I am Simon, owner of Splitboards Europe and I have been distributing Splitboards in Europe since the end of the 90s. I have experienced the whole Splitboard history in Europe from its rudimentary beginnings and contributed to it personally. With one of his great articles, Patrick, the publisher of splitboarding. eu, gave me the idea of Simon's favourite splitboard sets. Thanks to Patrick, his online journal also contributes to the success of the splitboards for years.
Over the next weeks I will be putting together exclusive Splitboard Sets for you and I will add all my knowledge and experience from nearly 20 years of Splitboards in Europe. The articles should be a recommendation to choose new material, no matter if SET or e. g. a binding to the existing splitboard or just for fun to read and to give insights behind the scenes and technologies of the splitboard industry / splitboard history. So much for my ambition.
The theme of the first Simon's Favorite Splitboard Sets is: Back to the Roots
In my first episode of this article series I've put together a set for you, which of course fits perfectly from the equipment, but whose brands also have the longest and most exciting history on the Splitboard market. I often hear from my customers that the current range of products is overwhelming. It doesn't have to be - you can rely on proven products.
Let's start with the shape:
PRIOR Backcountry in Fiberglas (Quad) or Carbon (XTC)
Prior! I don't know any ski, snowboard or splitboard manufacturer who is so small in terms of staff, but whose range and manufacturing process is so large. Chris Prior was there from the beginning when it started with the first splitboards. First it was the solid snowboard MFR (Mens FreeRide). It is still called this today and was then split as a splitboard with the name: Backcountry. The shape has been developed from its beginnings in order to incorporate all useful or better techniques. No splitboard shape is available in so many lengths and widths, different constructions (Quad/XTC) for men and women. And that is something that you can recognize. We have this shape in our year-round test pool for many years now and the feedback of the testers and our participants is very clear: school grade A. If you look at the shape, it is a classic directional freeride shape, hybird rocker (as a camber and rocker) and is neither too soft nor too stiff. What is the secret of his success? The details. It is exactly this mixture of radius and length, flex and size of the camber, etc. that everyone just likes at the end and that even very much.
The BC is available for men in 161 -165-168-178-172- 176 and for women, then it is called Brandywine, in 149 -154-158. Thanks to the hybrid it rotates super easy without appearing nervous and therefore it is ideal for men with around 1.80m height from 165, I prefer 168. For women depending on body size, very popular is 149 or 158. Is it worth the extra cost for carbon? I can say that it doesn't make much difference when riding. The carbon mesh is so arranged in such a way that it doesn't interfere with the shape in the riding fun and both ride almost equally well. The weight of about -10% is always an advantage - uphill and downhill.
All Mounatin Freeride Shapes come in many good shapes. But the Prior BC has the longest history and the best ratings of our participants. If you wanted to be nasty, you could say:"the everybodys darling" You get it handmade from Canada and there are many years of development in this shape. For anyone who is looking for the legendary woolly egg laying milk sow (the all-cure wonder board) - he hasn't found it with the BC either, but he's damn near it.
Spark Binding ( Arc or Surge )
Will Ritter, the inventor of the Spark bindings, was the first to combine a soft binding with the established Voile Slider base plate. The result was a construction that is still the same as Voilé Light-Rail or SP United Split FT in the base. At that time, this was not the big step forward, because it was only a logical progression of what Voile-USA required.
The first really interesting technical innovation of that time was the accompanying crampon. This was simply attached under the pin without the need to unmount the pin or to leave the binding, nor was it fixed to the base plate, like it isn't today either to allow the use of climbing aids. Then came a kind of intermediate step, an evolutionary stage whose model was called "Edison". Maybe Will felt a bit of pressure from the new competition from Karakoram when he surprisingly presented this binding at ISPO 2012. The "Edison" couldn't convince us that much - and in the end it never went into serial production. However, the concept has not completely disappeared from the market, the current UNION binding has a certain similarity to the Edison from 2012.
At ISPO 2013 Spark presented the Tesla system with the Magneto and Afterburner models.
„Tesla "was really new! It is simple, reliable and, above all, allows the binding to be mounted without the use of a pin, in both the walking and riding modes. From now on, Will had developed a completely new and unique concept and impressed us from the very beginning. The "Tesla" system is not only easy to handle, but can also reduce weight without becoming too delicate. This makes the Magneto with the "Tesla" system the lightest splitboard binding on the market today. There's hardly any difference between the Magneto and the Afterburner, so it's our first choice.
The afterburner is only heavier and pretends to be stiffer with a harder highback.
Both bindings are aluminium-bases, which is already very stiff by default. Since we like touring without unnecessary weight, the Magneto was perfect for normal tours in the Alps. Today, the Spark Arc is taking on this role.
Spark celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. In those 10 years, Will and Becca have done a remarkable job. We were the first Spark retailer in Europe and we only ordered a handful of bindings in 2007/2008, it was the time of the 4x4 kits (normal soft bindings on Voile sliders). Today, Spark bindings can be found in many retail sports stores throughout Europe. Whether as Spark or Burton Hitchhiker, this is really a remarkable achievement of Will and Becca. The Burton Hitchhiker bindings are also produced by Spark. The success of the Spark bindings can be attributed to their Warranty Service, too. In Germany this service has been perfectly taken over by Markus Reichard for years. Markus is also a Splitboarder from the very beginning.
The Tesla T1 system is super reduced to the essential and thereby the low weight is achieved. All puck-based bindings work perfectly on ice and snow. But none is as light as the ARC Men or Women. The Surge has a closed base plate, which is especially important for heavy riders to avoid bending in case of a serious fall or similar. In addition, the selection of colours is unique in the market.
Not only the most successful and lightest binding but also the one with the most dynamic and longest history on the Splitboard market.
I have exclusively placed this "Simons Favorite Splitboard Set" in my Splitboard Online shop for the next 4 weeks as a special edition at -20% off for splitboarding.eu readers. You can configure all Prior BC shapes with all Spark bindings, skins and crampons. After these 4 weeks you can put it together from the standard "Brand Sets" of course.
I would be happy if my article could help you with your choice of equipment or you just enjoyed reading it. See you in about 4 weeks for Simon's Favorite Splitboard Set Part 2: Low budget but still a lot of fun.