Spark Fixie Clip
This season we saw at least 3 new splitboard clip designs, including the new Spark R&D Fixie Clip, all aimed to improve on the Voile hook and the K clips. Some have camming hooks to squeeze the board halves together but are be prone to rattling while other clips are needlessly complex. The new clips from Spark use a straightforward, passive design that still adds a fair amount of stiffness. Read on to see if simpler is better with the Spark Fixie Clip.
Features & Specs:
- Material: aluminum
- Country of Origin: USA
- Weight: 56 grams
- Days Used: 50+
Who is Spark R&D?
Helmed by Will Ritter of Bozeman, Montana, Spark R&D has been making splitboard bindings since 2006. They’ve since expanded their offerings beyond just bindings while keeping a high amount of their production line in Bozeman, Montana. Not only is a majority of their gear handmade in Bozeman but in 2019, thanks to their new solar array, Spark was able to offset 30% of their energy consumption during peak production season!
For a look at another Spark R&D product we’ve reviewed, check out our comparison between the Spark R&D Dyno DH and the Phantom Alpha Hardboot Bindings.
What is the Spark R&D Fixie?
The Fixie Clips are Spark’s attempt at improving on the splitboard clip, a small but critical part of a splitboard. The Fixie is made up of two triangularly shaped pieces of aluminum that interlock to add torsional rigidity to your splitboard while passively holding the two halves together. To adjust tension on the through hooks you have to loosen the bolts at the bottom of the base and slide the left hook along the notched channel. Tighten the bolts and you’re good to go.
Whats’s in the Box?
The Spark R&D Fixie clips consist of two bolts, a right and left clip, 8 screws, 2 Grip nuts and 1 square nut per end. The Fixie clips come with both 12mm screws for thin boards and 14mm screws for thicker boards.
Through vs Top Mount
The Fixie also comes in two configurations: A through mount and a top mount configuration. You’ll want to make sure you order the right version or it just won’t work. The through mount, of course, is designed for boards whose bolts come right through the base, while top mount is more akin to the bolts you use to hold down traditional snowboard bindings.
How’s set Up?
Relatively simple. But if you want a thorough how-to head on over to YouTube and give this video a watch. https://youtu.be/6lTXRTNXnFw
I found one issue when installing my through-bolted Fixie clips: large bolt heads. It seems that the Bolt heads on the Fixie clips are larger than some of the competition. This meant that I would need to remove some base material to get the bolts to sit flush. I was lazy and didn’t. So the bolts sat a little proud but this didn’t affect the board, ride quality or usability in the least.
While setting up the clips you’ll notice the interlocking channels don’t completely slide together though it looks like the clip should go all the way. Don’t let this stress you out. It’s part of the design to allow for different boards and tolerances.
You’ll also notice a small red tool in the set-up video. That’s the Spark Binding tool. If you don’t have one, get one, they are a great little addition to your tool kit, especially if you just want something indiscreet on the resort. If you cannot be bothered to get one, a 5mm allen key will do the trick.
Do They Work?
The Spark R&D Fixie Clip is simple yet effective. Owing to their large size, copious overlap and simple design they add a lot of stiffness to a splitboard. Their connection is passive, so they only hold the board together as tightly as you decide to set them. This is due to the lack of any camming device or set screw. And while you can adjust them via their notched slider, I would have liked to have a way to do micro adjustments. Though in reality it likely wouldn’t have made a huge difference.
I used the Fixie clips for over 50 days this season and they did not come loose at all. They did not slip once, nor did they ever jam with snow. They slid together, easily, every single time.
Overall, they were a simple and effective way to keep the two halves of a board together. If simple is your game, then give the Spark R&D Fixie Clip a try.
Pros: Stiff and Simple
Cons: Some proprietary hardware may be hard to replace, through bolts stood proud
If you are interested in checking out the Spark Fixie Clip head on over to Spark R&D’s website and give them a look.
Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a free set of Spark R&D Fixie Clips to test. This in no way affected our opinion and review of the jacket.