Installing Union snowboard bindings is much like installing most standard bindings but each brand of binding tends to have their own small differences, including Union.
This how to for installing Union bindings will cover everything for installing them – even the things that are the same for any standard disc snowboard binding.
But will also cover things that are unique to Union Bindings. This how to includes:
- Tools You’ll Need
- Preparing the Binding Surface
- Choosing stance width, binding angles etc
- Mountain the bindings on the board
- Adjusting heel cup
- Adjusting ankle and toe straps
- Adjusting high-back rotation
- Adjusting high-back lean
What Tools You Will Need
You will need the following to install your Union bindings.
- A #3 Phillips Head Screw Driver
- A Tape Measure
- Your Snowboard Boots
- Your bindings, binding discs and binding screws/washers
- A rag or paper towels
Prepare the binding surface
I like to give the surface of my boards a good clean before I put bindings on them. Often after you’ve taken off your bindings it’s pretty dirty under there.
If you’re installing on a new board, then it’s not as necessary.
I usually just clean with a damp paper towel and then make sure that the surface is properly dry using a dry paper towel and then letting it sit for a little while to air dry.
If you’re wanting to use any kind of chemical cleaner I would be very careful in the one that you use and consult with the snowboard manufacturer as to which cleaner will be ok for their top sheet. You don’t want to end up with a messed-up top-sheet. If you want to play it safe, as I do, just stick to water and elbow grease!
Make Sure you are Setting Up in Your Correct Stance
Are you goofy or regular?
Make sure that the correct binding is going to be at the front of the board and the correct binding at the back of the board.
If you’re not sure about what your stance is yet or if you aren’t sure how to tell which is the front (nose/tip) and the back (tail), check out the links below.
>>How to Tell if you’re goofy or Regular
>>How to Tell the Nose from the Tail of a Snowboard
Another part of your stance is going to be your stance width. This is where the tape measure becomes a valuable tool.
If you’re not sure about your stance width, you can either just go with the reference stance on the board or check out the next link. If you don’t know your preferred stance width yet it’s a good idea to experiment a little bit anyway – so starting with reference stance and experimenting from there is a good idea.
The next link provides a few things about stance setup, including stance width.
Finally, in terms of your stance, you’ll need to choose binding angles. If you already know your preferred binding angles, then you’re good to go. If not, then check out the link below to help you choose the best angles. Again, it’s a good idea to experiment with this to get the best setup – but you do need to choose a good place to start.
>>What Binding Angles Should I Use
Installing Your Union Bindings
O.k. now that you have your stance sorted, we need to actually get those bindings mounted no the snowboard.
Step 1: Get the Correct Orientation for Your Bindings
Place your bindings on the board making sure that you have the correct binding on each side. TIP: the ratchets of your bindings should be pointing to the outside of the board (pointing towards the tip and tail).
Step 2: Setting Up Your Binding Angles
Place the binding discs inside the bindings and rotate the discs so that the arrow is pointing at your desired angle.
There are marks in increments of 3 degrees on the binding disc. So, you can adjust in 3 degree margins. For example 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 degrees etc.
You should always have a positive angle on the front foot – so your toes should be pointing towards the nose (tip) of the board. If the front binding is pointing towards the center of the board, then you’ve put your bindings on a negative angle and you’ll need to adjust the disc.
Your back binding can be on a positive or a negative angle. Although most people these days have some form of a duck stance (with back foot on a negative angle i.e. toes pointed towards the tail of the board) some people still like a “forward stance”.
If you have your back binding a negative angle, your toes should be pointing back towards the tail. If they are pointing towards the center of the board and you didn’t intend on having a forward stance, then you’ll need to adjust the disc.
Step 3: Finding Your Preferred Binding Holes
If you aren’t sure of your stance width, then using the reference stance on your snowboard is probably the easiest way to go (assuming your snowboard has that marked out).
