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Soft Boot S/I


derm75
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Does anyone kow why softie step-ins fell by the wayside? I've been using Burton Driver boots/SI bindings for about 2.5 seasons when I ride soft (which has been the majority of the time, look for another post on that) and I absolutely love them. They're faster to get in/out, my butt doesn't get wet, I've never had any performance issues, what's not to like? Is it a marketing thing, or a performance thing, or ???

Jeremy

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Guest AlpentalRider

it's both. Burton seems to be changing their stepin designs to go the route of the new Fusion binding. The concept on this one is that the binding subframe releases from the board and binding base, but still uses conventional straps to secure the boot to the binding mechanism.

With softboots, it was much more difficult to design a proper boot/binding interface that outperforms traditional strap setups for control and precision. I have used Burton's SI series since '98, and this is the first year I will be switching back to straps for my softy setup. I've decided to go with Burton P1 Carbons and Salomon Malamutes.

I too loved the conveniance of stepins, but I would not spend my money on their current selection. The SI line now is no where near the quality of the standard lines, and the Fusion IMO is still new, unproven technology. It will be a couple of years before the verdict is out on the Fusion concept.

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Originally posted by AlpentalRider

With softboots, it was much more difficult to design a proper boot/binding interface that outperforms traditional strap setups for control and precision. I have used Burton's SI series since '98, and this is the first year I will be switching back to straps for my softy setup. I've decided to go with Burton P1 Carbons and Salomon Malamutes.

I too loved the conveniance of stepins, but I would not spend my money on their current selection. The SI line now is no where near the quality of the standard lines, and the Fusion IMO is still new, unproven technology. It will be a couple of years before the verdict is out on the Fusion concept.

I basically had the same experience three years ago. I used Clicker HB with Nitro boots for 3 years and I really liked them. I switched to Burton Missions with Salomon Dialogue boots and I thought they were roughly the same performance... until I switched BACK to the Nitros and I noticed how much better the BOOTS were. With straps you get a little more extra-boot support and control ontop of what the boot provides you. With step-ins, if your boot isn't that great... the whole system suffers. That is the main problem - the quality of the step-in boot needs to be even better than the regular lines for the system to work well, and recently less innovation and quality control is being put into them - add to that the limit selection (and hence often mismatched fit) and for most people step-ins aren't the best choice anymore.

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Guest Ghostrider

SI's are still the shizzle in the midwest. Everybody would rather have the convenience because of the miniature hill sizes than the performance. Step-In's sell like crazy just because its what everybody has out here.

Although...nobody knows how to use them, so they all end up sitting at the top of the hill trying to "step-in"

Perhaps they should R.T.F.M.!!!!

I don't get it..I can strap in without sitting down faster than they can figure out how to step in, but its a trendy sport i guess...

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Originally posted by Ghostrider

SI's are still the shizzle in the midwest. Everybody would rather have the convenience because of the miniature hill sizes than the performance. Step-In's sell like crazy just because its what everybody has out here.

Are you sure the recently selling spree is not just because Clickers and Burton SI step-in gear has gone super discount recently... like 70-80% off? I saw flat clickers selling for like $50 and boots as well there are Burton SI boots and bindings going for $20-50 on Ebay.

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I can believe that people on this forum are biased towards a precision/performance binding setup, along with pro riders who "go big", but there are plenty of riders who couldn't carve a turn in any kind of setup, or the folks who ride a 156 in the park, what do they need all the support for?

Why not just make step-in systems stiffer? Something like the Burton bindings I use have a highback for heelside control, couldn't they make the boot tongue stiffer for toeside support? I love being able to step out and push if I get stuck on a catwalk and step back in all without stopping.

Having just moved from the midwest, I understand the time saved compared to strap-ins, you can literally be half way down a run before your friends get strapped in. I personally didn't notice very many step-in riders in the Wisconsin area last winter, nor many stores selling S/I bindings other than old stock.

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Guest AlpentalRider

i'm not disagreeing with you, I personally find it pathetic that snowboard manufacturers haven't devised a solid stepin system which provides the performance of the straps.

