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 2021
Price: $549 (USD recommended retail)
Other Uses: Aggressive All-Mountain
Flex: Stiff (9/10)
Rating Score: 90.7/100
Compared to other Men’s Freeride Bindings
Out of the 10 Men’s Freeride bindings that I rated:
- The average score was 85.5/100
- The highest score was 92.3/100
- The lowest score was 79.9/100
- The average price was $443
- The Atlas FC ranked 2nd out of 10
Overview of the Atlas FC’s Specs
Check out the tables for the Atlas FC ’s specs and available sizes.
Freeride, aggressive all-mountain
2 x 4 | 4 x 4 | 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 those who like to charge hard and will match with stiffer flexing boards best. Anything from 7/10 to 10/10.
Definitely not for the beginner. This is a binding for those that are advanced and is take no prisoners.
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 2021, M
Date: February 28, 2020
Conditions: No fresh overnight but there was the previous night. Groomers were nice. Well enough groomed with a medium snow base and a soft layer on top.
Off groomer good too - not fresh like it was the previous day but medium - not hard or crunchy or anything.
Visibility variable. Temp was -3°C (26.6°F) with wind but didn't feel overly cold to start. Wind picked up and was quite a chilly wind later on.
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Stance width: 550mm (21.7″)
Board demoed with: Rossignol One LF 2018, 159
Baseplate Length: 24.4cm (9.6”)*
*measured on the top side of the footbed - a little bit of angle down to underside of baseplate which was 23cm (9.05").
Baseplate (footbed) Length fully extended: 25.4cm (10")
Highback Height: 21cm (8.3")*
* from bottom of heel cup to top of highback. From bottom of baseplate to top of highback is 27.2cm (10.7")
Weight: 920g (2lbs)
* for one binding, including screws and disc. The average weight of a small sample size of around 30 bindings (2019, 2020 & 2021 models) I weighed, was 895 grams. The lightest was 760 grams and the heaviest was 1,020grams. So the Atlas FC is a pretty average weight based on those samples.
There's virtually no twist in the high back and the baseplate to be rated just as stiff. Definitely one of the stiffer bindings I've ridden.
As expected this binding gave my board a more carvy feel and drove it harder - so much so that it almost overpowered my board (6/10 flex). It's definitely hard charging and makes you want to carve harder.
Reduces maneuverability at slow speeds vs the softer flexing Atlas (which I rode the same day) and my test bindings (Burton Malavita).
Board feel isn't bad for a such a rigid binding. But just a hair less board feel than the regular Atlas, and a good step down from the Malavita. But
Very similar to Atlas and very similar to Malavita, but just that little bit more effort involved.
Let's Break this Text Up with a Video
LIke the regular Atlas, the Atlas FC is super adjustable. You can adjust in most ways.
Heel Cup: YES
Stance Width: Can set disc horizontal or vertical - and given that you can adjust the heel cup, there's a good chance you won't have to run it vertical. Running it horizontal gives some good micro adjustment to stance width possibilities.
Highback Lean: YES, tool-less
Ankle Strap Position: No
Toe Strap Position: Yes
Ankle and toe strap length: Tool=less
Gas pedal/toe ramp extension: YES
Highback Rotation: YES
Compatible with: 2 x 4 | 4 x 4 | Channel
Whilst the footbed feels rather firm and like it's going to be a bit harsh underfoot, it's actually pretty good. It's thick enough, and actually felt pretty decent on flat landings, and at absorbing chatter.
The heel is a little more spongy than the rest of the footbed too, so that helps. Still quite firm, but a spongier firm, if that makes sense.
Overall not ultra shock absorbing, but better than you'd think when riding compared to how firm the footbed feels.
Nice and smooth ratchets make it easy to get in and out of.
Overall a nice and comfortable binding, particularly for how stiff it is.
Ankle Strap: Nice and conforming, without any pressure points that I noticed. I slightly prefer the strap on the Falcor, but that's not taking anything away from this ankle strap, as I really like the Falcor one.
Toe Strap: Nice toe strap. Sat really well on my boot - felt secure and comfortable.
Canted Footbed: YES
Padded Footbed: As per shock absorption section above, it's a firm footbed, but has more give when riding than what you expect.
Highback: There's some padding on the highback which helps. I did notice a little bit of calf bite, but that's typical with a stiffer binding with more high back lean. It's the kind of binding you want to drive hard with, so I wanted a little more highback lean, and that, for me, typically leads to a bit of calf bite. Was nothing that was so bad that I wanted to stop riding, but noticed it a little. It would be less so with less highback lean on though I would say, or if you were used to a lot of highback lean.
Good ankle support and Union have really improved in this area over the last few years with their ankle staps. The one thing that this binding doesn't have in terms of adjustability is a different ankle strap position.
If it had options for the ankle strap position, then that might give it even better ankle support (if there was a higher position option), but that's getting really picky as it is really decent.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
Contribution to Final Score
TOTAL after normalizing
The atlas on steroids really. Really hard driving bindings. Made my board feel lighter and more powerful. Almost overpowered my board, but on a stiffer board would make it sing.
Great for anyone who wants to bomb or carve hard on a bombing, carve hard kind of board.
You'll want to have a big binding budget for them though, of course, these bad boys don't come cheap!
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.