How do I choose my splitboard bindings?
What is the difference between a splitboard binding and a classic snowboard binding ?
The practice of snowboard touring via splitboard requires the use of specific bindings. In addition to providing the functions of a traditional snowboard binding, they are designed to allow you to use them in touring mode. They are then mounted from the front on wedges located in the center of the splitboard via a system of pins or lugs that differs from one brand to another. In downhill mode, they are attached to an interface system that replaces the usual inserts of a "solid" snowboard. These interfaces also change from brand to brand.
What are the different splitboard binding systems?
As we have just seen, each brand of splitboard bindings uses a different mounting system (pucks, axles, wedges). Fortunately, all brands of bindings can be used on all brands of splitboards, thanks to international standardisation between the different systems. The only exception: Burton splitboards with The Channel system can only be mounted with The Channel compatible splitboard bindings (e.g. the Burton Hitchhiker binding).
Currently, there are 4 systems of splitboard bindings:
- the Voilé system, used on Burton, K2, SP and Spark splitboard bindings; - the Plum system, used on the Plum and Rossignol splitboard bindings; - the Karakoram system, used on Karakoram splitboard bindings; - the Union system, used on the Union splitboard bindings. Each of these systems has its qualities and defects in use, both during the riding phases and when switching from one mode to another (ride/descent or downhill/rando).
The Voilé system is perhaps the simplest and quickest to switch from one mode to another. To switch to downhill mode, the bindings are attached to the pucks via a slide system, with a hinge that folds down on the front of the bindings to lock the whole assembly in place. For hiking mode, the lugs at the end of the bindings must be slid into small wedges and the hinge at the front of the bindings must be locked.The Plum and Karakoram systems are the most similar. In downhill mode, the bindings are fitted and locked to the pucks by means of a side hinge for Plum and via a handle on the back of the binding for Karakoram. In hiking mode, they are fixed thanks to a pin system (which can sometimes get icy, requiring a quick polishing). A bit slower than the Voilé system, the Plum and Karakoram systems remain very practical and well done. They will allow you to take full advantage of the lightness and performance of the bindings developed by these brands.
Finally, the system proposed by Union is a little less modern, requiring more handling when switching from one mode to another. On the other hand, it can be very interesting for a snowboarder who is just starting to splitboard and/or who is looking for a more flexible and comfortable splitboard binding for a Freestyle/All-Mountain feeling.