barrows wrote:
Great post Buell. Glad to hear the F boots are working for you. If I was in the market for new boots I would almost certainly be going with the F-3.
RE:
buell wrote:
I consider flex in the binding system important. I ride F2 alpine binding toe and heel pieces direct mounted to the Voile slider. They allow more lateral flex than the Cateks that Barrows uses or the Bombers but less lateral flex than the Voiles.

I hear ya, but with the (extensive) mods I have done to to Zzero 3s I now get so much medial/lateral flex out of the boot itself that I no longer need (or want) the binding/boot interface to flex. You are right, the Cateks do not allow for much movement with their very thick bales. I have Burton raceplate toe and heel pieces as well, with thinner bales. The Burtons are also a little lower to the plate. I am trying to get a custom slider plate built, which will allow me to drill a mounting hole pattern for the Burton toe/heel which will allow for adjustment, will report back on this if/when it comes to fruition.


I spoke with Scarpa the other day and the F3s are discontinued. I guess the Terminator had too much overlap with it. Unless a good ride mode can be figured out for the F1s, I do not consider them as good of an option for splitting as the F3s due to the walk / ski mechanism design.

In the alpine hardboot (carving on groomers) world there is a constant discussion of flex in the binding verses flex in the boot. For alpine bindings I have tried stiff (Bomber and Catek) and soft (F2, Burtons are soft as well but I have not tried them) and am firmly in the softer binding camp. I think rider weight could play a big part of one's preference because a heavier rider can (will) get more flex from all parts of the boot / binding system. I am a lightweight at 145 pounds.


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