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Title:
SNOWBOARD BINDING AND SNOWBOARD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/106296
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A snowboard binding that eliminates the ratchet-type connection used in conventional snowboard bindings. Instead, the snowboard binding incorporates a connection mechanism that is somewhat similar to a ski-boot style connector, and that uses only two straps on each binding compared to the traditional four straps. In addition, the connection mechanism can be pre-adjusted by the user to the desired connection pressure. Once the desired pre-adjustment is reached, the user can simply step into the binding and connect the connection mechanism without needing to adjust the connection pressure or tightness during mounting the user's foot or boot to the board as with conventional snowboard bindings.

Inventors:
REINARZ, Kelly (PO Box 12, Snowmass, CO, 81654, US)
Application Number:
US2016/066584
Publication Date:
June 22, 2017
Filing Date:
December 14, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
REINARZ, Kelly (PO Box 12, Snowmass, CO, 81654, US)
International Classes:
A63C9/04; A63C5/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2000076337A12000-12-21
Foreign References:
US6554297B22003-04-29
US6390492B12002-05-21
US5435080A1995-07-25
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LARSON, James, A. (Hamre, Schumann Mueller & Larson, P.C.,45 South 7th Street, Suite 270, Minneapolis MN, 55402, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

A snowboard binding comprising:

a binding frame;

an ankle cap connected to the binding frame;

a first buckle attached to the ankle cap;

a first engagement member connected to the first buckle;

a first binding hook directly attached to the binding frame and releasably gageable with the first engagement member;

a toe cap connected to the binding frame;

a second buckle attached to the toe cap;

a second engagement member connected to the second buckle; and

a second binding hook directly attached to the binding frame and releasably gageable with the second engagement member.

The snowboard binding of claim 1, wherein each of the first binding hook and the second binding hook includes a receiving part,

the receiving part of the first binding hook receives a part of the first engagement member when the first binding hook is engaged with the first engagement member, the receiving part of the second binding hook receives a part of the second engagement member, when the second binding hook is engaged with the second engagement member, and

each of the receiving parts overlaps the binding frame in a side view.

The snowboard binding of claim 2, wherein the binding frame includes an upper edge, and each of the receiving parts includes a portion located below the upper edge.

The snowboard binding of claim 1, further comprising:

an ankle cap strap attached to the binding frame; and

a toe cap strap attached to the binding frame, wherein each of the ankle cap and the toe cap includes a first end portion and a second end portion,

the first buckle is attached to the first end portion of the ankle cap, and the ankle cap strap is attached to the second end portion of the ankle cap, and

the second buckle is attached to the first end portion of the toe cap, and the toe cap strap is attached to the second end portion of the toe cap.

The snowboard binding of claim 1, further comprising:

an attaching member attaching the first binding hook to the binding frame; and a highback pivotally attached to the binding frame by the attaching member.

The snowboard binding of claim 1, wherein the binding frame includes two outwardly facing side surfaces, each of the first binding hook and the second binding hook are attached to a single one of the two outwardly facing side surfaces.

The snowboard binding of claim 1, wherein each of the first engagement member, the first binding hook, the second engagement member, and the second binding hook is made of metal or plastic.

A snowboard comprising:

two of the snowboard bindings of claim 1; and

a snowboard body,

wherein the snowboard body comprises an upper surface and a lower surface opposite the upper surface, and the two snowboard bindings are attached to the upper surface.

A snowboard binding comprising:

a binding frame;

an ankle cap connected to the binding frame;

an ankle cap strap attached to the binding frame and to the ankle cap; an ankle cap buckle mechanism connecting the ankle cap and the binding frame, the ankle cap buckle mechanism includes a first buckle, a first engagement member, and a first binding hook; the first buckle and the first engagement member are mounted on the ankle cap, and the first binding hook is mounted on the binding frame and is releasably engageable with the first engagement member;

a toe cap connected to the binding frame;

a toe cap strap attached to the binding frame and to the toe cap; and

a toe cap buckle mechanism connecting the ankle cap and the binding frame, the toe cap buckle mechanism includes a second buckle, a second engagement member, and a second binding hook; the second buckle and the second engagement member are mounted on the toe cap, and the second binding hook is mounted on the binding frame and is releasably engageable with the second engagement member.

