Snowboard bindings are an integral part not only of enjoying the ride but also for your safety. They make a direct connection between your leg muscles and the board. Choosing the right snowboard bindings will make it easier for you to enjoy the ride to the fullest. Here are several tips on how to choose men's snowboard bindings as well as women's snowboard bindings, along with some advice on compatibility.
This is an important factor to consider when choosing your snowboard binding. Always select snowboarding bindings that will match your riding style. If the binding flex do not match your riding style, you will have a lot of difficulty. The binding flex should always match that of your boot. For example, a stiff binding should go with a stiff boot and a soft binding for a soft boot. In the case of a soft binding a stiff boot you will experience difficulty in your ride, and this will change your style and you will fatigue quicker. Below are some industry factors to consider for binding ratings.
Flex rating is critical when it comes to snowboarding like a pro. Most of the manufacturers have made it very easy for you to select your number. They range from 1-10 of which number 1 is the softest while number 10 is the stiffest. It is your responsibility to know which number fits you depending on the terrain. Some of the manufacturers have come with another formula in which you will find 9-10 as very stiff, 6-8 as stiff, 3-5 as medium and 1-2 as soft.
Park Or Freestyle
As a rider, you should know which category are you in. Those riders who usually spend most of their time in the terrain park laying tricks are known as a park or freestyle riders. Under this category of riders, softer flex is greatly used in snowboard bindings. This is to allow greater room for errors, ability to tweak grabs and easier landings. You can use a flex rate from the range of 1-5 since this is where the soft bindings are.
This is a category of riders who are capable of doing everything on the terrain but not so perfect. For example, they can do groomed runs, parks, and powder among others. They usually use bindings that are medium flex. This enables them to ride and trying all the styles at ease.
This is the final category of rider styles. These snowboarders ride on steep and deep terrain. Furthermore, they ride on challenging terrain where high speed and balance is required. To ensure they respond better and have a great energy transfer to the snowboard they use bindings that have stiffer flex.
To ensure maximum protection and ease when riding, snowboard bindings are usually categorised into two types; the strap-in and the rear-entry bindings.
This is the most common between the two types. Strap-in has two straps in which one is across the ankle, and the other one is above or across the toe. The main reason why this type is appreciated by many is that it offers a lot of custom adjustments, cushioning and plenty of options for support. They are also suitable for the riding styles mentioned above and give the rider a good riding condition.
These bindings are also known as speed entry. To differentiate them from the strap-I, they have a hinged high back that usually drops down like a drawbridge. This allows you to step into the binding and feel comfortable. The hinged back also allows you to have a quick access of snowboard in and out. Although the strap-in are the most common rear-entry are more convenient to the riders.
Snowboard Binding Components
For the snowboarding to be effective and fun, you need to incorporate everything that improves the ease of use and safety. There are various components that make snowboarding binding effective and safe for the rider. These are the main component of snowboard binding components:
There are several types of straps.
- Toe cap strap: This is the strap that sits on the front of the boot. Its purpose is to make your toe comfortable and have a stable positioning. It also helps in aligning the foot for better placement in the heel cup.
- Traditional toe strap: this is the strap found on the lower end bindings. Its purpose is to hold your boot in place and cannot be used as a toe cap strap.
- Hybrid toe strap: It is used in a traditional style over the foot. It can also be tilted forward and used as a toe cap strap.
- Ankle strap: This is a bit larger strap and usually wrapped above the ankle. Its purpose is to hold the binding in place.
- One piece: this is the giant strap that usually covers your snowboard boot from right before your ankle to just before your toe. It is the most common on the rear entry and youth bindings.
This is the vertical plate from the heel cup to lower calf. It has various purposes, but the main one is to control the heelside edge of the board.
As the name implies, this is the primary connection between the board and the binding. It is the one that determines the flex ratio in a snowboard. The cushioning on baseplates always ensures that your foot is comfortable and has a lot of energy for transmission.
Fit And Compatibility
One of the key factors that determine the fitness and compatibility while using the snowboard is the right size of the snowboard and this includes small, medium and large. However, you need not worry as there are manufacturers' charts you can rely on in order to test whether the boot fits you before making a purchase. This is done by placing your boot in the binding as if you are to strap in. Your boots should never hang excessively off the binding, and the straps should not hurt you as you tighten.
Compatibility With Snowboards
Snowboard bindings also come in different sizes, same as the snowboards. There are various mountain options and hole patterns for you to select. Always ensure you have the right set for you although most of the patterns are compatible. There are three types of patterns. They include 2x4 and 4x4 disc patterns, 3D pattern and the channel system.
For a more comprehensive guide on all areas of buying a snowboard, see our Snowboard Buyers Guide. Check out Snow Central's range of snowboards, snowboard boots and snowboard bindings for all your snowboarding gear needs.