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Thread: switch x type step in bindings question Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-20-2015 01:02 PM
Kenai
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin J View Post
Man, could I rant and rave about this topic... I'll try to not be too obnoxious.
You failed.
12-20-2015 11:49 AM
Martin J Man, could I rant and rave about this topic... I'll try to not be too obnoxious.

I've been snowboarding for over 25 years (not a typo!), I have degrees in science and engineering, and I taught snowboarding for three years in a resort on Mt. Hood, Oregon. Additionally, I was on the original PSIA Snowboarding Steering Committee in the late 1980s. I'm a middle-aged snowboarder, and I've witnessed the growth of the sport on a first-hand basis.

Granted, some of the step-in systems are terrible. K2/Shimano, Burton, Rossignol, and others have made some attempts in this direction, but they've all failed miserably. The first and second generation of SWITCH bindings weren't very good, either.

However, I'm absolutely convinced that the last generation SWITCH step-in binding was the best design ever invented. (These were the A-99, Team-N, and Special-N models.) Don't take my word for it; ask any adult you see using SWITCH bindings, and they'll tell you the same story.

Here's another bit of evidence: Industrial Design magazine gave its annual award to SWITCH Manufacturing for the N-Type binding in 1999.

So what happened?

Vans bought SWITCH around 1998 or so, and and then Vans/Switch was purchased by V F Corporation in 2004. VFC owns brands like Lee and Wrangler Jeans - stuff made cheaply in places like China and India.

V F Corporation almost immediately gave up on step-in bindings/boots. Why? It had nothing to do with performance, convenience or safety; rather it was a purely economic decision. Cheap, made-in-China, plastic, strap-in bindings can be manufactured for something like US$20 - even the "high performance" models. Boots... maybe US$50, tops. The SWITCH step-in mechanism was precision machine manufactured for about US$60 in the mid-1990s, so probably over US$100 today. Compatible boots were much more expensive to produce, too. So, if you're a giant company that can sell bindings or boots for, say, $100 to $300, you're going to go with the cheapest cost: plastic, strap-in, nonsensical, cheap Chinese junk instead of expensive-to-produce step-in bindings and boots.

I've been using, buying, selling and trading SWITCH bindings and compatible boots since Vans quit making them around 2004. Mostly I do this via eBay, but quite a bit of swapping between SWITCH enthusiasts goes on via word of mouth and/or Craigslist. There exists a rabid sub-culture of (mostly middle-aged men) SWITCH enthusiasts who are fanatics; I've known some guys who simply gave up on snowboarding after their irreplaceable SWITCH bindings/boots finally gave out (and they tried strap-ins a few times). I have a couple of cases of the Team-N bindings and a few boxes of compatible boots packed away in plastic in my garage. I'm part of that insane sub-group.

If you're interested in further discussion and/or swapping/buying/selling SWITCH stuff, feel free to contact me at

Best wishes for a great snow season to everyone!

Martin

P.S. I have a couple of hundred days on my 2004 Vans Flyaway (SWITCH-compatible) boots, and I easily get 100-150 days out of a set of SWITCH Team-N bindings. This is robust equipment. I've never had any component - which the exception of laces - fail in any way whatsoever. Cheers!
08-07-2013 03:24 PM
poutanen Bah, I've had a screw come loose a couple times on 4x2 and once on ICS/EST. Just torque them properly and it's no worry.

I just don't like the fact that with 4 hole setups you're limited in fine adjustability to either toe/heel side or forward/backward. I wouldn't specifically buy a board because it was channel based, but if two identical boards were for sale and one were the channel, I'd buy that over traditional disc style.
08-07-2013 01:32 PM
BurtonAvenger Everyone prefers using ICS till you're in the air on a 20 foot jump and your front foot decides it wants to shift forward 4 inches and rotate 30 degrees. Then suddenly 2 x 4 looks a lot better.
08-07-2013 01:30 PM
killclimbz I actually don't find the EST system better. I much prefer the 4x2 hole pattern at this time.
08-07-2013 01:21 PM
poutanen
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
Only un-evolved sit to put their bindings on...
You talking about me?



Quote:
Originally Posted by UNION INHOUSE View Post
Channel boards have been around for 14 years (give or take a year). The reason you don't see more of them, is it's solving an issue that doesn't exist. The channel also effects the way the board flexes.
Having been on the channel for a few years, and now back on a 4x4 board I strongly disagree. I'd be thrilled if everyone started copying the channel and started making EST/ICS bindings to go with. It just makes so much more sense than having a degree wheel secured by 4 screws under your foot.

That's like saying quick lace systems solve a problem that didn't exist. Sure with laces you can do your boots up, but with quick systems you can do it faster, and sometimes with better adjustability (dual zone, etc.)
08-07-2013 01:06 PM
killclimbz Yeah, I don't think it would be that great for riding hard pack. On top of that, you are stuck with whatever forward lean the boot offers. That is it. No customization.
08-07-2013 12:29 PM
BurtonAvenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by UNION INHOUSE View Post
I know next to nothing about the Kwicker, but I'm under the impression that the boots are based on the original system?

I was thinking he could buy the new boots and find some old Clicker bindings online.

OP - Call K2 customer service and ask.
There's tweaks to it that lead me to believe there won't be any compatibility.
08-07-2013 12:26 PM
UNION INHOUSE
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
I think the Kwicker would work with those solid board adapter pucks. I am not sure why though. I find it interesting K2 did not go to their own athlete, Kyle Miller who spends close to 200 days a year on his split and get advice.

I can tell they were thinking about the design, but it seems they didn't quite punch it all the way through to me. Then again, I could be wrong. Time will tell.
I know next to nothing about the Kwicker, but I'm under the impression that the boots are based on the original system?

I was thinking he could buy the new boots and find some old Clicker bindings online.

OP - Call K2 customer service and ask.
08-07-2013 12:21 PM
killclimbz I think the Kwicker would work with those solid board adapter pucks. I am not sure why though. I find it interesting K2 did not go to their own athlete, Kyle Miller who spends close to 200 days a year on his split and get advice.

I can tell they were thinking about the design, but it seems they didn't quite punch it all the way through to me. Then again, I could be wrong. Time will tell.
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