Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Snowboard Binding Review: Union Force is Pure Puddin'
Yes, like a sneakerhead fiending for what darkness looms when they slap a pair of Nike SB's on ice, I too planned ahead. What can I say? Eventually, every product has it's breakdown. Some are mechanical and with enough use that;'s to be expected. Other failures come in the form of "when it's gone, it's really gone" that is just lazy engineering. So for the price the Burton binder didn't live up to their potential. Still good but not great. Now I was in need of a replacement binder to be the 50 days of shredding a year workhorse. Something that would survive the 5 degree north east, two feet of snow havin' winter we got going on right now. Enter the Union Force.
In winter of '09 a pair of binders showed up from C-3 and lordy was I excited. But, my season was winding down due to a slight knee injury and well I thought I'll get to them soon enough. Winter turned to spring and you know how the rest of it goes. So between skating and cycling I never quite got around to mounting them up. Enter last weeks Momento Mori review. Not wanting to fiddle, faddle and fuss with the wacky Burton's I quickly remembered the Union Force and thus our review begins ....
Location: Ski Liberty, PA
Conditions: packed powder, groomed corduroy
Set-up: 2010 Monument Momento Mori 158, 2009 Union Force bindings (medium), 2009 Burton Ion (10)
Out of Box to On the Snow: Like any good binder set up time was pretty quick. The adjustment on the heel strap was really quick and the to strap was lock in with a few quick turns of the screw. Ever since cap straps became all the fancy-ness it's nice to have features like multi-position toe straps so you can play around with how you lock down the toes. Not just marketing hype but an actual unsuspected innovation. So, do multiple positions work and not just in the bedroom? Discuss. I'll wager a big yes on this one. More to the point quick set up and one small tweak and I was locked in.
Fit: Not going to lie. I thought the medium was going to be much too small after looking at it but it was an optical illusion. I would venture if it looks a little too small the fit is going to be amazing. Binders should not be run like skate shoe's in the 90's. there is no room to get it all moon booty and sloppy. You want snug suckah! Having the heelcup set just so was key. I found it was an out of the box perfect fit so run 'em right and then if you need to - make 'em tight.
Shralpin: The proof is in the puddin' and I proclaim the Union Force which is typically prices at $199 MSRP really to be $240 worth of vanilla puddin.
Momento Mori feeling pretty amazing. Zero heel lift and catapulting me onto my boards edges with more confidence than normal. This was all for about $160 less than the Burtons I typically rock. While playing around with ollies and trying to recreate the occasional roundwall smith grind there was just enough flex to provide a tweak when I needed but mostly I felt at one with the board. However, it was less zen as a theory and more clash like a band. Hopefully that made sense to somebody out there. Sandinista!
And then: Not much to say after that. The Union Force is all "go" and no "whoa". That's a good thing. So if you ride a bit on the aggressive side or just like to cruise it out this will suit your needs. Think about a swiss army knife. not the lame ass one with the spoon and the magnifying glass but the kick ass one which was basically a blade and tweezers. That's the Union Force.