Title:
Snowboard binding with rear step-in and securing of boot by toe element
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to a rear-step-in snowboard binding with a leg support, which is swivel-fastened between a rear step-in position, in which a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding can be inserted from rear to front into the snowboard binding, and a front riding position, and with a toe element, by which a front area of a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding can be overlapped at least partially, in such a way that it is held forward, whereby the leg support can be locked in the front riding position in such a way that a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding can be secured by the leg support and the toe element in its longitudinal direction relative to the snowboard binding, and whereby the preliminary pivoting of the leg support into the front riding position ensures the securing of the boot.



Inventors:
Krenn, Thomas (Perchtoldsdorf, AT)
Janisch, Andreas (Oeynhausen, AT)
Kittag, Ronald (Pressbaum, AT)
Application Number:
12/099353
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
04/08/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C9/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FOLLMAN, BRODIE J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MILLEN, WHITE, ZELANO & BRANIGAN, P.C. (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. Rear-step-in snowboard binding with a leg support (4), which is swivel-fastened between a rear step-in position (E), in which a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding (1) can be inserted from rear to front into the snowboard binding (1), and a front riding position (F), and with a toe element (7), by which a front area of a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding (1) can be overlapped at least partially, in such a way that it is held forward, whereby the leg support (4) can be locked in the front riding position (F) in such a way that a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding (1) can be secured by the leg support (4) and the toe element (7) in its longitudinal direction (L) relative to the snowboard binding (1), and whereby the preliminary pivoting of the leg support (4) into the front riding position (F) ensures the securing of the boot.

2. Binding according to claim 1, characterized in that a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding (1) can be tightened by the preliminary pivoting of the leg support (4) into the front riding position (F) between the leg support (4) and the toe element (7).

3. Binding according to claim 1, wherein the leg support (4) and the toe element (7) are arranged on a common base plate (2).

4. Binding according to claim 1, wherein the toe element (7) is arranged in such a way that a front area of a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding (1) can also overlap from above and/or on the sides.

5. Binding according to claim 1, wherein the leg support (4) in the front riding position (F) can be locked in a forward tilt, which is tilted in such a way that a rear area of a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding (1) is also held upward in the snowboard binding (1).

6. Binding according to claim 4, wherein a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding (1), preferably between two side walls (3), can be secured exclusively by the toe element (7) and by the leg support (4) to the snowboard binding (1).

7. Binding according to claim 6, wherein the elements (4, 7) for attaching a boot that can be held in the snowboard binding (1) comprise exclusively one toe element (7) and one leg support (4) as well as in particular two side walls (3).

8. Binding according to claim 1, wherein locking means that comprise at least one traction mechanism (5) that encompasses the leg support (4) and that can be tightened by a locking lever (6) are provided to lock the leg support (4) in the front riding position (F).

Description:

This invention relates to a snowboard binding according to claim 1. Such bindings are also referred to as “soft bindings” or “shell bindings,” since they are provided in this respect to be used with relatively soft snowboard boots and have a high flexibility, as is desired by, for example, so-called “freestyle boarders.” This invention does not relate, however, to so-called “hard bindings,” in which a relatively hard ski boot or a ski-boot-like snowboard boot is secured to or in the hard sole of the boot in the binding by the engaging of projections or recesses.

The binding according to the invention is used to secure a snowboard boot on a snowboard. It is designed as a so-called rear step-in binding and comprises for this purpose a leg support, which is movably fastened between a rear step-in position—in which a boot can be inserted especially simply from rear to front into the snowboard binding or can be removed from the binding in the opposite direction—and a front riding position. In this way that is known in the art, a very comfortable way of stepping in and out of the binding is made possible.

The leg supports that are common in such snowboard bindings, which are also referred to as “highbacks” or “heckspoilers,” are used to support the back side of the snowboard boot or the fibula of a snowboarder toward the rear. In this case, the leg support is mounted to pivot around an axis that is oriented crosswise to the longitudinal direction of the base plate in order to be able to set a specific tilt that defines the so-called forward position of a snowboarder's lower leg. To do this, the tilt of the leg support can be adjusted in the normal way for the riding position desired by the boarder.

In the riding position, the leg support is secured by a suitable locking device. To step out of the snowboard binding, the locking device is disengaged, such that the leg support can be retracted again toward the rear in the opening position or step-in position and the boot can be removed from the binding.

The pivotability also ensures that the leg support, which in practice in normal riding position projects about 20 to 30 cm from the snowboard surface, can be folded forward onto the surface of the snowboard, so that it causes less disruption in the transport and storage of the snowboard.

In addition, the binding according to the invention comprises a toe element, by which a front area of a boot that is inserted into the snowboard binding is at least partially overlapped frontways, such that it is held facing forward, and another movement of the boot facing forward is not possible. Both the leg support and the toe element can be fastened to the surface of a snowboard either directly or indirectly by additional elements.