If you do know your preferred width and your setback stance (I find it a good idea to go with the setback stance of the snowboard in most cases), then you can measure that up with your tape measure.
To measure the width, measure from the center of the front binding to the center of the back binding.
If you are on a true twin board with a centered stance and want to double check, then you can also measure;
- from the center of the front binding to the nose; and
- the center of the back binding to the tail.
These two measurements should be the same if you want to be centered.
If you are after a setback stance – or if the board’s reference stance is a setback stance, then these two measurements will be different.
NOTE: Be careful with setback stances. If a board says it has a setback stance of 20mm (3/4”) for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the difference in the measurements will be 20mm (3/4”). Setback stances are setback from the center of the contact length of the snowboard. If your board has a longer nose than tail (which is usually the case with freeride and powder boards and sometimes other types of boards), then you will be setback more than the stated setback in terms of where you are situated between the very end of the nose and very end of the tail.
Step 4: Screwing In
Once you’ve found where you think you will want to mount to it’s time to screw in.
I usually try to screw in only lightly to begin with. Then I double check my measurements to make sure everything is where it should be before screwing in properly.
Line up your disc with the insert holes that you’ve chosen and then choose one screw to put in first. Screw that in lightly, then do the second screw lightly, then the 3rd, then the 4th. Leave them lightly screwed in for now.
Step 5: Overhang
Another very important part of your bindings position is to center your bindings width ways across the board so that you have even overhang on your toe edge and your heel edge.
Tip: If you can’t quite get it even, always have slightly more overhang on the heel edge than there is on the toe edge. You can’t get as low on your heel side, so there’s less chance for boot drag.
To make sure that you have the correct overhang, this is where having your boots is handy.
Place your boots inside the bindings and check the overhang. If the overhang isn’t even, there are a couple of things you can try to do to even them up with Union bindings.
- Adjust the heel cups and adjust to fit your boot so that the overhang is even. To adjust the heel cup loosen the two heel cup screws on the sides of the bindings and the ankle strap screws. You should now be able to move the heel cup forward and backwards.
Note: Some Union Bindings don’t have the heel cup screws. In this case you’ll only have to loosen the ankle strap screws to move the heel cup.
- If you are still having trouble with centering your boots after adjusting the heel cup, you can go back and unscrew your disc and set it up so that it runs vertically instead of horizontally. This will give you less possibilities in terms of width adjustments but will allow you to have more adjustability in terms of centering your bindings for even overhang.
Notes for Union Mini-Discs
If you have Union bindings with mini-discs (Contact, Contact Pro, Ultra, Ultra FC, Legacy & Milan bindings), then there is a little trick you can use to help you to screw them in.
The first time I tried to mount mini-discs it took me forever. If you try to put your first screw in with the washer attached, it’s really hard to actually get the screw low enough to engage.
So, the trick is to take the washer off one of the screws and screw that into the binding first. This essentially lowers that disc to make it easier to get the rest of the screws in. Then proceed to screwing the rest of the screws in, including washers.
Once the rest of the screws are in, then remove the first screw (that didn’t have the washer on) and put the washer back on before screwing it back in.
The final step is to replace the disc covers.
Union has a couple of different types of disc covers, depending on the bindings that you have but they are all pretty straight forward.
Most of their bindings (except for those with the mini-disc) have footbeds that screw in that can be adjusted depending on the size of your boot.
If your boots are at the longer end of the recommended size for that size binding, then you’ll probably want to have that foot bed extended to its longest position.
If your boots are at the shorter end of the recommended size for that binding, then you’ll likely want to have that foot bed at it s shortest setting.
There are three settings to choose from for those bindings with these types of foot-beds.
Setting Up the Toe and Ankle Straps
Just one more step to go.
Now that you have your bindings mounted in the correct position and everything has been tightened up, it’s important to have the ankle and toe straps set up in the right position – both for comfort and for performance.
You’ve done the hard part though – this is pretty easy.
