Find out how Karakoram Prime bindings held up to the legendary terrain around the Tetons in my review below.
Karakoram Bindings Prime Carbon
Like the older version of the Karakoram’s, the Primes excel in ride mode, making the descent better than every other binding I have used. The binding chassis twists with the torsional flex of snowboard for a very good board feel.
What can be improved?
There is too much play in ride mode. The binding would move even when fully locked in. This might be related to the recall paperwork in the box which explained that you needed a different size screw and also washers. This seemed weird, especially since it doesn’t even come with the parts that the paperwork says you need…
splitboard binding Pro’s
These are great bindings to use for riding in the backcountry off a resort where you will be maximizing downhill and doing shorter tours. The speed heel risers are light and very easy/quick to adjust.
Also, quick forward lean adjusters allows for negative lean for maximum stride in split mode. The baseplate interface is easy to adjust for whichever angle you prefer, and more intuitive to set up than the older generation of Karakorams.
Even though the heel risers functioned well for me, I saw my friends same risers break on an overnight mission we were doing in Grand Teton Park and he had to go without risers for the rest of the trip. Interface is still overly engineered for me. Too many moving parts make icing up a major issue and a scraper in pocket has to be used at every transition.
Karakoram Split30 Review
by Tyler Bradley
Checkout our Karakoram Split30 review from deep in the Kootenays of BC..
Making the move from sidelines and groomers to the slack and then backcountry is getting easier all the time.
A great deal of the credit for this shift needs to go to the innovators in the split scene, specifically those whose diligence has collectively evolved us beyond the Cretaceous in a matter of mere years; Yes, we are still the die-hard knuckle-draggers, but we can walk a little more upright and move a little more freely around our preferred habitat thanks to the sweaty confidence and myopic commitment of our gear designing subset.
A little history here: Splitboard bindings were awful.
Cumbersome, janky, fiddly things coupled like hulking rail-cars to primitive interfaces, they were the flagellant’s answer to accessing the backcountry- Masochistic? Self-loathing and keen to suffer? First generation splitboard bindings had you covered. Able to inspire the bluest of curse-laden tirades, the earliest offerings were clunky, orthopedics-like leg-hold traps that not even Forrest Gump would be caught in.
Truth be told, I suspect much of the frustration stemming from these early anti-orthotics helped thin the herd, or at least gave many of us sound reason to not wholeheartedly jump aboard the splitboard band-wagon as it began to gain steam, then gas, catch fire, and subsequently move forward at the light-speed we see today. I still know a good many holdouts who skeptically recall their first and only splitboard experiences, stories invariably starting off with “I hated those bindings.”
The Karakoram Split30s are a terrific example of how to rebut (and reboot) these dated complaints. Karakoram’s equivalent of an entry-level binding (the Primes and carbon offerings are even pricier), the attention to detail and craftsmanship are evident throughout the binding, from high-back to toe-pin.
*Don’t freak out! Not a toe-pin in the conventional sense, rather, the Split30s feature one of Karakoram’s many advents in the form of a rigid, static toe-pin connected to the binding superstructure- No dick-balling around with sliding pins, or pins dangling from piddly vinyl-dipped wires, the toe pin slides under the machined hooks of the toe attachment/interface while a rod-lock further draws the binding into place by way of the heel stay lever.
Maybe not the easiest thing to visualize, but consider the juxtapose something like this; Old split bindings vs Split30s equals Flintstones vs Jetsons- If push came to shove, you knew George Jetson was packing a death-ray… Cave-man loses.
In this instance, as with snowboard bindings, innovation and technology win.
I’ve been riding various binding types and models the past few years (as well as crafting cartoon related similes), and the Split30s definitely deliver on keeping things tight- Karakoram clips (highly recommended whether or not you spring for the bindings) in conjunction with the SL30s drew the two halves of my split together tighter than any system I’ve yet had the privilege of riding. This, in turn, contributes to improved riding not only in pow, but in being able to not-hate-life as you navigate groomers or chop in accessing a local hill’s slack-country offerings (I actually rode my split and the Split30s ON-PISTE all day our last powder day at Red, and was impressed not just with my willingness to brave crowds and lines but by how well the entire set-up performed over the unavoidable schralp as pow gave way to skied-out).
Karakoram Split30 Benefits
Another benefit to the Split30s is the fact that the entire interface is its own system- Yes, if you’re rocking a quiver you’re a bit SOL what with having to transfer the Split30 ride mode interfaces deck-to-deck as you require, but frankly, I much prefer that prospect to ever having to work with the puck-templates again- As a Canadian, I firmly believe the only “puck-template” I should be monkeying with involves punching out circular, vulcanized rubber die-cuts intended for the opposing team’s net.
The quick-flip feature on the forward lean adjustment makes transferring from ride to walk mode super easy, and the heel-lock-down feature is any “I-Hate-Split-Skiing” splitboarder’s dream. For those of us with telema-splitty aspirations it’s really not that big a deal, but it can be helpful for picking your way through challenging terrain. Per the manufacturer, though, this feature is “Not intended for downhill skiing.”
How to setup the Karakoram Split30 Bindings
And it is IMPERATIVE that you read the instructions for the Split30s- It’s not a complaint, but to really make your first day out on them as productive and fun as possible, don’t be all “I don’t read the instructions- Check out my sweet Ikea bookshelf, I didn’t need to read like a Swede for that!”
Seriously, if you’re going to make the investment, take the time to do it right. Read the instructions.
Needless to say, I’ve been extremely impressed with the performance of the Split30s, the only real drawback being the expense. There are cheaper brands out there, and making deeper inroads into the market will probably necessitate Karakoram becoming a bit more price competitive.
Another option is the Karakoram Prime binding, shown above.
But that’s not really the role of a product review, is it? Do I think I received good value for my money? Yes. Am I happy to support a rider owned company? Absolutely. But most importantly, do the bindings deliver and have me believing they improve my experience and riding while out in the field?
Yes, yes, and yes equals a resounding thumbs up for the Karakoram Split30s