Title:
ELEMENTS AND ASSEMBLY FOR BINDING A BOOT TO A GLIDING BOARD OR A ROLLING BOARD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Retention element for binding an article of footwear to a gliding board or to a rolling board, such as an ski or snowboard binding. The retention element includes a body mounted on a base, the base being slidable along a longitudinal guide rail. Between the two subassemblies which include the base and the guide rail, a flexible blade is fixed to one of the subassemblies. The blade includes housings longitudinally spaced apart for an anchoring pin affixed to the other subassembly, and a maneuvering member, moveable between two operating positions, cooperates with the blade to engage or disengage one of the housings of the blade with the anchoring pin.



Inventors:
Szafranski, Pierre (Metz-Tessy, FR)
Thomas, Pascal (Chambery, FR)
Application Number:
11/774056
Publication Date:
01/10/2008
Filing Date:
07/06/2007
Assignee:
SALOMON S.A. (Metz-Tessy, FR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C9/22; A63C9/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CHIBOGU, CHIEDU A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBLUM & BERNSTEIN, P.L.C. (RESTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. An element for binding an article of footwear to a gliding board or a rolling board, said binding element comprising: a first subassembly comprising a base and a body mounted on the base; a second subassembly comprising a longitudinal guide rail, the base of the first subassembly being slidable along the longitudinal guide rail of the second subassembly; a blade fixed to one of the first and second subassemblies, said blade having a length and longitudinally spaced apart housings, said blade being flexible over at least a portion of said length; an anchoring pin affixed to another of the first and second subassemblies a maneuvering member moveable between two operating positions, said maneuvering member cooperating with the blade selectively to engage any of a plurality of the housings of the blade with the anchoring pin or to disengage the blade.

2. A binding element according to claim 1, wherein: the maneuvering member is movable to cause the housings of the blade to move vertically.

3. A binding element according to claim 1, wherein: the maneuvering member is mounted on said another of the first and second subassemblies.

4. A binding element according to claim 1, wherein: the blade is fixed to the guide rail and the anchoring pin is affixed to the base.

5. A binding element according to claim 1, further comprising: a succession of hard points and soft points between the guide rail and the base, thereby creating a succession of hard points and soft points during sliding of the base along the slide rail.

6. A binding element according to claim 5, wherein: said succession of hard points and soft points comprises a series of waves on the guide rail and a detent on the base.

7. A binding element according to claim 4, wherein: the maneuvering member is a slide slidably mounted with respect to the base.

8. A binding element according to claim 7, wherein: the slide includes at least one pad to retain the blade on the pin and at least one support pad on the blade.

9. A binding element according to claim 8, wherein: the slide includes two active positions, said two active positions consisting of an active locking position and an active unlocking position; in the active locking position the at least one retaining pad is in an area of the pin; in the active unlocking position the at least one support pad is in an area of the pin.

10. A binding element according to claim 7, wherein: a hard point device marks an active position for unlocking the slide.

11. A binding element according to claim 7, further comprising: a blocking device keeping the slide in an active locking position.

12. An assembly for retaining an article of footwear on a gliding board or rolling board, said assembly comprising: a binding element for the article of footwear, said binding element comprising: a first subassembly comprising a base and a body mounted on the base; a second subassembly comprising a longitudinal guide rail, the base of the first subassembly being slidable along the longitudinal guide rail of the second subassembly; a blade fixed to one of the first and second subassemblies, said blade having a length and longitudinally spaced apart housings, said blade being flexible over at least a portion of said length; an anchoring pin affixed to another of the first and second subassemblies a maneuvering member moveable between two operating positions, said maneuvering member cooperating with the blade selectively to engage any of a plurality of the housings of the blade with the anchoring pin or to disengage the blade.

13. A footwear retaining assembly according to claim 12, wherein: the binding element is a front binding element for engagement with a front end of the article of footwear.

