100 Day Perspective: Union Team Forces

09 Nov, 2011


100 days is the true test of wear and tear on snowboard gear. It determines whether a company builds gear for the 100 day rider or builds gear for the average snowday rider. Over the past couple years, only a couple products have made the 100 day test. After 100 days, they get the perspectives post to identify how they look after so many days, how durable they are and what the wear/tear looks like. It’s not so much a usual review but it is a judge of quality.

Last fall, I received the Union Team Force bindings to use for this season. The Union Team Forces received over 100 days and were my main snowboard binding for the season. The only time I didn’t ride them was demo days and testing days for other brands. These bindings were production models so the same that went out to everyone else and that was a noticeable improvement in quality over samples.

Ladders/Ratchets:

These are the original ladders/ratchets that came with the bindings. No issues on skipping or sticking this season. They’ve continued to work all winter long.

Hardware:

I only had one issue with hardware this winter. On my left binding, a screw came loose and the toe strap came off during hiking this summer. Everything else remained intact for the winter. I didn’t have issues with the screws loosening over use but I still made sure they were tight before riding (with the exception of the late season summer shred).

Highback:

Other than a couple scrapes on the heelcup on both bindings, the highbacks have held up without the top portion of the highback coming undone or any breakage. There is some wear/tear on the inside padding that I discuss below.

Straps:

This is the biggest different from production to sample bindings that I’ve noticed. In the past sample bindings would wear on the straps but these production bindings showed no signs of wear/tear on the straps.

Right Binding Straps

Left Binding Straps

Baseplate:

The padding in both baseplates has remained intact. Other than some leftover dirt from the summer riding, the baseplate is in great shape with nothing wrong.

Wear/Tear:

It’s always different with different brands. Sometimes it’s the highbacks or the straps, sometimes something completely different. On the Union Team Forces, the wear/tear was on the lower inside portion of the highback. It looked like the glue holding the material started to wear quicker where the boots constantly move in and out of. This was evident on both of the bindings (left foot and right foot) but more noticeable on the right foot (I’m regular, so my spare foot).

About the author

Shay

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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10 Comments

  1. keither
    November 10, 2011

    I have 150+ days on my Forces and I am confident I will be able to use them for at least another couple seasons. At which point I’ll probably still be able to sell them.
    My favorite binder by far.

  2. Peterborough
    November 10, 2011

    I don’t know if I am a lone voice, but I’m not confident in Unions. The price (at least here in Canada) is still awfully high for what is really a rather bare bones binding (no matter the model), and I feel they are lacking in some key areas. My biggest gripe – the heel strap and highback on one bolt, which is not tool-less. This arrangement is a throwback to the first metal-based bindings of the nineties, and just screams “I will come undone all the time.” I don’t want to carry a tool with me, or find myself at the top of a run with a missing bolt.

    I’m not 100% confident of this, but I think Unions also lack the ease/degree of highback rotation that other bindings allow for.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know they are a very down-to-earth, rider-supportive company (maybe even rider-owned), but I’m just not sure that they are really up to the hype. About ten years ago, all I rode was T9 – as they were North American made, pretty cutting edge, and had and AMAZING warranty. What bindings do I ride now? I shudder to admit it, but having ridden/owned Unions, T9’s and Flux bindings in the last few years (sold them all), I find myself riding Burtons, time and time again. Trust me, I would love to see someone knock Burton off the podium, but for now, I know of no better all-around binding.

  3. Frank
    November 10, 2011

    Peterborough,
    I agree I do live in Canada, and true the Retail price of Union is not competitive since others brands add adjusted their price (since CDN currency get appreciated in 4 years against USD). Seems that Union, did not adjust their retail prize in Canada since that time. Even Burton where they used to be way too much expensive here are now lower… I am sure that Flux can do 100 + and 150++ days too 😉
    I also like the new K2 Company bindings… but not sure if they are 100++

  4. Keither
    November 10, 2011

    Peterborough, I understand your concerns with Unions, but I’ve never adjusted my forward-lean, and I don’t know anyone who does (ever), so what’s the need for tool-less adjustment? I’ve never tightened them either, and they’ve never fallen off. As for the bare-bonesness of the binding, that’s the whole point of Union. Nothing added that isn’t needed to make an indestructable binding. Yes I agree with you and Frank, the price is high, but IMHO anyone who buys the lastest gear at full price is wasting money. I’ve always bought last years gear at the beginning or end of the season for a fraction of the price, and actually picked up Forces and Datas for $159 and $179 respectively. Again, I’ve ridden my forces for 150+ days, and will probably ride them for another 150 no joke. As for Burton bindings, they ARE light as fuck, but I’ve seen heelcups and highbacks break within a week. They’ve all been warranteed, but come on…. a heelcup break? Regardless of all that, I know guys who have owned/ridden WAY more different bindings than I have and will not ride ANYTHING BUT Burton binders. There must be a reason for it 🙂
    I may try and find some on sale just to give them my own 150 day test.
    Cheers all

  5. Frank
    November 11, 2011

    Keither,
    Yes for sure last year model at the beginning or end season model is always my way to go… And yes my friend just broke is Burton Mission 2008 binding last year so he will have no choice to buy new one this year… I did not believe him at first but yeah it happens and is not a creasy park hard charging man but normal freerider… I am always looking at Union but I still like as well K2 Company new model this year… or Flux DS45 or maybe the Targa white… I think I can trust them…

  6. Frank
    November 11, 2011

    and I still riding my Bent Metal Biscuit 2008 (way heavy bindings) for over 80 days now and really good shape too (but good bindings)…The new Bent Metal Venon look not bad too 😉

  7. Keither
    November 11, 2011

    Frank,
    yeah the new Bent Metals do look sick. You won’t have to worry about those puppies breaking. That’s kinda why I’ve been sticking to Unions, Drakes, Rides (no contraband), etc. Simple strong bindings that last.

  8. Frank
    November 11, 2011

    Keither,
    Do you think the new Bent Metal now are more light like the good average of the industry? I main when at least they are less than 800 gr per bindings… not like 1100 gr like mine now but again true simple that work good and good feeling.

  9. Keither
    November 12, 2011

    Frank,
    I’m not too sure about the Bent Metals, but will compare their weight to others when I get the chance. They look sooo sick tho.