Hello and welcome to my Union Ultra FC review.
In this review I will take a look at the Ultra FCs as all-mountain freeride snowboard bindings.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Ultra FCs a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how it compares with other All-Mountain Freeride bindings.
Bindings: Union Ultra FC (Forged Carbon)
Price: $519 (USD recommended retail)
Style: All Mountain Freeride
Other Uses: All-Mountain-Freestyle & Freeride
Flex: Medium-Stiff (8/10)
Rating Score: 89.7/100
Compared to other Men’s All Mountain Freeride Bindings
Out of the 16 men’s all mountain freeride bindings that I rated:
- The average price was $315 (USD)
- The average score was 79.7/100
- The highest score was 92.8/100
- The lowest score was 58.8/100
- The Ultra FCs ranked 3rd out of 16
Check out the table below for the available sizes for the Ultra FCs.
|Size||Fits Men’s US Boot Sizes||Euro Boot Sizes||UK Boot Sizes|
|Medium||8.0-11.0||40.5 - 44.0||7.0 - 10.0|
|Large||10.0 & up||43.0 & up||9.0 & up|
Who are the Ultra FCs Most Suited to?
These bindings are best for anyone who demands a lot of performance and aren’t shy about paying the price for it.
Yes, they are very expensive, so if you’re budget isn’t that big, they might be out of your price range. But if money is no object and you just want super responsive, high performing bindings, then the Ultra FCs are them.
Also, they are super tough – they’re made from forged carbon and that makes them probably the toughest and lightest bindings out there. So, although they are pricey, they will also last forever so they’ll be the only bindings you ever need most likely.
They are for anyone who likes to charge the mountain and want their bindings to be super responsive but at the same time really comfortable.
They’re not for beginners though. They’re too stiff for beginners – they’re for more advanced riders that want to get the most out of their board.
The Ultra FCs in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Ultra FCs are capable of.
Bindings: Union Ultra FC 2017, Size M
Date: March 25th & March 30th
Conditions: 1st day – Groomed with some fresh on top in the morning and more slushy later on. 2nd day – similar but a little harder earlier on.
Bindings angles: +18/-6 & +18/-6
Flex & Responsiveness
Union rates them a 9/10 for flex. Whilst they are certainly on the stiffer side, I’d say they’re more an 8/10. But they respond like they’re a 10/10 flex.
They felt really smooth – and edge-to-edge transition was really improved compared to the same boards with different bindings.
Despite their stiffness these bindings are still really tweakable. They really flex with the board well so you don’t get any dead spot feeling underfoot.
I’d say this is largely due to the mini disc that’s used for these bindings. The same that’s used in the Ultra (non FC) and the Contact Pros.
They had all the adjustability that you can expect from modern bindings and all the adjustments were easy to make and most can be done tool-less so you can make adjustments on the fly.
I had to adjust the ankle strap after I was out on the mountain and it was super easy to do.
Union have managed to create bindings that are not only super-responsive but also really shock absorbing. They feel really cushy under foot and absorb the shock really well on landings.
The ratchets are smooth and nice and fast and easy to tighten up and to undo.
Let’s Break up this text with a Video
These bindings really are immaculately comfortable. I felt like I really noticed the lightness of these bindings somehow. That, combined with the really plush and light ankle straps, made it feel like there was nothing on my feet at all.
No issues with pressure points in the slightest – I had to look down and make sure it was still attached to my foot on the lift!
The plush foot bed, as mentioned above under shock absorption, also helps these bindings to feel really comfortable. They achieve all of this without sacrificing any response whatsoever.
If you like a super supportive feeling around your ankle, then this is perhaps the one area that’s not quite to your taste.
But if you’re like me and like a medium level of ankle support from your bindings, then these are just right.
They are the second most expensive bindings I’ve come across. But you do get what you pay for in terms of both comfort and performance and in terms of strength and durability. If you want one pair of bindings to last you a long time – like if you ride a lot during the season, ofr example – then that price is going to even out over time.
Changes from the 2016 Model
The 2017 model has more ankle support than previous models. To me they are now that perfect balance of support and freedom of movement. Some prefer more support some prefer more movement. For me they’re just right where they are now.
Quick note: Not to be confused with the Union Ultra. Though they are similar bindings the Ultras are softer flexing and more of an all-mountain-freestyle binding (in my opinion). Still high quality but a different type of binding.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
|FACTOR||RATING (OUT OF 5)||CONTRIBUTION TO FINAL SCORE|
|TOTAL after normalizing||89.7/100|
My first though for these bindings after my first run with them? – “Wow!”
Felt so plush and had HEAPS of response. These things rate a 9/10 (though I’d say 8/10) so I wasn’t at all surprised about the response. But I was surprised about the comfort and the ease in which you could ride them. They didn’t feel overly stiff in terms of having to really work them hard – but they gave the response of a super stiff binding.
They are very pricey – but they were also very awesome.
The straps are amazing, the comfort is great, they have awesome response and they absorb shock really well. I’ve heard others say they feel like there’s not enough boot support but they felt good to me. They’re not super supportive of your ankles but I’d say mid support.
Basically no complaints about these bindings – except for one thing. They are priced to be more expensive than most can afford – but if you’ve got the cash to splash, you definitely get awesome, durable bindings.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you want to learn more about the Ultra FCs or want to research current prices and availability, check out the links below.
- Union Ultra FC at blue-tomato (UK/Europe)
If you want to check out other all mountain freeride bindings or want to compare the Ultra FCs to others, check out the link below.