Understanding Splitboard Bindings

Understanding Splitboard Bindings

Dive into the world of splitboard bindings with us. We talk about the tech that goes into a split binding and how they differ from traditional snowboard bindings.

When you are ready to take the plunge into split boarding, the right equipment is the key to your success. You can ride traditional snowboard bindings on a split board but for the most optimal performance, most experienced splitters will tell you that it’s worth it to invest in splitboard specific bindings.

There are two main categories when it comes to splitboard bindings and boots:

  • Hard boots and plate bindings
  • Soft boots and strap bindings

Because they are more common, we will be covering the benefits and features of the strap bindings. There are many similar parts when comparing a splitboard binding to a standard snowboard binding. We suggest you prime up on how bindings work in general by looking at our understanding snowboard bindings guide. This post will cover the split specific features assuming general knowledge of a snowboard binding.

Splitboard Binding Brands

Most snowboarders are used to strap bindings and they will find the strap splitboard bindings to be the most comfortable and versatile option. Since splitboarding is growing in popularity, there are now several brands that specialize in splitboard specific bindings. The major players include Spark, Karakoram and Voile. We are also seeing many classic snowboarding brands try their hand at split-specific bindings so you will see collaborations between brands like Burton & Spark or Gnu & Karakoram.

Splitboard vs. Snowboard Bindings

Many parts of a splitboard binding are the same as a standard snowboard binding but there are differences that make split bindings perform better when splitboarding. Splitboard bindings differ in the following ways:

  • Split bindings place a focus on being lightweight for easier travel when touring/hiking
  • Standard snowboard bindings use discs or the EST system for connecting to the board. Split bindings will connect via an interface and slide + lock on/off.
  • Split bindings are designed to mount in snowboard stance and ski stance (touring mode)

Anatomy of a splitboard binding

understanding-splitboard-bindings-baseplate

Baseplate

The baseplate on splitboard bindings are made to be as lightweight and minimal as possible. Many baseplates will be laser cut or ‘cored out’  to offer the rider optimal board feel and performance with minimal weight.

understanding-splitboard-bindings-highback

High Back

High back materials may differ depending on the specific binding model you are riding but common materials are carbon fiber, Dupont Zytel (high grade nylon resin) and fiberglass. Splitboard high backs need to be supportive, lightweight and maneuverable for you to get the best performance in both riding and touring modes.

understanding-splitboard-bindings-straps

Straps

Splitboard binding straps are very similar to traditional binding straps but are designed to be lightweight and less intrusive. In an attempt to trim down weight, the toe strap especially will look more thin and have less bulk than your regular bindings but still have the power to lock you into place on your board.

understanding-splitboard-bindings-heelcup-and-chasis

Heelcup and Chasis

The heelcup and chasis connect the baseplate, highback and straps to keep the binding together. Again, in split specific bindings this piece is cored out and designed with lightweight and strength in mind. Compared to standard snowboard bindings which are often nylon/carbon material, splitboard binding heelcups and chasis are typically aluminum/titanium for max strength to weight.

understanding-splitboard-bindings-interface

Interface


The interface is what connects your board to your bindings in both touring and riding mode. It is made up of several parts and will vary from brand to brand. Parts typically include:

  • Slider Plate
  • Touring Brackets w/climbing bars
  • Pucks and/or pins
  • Mounting Screws

Many splitboard-specific bindings have their own interface system that works best with that particular binding.  If you prefer to use your traditional bindings on your splitboard, you can purchase the One Binding System Mount which will allow you attach any traditional snowboard binding to your splitboard.

understanding-splitboard-bindings-touring-brackets

Touring Brackets

Touring brackets are attached to your splitboard and are the mechanism that you will attach your binding to when in touring (ski) mode. Some splitboard bindings come with their own touring brackets, if not, you can purchase them from Voile. Keep in mind, touring brackets are included in the Voile Universal Split Kit, so you if purchased that kit you are covered.

Climbing Bars (aka: heel locks / heel rest / heel riser)

Climbing bars will either come built in to your binding’s baseplate or included with the touring brackets. The bars are used for added support during steep climbs while in touring mode. As you climb, you can rest your heel on the wires for added comfort and stability while climbing.

understanding-splitboard-bindings-sliderplate-pins

Slider Track and Pins (aka: slider plate)

If you are using traditional snowboard bindings, you will need a slider track and pins. The slider track slides over the pucks and allows you to attach your traditional bindings to the board. The Voile slider track locks into place with a long pin.

Are there different splitboard binding systems available?

Yes, there are several different binding systems available and not all are compatible with every brand of board. Again, make sure you confirm which systems work with the specific board that you have. Here is a list of some of the most popular splitboard binding systems and links to their specific sites where you can find more detailed information.

Spark Tesla T1

The latest and greatest from Spark in 2016. An upgraded version of the Tesla system, the T1 has a single wire climbing system with two positions instead of the traditional 2-wire climbing systems as well as  tool-free forward lean for adjustments on the go.

Spark Tesla

Spark design includes a side lock snap ramp system, 2-wire climbing setup and touring brackets with integrated crampon installation.

Karakoram Split 30

Karakoram prides themselves on having the best binding- to-board attachment, giving the rider the best board feel with their easy to use system. Split 30 has an open binding chassis for better flex, a quick release lever for easy attachment/removal when switching from ride to tour mode and wide openings on their ride mode interface for easy alignment.

Karakoram Prime System

The Prime system’s biggest and best feature is the Power Lock heel lock system. With a flip of the lever, you are locked into place on your bindings in both ride and touring mode.

Voile

One of the biggest name in all things splitboarding, Voile makes their own split bindings as well as universal interface systems that work with many of the top names in snowboarding. A highly trusted brand that has years of experience to back their products.

K2 Kwicker

The fastest of the fast, K2 uses a step-in binding system for their splitboards. Simple mechanisms and less moving parts allow for a quick and easy secure closer in both ride and touring modes.

What Comes With My Splitboard Bindings?

Exact components vary so be sure you know what is included with the specific model you are buying but the most common parts included are the interface, touring brackets, pins and pucks. If you are using standard snowboard bindings on your split, you’ll likely need slider plates and pins + a universal split kit.

Understanding Compatibility

The world of splitboarding is changing rapidly and compatibility of boards/bindings/interfaces can be very confusing. We’ve put together a quick list of board + binding + interface compatibility to help out. This is not an exhaustive list but does feature the major splitboard brands currently on the market. If you have any suggestions for gear to list in this chart, contact us and we can work on getting it included.

Board Bindings Interface
Burton Spark Voile or Spark Pucks
Karakoram Interface included but must add Karakoram Clips
Non-split bindings Voile traditional binding kit
Jones Spark Voile or Spark Pucks
Karakoram Interface system included
Non-split bindings Voile traditional binding kit
Lib Tech / GNU Spark Voile or Spark Pucks
Karakoram Interface system included
Non-split bindings Voile traditional binding kit
Arbor Spark Voile or Spark Pucks
Karakoram Interface system included
Non-split bindings Voile traditional binding kit
Never Summer Spark Voile or Spark Pucks
Karakoram Interface included but must add Karakoram Clips
Non-split bindings Voile traditional binding kit

In summary, the land of splitboard bindings can be a difficult place to navigate. With the sport evolving quickly from what was once exclusively DIY, the technology and compatibility continues to advance to make splitboarding easier and accessible for people of all riding levels. Make sure to view our guide on understanding backcountry gear for a more detailed list of backcountry gear or our understanding splitboards guide for more detail on splitboards.

Shop Splitboards Shop Splitboard Bindings Shop Backcountry Gear

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