Gear Reviews, Snowboard Binding Reviews 33

The 2019 Arbor Hemlock Snowboard Binding Review

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.

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  • BD says: September 14, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Wondering how these compare to 2016 Cartels… have kinda always rode Cartels (07-16s) and looking for something new. I’m more of an all mountain rad dad rider… ride trees, pow, cruise groomers, work on butters… not really a park guy anymore but come from a freestyle skate background… have a Westmark Camber, IPP Harrow, and a Salomon Assassin to give you an idea of boards… thoughts? Worth the buy / change?

    • Angrysnowboarder says: September 14, 2018 at 8:29 am

      Definitely. It’s always good to leave your comfort zone.

  • ShanghaiKid says: November 28, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    I’ve been in the Union line for too long and I’m branching out. Bought this years 156 DOA and trying to find a binding to go with it. Deciding between Hemlock, Rome Vice, and Flux DS. I’ll be doing Some park laps on it, but will mostly be taking the set up through groomers and side hits. Recommendation between the 3?

  • BD says: December 10, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Did you ride an s/m or m/l with your 8s?

    I’m an 8 in 32 lashed boots… have a s/m cartel right now but have demo’d M/L and seems more comfy/easier to put on when on the snow.

    Just wanna make sure an m/l won’t be too big.

  • BD says: December 11, 2018 at 2:42 am

    Thanks for size rec.

    Starting to go back and forth between the Hemlock and Cypress… mostly ride Mammoth, and maybe get to one bigger mountain a year… all mountain, charge a little, cruise a lot, pow, trees, flat ground and butters… have ridden cartels forever… have mostly mid flex camber dominant boards…. like stability underfoot, but also playful…. leaning towards Hemlock, just wondering if I’ll miss the cypress responsiveness… thoughts between the 2?

    • Angrysnowboarder says: December 11, 2018 at 9:22 am

      I honestly think they’re both solid and will both work for you and you might be over thinking it.

  • BD says: December 11, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Ha I’m definitely an over thinker.

  • Neil says: December 21, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Which do you like better between the Nitro Zero and the Hemlock? It’ll be going on my Bataleon Funkink.

  • Pit says: January 16, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Hey Kevin, is going from Rome 390 Boss to Hemlock an upgrade? is Hemlock more responsive or the feel is similar? looking to pair them with a Westmark Rocker for all mountaim skateboarding style

  • Pit says: January 19, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Thanks, and how do they compare response wise?

  • Rob says: October 18, 2019 at 2:57 am

    Heyo, cheers for all the reviews, I’ve got a Yes Jackpot 2020, would the Hemlock be good match for general park/all mountain general mucking around with side hits and buttering abouts?

  • Omar says: December 4, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    i am a shoe size 9 and/or 9.5, will I be okay if I order a s/m with these bindings, or is m/l the way to go?

    • Angrysnowboarder says: December 5, 2019 at 9:38 am

      Should be fine with the sm/md depending on the boot.

  • Julius says: December 10, 2019 at 10:59 am

    I wear size 12 boots. I tried to adjust the heelcup on these bindings and found that the highback is attached to the base of the binding so no matter how much you move the heelcup the highback stays in the same place… I think this is a design flaw because it doesn’t really let you center a large boot.

  • Will says: December 16, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Would these go well with the Bataleon Fun Kink and Tactical ADV. I have the boots but looking for a board/binding combo. Want to work on my butters and side hits with some park riding on occasions, rest of the time casual mountain riding. Was between the Hemlock,, BM Joint and Salomon District.

    What’s your opinion?


  • Richard says: February 13, 2020 at 7:24 am

    When you say medium do you mean S/m or m/L because they don’t seem to do one called medium? Thanks

  • Viper says: February 16, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Which is surfier…hemlocks or stratas?
    Looking to put them on a japow for surfy fun in and out of powder.

    Also I have older hemlocks and pilots and kinda find the older hemlocks to be more responsive than the now pilots…. wondering if you felt that too since you have reviews both. I was kinda surprised by that when I switched them out mid-day.

  • justin muir says: March 4, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Just put at set of cypress on my brd cant wait to use them. Wanting to replace my contact pro’s on my peacemaker with either hemlocks or another cypress. Which do you think will be a better fit for my peacemaker?

    • Angrysnowboarder says: March 5, 2020 at 8:47 am

      A different board would be better for those new bindings. Probably just go Hemlocks.

  • Adam says: April 7, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Do you think that the Hemlock would be a good match with my boots size 13 and my Salomon Assassin?

    • Adam says: April 7, 2020 at 4:55 pm

      Or a Hologram would be better?

      • Angrysnowboarder says: April 7, 2020 at 7:46 pm

        The issue with the Hemlock is if they machine tightened the heel cup screw or not, as their machine is over torquing them before tightening them it causes it to strip out and people to not be able to adjust it.

  • Paco Taco says: November 12, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    How do these bindings compare to the Union Contact Pro in terms of stiffness and responsiveness? Thank you.

  • CW says: December 9, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    My older 390s blew out on me today. Had them on my park board. Love how soft and loose they felt. How do these compare?

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