But then again, they are only going to manufacture what is going to make them money. Why invest in R & D on stepins, when most riders love their straps? Plus the stigma with stepins is that they are only for beginner riders and rental fleets, and for the snowboard manufacturers to break that image now is going to be tough since they have been kinda adding to it by not putting the same effort in their SI lines.

And it is going to be ALOT harder to design a softboot that works with a stepin system which gives the same support and proper flex while transferring the energy efficiently like a strap setup. Your contact points on an SI system are on the sole of the boot, which causes severe energy loss when compared to a strap system where the contact point becomes your entire boot, top and bottom.

You can't just add stiffness to the boot to compensate, or else you'll make an extremely stiff boot which is only suitable for freecarving (i.e. what hardboots are for). They are going to have to come up with some kind of boot design where the energy of boot movement can efficiently be propagated to the binding interface without great loss, while keeping the flex characteristics intact. My guess is that the boot will have to have an internal transfer frame built into it that acts essentially like straps do (hardboots accomplish this by the entire shell of the boot).

Burton's Fusion binding tries to take just a half step in that direction by makeing the binding subframe actually detach from the baseplate, so it stays on the boot intact.

As far as conveniance goes, yea my SIs were a breeze to click into getting off the lifts, but I still had to wait for my friends to strap in. Now I get to be the one they wait on :p

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About 3 1/2 years ago, I bought the top of the line Burton SI boots and bindings at a Spring sale. I was hoping for 50-75% of the performance that my hardboots and plate bindings were giving me. I was sorely disappointed. The Burton SI system was what made me bail on soft setups. I sold them off and never looked back. I still have my original pair of Santa Cruz boots for riding with my kids and teaching beginner friends.

Hardboots and plates shouldn't be compared to soft boots with stiff tongues, like comparing a peach to a lemon :p

out

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but the burton SI and switch I hated the clickers felt more responsive but still had a little play where I liked it

the burton SI felt like I was welded to the board and interfered with the way I like to move but still was not as fast edge to edge as clickers I think this is due to the interface

the clicker runs toe to heel where the others are side to side

I think a big part of the failure of SI is due to lack of a industry wide standard

just think about being in a shop and not finding a SI boot that fits well since they only carry one brand where as regular boots you have a way wider choice

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Originally posted by AlpentalRider

And it is going to be ALOT harder to design a softboot that works with a stepin system which gives the same support and proper flex while transferring the energy efficiently like a strap setup. Your contact points on an SI system are on the sole of the boot, which causes severe energy loss when compared to a strap system where the contact point becomes your entire boot, top and bottom.

:p

This is why I ride the softie S/I called the Device Interface. Originally manufactured and marketed by Device, then bought by Ride, and finally sold to Oxygen after K2 bought ride. The contact points are under the toe and about 3 inches up on the back of the boot in the highback, right where all the pulling and torqueing forces are needed when setting and riding an edge. The piece that holds the contact points is a single piece of that is molded into the boot so it is very solid and can take a lot of abuse. The boot I wear has a great internal strap system on the liner(heat moldable) and a ratchet buckle over the ankle area to keep your foot pulled in nice and tight to the sole and back of the boot. It is almost as solid a feel as my hardboots when I cranck everything down and the performance is great. They are not widley used because the patent and design has been resold so many times. The best part is with the contact points where they are and the way they work I never have to worry about too much snow in my binding, they still clip in; although I do clean off the bottoms anyway if its sticky because it feels better on the foot :) I never did understand why all of the other guys used contact points on the sides of the bbot right in the middle of the foot, always felt that there was too much wiggle room at my toes when I test rode them.

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Have you ever tried to step-in after you've fallen in deep powder. Its nearly impossible! I've tried switch, clicker, clicker hb, burton si, and now I ride straps. Its more comfortable when your not riding, and I find the performance to be better.

If you live somewhere that doesn't get many 1-2' fresh snow days, then the positives definately outway the negatives.

