The idea of using a highbackless binding isn’t anything new it’s just more people are feeling that it gives that skate-like or surfy feel when sliding around the mountain. Since Kevin our resident binding tester is a strapping young lad or lady depending on who you ask he was willing to sacrifice his body for the cause and went out to test these new bindings that don’t have a highback.
Binding: Switchback (noback)
Board Used: Signal OG Flat 151
Stance: 22 wide 12 neg 12 goofy
Boots Used: Flow Hylite 9
Location: Winter Park
Conditions: End of the day starting to freeze slushiness
Adjustability: These things have it. Literally the only time you need a screwdriver is getting them on the board. Everything else is completely tool less. Even the removal and installation of the highback/cup-pad is tool less. You just drop it all the way forward and pull it out.
Toe Strap: They look a bit cheap. No way around it. They do however grip very well and were super comfortable, never slipped and stayed locked. I actually liked them a lot. The ankle straps have that same “chintzy” look as the toe strap, but again they ended up being really well designed. Comfy and all the support you would need to match with the way the rest of the binding felt. And again, really comfortable.
Highback: …uhhh, I guess I’ll give a small spiel on nobackness here as this seems the most appropriate place for it. Well if you want highbacks they do come with but in their place you also get a foam spacer so you don’t have to re-adjust the binding between highback and noback. I’ve ridden nobacks before and the foam spacer is a nice thing to have. It deadens the heelcup bite a bit, but if you already have broken spines in your boots the noback thing may or may not even be comfortable. Overall nobacks are fun for a jibby ride a super skatey feel.
Binding Flex: I rode these sans rubber gasket adding to the jibby feel of nobacknessage. Doing so lessens your footprint and lets the board flex more. It’s a one piece poly frame and works well for what they designed it for, a mid flex park binding. With the smaller footprint of the missing gasket they felt softer side to side and made for some major tweakage. Super skatey. You get thin EVA on top of the full poly frame, enough dampening for the generally jibby park rat but sending anything deep you’ll feel it. It is a full length pad though so you do get some distribution with the vibration and no doubt having the rubber gasket installed will do even more for chatter.
Ratchets: A bit of a problem with them being samples and all. The teeth were a bit rounded and had a bit of a hard time gripping. It’s a first year product so something like this I suspect will be fixed. They released well and really just had a good feel overall.
Rider in Mind: Rider that uses the same binding noback and with highbacks. Also the little kids that want to play part swaps with their friends since all the parts come in an array of colors and are all interchangeable.
Personal Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised by these. So far the consensus is they either look super clean or kinda playschool-cheap, either way they ended up just solid. Solid is really the best word to describe them. For a first year product they are pretty well thought out and anything I might have added or changed is getting tweaked. So overall I think they’ve done a good job here.
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