2011 Cinch CTX First Impression
I was able to get the bindings onto my Rome Flag for the first runs of the season on Saturday and i wanted to share first impressions from someone who was convinced he was going to hate rear-entry bindings and also specifically has been anti-cinch for a long time.
Ok first let me say that I think it was somewhat silly for K2 to remove the actual ratchet on the toe for this years Cinch's. I get that it's sort of a set and forget type of binding, but without this simple element which they did have last year it makes setting these up a much bigger PITA than it actually needs to be. Even with that though it's definitely not that bad it just takes a little bit longer than it really could.
Now first impression of strapping into these was that they felt about as longitudinally responsive as my Union Data's and sort of in that all-mountain range. Not too soft but not too stiff either. Laterally they were definitely softer than the Data's though. I'm thinking that has more to do with the design than the actualy construction or materials but it wsa definitely noticble. I didn't find it affecting my performance at all but I could tell.
The ankle straps are actually a lot more comfortable than you'd expect them to be when looking at them. They're definitely minimalistic in design and it's because of this that they form very well to my boot and allow for them to be responsive yet comfortable with no noticeable pressure points thus far. The toe is pretty much not noticeable IMO, they work, they're there, they don't slip up the toe which is a nice change from the Data's which were a couple of seasons old and were plagued by toe strap slippage.
The ease of entry alone to me was worth the price of admission. Now it's not that I can't bend over and strap in on regular bindings...but I've got some pretty major back issues so the less getting up and down the better. Also I ride a lot with skiers so it makes it super quick to get off the lift, pop your foot in and then flip the clip up in the back and you're ready to ride. I have mine set pretty tight so it does take some effort to get them to clip up but nothing crazy and still way quicker and easier than regular bindings.
I didn't really notice any advantage to the canted footbeds but the harshmellow in them definitely did a good job helping to damp out the ride. Especially since I was riding 100% man made crap with death cookies abound it was nice to know that even under these conditions my knees weren't taking the beating they have with other bindings I've used.
Overall after the first day of testing these out I found them to be worth the investment and I'm glad I went with these over the flows because I like the feel of traditional strap bindings versus flows I-strap. The only major knock I have is that lack of toe ratchet which I did know about and is seriously not a problem because I'm pretty sure I have the toes dialed in where I want them already. If your looking for a rear-entry binding but want traditional straps give the Cinch's a try I think you'll be happy with what you get.
I'll update as I ride these more and give further impressions. I'm putting them on my 2011 Legacy for next weekends trip to Killington so I'm interested to see how they ride on that board and if there's any changes in my opinion of them.