Union T. Rice Northstar
Recently tried the Union T. Rice binding and wanted to share my initial reaction to the binding. I only had experiences with Burtong binidngs such as the Cartel, Vita, & Genesis. I also rode and have Rome Katanas.
Mounted them on Yes Asym board which had Cartels on there previously. The binding felt solid and the ankle straps and toe straps were great. The new toe strap/cap is amazing and works great on any boot. Kind of reminds me of the ride toe straps with that rubber strap, which i really liked.
The toe rachets were not sticky so big thumbs up to Union. They came off with ease. I remember the older toe rachets were such a pain unless you did it a certain way. (Push and pull)
The ankle strap fit well on my 9.5 DC judge boot and felt no pressure points and I was able to center the strap. It gave enough support and held my boot in place on all types of conditions. I know some people didn't like it because it just looked small and looked like it wasn't going to give much support. I didn't feel that at all. While it was strange that I was only able to get only a few clicks in on the M/L binding with 9.5 boot I felt secure. However, i wished I had more room and not needing to max out on every setting. Heel cup maxed, toe connector on last hole, ankle connector on last hole.
Performance: It felt pretty damm goood edge to edge and felt it was quicker than my Cartels. 2.5 Canted footbed, was great for my knees as I get aches sometimes. The footbed had a lot of foam and cushioning which made my ride really damp. The flex was nice and stiff but I don't know if it's stiffer than my 2015 Forces. They felt the same when I pulled them back by hand.
What I love: New toe straps and new rachets. On par with other binding companies now. No screw drivers needed for adjustments on toe straps now.
What I didn't love: Having to max out on all the settings. I can't imagine someone with a size 11 boot fitting into it.
The way the toe strap sat when not strapped in, caused an issue for me on the chair. It's just hanging out there and flopping around as it wasn't curved like most toe caps/straps(Unstrapped rear foot). It was most likely a freak accident but my rachet got caught on a skiers binding as we both were lining up to get on the char. The rachet hole some how slide up onto the skiers binding and got stuck there while going on the chair. I guess as I was skating up to the chair because it's just dangling straight out it went up and got caught on the skiers binding. Took a few mins to get it untangled while on the chair going up. (Picture attached)
Overall feeling: I really like this binding and like it more than the '15 Forces because of the ankle strap and toe strap and canting. My '15 forces gave me some uneven pressure points some of the times on the ankle. Compared to my Cartels, I think I like this more because it's stiffer and reacts quicker and also has canted footbeds. I know Burton has autocant but a real canted footbed just feels better for me, I guess thats why I love my Katanas a lot as well.
Do I like these better than my Rome Katanas? I'm undecided at this point but will know more as I keep riding both of them more and more.