How to Mount Karakoram Splitboard Bindings
It’s that time of year, the good time. The time when you bust out the splitboard and backcountry gear, or get new equipment ready to go. With any luck this means you’re looking to mount some new Karakoram bindings to your splitboard.
Karakoram is one of the most innovative splitboarding brands, and the Prime system is the tightest mount out there—pun intended. But seriously, it will keep you closer to your board—around 5cm away—than any other split binding, let alone regular binding. The level of response is next-level. All of the Prime bindings are lightweight, built tough, and easy to mount.
Here are thorough, step-by-step directions to make sure you get your setup dialed for the season. Instructions apply to all Karakoram Prime bindings. If you have a Burton board with the Channel system, we have special instructions just for you!
IN YOUR BINDING BOX
- Left and right bindings
- Interface Kit: 4 ride mode plates, 2 tour modes, 2 toe attachments, 2 flip-speed risers, 2 heel lock-down springs, 2 heel attachments
- Hardware Kit: Screws for mounting all of the above
- Paperwork: An instruction packet with awesome diagrams with labels and warranty papers—save this, it’s good stuff! A template for drilling mounting holes is also included; this is only for those with DIY splitboards. Those of you with regular splitboards can ignore this template.
Step One: Install Tour Modes
Line up the tour mode toepieces with the 3-hole pattern on the nose half of your board. Use six of the 10mm button-head screws to mount the Tour Mode toepieces. Although somewhat rare, some older-generation splitboards or newer custom boards can have thinner cores and require the use of the 8mm screws instead of the 10mm. Recommended tightness? ¼ to ½ turn past tight.
Step Two: Install Flip Risers and Heel Lock-Down
Place the heel lockdown spring inside the middle of the riser component and press firmly into place. The widest part of the risers will face the tail of your snowboard. Use four 8mm button-head screws to secure risers into place. Recommended tightness? ¼ to ½ turn past tight.
Toe and heel riser pieces for the Tour Mode component.
If you are mounting on a Burton snowboard, skip step three and head on down to the Burton-specific steps. Come back for step four!
Step Three: Ride Plate
Grab all four ride plates and eight 10mm flathead screws. Two plates have an arrow marking; these belong on the toe side of your board. The unmarked plates go on the heel side. Place the ride plates at the correct width for your desired stance and tighten with screws. Recommended tightness? ¼ to ½ turn past tight.
Step Four: Heel and Toe Attachments
You’ll need eight 6mm button-head screws along to mount your toe and heel attachments, which connect the ride plates to the bindings. The toe attachments have the two prongs and go on the ride plates marked with an arrow. Set your stance angles using the angle marks as a reference. Arrow-to-arrow is zero degrees; you can angle up to 30 degrees in either direction. Each mark is five degrees. Once your toe angles are set to your liking, tighten your toe attachments.
Next, place your heel attachments on the heel side of your ride plate without tightening. With your Power Link lever open on your binding, slide your toe pins under your toe attachment and push your binding into place. Pull up on your lever to lock it into the heel attachment—it will automatically be mirroring the angle you set for your toe attachment. Now tighten the heel attachment into place, and repeat on the other binding.
MOUNTING ON BURTON SPLITBOARDS
There seems to be this belief out there that Burton’s Split Channel mounting system doesn’t get along with Karakoram bindings. We are here to set the record straight. You can bet that if you’ve got a Burton split or dreaming of getting one, mounting a pair of Karakoram bindings will be an option, and a great one at that.
Karakoram highly recommends making the quick switch to its own splitboard clips to complement your new Prime Bindings if your board doesn’t come equipped with them (which Burtons do not). These clips make the world of a difference for feel and effective binding mount; they eliminate chatter and keep your board feeling solid underfoot in all conditions. By swapping out your current board clips to the Karakoram splitboard clips you’ll be sure to get the tightest and closest mount for your ride plates, creating an extremely solid splitboard. The same holes can be used for the Karakoram clips that were previously occupied by another brand of clips. Ideally you’ll want to mount your new clips before mounting your ride plates for the closet line-up.
So let’s find out how to mount these puppies already!
First, follow steps one and two above.
Burton Step One:
Remove the pucks that are attached to the snowboard, and keep the screws accessible—you’ll need them.
Burton Step Two:
Place the screws you saved from Burton Step One in the channels. See how they stick out taller than the snowboard? You’ll need them flush with your board or slightly lower than the snowboard when they sit in the channels. Remove the screws from the channel and grind each screw until it is slightly (1-2mm) shorter than the board when inside the channel. This is important so that the bindings are as close to the board as possible. Grinding can be done on a bench grinder, hand grinder or even a file with a bit of muscle.
Burton Step Three:
Place the Ride Plates over the screws inside the channel and use eight 10mm flathead screws to lightly secure the Ride Plates into the screws in the channel. Be sure to have the Ride Plates with marked arrows on the toe side of your board. Since the Ride Plates are a little loose, you should be able to glide them along the channel to set your stance width. Once you are happy with the width, tighten all screws 1¼ turns past tight.
Finally, follow step four above.
Tips for Splitboard Binding Installation and Use
- Most splitboards already have a set-back stance as they are powder-specific, but be sure to check your “centered” stance on your board and find what is right for your desired riding.
- Tying a small prussic cord on your Power Link lever and Karakoram clips will allow you to use your poles to release when changing over or for heel lock-down. It also creates an easy grab for gloved hands.
- Working your bindings in can take time. They will be functional right out the gate, but it can’t hurt to flip your Tour Mode release level back and forth multiple times so it moves smoothly. If it is really stiff, a small bit of lube is a good idea.
- Now that you’re all set up, investigate how your bindings work and practice changeovers before hitting the skin track.
- Don’t forget to maintain your mount by checking for any loose screws with care and tighten them as you would with any other binding.
All geared up and ready to go? Don’t forget to check the local avalanche bulletin before heading out the door. Be sure to travel safely, read the terrain and watch for changing conditions. We love the backcountry as much as you do, and want to see you come home safe 100% of the time. Be safe out there, friends!