10. The snowboard binding of claim 9, wherein the first buckle is attached to the ankle cap, and the first engagement member is connected to the first buckle; and

the second buckle is attached to the toe cap, and the second engagement member is connected to the second buckle.

11. The snowboard binding of claim 10, wherein each of the first binding hook and the second binding hook includes a receiving part,

the receiving part of the first binding hook receives a part of the first engagement member when the first binding hook is engaged with the first engagement member, the receiving part of the second binding hook receives a part of the second engagement member when the second binding hook is engaged with the second engagement member, and

each of the receiving parts overlaps the binding frame in a side view.

12. The snowboard binding of claim 11, wherein the binding frame includes an upper edge, and each of the receiving parts includes a portion located below the upper edge. The snowboard binding of claim 10, wherein each of the ankle cap and the toe cap includes a first end portion and a second end portion,

the first buckle is attached to the first end portion of the ankle cap, and the ankle cap strap is attached to the second end portion of the ankle cap, and

the second buckle is attached to the first end portion of the toe cap, and the toe cap strap is attached to the second end portion of the toe cap.

The snowboard binding of claim 10, further comprising:

an attaching member attaching the first binding hook to the binding frame; and a highback pivotally attached to the binding frame by the attaching member.

15. The snowboard binding of claim 10, wherein the binding frame includes two outwardly facing side surfaces, and each of the first binding hook and the second binding hook are attached to a single one of the two outwardly facing side surfaces.

16. The snowboard binding of claim 10, wherein each of the first engagement member, the first binding hook, the second engagement member, and the second binding hook is made of metal or plastic. 17. A snowboard comprising:

two of the snowboard bindings of claim 9; and

a snowboard body,

wherein the snowboard body comprises an upper surface and a lower surface opposite the upper surface, and the two snowboard bindings are attached to the upper surface.

A snowboard binding comprising:

a binding frame means;

an ankle cap assembly that includes an ankle cap means connected to the binding frame means, a first buckle means attached to the ankle cap means, a first engagement means connected to the first buckle means, and a first binding hook means that is releasably engageable with the first engagement means; the first binding hook means is mounted directly on an outwardly facing side surface of the binding frame means;

a toe cap assembly that includes a toe cap means connected to the binding frame means, a second buckle means attached to the toe cap means, a second engagement means connected to the second buckle means, and a second binding hook means that is releasably engageable with the second engagement means; the second binding hook means is mounted directly on the outwardly facing surface of the binding frame means.

19. The snowboard binding of claim 18, wherein each of the ankle cap means and the toe cap means includes a first end portion and a second end portion;

a first strap connecting the first end portion of the ankle cap means to the binding frame means;

a second strap connecting the first end portion of the toe cap means to the binding frame means; and

the second end portion of the ankle cap means and the second end portion of the toe cap means are not connected to the binding frame by straps.

Description:
SNOWBOARD BINDING AND SNOWBOARD

Field

[0001] The present described embodiments relate to a snowboard binding and a snowboard.

Background

[0002] A snowboard binding is used in order to bind the snowboard rider's boot to the snowboard. In some snowboard bindings, to hold the rider's boot to the snowboard binding, an ankle cap assembly and a toe cap assembly are provided. The ankle cap assembly and the toe cap assembly each include two straps that are releasably connected to one another by a ratchet mechanism fixed to one of the straps. The ratchet mechanism engages with the other strap, called a ladder strap, which includes ladder-type teeth thereon that function with the ratchet mechanism to permit adjustment of the connection pressure of the respective ankle cap assembly and the toe cap assembly by actuating the ratchet mechanism back and forth.

