The next generation is here.
Introducing the BLAZE splitboard binding for the 2010/2011 season.
Since the very beginning, Spark R&D has been a rider-owned and operated business, pushing innovation in the sport of splitboarding – because that’s what we LIVE for. We are all splitboarders. We have spent hundreds of days in the backcountry. We have vigorously tested our own products and know what would make them lighter, stronger, better. That’s why we’re stepping it up this season, even more than before; we’re seeking perfection based on your needs and feedback and our own riding experiences. Bringing together all of this knowledge, we’re proudly introducing the BLAZE – our most innovative binding yet – a splitboard specific binding with splitboard specific features:
Straps: We are now sourcing our own straps, chosen for their minimalism, durability, and functionality in the backcountry.
Highbacks: We have designed our own custom highback for splitboard specific needs: wider range of lean (more aggressively forward, 25° compared to 18° on the Fuse, all the way back to “layback” for striding on the flats, -5° compared to +8° on the Fuse), stiffer yet more comfortable construction, vertical built-in slots for a standard 1.5″ webbing booster strap for steeps and off-camber climbing, and an extra large grab hole for billy goating security.
Even Lighter: Based on the strong performance of the Fuse, we were able to shave weight off of the baseplate – carving away more aluminum allowing for an equally stiff construction, lighter weight, and more avenues for snow to escape.
Bushings: Custom made bushings provide for easier pin insertion and removal , increased durability, and inside flange eliminates wear from the touring bracket.
3.75 lb/pair [1730 g/pair]! (sorry, our mistake) Final weight: 3.52 lbs [1596g] / pair! This is a 3/4 lb per pair weight savings compared to the Fuse.
Now, we know you’re going to have some questions, so we tried to preemptively answer them here:
Q: What’s going to happen to the Fuse? Are you going to sell them as well?
A: The Blaze is the “new and improved” Fuse. The Fuse has been discontinued, and the Blaze is the only model of binding we are making. Don’t worry, we are still offering a complete line of spare parts for both the Ignition and Fuse series.
Q: The Fuse was compatible with Bent Metal binding straps and highbacks, what about the Blaze?
A: The straps and highbacks for the Blaze are custom, which means we chose and designed them especially for splitboarding. The baseplates were not modeled around any other brand or model of binding. Other straps and highbacks MAY be compatible, but that is up to you to experiment with if you want to switch out parts. We will NOT be offering a baseplates only option this year.
Q: Last year the Fuse were so hard to get my hands on, will this be the same with the Blaze?
A: We know that last year may have been frustrating for some of you trying to find a pair (any pair!) of the Fuse. Trust us, we were taken by surprise too. We make and assemble every binding here in our machine shop in Bozeman, MT (everything but the straps and highbacks). This ensures that you get a solid, quality set of bindings…but that also means that they take a lot of time to make. In years past our built-to-order system worked great, but last season, we just didn’t have enough hours in the day to keep up. For this season, we started production early and are well-prepared to handle the demand for the Blaze throughout the season. Rest assured, if you want to get a set this season – you will be able to!
Q: So, when will the Blaze be available?
A: Mid-October 2010.
Q: Does this mean that I am guaranteed a set of bindings on October 15?
A: No. We will be manufacturing bindings through December, so they will of course not all be available at once. We anticipate people being antsy to get the new Blaze the moment they are available, which will inevitably create initial binding shortages. Please be a little patient, expect the traffic jam, and we promise, everyone will be able to get the bindings they need – just not all at once!
Q: But I am going on a trip October 15…I MUST have them!
A: Your best bet would be to contact a local dealer. They all know when their shipments are scheduled to arrive, and some are willing to take pre-payment in order to save a set for you.
Q: Ok, I will be patient 🙂 But where can I buy the Blaze once they are available?
A: We have an updated list of dealers on our website here: http://www.sparkrandd.com/dealers and have many more than last season, so make sure you check to see if your local shop will be carrying Spark R&D products this season. They will also be available for purchase on our webstore sometime in October, and we will update you when we know the actual date.
THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT! WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU!
– THE SPARK R&D CREW