Lets start with the company. The company is out to make innovative bindings and do something different. They did just that, but it may not have been the best at first. You have to start from somewhere right? I like a company that tries to be innovative and makes a quality product. I like a company that stand behind thier product.
Rewind to 2001. I got a pair of used flows. They were hands down the worst binding I have EVER put on my foot. Fast yes. Crap sandwich, yes! I swore off flows for the rest of my life and moved on. I rode mostly ride and technine bindings from then on out.
Last season I was at my local shop trashing flows like I usually did. While saying I'd never ride them again I was checking out some NXT-FS bindings and was really suprised at how far they had come over the years. I struck up a "let me buy them and if I still feel they are trash let me return them" type agreement. My local shop is cool so they went for it. I get out there the first day and my opinion was definitely changing.
I can now adjust the main strap on the fly. Way back I couldn't. Getting them dialed in only took a run or two. Holy hell, these things don't suck anymore! They added a plate on the bottom to keep them from packing up with snow which was an annoying issue of mine. They made it so I can adjust them as fast as a regular binding binds in with it's 4 ratchets, and most importantly they put enough R&D into the top strap to finally make it feel like a binding. I think a lot of the feel issues before were with that bulky crappy non flexing weird foot strap they were using. With the high side cuts and it being molded much better, I had equal or greater control to my t9 mfm's I had. On the mountain that day, I decided I would stick it out with the flows and keep my new 300+ dollar bindings. I go to the bathroom at the lodge, and my ride timeless 164 and brand new few run old bindings are gone!!!
Upset as can be I come back home and head to my local shop again. Impressed enough I buy another set and an atomic Hatchet. It was already March and near the seasons end, So I repeated the entire process of getting them dialed and truely enjoying them again. That was my last day of the year and I ended the season off a little angry, yet very optimistic about this season.
So this season starts and I get off to a late start. I had to scrape for some extra dough for my season pass. I finally get all set, and head out with a few buddies. We are having a blast. I let them get ahead of me and I start bombing to catch them. I throw a mean heel side carve and my front foot blows out at high speed. I tumble, eat shit, and jack my right ankle up decently. I look down and I broke the strap on my binding. I was pissed. I went to the lodge and talked to the On Snow Flow rep. He called the local sales rep right away. They both said they have never seen that exact failure. It ruined my night and had me limping like crazy. I started to doubt flow again real quick. I was so angry. So I take them back to my local shop and hear another "wow I have never seen a flow break like that" again. So they send in my straps so I can get some new ones.
I got in touch with the warranty department. The dudes at flow are completely awesome.It's good to see a company rezally stand by thier product. After talking with this really unique named "Thunder" I was pretty stoked. They stood behind thier product so much they over nighted me a set of this years NXT-FSE bindings in exchange for mine!!! Thats amazing customer service. They were great to talk to, no hassle, and just flat out awesome guys that really stood behing thier product, and definitely made sure it was "right" for me in the end. Thats really hard to find with any company these days so that alone earned me a ton of respect for flow as a company.
So I take out my season or two newer FSE bindings for a weekend trip. AMAZING! Not sure what else they did, but they got even better. They have much better ratchets on them now too. Easier to use in the weather with gloves on. They keep on tweaking thier design and it shows. They really are trying to bring the best product of this nature out there. They dide some more work to the strap aside from the adjustments, and it all relates back to the feedback you get from the board and bindings. I must say, they feel better than any binding I have rode to date. Very very responsive. The set I have is relitively stiff which I prefer. Great for hard carving. No strange foot pains, and the best thing about them, is I would forget about thinking of my board and bindings, and just focus on riding. There is no better feeling than that! These things are solid and have made me a very happy guy with thier product. The only thing I could possibly complain about is the footbed. Not the shape, but the dampening. I wish it had a tiny bit more cushion. It's not really an issue, just a preference.
As it sits right now, I am a happy customer that should be sticking with Flow for quite a long time.