[0003] Strapping into current binding technology can be difficult. The user is required to step through and around the straps, or use their hands to move aside the straps just to get a boot into the base or frame of the binding. Depending on the user's snowboarding skill level, this part of the process could force a beginner to have to sit down on a bench or directly on the snow in order to maneuver their boot into the binding. Once the boot is positioned in the binding, the user then has to use both hands to feed the ladder strap through the ratchet mechanism, which could be full of snow and/or ice, and then the user actuates the ratchet mechanism to tighten the straps with hopes of achieving correct tightness. If the straps are too loose, the user's boot slides around inside of the binding frame; if the straps are too tight, circulation to the user's feet can be cut off. These problems are increased by the fact that a user is required to disconnect one boot from a binding each time when riding a chairlift to the top of the mountain (or disconnecting both boots when riding a gondola) so that the user must reconnect their boot to the binding each time after exiting the chairlift. Summary

[0004] A snowboard binding and a snowboard that incorporates a pair of the snowboard bindings are described. The snowboard binding eliminates the ratchet-type connection used in conventional snowboard bindings. Instead, the snowboard binding incorporates a connection mechanism that is somewhat similar to a ski-boot style connector, and that uses only two straps on each binding compared to the traditional four straps. In addition, the connection mechanism can be pre-adjusted by the user to the desired connection pressure. Once the desired pre- adjustment is reached, the user can simply step into the binding and connect the connection mechanism without needing to adjust the connection pressure or tightness during mounting of the user's foot or boot to the board as is required with conventional snowboard bindings.

[0005] In accordance with one described embodiment, a snowboard binding is provided that includes a binding frame; an ankle cap connected to the binding frame; a first buckle attached to the ankle cap; a first engagement member connected to the first buckle; a first binding hook directly attached to the binding frame and releasably engageable with the first engagement member; a toe cap connected to the binding frame; a second buckle attached to the toe cap; a second engagement member connected to the second buckle; and a second binding hook directly attached to the binding frame and releasably engageable with the second engagement member. [0006] In accordance with another described embodiment, a snowboard binding is provided that includes a binding frame; an ankle cap connected to the binding frame; an ankle cap strap attached to the binding frame and to the ankle cap; and an ankle cap buckle mechanism connecting the ankle cap and the binding frame. The ankle cap buckle mechanism includes a first buckle, a first engagement member, and a first binding hook. The first buckle and the first engagement member are mounted on the ankle cap, and the first binding hook is mounted on the binding frame and is releasably engageable with the first engagement member. The binding also includes a toe cap connected to the binding frame; a toe cap strap attached to the binding frame and to the toe cap; and a toe cap buckle mechanism connecting the ankle cap and the binding frame. The toe cap buckle mechanism includes a second buckle, a second engagement member, and a second binding hook. The second buckle and the second engagement member are mounted on the toe cap, and the second binding hook is mounted on the binding frame and is releasably engageable with the second engagement member.

[0007] In accordance with still another described embodiment, a snowboard binding is provided that includes a binding frame means; an ankle cap assembly that includes an ankle cap means connected to the binding frame means, a first buckle means attached to the ankle cap means, a first engagement means connected to the first buckle means, and a first binding hook means that is releasably engageable with the first engagement means. The first binding hook means is mounted directly on an outwardly facing side surface of the binding frame means. The binding also includes a toe cap assembly that includes a toe cap means connected to the binding frame means, a second buckle means attached to the toe cap means, a second engagement means connected to the second buckle means, and a second binding hook means that is releasably engageable with the second engagement means. The second binding hook means is mounted directly on the outwardly facing surface of the binding frame means.

[0008] In accordance with another described embodiment, a snowboard is provided. The snowboard comprises: two of the snowboard bindings described herein and a snowboard body. The snowboard body comprises an upper surface and a lower surface. The upper surface and the lower surface are opposite each other. The snowboard bindings are attached to the upper surface.

Drawings

[0009] Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a snowboard according to one embodiment.

[0010] Fig. 2 is a front perspective view showing one of the snowboard bindings shown in Fig. 1.

[0011] Fig. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of the region III in Fig. 2. [0012] Fig. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of the region IV in Fig. 2. [0013] Fig. 5 is another front perspective view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 2. [0014] Fig. 6 is a left side view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 2.

[0015] Fig. 7 is a right side view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 2 (illustration of several parts omitted).

[0016] Fig. 8 is a left side view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7.

[0017] Fig. 9 is a top view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7.

[0018] Fig. 10 is a bottom view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7.

