Hello and welcome to my Union Atlas bindings review.
In this review, I will take a look at the Atlas’ as All-Mountain-Freeride snowboard bindings.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Atlas’ a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how they compare with other All-Mountain-Freeride bindings.
Bindings: Union Atlas 2018
Price: $289 (USD recommended retail)
Other Uses: All-Mountain
Flex Rating: Medium-Stiff (7/10)
Flex Feel: Medium-Stiff (7/10)
Rating Score: 80.3/100
Compared to other Men’s All-Mountain-Freeride Bindings
Out of the 13 Men’s All-Mountain-Freeride bindings that I rated:
- The average price was $283 (USD)
- The average score was 79.8/100
- The highest score was 94.7/100
- The lowest score was 56.4/100
- The Atlas ranked 7th out of 13
Check out the table below for the available sizes for the Atlas.
|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|
Who are the Atlas Most Suited to?
The Atlas are best suited to anyone who wants to ride all-mountain but is leaning more towards bombing the groomers and exploring the backcountry, and not as interested in hitting the park.
They are for anyone who puts more emphasis on response then board feel.
Too stiff to be for beginners. Good for anyone who is a solid or high-end intermediate rider and up.
The Atlas in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Atlas are capable of.
Bindings: Union Atlas 2018, Medium
Date: March 23, 2017
Conditions: Snowing! Plenty of powder around from previous snow too. Snowing relatively heavily too. Visibility was average to low. Snow was soft and nice but quite slow in patches.
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Board Ridden: Flow Era 2013
Flex & Responsiveness
These bindings are rated as a 7/10 on Union’s flex scales. Union, uniquely, publish base plate flex and high-back flex separately rather than just one overall flex rating – which is cool, I think.
The Atlas’ get a 7/10 for both base plate flex and high-back flex.
And I would say that’s pretty accurate – they felt like a 7/10 overall to me. This is great for all-mountain riding when you want that little bit more responsiveness and great for freeriding when you want a little more forgiveness, compared to a super-stiff flexing binding.
I was able to get more responsiveness out of my board compared to a lot of bindings and you could really get some quick edge to edge transition out of them, without them being overpowering or hard work.
They are better than some when it comes to board feel but they weren’t amazing in my opinion. This is where I definitely prefer the mini-disc on the Falcors, Contacts, Contact Pros, Ultras and Ultra FCs (in the Union line-up).
You can adjust a lot of things on the Atlas. The only thing I wish you could adjust that you can’t, is the position of the ankle strap (or at least I couldn’t figure it out, if there was a way). That is, I’d like to see the option to move it so it sits higher on your ankle. The ankle strap is really supportive but it sits quite low on the ankle.
What you can adjust though is:
- Forwards Lean
- Highback Rotation
- Heel cup – there are 3 different positions for the heel cup so you can get the perfect fit for your boots in terms of length. This is a nice feature
- There are 5 different holes for the toe strap and 7 different holes for the ankle strap so you can get both centered and this accommodates a large range of boots
And these are all tool-less as well.
I like the fact that the footbed completely removes too – this makes it a lot easier to mount the bindings. But if you’re someone who doesn’t tinker with their setup that much this isn’t a big thing. For me, where I’m always demoing gear, it’s nice to have bindings that are easy to mount (not sure I should have put it that way 😉 )
As with all Union bindings that I’ve tried, the Atlas have great shock absorption. Maybe not quite up there with the Contact Pros, Ultras and T.Rice but really good nonetheless.
The ratchets are really smooth and these bindings are pretty easy to get in and out of. This is just a small thing but it’s always nice to be able to strap in without hassle and to be able to do it quickly.
Let’s Break up this text with a Video
I definitely like the canting in the footbed – and the shock absorption also helps to make these bindings comfortable.
I also really like the feel of the ankle strap in terms of how it wraps around the boot and the feel of the toe strap.
The only thing that would make these bindings more comfortable would be if the ankle strap was a little higher on the ankle, in my opinion. Some might like this ankle strap position. I like a little bit of ankle freedom – a good balance of freedom and support – but they are just a touch too low for my tastes.
As mentioned above, I feel like the ankle support could be better. Not because the ankle strap isn’t supportive – because it is. In fact, it’s more supportive than most bindings. When strapped in at the top of a run, they felt really supportive – it was only when riding that I felt like the position of the ankle strap was too low to effectively support my ankle.
The Atlas’ are really reasonably priced for this category of binding. Of the 16 bindings I looked at in this category the average price was $315 and the Atlas’ come in at $289.
Changes from the 2017 Model
The ankle straps are new on the 2018 model and they are super nice. I have no issue with the straps themselves – just their position.
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||80.3/100|
I like these bindings and I want to like them more. There are just some things that I like better about some other Union bindings that wouldn’t make me run for these.
Don’t get me wrong, they are obviously quality and that’s something your can rely on with Union, and they are nice and responsive and provide quick edge-to-edge transitions and a snappy response.
But I just like a bit more board feel and I’d like to see a way to move the ankle strap higher on the ankle – at least to have the option to do so.
Personally, I’d go with the Force over these and the Force are a little cheaper too. That’s going against what a lot of people would say but that was my experience.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you’re interested in Union’s Atlas bindings, are ready to buy or want to research current prices or availability, check out the links below.
If you want to check out some other all-mountain-freeride type bindings or want to compare the Atlas to others, check out the next link.