Hello and welcome to my NOW Brigade bindings review.
In this review, I will take a look at the Brigade as freestyle snowboard bindings (though you could also use them as all-mountain bindings).
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Brigade a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how they compare with other freestyle bindings.
Binding: NOW Brigade 2020
Flex Rating: Medium (6/10)
Flex Feel on Snow: Medium-Soft (4.5/10)
Rating Score: 74.2/100
Compared to other Men’s Freestyle Bindings
Out of the 22 men’s freestyle bindings that I rated:
*Based on 2019 ratings. Not all ratings for 2020 models have yet been completed. These stats will be updated once they have all been updated
Overview of the Brigade's Specs
Check out the tables for the Brigade’s specs and available sizes.
2 x 4 | 4 x 4 - needs a separate disc for channel mounting
US BOOT SIZE
EURO BOOT SIZE
Who is the Brigade Most Suited To?
The Brigade are best suited to anyone who wants to ride freestyle or more casual all-mountain riding and particularly for those that are looking for next level shock absorption.
Good match for boards with medium-soft to medium flex - 4/10 or 5/10 would be the best matchups.
OK for beginners, without being beginner ideal, but great for intermediate riders or intermediate to advanced freestyle riders.
The Brigade in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Brigade are capable of.
Binding: NOW Brigade 2020, M
Date: March 15, 2019
Conditions: Overcast but good visibility.
Snow was quite cruddy and slushy/sticky in places. But was harder in other places. Started to harden up as it moved into evening, and got better for speed and response - but was quite sticky earlier in the day.
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Stance width: 550mm (21.7″)
Board demoed with: Rossignol One LF 2018, 159
Baseplate Length: 25.3cm (9.96”)*
*measured on the top side of the footbed - a little bit of angle down to underside of baseplate, but not heaps
Highback Height: 19cm (7.48”)*
* from bottom of heel cup to top of highback
Height from Bottom of Baseplate to top of Highback: 28.5cm (11.22")
Weight: 900 grams (1 lb, 15oz)*
*for one binding, including screws and disc. The average weight of a small sample size of 26 bindings (2019 & 2020 models) I weighed, was 894 grams. The lightest was 760 grams and the heaviest was 1,000grams.
NOW rate these as 6/10, but I felt them softer than that. Just a little less than 5/10, but too much less - just slightly less than medium - I'd say 4.5/10.
They weren't the most responsive bindings. The least responsive of the NOW bindings that I rode and less responsive than my control bindings (Burton Malavita).
They don't have a lot of board feel, which I found was typical of NOW. The Skate Tech does a great job absorbing shock, but in terms of getting that side to side movement feel with the board, it's not great.
The Brigade have slightly shorter highbacks, and I feel that helped them to have a little better board fell than the other NOW bindings I tried, but still not great in that department.
I felt I got less pop out of my board vs riding with my control bindings (Malavitas). Not non-existent by any stretch but not ultra poppy either.
Lacking a bit in terms of traditional adjustability, but (as I'll explain further down) - there is some unique adjustability to the Brigades and other NOW and Jones bindings.
Heel Cup: No
Stance Width: Can run disc vertically and horizontally
Highback Lean: Yes, tool-less
Ankle Strap Position: No
Toe Strap Position: No
Ankle and toe strap length: Tool-less
Gas pedal/toe ramp extension: No
Highback Rotation: No
Compatible with: 2 x 4 | 4 x 4 - Not compatible with channel without separate disc
So not a heap of things you can adjust.
However, there are a couple of things that do adjust that most other bindings don't do.
- You can flip the ankle strap between the left and right bindings, which changes the feel - one way it gives more ankle support and the other way allows for a bit more freedom. The Brigade uses NOW's Asym Sieva ankle straps - which can be flipped like their flippit straps.
- You can get separate bushings and they can be swapped out. This allows you to adjust the flex feel of the bindings. I think the Brigade only comes with medium bushings, but you can buy soft or hard bushings separately.
Let’s Break up this text with a Video
Like all NOW bindings, the Brigade has excellent shock absorption. This is the top feature of the Brigades, IMO, and is achieved in 2 ways.
Firstly: There is plenty of nice padding underfoot - which is the way that most bindings deal with shock absorption - and this part of it alone does a good job. I would likely give 5/5 for shock absorption just for this factor alone, for the Brigades. But the next factor increases their shock absorption even more, and is what makes NOW quite unique, when it comes to shock absorption.
Secondly: NOW's kingpin Skate Tech does a great job at absorbing crud, bumps, chatter you name it. It gives the Brigades a really damp, smooth feel when you're riding, and on landings from jumps.
The ratchets on all NOW bindings I've tried function really well. They're not the smoothest on the market, but they work well - and aren't sticky or anything like that.
Overall the Brigade are comfortable enough. And certainly as the day gets longer, they will hold their comfort well, with that next level shock absorption.
Ankle Strap: Decent but not amazing, but didn't notice any pressure points, so no complaints.
Toe Strap: Again, not amazing, but decent enough.
Canted Footbed: No
Padded Footbed: Really padded and that extra shock absorbing qualities of the Skate Tech helps to make these bindings comfortable over longer periods.
Highback: No major padding or anything to speak of on the highbacks but I didn't notice feeling them while riding, except when paying attention to their feel - which is a good thing.
Not heaps of ankle support. Mid level I would say. Though you can flip the straps on the Brigades to - so they might provide more support if flipped.
Price/Value for Money
The Brigades are reasonable value for money. They scored about average on my freestyle bindings ratings system - but a lot of what they missed out from was board feel/butterability - which takes a lot of weighting. If board feel isn't as big a deal for you, they could score higher.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
Contribution to Final Score
TOTAL after normalizing
Overall, the Brigades are a decent pair of bindings for pairing with medium-soft to medium flexing boards, for freestyle or more casual all-mountain cruising.
They have some of the best shock absorption of any binding I've ridden, but are a little bit let down by board feel.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you want to check out some other freestyle binding options, or if you want to compare how the Brigades compare to other freestyle bindings, then check out the next link.