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    I’m torn about posting this, but I think the community should see what happened to my Sparks. Will is warrantying them and they should arrive soon, however, I do have concerns about the replacements as it seems the same outcome is possible without revisions to the design.

    The stats:
    – Ignition II
    – Khyber with 30-40 voile days on it and a Spearhead with only Sparks
    – Khyber had the Mr. Chomps spacers in it, the Spearhead was not Mr. Chomped.
    – Size 12 Driver X
    – 195 lbs plus gear
    – 40 or so days on the Sparks.
    – roughly 130,000 feet uphill
    – I’ve ridden relatively mellow this year – not much hucking or jumping due to many solo days. Biggest stresses on them bindings would be the whooped up exits coming out of some drainages.

    My theory on the broken “front” riveted pieces is large feet closer to the board. Snow can pack down under the toe, resulting in even less space, which in turn causes excess force against the pin. Even without snow packing here, it doesn’t take much lift to make the toe touch the top sheet.

    The warped base and the vertical cracks in the side wall are related in my opinion. Chicken and egg though – which came first? I don’t know. I have no theory as to why this would happen.

    The torn sidewalls might be due to the width of the boots? Both tears are on the inside of the bindings when mounted in board mode. Inside meaning between your legs.

    3 of 4 pieces broken on the front of the Sparks.

    Both sidewalls are cracked.

    Warping bottoms.

    Sidewalls starting to tear on the inside of both

    Kaboom! The inevitable.


    Hmm, well that sucks. Maybe the current design is based around a bit smaller foot and weight? I guess that would make you a good tester! 🙂

    I did have the torn sidewalls in my old Ignition I’s, but that was after TEX ran them over with his Subaru:

    Sent them to Will; he bent them back as straight as he could get them. They worked fine for a while, then I noticed the cracks forming. I’d say that’s a bit of an atypical case though! I did notice though before the Subaru incident that the metal right at that bend did seem a little thin.


    My theory on the broken “front” riveted pieces is large feet closer to the board. Snow can pack down under the toe, resulting in even less space, which in turn causes excess force against the pin. Even without snow packing here, it doesn’t take much lift to make the toe touch the top sheet.

    That totally make sense. You can create a lot of leverage force if you fall forward. Even with smaller feet, the binding toe shelf can rest against the board and pull up the toe pieces. This explains how you tore the toe peices off the board.

    The warped base and the vertical cracks in the side wall are related in my opinion. Chicken and egg though – which came first? I don’t know. I have no theory as to why this would happen.

    I’d guess these are related but not from the width of your boot. More from your weight. My theory is that when you lean back for a heel edge you are forcing the highback into the horseshoe piece and forcing the horseshoe to spread open. That might be what’s caused the cracks. Have you ever fallen back onto your butt while in ski mode? That could cause a lot of force.. more than a heel side turn. This same fall would also create another big lever force on the toe piece.


    One thing that might help alleviate some of the problem is to shim up the touring bracket a little, this will provide more forward pivot room for your long boots. I am not sure that this is the only problem you have had here though… Good to hear that Will is taking care of it for you, and I suspect he will analyze the situation thoroughly and apply solutions to his next revision.
    Tree: thanks for posting a detailed account of this failure, has anyone else experienced warping, and/or total failure like this?


    The sparks could be beefed up by adding a bit more to the bottom slider piece (it’s also horse shoe shaped). The bottom piece could have sides that would be bent up so that it covers the outer plastic shim (similar to how the top binding piece folds up). There would have holes for the pins to pass through and this would reinforce the toe part from coming apart.

    Not sure if this prevent the other cracks at the heel… but it might. The increased metal in the vertical orientation would act more like an I-beam and certainly reduce the chance of that warping you were getting.

    It’s interesting how all the front parts all broke at the top. I guess the larger bend in the top sheet made it weaker than the bottom bend. :scratch:

    Anyway…. wow. I can’t believe you broke them.


