2011-2012 Binding Review
10 Oct, 2011
The first snow has fallen, resorts around the US are opening up and all the 2011/12 gear will be hitting the slopes soon! Each year before the season begins, I get to test and try out different bindings to review. Eventually this list will be expanded but here’s the collection of bindings I was able to try out for 2011/12 so far!
So far I’ve ridden 16 bindings, 9 women’s and 7 men’s models. Each review is judged by the same standard and for the majority of reviews I used my own boots.
If you have a specific binding you would like to be reviewed please request it in the comment section.
About me as a snowboarder:
- I’m coming up on my 18th season snowboarding.
- I am majority freerider (I ride trees, powder, steeps, groomers, natural terrain) and I ride halfpipe. I’m progressing my park experience with boxes/rails.
- I am 5’6″ and typically ride a 156cm for my all mountain board, my powder board is a 161cm and my park board is a 151cm.
- I am a regular rider with a 22 inch width, +15, -15 stance angles.
- I wear size 8 womens snowboard boots and feel comfortable riding both men’s and women’s bindings.
My opinion is only my opinion…of how these bindings rode. Take it as you want. If you are looking for more binding reviews, go here
2011-2012 Binding Review
This list goes by brand alphabetically, to read the full review click on the name.
Overall Impression: The Lexa EST are that all mountain binding for every type of riding you can throw at them. New on the Lexa this year is the hi-back changes from dual component canted living hinge hiback to single component canted living hinge zero lean hiback with FLAD and heel hammock and the fullbed cushioning is now removable autocant sensorybed cushioning system with B3 gel cushioning. In terms of noticeable differences, I didn’t notice anything major on the binding changes and it still rode very similar to last year’s.
Honesty Box: I’ve ridden the Lexa’s for years and definitely am happy this binding is on the market, it serves a purpose. I wish they’d step outside the box on the appearance of the binding and make it less boring.
Retails for: $259.95
Best for: Women seeking a comfortable progressive binding for all levels
Overall Impression: The NXT-AT’s are a popular staple binding from Flow. It’s built for all mountain riding wherever you take it. I rode the binding at the end of the season, so didn’t get to play with it in powder but spent time freeriding and in the parks with it. The quick access comes in handy, easy to lock in and go for riding.
Honesty Box: The NXT-AT combo with the Era was really good and it was my first time trying Flow’s rockered baseplate. The connection was still there between the board and binding without any dead feeling but it was hard to interpret how much effect the rockered baseplate played into it. I’d probably have to take out the non-rockered and rockered to get a better feel for the differences. The connection was there and response was good. It seemed like with the rockered design, it made the binding stiffer than I remembered from the past demos of the AT model. My biggest gripe with the NXT-AT is the baseplate cover that goes over the screws. For some reason it was a pain to get up from the binding. I guess if you don’t ever need to unscrew the bindings it would be fine.
Retails for: $279.99
Best for: Quick & easy entry for all mountain riding
Overall Impression: The prima’s are flow’s high performance women’s binding for women looking for a responsive, rip up the mountain binding with the ease of rear entry to strap in.
Honesty Box: Last time I rode the prima’s they were a favorite in 07-08 with their all around support and response on the slopes. For 2012, they continue that tradition and give women a high performance binding to rip up the mountain. By the time I got on the prima’s I had come off other rear entry bindings so was feeling a lot more comfortable with the rear entry system and getting into my bindings on the toe edge instead of the heel edge like I do for regular strap bindings. Unfortunately the drifter won’t be reviewed since they have some kinks to work on the board.
Retails for: $279.99
Best for: A favorite for quick access and handling the whole mountain.
Overall Impression: The RK30’s offer up a comfortable mountain ride for the rider who cruises to the lifts or the parks. For 2012, they get upgraded the binding with a new genetic baseplate and toe strap making it an even sweeter binding with good response and comfort.
Honesty Box: When I was at the Flux tent and it came time to pick a binding and I saw the RK30’s, I knew that I wanted to get back on them for another comfortable ride. They were a favorite before and even with the new upgrades, they were a favorite again for a softer more freestyle focused binding.
Retails for: $209.00
Best for: Men’s freestyle binding for a comfortable ride.
Overall Impression: The Auto Agogo LTD’s offer the same solid women’s bindings in a LTD version with the popular urethane highback that’s coming out in some K2 bindings. The Urethane highback gave it a more forgiving fun feel to the mountain so you could play without paying the consequences.
Honesty Box: The Auto Agogo LTD’s were a great match with the Fastplant board and the LTD version was a nice upgrade from the auto version if you were looking for something more flexy and forgivable. The auto agogo is still that solid women’s binding you can ride anywhere but now it is more tweak happy for those wanting a less aggressive ride.
Retails for: $199.95
Best for: A female rider wanting a tweak happy Auto Agogo.
Overall Impression: The Fame’s are Ride’s newest womens binding for the high end freestyle charger. This is a hard charging aggressive binding with response and comfortable flex to match. Plus is comes with the technologies like wedge2.5 and 3D thin grip toe strap, giving it the extra boost it deserves.
Honesty Box: For the females wanting an aggressive binding, Ride delivers. First with the DVA that I’ve recommended for years and now with the Fame’s. Responsive and comfortable but also aggressive and won’t let you down. The Fame’s were a breath of fresh air to a women’s binding market that generally skips past the aggressive women riders.
Retails for: $229.95
Best for: A female rider wanting a stiffer, more aggressive freeride binding for charging.
