Is the Nitro Vertical Splitboard Binding the best splitboard binding on the market at the moment? It’s sure in the running. What makes this binding unique is it combines the simplicity and reliability of Spark R&D Bindings, which is then upgraded with better high back, straps, and buckles that make this splitboard binding ride and feel much more like a traditional snowboard binding.
Spark did the same for Burton with the Hitchhiker Binding, by using the Spark chassis to build the majority of that binding too. When you take the tried and true Spark R&D system and actually make it a lot more comfortable the future of splitboard bindings is clearly on display with both the Nitro Vertical Binding and Burton Hitchhiker.
Nitro vs Spark R&D
For the life of me I can’t figure out why Spark R&D is making a comfortable, high performing binding like the Nitro Vertical Binding available outside of the brands traditional line of bindings. If you have been splitboarding in rough snow or over chunder or just simply putting in long days touring on Spark R&D Bindings without 3M EVA dampening padding on the base plate your feet are going to scream.
Luckily, Nitro Vertical Splitboard Binding comes with pads build into the baseplate as really all snowboard or splitboard bindings NEED padding to help dampen the vibration that goes through your board and up your feet.
Nitro knows a thing of two about making regular snowboard bindings so they basically took all their tech and R&D and gave it to Spark and said make us this binding. And walla the Nitro Vertical Binding was formed.
When touring uphill the Nitro Vertical Splitboard Binding operates just like Spark R&D bindings with 2 height settings available for the climbing wire.
If coming from Spark R&D into the Nitro Vertical Binding you make notice there’s a little added weight with the Nitro’s out of the box due in part to all the comfort addons included the padding on the baseplate and thick straps.
Nitro also tooled there own Recline high back for the binding that has tool free adjustment that has -11 of negative lean. In theory this means you get longer stride lengths? I think that this is a marketing ploy though within the industry that all brands are using as I tour a lot and very rarely if ever do I see ankles bending backwards….
Nitro did manage to shave some weight and made the binding a little less ridged by utilizing Spark’s Tesla T1 baseplate that has cutouts in the baseplate that not only reduces weight underfoot they cut outs work great for shedding snow.
The Nitro Vertical Splitboard Binding is uber durable thanks in part to using Spark R&D’s Tesla T1 Baseplate. Rarely if ever do these base plates end up cracking or breaking so you can really abuse them without much worry about breaking them. One of the things about a durable binding like this is you can take both bindings and clank them together in the backcountry to shed snow without worrying about plastic breaking like with the Unions.
Now things do happen, so we always recommend bringing a repair kit with you, including extra screws and straps while splitboarding.
One hiccup with the design of the Nitro Vertical Binding I did find was that the toe straps are not able to be removed without putting the binding in a vice and prying them off with a screw driver. So if the toe ladder breaks in the field, bring some duck tape and zip ties along just incase of failure.
The cable wire that keeps the straps in place at times can be a pain in the ass to move when strapping into the bindings. Often I sort of step on the strap and move it out of the way once my foot was into the binding. And they have yet to break, so maybe the cable is actually increasing the durability.
Once you get your foot locked into the binding, both the ankle strap and toe straps are super comfortable, with the ankle strap offering lots of padding that almost mimics the cozy feel of wetsuit neoprene. You won’t have to worry about pinch points or plastic straps here which has been an issue with Spark’s Pillow Line Straps.
In addition to the padding, this Nitro Splitboard Binding comes with a grippy Vibram Ecostep Ubergrip Toe Cap in the toe straps that give great contact between the tips of your boot and your binding. And really helps to pull your foot back into place where it belongs without any added pressure points.
The Nitro Vertical Splitboard Binding is available in 2 sizes, Medium and Large and adapts to any boots thanks to the bindings tool free adjustments on both straps.
- Medium: For Sizes US 6.0 – 9.5
- Large: For Sizes US 10.0 – 13.5
Wanting to upgrade your Spark Bindings to something more comfortable, that would be a great reason to buy the Nitro Vertical Splitboard Bindings. Looking for your first set of splitboard bindings? Again the Nitro Vertical Bindings are a rad option.
Overall you get a binding that everyone raves about in Spark R&D with the comfort and performance of a Nitro Snowboards Binding. With that the Nitro Vertical Binding ($479.99) was born and should be the basis for how all splitboard bindings on the Spark R&D frames should look, feel and operate moving forward. Kudos to Nitro for making Spark’s Bindings even better.
Keep in mind you will need to purchase a set of pucks to use with these bindings. Since the Spark baseplate is still uber stuff so for that reason I prefer Voile Plastic Pucks ($55) or the Voile Canted Pucks ($55) over the Spark Pucks or Spark Canted Pucks as the Spark ones chatter vibration directly into the binding up your feet and through your legs.