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Old 04-18-2013, 11:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Union Bindings - Chargers - My Experience To Date

This will be an evolving report on my experience with Union Chargers and Union customer service, but I since there was a couple discussions RE: the Chargers and tons of Union quality / CS threads I thought I'd put up my experience so far. I've been waiting until I had a few days on them. I believe today was day 6.

Ride- I got these because my 2012 Diodes broke. I like the them much better than the Diodes in terms of response. They are very responsive and confidence inspiring, even more so than the Diodes. By far! I'm just starting to experiment with presses and 180s, and little jumps. I'll need to progress more on these with the chargers, and then switch to the Diodes to see what pair is better for messing around. In feeling with the hand, the highback of the Union Charger flexes more torsionally than the Diode. The Chargers, for me, are for sure better when charging, in the trees, or on long variable terrain runs.

Quality- This is hard to say because in all reality my 2012 Diodes have had issues, as did these Chargers. The only difference is my Diodes had issues after 30+ days of riding, and that consisted of one broken highback, and to a much lesser extent one tow strap cap that would come loose the last few times out. Ratchet? Strap? I don't know....

My Union Chargers, since I've owned them, have broken both FWLA at separate times. The way these FWLA are integrated into the carbon highback sucks, because if the FWLA breaks the highback is broke also, unless you want to ride -0 forward lean, which I'm not even sure is safe. Should be but you never know..... you'd have to ask union. Also, they do not have any warranty replacements at this time (more on this later). I had to go to (I was going anyways but if not would have made the trip just to get things right) Mt. Bachelor which is a three hour drive. They happened to have a pair of extra large Chargers in stock, and they were willing to warranty me out the highbacks! Cheers to Mt. Bachelor gear shop!

I went there with one broken FWLA, swapped it out, made 2-3 runs, and broke the other highback FWLA. Again, MT. Bachelor was nice enough to warranty me out the other highback.

Customer Service-
I first contacted CS about how to set up my bindings since I was having toe side turn problems. I used EMAIL as a contact method and they responded, I think, the same day. If not the next day early. We exchanged emails mostly due to my questioning they're suggestions and they were very patient. I got the bindings set up perfect. That's when the first FWLA broke.

+1 for initial CS and their patience with me.

Fast forward to the first FWLA breaking. I'm totally bummed but understand shit happens. I contact Union, send pics. They get it, but they don't have any Charger highbacks left so they say they are going to send a set of Atlas or Team highbacks. Little frustrated at this point, not wanting ATLAS highbacks on my brand new Chargers. I let them know I prefer TEAM highbacks. Low and behold- TEAM highbacks show up! This is great! EXCEPT they are freaking used off white (picture chargers bright orange and black) highbacks and to top it off they're marked large/x-tra large. I was told size on the highback is equal in all sizes.

Not happy with the Frankenstein bindings I now have I pursue the location I bought mine from, knowing they have another pair that probably haven't sold. It worked out. GREAT!! BUT..... no sooner did I get 3 hours from home to the MT Bachelor shop where they gave me a new highback did I go ride the mountain for a couple runs and the other highback FWLA broke.

So now I have two warranty replacement high backs all due to FWLA breaking on the originals. They came off a l/xl which union told me wouldn't matter. However the TEAM highbacks they sent are clearly marked L/XL.

I emailed them about the second busted FWLA and that's when they told me to use the TEAM highbacks because they didn't have any other option until the updated more durable highbacks were released. Not sure on date.... I was kinda frustrated so I didn't ask.

I've way since cooled down since then. And I'm looking forward to the replacements they give me. I'm kind of bummed I got some old TEAM highbacks as a warranty replacement in the first place and only got Charger highbacks because I, not them, came up with thought to check with my gear shop where I purchased them. However it's better than nothing I guess.

As it stands now I have a pair of used TEAM highbacks they sent me for spares, and both warranty highbacks held up for the last two days.

A couple of things I think Union should do, as I see these complaints all over, is
1) - include documentation, and then include some more.
The discs shatter if you use locktite- maybe mention that?
2)The toe cap needs to be setup properly to work as it was intended. They made a YouTube video RE: this, so it must be of some importance.
The heal cup/Toe strap needs to be adjusted correctly. Again..... a need for people to know because they created a video explaining it.

Why not just include the information in documentation with the bindings?

I will revert my c+ to B- CS rating if they don't try to frankenstine me out on the more durable highbacks. I'm assuming that means new bindings, but I could care less. I want an item that's fixed for the market, not a prototype. I have faith we will work it out.

Another thing, speaking of, ..... the MAG buckles are nice , light. But just like the heel cups scrape up very easily. Much too easily.

The toe cap, for me once set up correctly, works without issue. The toe cape buckles have given me no issues.

Sum it up - love the performance, satisfied to this point with CS despite the run out of matching highbacks, worried about getting getting stuck on the mountain with a broken binding.

