Hello and welcome to my Union Atlas FC snowboard bindings review.
In this review I will take a look at the Atlas FCs as freeride snowboard bindings.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Atlas FCs a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how they compare with other Freeride bindings.
Bindings: Union Atlas FC 2024
Price: $569 (USD recommended retail)
Other Uses: Aggressive All-Mountain
Flex Rating: Stiff (10/10)
Flex Feel: Stiff (9/10)
Compared to other Men’s Freeride Bindings
Out of the 13 Men’s Freeride bindings that I rated:
Overview of the Atlas FC’s Specs
Check out the tables for the Atlas FC ’s specs and available sizes.
2x4 | 4x4 | Channel
US BOOT SIZE
EURO BOOT SIZE
UK BOOT SIZE
Who are the Atlas FC Most Suited To?
The Atlas FC is best suited to advanced to expert riders who like to ride fast, carve hard and need bindings that will take whatever they can throw at them. Make no mistake these bindings are stiff.
Best matched to stiffer flexing boards - that 7/10 to 10/10 flex range.
The Atlas FC in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Atlas FC are capable of.
Binding: Union Atlas FC 2024, M
Date: March 16, 2023
Sunny, barely a cloud in the sky. Perfect visibility.
Temperature was -1°C (30°F) and -6°C (21°F) with wind, in the morning and 2°C (36°F), which was -2°C (28°F) with wind, in the afternoon. NW winds 5kph (3mph) morning and afternoon.
24 hour snow: 0" (0cm)
48 hour snow: 2" (5cm)
7 day snow: 16" (41cm)
On groomer: Hard pack but not icy. Overall really quite nice. And fast.
Off groomer: Doable but not ideal. Hard and crunchy.
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Stance width: 555mm (22″)
Board tested with: Lib Tech Terrain Wrecker 157
Boots tested with: Adidas Response ADV, size US9.5
Footbed length: 24.5cm (9.7”)
Footbed Length Fully Extended: 25.5cm (10”)
Baseplate Length (underside): 23cm (9.1")
Highback Height: 21cm (8.3”)
Weight: 960 grams (2lbs, 2oz)
* for one binding, including screws and disc. The average weight of a small sample size of around 80 bindings (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 & 2024 models) I have weighed is 920 grams (2lbs). So the Atlas FC is close to average and felt normal on snow too.
I had the Atlas FC, Atlas Pro, Force, Force Classic and Strata with me to test, so I was able to compare against all of them, plus the Burton Malavita (my control bindings).
In Hand: The highback on these bindings is ultra stiff. And I can definitely see why they get a 10/10 stiffness rating. They barely budge at all when really trying to twist it. And forget about trying to pull back on it, there's no movement whatsoever, so I'm in complete agreement that the highback flex on these things is 10/10 stiffness! Definitely the stiffest highback of all the other bindings I compared them to.
Ankle strap flex is a little flexier - it was somewhere in between the others I tested. Flexier than the new Force and the Strata, about the same as the Atlas Pro, Force Classic and Malavita and a little stiffer than the Atlas.
The toe strap's flex was one of the flexier of all the toe straps. Same as the Atlas Pro, similar to the new Force, but flexier than the Force Classic, Strata and Atlas.
On Snow: On snow they definitely feel stiff, but not quite a 10. Even though that high back is as stiff as they come, there was just a hint of forgiveness in the overall ride. Don't get me wrong, one of the stiffer bindings I've ridden in, but more 9/10 flex for me.
At slower speeds took more muscling but could get it moving pretty quickly, just takes a little more effort than a lot of other bindings. And this was no surprise, given their stiffness. Certainly harder to turn at slower speeds vs the Malavita (my control bindings) and more effort vs Atlas. Pretty close vs Atlas Pro at slower speeds, though if I had to make a call, I'd say the Atlas Pro were a little better at slower speeds.
Also expected, due to their flex, was how good they felt on a carve. Made my board feel considerably more carvy than my control bindings and whilst they were again very similar to the Atlas Pro in terms of carving and higher speeds, they were just a touch better.
What surprised me is that they didn't make my board feel too twitchy, which I often find with stiffer bindings on a softer board. These made my board feel more stable at higher speeds and more confident holding an edge on a deeper carve at higher speeds.
Really decent board feel, which was rather surprising, given their stiffness and they don't use a mini-disc or anything. Part of that is likely down to quite a hard/minimal footbed. And this good board feel is potentially part of the reason why they didn't make my board feel too twitchy, despite how stiff they are.
It was a little harder to execute ollies, butters etc vs my control bindings but those are really good for it, so still really decent.
They took a little more effort to get that pop out of the board, but when putting in that effort they gave at least as much power and I think a little more than my control bindings. Just not as effortless to extract that pop power.
The Atlas FC have really good adjustability. Most things are adjustable on this binding.
Heel Cup: Yes - which is great for boot centering.
Stance Width: Micro adjustments possible - can run disc horizontal and that allows micro stance width adjustments. And given you can use the heel cup for boot centering, you're pretty much always going to be able to run the disc horizontal, as the only advantage of running the disc vertical is to adjust for boot centering.
Highback Lean: Yes and tool-less
Ankle Strap Position: No
Toe Strap Position: Yes - 2 position options
Ankle and toe strap length: Tool-less
Gas pedal/toe ramp extension: Yes - a 1cm range.
Highback Rotation: No (unlike the Atlas Pro and Atlas, which both do have highback rotation).
Compatible with: 2 x 4 | 4 x 4 | Channel
Footbed Thickness: 2.1cm toe and 2cm heel (on one side then 2.2cm toe and 2.1cm heel on other side) – some subtle canting there. There’s padding in the toe and heel, but it’s very hard, not cushy at all. That probably helps with board feel, but not shock absorption.
On Snow: They didn't absorb shock absorption as well as my control bindings. Quite noticeably down. Nothing terrible - but a step down. Felt very similar to the Atlas Pro, which in turn felt very similar to the regular Atlas.
Ratchets nice and smooth and no issues unstrapping on the move approaching chairlift.
Overall really decently comfortable, especially for how stiff they are.
Ankle Strap: Felt good. No pressure points. Felt like you could over crank it and that could lead to pressure points, but you can get it to a position where it's really secure without having to over crank it and at that point there was no pressure.
Toe Strap: The toe strap is really minimal and pretty flexy. I found it conformed to my boots really well and didn't notice it when riding.
Canted Footbed: Yes.
Padded Footbed: Not a lot of padding or cush.
Highback: No padding and hard and stiff. But surprisingly no calf-bite. I did have the forward lean in the most upright position it could go in, but still, with how stiff the high back felt, I was surprised to have no calf bite at all.
Ankle support was good. I found it felt very similar to what I'm used to.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
Contribution to Final Score
SLOW SPEED RESPONSE
TOTAL after normalizing
Overall, the Atlas FC are stiff, hardy, take-no-prisoners bindings that enhance a boards carving abilities, response at high speeds and stability at speed.
But for how stiff they are, they were surprisingly comfortable and had better board feel than I would have predicted.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you want to check out some other freeride bindings or want to see how the Atlas FC compare to other freeride bindings, check out the next link.