Are you a snowboarder looking to ramp up your gear game? Then understanding bindings is a must. Not only do they allow you to comfortably and safely secure your feet to your snowboard, but they can also affect your riding style. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about bindings, from what they are to how to choose the right ones for you.
What is a binding in snowboarding?
In snowboarding, bindings are the component that attaches your boots to your snowboard. The binding consists of a baseplate that attaches to the board, a highback that supports your calf muscles and a strap system that cinches around your boot to hold it securely in place. When you purchase your snowboard, you will generally need to purchase bindings separately unless you’re buying a package that includes the snowboard, bindings, and boots. Bindings come in various styles and price points, and choosing the right one is critical to your riding experience.
What types of bindings are there?
There are three main types of bindings: strap bindings, rear-entry bindings, and step-on bindings.
Strap bindings are the most common type of binding. As the name suggests, these bindings use straps to secure your boots to the snowboard. The straps run across the top of your boot and around your heel, holding it securely in place. Strap bindings are highly customizable, allowing you to adjust the tightness of the straps to achieve a perfect fit.
Rear-entry bindings feature a highback that opens up to allow your foot to slide in from the back. This style of binding is popular with beginners because it’s easy to get in and out of. However, they’re not as adjustable as strap bindings, and they don’t provide as much support.
Step-on bindings are the newest type of binding on the market and are becoming increasingly popular. They use a locking mechanism to attach your boot to the snowboard, eliminating the need for straps or highbacks. Step-on bindings are faster to get in and out of than traditional bindings and provide excellent support. However, they’re also the most expensive type of binding.
What is the flex rating?
The flex rating is a critical consideration when choosing bindings. It refers to the amount of give in the binding, which affects how responsive it is. Bindings typically range from soft to stiff, with soft bindings providing more give and stiff bindings offering more response. Beginners generally opt for softer bindings, which are forgiving and comfortable, while more advanced riders prefer stiffer bindings that allow for more precision in turns.
What is the baseplate?
The baseplate is the part of the binding that attaches to your snowboard. It’s usually made of plastic or metal, and it’s critical for providing a stable connection between your boots and the board. The baseplate can affect how much of your movement is transmitted to the board, which affects how responsive the board feels. Some baseplates are designed to reduce vibrations and absorb shock, making for a smoother ride.
What is highback?
The highback is the piece of the binding that supports your calf muscles. It runs up the back of the binding, creating a “wall” that your calf presses against when you lean back. Highbacks can be adjustable, allowing you to customize the angle and position of the highback to suit your riding style. Highbacks also affect the amount of support and control you have over your snowboard. A high, stiff highback will provide more support and control, while a shorter, softer highback will allow for more flexibility.
What are strap systems?
Strap systems are the part of the binding that secures your boots to the snowboard. They typically consist of an ankle strap, a toe strap, and a ratcheting mechanism. The ankle strap runs across the top of your foot, while the toe strap wraps around the front of your boot. The ratcheting mechanism allows you to tighten or loosen the straps as needed. Strap systems can vary in style and placement, and the design of the strap system can affect how snugly your boots fit into your bindings. Some strap systems are designed to provide more support, while others are more comfortable for extended periods of wear.
In conclusion, understanding bindings is crucial for any snowboarder looking to maximize their performance on the slopes. The right bindings can make all the difference in how secure and comfortable you feel on your board, and how much control you have over your riding experience. By considering the type of bindings, the flex rating, the baseplate, highback, strap systems and your own riding style, you can choose the best bindings to help you carve up the mountain like a pro.