Snowboard bindings are what connects you to the board and are an important thing to get right. Bindings can affect the feel of a snowboard massively depending on their design and flex. I am going to take you through what you need to know to pick the perfect set of bindings.
Like snowboards, bindings have a flex rating and it is this flex that is the major difference between bindings. Manufacturers have a rating system for the flex of their boots with 10 being the stiffest and 1 being the softest, this is very useful, however there are variances between manufacturers so try them out to be sure.
Soft Bindings are great for beginners and jibbers. If you are a beginner then soft bindings are good because they will make the snowboard more docile and forgiving for learning. For park rats it makes it more playfull and fun to jib around.
Stiffer Bindings are more responsive, they allow a lot more precise control of the board. This makes it ideal for going fast or riding half pipe and big kickers.
So take a look at the bindings, look at the flex rating and then give them a go, try to bend and twist the bindings and take a look for yourself at the difference in how each differs from each other.
The next thing to look for in the binding is that it fits the rest of your equipment well meaning your board and boots. It is important to have a good fit between your board boots and bindings as any movement between those three things will effect your riding. Here’s how to make sure your bindings fit.
First up is to make sure that the bindings fit your boots. Hopefully if you read our previous guide on How to pick the perfect Snowboard boots you will have got yourself a pair of boots you love, have these with you when looking at bindings or ask to borrow one of the same boots from the shop.
Take a boot and strap it into the binding, there are a few things you should look out for to ensure a good fit. Take a look at the size of the bindings, most snowboard bindings come in two or three different sizes to help get a good fit. They will also have a recommendation for what size bindings fit what size boots so take a look at that to help.
What to look for when fitting a snowboard binding to your boots
- The boot fits flat on the bottom of the binding.
- The heelcup of the binding fits snug around the back of the boot so there is no sideways movement in the boot.
- The sides of the boot nice and close to the edge of the binding. You want each side of the binding to be almost touching the boot, this will stop your boot from being able to twist in the binding.
- The toes of your boot should be slightly overhanging the end of the binding, if they do not reach the end then you will need a smaller binding, if they are over the edge by more than an inch or so then you will probably want a bigger binding
- Check the straps should also fit over the boot nicely.
The other thing we have to think about is how the binding fits to your board. There are a few different types of bolt patterns that connect your binding to the board. Some manufacturers add multiple baseplates for their bindings so they will fit more boards but you should always check what the bindings are compatible with before purchasing.
2 x 4 and 4 x 4 bolt patterns
These two patterns are the most common found on snowboards and are compatible with most bindings. They are simple and allow a large range of stance adjustment to help get that perfect stance.
Burton like to make things different and over the years developed a couple of other ways to attach your board.
The Channel System(EST) is the latest offering. It is literally a slit down the centre of your board and you have a bolt on either side of your binding that allows you to slide the binding to whatever stance you want making it really versatile. The other advantage of having this system is that because the bolts are on either side of the binding, the bottom of the binding can be thinner, bringing you closer to the board.
Boards with EST work best with EST bindings, however burton do sell a modified baseplate to make other burton bindings fit with EST, other manufacturers have started doing this too. Burton have created a handy little guide if you are not sure whether your bindings will fit here.
The 3D Pattern is also only found on Burton snowboards. It is compatible with most bindings and has the advantage of only needing three bolts rather than four on standard bolt patterns. Disadvantage is that you are more restricted on where you can put your bindings.