A quickie for a few bindings
I've got a different boot than the last time I rode K2 straps and it apparently made a world of difference. Toe straps are great, ratchets are smooth and release super well, and the ankle strap provides all the support you'd need and stays invisible otherwise. You can put these on jibsticks and freeride boards and you won't be disappointed. They've got enough oomph for stiffies, and enough give for softies.
K2 Company IPO
Company base with I believe the National highback. My favorite Flux was the DS45, stiff base and urethane back. So I have a history of liking the theory behind the IPO. Success. I love Harshmellow for starters, I like the airbags in Raidens a little better, but Harshmellow is a very close second. The stiff base means you can drive and steer your board with power but the softer highback means you've got freedom up top to get into your tips and tweak it out. I want some. One of my new favorite bindings. Super comfortable and all the performance and tweak I ask for.
This is one of the best first year products I've ever been on. I rode them with the softest bushings for full effect. They need a little work here and there (the highback is getting redesigned as I write this) but they theory is sound and lets you drive the board under foot. It really does react more like a skate deck. Don't hesitate to give these a go, they're well done and ride great.
Flow NX2 AT
Everything I wanted out of them. Great anything more than jibbing binding. The urethane pad under the frame is great at cutting chatter but doesn't kill board feel and the canting is so very welcome. I will be in these, they will be on my Rush. Nasty works, you can crank down on the straps a little more and still get in and out easier than before.
Flow NX2 SE
So, the hybrid strap. I had my doubts about the front strap staying put or doing anything at all. It didn't present as an issue for me. The main strap can be ridden with similar tautness as a standard 2 strap and NASTY gets you in and out without issue. The ankle strap does a great job with wrapping your boot and really holds you in well. You don't have anything directly over your toe, but properly adjusted Flows highbacks sit flush to your boot and the diagnal connector strap holds down your toes enough to keep your heelside turns tight. The cable is key to this, because of it you need less pressure on the highback to get oh your heels which means you pull up with your toes less. Its a different feel and I recommend a demo before you buy, but it is absolutely worth a look.
I'm riding these this year. I never rode Relay, but know enough people that have and talked enough about it to realize why this is better. The heelcup is a little stiffer and the shape is just better. The kevlar cable means the binding isn't heavy anymore and the energy transfer is still there. Better board feel and a bit more skate like feel. The straps being hinged to the soft heelcup provides a very snug "wrap" of the boot. Don't make the mistake of overtightening then ankle strap. The wrapping effect means you don't need to crank them to get the same performance and hold. Toe strap is fantastic. Ratchets are fantastic.
Burton Malavita EST.
Hinge is rad. That's for sure, skatey pop initiation. The thing about riding the ankle strap looser cause of the heel hammock is valid. But it doesn't mean you can't crank them if you want. But it is nice to have a little less pressure on your ankles. These are a solid binding for most types of riding. Straight freeride might want something stiffer, but its still doable. Comfortable and one of those bindings you forget about and just ride.
I basically have these with a different interior strap adjuster. The new ladder adjuster on the inside makes these infinitely easier to set up. I really like these bindings. They're the type I could ride every day on every deck. A heavier rider would like them more for park. The aluminum "heelcup" with the urethane top is great. Play up top and great energy and drive down low.
They're light. Not super light, but they aren't heavy. I rode them with 4.0's... Not ideal. So these have that stiff frame soft highback thing goin on. I'm not the biggest fan of the way Rides aluminum frames ride and still think their foot beds cut too much board feel. But they were smooth and a decent choice for someone looking for a high end park binding with a tweakable highback. Minidisc works, better flex under foot. Ride needed this. It's great for them. Comfy straps, was very impressed here.
I still miss Deltas. The footbeds in these are just too thick for me. The urethane/eva combo of Rides past was much better in my opninion. It cut chatter and shock without killing board feel. Minidisc does help give some feel back, but it's just not the same to me. This is my favorite Ride highback ever. Strong when you drive into it, play when you need it. Ratchets have been overhauled and they are butter now. No binding at all. Very smooth. Don't I've had some trouble with ride ankle straps in the past, the put too much pressure on my instep and cramped my foot. I don't know if my foot changed or the straps did, but no issues this time. If I over cranked the cramp came back but otherwise they were comfy and very supportive.
As everyone probably expects, I did not like the toe strap and the toe ratchet is just annoying. The binding wasn't terrible overall, but I just felt like my boot was doing more work than the binding. And they did feel a bit mushy in the heels. The heel pad dampens well but being that there is an unsupported air cavity under it you don't get any kind of reasonable return. So they take up shock well, but stay in the "crumple" position too long. If you go Union I still say get Contact Pros unless you want something stiff. If you just don't want Pro's these are definitely better than Forces for pretty much everything I felt like. So they get recommendation number 2 for Union. The higback was too torsinally soft again. Snappin through a heelside they'd give. They'll be better on full reverse camber boards as you stay more centered with your weight on those. Meaning you'll drive more or less only into the center of the highback. Ankle strap did its job but was a little soft side to side for my preference.