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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:35 pm 
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I enjoy a good, strong cup of coffee in the morning before touring. It helps me lose AT LEAST 1000 grams of material!

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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:06 pm 
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I'm very much a "weight weeny" but it is but one of the factors defining the quality of a piece of backcountry gear. Simplicity of use, number of moving parts, durability, comfort, repair-ability (particularly in the field), and last and pretty much unecessary - looks.

1. Simplicity: The switch over process of the Karakoram appears simpler due to the quick-release lever.
2. Number of moving parts: Blaze wins this hands down
3. Durability: Only time will tell here. Spark gets immediate kudos for having a few generations of quality product.
4. Comfort: The base of the Karakoram isn't flat and could be uncomfortable but only time will tell.
5. Repair-ability: The Voile stuff used on the Blaze is standard and time tested.
6. Looks: The Blaze wins in the fashion department with the anodizing and laser-etching. I'm sure Karakoram will move into this in future generations however the flat aluminum and grip tape (is that what the black stuff is) lacks in aesthetics.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:11 pm 
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I'm sticking with the Sparks. There's too much mechanical shit going on with the Karakorams. Keep it simple in the BackCountry!


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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:46 pm 
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Number of times sliding off the hill traversing on hardpack on Voile system with Fuses: Countless

Number of times sliding off the hill traversing on hardpack on Karakoram system: 1


Now if only they made pink splitboard bindings...

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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:10 pm 
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^^^ I have a hard time believing that to be solely due to the bindings

Also, completely agree with Gnar...in the backcountry KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

That being said, I am quite anxious to hear the reviews of a much broader rider base on the performance of the Karakoram system after this season. My own $0.02 is that I don't think you can go wrong with either system, but if I had to spend the $ today I opt for the Blaze.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:53 pm 
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[quote="96avs01"]^^^ I have a hard time believing that to be solely due to the bindings[/quote]

+1
This is snowboarding not rocket science, Its all in the rider, gear is just personal preference

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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:10 am 
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I have a hard time believing that as well, but lets be real here. Improvements in gear tech can go a LONG way to making you a better splitter. Gear is way more than a preference.

I think traversing well has mostly to do with technique, edge sharpness and sidecut, and boots. As well as board flex.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:48 am 
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Have you EVER tried to keep up with AT skiers on long, icy traverses? Dude..... They kick the CRAP out of us in those situations! And I assure you its not because they have a superior technique.

If gear is irrelevant, why don't we all just use Ducktaped Surrels and go back to slider tracks?

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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:01 am 
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I for one am glad there is competition in this market. Spark R&D came on the scene and added competition to Voile which in turn caused Voile to be progressive with their technology and come out with a split-specific binding. Now Karakoram is on the market and providing competition to both the former companies and it will require them to stay fresh and relevant.

Companies staying fresh and relevent means progression for the sport. I give the Karakoram guys much respect for coming up with some entirely fresh ideas and for taking the plunge time and dollar-wise into building a new product. Credit also goes to Spark and Voile for updating and re-inventing their own designs for the betterment of us, the users.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:29 am 
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samh wrote:
I for one am glad there is competition in this market ... for the betterment of us, the users.
+1
russman wrote:
Number of times sliding off the hill traversing on hardpack on Voile system with Fuses: Countless

Number of times sliding off the hill traversing on hardpack on Karakoram system: 1

Russ, so could you explain how and why this is? I see no reason why, other then time on the system. It seems width is comparable, and height is about the same, so I don't understand what would make this happen. I
russman wrote:
Have you EVER tried to keep up with AT skiers on long, icy traverses?
Agreed, generally they fly, but I would have to say this is mostly because 1/2 technique, 1/2 gear. Agreed with HFT on this one. They have sidecut on both edges, which maybe the jones magne will help, but no first hand experience, and sweet boots that helps technique on sidehill (no I don't want hardboots... yet) which I think gives them an advantage. But also those dudes are used to traversing with two feet at all times and are good skiers, I just feel awkward 1/2 the time on icy traverses in two plank mode, thats not because of my gear. If only I could traverse uphill in ride mode easily I think it would solve all problems! :scratch:

Anyways, both systems are sweet, and can't wait for more reviews when the snow starts really flying and more people can test them out.


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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:49 am 
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It's too bad Russman is so biased on providing any beta on anything he rides. In a position to provide valuable feeback to peers, but he lives and dies by the "you're only as good as your gear" montra.

