Spark R&D is stepping it up again this season; seeking perfection based on customer needs and keeping pace with the rapidly expanding splitboarding community. The BLAZE returns again this season with upgraded components and splitboard-specific features for even better performance in the backcountry.
"We've always been able to respond quickly to customer feedback in our product designs year after year," says Will Ritter, Spark R&D owner and chief engineer, "and this year is no different. The biggest challenge for us has always been outfitting our baseplates with excellent straps, highbacks, and components worthy of backcountry missions. We've tried a couple of different things the last few years that worked well … but for the next level of quality and performance we just had to wait for all of the planets to align."
The planets have aligned. Spark R&D is proud to announce that they are working with Burton Snowboards for the manufacturing of their straps, thermo plastics, and buckles.
Again, here's Will: "We get to design our parts exactly how we want them [specific for backcountry touring and riding] while having access to Burton's time-tested fabrics, materials and techniques for production. We're psyched because their reputation for quality binding components is unsurpassed in the industry. That's what we've been aiming for – and we're stoked."
Here is what you can expect to see from the Blaze this season:
Ankle Straps: Minimalist straps for lightweight skinning, webbing edging for durability, tunnel to keep ankle telescope out of the way while touring, and a size-specific 3D skeleton to conform to your boot. Stitched through middle window allows for easy ankle flex for maximum maneuverability.
Toe Straps: Also size-specific and lightweight with matching webbing edging. Convertible toe cap strap for comfortably keeping your toe on lock down.
Buckles: This ratchet system is the perfect balance of minimalism and durability. Crank 'em down – this buckle gets you super tight and releases easily. Low profile design is perfect for touring.
Thermo Plastics: Spark R&D designed their own molds this season for toe and ankle ladders and telescopes to maintain compatibility with their baseplates while working seamlessly with the new straps and buckles. Plastics are molded to be pre-curved to hug the strap and remain snag-free while touring or riding. This in combination with Burton's secret recipe for extremely durable components will keep you confident out in the backcountry.
Baseplate Design: Fine-tuned for all around ease of use as well as long-term durability. A few highlights: the pivot area for touring has been beefed up, medium and large sizing is more specific, puck interface is designed to slide better onto both factory and DIY pucks and require less adjustment, and improved toe strap attachment area.
Highbacks: Same great custom highback design as last season, innovating the widest range of lean on the market (25° forward lean, to -5° for touring – an industry first). Increased glass fiber content strikes the perfect balance between response and maneuverability. Vertical built-in slots fit perfectly with the Spark R&D Strappy Strap, for steeps and off-camber climbing, and an extra large grab hole for billy goating security.
Bushings: Spark introduces custom made bronze bushings for exceptional durability with an inside flange that eliminates wear from the touring bracket.
Blaze Binding Specifications:
Sizes: S, M, L Colors: Black, Teal, Gunmetal Standard Price: $299 – comes with the standard stainless steel pin for Voile touring brackets LT Price: $350 –comes with the LT Pin System's aluminum pin and bracket. Standard Weight: 3.61 lbs/pr [1640 g] (medium) LT Weight: 3.47 lbs/pr [1576 g] (medium)
Available worldwide at Spark R&D retailers beginning in mid-September.
For additional information, please visit us online at www.sparkrandd.com.
The website will be updated for 2011/2012 products in late August.