14. A gliding or rolling sport assembly comprising: a gliding board or rolling board; an element for binding an article of footwear to the gliding board or rolling board, said binding element comprising: a first subassembly comprising a base and a body mounted on the base; a second subassembly comprising a longitudinal guide rail, the base of the first subassembly being slidable along the longitudinal guide rail of the second subassembly; a blade fixed to one of the first and second subassemblies, said blade having a length and longitudinally spaced apart housings, said blade being flexible over at least a portion of said length; an anchoring pin affixed to another of the first and second subassemblies a maneuvering member moveable between two operating positions, said maneuvering member cooperating with the blade selectively to engage any of a plurality of the housings of the blade with the anchoring pin or to disengage the blade.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 of French Patent Application No. 06.06220, filed on Jul. 7, 2006, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference thereto in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to an element for binding an article of footwear, such as a boot or a shoe, to a gliding board, such as a ski or snowboard, or to a rolling board, such as a skateboard. The invention also relates to a binding assembly for such footwear, as well as to a gliding board assembly or a rolling board assembly including such a binding element.

2. Description of Background and Other Information

In the field of alpine skiing, it is known to retain the boot on the gliding board with a retaining assembly, or bindings, which includes two elements, front and rear, for retaining the boot. Conventionally, the retaining elements are of the releasable type in that they release the boot in case of excessive pressure. However, there are also retaining elements of the non-releasable type, which are especially used on short skis or snowboards.

In order to adapt the retaining assembly to boots having different lengths, at least one of the retaining elements is slidably mounted along a longitudinal guide rail, and a locking member makes it possible to immobilize the body of the retaining element in a predetermined longitudinal position. For the rear retaining element, the body can be displaced from this position against the pretensioned force of a spring, known as a return spring. This function ensures that the boot is clamped and enables the ski to flex more freely.

For rental bindings, in particular, it is known to use position adjustment mechanisms having a wide adjustment range and an easily accessible and user-friendly locking member.

Patent documents FR 2 683 457, FR 2 835 759, U.S. Pat. No. 5,348,335, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,848,704 describe such modes of construction. These devices yield good results in terms of operation, but their structure is complex. Indeed, they include numerous parts, which makes them expensive to manufacture.

The construction of a retaining element such as disclosed in the patent documents DE 32 01 319 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,522,424 is also known. A pin is mounted on a flexible blade, referred to as a leaf spring, associated with the body of the retaining element and is provided to be engaged in one of the perforations of a graduated strip mounted in a base plate. The blade is bent or locked by means of a lever, which is pivotally mounted with respect to the body. However, the drawback of this construction is that the operating lever is exposed to external impacts or shocks. Furthermore, when the boot is strongly pressed toward the front or when there is an impact/shock, the blade, which supports the pin, is strongly biased to buckling. The retaining element is not optimally retained in position under such conditions.

Another mode of construction is disclosed in patent document FR 2 638 653. The body is pivotally mounted with respect to the guide rail, and its pivoting is controlled by a pivoting lock. However, this device requires a significant amount of space height-wise to enable the pivoting effect.

In view of the aforementioned prior art, there is a need for an improved retaining element whose position adjustment device is simplified compared to existing devices, and which has a structure that is easier and more cost-effective to manufacture. There is also a need for a retaining element whose construction yields a better performance, especially a construction in which each of the elements would not be subject to buckling.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The foregoing objects and advantages, which will be raised from the following description, are achieved by the retaining element of the invention.

The retaining element of the invention includes a body mounted on a base, the base being slidable along a longitudinal guide rail.

A flexible blade is fixed, at least over a portion of its length, to one of the sub-assemblies which includes the base and the guide rail. The blade has longitudinally spaced-apart housings provided for an anchoring pin affixed to the other sub-assembly, and a manipulable member, movable between two positions, and which cooperates with the blade in order to engage one of the housings of the blade on the anchoring pin or to release the blade.

In a particular embodiment, the manipulable member causes the housings of the blade to move vertically, and it is mounted on the sub-assembly which affixedly supports the anchoring pin. Indeed, the anchoring pin is affixed to the base, whereas the blade is fixed to the guide rail.

In a particular embodiment, a device having a succession of hard and soft points between the guide rail and the base, including a series of waves on the guide rail and a detent on the base, creates a succession of hard and soft points during the displacement of the base.

