The Karakoram Prime splitboard bindings are some of the best performing splitboard bindings. Add a carbon highback and you have a highly responsive and light set up. Throw in some awesome graphics from RP Roberts and you have splitboarding art!
Prime X Carbon – the Peak of the Karakoram collection
I have always been a fan of Karakoram. The Split 30 was my first taste of their engineering. From then on I was hooked. Although the older Split 30 had some opportunities, when they worked, they worked well. Then the Prime line up was introduced. Once again, they became my favorite performing binding, when they worked. Karakoram worked hard on these opportunities and delivers an outstanding splitboard binding in the Prime X Carbon.
Prime + Carbon highback = Awesome
The entire Karakoram binding line up is made of 7075 aluminum (except the Straightline) So even the base model – Prime SL – is a great binding. The next step up is the Prime X. It is 85 grams lighter than the SL and features a really nice “Reactive Highback”. I think the Prime X would be an ideal binding for most splitboarders out there. Next up is the Prime X Carbon. You guessed it, the highback is made of Carbon. The carbon highback is very responsive and light.
Prime + Custom art from RP Roberts = So Awesome!
If I was going to fork over the money for the Prime Carbon X bindings, I figured I might as well get the limited custom RP Roberts model. Just looking at the custom Prime X bindings makes me happy. I have spent many nights camping, just looking at the art on the bindings. Reminiscing of tours at Mt Baker, looking over at this beautiful mountain – Mt Shuksan. For the extra $20 it was WELL worth it. Karakoram even includes a print and t-shirt with the graphic on it.
What features do the Prime X Carbon have?
Karakoram bindings all feature a sleeved axle that makes touring smooth and quiet. The heel cup to sidewall is more pronounced and makes more contact with the boot. This can be good for making better contact and transferring force. I have noticed that the heel cup is a little more narrow than I am used to, and has caused some rubbing on the Tourist and Jones MTB boots. Nothing crazy and purely cosmetic, but something I noticed on both size 11.5 boots. The Air-form toe straps are simple and easy to use. They are kind of tricky at first, but once you learn how to use them, they can make life easier. Just in case you don’t like them, there is a set of regular toe straps included. Also included is the Flex-lock, though I did not use it for this review. I am a fan of the Air-Form ankle strap though.
New Dual Speed Risers
The one main complaint I had about Karakoram products was the tour risers. I kept breaking them. Others have as well. I think the biggest upgrade for Karakoram in 2018 is the much-improved heel risers. I have been testing a pair for two seasons and have yet to break them.
How does the Prime X Carbon perform?
Glad you asked. They perform amazingly well. The lightweight (690 grams) was noticeable on the tour up. Where they really shine is on the ride down though. They feel like you are one with the board. The active joining technology pulls the binding on the board and the board together. It feels like it creates more structural integrity if that makes sense. One cool feature that I kept using was the “Dual Stride Ride Foward Lean”. What that means is that you can have the forward lean opened up to -8 degrees for touring (very helpful for longer strides) and then two separate ride modes. Why I found this helpful was on more technical terrain I would engage the more aggressive forward lean (10-22 degrees) and on fun pow days when I wanted to just surf around, I would use the lower angle ride mode (0-15 degrees). You can tweak each one to your preference.
The Karakoram Prime X Carbon is a very nice splitboard binding. They perform as good as I had hoped and have served me well all season. They are not cheap though. At $929 they are on the very high end of splitboard bindings. Having used and reviewed the previous versions of the Prime line up, I can say that the Prime X Carbon is better. However, you can save some money and go with the Prime X or even Prime SL and still have an excellent binding. If weight and performance at any cost are your goals, then the Prime X Carbon is your binding.