Voile Light Rail Review
Cons: Heavy, wet snow clumps in pin box, pin based binding
Compare to Similar Products
Voile Light Rail
|Price||$275 List||$385 List||$540 List||$575 List||$830 List|
|Pros||Affordable, comfortable straps, forward lean adjustment||Uphill and downhill performance, lightweight, good value, efficient transitions, lean adjusters||Lightweight, easy to transition||Lightweight, fast transitions, responsive, great straps, easy to use buckles||Improved interface, downhill performance, comfortable straps, easy to deploy heel risers|
|Cons||Heavy, wet snow clumps in pin box, pin based binding||Heel risers can be challenging to deploy with softer baskets||Have to buy heel lock separately, soft pole baskets can struggle with riser bar||Might be too stiff for lighter riders, high back catches on heel cup between walk and ride modes||Expensive, weight of entire system|
|Bottom Line||While friendly on the bank account, this binding is also comfortable and user-friendly||This top-performing model is our first choice and has been for many years||Our all-time favorite female-specific splitboard binding||This lightweight binding offers excellent performance at a reasonable price||Exceptional 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%)|
|Downhill Performance (30%)|
|Straps Lean Risers (10%)|
|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 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 is a medium weight binding relative to other models in the category. One binding weighs 755 grams or one pound and 10 ounces.
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 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.
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
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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