In previously known bindings, an instep element is conventionally provided, which is also required to secure a boot in the binding. The positioning of the boot in the longitudinal direction is carried out in this case by the tightening of the instep element. The instep element thus fulfills two functions at the same time: on the one hand, by ensuring the hold of the boot in the longitudinal direction toward the front and, on the other hand, by ensuring also the hold of the boot upward. To this end, the instep elements in most cases are tightened tilting obliquely downward and toward the rear, which is associated with the drawback that this also causes the snowboarder to feel an often unpleasant pressure in his boot. Also, a toe element is conventionally also provided, which is tightened by the front area of the boot to hold the latter downward in the binding. This also causes the snowboarder to feel an often unpleasant pressure in his boot.

Also, in snowboard bindings with simplified handling by rear step-in and leg supports that can be retracted, a relatively strong pressure on the instep element, which here as well must ensure hold in both the longitudinal direction and upward, is applied when closing or folding up the leg support. Thus, it is known from DE 44 35 113 C1, for example, to fasten the leg support in such a way that it can pivot toward the rear in a step-in position that is folded downward, in which a snowboard boot can be inserted from behind into the snowboard binding with tightening straps secured. After the snowboard boot is inserted against the instep element, the leg support is folded upward until it has occupied a predefined closed position corresponding to a riding position. By the folding-up of the leg support, the snowboard boot is pressed even further forward against the instep element, such that, in this connection, namely the desired tightening force is applied, but at the same time, the pressure loads that the snowboarder perceives as distracting occur again. In this connection, it is also disadvantageous that at least in the last area, the insertion of the boot is considerably hindered because of the frictional forces that occur here.

A snowboard binding that is designed as a soft binding is known from EP 1 623 745 A1, and said binding is secured in the closed state of an inserted boot between a leg support and a front toe element in such a way that the boot in its longitudinal direction cannot be moved further forward. In this case, the leg support, however, rests firmly in a heel clamp, which is also referred to as a heel cup. Such heel clamps engage the rear sole area of the snowboard boot or the heel of a snowboarder, whereby the heel clamp is connected rigidly to the base plate of the snowboard binding.

This design is associated with the drawback that stepping into the binding can only be done from above and therefore is associated with significantly more effort for the snowboarder. When stepping in or even when stepping out, the toe element must be brought into a position in which it releases the boot upward, so that to secure the boot in the binding, a tightening process to be implemented in addition is always necessary, which generally is indicated by means of an instep element of the above-mentioned type as well as by means of the toe element. Therefore, primarily the process of stepping into these bindings is made relatively cumbersome.

It is therefore the object of this invention to provide a constructively simple and economically producible snowboard binding that permits an especially comfortable stepping in and out and that avoids adverse effects for the snowboarder by pressure loads on an instep element.

This object is achieved according to the invention by a snowboard binding according to claim 1. Advantageous embodiments and further developments of the invention will emerge from the dependent claims.

It is essential in the approach according to the invention that the leg support of the rear step-in binding can be locked in the front riding position in such a way that a boot that is held in the snowboard binding is secured by the leg support and the toe element in its longitudinal direction relative to the snowboard binding, whereby the preliminary pivoting of the leg support into the front riding position ensures the securing of the boot. When the leg support is pivoted upward, the boot is pressed as far forward as possible against the toe element and thus advantageously is tightened between the leg support and the toe element.

An essential advantage of the snowboard binding according to the invention lies in the fact that both the comfortable rear step-in option allows an especially simple stepping into the binding as well as stepping out of the binding, and the securing of the boot in the longitudinal direction by the leg support and the toe element, which presses the boot toward the rear against the leg support, makes an additional instep element unnecessary, and thus the associated pressure loads for the boarder can be avoided. The pressure forces that act in the longitudinal direction are transferred via the sole of the boot. Relative to conventional strap bindings for the snowboarder, a considerably less noticeable pressure in the boot is produced, which means a considerable increase in comfort, and thus it represents a decisive advantage. In practice, it has been shown in comparison that a binding according to the invention can be used significantly more comfortably and pressure-free than a binding in which the longitudinal positioning of the boot is achieved only via the leg support and an instep element.

In any case, a suitable instep element could be provided to hold the boot downward in the binding. Because of the smaller holding force, however, which it must transfer only in a direction perpendicular to the snowboard surface in the design according to the invention, such an instep element could then be designed significantly more simply. As a result, the snowboard binding according to the invention can have a smaller weight and primarily can be produced especially inexpensively.

Another advantage consists in that the folding upward of the leg support over the entire pivoting area as a whole can be performed with less effort than is possible in a secured instep element, which already exerts a counterpressure on the boot directed toward the rear when closing the binding or when folding up the leg support.

The boot can therefore first be easily inserted into the opened binding with the leg support retracted, whereupon the leg support can be folded up into the riding position to close the binding via a very much longer path without applying force, as is possible with bindings with secured instep elements. The preliminary pivoting of the leg support in the front riding position then advantageously produces the tightening of the boot between the leg support and the toe element.

For the first time, this invention combines the advantage of optimum binding performance or a good performance without excessive pressure loads for the boarder with the advantage of great comfort when stepping out of or into the binding, which were previously mutually exclusive.