[0019] Fig. 11 is a front view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7.

[0020] Fig. 12 is a rear view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7.

[0021] Fig. 13 is a rear perspective view showing a first stage of connection of the snowboard binding according to one embodiment.

[0022] Fig. 14 is a rear perspective view showing a second stage of connection of the snowboard binding according to one embodiment.

[0023] Fig. 15 is a front perspective view showing a snowboard binding according to another embodiment.

Detailed Description

[0024] Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a snowboard according to one embodiment. As shown in Fig. 1, the snowboard Al comprises two snowboard bindings B l and a snowboard body B2. Each snowboard binding Bl is attached to the snowboard body B2. Each snowboard binding Bl is for binding a snowboard rider's boots (not shown) to the snowboard body B2. [0025] Fig. 2 is a front perspective view showing one of the snowboard bindings B l shown in Fig. 1. Fig. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of the region III in Fig. 2. Fig. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of the region IV in Fig. 2. Fig. 5 is another front perspective view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 2. Fig. 6 is a left side view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 2.

[0026] As shown in these figures, each snowboard binding Bl includes a binding frame 1 (also referred to as a binding frame means), a highback 2 (which can be considered part of the binding frame 1), a base plate 3, an ankle cap assembly 40 with an ankle cap 41 (also referred to as an ankle cap means), an ankle cap buckle mechanism 42, an ankle cap strap 43, a toe cap assembly 50 with a toe cap 51 (also referred to as a toe cap means), a toe cap buckle mechanism 52, a toe cap strap 53, and attaching members 7 A, 7B.

[0027] Fig. 7 is a right side view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 2. Fig. 8 is a left side view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7. Fig. 9 is a top view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7. Fig. 10 is a bottom view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7. Fig. 11 is a front view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7. Fig. 12 is a rear view showing the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 7. In these figures, illustration of the ankle cap 41, parts of the ankle cap buckle mechanism 42, the ankle cap strap 43, the toe cap 51, parts of the toe cap buckle mechanism 52, and the toe cap strap 53 are omitted.

[0028] As shown in Fig. l, the binding frame 1 is attached to the snowboard body B2. The binding frame 1 can be made of, but not limited to, metal or plastic. As shown in Figs. 2, 5, 6, and 9, the binding frame 1 includes a first outwardly facing side surface 11 and a second outwardly facing side surface 12. The side surfaces 11, 12 face in opposite directions. As shown in Fig. 9, the first side surface 11 and the second side surface 12 face outwardly when the binding Bl is viewed in a top view. As shown in Figs. 2, 5, and 6, the binding frame 1 also includes upper edges 15. In the illustrated embodiment, one of the upper edges 15 is located at the upper end of the first side surface 11, and another of the upper edges 15 is located at the upper end of the first side surface 12. [0029] With reference to Figs. 2, 5, and 6, the highback 2 is pivotally attached to the binding frame 1 by the attaching members 7 A, 7B. Examples of suitable attaching members 7 A, 7B can include, but are not limited to, screws, bolts, or the like. The highback 2 is foldable relative to the binding frame 1 between an upright position (shown in the figures) and a folded position (not shown) as in conventional snowboard bindings. When the highback 2 is in the upright position, the highback 2 comes into contact with the rear part of the snowboard rider's boot when the snowboard Al is used. The highback 2 can be made of, but not limited to, metal or plastic.

[0030] As shown in Figs. 2, and 5, the base plate 3 is attached to the binding frame 1, and the base plate 3 is attached to the snowboard body B2 for mounting the bindings B l to the snowboard body B2. In addition, the base plate 3 helps to keep the sides of the frame 1 spaced apart, and supports the snowboard rider's boots when the snowboard Al is used. The base plate 3 can be made of, but not limited to, metal or plastic. In the illustrated example, the base plate 3 includes two parts separated each other. Each of these parts is attached to the binding frame 1 by attaching members 7C. The attaching members 7C can be, but are not limited to, screws, bolts, or the like.

