The Arbor Hemlock binding got a few small tweaks to it for 2019 and Kevin is here to talk about them for you in this review. Do you agree with him? Do you not? Are you going to buy this binding? Let us know and remember if you’re shopping online to buy from one of our affiliates.
Binding Model: Arbor Hemlock
Binding Size: Medium
Stance and Angles: Goofy, 21in wide, 15/-3
Board Used: Coda Rocker 156, Coda Camber 156, Clovis 159
Boot Used: Burton Almighty
Boot Size: 8
Rider Weight: 155lbs
Location: Powder Mountain, Utah
Conditions: Decent, with some wind blown sections creating some thin coverage in areas and some windblown pow stashes in others, some rocks were hit, some bushes were wacked. Firm and often rutted and choppy where it hadn’t collected and downright gnar cookies in other areas.
Binding Adjustability: The straps are on tool less bolts that are simple to remove and put back in place. The heelcups aren’t the quickest to get adjusted, but it’s not hard either. One bolt on each side to pull out, shift everything into the position you need, and bolt back in. The fit was good enough to satisfy on my 8’s in the medium and the width fit well enough with the bulkier Amightys.
Straps: The adjusters and ladders for the straps are a more pliable plastic than normal and have a lot more built in precurved shape to them. The toe strap is a great shape and build and grips the toe great. The ankle straps are flat out amazing. The new fully injected double asym shape adds more heft to the upper lateral side and lower medial side. I have always been a fan of double asym straps and these are possible the best in the industry, if not ever. The are insanely comfortable, always have the right amount of support when you need it, and the right amount of flexibility when you want it.
Ratchets: Gripped the ladders fine and released easy. Nothing to speak of.
Highbacks: There is a little bit of a play torsionally in the highback and just a hair of flex straight back with what felt like a little bit of a softer feel overall than year one. It’s a straight highback with true zero stock forward lean with just enough cup to keep everything behind you. It’s a good responsive freestyle flex. While softer, I never felt like they weren’t enough on the mid flex Coda or freestyle/freeride flex Clovis.
Binding Flex: It’s a sturdy freestyle flex. Right about a mid flex designed with some room to move.
Ride: The X-Frame and mini disc work together to get the energy you put into the frame out to the corners. The whole underside is a rubber pad and you have a full EVA footbed to keep things move. There is a 1.5 degree cant, just enough to make a difference but not so much that those of us running less than 23” stances aren’t uncomfortable. The under-base gasket does a really good job damping vibrations and chatter and makes these they type of binding you can ride in all day. Definitely something to save some knee soreness after a long day of hard landing in the park or around the mountain.
Rider in Mind: All mountain freestyle
Personal Thoughts: These were a pretty damn good binding for the price in year one, then they went and added quite possibly my favorite ankle strap ever put on a binding. At $200 this is on the top of my list for a budget binding, mostly because you don’t have to be on a budget for these to be a good binding for you. I’ve recently taken to riding higher end stuff, frequently in bindings around or over the $300 mark and I would not hesitate to ride these on a daily driver of mine. If you’re in the market for a new park binding, all mountain freestyle, or something for a surfier pow deck these should be on the top of your list.