Just when you were positive that the split board binding to buy was any Spark R&D model, the Karakoram Split 30 enters the market place. This is my gear review of the Karakoram Split 30, which I’ve ridden since June of 2010. I hope you’ll give that decision a second thought after reading this review.
Karakoram is a Washington based company owned by twin brothers Tyler and Bryce Kloster, both engineers. Having been part of numerous discussions on how to generally improve the split board interface myself, I’m stoked to see some knowledgeable people actually do something about it. They stepped away from the Voile system that’s been in place for ages, and developed their own split interface. Above, the brothers develop the Karakoram Split 30 splitboard binding. Watch the video below, as one of the brothers demonstrates the change over.
Their binding system is made primarily of CNC machined aluminum with stainless steel parts. Instead of plastic “pucks” that are mounted on the board, Karakoram uses flat metal plates. There are 2 ledge-like hooks on the plates that hold the toe “bars” on the binding in place, and loops on the sides of the heel plate that pins from the binding slide into, holding your heel down (Yes, there are some moving parts on the binding, but they feel extremely durable). The binding has 3 pins that slide into the loops on the base plate when a lever on the binding is closed, and releases the binding when it’s open. It has a locking mechanism as well, so no need to worry about the bindings releasing. That’s a total of 5 contact points, keeping the binding extremely tight to the board with no play or wiggle-room. Below, the binding and its’ pins in the closed position. Note: The baseplate has actually been modified, shaving weight and removing unnecessary parts. Also, note the pins that extend out of the binding body as the lever is closed.
The ease of changing over is insane. The toe bars fit perfectly and easily into the touring brackets, where you then flip a lever to lock the binding in place. Below, the touring brackets in the open position. Look at the first picture at the very top of the page to see the toe bars (under the baseplate hooks), and you should see where and how they fit into the brackets. Also, note the lever on the touring bracket that you flip down to close the brackets.
My favorite parts on this new system are the 2 board “buckles”, which actually pull each half of your board together and are located between the tip and tail and each binding. My first thought was that the buckles were a little difficult to fasten, but I quickly realized that that meant that my board was going to be laterally stiff, like a normal snowboard even. It’s insane how close this system brings your split board’s performance to that of your resort board. Insane.
The price of these bindings and interface is $599, compared to ~$460 if you purchase a pair of Spark bindings for $300 and the Voile interface for $160. The $139 difference is easily justifiable given the interface’s performance and durability superiority. They currently only sell direct through their website.