In a particular embodiment, the manipulable member is a slide, slidably mounted with respect to the base, the slide having at least one pad for retaining the blade on the pin and at least one supporting pad on the blade. The retaining pad and the supporting pad make it possible to define, with respect to the anchoring pin, two active positions for locking and unlocking, so that in the active locking position, the retaining pads are located at the level of the pin, and in the active unlocking position of the slide, the supporting pads are at the same level as the pin.

Finally, to make it easier and more reliable to use, a second device with hard points, positioned between the slide and the base, marks the active position for unlocking the slide by blocking the latter's position, and a blocking device retains the slide in its active locking position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood from the detailed description that follows, with reference to the annexed drawings, and in which:

FIG. 1 shows a retaining element according to a non-limiting embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the base and the guide rail of the element of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 relates to a detail of the construction;

FIG. 4 shows the slide and the base in the upside down position;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the retaining element, with the slide in the locking position;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to the previous one, with the slide in the unlocking position

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a portion of an alpine ski 1 on which a retaining element 2 is mounted. Here, the element is a front retaining element for a boot, and is of the releasable type. This is non-limiting, and the invention also applies to retaining elements of different constructions. In particular, the front retaining element can, for example, have a rotatable body or be non-releasable. Conventionally, the retaining element 2 is provided to be associated with a rear retaining element, which is not shown in the drawing, although the retaining element of the invention could also be a rear element.

The element 2 includes a body 3 having a retaining jaw 4. The body is mounted on a base 6. The rear portion of the base forms the support, or support element, on which the front of the boot rests. The base 6 can slide along a longitudinal guide rail 7, which is assembled to the ski by any appropriate means known to those skilled in the art, such as having been screwed, glued, or welded to the ski. The guide rail can also be integrated into the ski structure. Conventionally, the guide rail includes two side rails 7a and 7b under which pads for retaining the base are engaged in order to guide and vertically retain the base. Other constructions to guide the base are also possible within the scope of the invention. The base forms a unitary piece to which the body is assembled. This is non-limiting, and other modes of construction are possible within the scope of the invention. For example, the body could be mounted on a baseplate which itself is assembled to a counter-guide rail provided to cooperate with the guide rail 7.

In a particular embodiment, the guide rail is open toward the front so as to enable the base to engage and disengage.

A blade 10 and an anchoring pin 11 immobilize the retaining element with respect to the guide rail. According to the illustrated embodiment, the blade extends into the median portion of the guide rail, between the rails 7a and 7b of the guide rail. The blade is fixed to the guide rail toward one of its ends and, toward its other end, the blade has perforations or recesses 14 distributed over a portion of its length. Under the blade, and in particular in the area of the perforations 14, the guide rail has a longitudinal recess, which extends between the two rails. The blade can be positioned in this recess under a bending force.

The anchoring pin 11 is affixed to the base 6. It is assembled by any appropriate means and can, for example, be force-fitted, assembled by means of screws, glue, or made as a unitary element with the base.

The dimensions of the perforations 14 are equal to or greater than the cross-sectional dimensions of the anchoring pin 11 so as to enable the anchoring pin to be received easily within each of the perforations. Housings other than perforations are also possible to ensure the blade and the anchoring pin cooperate with one another.

The blade is fixed to the guide rail by any appropriate means, for example, with a rivet 15, a screw, or a retaining pin. A pin or a fold of the blade, forming a sort of hook that is engageable in housing for receiving the guide rail, is also within the scope of the invention. Other fastening means are also possible. In a particular embodiment, the end of the blade, which is fastened to the guide rail, is selected so as to be biased in tension when the boot is engaged between the two retaining elements. In the example shown, it is the end of the blade located on the side of the rear retaining element, which is fixed to the guide rail.

The other end of the blade can be free. In the example shown, however, the blade has, on this side, a hook-shaped end 16 that is engaged in an opening of the guide rail. The end 16 has a reduced width compared to the remainder of the blade. The hook retains the blade in case a rearwardly directed impact force is exerted on the retaining element. The hook protects the blade from a buckling bias, which would occur, for example, if an impact were to be exerted toward the rear of the retaining element if there were no boot. The hook also helps to maintain the end of the blade in an elevated position with respect to the bottom of the median recess of the guide rail and forms a guiding track when the base engages the blade. This is further described below.

