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?