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How stiff do bindings need to be?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am not a snowboarder but both my (now college age) kids are.  I am looking to upgrade my daughter's board, and was looking over her bindings which are Burton F1's from a few years ago.  They were fairly top-line at the time, having a carbon fiber back.  However, I noticed that the plastic part that connects the back to the base (for the pivot) is fairly flexible compared to other bindings I have examined.  In straight-back pressure this does not seem to have any effect, but twisting the back you can feel some flex. I am wondering if this reduces some response. Conversely, this could also act to "filter out" some harshness on rutted hard pack.  Maybe this does not have any real effect; does the back only come into play in straight back pressure? (as I said, I'm not a boarder so I have no idea).

Does anyone out there have some real-life experience with the difference this can make?
post #2 of 8
You're actually hitting on some of the possible ways this interacts with the snowboarder, already.  Depending on a given boarder's stance setup, board, boots, and individual preference, for the same type of riding some riders may like a more-responsive binding, some may like one with a bit more give.  Depending on how much your daughter's ridden over the last few years, and whether her boot size or weight have changed, she may or may not benefit from looking to get new boots at this point.  The bindings are probably fine for her.

I would recommend you find a board shop with a knowledgeable staff, and call ahead to ask when a good time is to come in.  Bring in the old board, bindings, and boots if possible -- even if it's concluded that a new board is all she needs, they may have other setup advice that would be helpful to her that they'll generally be happy to give. 
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, that would be if I can actually find someone who in knowledgable, and not just trying to make a sale.  I know people I can trust on ski equipment but not yet with snowboarding stuff, which is why I'm relying on forums like this (you get enough information to process and you're bound to get a consensus which should be somewhat near the truth).
Her boots are nearly new, fairly high end Burtons we bought 2 years ago.  I know from experience with my son that bindings do indeed make a big difference (when he got his last board, a Burton 7, we transfered his Flow bindings.  He said the board didn't feel like when he demoed it.  Trading up to a pair of Cartels made a world of difference). Hence, my questions about the flex.
The good news is that bindings are cheap enough we can buy a pair and see if she feels a difference.
post #4 of 8
As I said, bindings can make a difference, but there are too many variables to say that one is better than another, just because of something like a given flex pattern.  Also, as with any complex system, it's best to change only one variable at a time if you can help it.

If you're loaded and bindings are cheap to you, go to a shop that sells "high end Burton" stuff and tell them you want a high end board and bindings to go with it. 
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I agree, one change at a time.
I'm detecting a bit of sarcasm in your reply.  It's not that I'm loaded, but snowboard bindings seem to be fairly inexpensive when you compare to the price of today's ski/binding systems.  I got the F1's really cheap, so I figure I'm ahead of the game. Sometimes you just have to try things for your self to see what works best for you, wouldn't you agree?
And I only described the boots as "high end Burton stuff" because I did not remember the exact model... I just know that since my daughter was old enough where she would not be needing new boots every year, it was time to make the investment in the best quality and performance. I made that note so that anyone who may have a response would know we are not dealing with bottom of the line equipment. 
post #6 of 8


CT's a good guy and means well. We're not used to snowboarders who aren't frugal. I ride Burton and love them, but their gear is pricey on the value scale and they do sell a lot of gear to people who buy the name and don't worry about the details. I've been known to occasionally skip the extensive research and just go buy stuff in order to find out for myself. So I know where you're coming from,

If I read your post correctly, you're talking about lateral flexibility in the connection between the highback and the base of the binding. We definitely want a solid connection vertically. A flexible lateral connection could be beneficial to some riders, but most riders won't notice the difference. Even my old step in bindings with solid highback connections has some lateral flex. In the past, I've "cocked" the lateral angle on my highbacks to tweak this performance aspect. More advanced riders will use fore and aft movements during their turns (similar to skiers moving forward during turn initiation) that can create lateral forces on the the highback. Most riders never even adjust their highback lean angle for optimum performance. But for riders who can feel the difference, these kinds of things can be very important.


My advice is don't worry about the bindings for now. Let her demo stuff and decide if she wants to upgrade bindings later.

If you're looking for a reputable board shop, your trusted ski guys may have a recommendation. It's also pretty easy to talk to folks and determine if they're good or not. Ask them where they ride, what kind of riding they do, how often they demo gear, what makes a difference between good and not as good gear and what questions they ask before they make gear recommendations. How they answer those questions is more important than what their answers are. It's easy to "hear" sincerity, competency, experience and opinion if you just try. Kids with a job are going to have much simpler answers than battle tested vets.

post #7 of 8
Rusty's a charitable guy.  Sorry for the sarcasm.  Rusty's advice on finding a shop is spot-on.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks Rusty.  I made my kids a promise that when they graduated high school, they would be set up with good equipment, then they are on their own  :-)   Not that we didn't look for bargains; the Burton boots happened to fit them best (I made sure they tried on at least 1/2 dozens brands/models). 
Sounds like this may or may not be an issue, which is exactly the answer I was looking for.  So we'll get a new board this year (probably will end up just buying one based on reviews as it's hard for her to get out and do a lot of demos...and a lot of what I have seen is brand "B" anyway in the Vermont area).  Maybe later we'll try different bindings...maybe she can swap with someone.
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