Basically, you just want to have the straps centered over your boot.
So, it’s time to get the boots out again.
- Place your boot in the binding and tighten the ankle strap. If the ankle strap is centered, then you don’t have to do anything. If it is not centered you’ll need to adjust it.
- If you are adjusting the ankle strap, unscrew the tool-less screw on the ankle strap (if you have to use a screw driver you’re undoing the wrong screw – Union (and most other brands these days) have tool-less adjustment for a number of things (including toe and ankle straps) so you can adjust on the hill if necessary.
- Then, adjust the strap to the hole that you think will make the strap centered and screw the thing back in.
- Tighten up again and see if it’s centered. If it’s not, repeat the process until you find the right hole to center it with your boots.
- Repeat for the ankle strap
The toe strap also has an adjustment so that you can use it as an “over the top of the boot” or “around the front of the boot” (toecap). If you want to strap over the top, you should have it in the setting that’s closest to the front of the binding. If you want to use it as a toe cap, it should be at the setting furthest from the front of the binding.
Rotating the High Back
To rotate the high-back (so that it’s flat with the edge of your board) you’ll need to completely unscrew the ankle straps and the ankle ladder.
Then you can rotate it so that it’s flat, then you just need to screw the ankle strap and ladder back in place, into the appropriate screw holes that keep that high-back flat with the edge of the board.
This is a little easier and quicker than the high back rotation – phew!
And it’s also tool-less.
You just need to flip the tool-less lever and adjust it until it’s at a lean that you are comfortable with. If you aren’t sure how much lean you like to have in your high-back this is something else to experiment with.
I personally don’t like too much lean, if any, but everyone is different.
If any of that didn’t make sense to you or if you just prefer to learn with a visual aid, check out the video below for more – and assuming you still have it, always consult your installation manual too – or look it up online.
Thanks for Reading
I hope you’ve found this post useful for setting up your Union snowboard bindings.
Can you explain to me if it is necessary that the highbacks of the bindings are parallel to the edge of the board? I have my bindings in a slight duck stance (+12/-18) and at +12 it is possible to adjust the binding parallel to the edge, but at -18 it looks a bit unnatural. What are your thoughts on this? Do I notice a difference between adjusting the highbacks perfectly to the edge of the board or not?
Thanks in advance!
Thanks for your message.
I don’t think it makes a massive difference to be honest. I like to rotate my highbacks, if they’re capable of it, but I’m not concerned if they’re not fully parallel to the edge. I ride +15/-15 and I’m not rotated completely parallel on either foot, typically. So for your -18, you don’t need to worry about getting it fully parallel, IMO.
Hope this helps
Thanks Nate! Have a good season.
You’re very welcome Kai. Hope you have an awesome season too!
Once again, thank you very much for your articles and for your help.
To place the bindings on a board I have always centered the boots on the binding and then the binding on the width of the board, so that both the boot and the binding were perfectly centered on the board. Using a normal disc set in cross mode to keep it fully centered. I tend to be very picky about that when mounting the bindings.
With the Falcor minidisk I can’t do that, so I have two options:
1.- Leave the boot centered on the binding and the boot protrudes from the table 17 mm at the front and 12 mm at the rear (5 mm difference).
2.- Leave the boot off-center from the mounting (taking the rear part of the spoiler about 7 mm) and the boot protrudes from the table 9 mm at the front and 18 mm at the rear (9 mm difference).
I know that in case of not being able to center them, it is better that the boot protrudes at the rear (heel), but in this case when the toe box protrudes more, the boot is centered on the fixation and the difference between the heel and the toe is only 4 mm.
All the best.
Thanks for your message.
