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Voile Light Rail Review

A comfortable and user-friendly binding that is nice on the wallet
Voile Light Rail
Photo: Voile
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Price:  $275 List
Pros:  Affordable, comfortable straps, forward lean adjustment
Cons:  Heavy, wet snow clumps in pin box, pin based binding
Manufacturer:   Voile
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 31, 2020
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 11
  • Uphill Performance - 20% 6
  • Weight - 10% 6
  • Transitions - 30% 6
  • Downhill Performance - 30% 7
  • Straps, Lean, Risers - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Voile Light Rail is built to get the budget-conscious snowboarder into the backcountry. The binding is very affordable and performs fine on the climb, descent, and transitions. Its pin based transition system is harder to use than some others on the market. The details of the straps, lean adjuster, and risers work to mitigate some of the cons and round out the binding. Overall, this binding is great for riders looking for a softer option that won't break the bank.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Voile Light Rail
This Product
Voile Light Rail
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  
Price $275 List$385 List$540 List$575 List$830 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
65
81
81
79
75
Star Rating
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Pros Affordable, comfortable straps, forward lean adjustmentUphill and downhill performance, lightweight, good value, efficient transitions, lean adjustersLightweight, easy to transitionLightweight, fast transitions, responsive, great straps, easy to use bucklesImproved interface, downhill performance, comfortable straps, easy to deploy heel risers
Cons Heavy, wet snow clumps in pin box, pin based bindingHeel risers can be challenging to deploy with softer basketsHave to buy heel lock separately, soft pole baskets can struggle with riser barMight be too stiff for lighter riders, high back catches on heel cup between walk and ride modesExpensive, weight of entire system
Bottom Line While friendly on the bank account, this binding is also comfortable and user-friendlyThis top-performing model is our first choice and has been for many yearsOur all-time favorite female-specific splitboard bindingThis lightweight binding offers excellent performance at a reasonable priceExceptional downhill performance with refined in betweens
Rating Categories Voile Light Rail Spark R&D Arc Spark R&D Arc Pro - Women's Spark R&D Surge Pro Karakoram Prime-X
Uphill Performance (20%)
6
8
8
7
8
Weight (10%)
6
9
9
9
5
Transitions (30%)
6
8
8
8
7
Downhill Performance (30%)
7
8
8
8
8
Straps Lean Risers (10%)
8
8
8
8
9
Specs Voile Light Rail Spark R&D Arc Spark R&D Arc Pro... Spark R&D Surge Pro Karakoram Prime-X
Measured Weight (pair) 3.34 lbs 2.8 lbs 2.4 lbs 2.7 lbs 3.18 lbs
Compatible Systems Voile Pucks, Voile Splitboard Crampons Spark Pucks, Voile Pucks (Regular or Canted), Burton Channel Pucks, One Binding System, and Ibex Crampons Spark Pucks, Voile Pucks (Regular or Canted), Burton Channel Pucks, One Binding System, and Ibex Crampons Spark Pucks, Voile Pucks (Regular or Canted), Burton Channel Pucks, One Binding System, and Ibex Crampons Karakoram Splitboard Clips, Prime Crampons

Our Analysis and Test Results

Voile could be considered the godfather of splitboards. They invented the first splitboard to fill a need in snowboarding culture. The company has been committed to progressing the sport and you; their values are based on getting you into the backcountry. The company's bindings follow the same construct, a value-based, no-frills product that does the job.

The Light Rail is best for people looking to get into splitboarding...
The Light Rail is best for people looking to get into splitboarding and save a few bucks at the same time.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Uphill Performance


The Light Rail provides decent uphill performance based on its stride quality, sidehilling ability, and comfort. This binding provides a medium friction touring interface with its pin-based system. Some products in the category offer very low friction at this interface, which helps preserve your stamina by reducing resistance. The binding system provides a full range of motion. The range of motion of this competitor was reduced in wet snow conditions based on the design on the toe ramp and pin. The pin basket and ramp were able to trap snow, which drastically impacts your stride quality.

