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Old 10-23-2012, 06:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Binding stiffness effect on riding

I am wanting to get some new bindings for my westmark. How will a softer binding effect the feel of riding?

I have cartels and don't mind them but was thinking of going to a softer binding like the DS30. How will this effect feel and or performance. I expect the heel to toe flex to be similar on these but the lateral to be softer allowing for easier tweaking, butters, and presses? But outside of that how will general riding feel?

Mainly ride all mountain freestyle and plan to get into parks too.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 61ragtop View Post
I am wanting to get some new bindings for my westmark. How will a softer binding effect the feel of riding?

I have cartels and don't mind them but was thinking of going to a softer binding like the DS30. How will this effect feel and or performance. I expect the heel to toe flex to be similar on these but the lateral to be softer allowing for easier tweaking, butters, and presses? But outside of that how will general riding feel?

Mainly ride all mountain freestyle and plan to get into parks too.
It makes everything feels a little sloppier/looser as a softer binding is going to flex/bend instead of transferring the energy into the board. That will make things a little more forgiving if you land off-balance on a jump or a box (where the bindings would normally drive your board up on edge).

The drawback is that your carving on groomers is going to suffer. Of course if you never carved on groomers in the first place and mainly just skidded around, then you might not notice a difference.

I have a pair of old (2009? 2010) Rome 390s and there were fun in the park... but too soft for freeriding (same for the Burtom P1s I had). I got a pair of 2011 Rome 390 Bosses and they were a bit stiff and acceptable for freeriding. I prefer stiffer bindings in general (Burton CO2 and C60) as I've found that they minimally affect my jibbing... but really make a difference when riding groomers and steeps.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When you say carving groomers will suffer, are you talking about a softer edge to edge feel or the lateral stiffness? Cause I think the edge to edge or response should be similar but have a softer lateral feel due to having better natural board flex.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When you say carving groomers will suffer, are you talking about a softer edge to edge feel or the lateral stiffness? Cause I think the edge to edge or response should be similar but have a softer lateral feel due to having better natural board flex.
Toe to heel edge to edge... a softer binding high back and baseplate are going to flex instead of pushing your energy into the board like a binding with a stiffer high back/baseplate.

I have ridden EST Cartels... more board flex as they are essentially baseless (well close enough for me). Toe to heel response was decent.
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Old 10-24-2012, 03:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Toe to heel edge to edge... a softer binding high back and baseplate are going to flex instead of pushing your energy into the board like a binding with a stiffer high back/baseplate.

I have ridden EST Cartels... more board flex as they are essentially baseless (well close enough for me). Toe to heel response was decent.
That's also going to depend on riding style - if you rely on your highbacks to put your heel edge down, you've got a different riding style than I do.

But that's an easy habit to pick up (call it good or bad), with the number of uber-stiff boots and forward-leaning highbacks on today's market. I'm personally glad to see the trend shifting away from that, back to softer boots and softer highbacks.

If you lift your toe-edge up by pressing your calf into your highback - then yes, I could see how a softer highback could be perceived to give you less edge-to-edge response. But for you lifelong skateboarders who ride more like a skateboard, letting your ankles actuate your board, and actually carving, you might appreciate a softer highback as a no-loss approach to getting that thing out of your way when jibbing around the park and trails.

Personally, I'd rather move the board around with my feet, that are directly connected to the riding surface - it's intuitive and much more direct than calves-against-highbacks-attached-to-bindings-via-highback-adjuster-lifts-toe-edge in my opinion. But everyone has different riding styles.
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Old 10-24-2012, 03:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't really rely on my high back and run the one on my cartels at zero foreword lean so maybe the softer ds30 will be ok? I am considering the tt30, ds30 and possibly the dmcc light for the westmark. Decisions decisions!!
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't really rely on my high back and run the one on my cartels at zero foreword lean so maybe the softer ds30 will be ok? I am considering the tt30, ds30 and possibly the dmcc light for the westmark. Decisions decisions!!
It might be different now, but the Cartels from like two season ago had a TON a forward lean built into it, even the zero setting had a noticeable amount of forward lean (a lot of people were complaining about it and some switched Rome bindings, where zero setting was actually zero degrees forward lean).

