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 Post subject: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:40 pm
Posts: 114
Location: Seattle
Today I took my new Sparks out for a full day inbounds where I really got to test them out. Mounting these things all day long gives you a better idea for how it all works, than the one day I skinned up and rode down only once.

I have been using Burton bindings for a number of years now and I have found one of the things I like the most about them (P1, etc) is that the buckles and ratchet mechanism is smooth, and very easy to engage with gloves on. Today, I found myself a little frustrated by the buckle / ratchet mechanism for engaging the ankle straps to be very finicky. Sometimes very hard to engage with gloves on and even without. Also, sometimes it would feel kind of "stuck" in a way that it shouldn't. Did I get a bad batch? Anyone else feel a little frustrated buckling into these things? Can they somehow be broken in? for $300 these things I shouldn't be settling for the buckle performance of a cheap binding.

Other than that though, the performance was superb and I really felt like I was just on a normal board. Very enjoyable.


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:47 pm
Posts: 24
I've had nine days on my Blazes so far. The buckles have worn in a little but are still a lot harder to release compared to my old Burton P1 buckles. On the odd occasion they get stuck and require a lot of force to release.


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:27 pm
Posts: 3
I've put 20-25 days on mine so far and have had numerous strap/buckle issues. I got a set with the ratchet spring issue, and two left sets of straps, one of which was poorly glued/stitched and started falling apart after 2 days. I contacted Sparks and replacements for everything arrived the next week. All of my issues were resolved (with the binders, I still have plenty of issues)and i was in splitboarding heaven....until the temps dropped. It started getting cold up here in AK about 2 weeks ago and temps dropped down below 0. Since then I've broken a toe strap ratchet and 2 of the plastic toe strap anchors (the non ratchet side of the strap). Now im aware that plastic is fragile in the cold, but these things are designed for backcountry riding right? they should hold up. 1 of the straps broke minutes after a 1500 foot decent of a 50-55 degree couloir with numerous no fall zones.I'm glad it didn't come apart while cranking a turn in there. I put over 200 days on my last set up without a single strap or ratchet issue.
After dropping $300 for a set, the last thing you should be worrying about is your straps not ratcheting or grenading on you when you're dropping big shit.

Overall, I'm very happy with my blazes. Both on the up and down. And the customer service is great. But the straps are weak sauce. I'd have gladly paid extra for some beefy straps and buckles
[list=][/list]





and down, but the straps are definitly the weak link.


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:32 am
Posts: 44
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Blaze Base Plates are the bomb, in general the whole set is very responsive to ride the whole day in hard pack and groomers. Will be doing the day tours in the deep soon.

I have the buckle issue and I am still waiting for my replacements.

I also couldn't help myself to add the Burton T6 and C60 bindings to my quiver.

The board is supa aggresive, but zaps the energy out of your legs since you have to do advanced carve turn on these things to control it. As of the C60 bindings, the material is top notch and really my best bindings up to date. The straps are very very nice indeed, nicely padded and super responsive and buckles are super smooth and material is excellent, one of the best on the market IMO. High backs are carbon fiber mix and stiff. The C60 bindings are really light.

I have stopped comparing the Blaze straps to others, hopefully the next generation Blazes will have improvements next year. However, the Blaze baseplates sh#*s on the Burton EST baseplates period.

The Blaze base plates would do really nicely with the C60 straps and C60 Carbon Fiber high back i reckon, I will check out the compatibility of the two.

_________________
Venture Storm-R 161, Spark R&D Blaze, Burton Driver X boots, ABS Avy 15/30L backpack, Avalung, Mammut Pulse Avy Beacon, BCA carbon probe. Solid board = Burton T6 159 ICS Ferrari Red, Burton C60 EST Bindings


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:24 am
Posts: 148
Location: San Juans Colorado
im thinking about throwing some union straps on there. i forget what/how they make their ladder straps, but their shits legit.
you can bend them back 180 degrees in cold weather and they dont brake. and the ratchets are also killer, injected magnesium....stronger and lighter.


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:22 pm
Posts: 44
Ok.. so yeah.. The hardware is poor.. dissapointing to hear that the straps are breaking in the cold. I guess I'll get to work on replacing it all, thanks for the heads up. Was the same deal with the old bent metal stuff.

