Which Binding? Union Force MC, Union Atlas, Ride El Hefe - Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Which Binding? Union Force MC, Union Atlas, Ride El Hefe

Hi,

This is long so for the 'tl;dr' folks: I'm a big guy, ride hard and steep (no park to speak of), highback on Ride CADs broke and now have a decent sized credit towards anything made by Burton, Ride, K2, Union, Salomon or Flow- my initial preference is Union, Ride or Burton, and I've generally gravitated towards the stiffer but more comfortable end of the spectrum. Without price being a concern, what would you buy?

Full Story, and rambling (grab a beer):

I'm looking for some advice on new bindings- I've made the slow transition from convenience to traditional and comfort...started out with K2 Clickers, then some Cinch CTX, Ride CADs and now one of the highbacks on my CADs snapped However, the shop I bought them from is awesome and essentially gave me store credit towards something else. They carry Burton, Ride, K2, Union, Salomon and Flow- I've discounted Salomon as their footbeds are too short (see setup notes below), Flow because I just can't get into them, K2 is kinda 'meh', Burton I've never been a big fan (no good reason) and when I looked at their 'stiffer' bindings (Diodes) I was less than impressed with the ankle strap etc (maybe I'm too judgmental). Anyway, that left me back with Ride and Union which I've narrowed down some of their models.

After having the highback snap I'm a little wary of Ride again, but logically I know they make tons of great bindings. Don't know how the highback broke, but doubtful from abuse...I tend to ride steep and hard all mountain (no park to speak of) and not reckless.

My current setup- a Unity Dominion 170W, Salomon Malamute 13 (14s?) can't remember, either way...big, like me- 6'3" and ~300lbs...I can generate quite a bit of power/torque with my legs and tend to scale up my setup accordingly.

My old CADs:
-Things I liked: Canted footbed, toe strap, seemed to be pretty responsive and adjustable
-Things I disliked: Rachets slipped on some ladders, ratchets don't always release, ankle strap and toe strap dig in and aren't always that comfortable,

I demo'd some 'rental' Union Forces (2010-2011?) with the infamous split toe strap...my initial impression was that I really liked that the baseplate and heel cup seemed to contour to my Malamutes much more snugly than any other bindings I've ridden...additionally, I found the ankle strap to be awesomely comfortable. However, I did have issues with the toe strap slipping (as mentioned by many others), but I'm willing to give it some more time for tweaking to get it positioned 'just' right, and/or pick up a set of the Ride Toe Strap setups.

As far as models go, I was interested in something stiffer as that's what I'm accustomed to. The Atlas and the MC seem to really fit the bill...the regular Forces and SLs seem to have a more playful highback which I'm scared of with my size...similarly I gotta admit I'm a little untrusting of the MC's- I think Carbon Fiber is awesome, and supposed to be ridiculously strong, but I see how thin and light it is and I can't help feeling like I'd snap it in two...this is completely unfounded though- and I welcome any thoughts/opinions. The MCs would normally be more than I'd want to spend, but with the credit I have from my CADs they are more than reasonable to me.

I'm not overly familiar with the new Ride lineup, but the El Hefe seems most comparable to my CADs...also looked at the Capos. Seem to be pretty decent, but a little scared after snapping a highback.

As far as Burton goes, I looked at some of the Diodes and was not overly impressed with the ankle strap etc, but maybe I'm too picky- convince me otherwise...

So, all-in-all of the Unions, Rides, and Burtons for all mountain fast riding, what would you recommend if price wasn't an issue?

Thanks!
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey, I've been on the Atlas for the past week and a half and will be dropping a proper product review tomorrow. In the meantime, I thought I'd give you some thoughts on the binding. I personally am liking the atlas a lot, but I do weigh 150 lbs, so i'm not sure how soft it would feel to you. For me its torsionally soft but plenty responsive edge to edge. It feels light. On a plus side, my toe straps haven't slipped yet, and the ratchets have been great. Union's new ankle strap on the atlas is pretty outstanding. If you wanted something all around tough with cushy ankle straps I think the Burton Cartel at least deserves a look. The diode's are going for a SUPER light approach, hence the thinner straps. I have no experience with the Ride's in question. I don't know if that helps, or confuses the issue, I just wanted to give you some quick thoughts. hope it helps a bit.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for the reply- any insight is definitely good. I guess that was something I noticed with the forces was that even though they were somewhat soft for the highback, they still seemed quite responsive. So as long as the materials can hold up, then I don't mind them being a little softer- although I do recall the atlas being pretty stiff and the mc being almost unmoveable. What other bindings have you rode? Even though the diode strap seems thin, is it still comfortable?
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Old 12-18-2011, 06:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I bit the bullet and just ordered the Force MC- I figure at roughly 50% off MSRP there's no way I could go wrong, and the straps are just too damn comfortable to dismiss
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Old 12-18-2011, 06:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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does the toe ratchet on those release easily?
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Raiden Machines, Rome Targa's, or Salomon Calibers. Those are your best bets for strength.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riley212 View Post
does the toe ratchet on those release easily?
It appears to be 'ok'- the CADs were a little smoother, but these weren't terrible. Worst case I'll replace with a set of Ride toe straps, but I'm pretty sure these should be fine.

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Raiden Machines, Rome Targa's, or Salomon Calibers. Those are your best bets for strength.
Thanks, I had actually looked at the Calibers, but they don't size for large boots- pretty messed up that Salomon makes bindings that don't fit their boots, while the straps will reach, it really is about 3-4" overhang over the toe ramp by the boot. Just an FYI for anyone else with big feet looking at Salomon bindings. Romes and Raidens weren't really options as the store isn't really a dealer.
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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congrats on purchase. I am interested to see what you think of the Force MC. let us know! I haven't talked to anyone who's ridden them. Enjoy!
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Wow, you passed up on El Hefes or Diodes for a deep discount?

Hats off to you bro.
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Wow, you passed up on El Hefes or Diodes for a deep discount?

Hats off to you bro.
Since there seems to be a healthy amount of snark in your reply, care to elaborate? Do you just hate union? I get that views on union are pretty polarizing, but I've never owned a pair, the pair I demo'd were great, and if they weren't doing something right they wouldn't be in business.

I Would have had a similar discount on either of those too. The diodes really didn't do anything for me, to me they just didn't feel as substantial, and I wasn't a big fan of the ankle strap. The Hefes seemed interesting, but no one actually stocked them (couldn't get any look or feel to them) plus online info l/reviews of them is sparse at best. Plus, after having the highback on the CADs snap I was ready to try a different brand. If for some reason I hate the MCs I'm guessing they won't be too difficult to resell and get something else. About the only alluring thing to the Hefes were the canted footed, but I honestly liked the contour to the footed (heelcup and instep) on the unions a lot- just made it a lot more secure and comfortable.
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