One of the worst kept secrets in the industry has been officially revealed on Voile’s site tonight. The Voile Light Rail and Voile Trax bindings. Yes, that’s right, Voile has introduced their own splitboard bindings.
Reaction upon initial view of the Trax: meh.
Reaction upon initial view of the Light Rail: meh
I guess I was hoping for more immediately (visually) obvious innovation.
First up the Trax, which is the lower end model, and outside of the milled base plate and integrated ‘Avalanche Rip Cord’ looks like any other metal base snowboard binding. They are claiming the Trax sit lower on the board than a regular binding setup, but to me it looks like it would be similar to any other metal binding setup as unless I’m looking at it wrong you’d only get a decrease in ride height if their baseplate was thinner than your current baseplate.
To their credit the milled out base plates will obviously result in a weight savings, and the Avalanche Rip Cord system is something that I’ve seen a few do on their own but never seen as a factory offering. Will be interesting to play with that system and hear real-world feedback on it’s ability to release both buckles and both feet consistently. Actually it’d be interesting to hear the benefits they tout on the release system – I’ve got to believe that their lawyers will make sure Voile chooses their words properly as Americans are prone to sue (Colin in CA care to chime in with some lawyer $.02?)
The Light Rail looks similar to the Trax, except for the inclusion of two CNC machined aluminum rails on the underside of the baseplate instead of re-using your slider plates. It’s an interesting (yet inelegant to my eye) solution to the problem – I just prefer the clean look of the Sparks v. the the board height side view of the Light Rail. Yes, I realize that has absolutely ZERO to do with performance, just throwing it out there.
One place where the Light Rail appears to immediately shine on paper is weight. Voile is claiming 4 lbs per pair of Light Rails, whereas the Spark Fuse comes in at 4.4 lbs per pair per the Spark website. What would a spandex clad superhero pay to drop .4 lbs from their bike? What if it was .4 lbs rolling weight?
All of the above is obviously based on the little bit of information available on Voile’s site, and for all I know these could be the shit and redefine the up and downhill ride of splitboarding as we know it. At the very least competition will make everyone step up their game, which is a good thing. Will be interesting to see some side-to-side comparisons on ride height, real world weight and stiffness v. the Fuse by someone with more money than I when these hit the market, which should be sometime in January 2010….which means they’ll be released about a month after their target customers have already upgraded their setups to the Spark Fuse.