Spark R&D is one of the first, and few, companies that has been making splitboard-specific bindings for about ten years. In that time they have made many improvements to their designs, consistently creating lighter weight, more functional splitboard bindings. For the 2016 season they are rolling out two new bindings- the Spark Arc and Surge splitboard bindings.
The Arc is an upgraded version of the discontinued Magneto binding that came out last season. The Arc features the new T1 System baseplate, which features the same snap ramps as the original Tesla System, but utilizes one climbing wire instead of two. Snap ramps are one of the biggest advancements in splitboard binding technology allowing you to change over from touring to ride mode and back by simply flipping up the toe ramp and then snapping it back down to lock it in. This saves a lot of time and effort compared to the traditional pin system.
The single climbing wire design on the Arc and Surge reduces weight by having one, instead of two climbings wires mounted to the baseplate. The “single fatty wire” can easily be pushed down to either a 12 degree position for medium inclines or a 18 degree position for steeper ascents. It is much easier to manipulate with your pole basket then the previous two-wire system.
The T1 baseplate can be narrower since it doesn’t need the extra width to accommodate the second climbing wire. So for 2016 Spark is offering the Arc and Surge in women’s versions enabling people with smaller feet to get a proper fit. The women’s versions feature women’s specific profiles and flexes. Also, the baseplates on all Arc models are cored out reducing weight and preventing snow and ice from building up under the binding.
Spark has also come out with their own version of the Voile pucks that the bindings slide over. They worked with Voile to come up these bomb proof metal pucks that have a single slot that allow you to slide the binding angles up to 30 degrees. The new pucks also give you unlimited width and setback adjustment options.
The Arc and Surge also have a new forward lean mechanism– the Rip ‘N’ Flip Highback. The Rip N Flip is micro adjustable from -13 degrees to +22. With a negative lean you can easily set the highback for touring mode so it won’t be jamming into the back of your boot as you travel over uneven terrain. This will also relieve stress on your legs by not forcing your knees to bend when they should naturally be in a more upright position.
The main difference between the Arc and the Surge is the flex. The Arc has a softer flex and the Surge has a stiffer, more aggressive flex and feel. The Surge is an upgraded version of the discontinued Afterburner binding. The Surge also has a stiffer highback and larger, more supportive ankle and toe straps as well as a solid base plate for increased support and response.
You can purchase a number of cool accessories for your bindings like the new heel lock mechanism that simply slides in to engage and pull out to release. There are also riser plates for your touring brackets if you have very large boots that hit the deck of the board in touring mode these will give you extra clearance for a smoother glide while touring. And there are custom EVA baseplate pads that you peel and stick on for extra dampening and comfort in rugged terrain.
It’s really great to see Spark R&D grow and improve on everything they have already accomplished in the short time they’ve been around. For more information on the new Spark R&D gear head down to your local dealer to check out the 2016 Spark R&D Arc and Surge bindings for yourself.
Tags: splitboard bindings for women, spark splitboard bindings, splitboarding gear, spark r&d,spark tesla system, spark r&d surge binding, spark r&d arc binding, spark arc and surge splitboard bindings