This is my first review so cut me some slack
Level: On mountain blacks and double blacks. In park: intermediate
Board: Burton Superhero 145cm
Boots: Size 8 thirty two exits
Conditions: Soft snow and groomers and one day with 7-8 inches of powder.
First Impression: My first pair of real bindings were 2011 UNION FLITES. Came in a nice box with mounting discs and hardware. Also came with instructions on how to set up the bindings. Here is a good video for setting up bindings:
Flex: Union markets the flite as more of a soft freestyle binding and I find this true. In the park the bindings performs well from tweaking grabs to jibbing. However the binding still has enough stability for the jump line. Outside the park the binding still does well on tree runs as there was still enough stiffness to lay down nice heel side carves and the straps were supportive enough to dig into toe side carves. To me the binding never felt unresponsive or over responsive; it was perfect. Overall the flex is soft however there is still enough binding for some steeper stuff.
Ankle Strap: The Flite uses Union's direct connect strap which did a good job of providing support and comfortability
Toe Strap: The new buckle on the strap works perfect. Although I haven't had problems with union toe straps in the past; the new push pin should eliminate this problem. I rode it as a cap strap with the ladders in the far back setting of the baseplate.
Dampening: The flite has dual EVA bushings under the baseplate which help absorbs and an EVA accelerator pad. Together they do a good job of absorbing vibrations. However I think there are a couple bindings around the flite's price range that have just a little more dampening.
Durability: I have a pair of 2011 union flites that are still going strong and these 2014 are no different. In 5 days of riding only a couple cosmetic issues not real problems.
Overall impression: I think the flites are the best bindings around 150-170 price range. Although they are not the dampest they make up for it in versatility. The flites never felt unresponsive and were forgiving. Overall the flites are a soft freestyle binding that still can shred pow and some steep stuff.