Spark R&D Dyno DH Splitboard Binding Review

Spark R&D Dyno DH Splitboard Binding ReviewSpark R&D Dyno DH Test | Photo Ryan Ariano Mountain Weekly News

I made the switch over to a Spark Dyno DH Dyna-split setup and the truth is, those randos have always had a HUGE advantage over us on the up. But then how do you get back down? Enter the Spark Dyno DH, pretty much the final piece in the split mountaineer puzzle.

Those damn AT skiers. If you’re a splitter, at one point or another you’ve cruised up with a couple rabid Dyna-freak two-plankers who make you feel like a complete barney. You’re chugging with all you got in your clunky split binders as they glide and sidehill ahead on their tech toepieces like some goddamn magic elves.

Spark Dyno DH vs Phantoms

Spark R&D Dyno DH Splitboard Binding

Spark R&D Dyno DH Splitboard Binding | Photo Ryan Ariano Mountain Weekly News

Admittedly, there’s not a ton of competition for best hardboot binding. There’s the Dyno DH’s and the Phantoms. Weightwise, the Spark Dyno DH bindings are actually slightly lighter than the Phantoms. I’ve heard the Phantoms pull your board tighter together but also heard complaints about the Phantoms being tough to get on in icey, raw conditions when the rime runs thick and the last thing you want to do is mess with your binders. And there are some claims to better performance, though in that I’m a little skeptical.

The thing is, the bindings aren’t as important in the hardboot setup — so much of that feel and performance comes from your boots and whatever mods you throw on them. The main job of a hardboot binding is to lock your boots in and transfer your movements efficiently. The Dyno DH’s get this done at a price that makes them one of the cheapest components of your Dyna-split setup.

After spending this fall riding them, from day trips to a yurt weekend, I can confidently say these bindings won’t give up when you need them; are quicker, simpler easier than any other split bindings; and create about the best interface for your hardboots you’ll find anywhere.

Spark R&D Dyno DH Binding

Ryan Ariano Splitboarding in Spark R&D Dyno Splitboard Binding | Photo Mountain Weekly News

They kept my boots locked bombing down bowls, surfing through trees, even in a couple small drops. Admittedly, the whole setup excels in big, open speed runs, devouring vertical snow like a ravenous Yeti with the munchies. But they were surprisingly responsive when on the boney luge track heading back to the car from Baldy Knoll.

On short tours, you can clip your DH’s on your pack, bust out a trek with the quickness, and the easy interface combined with the tech toepiece ease of disconnection cuts your changeover to a fraction of what it would take with traditional split bindings; and even quicker than other more complex tech systems.

Spark R&D Dyno Binding

Ryan Ariano Big Mountain Splitboarder | Photo Josh Carr Mountain Weekly News

One final benefit — if you love the splitboard you use for your Dynafit setup since the Dyno DH slides into standard pucks (incidentally, I use Spark R&D Canted Pucks on my Dyna-split), you could take it up a booter and then ride your split downhill with a pair of Sparks and oh-so-comfy softboots.

Overall Impression

The changeover to Dyna-splitting is just as life-changing as I’d imagined in my most delusional dreams. But the big surprise has been how the Spark R&D Dyno DH Binding ($250) to Boot interface has me crushing downhill almost as well as with my standard softboot binding setup. You either get this setup or get left behind.

Related Articles:

  1. Best Splitboard Hardboots
  2. Introduction to Hardboot Splitboarding
  3. Top 10 Splitboard Bindings
  4. Spark R&D Arc Splitboard Binding Review
  5. Spark R&D Surge Splitboard Binding Review
  6. Spark R&D Arc Pro Splitboard Binding Review
  7. Spark R&D Surge Pro Splitboard Binding Review
  8. Spark R&D Crossbar Clips Review

About the Author

Ryan Ariano
A mountain dilettante, by way of Baltimore and SoCal, raising a family in the Tetons on an endless quest for unobstructed views, high endorphin flow, experienced enlightenment, and the world’s best fried chicken.

