Binding Model: Burton Step On
Binding Size: M
Stance and Angles: 21.5 Wide 18 Negative 15 Goofy
Boot Used: Burton Photon With K2 Thraxis Liner
Boot Size: 10
Rider Weight: 190
Location: Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain
Conditions: At A Basin it was puking snow, low visibility, loose snow on top of firm frozen groomers, and really cold conditions. At Copper it was sunny and bluebird with warmer than average temps resulting in springlike conditions. The snow was soft and fast on groomers and in the trees or off trail where there was powder it was that sugary type of snow.
Binding Adjustability: Other than the toe ramp there really is none.
Straps: None, it’s a Step On.
Ratchets: The only thing remotely close to a ratchet is the heel cleat which has two areas to lock in.
Highbacks: The Highback is there and it is where the heel cleat locks into, but you don’t notice it for the most part as the boot is built up enough in the backstay to not need it. What you will notice is when you’re in the air or buttering around is that the highback and heel cleat impede movement a bit in terms of tweakability. One thing I noticed was during the first day of testing I had a bad heel cleat (they have a recall and all Burton dealers have the part) which caused me to unclick from the second lock and gave me a bit of heel play. I didn’t full disengage from the binding, but it was sketchy doing a hard toeside carve and noticing that I wasn’t fully engaged and locked into the binding.
Binding Flex: These bindings are very responsive and move a lot due in part to the Re-Flex disk. What I found odd about this binding was that when the toe cleats lock in there’s still a clicking noise and a bit of play from them. I was warned beforehand by people that had used these that this would happen as well as having my suspicions confirmed in the BoardArchive and SnowboardProCamp review video that this is actually normal. It’s a bit unsettling to think that you’re supposed to be locked in when it’s still moving around a little. One thing I will say is that if you’re an aggressive rider, the Re-Flex disk is not for you, you will over power it. This happened to me numerous times and I noticed that the binding had lateral play when mounted on the board. You can see this in the video.
Ride: The best way to describe the ride is responsive but sloppy. This is a binding that lets you get up on edge with ease, but there’s a lot of movement that seems to cause a loss in power transmission. I noticed when driving a hard toeside carve that the boot to binding interface was lacking. It made Euro-carves and even hard carves seem spongey. The other thing to note is there is next to no dampening in the base of these bindings, you feel everything. Which is saying something because I used my boots liners and insoles which have more dampening in them instead of the stock Burton ones. It left the arch of my foot fatigued and tired in uneven terrain. The other big thing is how the actual Step On interface limits you with tweaking grabs, butters, or even maneuvering yourself. Now as these are Step Ons everyone is going to ask about how the ease of getting in and out of them was. Well it takes a little bit to get used to stepping into them and you have to sometimes drive the heel in harder than you think to make sure the locking mechanism is engaged fully. This happened to me a few times, but it’s not as big a deal as some people might think, if you notice it’s not fully engaged push down on the heel and drive it into the binding. Disengaging takes more effort than you think. For those that say you have issues bending over to unstrap, well you’ll still have the same issue but it won’t take you as long to pull the lever as it would to undo two straps. But be prepared to have to bend the knee and ankle a bit more to pull it out of the binding.
Rider in Mind: I would recommend this for anyone that has leg or back issues and can’t bend over to unstrap. It’s really designed for the casual rider someone that isn’t going to push it. This is for old dads, not rad dads, and beginners. Anyone that wants real response and the ability to drive hard with a boot into a binding won’t want this.
Personal Thoughts: I’ve known from its inception that this would never be a product for me. What I wanted to know was how does this compare to the old Burton Step In as well as the Burton Fusion. Two iterations of step on technology that seem to have been melded together to create this. Is it better than those that came before it? Yes, drastically so. Is it the end all be all? Fuck no! Here’s the thing with this; if you’re mildly aggressive you’ll over power this binding. I did numerous times and it resulted in no less than me having to retighten my bolts 4 times. I was able to get the heel cleat to disengage one click on the first day I rode it, which really has a way of causing you to lose your confidence in the product. There’s limits with this product and you’ll notice it right away if you know how to ride and drive a snowboard. It has a spongey response when pushing hard into the boot. You can’t tweak the board as much as you can with a traditional strap binding. There’s next to no dampening in this so you have to rely on the boots, which if you’ve ever ridden Burton boots you know they aren’t the most damp. I would say if you’re getting these get it use it on a EST board you’ll benefit from the response more than from a traditional 4 hole patterned board.
Now for all the haters out there that call this a creation from Kookville VT. It’s probably not for you and never will be. I know it won’t be and frankly I believe hell will be riding these while on an endless T-Bar. But I can see where it will fit for the next few years for rentals, beginners, and those that are too out of shape to learn how to bend over and strap in standing up. Is it better than what came before it? Yes, drastically. I can’t stress that enough. Would I say try it before you knock it? Hell no, stick with your straps you know what works and that’s fine, they exist for a while. But as of right now it has its place and as snowboardings retention is shrinking this might get people in who swap over to what isn’t kooky or a gimmick to you.
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