According to the invention, the blade can be displaced between two operating positions: an engagement position, in which the anchoring pin is engaged in one of the blade perforations, or recesses, and a release position, in which the blade is moved out of reach of the anchoring pin. The anchoring pin is affixed to the base and can only move with the base, along the longitudinal direction defined by the guide rail.

The blade is a flexible element biased in flexion by a manipulable member. The blade is made of metal, for example. A stainless steel blade having a thickness of less than 1 millimeter, and, in a particular embodiment, equal to 0.8 millimeters, yields good results. Alternatively, other materials can be used, such as a composite material. As long as the blade is flexible at least in the area of the perforations 14, the thickness and /or width of the blade can vary, or the blade can be made of several parts. Thus, by bending the blade in the area of the perforations, the blade can be engaged with the anchoring pin 11 and, thus, to immobilize the base with respect to the guide rail, or to disengage it so as to longitudinally release the base. The term “bending” is used here in its broadest sense, meaning any force exerted on the blade, which deforms it in flexion.

In a particular embodiment, a device with a succession of hard and soft points has been provided to facilitate the positioning of the base with respect to the perforations 14 of the blade 10. At each of the soft points, the anchoring pin is placed opposite a perforation of the blade, which means that the blade can be engaged with the anchoring pin without undue trial and error. As shown in FIG. 3, the rail 7a has a series of projecting waves 19, which cooperate with the detent 21 of a pad 20 for retaining the base. The waves and the perforations 14 of the blade coincide. Each time the detent 21 is within the trough, or hollow portion, of a wave, such position corresponds to a soft point; the anchoring pin 11 of the base faces one of the perforations 14 of the blade 10. Each time the detent passes over the peak of a wave, the user can feel a hard point that must be passed over. This facilitates the locking of the anchoring pin on the blade as well as enables pre-positioning the front retaining element when the blade is disengaged. Other constructions are possible within the scope of the invention. The waves could, for example, be made on the inside of the rails 7a, 7b or on the base, and the detent could be made on the guide rail. The detent could also be made at the end of an elastic blade, which is made in the body of the guide rail or of the base.

A maneuvering member 22 is used to maneuver the blade between its two operating positions. In this embodiment, the maneuvering member is connected to the sub-assembly, which supports the anchoring pin, in this case the base, so that the anchoring pin is locked with respect to the blade in the same way, whatever the position of the base.

In the embodiment shown, a slide 22 is slidably mounted relative to the base 6 along the longitudinal direction defined by the guide rail. It is made of a maneuvering body 22a and a maneuvering handle 22b. The maneuvering element 22a is guided relative to the base. Advantageously, the maneuvering body has an oblong slot 22c traversed by the anchoring pin 11, these elements forming a guiding assembly for the slide. The slide 22 is movable between two active positions: a locking position where the maneuvering element 22a is brought into the base and the maneuvering handle 22b is engaged in a housing of the base, and an unlocking position where the maneuvering handle 22b and a portion of its maneuvering body 22a are disengaged from the base toward the rear of the base. The slide is shown in the active locking position in FIG. 1 and in the active unlocking position in FIG. 2. In the locking position, the maneuvering handle 22b is protected by the boot during use, i.e., while the user glides on his/her gliding board or rolling board.

FIG. 4 shows the slide 22 and the base 6 in the upside down position. On the bottom, the slide 22 has two pairs of pads 25a, 25b, and 26a, 26b. The pads 25a, 25b are structures that retain the blade. They have edges that extend under the blade along each of its lateral edges, so as to flatten the blade against the maneuvering body of the slide. The pads 25a, 25b are located in the area of the anchoring pin 11, in the position for locking position of the slide, that is, when the maneuvering handle is engaged in the housing of the base. Thus, in the position for locking the slide 22, the retaining pads 25a, 25b keep the blade 10 against the pin 11, the pin being engaged in one of the perforations 14. FIG. 5 shows the pin 11, the slide 22, and the blade 10 in this position. Alternatively, there could be only one retaining pad.

