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Old 01-20-2014, 05:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Union Factory questions

Hey there,

Not too many actual riding reviews of the Union Factory bindings since they are fairly new into the market. I'm considering Cartels, Vitas, 390 Boss, and these Union Factorys as my options. Currently using 390s, love the flex and movement on these, but want Canting which is the reason for my selection above.
I think the Factorys are stiffer, perhaps more like a Targa? Which I'm not so keen on in theory, but anyone ridden these and attest to the flex vs say a 390 or Vita/Cartel? Since their website sux donkey balls, I'm looking to you good folk, on real life experience with these.

Its really the only other option I'd like to consider before making my call. The Unions look pretty simple, which I think is one of their favoured characteristics. So just how much adjustment is there?
Moveable heel cup (to adjust length and therefore foot position in binding). Toe ramp position?(for same reason above).
Back strap position to adjust response level? Front toe strap position (forward or back to get best position on boot?
Oh just point out I don't have any experience with Union so I cannot relate to comparisons with Forces or Contacts etc, but still appreciate any feedback from anyone thats ridden them (and isn't Travis Rice). Comparisons to Rome would be the ultimate, but vs Burton I have a good idea.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The Factory have a different feel from the 390 and Targa. I'll try to explain without getting confusing. The Factory Baseplate is plastic so is has a bit of flex to it, but is still pretty rigid, where the Targa baseplate has a more rigid solid feel. The Factory ankle strap is similar to the Targa, and more responsive than the 390 (I always found the 390 strap a bit soft). The Factory toe strap is smaller than the Rome strap, but the Factory toe strap is very responsive, and admittedly, a bit of an improvement from previous models.

As far as adjustment, there is quite a bit. You can get a size 11 boot into a M/L binding.

Highback rotation, heel-cup adjust, strap length adjust (toe and ankle), toe ramp adjust, two toe strap position options, and unlimited stance width options (the slots are long enough to extend nearly to the next set of holes). The only thing it doesn't have is multiple ankle strap options. But it's in a pretty centered position. It doesn't sit so high that it restricts upper boot movement, but not so low that you lack toe side response.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, let me know.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I found the lack of flex in the Factory baseplates to be disconcerting compared to my Burton Prophecys with Reflex. The highback had great torsional flex, but was very stiff toe to heel, which gave me a bit of calf bite on my forward leg.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigmountainVMD View Post
I found the lack of flex in the Factory baseplates to be disconcerting compared to my Burton Prophecys with Reflex. The highback had great torsional flex, but was very stiff toe to heel, which gave me a bit of calf bite on my forward leg.
Yeah, I've been riding the carbon infused SL's, which have a noticably stiffer baseplate than the Atlas. I found the Factory baseplate to have a tad more flex than the SL. It's far from a stiff binding.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I got a 31.5 mondo boot into a L/XL and centered fine on my board. These bindings are very responsive but not restrictive. I don't know if that makes sense, but that's the best way I can describe them. I only rode Burton Missions and Ride Capos before these, so I don't have the basis for comparison or experience that you're looking for. I am also an intermediate rider at best so I'm not qualified to give a proper review. My riding has progressed since I got these though, I don't feel like I'm fighting the board like I was on my Capos.
I mounted them on a medium stiff free ride board and it took me 5 runs to really adjust to them from my Capos to the point that the board felt sketchy. But once used to them, I'm amazed at how much better they are in every way than my other bindings. As long as the durability is there, I don't see myself in another binding for a while and I'm even going to sell my Capos. I really love them.
But I don't do any park, mostly groomers and trees. If you're doing any park, I don't know if these are the right binder for you, would have to let someone like extremo answer that.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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These are my sons go to.binding. he is a big mountain competitor On the freeride world tour. he also rides alot of park, pipe, urban..... Everything.

I have ridden them also but mostly freeride/all mountain.

These are a fairly stiff binding that are forgiving. they have great dampening for a stiffer binding too.

If you want a metal, heavy, super stiff binding, these aren't them. If you want an amazing, light, all around binding, get these.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Extremo View Post
The Factory have a different feel from the 390 and Targa. I'll try to explain without getting confusing. The Factory Baseplate is plastic so is has a bit of flex to it, but is still pretty rigid, where the Targa baseplate has a more rigid solid feel. The Factory ankle strap is similar to the Targa, and more responsive than the 390 (I always found the 390 strap a bit soft). The Factory toe strap is smaller than the Rome strap, but the Factory toe strap is very responsive, and admittedly, a bit of an improvement from previous models.