[0031] With reference to Figs. 2, 3, 5, and 6, the ankle cap 41 is connected to the binding frame 1. The ankle cap 41 helps to hold the snowboard rider's boot to the binding frame 1. The ankle cap 41 includes a first end portion 41a and a second end portion 41b. In the illustrated embodiment, the first end portion 41a is disposed at one end of the ankle cap 41 in a width direction of the binding frame 1. The second end portion 41b is disposed at the other end of the ankle cap 41 in the width direction. [0032] The ankle cap buckle mechanism 42 connects the ankle cap 41 to one side of the binding frame 1. In the illustrated example, the ankle cap buckle mechanism 42 is attached to the first end portion 41a of the ankle cap 41, and is releasably attachable to the first side surface 11 of the binding frame 1. The ankle cap buckle mechanism 42 can have two primary conditions - a connected condition and a disconnected condition. When the ankle cap buckle mechanism 42 is in the connected condition, the ankle cap 41 and the binding frame 1 are connected by the ankle cap buckle mechanism 42 (see Fig. 2, 5, and 6). On the other hand, when the ankle cap buckle mechanism 42 is in the disconnected condition, the ankle cap 41 and the binding frame 1 are not connected by the ankle cap buckle mechanism 42 (see Fig. 14).

[0033] As shown in Figs. 2, 5, and 6, the ankle cap buckle mechanism 42 includes a first buckle 421 (also referred to as a first buckle means), a first engagement member 424 (also referred to as a first engagement means), and a first binding hook 426 (also referred to as a first engagement means) .

[0034] The first buckle 421 is attached to the ankle cap 41. Specifically, the first buckle 421 is attached to the first end portion 41a of the ankle cap 41. The first buckle 421 can be made of metal, plastic, or other suitable material. The first buckle 421 includes a support base 421a, a lever 421c, and a traction element 42 le.

[0035] As shown in Figs. 3, and 6, the support base 421a is attached to the first end portion 41a of the ankle cap 41. The lever 421c is pivotally attached to the support base 421a through a pin 421g. The traction element 421e is pivotally attached to the lever 421c through a pin 421h. In the illustrated example, the traction element 42 le includes a rod 421m and a housing 42 In. The rod 421m of the traction element 421e can be rotated into and out of the housing 421n to adjust the length of the traction element 42 le. Thus, the connection tightness of the ankle cap assembly 40 (and the toe cap assembly 50) can be adjusted by adjusting the length of the traction element 42 le. In some embodiments, the rod 421m of the traction element 421e may not be adjustable. The buckle mechanism 42 (and the toe cap buckle mechanism 52) is generally similar in construction and operation to buckle mechanisms used on conventional ski boots except for the binding hook 426.

[0036] The first engagement member 424 is connected to the first buckle 421. Specifically, the first engagement member 424 is pivotally connected to the traction element 42 le of the first buckle 421 through a pin 428. The first engagement member 424 can be made of metal, plastic or other suitable material. The first engagement member 424 has an opening 424a. Though Fig. 6 shows an example in which the opening 424a is rectangular, the shape of the opening 424a is not limited to rectangular. The first engagement member 424 includes an engagement portion 424c, for example a pin or bar, that is engageable with the first binding hook 426. The engagement portion 424c defines a part of the opening 424a.

[0037] The first binding hook 426 is attached on the binding frame 1. In this embodiment, the first binding hook 426 is non-rotatably attached to the binding frame 1 by the attaching member 7 A at a location to be engageable with the first engagement member 424. The first binding hook 426 can be made of metal, plastic or other suitable material.

[0038] As shown in Fig. 6, the first binding hook 426 includes a first base part 426a and a first receiving part 426c. The first base part 426a is attached to the binding frame 1 by the attaching member 7A. The first base part 426a directly contacts the first side surface 11 of the binding frame 1. The first receiving part 426c is integrally formed on the first base part 426a. The first receiving part 426c receives a part of the first engagement member 424 (specifically, the engagement portion 424c), when the first binding hook 426 is engaged with the first engagement member 424. The first receiving part 426c directly contacts the engagement portion 424c of the first engagement member 424 when the first binding hook 426 is engaged with the first engagement member 424. The first receiving part 426c is disposed in the opening 424a of the first engagement member 424 when the first binding hook 426 is engaged with the first engagement member 424. As shown in Fig. 6, the first receiving part 426c overlaps the binding frame 1 in a side view. The first receiving part 426c includes a portion located below the upper edge 15. In the illustrated example, a part of the first receiving part 426c is located above the upper edge 15. However, the entirety of the first receiving part 426c may be located below the upper edge 15. In some embodiments, the first binding hook 426 may include a plurality of first receiving parts to adjust the ankle cap 41 relative to the binding frame 1.

