The other day I received an email from a company asking for my input (e.g., unpaid consultation) on their new and innovative snowboard binding technology. This “new and innovative” technology is yet another rotating binding system, Rot-Ahr from Spain.
Apparently bad ideas never really go out of style.
According to Rot-Ahr, this system “allows the knee to rest in its natural position when we are not descending, aligning the boot and the knee with the longitudinal axis of the board without opening the straps and thus preventing the knee torking excessively”. It also addresses common problems such as:
- You’re on the ski lift with skiers who want to use the party/safety bar which isn’t designed for snowboards.
- You ride regular and you’re on the lift with a goofy rider and you’re awkwardly crossing tips.
- Waiting in lift lines is painful. (NB: You’re doing something wrong if you can’t stand up on your board)
- Only expert snowboarders are capable of “skating” one-footed without risking knee injury (seriously, they actually said this) on flat spots in the terrain.
Anyways… here’s my consultation. Free of charge.
For starters this is not a new concept and not particularly innovative. The obvious question is what makes this different than any number of similar products on the market? The Bon Hiver Freebase binding that came out a year or two ago uses a slightly different technology but attacks the same perceived problem. Swivler and QuickStance and Twisted‘s systems use your existing bindings and only an adaptive plate with a release pin. Each of these seems simpler and more reliable, but about equally pointless. But hey at least this is a design improvement over XTurn‘s snowboarding equivalent of dental headgear:
So now that we know this product is neither particularly new, nor is it really innovative, there’s some additional technical concerns.
Bon Hiver’s similar system was ultimately recalled due to the baseplate fracturing during use. You might want to make sure your bindings don’t fall apart during normal use. Making the baseplate which needs to flex and absorb all the impacts and vibrations, etc., full of moving and pivoting parts is asking for trouble.
Extra pieces, especially moving pieces, present additional opportunities for failure. In addition to safety concerns, since these are nonstandard parts (like ratchets or ladders which are available at every ski shop) it would be difficult for a rider to find replacement parts without waiting several days or longer for the post to deliver them.
Even if this binding doesn’t break, the presence of the rotational plate/system with the binding’s base raises question about board feel. Presumably this system is made from some sort of rigid composite material which is necessarily going to impede the board and/or binding’s ability to flex, interfere with board feel, dampening, or creating or exacerbating dead spots.
Your intro video is lame CGI. Use a real person, unless you can’t find anyone willing to risk their kneecaps.
The English version of the site is in dire need of better translation.
But hey at least these guys aren’t trying to Kickstart their project.