Binding Model: Flow Fuse Hybrid
Binding Size: Large
Stance and Angles: Goofy, 21in wide, 18/0
Board Used: Rome Ravine 158
Boot Used: DC Tucknee
Conditions: Spring has sprung. It is still cold enough overnight to firm up the groomers and the snow is staying pretty good, but it only takes about 20 minutes of full sun before the groomers start feeling like full spring conditions. Not full slush pits, but soft with just a hint of sloppy.
Binding Adjustability: This is a key point with any Flow as a poor setup leads to poor function. You can move the heelcup/highback forward and back to center your boot by loosening the bolts by the aluminium wings and sliding them forward or back. The straps are on flip cams and the forward lean is the spin dial in the highback lever. I have found that the best out of box adjustment is to loosen the straps, adjust the forward lean to be flush with your boot, adjust the ankle strap, adjust the toe strap, and snug down the middle strap, in that order. There will always be some tweaking while out riding, but that should get you pretty close.
Straps: The Hybrid straps definitely provide the closest feel to a traditional binding. With Flows you always want to remember that you don’t have to crank the straps for them to do their job. They are generally stiffer than most and there is always more strap there than traditional bindings. These were comfortable for me and caused no weird pinching or pressure. The toe strap is super minimal, which is always good for me, and the ankle strap has enough padding to conform around your boot but not so much to feel unresponsive. They are stiff and driving forward in them you’ll find ample support. Laterally they are just a bit softer.
Ratchets: Ratchets on Flow’s are intended to be secondary and mostly used for adjustments. They can be used as ratchets, but the nature of the locking design means they take a little more effort to pop loose. The locking feature will wear out with overuse as well. So if you get into them with the ratchets often, don’t expect the lock to stay as firm as day one.
Highbacks: The new one piece nylon highbacks tend to have a better fit and feel than the old design with the 3pc build. The highback is one of the key attributes with Flow being that they recline for entry. Having the cable run to the top of the highback means that all the energy you put into it is able to skip the heelcup of a traditional binding and go directly into the frame. It makes for a very responsive and active feel with a highback that can have a little bit more flex. These are still on the stiffer side of average but do offer just a bit more lateral give.
Binding Flex: The frame is the softer option in Flow’s high end line. It is still above a mid flex all mountain stiffness but with enough give laterally not to feel too locked in or immobile. The type of flex that won’t shy away from any situation or terrain but is able to remain fun when the terrain isn’t as demanding.
Ride: The footbeds are built of a more rubbery EVA that has a quick rebound and high resistance to compression. This means that the 2.5 degree canting might feel like more than that to some. Most other bindings are using a more traditional EVA that is easier to compress. The upside to this material is the absorption. It softens everything up like regular EVA but does a better job with high impact events and overall provides a more lively feel underfoot.
Rider in Mind: All mountain ride everything everywhere rider that is still interested in having a toe cap.
Personal Thoughts: This was my binding of choice from Flow for a couple of years. I have a history of being in low top to bottom volume boots in the toe and have found that the toe cap and medial strap fit me better with those boots. I know I can trust this binding to perform with anything and when I waltz over to the Nidecker tent to grab a board, this is often the binding I grab. I know it’s going to do what I need and handle any board I put it on.