Binding Review: 09-10 Union Force SL
17 Nov, 2009
Location: Loveland & Copper, Colorado
Snow Conditions: Mixture of Conditions.
Setup: I rode the Union Forces (size M/L) with the Capita Ultrafear FK and my Bonfire Geo Boots
Time to set up the binding: Average
Fit: My Bonfire Geo’s fit snugly into the heelcup and conform fine to the highback. I have a small bit of extra width between the bindings but it’s only with my Bonfire Geo boots (Vans boots fit fine in them).
First Impression: I liked these bindings last year so when it came time to pick this years bindings, I upgraded from the Forces to the Force SL’s and no regrets on my decision. I got a lighter, stiffer, more responsive binding but I didn’t lose the amazing feeling of the Forces with the upgrade.
Appearance: They are the white/red Force SL’s which someone told me reminded them of baseball and I like them, simple design and colors.
Comfort: The Force SL’s continue with the padding that the regular Forces offer, padding on the highback and baseplate to absorb rougher terrain when you hit it and a sturdy padded ankle strap that doesn’t give me any pressure points when strapped in.
Functionality: The Force SL this year got an upgraded baseplate, new ratchets and straps. The forward lean is easy to adjust, the ankle strap is tool-less to adjust and the toe strap needs a screwdriver to adjust.
Flex: The highback is asymmetrical/symmetrical which I’m loving, both bindings might look the same but how they flex is different. I have more flex towards the nose and tail of the binding and a stiffer flex of the highback towards the center of the board. So I don’t need to rotate my highbacks (which I don’t do anyway) but it gives me a good amount of strength and flexibility where I need it, which is down the mountain. The highback is hard to describe but easy to see when you can hand flex the highback, towards the tip and tail a lot softer, toward the center of the board, a lot stiffer flex. Overall the binding is on the stiffer side, supposed to be the stiffest binding in Unions line now and while it does have a good amount of stiffness to it, I wouldn’t ride it if it was overly stiff and aggressive for me. There’s a good amount of give to the binding.
Response: The Force binding allowed the rider to really control the response you wanted and the Force SL takes it into the riders hands but also pushes you to take more response from riding. I’ve actually gotten a kick out of the Force SL response and how you can just lay it over and it gives you what you want.
Toe Strap: The Union toe straps you definitely need to adjust to your boot when you get them or they can slip when riding. I’ve adjusted mine and I don’t encounter any slippage but if I change boots I need to readjust before I ride or I would. Also make sure the toe strap is centered and the material in front covers your boot, the larger material molds to your boot when you crank it down. I rock my toe strap convertible and have no problem with it staying in place when riding.
Overall Impression: I’ve gotten 10 days in on the Force SL from freeriding to park to just playing with butters on the mountain. Even with as stiff and responsive as these bindings are, there’s enough play that it’s fun to take them into the park and when I leave the park, I have no problem getting quick response out of them for holding carves. The lightweight factor just adds as a perk to the binding but I haven’t noticed any loss of stability from it.
Shay’s Honesty Box: I have no regrets on upgrading from last years Forces to this years Force SL’s, lighter and more responsive which favors me as a freerider but I can also play in the park with them. I did ride the Forces after riding the Force SL’s and quite frankly I enjoy both bindings. I’m already in 10 days on the mountain with them and planning to get a full 100 day look at them at the end of the season. They were given as a gift and I’m never returning them.
Review Disclosure: This product was given to me from C3.