Binding Model: Union Force
Binding Size: Medium
Stance and Angles: 21.5 Wide 15 Negative 12 Goofy
Boot Used: K2 Thraxis
Boot Size: 10
Board Used: Endeavor Archetype
Rider Weight: 200lbs
Location: Copper Mountain
Conditions: Sunny bluebird skies, zero wind, fresh snow on top of perfect corduroy, and some heavier snow in the trees.
Binding Adjustability: First and foremost you have the standard flip cams for strap adjustment on the toe and heel, what’s nice is they have a push pin that keeps them locked in and prevents slippage. The heel strap has three placements on the chassis and the toe strap is on a pin placement system that also features 3 placement options. The heelcup is fully adjustable so you can ideally center your boot inside the frame. You can rotate the highback if you want which much like the straps has 3 placements and on the back of it there is obviously a forward lean adjustment. With the toe ramp you have a minimal slide adjustment that allows you to push it out if you need to.
Straps: The heel strap is the new Exoframe 2.0 which is one of the new age molded straps that utilizes less material in favor of being able to contour to any boot instep. It is a little more rigid than others I’ve used which lets you power into it. It also features the new TS 2.0 Hexgrip toestrap which has a ton of give to allow it to contour to most boot shapes. The cutout on it isn’t insanely big so boots with a more pointy toe may fit into them better than something that is more snub nosed. Otherwise both straps did their job and felt secure when locked down.
Ratchets: The nice thing about the ratchets is that they both utilize a one finger quick release feature which allows for optimal leverage to get out of the binding. The heel ratchets I never had an issue with and they climbed well and stayed locked in. They’re smooth and do everything you would expect. It was the toe ratchet that I had some initial issues with them not feeding smoothly, but as these were brand new out of the box bindings that issue went away by mid day so it more or less needed to be used a bit to break in and from there on out I had 0 issues. When riding I never noticed them slipping or backing out and even when laying over hard on my toe edge and hitting the strap into some firmer snow it didn’t falter.
Highbacks: They did what they needed to do. It is a little more rigid than I would have thought for being as milled out as it is. When you push into it, you notice it right away engaging with the back spine of the boot.
Binding Flex: The overall flex is a bit more rigid than middle of the road it lends itself to being a low end freeride binding or a stiffer higher end freestyle binding depending on your personal preference and the performance you want.
Ride: With the binding having a larger disk you lose lateral play for freestyle but gain more power to drive into the board. Overall as I already mentioned it feels somewhat like a mix of low end freeride or high end freestyle. It’s a do everything type of binding and it will get the job done for a lot of people. There isn’t a ton of dampening underfoot for microvibrations which means you feel a lot of minute chatter.
Rider in Mind: All mountain rider that dabbles in a bit of everything.
Personal Thoughts: I won’t lie, I hate this binding. It lacks board feel where I would want it but substitutes more power and drive. That’s really a personal preference issue and there are people that want that, so I see who this is for, it’s not for me. I like the push to more modern straps as that reduces excess material and does give a better fit to the boot. The ratchets other than that first couple of uses broke in relatively quickly and didn’t give any issues and stayed locked in, which is about as much as you can ask. If you’re one of those old school type of rider that needs more drive out of the binding and wants something to do it all then yes this will work. If you’re one of those riders that gotten spoiled with minimalist binding design and nuance then you should probably look at a Strata instead.