[0039] In some embodiments, there can be a plurality, for example two, of the first binding hooks 426 on each binding B l, each of which can include a first receiving part 426c. In the case of two first binding hooks 426, the first binding hooks 426 can be arranged serially/linearly so that one of the binding hooks 426 is disposed between the other binding hook 426 and the attaching member 7 A, or the binding hooks 426 can be arranged side-by-side so they are generally equally spaced from the attaching member 7A. When the binding hooks 426 are arranged serially/linearly, the engagement member 424 can engage with either one of the binding hooks 426 so as to be selectively engaged by the user with either of the hooks 426 to add an additional tightness adjustment option. [0040] In another embodiment, the first engagement member 424 can include a plurality, for example two, of the engagement portions 424c. In the case of two of the engagement portions 424c and two of the binding hooks 426, the engagement portions 424c can be arranged serially/linearly so that one of the engagement portions 424c is disposed between the other engagement portion 424c and the traction element 42 le, or the engagement portions 424c can be arranged side-by-side so they are generally equally spaced from the traction element 42 le. When the engagement portions 424c are arranged serially/linearly, each one of the engagement portions 424c can engage with one of the binding hooks 426 at the same time.

[0041] As shown in Fig. 5, the ankle cap strap 43 is attached to the binding frame 1, and to the ankle cap 41. Specifically, the ankle cap strap 43 is attached to the second side surface 12 of the binding frame 1 by the attaching member 7B. In addition, the ankle cap strap 43 can be attached to the second end portion 41b of the ankle cap 41, for example by two attaching members 7D. The two attaching members 7D can be, for example, quick adjust screws. The ankle cap strap 43 can also include a plurality of adjustment holes 432 formed therein that are engageable with the attaching members 7D to adjust the ankle cap 41 relative to the binding frame 1. The ankle cap strap 43 can be formed of any materials that are suitable for performing the functions of the ankle cap strap 43, for example plastic, carbon fiber, or kevlar. In one embodiment, the ankle cap strap 43 may include one or more thin metal cables coated in rubber/plastic so as not to wear into the boot. In another embodiment, the strap 43 (and/or the strap 53 described below) could be replaced with a buckle mechanism similar to the buckle mechanism 42 (and/or the buckle mechanism 52 described below).

[0042] With reference to Figs. 2, and 4-6, the toe cap 51 is connected to the binding frame 1. The toe cap 51 helps to hold the snowboard rider's boot to the binding frame 1. The toe cap 51 includes a first end portion 51a and a second end portion 51b. In the illustrated embodiment, the first end portion 51a is disposed at one end of the toe cap 51 in a width direction of the binding frame 1. The second end portion 51b is disposed at the other end of the toe cap 51 in the width direction.

[0043] The toe cap buckle mechanism 52 connects the toe cap 51 to one side of the binding frame 1. In the illustrated example, the toe cap buckle mechanism 52 is attached to the first end portion 51a of the toe cap 51, and is releasably attachable to the first side surface 11 of the binding frame 1. The toe cap buckle mechanism 52 can have two primary conditions - a connected condition and a disconnected condition. When the toe cap buckle mechanism 52 is in the connected condition, the toe cap 51 and the binding frame 1 are connected by the toe cap buckle mechanism 52 (see Fig. 2, 5, and 6). On the other hand, when the toe cap buckle mechanism 52 is in the disconnected condition, the toe cap 51 and the binding frame 1 are not connected by the toe cap buckle mechanism 52 (see Fig. 14).

[0044] The toe cap buckle mechanism 52 includes a second buckle 521 (also referred to as a second buckle means), a second engagement member 524 (also referred to as a second engagement means), and a second binding hook 526 (also referred to as a second binding hook means).

