HL Split are a better binding the the O'Brien ION, what? I don't think so. The Ion was O'Briens top of the line binding last year and the Split is a Low End, entry level binding for beginners and to be shared by many. The reason he can get the Ions for such a good deal know is that they have know released there new High End bindings so the Ions drop in price not in quality. I have had my Ions for 3 years and I have had no problems with them at all.