Martin Technologies has brought an intriguing
new product to market, the M1 Adjustable binding.
Some early impressions follow ...
Have you ever had ...
- your foot fly out of a strap while you're in the air, followed by ... SPLAT!
- to adjust strap screws for a new board, a different style of riding,
- foot discomfort or PAIN,
- to awkwardly adjust the straps after you have been out a while,
- to tediously adjust loaner board straps for friends and students,
Well, those days may well be over thanks to Martin. This is what they have to say about the M1 on the company website at:
* Ease of Use
* 3:1 Gear Ratio tightening
* On the fly adjustment
* Crank down for technical rotation tricks
* Loosen for board-off maneuvers
* Quick board swap (husband/wife,father son,Friends)
* Infinite adjustment to dial things in
* Perfect for schools and training
* On the beach Wetsuit booty to bare foot swap
* Lightweight and sleek design
* Asymmetrical Shape
* Smooth slide adjustment
There are also four video clips on the Martin website on the bindings in action. Suggested retail for a pair of
bindings is to be around $70. USD and they should be available to ship by early September '04 if not sooner.
Martin intends to market the bindings directly from their website initially and may make other provisions as
time goes on.
I have only had a few sessions with the M1 binding but I have to say it is the most comfortable stap system
that I have come across to date. Particularly for those of us with wide feet, shoes, ski boots, and even board footstraps
can be a serious challenge. Say you dial in too tight? No problem, just pull the knob out and the tension goes
away to be dialed in just right.
I spoke with Martin Technologies Spokesperson Stewart about their innovation. They started out by carefully
evaluating and tearing apart many other bindings that are currently on the market. The M1 is the production version
of 15 to 20 prototypes evaluated over ONE AND A HALF YEARS! We are talking deliberate, considered testing and
development, with time to prodution NOT being the governing factor but performance!
The M1 bindings shown rigged out on a Best Balsa kiteboard and footpads. Martin is not affliated
with Best or other kiteboard manufacturers at present.
A primary force in the development of the M1 is a top design engineer who have been involved in snow boot/binding
development for a major gear manufacturers for many years. Martin has been in negotiation with a variety of major
kiteboard manufacturers but Martin has elected to not license this product in 2004. Interestingly enough, Stewart
stated that a number of major concerns have approached various M1 component manufacturers to emulate
the M1 concept, whoops! That is why they have patents I guess. Jeff Roberts used M1 bindings in the recent
Gorge Games and came in second. Jeff said they were the most comfortable straps that he has used.
The M1 binding uses the BOA adjustable lacing system, more at: http://www.boatechnology.com/
The BOA has taken lacing to a new level in snow sports and has been adopted by major manufacturers,
some which appear below:
A K2 boot using the BOA lacing system. You should see these all over in the mountains in coming seasons.
No more laces, buckles and donning hassles, yeeha!
Of course, we could stick with laces for snow riding ... BOA or laces ... hmm, tough decision?!
The binding seams are taped, the EVA foam is ergonomically contoured instead of cut and layered, all stitching is
double or tripled to create a quality product. They are actively developing other kiteboarding products, not just binding
products, that are hush hush at this point. Stay tuned for more innovations from Martin Technologies.
I asked Stewart what performance goals they were trying to achieve with the M1. They wanted to create a strap
with all the conventional strap pluses including ease of entry, exit and safety with more of the performance of
a traditional wakeboard bindings. NOTE: Martin does not intend to replace ALL of the wakeboard binding
performance with the M1 binding, mere to adopt more of the performance characteristics into a strap design. He
feels that kiteboarding schools are going to fall in love with the M1 for the ease of adjustment feature.
Dialing in your strap tension for kiteboarding with no velcro to rip and reattach, screws to mess with is a luxury.
Improved foot comfort and the ability to rapidly adjust tension while in the water is a great improvement.
Contact info for Martin Technologies follows:
PO Box 652
Vashon, Wa 98070
Well my feet are happy now, how about yours? Why not slip into a pair for a test ride? Your "dogs" may be
pleased that you did!
N.B. - Martin has about FORTY pairs of these straps under evaluation by riders all over the world. So, how about it guys, what are your impressions of the M1 strap system?