Overall Impression: The Madisons are the women’s park to pow binding. This year they introduced the MFR Madison pro design to the Madison binding and they compliment each other perfectly. The Madison continues to be a dominant women’s binding for the all mountain freestyle rider.
Honesty Box: I love the Madisons, they’ve been a favorite binding for years and a binding I stand behind. The only thing I didn’t like was the screws, I’ve mounted hundreds of bindings to boards and I thought the screws were too short but really you just had to do one and then the others. I didn’t see the purpose or the benefit for the everyday rider to have to figure that one out.
Retails for: $210.00-$220.00
Best for: Female riders wanting a freestyle binding for all around riding.
Overall Impression: The mob’s are that light binding perfect for park performance where someone wants to tweak out on the mountain. The binding is still stable underfoot and with good comfortable straps but definitely on the softer side.
Honesty Box: I was really amped to try out the mob’s but also recognized that pairing them with the anthem wasn’t the best collab. The bindings were on the softer side, forgiving and comfortable while the board was wanted fast, response. They didn’t disappoint but I’d still like to try the binding on another board.
Retails for: $190.00-$200.00
Best for: Men wanting a lightweight freestyle binding built on comfort.
Overall Impression: The Targa’s are the top of the line men’s binding for good reason. They have all the bells and whistles but they are also worth every penny and every feature given to them. For the rider wanting a customized aggressive ride, this is the binding for you. If you want something you can tweak exactly to your personal preferences.
Honesty Box: The Targa’s are a bit much for my style but I appreciate what they are to the Rome men’s binding line. They are the destroyer binding, the charge the mountain, ride it all and never look back binding. While it’s not my style, it’s a binding I’ve recommended to many riders who fit the style perfectly and it’s a damn good binding from Rome. But seriously, I want that toe strap on the Madisons.
Retails for: $250.00-260.00
Best for: Men wanting a responsive with tons of features packed for aggressive riding.
Overall Impression: The rock-it power bindings are the quick entry binding for the all mountain rider wanting response and a stiffer binding flex. The bindings were easy to use and functional once you got the right size to your boot.
Honesty Box: I was definitely happy to get back on the rear entry bindings that Mervin produces and try it on a binding that fit my boot better. The rock-it binding offered up a responsive binding for two different boards and handled both very well. I still have to adjust to rear entry with strapping in on my toeside edge since I usually strap in on my heelside edge on a normal binding but the rock-it’s were a binding I’d ride all the time if I went to rear entry.
Retails for: $229.00
Best for: For females wanting a quick entry responsive binding with a stiffer flex.
Overall Impression: The absolute premiums are the top of the line women’s bindings for Salomon. They are a binding that can handle everything you give it on the mountain with comfort and response. My only disappointment was the toe straps not working with my Vans boots.
Honesty Box: The absolute premiums are the bindings I would ride from Salomon but the toe strap slipping on my Vans boot has always been an issue. It’s not the first time it’s happened and the only way I made it down the hill was with the toe strap being over the boot and cranked down. No matter how hard I cranked them down, it’d slip when I rocked it over the toe.
Retails for: $229.00
Best for: For females wanting an all around top of the line binding from Salomon.
Overall Impression: The Blaze bindings are a great choice for the freestyle backcountry rider or entry level backcountry rider looking for a forgiving, softer flexing binding for their splitboard.
Honesty Box: This was my first time reviewing a splitboard specific binding and my first time with Sparks R&D. It was definitely a learning experience to test the waters on reviewing splitboard gear and it was a good one. I was able to see what splitboard bindings have to offer and the differences between them and regular bindings. Very similar but a lot of the functionality and point is them being compatible with splitboards and what you want them for. It’ll be interesting to watch Sparks R&D continue to develop a binding for the backcountry that works for a lot of different types of riders. I didn’t encounter any technical issues with the binding straps and ratchets.
Retails for: $299.00
Best for: A splitboard binding to handle the freestyle fun/progressive learning in the backcountry
Overall Impression: The jibs are that softer very comfortable Technine binding meant for park destroying and easy riding. They are comfortable, forgiving and let you enjoy the ride down the hill.
Honesty Box: The bindings weren’t a good match for the Unity Reverse I rode it with but definitely a softer park board would have been more fun to play with them on.
Retails for: $250.00
Best for: For females wanting a fun freestyle binding with the popular Baltimore Toe strap.
Overall Impression: The atlas were a step up for me from the forces but also a binding that I felt comfortable on from the beginning. Responsive and comfortable without overpowering the rider, they matched the force but made it better in areas.
Honesty Box: I would have kept riding them all day and figured out the toe strap for my boot but I wanted to give other bindings a chance. Definitely a binding I would have rode for days because like the forces, they can handle it all and don’t let you down.
Retails for: $239.95
Best for: The newest binding from Union delivers response and comfort for wherever you take them.
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.
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.
Retails for: $199.00
Best for: The always popular Force continues with all mountain riding.
Overall Impression: The milans offer a lightweight, all-mountain binding for the women. Good response for the slopes but with a still forgiving easier comfortable ride. All-around the binding could match the riding of the hovercraft but you could also tone it down and just do mellow turns with it feeling good.
Honesty Box: The last time I rode the milans in 07-08, I wasn’t really impressed with them and thought they could use more work. Now a couple years later, they definitely are a binding I’d rock all the time and offered enough response to match the hovercraft on the charging runs and getting response out of them.
Retails for: $179.00
Best for: Women wanting a lightweight, all mountain binding.