Andi Spies
Andi Spies

New Brake and Steer System for More Safety When Tobogganing

ISPO Award Winner: Bachmann Toboggan Brake-Steer System

Tobogganing is a family sport and thus safety should be a top priority during this winter pastime. The toboggan manufacturer Bachmann has developed a steering and braking system for toboggans that ensures that even inexperienced sledders always reach the valley safely from their first descent.

Bachmann Gold Edition sport sled with braking system.

Since 1983, the South Tyrolean company Bachmann has been producing innovative and high-quality toboggans for recreational and sport toboggans. Company founder Otto Bachmann, a luger and two-time European champion in natural track sledding, had high standards for the quality of his products from the very beginning. The company has remained true to this premium claim to this day. In the production of the traditional wooden toboggans, only high-quality and durable materials are used, such as the layer-glued warp-free wooden runners. These ensure optimal function and a sustainable long use of the sports equipment.

Bachmann offers different sleds for recreational and competitive sledders as well as special models for rental. In contrast to a classic wooden sled, the runners of Bachmann sleds are angled. This increases lateral support and improved control in the curve. While a rigid sled slides through the curve, the angled runners of the toboggan cut into the snow.

Especially when tobogganing on prepared and cleared slopes, a toboggan with brake system can be controlled safely.

Braking System for Even Greater Safety

"Before embarking on this project, we asked ourselves the question: what actually makes tobogganing dangerous?" explains product developer Dr.-Ing. Michael Graf. "Anyone can get on a toboggan and go, even if it's their first time. But dosing the speed correctly has potential for danger," he adds.

The way the brake-assist system works is ingeniously simple. The control rope, which you always hold in your hand when tobogganing, is connected to the skid-mounted brake claws via a wire cable. By pulling the rope, the brake claws dig into the snow. They are made of stainless steel and their coarse serrations provide good braking performance even on icy surfaces. Because both brake claws can be operated independently of each other, pulling on only one side of the control cable allows the steering movement of the toboggan to be supported. It was important in the development process of the brake claws that you can’t hurt yourself on them without impairing their braking effect.

This is how the patented brake and steering assistance system works:

Martin Psenner, a former natural track luger and now a tobogganing guide in South Tyrol, has had nothing but good experiences with the braking system: "This new braking and steering assistance system increases safety on the toboggan run enormously. Its use is intuitive and does not require a long explanation. In a dangerous situation, the tobogganist simply has to pull the steering rope, which he always holds in his hand anyway, and the brake claws grip the snow and ice. He does not have to reach around and can react promptly to the dangerous situation. If you only pull on one side of the rope, then the system also helps with steering. The tobogganing technique when braking and steering does not change compared to a conventional toboggan. With this system, you're no longer surprised by icy tracks where even sturdy footwear can't help."

View from behind. You can clearly see how the brake claw works.
The ISPO Award jury was also impressed by the simple and functional braking system:
"Tobogganing is great fun for young and old. To keep it that way even on icy slopes, Bachmann-Rodel has developed a simple but ingenious steering brake. And incidentally opens up the sport to people with less experience in tobogganing."
Jens Häußler, ISPO Award 2022 Jury Member Collaborators Club
View from the side: Brake in raised position. The cable for actuation runs on the inside of the skid.

Key Data of the Brake-Steer System:

Made of high-quality, stainless steel
Easy to grip control rope
Optimal support during braking and steering especially on icy tracks
Patented system
Surcharge for toboggan with BSS: approx. 100,- € (depending on model)


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Andi Spies
Andi Spies
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