Binding Model: Flow NX2 GT Hybrid
Binding Size: Large
Stance and Angles: 15/-3
Board Used: Niche Aether 156
Boot Used: DC Tucknee
Boot Size: 8
Rider Weight: 155lbs
Conditions: Bridging between full winter and full spring. Early in the day so the softer snow had frozen overnight. Some pockets here and there over on 9 that still had some decent snow in them.
Binding Adjustability: There is a lot here and with Flow it is important to pay attention too. You have adjustments for the highback forward lean, the straps are on flip-cams, and you have two positions for the highback to mount to the frame with for a forward and back adjustment. Getting Flow bindings adjusted correctly is critical to good functionality, so I always suggest starting from the top and moving down. Loosen up all the straps and using the dial on the highback lever get the highback to sit flush with your boot. Then, leaving the middle and toe strap loose center and tighten the ankle strap. Skip the middle strap and center and tighten the toe strap. Finally, get the middle strap adjusted which it really just needs to sit flush against your boot so there aren’t any gaps. You will still likely need to make some adjustments as you start riding the bindings, but I have found that running through this process always gave me the best chance of a good adjustment from the start.
Straps: The hybrid straps from Flow are going to feel the most familiar to those that are coming from a traditional style binding. You will still have the feeling of a toe cap and an ankle strap. The differing feel is going to come from the middle strap that helps distribute pressure and the nature of Flow straps not needing to be tightened down as much as a traditional binding. Which is key to remember, if the straps are too tight it is going to be harder to get in. They are stiff by nature needing to hold their shape for entry, and provide a lot of support toeside, heelside, and laterally. When adjusted correctly, they provide a very locked down and supportive feel.
Ratchets: Well, they aren’t really meant to be used like traditional ratchets. The release levers are also the lock levers the help keep your adjustments in place. With the hybrid strap Flows are truly the only dual entry binding out there, and while the ratchets work fine they aren’t the smoothest. They climb fine, but the release is kinda catchy. You’re really mostly meant to use the ratchets as adjusters and the highback for entry, but I have never had any catastrophic or really any problems at all with the locking ratchets.
Highbacks: The GT highback is in 3 pieces; the lower aluminum heel-loop, middle nylon section, and upper carbon panel. Realistically the carbon panel doesn’t do much. With the nature of Flow’s power triangle and the fact that the cable runs to near the top of the highback you don’t really put much effort through much of the top portion. There is a bit of lateral flex that it has an effect on as you move around and push through the corners, but a stiff nylon would do the job just as well. The heel-loop has a bit of lateral give to it, but is more supportive and stiff.
Binding Flex: With the aluminum frame, stiffer 3 part straps, aluminum heel-loop, and carbon, the binding is stiff. In every direction it is stiff. It’s a freeride flex with a strong and locked-down feel that doesn’t give much in any direction.
Ride: One of the best things about these is despite the stiffer feel and heavy use of aluminum, they aren’t super harsh feeling. They use a full coverage urethane pad under the frame with towers that extend into the heel and toe beds. It provides enough of a smoothing action to minimize the harshness that can often come from aluminum frames. The other major piece to the feel is consistent with every Flow, the cable. Having the cable run through the top of the highback means that all the effort going into the highback is able to skip the heel cup area of a traditional binding before it gets to the board to move it on edge. It creates a very responsive feel and makes Flows some of the quickest responding bindings edge to edge. That build with the stiffness of the GT’s makes these specifically some of the most responsive bindings on the market.
Rider in Mind: High end rider looking for a stiff, premium, and super responsive binding.
Personal Thoughts: If you want all out performance and power this is the binding for you. They take time to set up, and if you don’t take that time you’re likely not to have a good experience. If you do, these are going to respond quicker edge to edge than probably anything else you ever ridden. The GT’s are the burliest in Flows line and offer a locked down powerful response.