Binding Review: 09-10 GNU Agro
05 May, 2009
Location: Steamboat, Colorado (and 1 run at Canyons, UT)
Snow Conditions: Overcast with hardpacked groomers to new snow on runs
Setup: I rode the GNU agro bindings with the Automaton Time Fighter and my Rome Vamp size 8 boots.
Time to set up the binding: I borrowed these bindings so I set them up myself, at a demo it probably would take less time because the reps have done it a million times but when I was at home to play with all the parts and getting it dialed, it probably took between an hour and two hours and I was frustrated. Mostly because it was some small parts and having to play with the binding to have it fit my boot better especially where the heel wouldn’t be able to move upwards. To make it fit my boot, I needed to have the forward lean cranked more than I’d like.
Fit: I can safely say that this binding is not meant for a size 8 women’s boot, definitely a men’s binding where it isn’t easy to size down to a women’s boot and when I had the ankle strap adjusted just fine, the toe strap wasn’t as fitting to my boot. In the first photo it isn’t as tight against my boot as I’d like and I could move it when riding or it could move when riding. I couldn’t adjust it to be closer to my toe of the boot either, so I just rode it as it was. The straps were tool-less so that makes it easier for quick adjustment but in my case it didn’t help as much since the bindings were larger than I needed and sizing down wasn’t as much of an option.
First Impression: Well the first impression was at Canyons where I could feel my Heel lift up in the binding because it wasn’t adjusted properly at the time. My second impression with it adjusted at Steamboat, I was able to ride with them all day.
Appearance: I actually like the look of the bindings, with the green and black and words all over them saying they are GNU and Agro bindings.
Comfort: The ankle strap was padded and super comfortable, it was really my saving grace with the bindings. The toe strap I couldn’t get to fit my boots that well so it was hard to judge on comfort.
Functionality: I give GNU props for their rear entry, quick access into bindings approach. I didn’t find the binding as functional in that, all the pieces and adjustment were not easy to figure out. I didn’t have directions but at the same time, I have experience with K2’s and Flow’s…both of those have been easier to adjust than the GNU. When adjusted the cable, there were tiny pieces that you definitely wouldn’t want to adjust on snow with and I didn’t find that functional. I also had problems with the forward lean, for me to get the binding to keep my boot forward into the toe strap meant cranking the forward lean and I rarely use forward lean so that was a mess.
With the Agro, you slide your foot in from the rear and pull up the back to lock it. That was easy and I had no difficulties with locking the rear of the binding. The ankle strap then needed to be locked down, sometimes that was fine and easy and other times it was harder. To me the ankle lock was good in that it was easier to slip in my boot in the rear but at the same time it wasn’t quick when I had the same amount of time to do a regular binding with two steps involved.
Flex: The highback was noticeable stiffer and had some padding to make it comfortable. The ankle strap kept a good mix of comfort and flex, it was more medium flex with some lateral give while riding. Definitely a more aggressive men’s freeride binding, I wouldn’t put that many women in this binding because of the stiffer highback and if their boot would even fit better.
Response: Alot of the response was through the highback which was stiffer and I noticed that a lot when riding. The padded baseplates absorbed a lot of the vibrations when riding and made for a comfy ride underneath my foot. The highlight of this binding was the response, it was very responsive from toe to heel edge, I rode it with the Time Fighter and it made for a more aggressive ride than when I rode my Forces on the Time Fighter.
Toe Strap: It definitely cupped my boot but was hard to adjust to my smaller boot size (size 8 women’s) and it looks like it’s fine but it would still move when riding. However when I had it in the right spot, I could ride with it and it wouldn’t move too much.
Overall Impression: There’s definitely a market and I can see how in the future it can be dialed more to be more consumer friendly to people like me needing to set it up without someone who works for GNU doing it. Very responsive binding and for the first part of the binding I was happy with how it rode and handled. Towards the end though with the forward lean I was ready to call it a day. I want to try it again, so I completely haven’t given up on it…I just think it could be a better fit and easier to figure out.
Shay’s Honesty Box: Between the time to adjust it for me, the tiny pieces involved and the having to ride with insane forward lean…I wasn’t impressed but I also recognize that it didn’t fit my boot the best either and I’m taking that into account a lot. However I think it’s still needing to be dialed, I expected some of the ratchets to crank down tighter and they didn’t. Let alone my god I was in pain after that much forward lean with the highback, my own fault but ouch.