The new Stealth system by design is drastically lighter than the first system, but the real advantage here is that, by design, it is used with conventional strap bindings. In the August ’97 issue of Snowboarding Business, it states that conventional strap binding sales last season made up over 80 percent of the snowboard binding market.
“According to the Snowboarding Business Retailer Survey, step-in bindings are the most important product trend in the marketplace.”
A simple cost effective Stealth retrofit kit consisting of a template and appropriate hardware will make it possible for a rider, by drilling two holes, to convert his/her conventional strap binding to a step-in binding. Because 80 percent of these riders still prefer to ride “their” particular brand of strap binding, the Stealth system will quickly and easily allow them to eliminate the straps, add the convenience of step-in and at the same time, keep the same feel and performance level they are used to via the remaining base plate and hi-back on “their binding.”
For the manufacturers of plastic injection molded binding parts, it will be an inexpensive mold change to add two cavities to the base plates molds so the end-user does not have to drill them out by hand. As listed in the ’97 SIA Show Directory, there are over 130 conventional binding companies in existence today that do not offer a step-in system.
Lee Rogers, president of CRUSH, stated: “We are basing this new technology on over three years of intensive, hands on experience bench and snow testing the T-Bone step-in system. Our toe and heel basic attach concept takes the place of the two straps. Add the fact that what consistently breaks on a conventional system is the straps and associated hardware, and we have a win/win situation for the rider, the retailer and PIE. The whole industry is moving to step-ins and we believe the Stealth system will permit the conventional binding industry as a whole to enter the step-in market quickly and painlessly.”
Binks Graval, chairman and chief executive officer of PIE, stated: “We view this pending patent as a big step towards establishing the T-Bone brand as the ‘industry standard.’ Our decision to join forces with the leading conventional strap binding manufacturers to co-market the T-Bone product line is a natural progression considering the industry trend toward consolidation.
“PIE is committed to growth generated by strategic acquisition, mergers and marketing alliance. This extensive step-in product line will not only help to re-position PIE’s industry standing, but will provide added security for those companies that have the ability to weather out the consolidation storm. T-Bone is the best step-in system in the marketplace and now that we are shipping product, the word will be out that T-Bone represents performance, convenience, comfort and the best price point in the world.”