- Price: £377 / €429
The Montana-based fanatics at Spark R&D are forever looking for ways to improve the splitboarding experience. Realising that a lightweight, mid-flexing binding is the best option for longer tours, they designed the Spark R&D Arc splitboard binding. Now in its third year, the Arc has been improved yet again.
The Spark R&D Arc uses the ‘Tesla T1’ interface, with a snap ramp at the toe for the simplest possible setup. Pin systems can be awkward and fidgety, especially when they get jammed up with snow, but the simple glide-and-click technique seen here works perfectly every time.
There’s a climbing wire subtly incorporated into the baseplate, and you can opt for either 12 or 18 degree settings depending on the ascent. Should the conditions call for a crampon, you can attach Sparks’ own Ibex model without even stepping out of your binding.
"The simple glide-and-click Tesla T1 interface works perfectly every time"
New for 2017/18 is the ‘Pillow’ ankle strap, a feather-light yet durable model that is purpose-built for the demands of splitboarding. Thanks to its one-piece construction there’s not much that can go wrong, and a small flex window gives you just the right balance of support and maneuverability. It’s also fully waterproof, so won’t take on any excess weight as your tour progresses - something known to afflict bulkier straps with too much padding.
"At only 638 grams, you’d be hard pushed to find a lighter splitboard binding than the Spark R&D Arc"
As for the highback, you can switch between riding mode and touring mode with one easy flip of the rear lever. Forward lean can be set anywhere between 0 and 22 degrees, while in touring mode it sits at -13 degrees to give you maximum comfort and efficiency whilst skinning.
At only 638 grams, you’d be hard pushed to find a lighter model than the Spark R&D Arc splitboard binding, and as far as features and functionality are concerned it’s untouchable. For female splitboarders there’s also a women’s version of the Arc, tweaked a little for female feet but otherwise boasting the same top tech.