The binding has strong sidearms and a wider base plate and touring bracket, which help direct power to the edge. This provides secure sidehilling, and its baseplate and strap provide a comfortable experience.

The Light Rail has wide baseplate which helps sidehilling, but...
The Light Rail has wide baseplate which helps sidehilling, but allows wet snow to build up at the touring pivot, which reduces stride quality.
Photo: Isaac Laredo


Weight


The Light Rail is a medium weight binding relative to other models in the category. One binding weighs 755 grams or one pound and 10 ounces.

The Light Rail has an average weight. It isn't the lightest nor the...
The Light Rail has an average weight. It isn't the lightest nor the heaviest model out there.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

We can't walk uphill with only one binding, so we take into account the entire weight of the system. The field weight of the system is 2035 grams or four pounds, 7.7 ounces. The Light Rail falls directly into the middle of the weight spectrum for this category.

The pucks, screws, heel risers, and touring brackets weigh 525 grams.
The pucks, screws, heel risers, and touring brackets weigh 525 grams.
Photo: Isaac Laredo


Transitions


The Light Rail uses a slider pin to secure the binding into touring and riding mode. The slider pin is smaller than other pin-based bindings and is secured with a thin metal bar that runs the length of the pin. The open part of the wire that seats to the end of the pin is hard to disengage with gloves on. This location is tight and can be difficult to reach with gloves on, making transitions more challenging, especially when it is cold. The slider pin is secured with a coated wire to the binding; this is to prevent the pin from getting lost during transitions. The wire is rather short occasionally gets in the way of the pin moving freely and therefore must be adjusted.

The latch on the right of the binding is hard to access and release...
The latch on the right of the binding is hard to access and release with gloves on based on its placement and size.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Downhill Performance


Shredding downhill is fine with these bindings. The highback has one of the softest flexes currently available on the market. This provides a nice, tweakable feel when riding downhill. The highback may be a little soft for the larger rider. The highback even felt soft for our lighter testers when riding bumpy approach roads or icy conditions.

Straps, Lean, and Risers


Straps

The straps of the Voile Light Rail are well padded and use a supple leather. Therefore, the straps are quite comfortable. The toe cap is rather bulky and doesn't provide the same snug fit as some of the toe caps available. Each strap one stitch that goes around its parameter, which should last for multiple seasons.

The straps of the Light Rail are very padded and comfortable but far...
The straps of the Light Rail are very padded and comfortable but far from lightweight.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

The buckles have a small release tab that has an incredibly smooth action and provides a lot of leverage to release the buckle from the ratchet.

The small tab on the ratchets makes unstrapping easier.
The small tab on the ratchets makes unstrapping easier.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Lean Adjuster

The lean adjuster is incredibly easy to use and offers abundant negative and forward lean. Simply press down on the high or low side of the lean adjuster to switch between modes. The quantity of forward lean for ride mode would be challenging to adjust in the field as it requires the adjustment of a screw.

A simple solution to change from ride to tour mode but is...
A simple solution to change from ride to tour mode but is challenging to adjust the quantity of forward lean.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Risers

The heel risers are the standard heel risers found on the strike plates of the splitboard. The two different heights are very easy to engage with the handle end of your ski pole.

The heel risers are on the strike plate of the board which is easy...
The heel risers are on the strike plate of the board which is easy to engage with the handle of your pole.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Value


The Light Rail is one of the most affordable options in our review. It's slightly lower priced than other pin offerings. We find this binding to be reasonably priced, but for a few more dollars, some options offer improved performance in distinct areas.

Women's Verison


Voile offers a women's version of the Light Rail. The main difference is the logos and tray at the bottom are purple rather than red. The sizing between the different gendered binding is the same. The men's small and medium binding fit the same profile as the women's small and medium.

Conclusion


Overall, it does fine on the uphill, downhill, and in-betweens. The transitions are tricky for a pin-based binding. It's comfortable and its details like the straps, risers, and lean round out the binding. The Voile Light Rail is a reasonable option for budget-conscious folks looking to get into the splitboard game.

Isaac Laredo