As far as adjustment, there is quite a bit. You can get a size 11 boot into a M/L binding.

Highback rotation, heel-cup adjust, strap length adjust (toe and ankle), toe ramp adjust, two toe strap position options, and unlimited stance width options (the slots are long enough to extend nearly to the next set of holes). The only thing it doesn't have is multiple ankle strap options. But it's in a pretty centered position. It doesn't sit so high that it restricts upper boot movement, but not so low that you lack toe side response.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, let me know.
Thanks Extremo (and you other guys too). Great feedback.
Umm, probably just a couple of questions, I do want it for all mountain and definitely park use will make up a lot of its daily use. Would you say its an OK binding for that sort of usage? The high back does look pretty towering in their pics (not sure if this is just optical illusion from the shaping/colourways, but Bigmountains comments on calf bite concern me. Of course there is no such thing as a free lunch, more stiffness heel to toe will give better response. However saying that I've never been a huge fan of stiff bindings, or cried out for more response, do like a little freedom to move.
At the end of the day, is the high back toe to heel stiffness pretty gnarly on these?
Basically from your avatar, would you use these on any rail duty or did you have them just on an all mountain/freeride quiver deck?

Edit-Argo just spotted your post after sending this, it actually answers pretty well my question above thanks, Extremo whats your 2 cents on the freestyle thing?

Last edited by NZRide; 01-20-2014 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have the Factory mounted on my park board, which I never ride anywhere else. I also own the Atlas, SL, and Force, but the dampening and comfort that the Factory provide is so good that I don't even bother with the others. I have the SL's mounted to my jib board, only because it's got more flex in the highback. But the Factory highback, even though it's stiffer and more responsive doesn't limit my jibbing in anyway. Union really has their bindings dialed to all around use. They allow flex and movement where you want it and provide support and response at the same time.

They do have some pressure from the highback on the calf of the boot compared to the Atlas, but the Atlas highback has a lot of torsional flex, so with a stiffer highback that's to be expected. I don't find it painful or uncomfortable in any way. Just more noticeable.

Edit: I'd just add that I would like to see Union make a binding with the Factory baseplate and straps, but with and Atlas highback. That would be my ideal park binding. But if I rode 50/50 park/all-mountain, the Factory would still be my choice.

Last edited by Extremo; 01-20-2014 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Extremo View Post
I have the Factory mounted on my park board, which I never ride anywhere else. I also own the Atlas, SL, and Force, but the dampening and comfort that the Factory provide is so good that I don't even bother with the others. I have the SL's mounted to my jib board, only because it's got more flex in the highback. But the Factory highback, even though it's stiffer and more responsive doesn't limit my jibbing in anyway. Union really has their bindings dialed to all around use. They allow flex and movement where you want it and provide support and response at the same time.

They do have some pressure from the highback on the calf of the boot compared to the Atlas, but the Atlas highback has a lot of torsional flex, so with a stiffer highback that's to be expected. I don't find it painful or uncomfortable in any way. Just more noticeable.

Edit: I'd just add that I would like to see Union make a binding with the Factory baseplate and straps, but with and Atlas highback. That would be my ideal park binding. But if I rode 50/50 park/all-mountain, the Factory would still be my choice.
Cool thanks for the info.
Interesting it works as an all round park binding, I didn't pick it as such. Exactly why I asked for public opinion. It does seem like it would be a good binding. Still hate the Union website, their info for this binding (and their others for that matter) is so lame. If its good enough for Travis, then its more than good enough for you basically. Imagine if all brands just wrote that sort of crap.
Oh sorry, just two more questions, can you wind the high back to zero forward lean (not that I would want 0 but you know what I mean. so they aren't on say a 45 degree insane lean out of the box that you cannot ease off?
Last question....I promise....well actually you never know Is the Canting across the whole footbed?, but again their website sux, just mention of toe ramp canting that I could see. I would assume its across the whole foot as opposed to some twist in the foot and canting on the toes only, but then again I've been surprised before in this industry.

Oh just thought of one more question sorry, Again an assumption, the plates on these, you can rotate them so the holes allow toe-heel adjustment, rather than stance width, to get perfect centering? May seem like dumb question, but found out recently the Burton reflex discs are not designed to be used in the alternate ways, although Unions look like standard discs, they are not machined to flex differently in the different orientations?

Thanks alot, sorry to be a pain.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You can rotate base plates.

My son takes the little adjuster off the.highback so he has a true zero lean.

The canting is across the whole footbed
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