[0045] The second buckle 521 is attached to the toe cap 51. Specifically, the second buckle 521 is attached to the first end portion 51a of the toe cap 51. The second buckle 521 can be made of metal, plastic or other suitable material. The second buckle 521 includes a support base 521a, a lever 521c, and a traction element 52 le.

[0046] As shown in Figs. 4, and 6, the support base 521a is attached to the first end portion 51a of the toe cap 51. The lever 521c is pivotally attached to the support base 521a through a pin 521g. The traction element 521e is pivotally attached to the lever 521c through a pin 521h. In the illustrated example, the traction element 52 le includes a rod 521m and a housing 52 In. The rod 521m of the traction element 521e can be rotated into and out of the housing 521n to adjust the length of the traction element 42 le. Thus, the connection tightness of the toe cap assembly 50 can be adjusted by adjusting the length of the traction element 42 le. In some embodiments, the rod 521m of the traction element 521e may not be adjustable. As indicated above, the buckle mechanism 52 is generally similar in construction and operation to buckle mechanisms used on conventional ski boots except for the binding hook 526.

[0047] The second engagement member 524 is connected to the second buckle 521. Specifically, the second engagement member 524 is pivotally connected to the traction element 52 le of the second buckle 521 through a pin 528. The second engagement member 524 can be made of metal, plastic or other suitable material. The second engagement member 524 has an opening 524a. Though Fig. 6 shows an example in which the opening 524a is rectangular, the shape of opening 524a is not limited to rectangular. The second engagement member 524 includes an engagement portion 524c, for example a pin or bar, that is engageable with the second binding hook 526. The engagement portion 524c defines a part of the opening 524a.

[0048] The second binding hook 526 is attached on the binding frame 1. In this embodiment, the second binding hook 526 is non-rotatably attached to the binding frame 1 by an attaching member 7C at a location to be engageable with the second engagement member 524. The second binding hook 526 can be made of metal, plastic or other suitable material.

[0049] As shown in Fig. 6, the second binding hook 526 includes a second base part 526a and a second receiving part 526c. The second base part 526a is attached to the binding frame 1 by the attaching member 7C. The second base part 526a directly contacts the first side surface 1 1 of the binding frame 1. The second receiving part 526c is integrally formed on the second base part 526a. The second receiving part 526c receives a part of the second engagement member 524 (specifically, the engagement portion 524c) when the second binding hook 526 is engaged with the second engagement member 524. The second receiving part 526c directly contacts the engagement portion 524c of the second engagement member 524 when the second binding hook 526 is engaged with the second engagement member 524. The second receiving part 526c is disposed in the opening 524a of the second engagement member 524, when the second binding hook 526 is engaged with the second engagement member 524. As shown in Fig. 6, the second receiving part 526c overlaps the binding frame 1 in a side view. The second receiving part 526c includes a portion located below or flush with the upper edge 15. In this illustrated example, the entirety of the second receiving part 526c is located below or flush with the upper edge 15. However, in other embodiments, a portion of the second receiving part 526c may be located above the upper edge 15. In some embodiments, the second binding hook 526 may include a plurality of second receiving parts to adjust the ankle cap 41 relative to the binding frame 1. [0050] In some embodiments, like with the first binding hook 426 and the first engagement member 424, there can be a plurality, for example two, of the second binding hooks 526, and also a plurality, for example two, of the engagement portions 524c. The plurality of the second binding hooks 526 and the plurality of the second engagement portions 524c can be arranged and function like described above for the first binding hooks 426 and the first engagement members 424.

[0051] As shown in Fig. 5, the toe cap strap 53 is attached to the binding frame 1, and to the toe cap 51. Specifically, the toe cap strap 53 is attached to the second side surface 12 of the binding frame 1 by one of the attaching members 7C. The attaching member 7C can be, for example, a quick adjust screw. In addition, the toe cap strap 53 can be attached to the second end portion 51b of the toe cap 51 by two attaching members 7C. The two attaching members can be, for example, quick adjust screws. The toe cap strap 53 can also include a plurality of adjustment holes 532 formed therein that are engageable with the attaching members to adjust the toe cap 51 relative to the binding frame 1. The toe cap strap 53 can be formed of any materials that are suitable for performing the functions of the toe cap strap 53, for example plastic. The toe cap strap 53 may include two thin metal cables coated in rubber/plastic so as not to wear into the boot.

