It’s an old problem that start-up companies seem to be trying to address over and over. Riders (ok - not all of them) complain about having a leg turned and locked into a position. Whether you are trying to traverse across to the lodge or ride on the lift, you constantly have to turn your leg in an unnatural position. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can cause injuries. In fact, according to a sports injury study, 4 to 8 percent of snowboarding injuries take place while the person is waiting in ski-lift lines or entering and exiting ski lifts due to a large torque force on the leg that is locked in. So, why not change the binding to allow moving it?
Many companies in the past have created products that allow the rider to turn their bindings to a more natural position. The Swivler, Quick Stance, Sports180 FliP-U, Board Hubz, and The Ah Binding are all products that have been created in the past to address the problem and few of these companies are still around. The Swivler (not sure what they do anymore), uses a pull-cord and locking mechanism to allow you to unlock-rotate-lock the binding to any position you want. So, if you want to get to the lift, you can position the binding straight forward making it easy and more natural to move around. Quick Stance also is similar in that is allows rotating the bindings in 5 degree increments and uses a double-locking mechanism. Sports180 FliP-U, Board Hubz, and The Ah Binding also are similar.
What makes Lumbos™ different?
LUMBOS™ is the latest of these devices that allows full rotation of the binding. What Thomas Lundbaek, Founder/CTO of Lumbos™, did differently is that his creation allows movement of both feet while on the board with no pull-cords or locking mechanisms. According to CEO, Roger Kuo, “Lumbos™ really shines while riding downhill, as it allows for more freedom of movement in the legs. This increases the rider’s control and maneuverability, and reduces the common leg fatigue that snowboarders suffer. Lumbos™ does this by naturally allowing unlimited stance adjustments on the fly.”
This is an interesting idea that should in turn make it easier to learn snowboarding, easier on the knees for older riders, and more advanced riders should have more maneuverability. You’ll have more comfort in lift lines and when sitting on the chair lift. Plus, it will be easier to get up off the ground and have less strain on your knees and back. I feel like I’m using the word “easier” a lot. But, I think that’s the promise.
The product can attach to any board and binding and only requires a Philips screwdriver to attach. This can be done in about 10 minutes. Also, one size fits all and it comes in a variety of colors to match to your board.
LUMBOS™ is a new company and is currently running a KickStarter campaign to raise the necessary funds to go into production. The campaign ends on Jan. 7, 2016. They expect delivery to be available March or April 2016, but they are taking orders and running demos across the United States. The retail price is $175. But, they are offering a discount for $135 for pre-orders through the website.
So, everything sounds good. They are addressing on old problem in a similar but new way. But, can Lumbos™ go farther then all of those companies before it. Let’s look at some of the questions that Lumbos™ needs to answer to the doubters in the snowboard world.
Lumbos™ has some work to do to convince the doubters. You can easily search through the internet and find lots of comments against these types of binding accessories. Here are some various comments made about these type of products:
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” - That’s a fair comment, but I disagree. Products are improved every year. Just because YOU don’t like the idea, doesn’t mean it’s not a bad idea for someone else. For beginners, getting used to the constant turning on the leg is hard to get used to. By giving them something that allows them to make learning easier, it may make their day a lot better and they’ll be motivated to come back. Also, lots of older riders with bad knees seem to like these types of accessories and they have allowed them to keep riding into their 60’s.
“The claim that it allows new tricks is bogus” – Anyone who watches the x-games is amazed at the tricks these riders can do and they don’t do it with rotating bindings. That’s is a fair argument. But, at the same time, it does allow different movements on the slope which could lead to things that have never been done before. Only time will tell.
“The less moving parts, the better” – Some claim that the reason standard snowboard bindings work is because they’re simple. The less moving parts the better as it drastically reduces the margin of error and potential for injury. Makes sense. Whether you ski or ride, expert level equipment whether it is skis, snowboards, boots, or bindings have less flex. More advanced riders know what they are doing and want to board to react immediately to their movements. But, lower level equipment will have more flex and be more forgiving. This is where I see Lumbos™ being an advantage over standard bindings.
“It’s going to be unstable and my feet will move out from underneath me” – The Company claims that you will actually be more stable. According to Lumbos™, “When a rider exerts a load bearing force on one foot, the un-weighted foot is free to follow through and translate a rider’s intentions into more fluid swishing or swaying motions on slopes. Meanwhile, the weighted foot finds the most stable attack angle, keeping the other foot in check.” Interesting since Lumbos™ is different from the other companies. We will need to try them.
“Sure it works fine on the groomers, but what would it do if they really tested it hard” – According to Kuo, “Lumbos has been tested on both powder and terrain parks” by Travis Weaver, a Level 3 AASI Snowboard Instructor. Also, one of the testers “took it into the terrain park, where he tested a rail grind. He specifically mentioned that Lumbos allows a boarder to adjust/compensate and regain their balance on the rail (if they start to lose it), while a fixed binding system would never allow that.”
“The extra plate will make it heavier and the board stiffer” - Lumbos™ measures 3/8 inch, or 0.375 (0.952 cm) thick, and is less than 1.5 lbs. each. The thinness and size of the plate will have minimal impact on flex or torsion.
I always like to see what new ideas are coming and I like to see small companies that believe in their product giving it a go. There isn’t a piece of riding equipment out there that is made for everyone. We are all different. While many experienced riders may not like the idea of Lumbos™. It offers some nice benefits for beginners and older riders. Some more advanced riders may actually like the ability to turn at will on the fly. But, like parents always tell their kids, the only way to know if you like something is to try it. Fortunately, Lumbos™ has numerous Demo Days coming up this winter across the United States and Canada. Check them out if you can. It may be worth it. Also, if you do make it out there, add a comment on this article to let us know what you think.
- Squaw Valley (Northern California) - Dec 12-13, 2015
- Mammoth (Southern California) - Dec 19-20, 2015
- Arapahoe Basin (Colorado) - Dec 26-27, 2015
- Park City (Utah) - Jan 2-3, 2016
- Whistler (British Columbia, Canada) - Jan 9-10, 2016
- Stratton (Vermont) - Jan 16-17, 2016
- Vail (Colorado) - Jan 23-24, 2016
- Sierra-at-Tahoe (Northern California) - Feb 6-7, 2016
- Bear Mountain (Southern California) - Feb 13-14, 2016
- Snowbird (Utah) - Feb 20-21, 2016
- Mount Snow (New Hampshire) - Feb 27-28, 2016
- Mount Hood (Oregon) - Mar 5-6, 2016
Company Website: www.lumbos.com