Well first off the toe strap gave me nightmares and the ratchets would give me trouble every now and again. I was not a fan of the feel of the binding as i found it very cheaply made. My biggest issue with union as a company is for the last couple years i rode the forces, they haven't fixed any major issues of the bindings.
We've hashed and rehashed the toe-strap/ankle-buckle several times here, but let's do it again.
1. Our toe straps have been changed for 13/14 to accommodate for a wider range of boots. ie) toe box designs. All our friends, team riders, employees and other people who provide feedback, generally use the same boot brands. ThirtyTwo, Nike, DC, Deeluxe, Burton and some Vans. I can't think of a single person who gets product from Union that would ride a boot not listed there. Anyway, over the past 2 years, we have spent a boat load of $$$ buying boots from all companies to cover a wider base. It will never be perfect, but we feel that if we can cover 90% of the boots out there, we are doing a decent job.
The most important change with toe straps, is they are 2x more adjustable. I'd say most of the time, the issue with straps slipping was due to them not being adjusted correctly. A lot of people don't realize that you can use your heelcup to micro adjust your toe straps (that only works if you're running your disks perpendicular to board edge though). For 13/14, the adjustment piece has twice as many holes. Beauty.
2. Ratchets - Goal #1 with ratchets is to make sure they NEVER open on their own. Anybody see what happened to Matt Ladley at X Games?? imgur: the simple image sharer
If you're at Hood next week, check out what bindings he paid for with his own money so that doesn't happen again.
We've redesigned the mechanism and changed the ladder strap for smoother glide. Here again, it needs to be adjusted correctly. If the toe strap is too long, the old ones get stuck. Correct adjustment is everything.
3. Feeling of the binding - Personal preference. You're correct that they ride different than everything else.
4. In your other post, you said they feel cheap. Here's a quick list of facts:
Nylon injection: Union is the only binding exclusively using Dupont Zytel ST. It's the most expensive nylon available because it's the best by far. It's not even debatable. It allows us to offer a Lifetime Warranty on all Nylon parts. Also, all our nylon is 1st generation, which is important to point out. Durability.
EVA material: We only use 1st generation injected EVA. No reground pressed cheap stuff. Better dampening and durability.
Hardware: We use Grade 8.8 hardware on everything. It's more expensive, but worth it. Better security.
Weight: Union makes the lightest bindings across the board. Grab a scale and see for yourself.
Injected Aluminum: Our process comes out 100% pure. Stamped heelcups (all other aluminum heelcups on the market) have been compromised because they are stamped out of dirty sheets of aluminum (which are pressed, not injected), then bent to shape. You can grab one un-assembled with your hands and easily bend it. You can't do that with ours. Durability.
Magnesium Buckles: Stronger and lighter than aluminum. I haven't seen a broken buckle lever in years. The reason you don't see it on other bindings is because it's an expensive process. Again, investing in materials for durability and end value.
The goal from Day 1 is to build the strongest binding possible. Sorry for the looooong post. The whole reason I'm on here is to answer questions honestly, and gather feedback. Hopefully I've done that in this post.
Thanks for reading.