I have L/XL bosses with a size 9 thirtytwo Prion. Took a few trips to really get the fit dialed in for me, but now I couldn't be happier.
As said before the paint will pretty much chip off if you even think about shredding.
A Rome rep contacted me on the forum offering new highbacks. I think thats pretty awesome! As for getting new ones, I think it would just happen again, so ultimately performance over aesthetics.
Oh and as for the ratchets, I think they're pretty smooth. Just don't take off if the ratchet isn't locked down, that'll cause some slip and release. Otherwise they release real smooth and everything else is freakin' sweet!
I can't comment on Union, I checked them out, but never ridden a pair...