Hello and welcome to my Union Contact Pro Binding review – part of my Freestyle bindings review series.
In this review I will assess the Contact Pros for all of the freestyle relevant factors of the bindings to see how they perform as freestyle bindings.
As is custom at snowboardingprofiles.com the bindings will receive a rating out of 100. This is not an exact science but will give some idea of how good the Contact Pros are as a binding for freestyle riding.
Bindings: Union Contact Pros
Price: $259 RRP
Smart rating score: 94.7/100
Right, let’s get into the details!
Compared to other Men’s Freestyle Bindings
Out of all the Men’s Freestyle bindings that I rated:
- I looked at 17 different Men’s Freestyle bindings
- The average price was $204 (USD)
- The average score was 75.8/100
- The highest score was 94.7/100
- The lowest score was 50.0/100
- The Contact Pros ranked 1st out of 17!
The Contact Pros are available in the following sizes.
|Size||Fits Men’s US Boot Sizes||Euro Boot Sizes||UK Boot Sizes|
|Small||5.0 - 8.5||37.0 - 41.0||4.0 - 7.5|
|Medium||8.0-11.0||40.5 - 44.0||7.0 - 10.0|
|Large||10.0 & up||43.0 & up||9.0 & up|
Note that prior to this year Union used to size by the sizes S/M, M/L and L/XL but for the 2016-17 season they sizing using S, M & L. If you are looking at 2016 or earlier models the sizing will be labelled differently.
- S/M is now S
- M/L is now M; and
- L/XL is now L
Who are the Contact Pro’s Most Suited to?
The contact pros are great for anyone who likes to ride freestyle in the park and over the whole mountain. They are great for anything freestyle but also are definitely suitable for riding the whole mountain and have decent response for a freestyle binding.
They are particularly great for anyone looking for great board feel (the mini-disc the contact pros use really helps with this) but still want plenty of shock absorption.
The Contact Pros in more detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Contact Pros are capable of.
Bindings: Union Contact Pro 2017, Medium
Date: February 27, 2016, March 28th, 2016 & March 30th, 2016.
Conditions: I had the privilege of demoing the Contact Pros over 3 different days, on different mountains, in a variety of different conditions and with 3 different styles of snowboard.
Bindings angles: +18/-6 & +18/+3
The Union Contact Pros (CPs) have a medium-soft flex and that helps them butter well for presses, butters, jibs and for tweaking grabs.
The other reason they are so good at buttering is that they have very minimal board contact because of the mini-disc they use. This allows the board to flex more naturally with the bindings.
In fact they are so good for butterability they got a perfect score from me. So if buttering is a big part of your repertoire the contact pros are a great choice.
The CPs have a medium-soft flex as mentioned above. This is an awesome flex to have in the park and for riding freestyle on the rest of the mountain too.
This gives you enough movement and tweakability and are forgiving enough for tricks but also not so soft that you can’t ride freetstyle outside the park and so you have that little bit more support for landing bigger jumps.
The mini-disc in the binding also allows for minimal hard contact with the board to give you extra feel for the flex of the snowboard you are riding – this helps the binding to adapt to the flex of the board better. So if you’re riding a softer board, then the flexiness of that board will be felt with the Contact Pros and if you’re riding a stiffer board you will feel that extra stiffness – that makes these bindings very versatile.
The CPs have heaps of options for adjustability. There is 3 way adjustability in the ankle strap and two way in the toe strap. You can of course adjust the forward lean too.
The best part is that you can adjust the straps and the forward lean of the highback without the need for tools – so you can get that perfect fit on the fly.
So long as you get these suckers in the right size you should be able to get a great fit.
Let’s Break up this Text with a video!
Check out the video below for a visual look at these bindings and to learn more about them and the tech involved.
Hugely important for freestyle bindings (IMO), is how well they absorb shock. Lap after lap in the park you are landing jumps, tricks, hitting jibs etc so you want your bindings (as well as your boots) to absorb the shock as much as possible.
The CPs have a very generous amount of EVA padding on the base and this leads to some awesome shock absorbing – perfect for the freestyle rider. They also introduced something last year called vapor light which allows them to add even more cushioning without adding to the weight.
And all of this padding does nothing to the weight of these bindings which are super-light at just 715grams (1.57 pounds) – so the rest of the binding is incredibly light and allows for heaps of EVA padding for great shock absorption.
All that EVA padding also adds to the comfort of these bindings.
More than that though is the natural canting created in the footbed which helps to align your ankles, knees and hips in a more comfortable, more natural way.
Comfort = more enjoyable and longer riding and the CPs have comfort in spades.
The CPs have pretty decent responsiveness for softer flexing bindings.
They’re not going to be, and aren’t designed to be, super-responsive and won’t give you the response that a good all-mountain or freeride binding will but they do a pretty good job which is a really nice bonus.
The CPs come with a disc plate that is compatible with both standard 4 hole binding mounting systems and Burton’s channel system.
New for 2017 Model
The 2017 model is virtually the same as the 2016 model, except for some minor tweaks – but there’s no complaints here because the 2016s were so good. The 2016s had the following improvements from the 2015 model and these have been kept for the 2017 model:
- Ultra grip toe strap: For better forming around the toe of your boot
- New Vapor Light shock absorption tech: Extra shock absorption without adding extra weight. The 2016 model are still just 720 grams (715g for the 2017 model) but with extra shock absorption – best of both worlds!
Alright let’s take a look at how the Contact Pros rated in the table below.
|FACTOR||RATING (OUT OF 5)||CONTRIBUTION TO FINAL SCORE|
No surprise that the CPs scored so highly given their qualities. And no surprise that they were the #1 bindings in my list of the top 5 freestyle bindings! (for the 3rd year running)
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you are interested in the Contact Pros, check out the links below for more info, user reviews, current prices and availability.
- Union Contact Pros at blue-tomato (UK/Europe)
If you want to check out some other freestyle options or see how the Contact Pros compared to other men’s freestyle bindings check out the link below.