Black Diamond GlideLite Splitboard Mix STS Review
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Black Diamond GlideLite Splitboard Mix STS
|Price||$220 List||$140.21 at Backcountry|
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|$189.95 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Good glide, rolls and folds small, robust adhesive||All-purpose, good ratio of grip to glide, camming tail clip, easy to align tip clip||Secure and easy attachment system, efficient skinning||Durable, good grip to glide ratio||Easy to peel apart and remove from ski base, great glide, compact storage, easier to recover from skin failure|
|Cons||Initial setup is a bit more involved, small range of size adjustments||Awkward folding||Adequate grip, particular rolling technique||Can be hard to pull apart, more involved initial setup||No length adjustment, velcro tip and tail attachment, higher frequency of total skin failures|
|Bottom Line||Straightforward and streamlined performance||Great grip-to-glide ratio and solid all-around performance in a user-friendly package makes it a great choice for most people||Great skins for proficient skinners who know they want an efficient skin for big days||Whether it's your first day or 100th day, these skins are appropriate for all skill levels||A unique skin that manages certain difficulties of glue-based skins but requires more tending in the field|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Glide...||G3 Splitboard+ Univ...||G3 Splitboard+ Glide||Black Diamond Ascen...||Contour Hybrid|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Attachment System (15%)|
|Glue Icing Glop (20%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Glide...||G3 Splitboard+ Univ...||G3 Splitboard+ Glide||Black Diamond Ascen...||Contour Hybrid|
|Manufacturer||Black Diamond||G3||G3||Black Diamond||Contour|
|Weight per pair||650 (g)||674 (g)||560 (g)||658 (g)||624 (g)|
|Weight per skin||325 (g)||337 (g)||280 (g)||329 (g)||312 (g)|
|Material||65% mohair and 35% nylon||Nylon plush||Nylon plush||Nylon||70% Mohair / 30% Synthetic|
|Glue||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive||Twin layer hybriad adhesive|
|Tip Attachment||Coated cable||Asymmetrical steel Hands||Asymmetrical steel hands||Snap-fit attachement||Fixed velco attachment|
|Tail Attachment||STS||SPLITBOARD+||SPLITBOARD+||STS||Fixed velcro attachment|
|Cheat Sheets Included?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Since we tested the GlideLite Split STS, Black Diamond has released an updated variation, the GlideLite Mohair Splitboard Mix. The new version features an updated tip attachment and an adjustable, stretchier tail attachment to fit a wider range of board shapes. Compare the two below; first is the model we tested, followed up by the latest version of the GlideLite Mohair Mix.
We're linking to the updated model, but until we test that version, the review to follow pertains to the STS version we initially tested.
The Black Diamond GlideLite Split STS leverages Black Diamond's skin expertise to offer a mohair-blended skin for splitboarders. Splitboarders have been engineering Black Diamond ski skins to fit their boards for years. Black Diamond has an extensive retail network, which allows tip and tail clip replacements to be widely available. In certain instances, you can find this skin offered in rolls at a lower cost per foot; this is a unique offering and is an infrequent distribution model in the industry.
Glide is the root word in GlideLite; the metric is also at the forefront of its design. This skin is 65% Mohair and 35% nylon, which helps support the design principles of making a glide-centric focus, and that's exactly what they did. Glide becomes an essential part of splitboarding, as we spend most of our time climbing or walking through flat approaches. Effortless glide while climbing reduces the amount of energy you expend to conserve stamina for descending. This skin glides well enough to be able to capitalize on these efficiency benefits.
Gorilla glue-like grip is not an attribute that any mohair-nylon mix skin exhibits. Instead, this model provides plenty of grip and traction, especially if the user sticks to appropriate lower-angle skin tracks and understands the principles of good technique. With good technique, the GlideLite grips icy and wet skin tracks and inspires user confidence. Without good technique, a beginner may find themselves frustrated in the first few days; this can all be alleviated as they start to understand the mechanics more and more.
Ease of Use
The GlideLite is a very user-friendly skin that lacks frills and does the job. However, there are a few steps to complete before you can satisfy your hunger for powder. Out of the box, the skins need to be trimmed to length and width, and tapered. The tip clip also requires installation. Let's start at the beginning. The skin-trimming tool provided was not our favorite but works fine. It has a sharp blade but lacked horizontal stability or strong bracing ability, which can result in a wavy cut. To give yourself the best chance of success, be sure to have a nice working space.
After you trim the length of the skin to fit your split, Black Diamond recommends tapering the tip; this increases glide. Tapering the nose requires a set of measurements to ensure your angle and width are correct. Next, the tip clip needs to be installed, which requires a marker, a ruler, a #2 screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and a board. The actual installation process is pretty straightforward. It is more to do, which brings a larger potential for error than in the pre-installed offerings. After you have completed these steps, you can hit the skin track.
The skin is very packable. The Glidelite rolls to be about the width of a Nalgene bottle or folds into a nice smooth package. This can be attributed to the thin carpet and simple, non-bulky attachment system.
When it comes to ripping skins, they were relatively easy to rip apart, even on some colder mornings. The same goes for taking the skins off of the base. Aside from the installation and trimming process, the Glidelite STS is a user-friendly option for all your backcountry outings.
Black Diamond takes pride in their STS attachment system for their skin line for skins. The company has modified the STS system to fit the needs of a splitboard skin. As discussed above, the tip does require attachment. The tip clip is a coated wire that is anchored to the tip of the skin; the wire slides over the tip, which is a tried and true design that fits a variety of shapes. The STS System is quick to adjust and attach to the tail of the split ski.
The STS system only offers adjustments to board sizes that fall within a five cm range once the skin has been trimmed to length. This should not be a major issue for most individuals but is worth noting. The tail clip has two components, which are angled to work in unison and add security. However, we noticed that the angle of the inline tail clip did not rest consistently on a variety of shapes, particularly more blunted tails. The attachment system works well but required our testers to reattach the tail clip on a few occasions. A large plus to the STS system is kits and clips are substantially more available than other options, making the replacement of any part easier.
Glue and Glop
Black Diamond provides the only consumer skin glue available for purchase; the Black Diamond Gold Label adhesive. The adhesive was reliable on our bases throughout a day of touring and easy to pull apart or off when the time came. We observed no glopping or plush saturation when testing this skin in both wet and dry snow conditions but eventually skin wax will need to be applied for the skin to remain waterproof (this is true of all skins).
The GlideLite has a relatively average price range for mohair mix skins. For those looking for skins in the glide performance category, we feel this is a good value for a mohair-based skin. These skins are well made, and the incorporation of nylon should allow them to last for a few seasons of use, thus adding to their value.
The Black Diamond GlideLite is an all-around solid performer. In our testing, it never upstaged other models but also never fell short; it's a reliable skin built for any day in the backcountry. The Glidelite is good for most intermediate to advanced splitboarders looking for a day-in and day-out mohair mix skin that is light and packable.
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