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 Post subject: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:40 pm
Posts: 529
Introduction

Spark R & D has made a name for themselves coming out with multiple innovative binding systems, so it came to no surprise that they invested time and energy on there own touring bracket and pin system. Attempting to make a lighter more efficient setup for skinning and changeovers.

Testing Grounds

The LT pin system was tested nonstop for a full month in a vast array of conditions and scenarios, from side-hilling on 30 degree slopes to skinning 4000 feet up a steep mountain on 4 inches of snow on top of ice.

Here are my thoughts on the touring bracket and why I feel it is superior to the original Voile system.

Initial Impressions

From the get go, I could tell that it was incredibly light, smooth and stylish looking. I wondered how much of a difference they would make on the uphill. Ten minutes and six screws later the brackets were in place and I was ready to test them out.

In The Field

I immediately noticed how stable and sturdy the system felt compared to the wobble that is notorious with standard touring brackets. Both sliding the pin system in and out of touring mode was smooth and the board was easy converted while my hands stayed dry in my gloves. Multiple times throughout the day I would find myself traversing across steep icy slopes with ease, instead of focusing on absorbing the flex on my ankles the brackets held strong. On flats and small downhill stretches the strides felt both smooth and natural.

What makes these brackets such a vast improvement.

By shaving off excess material they were able to create a strong, lightweight and durable system, thick in contact zones but almost nonexistent in others. There is more then 3 times as much surface interaction between the pins and bracket/bindings compared to Voiles brackets/plates making the bindings feel solid and secure. There are bushings in the bracket (and the Blazes) which dramatically reduce wear and tear on the new aluminum pins (also included with the package).


Why would I use the Brackets?

For years we have waited for a product that would make skinning easier and more efficient, this product delivers. If you are planning on long distance tours, expeditions or just getting out a few days this season I highly recommend this product.

Pros

* It gets rid of excessive material and only keeps what you need
* Super light weight
* Much more surface interaction compared to the slider plates
* Much less lateral flex
* Bright colored pin easy to spot in snowy conditions
* aluminum pins
* Self-lubricating plastic bushings within the touring bracket drastically reduce wear

WHO: Spark R& D

WHAT: LT Pin System

WHEN:
Anytime you are skinning

WHERE: Traverses, expeditions and everything in between

WHY: Its lightweight, strong and sturdy

Retail: 78.00

Is it worth it?:
Well worth every penny and once you try them out you will understand why.

Image

Here is a quick video


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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:17 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:50 am
Posts: 328
Location: hippy pow turns
well done review Kyle.

is there anything you did not like ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:20 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:40 pm
Posts: 529
Not a big fan of bright purple :wink:
It is kind of expensive but if you put together the cost of spare pins ( 40$ ) and the touring bracket it makes sense and its good to support a small rider owned company.

I wish it came with screws :scratch:
Edit to add it came with screws :banghead:

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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:05 pm
Posts: 522
Mine came with screws... I just got a set two weeks ago though. Only have one day on them, so not much to say yet. I got the set for the Fuse binding in Black, I don't really dig the purple and blue colors that they were offering.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm
Posts: 1620
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
I got a set a couple weeks ago as well, also for the Fuse/Ignition in black, and they most definitely did NOT come with screws. WTF? I kinda figured at that price they'd come with gold-plated titanium screws. :) Haven't had a chance to mount them up yet, looking forward to checking them out. I can see how they ought to provide a more solid feel in ski mode.

One thing - they say in the instructions that you don't need the flat plastic spacer that came with Mr. Chomps (if you're using those). However, I think that if you don't use the spacer, you might run into issues with standard screws being just a tad too long, and bottoming out in the insert before completely tightening down on the bracket. I saw this firsthand on scruffy's board the other day. He thought it was a tolerance issue with the inserts on the Jones, but I'm betting it's a more general problem. I seem to remember a similar issue once when I tried to use the standard Voile brackets without any spacer (either the Spark Mr. Chomps one, or the standard pin guide spacer that comes with Voile brackets).

Speaking of instructions and Mr. Chomps, be sure to read the part about modifying your Chomps if you have 'em. You'll need to replace the plastic bar on the Chomps with the shorter one that comes with the LT package.


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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:06 am
Posts: 10
Mine didn't come with screws either. I thought I could just use the screws from my Voile brackets, but they're too long, so I went to Home Depot and got some shorter screws (10 mm.) Even so, one of the brackets is kind of loose. I tried it on both sides of the board - loose on both - so I think it's the bracket, not the inserts. I trimmed a bit of plastic as a shim, hoping that'll do the trick.


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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:07 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Seattle
Just received my set for the Blazes, and it came with 10mm screws. I wonder if they started adding screws to later batches?

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Jones Solution 161, Spark R&D Blaze Bingings and LT Pin System, Karakoram Clips


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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:45 am
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Location: Bozeman, MT
E-mail Spark and they will send you the proper screws.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:38 pm
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Location: The Belly of Ham baby!!
Great review Kyle!

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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:40 pm
Posts: 114
Location: Seattle
Looking at the video, it appears that Kyle has mounted different straps onto the Blaze plate. Perhaps Burton?


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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:50 am
Posts: 7
Hi, anybody know if they work with the voile light rail and with the voile crampons?


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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:45 am
Posts: 79
Location: Newfoundland
I'd like to see Spark offer a discounted price on the LT System - The pin wear on the steel pins was a design flaw, riders have little choice but to order the improved system, unless you keep replacing the steel pins at $28/pair. I'd happily send Spark my worn out pins in exchange for a $28 discount on the new set up. :twocents:


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 Post subject: Re: Review of the Spark LT Pin System
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:40 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:44 am
Posts: 22
$78 seems like a lot for some new touring brackets and pins......until your first time climbing a steep, icy, sidehill skintrack, at which point you will realize it was absolutely the best splitboard gear investment you ever made (aside from the Blazes). :headbang:

I used to do so much slipping/sliding/falling/cursing on technical up tracks, I was usually exhausted on top, and far, far behind any skiers in the group. But not anymore .

If you are still trying to decide if these are worth it, I urge you to run, not walk, to get your credit card and get some NOW!


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