Spark R&D bindings are some of the best splitboard bindings in the world. They updated their tried and true Magneto Splitboard Binding with a new name and some new tech, we’re stoked to introduce you to the Spark R&D Arc Binding. (Although it has been out for a year), along with reviews of all the Spark bindings over the years we have tested.
Before I kick off this review I wanted to share one of the most unique things about Spark R&D Bindings. These splitboard specific bindings have a cult like following with backcountry users around the globe including numerous snowboarders that actually prefer to mount these bindings to their resort boards, say what??!!!
If you tend to travel, like splitboarding and enjoy playing in deep snow without ever having to worry about your gear, you really ought to pickup a pair of Spark R&D Bindings.
Spark R&D Arc Review
The ability to switch from tour to ride mode and back and forth was once the Achilles heel of splitboarding. However over the past decade that problem no longer exists thanks in part to Spark’s T1 binding interface system. The days of fussing around in the cold trying to put a “pin-in-the-hole” are long gone.
To remove the Arc bindings while in tour mode simply unbuckle your bindings. Lift up the snap ramp (toe ramp) on the front of the binding and give it a little push to the side and with that the binding can easily be removed in seconds.
When it comes time to put your board back together for ride mode, sliding the bindings back onto your board is even easier. Spark R&D Bindings are designed to attach to either Voile pucks or the new Spark pucks. With the board put back together all you have to do is line up the bindings with the pucks, slide the bindings forward and push the snap ramp down into place.
The entire process listed above can easily be done in under 1 minute. That being said messing around with your climbing skins will most likely take a little bit more time.
Each Spark R&D Arc Splitboard Binding Kit includes a set of lightweight splitboard bindings, the Arc’s weigh around 1.5lbs or (681g) for our Euro readers. Along with the bindings come a redesigned heel riser. What we really like about the new T1 heel riser is the fact it only uses one climbing wire. When you find yourself skinning up steep terrain and need a little extra lift the Arc’s offer 12 & 18 degrees of added heal lift.
Along with the bindings and heel risers comes the Tesla T1 touring bracket that easily mounts to your splitboard with 3 screws. This entire setup can be mounted to your splitboard in minutes with practically zero instructions involved!!
How Durable are the Spark R&D Arc Bindings?
Spark R&D splitboard bindings are built to handle the backcountry. One of the reasons these bindings are so durable is a lack of clunky parts and interfaces. Will Ritter and the Spark R&D team even went as far to remove the extra metal at the bottom of the binding to help shed snow. These are splitboarders, making bindings for you and I…
Spark utilities Burton Snowboards straps and buckles which make finding replacement parts a breeze. Even with these bindings being uber durable, I always recommend tossing an extra buckle and some ladders in your BC pack, or zip ties at the very least!
My last set of Spark R&D Magento bindings had well over 100 tours on them, and even with a bit of electrical tape holding the straps together the bindings performed flawlessly.
What can be Improved?
Note: Will please don’t hate me here…
As much as I love the new T1 heel risers use of 1 climbing wire vs 2. I did have some issues when trying to get the darn climbing latter to rise up. My recommendation would be to practice at home (a lot) or better yet get a pair of touring poles with a rigid basket. *This is a must with these bindings, if you’re using something flimsy the odds of getting the climbing wire to engage can be tricky at best.
Other then the climbing wire the only thing that could potentially make these bindings even better would be a little bit of padding on the foot beds. Especially if you are considering using the new Spark R&D pucks as you may want something to help dampen the vibration transferred from the board to your feet as they pucks are aluminum.
Spark R&D is the only pair of bindings I feel comfortable mounting to my splitboard for long days in the Tetons. The reliability, durability and functionality of these bindings is spot on. Retailing at $385.00 these bindings are worth every penny!
The entire Spark R&D crew actually splitboards, and with their headquarters in Bozeman, MT these guys and gals get after it often. Along with the amazing new Arc bindings Spark R&D has a full line of binders for women and even for those goofy hard booters too 🙂
Next time you find yourself in the backcountry do yourself a favor and checkout what everyone else is using. Ask people about the bindings under foot. Odds are strong that people having fun and smiling way too much are rocking Sparks… Aside from the funky Heel Riser these bindings are just about perfect.
This is the working man’s splitboard binding!