Raiden Phantom/Eetala BInding Review
I replaced my Ride SPi's with these and got to test them out this past weekend. To give some background, I love my SPi's but my knees, ankles and back started getting way too sore after a hard day on the mountain due to the stiffness of them. What I was looking for in replacing them was something that would be first and foremost more comfortable while at the same time not sacrificing too much in terms of response. I demoed Flow NXT-AT's, Rome Targas, Burton P1's and Union Force DLX so I basically tried all of the bindings in the class and had my decision narrowed down to the Burton Co2's as the P1's were too soft for me and the Co2 is the next stiffest and the Raiden Phantom/Eetala bindings after passing on all of the other's for various reasons such as lack of response or too similar to what I was riding.
After much deliberation and deal hunting I found the Raiden's for a super deal and it just made the decision that much easier for me. I rode them for the first time at Butternut Basin in Mass. and they were exactly what I wanted. The response time was nearly identical to my SPi's but the ankle strap was much, much cushier but due to their technology using cables inside the strap they didn't need any adjustment during the day to stay dialed. The convertible toe strap worked perfectly with my MFM boots and the air cushion in the heel definitely helped absorb some of the impact. They weigh much less than my 3yr old SPi's and look sick. The attention to detail is everywhere. The ratchets were super smooth and strong as hell and released effortlessly at the end of the run.
Overall I have to say these bindings for me where the perfect choice. They were more responsive than the P1's and Unions, more comfortable than the Targas and didn't take a million micro adjustments to get close to right like the Flows... I recommend everyone who is looking for bindings to take a look at this line. The only draw back I can think of is that they don't have ladder covers on either the ankle or toe strap so they point straight up but that's a minor cosmetic thing and frankly my experience with bidnings that do have that is that they're more of a PITA than anything.
I give them an A