Whitelines posted a summary and video of the Pivit binding system; a ‘new’ snowboard binding design that adds a hinge to the binding in order to provide greater, lateral flexibility.
The article on Whitelines includes a fairly damning reply, stating (correctly) that the idea isn’t in fact, new. The Pivit design was in motion back in 2009, which, if you check out that Facebook page above, you’ll see that’s when the posts started.
The Angry Snowboarder also covered this in the same year; an article that’s worth reading if you’re interested in the hinged-approach.
To be fair to Whitelines, however, these ‘crazy hinged bindings’ will be new to most. You’re unlikely to have seen them or read about them, and you can’t buy them in a shop. And whilst the Facebook page does date back to 2009, the history has many posts through 2012 and early 2013; the video itself was uploaded earlier this year, March. What’s more, they’ve only just added drawings created for the patent office. You could argue that there’s been increased activity in recent months…
Putting all that to one side, the question still remains, is the idea any good?
Personally, I don’t see it. Whilst there are many similarities between snowboarding and skateboarding, there are some pretty fundamental differences, too. An obvious and relevant difference is that unlike a skateboard, your feet are strapped into the snowboard (maybe that’s better as: the snowboard is strapped onto your feet?).
So whilst you don’t have the freedom to roll your foot/ankle/leg up against the ‘deck’ for maximum tweaking/boning, you also can’t do a one-footed ollie, or a pop-shuvit, or a kick-flip (well, maybe you can if you’re Wolle Nyvelt)…
If you’ve taken a look at the Angry Snowboarder’s article above, you’ll have been reminded that the ollie mechanic is different on a snowboard. Well, some of the other mechanics are different too.
Let’s keep with the hinge for a little longer. I suppose an important question is, what do you lose by adding that hinge to the binding?
My first thought is performance/control. We’re used to bindings with a fixed baseplate. We use pressure to control the snowboard, and part of that system is a binding that behaves in a consistent manner. It seems that pressure loaded toward the outside of your binding, probably more so on the heel side, might not be as responsive when the hinge is in play.
Simplicity. Don’t you just love the regular two-strap? Simple and effective, it just works. The hinge adds some moving parts; more chance of things going wrong/breaking.
And how about feeling secure? Snowboards are strapped in. Our feet aren’t going anywhere, our legs aren’t going to bend in the wrong direction. Is there something unnerving about the ability for your ankle to bend over like that?
Of course it’s impossible to say for sure without actually trying them; they could be awesome. But from my point of view, people are tweaking and boning just fine with regular bindings – I can’t help but thing the Pivit system seems a bit like a gimmick.