It’s been a long time since we were able to review any Gnu products but Kevin stepped up tot he plate to try out their back door binding. Seems everyone is looking for an ease of entry binding that lets you give it to the rear. Here’s how he felt about it.
Binding: Gnu Mutant
Board Used: Signal OG Flat 151
Stance: 22 wide 12 neg 12 goofy
Boots Used: Flow Hylite 9
Location: Winter Park
Conditions: Middle of the day softer groomers, park was still hard though.
Binding Adjustability: You don’t really get a whole lot here. The ankle strap has one spot to sit in, strap length is tool less.
Straps: I had trouble keeping these on in place when strapping in. Back door is supposed to speed things up and keep things in place so the binding feels the same every time you step in. Keeping the feel the same worked the way it was supposed to but I had to manually get the toe strap up on my boot right every time I stepped in. After in and set the toe strap was super conformable and actually gave some pretty good response. It’s a great shape as far as channeling any toe pull into the frame to speed up edge to edge. I had trouble with the ankle straps too. As far as I could tell you can’t adjust where the strap anchors to the frame and for me it just sat too low and caused pressure on the top of my foot giving me strap ache. They’re a stiffer strap and reminded me a lot of the ones on the last year Ride made Delta Mvmnts, including the “Mvmnt” tag, so like 09/10 I think. The cutout did help a bit and without that they probably would have been just downright uncomfortable for me. Response was average and again really just reminded me of a 3 year old Ride strap.
Highback: This is where I had the most problems. These are super asymmetric, too asym in my opinion. If you put these on a center reverse like a Pickle (as they are likely expecting you to) and only drive the board between your feet and your legs never stray from the even weighted stance then the highbacks work OK. But the second you straighten out a bit like you do when driving through a heelside on camber, flat, 3 stage, RC, or camrock you end up with very little of the top of the highback behind your calf. I thought it was just super soft at first until I realized that it just wasn’t behind my leg. The main deal with Gnu is the drop down back/two strap idea. The way the cable system for their competitors (Flow) works you get energy transfer through the cable straight down into the frame. The cable on the Gnu’s is directed down the highback further and then into the frame. They really just kinda missed a key advantage to using a cable here. It could be that Flow has the “Power Triangle” shape patented but if they don’t Gnu should get on that.
Binding Flex: Again, really reminded me of 09/10 Delta’s. Not really a “problem” I guess if you really liked Delta’s. Just a typical unibody metal framed binding, nothing bad, but nothing to really freak about. It’s a good flex and it makes sense that they’re well liked. Metal frames inherently push more vibrations up to your boots than plastic and these were no different. The dampening towers did their job though and brought the dampening and shock absorption to average within the industry.
Ratchets: They do enough so you can get everything dialed, but they could be better. In the end this is a back door binding though so not really that big of a deal.
Rider in Mind: High end freestyler that wants two strap feel and the speed entry/exit of back door entry.
Personal Thoughts: I just wasn’t too glad to be in these. The highback was too canted and I just missed it back there. The speed of the back door was lost in having to position my toe strap every step in and having to clip down the ankle strap. I don’t get these, they didn’t offer me any better speed of entry and then they had less strap adjustability than a normal two strap binding. All that with the fact they felt to me like a bit squishier versions of 3 year old Rides… not a fan here. If you really want a traditional two strap binding and back door entry I do endorse these over the only other 2 strap drop down option on the market.
Support your local snowboard shop buy locally. Find a shop here.