It is especially advantageous when the leg support and the toe element are arranged on a common base plate of the binding. The base plate can be fastened either directly or indirectly via a base holding plate to be inserted into a round opening on the top of a snowboard, in particular by means of screws. The leg support can preferably be fastened to walls pulled up on the sides of the base plate, which are also referred to as side walls.

To design the stepping into the binding and the stepping out of the binding as comfortably as possible, it is preferably proposed that the toe element be arranged in such a way that a front area of a boot that is held in the snowboard binding can also be overlapped from above and/or on the sides. As a result, at least in the front boot area, no additional holding and/or tightening elements are required, which the boarder must otherwise manipulate.

It is also especially advantageous if the leg support can be locked in a forward tilt in the front riding position, which is tilted in such a way that a rear area of a boot that is held in the snowboard binding is also held upward in the snowboard binding. In this way, even in the rear boot area, no further holding elements are required, which the boarder must manipulate in addition in conventional bindings or which would impede the comfort when stepping in because of pressure forces and/or friction forces in the above-described manner.

According to an especially preferred embodiment of the invention, it is proposed that the leg support and the toe element be arranged in such a way that a boot that is held in the snowboard binding can be secured to the binding only by the toe element and by the leg support. Advantageously in this case, other binding elements for holding the boot downward, i.e., in a direction pointing away from the snowboard, are not necessary. Side walls can be provided only for the lateral hold of the boot if the lateral hold of the boot exerted by the inside concave design of the leg support and by the toe element is not adequate. To this end, the weight and primarily also the production costs of the binding according to the invention can be considerably reduced.

It is also especially advantageous if locking means that comprise at least one traction mechanism that encompasses the leg support and that can be tightened firmly by a locking lever are provided to lock the leg support in the front riding position. The traction mechanism can preferably be formed by a linkage that is fastened to its ends in a front or middle area of the binding and is run around the leg support on the outside. During tightening, the linkage is subjected to traction, whereby the locking lever that is manipulated to this end is preferably fastened to the leg support on the outside.

Other advantages and features of the invention will emerge from the following description regarding the embodiment of a snowboard binding according to the invention without an additional instep element that is shown in the drawing.

The snowboard binding 1 that is shown in the drawing has a base plate 2 with a central circular opening, which can hold a base holding plate for fastening to a snowboard in a way that is known in the art. On the two longitudinal sides of the base plate 2, in each case a side wall 3 that is provided with recesses is molded onto the base plate 2 extending approximately perpendicularly upward, between which a snowboard boot that is not shown in the drawing can be held and secured in the snowboard binding 1. The side walls 3 in this case are also used for a lateral securing of the snowboard boot.

In the rear upper area of the side walls 3, a leg support 4 is swivel-fastened around an axis that is oriented crosswise to the longitudinal direction of the base plate 2. The leg support 4 can pivot back and forth between a rear step-in position E, which is indicated by thinner lines in the figures and in which a boot can easily be inserted into the snowboard binding 1 from rear to front, and a front riding position F, which is indicated by thick lines. The leg support 4 can be pivoted from the front riding position F to make possible an easy step-in according to arrow P1 backward into the step-in position E.

In the riding position F, the leg support 4 is secured by a locking device 5, which comprises a linkage here, which can be tightened, securely held under traction by means of a locking lever 6 that is mounted on the back side of the leg support 4.

In the front area of the binding 1, a toe element 7 is arranged, by which the front area of a boot that is held in the snowboard binding is overlapped both from the front and from the top. The boot is thus held forward by the toe element 7, which is made rigid and is fastened by a holding rail 8 to the side walls 3. In addition, the toe element 7 that is designed in the form of a cap holds a boot also downward and in lateral direction, so that the front area of an inserted boot is held or attached in all directions by the toe element.

When the leg support 4 is locked into the front riding position F, a boot that is held in the snowboard binding 1 is secured by the leg support 4 and the toe element 7 in its longitudinal direction L relative to the snowboard binding 1 and at the same time is also tightened between the leg support 4 and the toe element 7. According to the invention, the preliminary pivoting of the leg support 4 in the front riding position F creates the securing or the tightening of the boot in the longitudinal direction. The boot is then only secured to the binding 1 via the leg support 4, the toe element 7 and the side walls 3.

Without further elaboration, it is believed that one skilled in the art can, using the preceding description, utilize the present invention to its fullest extent. The preceding preferred specific embodiments are, therefore, to be construed as merely illustrative, and not limitative of the remainder of the disclosure in any way whatsoever.

In the foregoing and in the examples, all temperatures are set forth uncorrected in degrees Celsius, and all parts and percentages are by weight, unless otherwise indicated.

The entire disclosures of all applications, patents and publications, cited herein and of corresponding German application No. 10 2007 017 888.5, filed Apr. 13, 2007, are incorporated by reference herein.

The preceding examples can be repeated with similar success by substituting the generically or specifically described reactants and/or operating conditions of this invention for those used in the preceding examples.

From the foregoing description, one skilled in the art can easily ascertain the essential characteristics of this invention and, without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, can make various changes and modifications of the invention to adapt it to various usages and conditions.





 
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