So I've been a straight up Union guy since 2007, but I won one of Transworld's "30 Day Giveaways" and ended up with a K2 setup. So along with the Fastplant board (
) and Maysis boots (
) I got this years National binding with the Auto ratchet technology. I finally got to use the bindings for the first time today; I rode Pico VT on tons of crisp, packed snow, it was GREAT out today!
I'll start with the good:
- I love the canted foot-beds! I can definitely feel a difference here over non-canted bindings.
- Harshmellow really does a great job at dampening.
- Highbacks were perfect for me - not too soft, not too stiff.
- They look good
- Very comfortable ankle strap, evenly distributed pressure (When not over-tightened; see bad)
- The washers have these nifty extrusions that sit in the ridges of the baseplate when you screw them into the board. This keeps the binding from loosening and turning over time.
- Adjusting the straps was easy enough.
- The Auto ratchet system
. It's a cool idea, and it probably works great for people with small feet - but I did not like it at all. I have size Large bindings and size 11 boots, which on K2's sizing chart should be compatible - but I had to really lengthen the toe-strap just to get my boot to fit in when stepping into the bindings; this caused my toe-strap not feel tight enough when tightening down the ankle strap. My toes constantly felt loose while riding, so I'd instinctively bend down the tighten the toe strap, but instead did the ankle, so by the time I got back down the the lift, I had slightly painful pressure points on my ankles from overtightening. Overall, it took me longer to strap in because I had to fight with the toe strap to let my boot into the binding
- Binding adjustability
. I've been riding Union's for 5 years and I've yet to come across and easier binding to adjust. After riding the National's, I still haven't found one. Having to lift up and hold the foot-bed while attaching the bindings to the board is annoying. Trying to make the highbacks parallel to the board messes with the forward lean, and trying to change the forward lean messes with parallelism of the highbacks - I couldn't win. The toe ramp adjustability wasn't terrible I guess.
Overall, the Auto technology and the adjustability ruined what I think is a great all-around binding. If you guys have any tips to help me out with these let me know!
Also, one thing I noticed is the baseplate, heel cup, toe ramp, and ankle strap are all eerily similar to my Soloman Boss'. Does K2 own Soloman or something?