Binding Model: K2 Lien AT
Binding Size: Medium
Stance and Angles: 21 wide, Goofy, 21/+3, 18/0, 15/-3, 12/-6
Board Used: K2 Overboard, Rome Ravine, Rome Agent Alek, Niche Aether, and a bunch of other test boards in for review.
Boot Used: DC Tucknee, DC Lynx
Boot Size: 8
Rider Weight: 155lbs
Location: Breck, Keystone, A-Basin, Copper, Beaver Creek
Conditions: Everything Colorado has to offer. Pow, slush, hard groomers, early season nonsense, trees, frigidness, hoodie weather…
Binding Adjustability: The straps are on flip cams, pop, adjust, and lock back down. The toe strap has independent top and bottom strands to dial in the fit over your toe. The forward lean is down with the same bolt as the highback rotation. Loosen them up and slide it back so it engages the heelcup sooner for more forward lean. It’s affected by the rotation so it can I did have to play with it some to get the forward lean and rotation that I was after. The final piece of adjustment is under the frame. The AT comes stock with the heel block in place of the heel pod for the tripod frame. It offers a little stiffer ride laterally, but you do get all the pods in 3 different durometers to remove the block and run all pods. I ended up keeping the blocks in and running the softer yellow pods under the toes. It’s just what felt good to me.
Straps: Nothing but plastic. Which is good. I have a full season of use in to these and they do not show it. The toe straps are simple but adjustable and will match up to any boot shape I’ve used. The ankle straps don’t have much of any give forward but they are relatively skinny and never caused me any unwanted pressure point or pinching. They lock down really well and since there is no foam or fabric to stretch you don’t have to go searching for that last extra click to get a really tight fit.
Ratchets: The new design has been great. They moved the climb lever onto a sort of pivot arm for the ankle ratchet that limits the climbing teeth from twisting off the ladder. It does a better job of keeping positive engagement on the ladder and should help minimize people stripping ladders. They release really smooth too.
Highbacks: Simple and effective no frills nylon highback. It is stiff and supportive enough to offer power when you need it but just enough lateral give not to get in the way of the way the tripod frame is designed to flex and move.
Binding Flex: The response and flex act differently than your average binding because of the tripod frame. Laterally you have more movement with the bushings but the frame remains a little stiffer. It’s around a middle of the road stiffness with a little extra movement thrown in under foot.
Ride: The tripod tech and mini disc are really the defining characteristics of the ride feel. They offer a more fluid feel and also do a pretty good job of smoothing out the ride. There is also 3 degrees of canting if you ride a wider stance. If you don’t the nature of the tripod frame and the softer EVA means that the canting doesn’t feel too intrusive.
Rider in Mind: All mountain ride everywhere that wants a little bit of extra movement on top of the board without losing much toe to heel drive.
Personal Thoughts: The Lien isn’t the only binding out there to offer more movement on the board with under base tech, and it also wasn’t the first. I do think it is the best. It offers all the lateral play that I like for moving my weight around, but I don’t feel like I lose much of any power driving the board between edges. The heel block is a welcome addition instead of the foam pads as they do a better job of stiffening up the binding than the old foam gaskets.