We’ve got another great article here from our buddy Josh, who wrote our popular Snowboard Buyer’s Guide earlier this year. Josh returns with a closer look at bindings, and what to look for.
I love snowboarding. In fact, I love everything about it. Okay, I don’t like long lift lines or paying $10 for a burger at the chalet, but I do dig everything else. This includes the culture of snowboarding and technical aspects of the hardware. In terms of hardware, I wanted to know what makes one board better than another and how we can know which board is right for us when we want to get one. So I did some homework.
I have spent a lot of time over the past six months or so looking at different snowboard equipment manufacturers. Now I’d like to share what I found with you and maybe get some feedback. First off, I won’t say too much about Burton. They are the giant of the industry and they do make a lot of quality products. I rode Burton Cartels a few times and while they are great bindings, they are just a little too soft and flexible for my liking. I sometimes feel like Burton is overrated, but if I didn’t know what manufacturer to go with, I supopose Burton would be a safe choice. But what about the less obvious choices? What else is out there?
Sometimes boarders tend to think that the board is the most important piece of equipment, then the bindings, and finally the boots. I would argue that the reverse order is true. You MUST have warm and comfortable boots to have a good day on the mountain. I’ll talk more about boots in a future article.
Today, we will look at bindings. Make sure you buy bindings that match your riding style. If you are a freestyle park dweller, you’ll need soft flexible bindings with a low back that are built for the park. Otherwise, stick with some solid all-mountain bindings.
Keep your eyes peeled for Union bindings. They are known for their quality and simplicity. I personally also like their subtle marketing approach – many snowboard manufacturers use the “in your face to the f’n extreme!” style of marketing which I don’t really care for.
Rome and Ride make great bindings, but stick to the high end of the spectrum – you don’t want to skimp on bindings because they are too important. Luckily, you can save a lot of money by buying last year’s model. Ride has a new Contraband strap system that looks strange, but intersting. Check out their site and take a close look at the ATV collection. The Rome lineup is small, but solid. They have a lot of dampening pads and are pretty light.
I started out with Flow bindings. These bindings are indeed easy to get into, but I just did not think they gave me the control I wanted. They were also very heavy. I know that since then Flow has made much lighter models. I just don’t see how their system can provide the same control and perfect fit that strap bindings do. I would love to try one of their new top end models.
I personally love Salomon bindings. They have a great feature that makes it so that you never have to feed the strap over your toe into the ratchet (it never completely comes out) thus saving a lot of time. I bought a set of Salomon Relay XLT’s in the off season and I can’t wait to try them out. I still have my old SP4 Salomon’s. They are beyond comfortable, but one of the ankle straps comes loose, even after I replaced the ratchet. Despite that I want to stick with Salomon. Salomon bindings are a bit heavy and bulky, but that are also very sturdy, easy to use, and comfortable.
Now, I know that there are plenty of other great options for bindings, including Burton, but I wanted to talk about this group of manufacturers that I trust. If you have an amazing set of bindings, then let us know about them. It is important to have bindings that give you both quality and comfort, so let’s share what we know. After all, having a binding break when you’re out shredding BLOWS!