This story is ongoing and I will update. I like these bindings performance and want to keep using them. But reliability is key for me. Must have it. Thinking I will get it. Sucks I have to wait for it.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Excellent and honest review. It seems Burton and Union are having reliability issues with their carbon based products. I wonder if Union's making an adjustment to their FWLA for next year's model. Also, I wonder what the difference is between their FWLA on their Atlas series vs the Chargers. Mechanically, it looks identical.

Also, if you don't mind PDX, would you mind posting your stats? I'm pretty light at 150 lbs so I'm thinking that alone might help avoid some issues.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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because if the FWLA breaks the highback is broke also, unless you want to ride -0 forward lean, which I'm not even sure is safe.
i bet many people on here ride with 0 forward lean.

good review and info on union though
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mel M View Post
Excellent and honest review. It seems Burton and Union are having reliability issues with their carbon based products. I wonder if Union's making an adjustment to their FWLA for next year's model. Also, I wonder what the difference is between their FWLA on their Atlas series vs the Chargers. Mechanically, it looks identical.

Also, if you don't mind PDX, would you mind posting your stats? I'm pretty light at 150 lbs so I'm thinking that alone might help avoid some issues.
Yes, they are "fixing the issue" on next years model. There's two pieces to the FWLA one mounted on the highback, and one that slides up and down that mounted piece. The latter is the piece that actually adjusts the lean.

The first piece that's mounted to the highback on the charger is only mounted at one point, and its mounted with a plastic pin type that's built into the highback. When the pin snaps the highback is done for.

On the team highback that same piece seems to be molded into the highback and therefore is much stronger.

I will post pics.

FYI I'm 5'8" 210 lbs.

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i bet many people on here ride with 0 forward lean.

good review and info on union though
Sure they do.

What I wanted to get across is I'm not sure if the highback was designed to lean back against the heel cup. Even at zero forward lean the highback still rests against the heel cup via the adjuster piece. When adjuster piece breaks it longer sits as designed.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, they are "fixing the issue" on next years model. There's two pieces to the FWLA one mounted on the highback, and one that slides up and down that mounted piece. The latter is the piece that actually adjusts the lean.

The first piece that's mounted to the highback on the charger is only mounted at one point, and its mounted with a plastic pin type that's built into the highback. When the pin snaps the highback is done for.

On the team highback that same piece seems to be molded into the highback and therefore is much stronger.

I will post pics.

FYI I'm 5'8" 210 lbs.
Got ya. Totally understand now. I guess they did that because of the material differences, but still... I'd figure that would be the part of the binding that sees the most stress and therefore would be a little better designed. Must have been an oversight, but that kind of stuff is not uncommon for a first year model.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Got ya. Totally understand now. I guess they did that because of the material differences, but still... I'd figure that would be the part of the binding that sees the most stress and therefore would be a little better designed. Must have been an oversight, but that kind of stuff is not uncommon for a first year model.
It sounds like You understand completely. I'm on the ipad right now, when I get to the computer ill throw those pics up.

Totally understandable being a first year model. Look at the diode.

Still is frustrating.....
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here they are. You can see the difference. Looks like one is built in and one is attached.

IMG_1838[1].jpg

IMG_1798[1].jpg

IMG_1786[1].jpg

Last edited by pdxrealtor; 04-19-2013 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Really Nice review.

I would guess the reason union doesnt have any charger highbacks is due to the time of year, im sure they have slowed production or stopped production of 2013 bindings and are now focusing on getting 2014 stuff ready. Personaly i say good on them for offering the team or atlas highback as substitute, im sure other brands would just say "we dont have anymore highbacks sorry ull have to wait".

I ride my chargers at 0 fwd lean, so we will see how long the adjuster lasts at 0.....starting next winter
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Really Nice review.

I would guess the reason union doesnt have any charger highbacks is due to the time of year, im sure they have slowed production or stopped production of 2013 bindings and are now focusing on getting 2014 stuff ready. Personaly i say good on them for offering the team or atlas highback as substitute, im sure other brands would just say "we dont have anymore highbacks sorry ull have to wait".

I ride my chargers at 0 fwd lean, so we will see how long the adjuster lasts at 0.....starting next winter
That's a great point(s). I only have experience with Burton.

If they had told me tough shit, you'll have to wait..... I'd have been pissed. Union or anyone else.

CS is huge for me. Huge.
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by pdxrealtor View Post
Totally understandable being a first year model. Look at the diode.

Still is frustrating.....
Oh sure, I'd be frustrated considering how much they cost too.




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Originally Posted by pdxrealtor View Post
Here they are. You can see the difference. Looks like one is built in and one is attached.

Attachment 19650
Is that your Billy Goat? Even with the snow I can tell that's a damn sexy combo with the bright orange Chargers.

Also, on a different note, the colorway on the 2014 models look very similar, so if this one breaks, you could ask for next year's improved version and it won't look too much different.
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