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May 29 2014

Review: Voile Light Rail binding

First Impression

Kinda holey lookin'

Kinda holey lookin’

The first thing you notice when pulling these bindings out of the box is how slick they look and lightweight yet solid feeling. All the moving parts articulate smoothly and feel nice n’ snug. These bindings get seriously light by reducing the baseplate down to mere bones.

Sizing & Adjustments

The bindings I tested were size Large, which were much too big for my boots. You can adjust the heel cups to move inward to accommodate smaller boot lengths. I was able to adjust the first heel cup to the most forward position rather easily. The other binding, however, was a different story. If you don’t have the bolts/holes aligned just right, it can be a very tedious adjustment. Once I adjusted the bindings, I still had more than enough room for my boots, which I kind of liked.

Highback Touring Mode

The lever on the spine of the highback loosens or clamps so you can adjust the angle of the highback from dead vertical, or forward.

The lever on the spine of the highback loosens or clamps so you can adjust the angle of the highback from dead vertical, or forward.

I’ve always had a tough time adjusting the forward lean of the highback on most bindings I’ve owned. The Light Rails are a cinch to adjust with an easy to move flip lever on the high back. I hadn’t given it much thought until I read about being able to fully stand straight up while touring, it’is quite the luxury and gives you the ability to make longer strides. Way more comfortable than leaning forward all the time, especially on longer tours. So right away, I’m really liking this binding for that feature alone.

Straps

The binding straps have rather thick cushioning, which adds a little weight. I’m willing to sacrifice a little weight for the added comfort. While I’m used to riding Burton toe-cap straps, it takes a little getting used to the over-the-toe strap on the Light Rails. Keep in mind these are not toe-cap straps, so you might want to switch them out if you can’t get past that. Adjusting the toe strap length can be done with a flip lever, instead of needing a tool.

Avy Ripcord?

These bindings come with an “avalanche rip cord” that I have not used. Seems like a good idea to quickly release from the bindings, but I worry about brushing up against something and have my binding release at the wrong time. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I’ll let someone else test that feature.

Slider Pins

The Slider Pins come with stainless steel cable lanyards to keep them on the bindings at all times. Comparing these pins to the L-shaped Spark R&D bindings, you’ll notice a very different design. The Voile pins use a fastener clip that keeps the pin from sliding out.

The one thing I don’t like about this is that the fastener clip is very thin. When you undo the fastener to slide the pin out, it’s easy to just use the fastener as a handle. You run the risk of bending it, potentially rendering the fastener useless. It’s advisable to carry a spare pin. You just have to be mindful when sliding the pin out to hold on to the base instead of further up the wire clip.

Riding Feel

I have about 16 tours (of riding hard) on these bindings on several types of snow conditions (powder-firmpack-groomers-corn-taters). So far, everything still feels tight and new. These ride fairly stiff and deliver lots of control. The binding base is very stiff, but has a flexible high back to blend in some forgiveness. I consider these to be on the light side and feel very confident and comfortable riding them. They’re easy to transition and buckle in and out of.

‘ho ‘fer?

Recommended as a great mid- to long-range splitboard binding, depending on how motivated you are.

Voile
Light Rail Splitboard Binding
MSRP: $249.50
Weight:
Sizes available: S, M, Lg

© 2014
 

  • http://ThompsonPass.Com/ Matt Kinney

    Solid review. I saw these bindings this spring and toured with the Voile rep. Impressive binding in transition. Fiddle factor reduced along with weight reduction. What more could a splitter want? Full-carbon board perhaps.

  • Frankie

    Do you know whether I can remove the stock toe strap and add the Burton toe-cap straps onto the Voile binding?

  • Frankie

    Good to hear