Review - 2012 Targas
I went up the mountain yesterday with my NEW Proto HD with NEW Rome Targas that I bought the end of last season for a good discount. Background: I've been using Flows since very early in my snowboarding career. I've owned and occasionally used standard bucklers during that time, but have tended to stick with my NXT-ATs for most of my riding. So fair warning, there may be some bias.
This season has been really crappy -- worst season since 1990 actually. "Snow" consists of icy crust covered by a thin coat of scraped-off icy crust. Definitely not carving time.
I started off the day hitting a couple of blues, trying to push my new board. Found I was having a lot of trouble with my heelside turns, even allowing for the "snow". Eventually I realized that the highbacks come from the factory set far more vertically than I like. D'oh!! So I took off the board to adjust the highbacks, and oh look, requires a screwdriver. Strike one. Eventually got to the rental shack where they have tools out for people. Easy adjustment with a Phillips in hand.
I went down Mushroom and hit a small jump, got to the bottom and took the Magic Carpet up. Got to the top and realized I was missing an ankle strap. Argh! Skated back down to the bottom and the liftie handed me my ankle strap. The problem here is a rubber strap on the bindings that attaches to the non-buckling side of the ankle (and toe) strap. This strap pulls the ankle strap away from the boot as soon as you unstrap and keeps it away so you don't step on the strap when strapping in. Nice idea, but badly executed. The rubber strap attaches to the adjustment buckle (the buckle that holds your ankle strap onto your bindings all the time) in such a way that it applies opening torque to the buckle. I think that having these buckles unexpectedly pop open would be a regular thing. Strike two. Anyway, I undid all four retractor straps until I can figure out a better way to attach them.
When you are buckling in, there's a loop of material (kind of like a belt loop) on the top of the ankle strap that's supposed to hold the ladder strap. Keeps it looking "neat". The trouble is you have to consciously guide the ladder strap into the loop or it doesn't always go in. Sometimes it ends up sticking out into space, and sometimes it jams up against the loop and jams the ladder so that the release lever DOESN'T WORK! After 5 minutes of struggling and actually ripping the loop, I managed to get the ankle strap released and get my foot back. Strike three.
These bindings feel fine when you're actually riding. There might be slightly more responsiveness than with the Flows (or that might have been just the new board) but certainly not enough to put up with the shit. I'll probably try some other brand of standard binding at some point, but it won't be Rome. That's two pairs of Rome bindings that I've owned and set aside. In the short term, I think I'm going to go get a new pair of Nasty NXT-ATs.
In retrospect, "Let's get the goat drunk"
should have been my cue to leave the party.