In this case, I think your good to have the toes go over the toe edge by a little bit more, because it’s still only 17mm. So it’s not so far over that it should cause toe drag. Going with 2. isn’t a bad option either, but if you want to have that boot centered on binding feel, then 1. definitely works, IMO, as your not going too far over with the toe. Typically, if not being able to center, I would go with more heel overhang, mostly because it’s easier to get lower on the toe edge and therefore toe drag tends to be more likely than heel drag, so you can get away with a bit more heel overhang than you can with toe overhang. But in this case your 17mm of toe overhang shouldn’t be an issue, so it should work fine.
Hope this helps
Great I will leave it protruding more the toe of the boot, I do not think I will ever be able to drag the dummy protruding 20 mm, hehehehe.
If I see that the table reacts somewhat slower when starting the heel turns due to going a little ahead, I will try to change it.
As always, thank you very much for sharing your experience.
All the best.
You’re very welcome David. And that sounds like a good approach to me.
I have read you can’t rotate the highback on all models of Union bindings. Is this true and do you know the list of ones that can’t be rotated?
Thanks for your message.
I think the Falcor and Ultra are harder to rotate your highbacks on, but you can rotate your highbacks on all of them, since they all have adjustable heel cups. So you can simply have one side of the heel loop on a difference hole than the other to achieve some rotation. I feel like the Falcor and the Ultra only have that method of high back rotation and the others it’s easier to do. Maybe the Contact Pro as well is like that. The likes of the Atlas, Force, STR and I think the Strata are better in terms of highback rotation.
Highback rotation isn’t something I tend to do, so I haven’t paid that much attention to it. I don’t feel that much difference from it, but I know for some they do notice a bigger difference – and I think it depends on calf size too. I don’t have the biggest calves in the world, so that may have something to do with it. But I will start paying more attention to it, as I do get a few questions about it!
Hope this helps
Thanks for writing many good posts, i have a question regarding my set up. I’m riding the T Rice Orca board and i recently bought a pair of Union Falcor binding, with the mindisc i’m not able to set up the binding exactly like where the 4X4 disc were if i want to keep my stance width at the same position. I have to either move it 1 cm toward to the nose or 1 cm toward to the tail. Which one you think it would be better?
Thanks for your message.
I would be inclined to move it slightly towards the tail. Just for the type of board that the Orca is. Something that’s already setback and very directional. Since it is already setback that much, it probably doesn’t matter either way, but personally I would be inclined to go slightly more to the tail, if you can’t get it on reference stance.
When mounting the screws on the atlas when I go to where it’s centered on board and my reference stance is where I want it the holes don’t line up at the widest part of the baseplates but one wide and one towards middle of baseplate. Is that ok or should the jokes be at widest part of the plates?
I think I get what you mean – but just to confirm is the following illustration roughly what you’re seeing:
In that case it seems like you’re past the narrowest or widest stance on the board. If there is a hole showing on one of the widest points of the disc but then another around the middle, then that hole around the middle will be 2cm from the other hole (assuming a 2×4 mounting hole pattern). If there isn’t a hole that’s 4cm from the other hole, then I think the only way that could be the case is either with a stance that’s past the narrowest or past the widest.
I couldn’t say for sure, as I’ve never setup like this, but I don’t think that there would be any issues in terms of the bindings holding staying connected to the board. I mean, the mini-disc from Union – the screws are closer together than that (which is why you can’t use them on a 4×4 mounting hole pattern). That’s not to say that’s necessarily also fine on their Universal Disc, but that’s not to say it’s not ok either. But my biggest concern would be the feel you got from having the disc mounted more to one side – it might give a bit more flex with the board on one side compared to the other. But I couldn’t say for sure as I haven’t tried mounting Union bindings in this way before.
So yeah, I couldn’t say for sure if that’s ok, as it’s not something I’ve tried but my guess is that it would be ok in terms of staying mounted (but this is still just a guess) but it might be the feel that might be an issue. Assuming the compromise, assuming they’ll stay mounted ok, would be to go just a little narrower/wider (depending on what end your stance is at) and line it up so that the two holes are both in the middle, if that makes sense. i.e.:
Hope this helps