Forums Bindings Spark R&D Which model should I buy?
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    5 Posts

    Hi everyone,

    I’m new to splitboarding (but not bc snowboarding) and buying my first set of equipment. I’m already decided on Sparks, i’m now trying to choose the model.

    My first question: are the new T1 models worth it?
    I know not many have tested them yet but your opinions are welcome. AFAIK, the difference is the adjustable highback and the single climbing wire.

    Second question: afterburner/surge or magneto/arc?
    I’m not a strong/agressive rider and think that the “softer” model is okay. I do like the toe caps over the straps though, but surely those can be replaced. Is the weight difference noticeable? Are there any advantages to a full base plate?

    These are my current european prices (if anyone knows where to get cheaper in EU, please share!): Magneto 320 €, Afterburner 350 €, Arc 420 €, Surge 450 €.

    601 Posts

    Welcome to the forum 🙂

    “Worth it” is a hard question to answer without a season of use (and abuse) on the books. (Not to mention the fact it’s your money and satisfaction at stake)
    If you are an early adopter-type, go for it. T1 looks pretty slick. One climbing wire is genius.
    If you like “tried and true,” take comfort in the knowledge that the original baseplates design (Blaze/Burner) has multiple seasons under it’s belt and it’s manufacturing process has already been honed to reduce problems. Should you go this route, I highly recommend the LT upgrade. (This is what I have, myself; and I am perfectly happy with my setup)

    Vis-a-vis Tesla vs T1 – In the US, Spark stopped selling the Tesla system altogether. Tesla had pin issues (search this forum); subsequently they’ve abandoned the platform (name & design) and only offer T1 and Original.

    You can swap out straps, toecaps, and highbacks between all models (Tesla/T1/Original); it sounds like you’d be perfect for the softer strap kit (Magneto/Arc/Burner). FWIW, while I have never heard anyone say, “Man, I bought the Afterburner and it’s too stiff. I really wish I got the Magneto,” I have heard many laments that the Burner/Magneto/Arc kit is too soft and they wish they went Blaze/Afterburner/Surge kit.
    You cannot swap climbing wires between baseplate models.

    If you are a weight weenie (there’s no shame in admitting it) and don’t mind flex, go soft (Magneto/Burner/Arc). If you demand performance and bomber construction, go stiff (Blaze/Surge/Afterburner). The hollowed out baseplate simply saves weight. You only notice weight in three occasions: races, spinning in the air, and at the end of the day. It’s the difference between a 2000 m day and a 3000 m day.

    There is nothing stopping you from putting normal, flat toestraps over your toes (like toecaps). I do it with all my bindings: Spark, Atomic, Raven. If you need to replace them, I think you’re going to need Spark straps as straps from solid board bindings do not fit in Spark baseplates.

    Good luck with Euro prices.

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    443 Posts

    The Sparks straps are sourced from Burton so you should be able to swap out any of the straps for any other Burton strap. You’ll need to leave the short piece that connects that padded part of the strap to the baseplate because that part is specific to Spark.

    The T1 system looks like a nice evolution from the Tesla system, especially the way that the crampons work to use the climbing wire to hold the crampons down. That’s a nice trick that beats out all the other crampon designs I’ve seen (including Dynafit, etc).

    If your boots have thinner or softer soles you might notice the holes cored out of the baseplate. I don’t have any time on Magnetos but I’ve noticed weird pressure points (lack-of-pressure points?) in other bindings that are cored out. I personally prefer an EVA foam pad on my baseplates. I’ve retrofitted Burton pads into my Karakorams and if I went with Sparks I’d get the full base and stick a pad on there too. I think Spark offers pads this year.

    Whatever you get, you’ll learn a lot about the gear and the next time you buy split gear it won’t be much of a mystery.

    23 Posts

    I was making the same decision a couple of months ago and decided to go all out and get the Spark Surges. They are really well designed, stiff baseplates with no holes underfoot, light, adjustable, suit my big feet in size L. These are the best snowboard bindings I’ve used, split or otherwise.

    As for the accessories… the Ibex ski-crampons work well and slot in easily. The heel lockers work well and have a decent release tension. The spacers help me get my feet higher off the board when touring to allow steeper ascents before my toe hits the board. Sparks skins have tip and tail securing systems and work well. The spark multi-tool that comes with the bindings is also great.

    My only negative was that I had a highback crack with no particular incident, but Spark have been fantastic to deal with for the replacement and have gone over and above to do more than make it right.

    5 Posts

    Thank you all for the replies, this was extremely helpful.

    I decided to go all out and ordered the Surges. I hope I’ll be able to report on some nice touring with them soon!

    18 Posts

    I have the same question. I live in Vermont, ride a lot of trees and variable conditions so I’m leaning toward buying the Arcs. I also ride Burton Driver boots so they’re relatively stiff as it is. Would a softer binding like the Arc be a good combo or should I go with the Surge’s? Anyone able to offer more insight? Will a binding ever be “too stiff?”

    1448 Posts

    Without knowing what bindings you’re currently riding its hard to make a meaningful suggestion.

    That said, I’ve been riding Arcs with Burton (Imperials) for a couple of seasons. I own two pairs of Arcs and love them. I’ve previously owned Ignitions and Blazes, which I rode with Driver X boots. I pefer the imperial/arc combo over the previous setups.

    Personally I find a stiff setup of value on the skin track, but unsatisfying on the descent. The majority of my riding is confined to trees and powder and I prefer a looser feel. Just personal preference.

    I’ve had one baseplate break on me, and one tour bracket (bushing) wear out – in both cases Spark’s excellent customer service replaced them with minimal fuss. The climbing wires (pre-whammybars) are a bit of a hassle, but they work.

    I don’t think you could go wrong with the current arc or surge with the new straps and improved climbing wires. YMMV

    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

    18 Posts

    thanks for the reply. i was riding spark blazes with my burton drivers on a jones hovercraft. over the weekend, i pulled the trigger on a pair of arcs. being in VT, riding a lot of low angle stuff and trees it seemed like the wisest choice. the arcs still even felt more stiff than my blazes so i think they’ll work great. thanks again!

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