The pads 26a, 26b are supporting pads. They are located forward from the retaining pads, between the blade and the maneuvering body of the slide. They are provided to bend the blade between its end 16 and the area, which is taken by the retaining pads 25a, 25b, and to move the blade away from the maneuvering body of the slide. Thus, when the slide 22 is in the unlocking position, the support pads 26a, 26b are at the level of the anchoring pin 11 and keep the blade 10 disengaged from the anchoring pin. The body of the retaining element can thus be displaced along the guide rail 7 until reaching a new position. During this displacement, the pads slide along the blade, and in particular, the support pads keep the blade completely disengaged from the anchoring pin 11. FIG. 6 shows the anchoring pin, the blade, and the slide in this position for disengaging the base 6.

In the position for locking the slide, the support pads 26a, 26b are in a forward position, toward the end 16 of the blade.

Instead of two support pads 26a, 26b, there could be only one support pad. Alternatively, the slide could open at the front of the base. In this case, the position of the pads 25a, 25b, 26a, 26b, would be reversed.

In the illustrated embodiment, as shown in FIG. 2, the end 16 of the blade is inclined and has a reduced width compared to the remainder of the blade. In this way, by a ramp effect, the end 16 makes it easier for the retaining pads 25a, 25b to engage under the blade and for the support pads 26a, 26b to engage on the blade when the base 6 is being positioned on the guide rail 7.

During the displacement of the retaining element along the guide rail, a relatively substantial friction occurs between the slide and the blade. To prevent this friction from displacing the slide relative to the base 6, the slide can be maintained in the unlocking position by a hard point device. As shown in the drawings, the maneuvering body of the slide has two lateral detents 28a, 28b, each of which cooperates with a small hollow housing of the base formed, for example, by a wall portion 29a, 29b. Other constructions are also within the scope of the invention. In this way, the slide is maintained in the unlocking position during all the displacements of the base along the guide rail.

Also, according to a particular embodiment, a blocking device is provided to prevent an ill-timed opening of the slide when it is in the locking position. According to the embodiment shown, this device includes, for the slide, a flexible tongue 30 equipped with a stop housing 31 that cooperates with a tooth 32 of the base, the, housing and the tooth being oriented along a transverse direction with respect to the longitudinal direction defined by the guide rail. To release the slide, the tongue 30 is laterally bent by means of a manipulable button 34 located in the vicinity of the maneuvering handle 22b. Therefore, to open the slide 22, the movements of the manipulable button 34 and maneuvering handle 22b are carried out in clearly distinct directions.

When the slide closes, the tooth 32 automatically engages in the stop housing 31 by a ramp effect. Other constructions are possible within the scope of the invention. For example, the position of the tooth and housing can be reversed.

The invention is not limited to a front retaining element, but also applies to a rear retaining element, and more generally, to any element for retaining a boot on a gliding board or rolling board.

The invention also applies to a retaining assembly including two front and rear elements. For such a construction, two independent blades are used, each being fixed to the guide rail, or a common blade is used for the two retaining elements, the blade being fixed to the guide rail toward one end or between the two retaining elements.

The device which has just been described has, in contrast with the prior art, a small number of parts and a simple structure. Most of such parts can be made by molding plastic material, which makes it easy to integrate the elements necessary to carrying out the various auxiliary functions, especially pre-positioning, maintaining the slide in the unlocking position, and blocking the slide in the locking position.

The present description is only given by way of example and other embodiments of the invention could be adopted without leaving the scope thereof. In particular, the position of the anchoring pin and of the blade could be reversed, which means a pin can be affixed to the guide rail, a blade movably mounted on the base of the retaining element, and a maneuvering member of the blade mounted on the guide rail. Alternatively, the maneuvering member could have a shape other than that of a slidable slide. For example, the maneuvering member could be a pivotable lever, articulated about a vertical or transverse axis, or a maneuvering member could be constructed with a handle connected to the maneuvering body by means of a mechanical connection, for example, a double guiding ramp. Other modes of construction are also possible within the scope of the invention.