Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Splitboard Touring Just Got More Powerful With The Flex-Lock
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  • #783765
    237 Posts

    – Karakoram Flex-Lock: Ride Like a Soft Booter. Tour Like a Hard Booter. Imagine touring up a hard packed skin track on your splitboard, your legs are
    Article Link: Splitboard Touring Just Got More Powerful With The Flex-Lock

    88 Posts

    Pretty sweet…hopefully, those of us with sparks already can figure out a way to adapt this to our high backs. Will Karakoram hibacks fit spark bases?!?

    125 Posts

    I’m not sure if the Karakoram high back will fit… But maybe some tinker time in the garage is in order for a DIY solution.

    601 Posts

    I’m glad the Kloster bros detailed out their methodology in an article. I saw the bar graph on Instagram a few days ago and thought “Woopdee-doo. All the ‘science’ of a shampoo commercial.” This is now fairly impressive.
    The ‘ski’ in this study seems superfluous. For all intents and purposes, the binding could have been bolted to the same wood attached to the hinge and resting on the scale. Whatever.
    Re: hardboots modded for medial flex in splitting – I’d venture to say most pressure in sidehilling comes from the foot/ankle (boot lowers) rather than shin (boot uppers). That’s why hardbooters don’t need to the valgus position (or tight calf ratchets); the ski is more solidly connected to the boot and the boot is more solidly connected to the foot (as opposed to the calf) which allows for a more upright gait. Softbooters employ valgus to compensate for this play. Flexlock aids in this compensation to a point comparable to a hard boot setup . . . if the hardbooter sidehills with the same strategy.

    This was a really interesting read. Kudos to Karakoram on both the study and the new product development!
    The next step is to measure the medial pressure actual humans can exert, e.g. experienced skier (A) vs experienced splitboarder with Flexlock (B), etc. . . It’d be interesting comparing pressure exerted by one person to themselves in various setups: normal softie setup (i.e. nothing), Voile strap vs Strappy Strap vs Flexlock vs hardboot + dynafit. Better yet, these relative pressure improvements between a few people.
    ‘Course the trick is to devise a rig for testing (catamaraned-ski with one pontoon under a scale, slope with a hole to fit the pontoon boom through, giant tilt-board. . . the possibilities are endless).

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    601 Posts

    ^ and impractical.

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    621 Posts

    lol I thought the bar graph was pretty funny as well… Having met Russ from karakoram, I can totally see him putting that together… The Klosters are cool dudes and I dig the inovation, I had the pleasure of touring with them at Baker and they have passion for the sport. I tour with soft boots and keep up with token skiers. sidehilling and in the flats.. When shit gets icy I put on my ski crampons. If anything the ski crampons give me grip and also erases the fear of slipping

    1490 Posts

    The claim that one can “tour like a hardbooter” using this system is fallacious, and demonstrates that folks at Karakoram still do not have a full understanding of the touring advantages of hard boot set up with tech toes. Extra leverage over the edge is just one (and a less significant one at that) of the benefits of touring with a hard boot set up. The reduction in weight on the foot alone is a much bigger advantage, and that weight reduction becomes a bigger advantage the longer one’s tours become.
    I would also add, that it is too bad the system rides like a soft boot, and not as well as a hard boot, haha!

    But anyway, I do like the Prime interface, as it appears to give the board halves a bit tighter connection, and more flexibility for stance width adjustments. It is too bad flex lock gives another thing to fiddle with, but I can see it being useful for some splitters.

    I agree that split crampons are often the best solution for when things get really icy, even for those who use hard boots, as the additional peace of mind is very welcome in exposed spots on icy ascents and traverses.

    820 Posts

    @barrows, don’t forget the length of stride, and pivot location of the boot. 🙂 I also got a chuckle out of the claim.

    I also know softbooters with super old floppy boots with a DIY who can sidehill better than me. So its really technique. Although sidehilling is easier with hardboots. I’m sure this helps, but its a funny claim.

    376 Posts

    A lot of guys (including myself) tour with my uppers unlaced, using only ankle lace locks. Seems like these wouldn’t help in this instance.

    350 Posts

    Hardboots dissin softboots dissin hardboots….. good to be back and fall is in the air

    796 Posts

    “Tour like a hard booter” <– laughable but for the brilliant marketing move ensuring vast column inches of debate.


    151 Posts

    Regarding the hardboot improvement from moving the bindings from the feet to the backpack – is there any backing this up or analysis, apart from anecdotal experience and comments? I am a hardbooter, so for me the difference is apparent, but I have a soft boot friend, who insist that it’s just the same and he will only suffer from back pain and fatigue in the end, due to the weight moved there.

    The Karakoram claims are laughable. Yeah, it probably would be an improvement over current soft boot ways, but until soft boots get proper walk mode + tech fittings they are not viable for me.

    820 Posts

    @moridinbg, I don’t know if there was an actual test done for ski touring, but for hiking for sure. Mostly they claim 1lb is equal to 5 lbs in the pack. But this is for hiking, but it has to translate a bit to ski touring.
    “The consensus was that carrying an amount of weight on the feet required between 4.7 and 6.4 times as much energy as carrying that same weight on one’s back”

    My main argument to your buddy is that while weight may be exactly the same (if they are, I took over a pound off my setup switching), your legs do the most movement touring. Each step you need to pick up and slide forward, and 1000’s of times a day, with switchbacks. With the weight on your backpack, it moves that to a place that moves less throughout the day, meaning less fatigue. Now the % that incorporates on a splitboard, that’s tough to measure. But using above, if even 1 to 3lbs, is pretty good. But I certainly agree, skinning, and especially switchbacks feel significantly easier.

    643 Posts

    We need more threads like this to drive traffic to this site before it dies.

    Hardbooters ride like robots!!! Sideways skiers !!!

    376 Posts

    I would add to your analysis that when the weight is on your back you’re moving 100% of the load with each step. When it’s on your feet each step only moves half the load.

    251 Posts

    Oh goody! the ole softshell vs hardshell game, my favorite matchup of the season 😉
    untill laceup boots hinge at the cuff and integrate the boot sole to the hardware it will remain a physical impossibility for “softboots” (aka straps and lace) to “tour like a hardbooter” ( sounds like admitting da feet).

    much easier to make a molded shell flex like lace-ups for the down than it is to make non-integrated soles and rigid cuff spines “tour like a hardbooter”

    251 Posts

    I rode three strap burtons back in the ’80s. it really helps with edge control wearing Sorels

    4 Posts

    I suckered up and pre-ordered these after way too many times cursing and eating shit sidehilling up firm off-camber skintracks. I got them in the mail yesterday, from fucking around in my house, they seem to make a very serious difference in inside edging ability. Still not going to tour like a hardboot (ie range of motion), but from fucking around in them, im damn impressed how much lateral siffness you get out of such a simple solution. Going for a decent tour tomorrow, will report back.

    668 Posts

    I think this innovation leads us to an argument way more controversial than hard vs. soft boot. It’s gonna be a full on war of pant cuff over the binding vs. highback over the cuff. Personally, I think the highback over the cuff pinches and binds the pant leg. And it looks ridiculous. So obviously this system is doomed to fail.

    796 Posts

    Dick Cheney rides soft boots.


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