Now let's take a step back... I think the TT30, DS30 and the DMCC light would all be good choices for the Westmark.

The caveat being that I have not personally ridden those bindings or even the Westmark. I have ridden the Neversummer Evo, to which the Westmark is compared to a lot, so I think I have a decent idea of what kind of board it is.

I just want to answer your question about what a soft binding would feel like. It is a simple fact that it is not as good at riding groomers... however based on your riding style and your personal preference... you might not find the difference that important.

Take this guy in the following video, he is not really using his highbacks and just mellow riding down some mellow groomers. If you ride like that... then you definitely won't notice softer highback (you might notice the softer baseplate though)



On the flipside... if you ride more like this... then you will probably want to use your highbacks. I hope this post helped you understand what I'm talking about.

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Old 10-25-2012, 01:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It might be different now, but the Cartels from like two season ago had a TON a forward lean built into it, even the zero setting had a noticeable amount of forward lean (a lot of people were complaining about it and some switched Rome bindings, where zero setting was actually zero degrees forward lean).

Now let's take a step back... I think the TT30, DS30 and the DMCC light would all be good choices for the Westmark.

The caveat being that I have not personally ridden those bindings or even the Westmark. I have ridden the Neversummer Evo, to which the Westmark is compared to a lot, so I think I have a decent idea of what kind of board it is.

I just want to answer your question about what a soft binding would feel like. It is a simple fact that it is not as good at riding groomers... however based on your riding style and your personal preference... you might not find the difference that important.

Take this guy in the following video, he is not really using his highbacks and just mellow riding down some mellow groomers. If you ride like that... then you definitely won't notice softer highback (you might notice the softer baseplate though)



On the flipside... if you ride more like this... then you will probably want to use your highbacks. I hope this post helped you understand what I'm talking about.

Thanks for that. I would definitely say I ride like the first vid!

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Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
In general, going to a softer binding will have the effect of smoothing out the control of the board. A stiff binding, transfers more movement of the feet into the board making for a more responsive and often touch feel. It is like having really touch touchy power steering on your car.

A softer flexing binding absorbs more of this movement which will dampen that touchy effect. While you loose some responsiveness, you gain forgiveness which is why most freestyle riders prefer softer bindings.

I tend to ride as Geolemon describes, using my feet to torsionally twist the board for my skidded turns and using ankle flexion and extension to tilt the board for carving. I tend to prefer a slightly softer flexing binding.

So would you say a softer flex would be better for some one learning to progress more in freestyle as it will be more forgiving?
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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So would you say a softer flex would be better for some one learning to progress more in freestyle as it will be more forgiving?
A better way to think about it is that the stiffest binding is not going to be very forgiving and so it is not ideal for park.

Once, you are in and below the medium flex range for bindings I think it boils down to personal preference (why I said TT30, DS30 and the DMCC light should all work for you). There is only so much any piece of equipment is going to cover for bad technique.

A crappy rider is still going to be a crappy rider even if he is riding a $360 pair of DMCC lights that let him get away with a crappy, over rotated 180 in the mini-park.

My personal opinion... but I say go with a medium stiffness binding like your cartels or what I think the TT30 are... because it is better to figure out what you are doing wrong when you are messing around on a baby 10-ft jump and easy ride-on boxes (where a fall is really only going to bruise your ego), than when you try to hit a 35-ft step-down kicker (where the penalties are much harsher).

Too many times I see people look SUPER sketchy over bigger jumps but manage to pull it out like 4 out of 5 times... then the fifth comes and they eat $hit, but have no clue what they are doing wrong.

People who have been riding a long time know what I'm talking about... super stiff on the approach, a panic speed check on the ramp, usually taking off on an edge or a with a tiny bit of rotation, flailing in the air, often not even close to clearing the gap, and then landing in the flat on edge and immediately going to a heelside slide on the landing... they "survived" the landing because they had "forgiving" gear... but they are just a dice roll away from getting taken down the hill in a sled.
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