Not everyone thinks about looking for bindings that will suit their style, but if you do then your setup is going to be that much better.
If you are a freestyle rider looking for bindings then this post is for you and will show you the key specs to look out for when choosing freestyle snowboard bindings.
What this post will cover
In this post the following binding specs will be covered.
- Shock Absorption
O.k. let’s get straight into the details for each.
Most freestyle riders prefer a softer flexing binding. When your bindings have a bit more flex then it gives you a bit more give for landings and hitting jibs and makes it easier to perform butters, presses and for tweaking grabs etc.
For this reason freestyle riders often go for a flex rating of 3 or 4 out of 10 (1 being the softest and 10 being the stiffest).
The reason that this “medium-soft” flex rating is preferred is that it is soft enough to enable for the characteristics above but also stiff enough to offer enough stability on landings and at least some reasonable response.
Bindings with a soft (1-2/10) flex rating are less common and are probably more for street riders or specialist jibbers.
Freestylers that like riding the pipe or are into large to x-large jumps may prefer to go for a more medium flex (5-6 out of 10).
Butterability does largely come down to the flex of the bindings but there are also other ways that binding manufacturers make their bindings easier to butter, press etc.
For example – the way the bindings connect with the snowboard is also a very important factor for butterability.
Adjustability is important for any rider, freestylers included.
Having adjustability in your bindings allows you to get a better fit in terms of:
- how tight you like them;
- Your highback lean
- Highback rotation
- Position on the board
Particularly when it comes to freestyle riding most freestyle riders prefer a more upright highback lean (i.e. not much or no forward lean). You need to make sure that your bindings will adjust in the ways that you want them to.
Plus you need to make sure they are compatible with your snowboard
As a freestyle rider you’re likely hitting rails boxes and other obstacles, landing jumps and landing tricks all day.
Without good shock absorption that can take its toll on the body.
So look for bindings with good padding. Good shock absorbing bindings will make your day much more comfortable – and will be better on your body in the long run.
Park laps can sometimes be short. That means you will likely be strapping-in and unstrapping a lot throughout the day.
So you are going to want bindings that are reasonably easy and fast to get in and out of.
There are a few specs that your bindings may or may not have that will contribute to the ease/quickness of your entry/exit including:
- Quality of the ratchet system
- Type of binding (rear entry or strap in)
- Strap “hold back” technology*
* o.k. this isn’t the technical term! Just made it up. But this refers to when your ankle strap stays out of your way instead of springing back over your binding. This helps you to get in faster and also reduces the risk of standing on and breaking your strap. Burton introduced this tech on their 2015 range and as far as I know they were the only ones that have done it so far. It will be interesting to see how durable this technology is over time.
Comfort is appealing for everyone – including freestyle riders. You don’t want to end your day with sore feet, sore legs or even a sore back because of your bindings. Or worse still have to end your day early because of discomfort.
Comfort in bindings is down to a few things:
- Padding on the base: this is not only good for absorbing shock on jumps etc, it’s also just way more comfortable to be standing on something padded all day rather than just hard plastic
- How comfortable the straps are: Good quality straps will mold to your feet and eliminate, or greatly reduce, the chances for pressure points
- Weight: If your bindings are nice and lightweight it will reduce the weight of your setup. This means less work performing tricks – not to mention less weighing you down on the lifts.
- Canted Footbed: Essentially what a canted footbed does is align your body in a position that is easier on your body in your snowboard stance. Whilst you do find canted footbeds on some freestyle bindings they aren’t as common as in all-mountain or freeride bindings. Because freestylers tend to do shorter runs (e.g. park laps) and are in the air a lot of the time there is less need for canted footbeds.
Over to You
Thanks for reading and I hope that this has helped you in your search for freestyle bindings.
If you think there’s anything important that I’ve missed or if you agree or disagree with anything here please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below. All other questions and comments welcome as always.
You can also check out what I consider to be the best men’s and women’s bindings currently on the market at the links below.