[0052] As shown in Fig. 1, the snowboard body B2 includes an upper surface 81 and a lower surface 82. The upper surface 81 and the lower surface 82 can be generally flat. However, opposite ends 83, 84 of the snowboard can be curved upwardly in conventional manner. In the snowboard Al, the snowboard bindings Bl are attached to the upper surface 81. Specifically, each binding frame 1 of the snowboard bindings Bl is attached to the upper surface 81 via the base plate 3. For this purpose, in the illustrated example, each base plate 3 of the snowboard bindings Bl is attached to the upper surface 81 by a plurality of attaching members (not shown) in a conventional manner. [0053] The operation of the snowboard Al and the snowboard bindings Bl should be readily apparent to a person of skill in the art from the foregoing description and the drawings. However, an example use of the snowboard bindings Bl is briefly explained below.

[0054] With the buckle mechanisms 42, 52 initially disconnected from the hooks 426, 526, the user moves the assemblies 40, 50 out of the way and steps into the binding frames 1. When the user's boots are properly positioned in the binding frames 1, the user pulls the assemblies 40, 50 over the boots and pivots the levers 421c, 521c upward to the position shown in Fig. 13. At the same time, the engagement portions 424c, 524c are positioned near the binding hooks 426, 526.

[0055] Referring to Figure 14, the engagement portions 424c, 524c are then maneuvered behind the receiving parts 426c, 526c. The levers 421c, 521c are then rotated toward the closed position. As the levers 421c, 521c are rotated, they pull the traction elements 42 le, 52 le which in turn pull the engagement members 424, 524 so that the engagement portions 424c, 524c gradually become locked behind the receiving parts 426c, 526c of the binding hooks 426, 526. The levers 421c, 521c continue to be rotated until they are fully closed (shown in Figures 2-4 and 6) and the engagement members 424, 524 are locked to the binding hooks 426, 526. Removal works in an opposite manner, with the levers 421c, 52c manually rotated to the open position shown in Figure 13 which frees the engagement portions 424c, 524c from the receiving parts 426c, 526c.

[0056] The described bindings permit connection of the engagement members to the binding hooks using one hand instead of requiring both hands. In addition, the described bindings have only two straps on each binding instead of four straps. Further, the user can pre-adjust the straps 43, 53 and the traction elements 42 le, 521e to obtain the desired tightness. Thereafter, each time that the user fastens the bindings, the same level of tightness can be achieved without requiring the user to adjust each time the user connects to the bindings. Further, because the engagement members are received by the receiving part of the binding hooks, ice and snow are prevented from building up in the binding hooks. Further, the binding hooks are non-rotatably attached to the binding frame. As a result, the snowboard Al can respond instantly to the rider's movement (for example when ollieing and spinning or applying nose or tail pressure) and extra delay of the movement of the snowboard Al that can be caused by pivotally mounted straps can be prevented.

[0057] Fig. 15 is a front perspective view showing a snowboard binding according to another embodiment.

[0058] The snowboard binding shown in Fig. 15 is different from the snowboard binding shown in Fig. 4 in that a puck or circular disk 34 is mounted on the base plate 3. Other structures in the snowboard binding in Fig. 15 are the same as the foregoing embodiment in Figures 1-14. The puck 34 shown in Fig. 15 is a circular plate and can be used for adjusting an angle of the binding frame 1 on the snowboard body. For example, once the user loosens screws (not shown) that fix the puck 34 to the snowboard body, the user can rotate the binding frame 1 relative to the puck 34. Once the desired angle of the binding frame 1 is achieved, the user then tightens the screws of the puck 34 which clamps the base plate 3 and fixes the position of the binding frame 1. The construction and operation of a binding frame with a puck-like disc permitting adjustment of the binding frame is known in the art.

[0059] The examples disclosed in this application are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not limitative. The scope of the invention is indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description; and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are intended to be embraced therein.