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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:40 am 
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There are only two directions that innovation can go/come from in the next 10 or so years...1. Voile - they, and they alone, have the ability to improve the interface and 2. Board shape - this will come from more manufacturers being in the game


Wow, that's a pretty provacative statement/prediction. I still think that another interface has the potential to surface. My prediction is that Voile, current board makers, AND a few to several mom and pop innovators/ entreupenuers will drive improvements so that in the next five to 10 years there will be options...including split specific boots and bindings.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:05 am 
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Boots and bindings are an entirely different conversation...

I'm talking directly about the splitboard system itsself. Their is an unavoidable reality that Voile holds the patents for a.) splitting a board in half for the purpose of touring and b.) an interface to hold the two halves together. I haven't seen any evidence that this patent can be circumvented, and they've got at least 10 years left on it.

Burton tried to put another interface on the market, but they were not successful in beating the Voile patent, legally. Consequently, they were working under some sort of a licensing agreement with Voile... I don't know the exact details.

Zach

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:10 am 
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Zach,

I can think of a few things that could be done right now to push the innovation without infringing on the Voile patents whatsoever.

And why do you assume Voile would try to block innovation in the first place. They are good people and they want to see the sport grow and evolve too.

Why they wont (and shouldn't) let a company license their designs for free, they surely aren't interested in blocking innovation if somebody has the vision. It just comes for a price.

Saying that there will be no innovation in the next 10 years or that it will ONLY come from Voile is cynical. This type of attitude won't get us anywhere.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:21 am 
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I don't think I have a cynical perspective, at all... Nor do I think that Voile's motivation is to block innovation.

They do, however, have a vested interest in capitalizing on their work and their patents. They vigorously defended their interests against Burton's attempts, and they would clearly do it again.

I think the experience that Burton went through is clear evidence that the ball is firmly in Voile's court. Even with the resources that Burton has at its' disposal, Burton was unable to make a solid, economic case for using their own interface. The costs of manufacturing, servicing, and R&D when added to their licensing agreement with Voile, made it impossible for them to support the product.... they couldn't sell it at a price that would even cover their costs.

There's no question that we all want the interface to improve, but the consumers have already shown that they won't bare a price-point above $800... that leaves Voile holding all the cards.





Let me also add:

I don't think that it's constitutionally a bad thing that Voile has such air-tight patents. It allowed them to introduce a revolutionary product to the market, without the fear of being trampled by larger companies... patents are designed to protcet the interest of innovators.

I was happy to see Burton drop their interface from the market, and I expect to see Voile improving on their design.. They've told me that they are looking at some incremental improvements, already.

It's also important to understand that the splitboard market is still very small... the size of market that we need to take the big steps that people seem to want out of the product offerings, will take a while to acheive.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:32 am 
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Zach wrote:
There's no question that we all want the interface to improve


There is more to improving the splitboard experience than just making the interface better. In all honesty, because of the great job Voile has done, the interface is one of the last things that needs to be improved.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:32 am 
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Let me also add:

I don't think that it's constitutionally a bad thing that Voile has such air-tight patents. It allowed them to introduce a revolutionary product to the market, without the fear of being trampled by larger companies... patents are designed to protcet the interest of innovators.

I was happy to see Burton drop their interface from the market, and I expect to see Voile improving on their design.. They've told me that they are looking at some incremental improvements, already.

It's also important to understand that the splitboard market is still very small... the size of market that we need to take the big steps that people seem to want out of the product offerings, will take a while to acheive.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:34 am 
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nascent wrote:
Zach wrote:
There's no question that we all want the interface to improve


There is more to improving the splitboard experience than just making the interface better. In all honesty, because of the great job Voile has done, the interface is one of the last things that needs to be improved.


What would you want to see improved?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:36 am 
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Zach wrote:
the size of market that we need to take the big steps that people seem to want out of the product offerings, will take a while to acheive.


Only if there is a sense of complacency and lack of vision by the leaders.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:48 am 
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Zach wrote:
What would you want to see improved?


I apologize but I'm not able to talk about it at this time.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:58 am 
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I think you may be misunderstanding me... not uncommone, because I tend to be highly opinionated.

1. You won't find any media sources that have done more to promote splitboarding than Couloir and Splitboard.com

2. I think that the current splitboard system is perfectly adequate for 90% of the people who will use it, right now... That's the message that I try to get across. I would love to see improvements, but I recognize that in order to see improvements, the market needs to grow dramatically.

3. Boots, bindings, etc... these things too are perfectly adequate for 90% of the people who wil buy a splitboard... If you consider the number of peolpe who buy splitboards vs. the number of people who will express (on this forum) their dissatisfaction with the current crop of boots and bindings; you realize that we are a vocal minority... most snowboarders can buy a splitboard, mount their existing bindings, use their existing boots, and have a blast.

It's kind of like my repeated attempts to get Garmont to make a few pairs of modified Mega Rides for my high-altitude expolits... They always go back to the fact that if they did go through the effort of re-tooling and altering their molds, they would have a great product for all 5 of the serious, snowboard mountaineers in the world.

Zach

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 11:15 am 
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But wouldn't the market be bigger if the system was better. Remember leather boots and the subsequent explosion in tele after plastic boots and shaped skiis.

There are so many freakin snowboarders out there, the marketplace has GREAT potential to grow. I believe splitboarding is in it's infancy. We're (the 30ish crowd) the first generation to grow up snowboarding. Look how long it took to get really good AT bindings into the marketplace.

We shall see.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:24 am 
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What would you want to see improved?[/quote]

Lighter would be better. How about a simple clamp down on the heel side so when you are descending short downhills or narrow trails that aren't worth putting the board together you could actually turn sorta decent in ski mode.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:44 am 
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wasn't this thread originally "what's up with Mervin?" and a discussion about their Magne-Traction technology applied to a splitboard? while I respect all of Zach's opinions about the state of the products and who's doing what I disagree with some of what he is saying. but that's off-topic for now.

there is a lot going on with Mervin these days. a LOT! and I'd like to see some of that info get posted here. I'll trade e-mails w/ BC Rider and we'll discuss what to put up...

as far as Mervin's MAGNE-TRACTION technology... the feedback I have directly from riders that were using the product all of last spring, it really does hold in like nothing else they have ever ridden. riders with 10+ years saying "I'll never ride anything else again!" that noticiable. just like the marketing spin sez, it's like riding a serrated steak knife. the analogy is quite appropriate. the interesting aspect of the magne-trac tech is that you really don't notice a different feel to your board, just incredible edge hold when turning. the geometry of the serrations is so minimal that you can ride all types of park features and not hang up at all either.

but enough from me, you can read all about it @ Mervin's site here:
http://www.lib-tech.com/tech/magneTraction.htm#mtDemo

as this point in time any split Magne-Traction board will have to be a DIY model. the good news there is that all models that have Magne-Traction have a full wood core. this is important because many of the favorite Lib boards have the "Rib-Tech Air Core" http://www.lib-tech.com/tech/airCore.htm and those cores don't work with a DIY set-up because the exposed sidewalls after cutting would not be "solid" ....but there is a solution to that issue too that could happen for a limited number of boards....

looks like a good number of shops offering Magne-Traction board demos this season so go ride one and decide for yourself what the technology is all about....

nice little NW groundswell filling in this morning....

KK in San Clemente


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