Of course stiffer bindings will help, but it's experience that is of most vital importance. I doubt there is few splitters than can keep up any skier on an icy traverse while in split mode. But i beat em on the way down so it all balances out.

I go with what bindings i can afford, plain and simple. And it does not dictate what terrain i can or cannot ride.

JL


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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:27 pm 
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Location: Bozeman, MT
Price is definitely a factor for a lot of us.

Spark R & D Blaze: $299.99 (Bindings, repair tools) - $429.99 including purchase of Voile touring componentry*
Karakoram Split 30: $599.00 (Bindings, Ride Mode Interfaces, Tour Mode Interfaces, Board Clips, and Tip and Tail Clips)

* Most splitboards come complete with Voile parts which the Blaze works with but for comparisons sake, the items necessary to match the prices of these two products equally would cost: Pucks, $20; Puck Gaskets, $6; Hooks, $24; Tip/Tail Clips, $12; Heel Pad, $18; Climbing Wire, $14; Touring Bracket, $36; Total $130.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakorams or Sparks?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:22 pm 
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summersgone wrote:
samh wrote:
I for one am glad there is competition in this market ... for the betterment of us, the users.
+1
russman wrote:
Number of times sliding off the hill traversing on hardpack on Voile system with Fuses: Countless

Number of times sliding off the hill traversing on hardpack on Karakoram system: 1

Russ, so could you explain how and why this is? I see no reason why, other then time on the system. It seems width is comparable, and height is about the same, so I don't understand what would make this happen.


I helped a buddy of mine put his new Karakorams together tonight, and I realized that its probably super difficult to really understand a binding without having it right there in your hands. I really do believe that if you guys were able to get on them, you'd understand the physical differences.

summersgone wrote:
russman wrote:
Have you EVER tried to keep up with AT skiers on long, icy traverses?


Agreed, generally they fly, but I would have to say this is mostly because 1/2 technique, 1/2 gear. Agreed with HFT on this one. They have sidecut on both edges, which maybe the jones magne will help, but no first hand experience, and sweet boots that helps technique on sidehill (no I don't want hardboots... yet) which I think gives them an advantage. But also those dudes are used to traversing with two feet at all times and are good skiers, I just feel awkward 1/2 the time on icy traverses in two plank mode, thats not because of my gear. If only I could traverse uphill in ride mode easily I think it would solve all problems! :scratch:

Anyways, both systems are sweet, and can't wait for more reviews when the snow starts really flying and more people can test them out.


Basically, if I could draw you a free body diagram explaining the differences in the ways that moments (torques) are transfered through the two binding systems, it would be so much easier. I think the important thing to understand is that Bryce and Tyler have put literally years into thoughtful engineering of this binding. Everything from how forces are transferred on railing turns, to how snow clears from the touring brackets.

Basically, the Karakoram binding incorporates very larger toe-to-heel and side-to-side moment arms that can actually compete with forces coming from the highbacks. In the Fuses, the binding is wide open on the lateral aspects, and thus there is ZERO lateral support; your foot rolls all over the place inside the binding when you're traversing.

jlag wrote:
It's too bad Russman is so biased on providing any beta on anything he rides. In a position to provide valuable feeback to peers, but he lives and dies by the "you're only as good as your gear" montra.


Those are strong words jlag. Hmmmm, that's the joy of the internet.

Biased is not the word to use: ANALYTICAL is the correct word. I guess it takes a physics nerd to know a physics nerd. You must not be a nerd....

jlag wrote:
Of course stiffer bindings will help, but it's experience that is of most vital importance. I doubt there is few splitters than can keep up any skier on an icy traverse while in split mode. But i beat em on the way down so it all balances out.


I will argue differently. On the slider tracks, and expert splitter would have a hell of a time keeping up with a beginner BC skier on icy traversing; equipment makes HUGE differences.

I find that I'm actually faster than a lot of skiers on the up, and with the Karakoram system, I can actually compete on the sidehill traversing..

jlag wrote:
I go with what bindings i can afford, plain and simple. And it does not dictate what terrain i can or cannot ride.


And yes, the price difference is a major factor. I'm lucky in that I've been able to get out on both systems a TON this year. Simply put, I wish you guys could see just how much more dialed and legit this system is compared to what we've been playing around on. For me, the extra 130 bucks is worth it.... But then again I'm the only one posting anything! Hah!

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