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Originally posted by Matt D

Have you ever tried to step-in after you've fallen in deep powder. Its nearly impossible! I've tried switch, clicker, clicker hb, burton si, and now I ride straps. Its more comfortable when your not riding, and I find the performance to be better.

If you live somewhere that doesn't get many 1-2' fresh snow days, then the positives definately outway the negatives.

Yea it's really hard in deep powder, I was using Clickers/Clicker HB when I lived on the East Coast, but I had a heck of a time clicking when I was in Tahoe in '97 and it dumped like 2 feet of powder. I didn't get strap bindings specifically for that reason when I moved to California... but I've also not noticed any problems ever again... although that could be because I don't get stuck in powder as much anymore.

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Originally posted by Skully

Why hasn't anyone mentioned Flow binders in this thread?

All the benefits of both step-ins and straps - what more could you want?

True, but I think the original posters don't include FLOW in the bindings that they are referring too. In particular FLOW bindings are continually gaining in popularity, while "interface" systems like Clicker, Switch, and Burton SI are fading.

My main issue about FLOW is I don't see how you can properly adjust your forward lean - especially *if* the cable streches out over time. I don't fiddle with my forward lean that often, butI wouldn't like it if it changes over time.

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Originally posted by lonerider

My main issue about FLOW is I don't see how you can properly adjust your forward lean...

The forward lean can be adjusted, but it's a hassle because you then have to adjust the ratchets for the toestrap to compensate. Not very convenient...

But the big problem I had with Flows is that they weren't compatible with having lots of forward lean. When I really upped the forward lean the toestrap would get all deformed and put lots of pressure on my foot in a bad way.

I reckon the best bindings are the Switch. They could potentially be used with everything from today's soft step-ins to regular hard boots, <i>and everything in between</i>. They could be a binding to unify the worlds of hard-booting and soft-booting. The problem of being attached from the side (instead of at the heel and toe) can be solved by varying the boot-sole stiffness.

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I disagree Baka.

I believe clickers have come the closest. They are the easiest to step into in any situation. Once you get the toe hook in, you can leverage yourself into the binding. I used to "step-in" while I was on the chair all the time. Also, in deep pow, you can pull up on the lever and no force is required to get in. You can also lock them, which I liked

Also, K2 had that aggressor boot in 01/02 I think (its within 1 model year for sure) which was an articulated hard shell boot. You set it to soft on your freestyle/freeride board and to stiff for a race board. Never tried it myself. Not sure how well it did, but most soft booters probably wouldn't have tried it, cause it was UGLY!.

I personally think that a toe/heel interface is best cause it allows for more knee movement and better simulates straps.

I've heard good and bad about flow's. They look like they would work better as a system (boot/binding), and many people have confirmed that for me. But I'm a big fan of Burton strap boots/bindings. I've never had a piece of gear that I haven't broken, with the exception of my Prior and coiler boards. I appreciate the fact that burton stands behind their product enough, that it never matters what I do, they always warranty anything. I paid for boots in 02 and got free boots in 03, 04, and my new 05's are on the way.

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Once again you are all forgeting about the Device interface. First off, never have any problems in pow beacue of where the contact points are, and you can have snow under your boot and still get in. Clickers I found to be the worst at this because any snow at all on the plate makes it really hard to get in. With the contacts being on the front and back you get them where you want the pulling pressure, and the forward lean is fully adjustable with the quick adjusters on all the standard strap bindings. Anyway, its always hard to convert a person from one binding to another because of brand/style loyalties, kinda like the Chevy/Ford thing.

Here's a pic below...points are at the front ond right at the base of the highback below the lean adjuster.

post-183-141842198205_thumb.jpg

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I was going to mention Flow, but someone got there first. I really like the Flow, and have had no trouble with adjusting the forward lean. I think the earlier models this was more difficult and the frame got all bent out of shape when you tightened down. Mine don't.

As a step-in they are so easy to use (as long as you don't get frozen wet snow packed inside the tunnel). Now I'm using them on a boardercross board, not in the park or anything, so the stiffness is good. For others the freestyle bindings may be better.

John

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