Binding Review: 08-09 Flow Essence

27 Feb, 2008

Location: Keystone, Colorado

Snow Conditions: Snowing with hard groomed to packed powder conditions on the runs.

Setup: I rode the Flow Essence bindings with the Flow Infinite 159cm and my Vans Omni Focus Size 8 Boots.

Time to set up the binding: Flow bindings definitely take a little bit longer to set up in terms of adjusting the binding properly. The actual setup time is average, but Greg is pretty dang quick when it comes to setting you up. The adjustment takes a couple minutes longer, well worth the wait to make sure you have the binding fully adjusting to your boot.

Fit: No problem with the essence fitting my boot. In the essence, my boot heel was snug in the binding but without any grab. The powerstrap fit properly over my boot and centered. I will point out I do ride boots with boa and there is no problem with the boa strap and the powerstrap on the flows.

First Impression: Finally a more aggressive binding that won’t let me get lazy and carve up the mountain like I should be.

Appearance: I like the colors of the essence this year, I rode the essence featuring white and green. The girly designs on it are minimal and on the side of the bindings so less noticeable.

Comfort: Flow’s I-Flex powerstrap is all comfort. It eliminates any pressure points that binding straps can cause on your boots and creates a more evenly pressured binding strap response and comfort. The essence has one of the more noticeably softer cushioning pads on the baseplate. Sometimes with bindings they can be super comfortable but lack the stiffer flex and response, the flows are an exception to that.

Functionality: As a flow binding its already one of the most functional easy access in and out bindings. With the upgrades to the highback, fiber reinforced and new lever as well as new mini metal ratchets to the essence…it makes it one sturdy, lightweight, adjustable binding. When I first went from regular straps to flow bindings, it definitely has an adjustment period of getting used to using the rear lever to get in and out.

Flex: The powerstrap on the essence really lets you drive into your toeside turns while the stiffer highback lets you really drive into your heelside turns. I definitely liked the stiffer more aggressive flex on the essence for freeriding since it wouldn’t be leniant on me when riding.

Response: I noticed right away when riding, the quick responsiveness on heelside from the highback. It allow allows the binding to be lighter weight and dualed with the response, definitely a more aggressive binding for women riders. I found myself applying a little pressure toeside or heelside and getting quick response just from the small amount.

Power Strap: I had no problems with the pressure of the powerstrap, in fact when riding it’s hardly noticeable that you are wearing a strap because it does distribute across your boot.

Overall Impression: The old days of flows being bulky, heavy and non-responsive are gone. Each year flow steps it up offering more in their bindings. The essence was definitely one of the more better built bindings I rode in terms of offering a women’s binding that has just as much as the men’s binding in features. The response was there matched with comfort and quality makes it a hard binding not to rave about.

On Snow Photo

Flow Essence Catalog Description

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From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. quezz
    October 11, 2008

    I’ve been struggling with getting a binding that’s fairly quick to get in and out of, but I’ve always been warned against Flows because of performance issues. I’m looking at getting Flows or Ride Zetas — do you see a big enough difference between the two to go for the more difficult revolver rachets on the Zetas?

  2. Shayboarder
    October 12, 2008

    For bindings that are quick and easy to get in and out of…flows, k2 cinches and k2 auto’s. I like regular straps and the auto system worked for me for easy access in. I’ve owned flows and it took me a while to adjust to that access system and it is easy, cinches are similiar.

    Regular strap systems you just get used to over time and get quicker at it the more you do it. When I was learning, i’d have to sit down to strap in but now I strap in standing up and got it down quick. Try looking at the K2 auto agogo’s, all you have to do is crank the ankle strap and the toe strap automatically tightens…that’d be a good in between binding between the ride and flows.