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Snowboard Club UK (SCUK) FAQs (frequently-asked questions)
Category: Main -> Equipment -> Bindings
Together with your snowboard and your snowboard boots, this is another essential piece of your snowboarding equipment: Snowboard bindings connect your boots and obviously your body to the snowboard and are thus an essential part of snowboarding. Boots and bindings form a combination where not all kinds of bindings are suited for each type of boot. It is often best to buy them together and you will definitely need to know what your intended riding style is before you buy a combination of boots and bindings.
Strap bindings consists of a contoured baseplate where a rider can place his soft boots upon. At the back of the baseplate is a vertical plate (the highback) that rises behind your ankles and lower calves. The highbacks on snowboard bindings secure the heel of your feet and the backside of your lower legs. It also helps you to force the heel side edge of the board into the snow and brings the toe side of the board up. At the front of the binding are two or three adjustable straps which can be used to secure the front side of your feet and ankles to the snowboard. Initially you may have to sit down to strap in, but with a bit of practice it'll be easier to strap in while standing.
Strap bindings can differ in the number of straps and the shape of the base and highback plate. Alpine who need to perform high speed turns will prefer taller and stiffer highbacks for greater control and improved edge control. On the other hand, freestylers will want a shorter backplate for more flexibility and torsional movement. Most people go for these kinds of bindings as they are more common, offer excellent control, and offer more options when it comes to boots-bindings combinations.
The combination of the highback plate and the front side straps gives great control. This type of bindings is used in combination with soft boots. As the binding gives all the support needed, the snowboard boots can remain soft and comfortable. Keep in mind that the best strap bindings have ample amounts of wide padding at the toe and ankle straps.
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It is quite hard to get into strap bindings since you need to loosen and tighten the straps every time you get into and out of your bindings. This is why step-in bindings were developed. This type of snowboard bindings allow you to simply step down and click into it, thus making it easier for you to get on and off your snowboard.
With this feature, step-in binding systems have become quite popular with rental shops because they often give the beginners fewer snowboard equipment to fuss with. Still, while step-in bindings give you additional speed and can save you from a load of hassle, you pay for these conveniences when it comes to snowboard control. Step-in bindings don't have any straps to give additional support, making the boot less flexible, and thus, harder to do tricks. So make sure you get a good fit if you're planning to buy this.
Step-in bindings usually work in combination with soft boots which are somewhat stiffer than those used with highback bindings. When you opt for step-in bindings, you narrow your selection in choosing boots and bindings since they both have to be "step-ins". There are however, some higher and more advanced step-in bindings out on the market that provide the best of both worlds.
Step-ins can be used for either freeride or freestyle riders. Cross-over Skiers will often feel comfortable with Step-in Bindings and Boots since they are used to stepping in and to harder boots and just turning a switch or a latch whenever they want to get out.
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Flow-in Bindings are becoming more popular as the choices and techniques of snowboarding improve. People love the flow-in System as it combines all the advantages of the strap bindings with the ease of Step-ins. One disadvantage however is that Flow-in Bindings are more difficult to adjust than strap-ins.
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This Type of Bindings was introduced in the mid 1990's by several companies. In Baseless Bindings, the sole of the rider's boot is placed in direct contact with the snowboard deck by removing the Binding's baseplate. With this, the sole height is lowered by up to 1/8 of an inch. Theoretically, using the Baseless Bindings enhances the "feel" of your snowboard's flex. However, this Type of Snowboard Bindings aggravates "toe drag" problems for people with large feet. Also, most Baseless Bindings are far more difficult to adjust (stance angle/width) than traditional "4x4" designs. Still, some halfpipe and park riders prefer Baseless Bindings because it provides them with a quicker edge response
With or Without Highbacks?
The large curved piece of plastic screwed to the base of the binding is the Highback. Its main function is to give riders some control over their heel edge. These can be found on all Bindings or are built into the boot with some Step-in Systems. Alpine riders who need to perform high speed turns will prefer taller and stiffer Highbacks for greater control and improved edge control. On the other hand, freestylers will want a shorter backplate for more flexibility and turning power.
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