I've had the ignitions, the fuses and now the blazes. To be honest I've been running an older setup so far this season as it's such a tight fit to push and pull these things off my pucks that I'm just dreading having to do it without my living room floor to lever against. So they still sit in waiting.
Is anyone else running into this? I would assume my pucks were misaligned but they are great for all the other bindings I slide on them. Voile or other Sparks... am I missing something here? I suppose they'll loosen up.. but this is tight!! I do have the rubber gaskets on underneath the pucks.

Baseplates look sick looking forward to getting them running.. Any ideas?.. advice?


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:40 pm
Posts: 23
Location: British Columbia
I've also got the floppy buckle issue, still waiting for replacements. Plus one of the toe-strap anchors broke on me and it wasn't even that cold. I've put about 25 days on the bindings with normal use (no abuse). Also the rings that hold the pin lanyard on are bent to shit and are now non-functional. I sent spark an e-mail 2 weeks ago and have received no response... wah-waahhh.


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:55 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:40 pm
Posts: 23
Location: British Columbia
Spark just got back to me....their customer service is legit. I should be getting my replacement parts soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 4
Yep, Seems that Spark has not done their homework in the strap department.

I too have had buckle issues with sticky and hard to disengage buckles but my biggest problem is straps breaking. I have had 5 straps break in the cold. Not very confidence inspiring.

What other brands of straps will fit on the Blaze? I hear Union has very good Dupont material in their straps and the buckles actually work. Do they have the same interface as the Sparks?

Overall the design and lightness of the binding is good. I like the feel and efficiency I get but this strap issue could be a killer. I emailed Spark and hope to get a good response.


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:05 am
Posts: 42
Location: Northeast
Had my new blazes out today. They were getting stuck in the release also. Not liking that at all.

Does Union sell just the straps? I would try those if they are more reliable.

Is this a problem that Spark R&D would fix?


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 8:51 am
Posts: 636
The ratchets are pretty weak. Haven't broke anything yet but they definitely do not function smoothly. Glove keeps getting stuck, super stiff, don't want to release. The straps are pretty bad too.

I posted in another thread that the highbacks are also extremely soft. Not good

I had the first Spark binders and had no problems, seems like they've been cutting some corners this year. Bums me out because I really like what Will has done and respect the company as a whole, but this years bindings are weak.


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am
Posts: 1176
Location: Denver
shredgnar wrote:
The ratchets are pretty weak. Haven't broke anything yet but they definitely do not function smoothly. Glove keeps getting stuck, super stiff, don't want to release. The straps are pretty bad too.

I posted in another thread that the highbacks are also extremely soft. Not good

I had the first Spark binders and had no problems, seems like they've been cutting some corners this year. Bums me out because I really like what Will has done and respect the company as a whole, but this years bindings are weak.



Karakoram uses the same ratchets and similar straps. Definitely not a fan. Im guessing their options were limited without going direct to burton or drake or whatever or creating them from scratch. Im sure we will see that improved on next years model for both companies. The Spark highbacks are not good for me either. In deep pow they are fine, but when I'm linking turns on a steep slope in marginal snow its a lot more work then it should be. This is where the Karakorams out perform the Sparks, partly due to the more pronounced heel and lateral support but Im thinking its largely the highbacks. I dont have the right size to retrofit either, so I cant say for sure.

At the least get yourself some burton cartel toe straps. They fit with zero mods. Not sure about the ankle strap...

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Furberg Split 167


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 Post subject: Re: Spark buckles / ratchet mechanism very finicky
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:01 pm
Posts: 796
Location: Colorado
I haven't had any issues.
rj-n-foco wrote:
Seems that Spark has not done their homework in the strap department.
Really? you saw them sneaking out when they were supposed to be studying binding straps 101?
DrFunker wrote:
They were getting stuck in the release also.
That sucks when you are waiting in the lift-line... oh wait....

Lot of complainers here, you guy should go buy the Burton Splitboard specific bindings... oh wait again!

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Talking about snowboarding is like dancing about architecture...


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