Binding Review: 11-12 Union Force
29 Jun, 2011
Location: Snoqualmie Summit, WA
Snow Conditions: Hardpacked to softpacked to heavy leftover powder.
Setup: I rode the Union Forces on the Capita Indoor Survival with my Vans Veil Boots size 8.
Time to set up the binding: The forces were easy to mount and only took a matter of minutes with adjustments.
Fit: I normally use men’s Union bindings throughout the winter so I’m used to using the M/L size with my Vans boots. The width fits and I just have to adjust the heelcup and the straps.
First Impression: The Forces are dialed and the neon acid colorway was the only bright thing in the NW that day.
Appearance: Neon. You either love it or you hate it. It stands out like a sore thumb and attracts eyes to your bindings very easily. I don’t remember having a choice in the color and personally I don’t care. Right now when I look at it, I wouldn’t pick that color for myself but when I rode it, the brightness was fun in the overcast grey-ish day.
Comfort: Comfortable binding overall with good padding that helps absorb rougher terrain. I rode the Forces through some really choppy spots at the Holy Oly and definitely padded the ride. Comfortable ankle strap that wraps around the boot and was snuggly feeling.
Functionality: The Forces are a simple binding that works. It’s not all bells and whistles, it’s quality and polished. The highback has the multizone flex, stiffer and stronger towards the bottom and more forgiving, softer flex towards the top. Easy to adjust from the heelcup to the baseplate. The tool-less adjustment is on the ankle strap but requires a screwdriver on the toe strap (my only gripe). I will say this, I’ve spent tons of days on Union Forces since I first demo’d them and when it comes to quality which I consider an important functional part of a binding, the Forces will last for a 100 day rider. They’ll take a beating and there will be slight wear but it will last.
Flex: The stiffer flex on the lower portion of the binding from the baseplate to highback allows the binding to handle the mountain without feeling too soft or not aggressive enough. The softer top portion on the highback gives you tweakability and forgiveness for park fun. The bindings are really rider controlled, you get what you want out of them. If you want to charge and freeride, it’ll hold the power or if you just want to goof off and be playful, the Force gets that too.
Response: The Force isn’t meant to be an overly responsive binding on the mountain. They key component to it is it gives forgiveness to the rider. The softer flex on the top of the highback gives it the mellow feel and the lower portion of the binding gives the response. But you do have to lay it down and engage the power yourself to get it going.
Toe Strap: The Force received the new toe strap from Union. I was able to try out the new toe strap earlier this winter on the new Atlas binding but this was the first time riding it on the Force and where I spent more time riding it. The material was different but the feel of the toe strap felt the same. I rocked it capstrap this time and just forgot about it. It held and stayed secure every time I took laps (which was a lot that day).
Overall Impression: The Forces are the do-everything, ride-everything, destroy and devour everything binding. You can freeride, ride pow or just lap park with them. As far as I can tell and from riding them, the only difference from 10-11 to 11-12 is the toe strap upgrade.
Shay’s Honesty Box: The Union Forces are my go-to binding, that’s why I took them out again. This year Union vamped up to new toe straps which the Forces received. I was one of the people who had no problem rocking last year’s toe straps to my boots comfortably and securely so the new upgrade wasn’t in my best interest for the bindings. But I adapted and after riding the Flite’s earlier this winter, I knew it was a good thing.
On Snow Photos
Union Force Description
Review Disclosure: I borrowed this binding during my visit to Seattle for the Holy Oly. It was returned to Union after riding it.