    Hola splitters,
    So I’m listening to the Toyota way on my ipod right now, and as they say “all manufacturers have problems”, I guess I’m in that group. We bumped along for over a year without a single failed binder, bummed to not continue that streak. I called up our sheetmetal vendor and apparently sometimes they get material that’s not properly heat treated, and the material can come out more brittle. This is pretty obvious comparing Jim’s experience (bindings bending when getting run over by a car) to Treepilot’s (cracking up with normal use). The failure above is a fatigue issue, i.e. doesn’t happen on the first day but after a number of days cracks grow and the front tabs break off. The binders are obviously designed to be light weight, and once the sheetmetal pieces are not connected to each other anymore the binding isn’t strong enough for use. As treepilot said we definitely stand behind our products so check the front tabs for cracks, if you see any we’ll happily replace the baseplates. We’re working with our sheetmetal vendor to see how we can implement a better quality control system with them to avoid these problems in the future. We’re in the middle of investigating when the cracked binders were manufactured so we can notify others who have them about the issue. If you see any cracks in your binders be sure to let us know immediately, we’ll get you on some new stuff asap.


    I have an alternate theory. I don’t think that there is that much pressure on that part of the rails of the binding on heelside turns. More accurately, there is a fair amount of pressure on the high back, but it is not opposed by any strong forces trying to bend the two halves of the board out of line. (unless maybe you came down real hard on a tree or ice feature right in the midline of the board and did both bindings at once which seems pretty random for both to go at once)
    I propose that the breakage happened while skinning up. I think that a snowball started to form under the ball of the foot area under the bindings, and then when you step down on it repeatedly this levers the base plate over the packed snow/ice and is too much for the material. This is probably more likely to happen with the heel lifters down and low angle terrain. I’m sure everyone has seen some really substantial and hard chunks of snow packed under their voile plates or Sparks that take a bit of work to remove before being able to slide them on to the pucks.
    I’d say keep them light and be sensitive to the feel of compressing a hard snowball under your toes on ascent.


    I think this explanation (above) makes more sense to also explain the failure in the metal that started at the back of the binding.

    Makes sense that it would happen to a bigger guy that has been touring the hell out of this winter, way to go!


    Good theroies.. I think another thing is the repeated for and aft stresses causing the base plates to crack at the corners next to where the straps connect.. I am not really experiancing the front tab breakage.

    I agree with Will about the differances in the batches of metals.. I have one red, and one black base plate. The black one is on my dominant foot, and not showing nearly the signs as the red. I am also pretty sure my black base plate was once a set with jim’w bent ingnitions.


    inginition 1’s.. early batch.
    about 50 days, 250,000′
    me= 185 lbs fully loaded.


    Having just pulled Mr. Chomps out for a tour the other day, I have another theory on the cracks on the sidewall. When locking Mr. Chomps down with the oem riser bars and using the Mr. Chomps short riser to elevate the heel, there is considerably more force due to the fulcrum action. I only had one day using Mr. Chomps late last spring, but it might have been enough to weaken the binders.

    After having the epiphany I limited the locked action of Mr. Chomps, but I find that he’s far less effective when in float mode.


    This is a very interesting thread. Perhaps in years to come there will be a wide array of splitboard binding models available, some made from different materials. Metal will have its issues and plastic/nylon bindings have theirs… Just an idea.

    It will be interesting to see how the Fuse bindings hold up – just ordered some so I’ll let you guys know!! :disco:


    Had the exact same problems. I’m not posting pictures as there’s no difference between my issues and treepilot’s. Sparks R&D took care of me they were out of blazes and I didn’t want to wait until September for the new model so I got a set of fuses for $50. If I’d tried I get the feeling I could have got them free, but I had lots of miles on the Iggy’s and it was time for new bindings anyway. They also gave me a pro form on the LT Pin system :clap:
    Funny thing is I was ready to make the switch to Karakorum but with brand new bindings and the LT pin system I think Sparks has held on to another customer. Though I am planing on getting the K clips next year (I F#@king hate the chinese clips)

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