6 Comments on "Spark R&D Dyno DH Splitboard Binding Review"

  1. Hi What boots do you use for your hard boot set up?

    • Dynafit TLT5s. They’re light, easily found, and easily modified. Nathan, below, wrote an article about hardboot mods. And I gotta second Nathan, after a few years of riding them (mine with minimal mods), they’re almost interchangeable with my softboot setup.

  2. Nathan Fochler | November 20, 2018 at 8:48 PM | Reply

    Hey Matt, I also ride AT boots while snowboarding. I currently use the Dynafit Neo and after a fair bit of modification they are actually more playful than my soft boots (Deeluxe Sparks). Your hardboots can be very restrictive or very loose and playful depending on what you do to them. I love throwing methods and chucking 3’s off of cliffs and fun playful riding in general, I was worried I’d lose that with my switch to AT boots. But in fact the switch has made me a better snowboarder, with the AT boots touring is way better, you have way more control and stability in tight trees or fast techy sections, and they give me such better control of my board, the playful style of riding I love became even more playful. I wrote an article
    with the bare bones of how to mod your AT boots. I don’t have any personal experience with the Arcteryx boots, but the basic theory for modding your boots is you need to do it gradually, easy to take more material off, dang hard to put it back on if you took too much off. You’re looking for front to back movement so they feel like a snowboard boot, whatever stiffness you like. And the lateral movement (side to side) is where the playfulness comes in. Make them too loose laterally and you’ll lose the stability that makes them so good for the uphill stuff, especially in boiler plate conditions. But too stiff and you’ll feel like an action figure that only bends at the knees. Be patient and take your time in your modification journey. Took me a year to get mine dialed in.
    Best of luck!

  3. matthew haines | November 5, 2018 at 7:40 AM | Reply

    Hey Mike great review! Thanks for all the info on your site, its my go to for gear reviews. This will be my 29th season of snowboarding. I have been split boarding for over 10 years now and I just switched to the dyno dh set up. I’m a bit nervous about making the switch. I have been on the spark surge with K2 aspect boots for the past few years and found they worked well. I splitboard about 100 days a year and switching to hard boots for a more efficient tour up. My only concern is I still love to hit pillows, drops and throw in a method here and there. I am worried that with the hard boots the free style aspect will be lost. what mods have you done to your boots. I have the arc’teryx procline boots.
    Keep up the good work with your site!

    • Hey Matt. So to start off – I’ve been snowboarding and splitboarding basically about the same amount of time as you (though started off skiing so I have a hardboot history from my childhood) and you definitely sacrifice some freestyle flex and huckability with the hardboot change. The first couple days I tried it, especially in pow, I felt like a beginner starting again (though that was kind fun, to be honest). I’ve dropped some small cliffs in hard soles but you definitely lose the feel you get in softboots so you’re kind of landing numb. Though again, for pillows, small drops I’ve found it fine. The good news is they bomb and respond quicker than with softboot/binding interfaces and you can get that surfy feel still – my main mod was inserting a blocker into the walk/ski mode latch on the back of my TLTs so they flex back and forth while riding. Some people will grind out the ski mode option completely but I like being able to put it in ski mode if traversing out on long rollling terrain. I also heated up (with a hair dryer) and shaved a little bit of plastic off the boots to make them more flexible, as well as ground off the top of the plastic cuff with an edge grinder. Those and getting my boots blown out by a bootfitter (my TLTs are so thin in the toe box I didn’t want to mess with that myself) and they’re pretty great. But I still keep a softboot set up for shorter days or flat approach days.

      • Thanks for the reply. I think it will be an adjustment for sure. I go for my first tour in revelstoke here on wednesday nov 14 for a week long mission. I’ll report back to you after and let you know what I thought. Im currently trying to become a ACMG splitboard guide and wanted the hard boot set up to make back country travel easier and safer. I too come from a ski background as I ski raced before becoming a full time snowboarder. I haven’t really done any mods to my boots yet as they fit really well. The Arcterxy boots are quite soft as hard boots go and I like a really stiff snowboard boot anyway. I am going to get fitted by the folks at intuition in vancouver. They have fitted a few splitters with hard boots so I’ll see what they suggest for mods on this style of boot. It does seem like the TLT’s are the way to go but they just didn’t fit me as well as the Arcterxy boots. Thanks again for your feed back.

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