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Splitboard.com Forums • View topic - Been riding Light Rail, considering Blaze, coupla questions


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 Post subject: Been riding Light Rail, considering Blaze, coupla questions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:47 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Salt Lake City
I rode the Light Rail last year, it was great to get out of heavy voile plates and bindings. I'm not as technical as many who are always trying to tweek their ride and comparing Spark vs Karakorum vs Lightrail. One thing that's bugged me a little bit on the Light Rail is my Driver X seems to stick in the front of the binding, it's a little narrow, so I have to work a bit to get my skis to stay on the snow when I'm transitioning, I ride alot with skiers, so I try to be pretty efficient and quick. Other than that, I think I'm happy with them.

I picked up a pair of the Blaze LTs for $300 at a Black Diamond sale, so same price I paid for the Light Rail, and can return the Light Rail to REI. I bought a medium based on the size chart, but as I'm setting them up to compare with the Light Rail, I'm using most of the upper strap. They seem a little wider at the toe, which is nice, but they are also shorter than my M/L Light Rail, so my boot has probably 5 or 6 mm less binding under the front.

I pretty much decided that I was going to stick with the Voile, they're local and have always taken amazing care of me. I have three different decks and a lot of Voile spare parts, I'm not ready to pay $85 for LT pins for each deck, so I'd be undoing 6 screws every time I want to take out different board. That's really not that big of a deal, but I'm busy and most of my tours are dawn patrols, where it's all I can do to get 5 hours of sleep and so it's just another thing to potentially have to do at night.

So there you have it. I guess what I want to know from the peeps who know, is, is the hassle worth it? Is the Blaze and the LT pin that much better or should I stick with what I have and know from a company that's local and always taken great care of me. I guess there's also 1/2 pound difference between the two that could be a consideration, which is always nice, but I'm not that much of a weight weenie. It pretty much comes down to, "does the LT pin make that significant of a difference over the the regular voile pin" and is the Blaze that much better of a binding?

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Been riding Light Rail, considering Blaze, coupla questions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:45 am
Posts: 800
Location: Bozeman, MT
In terms of being local, Bozeman is only a short ways North ; )

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 Post subject: Re: Been riding Light Rail, considering Blaze, coupla questions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:05 pm
Posts: 524
Winter is almost here. Why not just ride them both systems back to back days, or if you are with in reach of the car, ride them back to back the same day? stick with what you like. LT brackets are nice, but not necessary. If you ride them both, write us up a quick review with a comparison?

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My blog with photos, videos and words from my travels. http://edcarley.com


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 Post subject: Re: Been riding Light Rail, considering Blaze, coupla questions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:47 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Salt Lake City
Yeah, that would be great, but the Blaze would need to go back to Black Diamond unused and within the next couple weeks. The Light Rail I can return any time.

I've been stepping in and out of them here in my office. I like the Blaze entry and release better but that might be because I'm used to Burton straps. I know they're considered an improvement in this year's Blaze, but I wonder how durable they are for long term BC use. That said the Voile stuff has had complaints for durability as well. So while Bozeman's close, west Salt Lake is a quick drive at lunch!


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 Post subject: Re: Been riding Light Rail, considering Blaze, coupla questions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:16 am 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 2:16 am
Posts: 105
Location: New Zealand
Bottom line, the Spark gear is simple and reliable and it rips. I just organised a 5 day high camp on glaciers with all 8 riders on Blazes, no problems at all. The gear performed beautifully, in both reliability and performance (up and down hill). Some of the gear was ridden very hard, incl a serious jibbing session (photo sesh) in a glacial icefall with some big drops, so some fairly critical performance expectations.

LT Pins, well its pretty simple in my opinion. I get a lot of people trading up from Voile plates to Sparks. For various reasons but they almost all take the LT's when they see them.

The one thing in common with the old and new Voile system is the touring brackets. And they do many NOT so great things - they wear and they flex and they bend. That said they are durable and simple no question - but so are the LT's.

On the flip side, the Spark LT Pins , they make for a much better skinning/touring performance, a tad less weight yes its debatable but it all helps eh. When sidehilling esp in NZ conditions where we get good old hard pack and ice a lot, the lateral stiffness of the LT's and almost total lack of play in the pin/pivot system makes for big gains.

Riding performance? well all of my NZ customers love their Blazes, a lot of them are happy to ride their split all day, me included. I've ridden my splits for the whole season on and off resort , on my own SPLITN2 splitboards and my Blazes and later in the season some early Burners. No going back for me and I can't see the point in changing to any other brand as the Sparks are totally reliable and being so simple there is not a lot that can go wrong - very good for something that rides downhill like the best of any binding.

All I can say about the 2012 gear is that it looks even better! I have a pile here to sell and I know it will make some customers very happy.

My advise, just make sure you listen to people who have ridden and toured on the gear A LOT, like a good season or more, so you get the real oil on it eh. I do wonder how many comments come second or third hand and/or are merely speculation?

Hope this helps, I am sure (I know) I sound biased but its simple for me I listen to my customers and make my own judgements based on personal experience and my engineering background.

cheers, Rich

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SPLITN2.COM - Aotearoa Back Country Developments Ltd | Christchurch New Zealand | rich@splitn2.com | Custom Splitboards | Spark R&D | Fitwell Backcountry - the ultimate Splitboard Boot!


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 Post subject: Re: Been riding Light Rail, considering Blaze, coupla questions
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:43 pm
Posts: 869
I ride the Light Rails, they've done good so far and any complaints I have would be similar to those that people have for Karakorems and Sparks. That said if I could choose between the two I would go SPARKs no brainer. There beautifully made and I know tons of people who have put them to the test and they are solid. Plus you have all sorts of choices when it comes to upgrades you can upgrade to the LT you can upgrade on the straps, highbacks, etc There a company that keeps pushing innovation and every year comes up with something cool and new. I think they hands down win the splitboarding innovation award.


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