So now that I'm sold on these I have to decide whether to wait for mid-season sales on the 2010 model or if I should just try and find a set of last years on sale now.
With regards to the toe-strap, I actually had the SPi's that had the first convertible toe strap on it. Even 3-4yrs ago their strap was the shit. Everyone talks about how good Rome's is, the funny thing is they copied Ride's idea.
With regards to the stiffness of the SPi's there were a number of factors that made them too stiff for me. 1 was the straps, the one's I had were incredibly stiff and not very well padded. They looked sick with the black bandana print on them but were really not very comfortable. I know they've fixed this since then. Also the overall feel of the binding was very stiff in general. That definitely helped with responsiveness but it was brutal on my knees and back after a long day. Especially when I would get out west late in the season and have to deal with all the chop and crud. It was a combination of the high-back, the chassis and the footbed together that was just too much.