With so much focus on picking the perfect snowboard, bindings are often not given much thought. Snowboard bindings are actually one of the most important pieces of gear because they are what transfers your muscle movements to your board.
The better your bindings match your board and style, the better the time (and less fatigue) you’ll have out on the mountain. Buying the right kind of snowboard binding for you and your board can be confusing. But don’t worry, we're here to help! We’ve broken down everything you need to know when choosing a pair of snowboard bindings.
Snowboard Binding Flex
One thing you should think about when choosing a binding is your riding style. Are you just starting out? Do you session the terrain park all day? Or do you prefer to charge the entire mountain? Answering these questions will help determine the style and “flex” of the binding you choose.
Flex refers to the overall stiffness of the snowboard binding. Bindings are normally given a number from 1-10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the stiffest. Usually, 1-2 translates to soft, 3-5 is medium, 6-8 is stiff, and 9-10 is very stiff. However, the rating and feel itself can vary from binding to binding, so it is best to get a feel before you buy.
Riders who do a little bit of everything end up in the all-mountain category and usually get bindings with a medium flex. Freeriders normally end up in powder and on steep terrain, so a stiffer flex is best since it delivers better response and energy transfer. Park and freestyle boarders spend a lot of time laying down tricks in the terrain park, so a binding with a softer flex is best for them since it allows for easier landings and greater room for error.
Main Snowboard Binding Types
There are three different types of snowboard bindings: Two-Strap which are the most common, Rear Entry, and Step On®, which is unique only to Burton.
Two-Strap bindings have been the standard binding used for ages because they are not only easy to use but also secure and responsive. Simply slide your foot in place and tighten the straps to secure yourself in. One pro is that these bindings can be very lightweight. A major con is that it may take some time to secure and may require sitting down to tighten, depending on your skill level and surrounding terrain.
Rear Entry bindings feature a high back and typically have a strap at the ankle or toe. To put these bindings on you, pop open the high back, slide your foot into place, and then shut the high back. The benefit to this style is that they are much quicker to get into vs. the traditional two-strap. They make this an awesome option when you normally ride with other skiers who taunt you for strapping in at the top of each run. The downside is that they can often be a little on the heavier side.
Step On® bindings are unique to only Burton and also require Step On® compatible snowboard boots. This binding functions exactly how its’ name sounds. To enter these bindings, you simply slide your boot in and then click your heel into place. These bindings are the lightest and fastest snowboard bindings on the market today. They are great for beginners, people with back or knee injuries, or for boarders who want the best performance. Because the bindings and boots must be compatible, the only drawback to them is that they often cost the most.
Snowboard Binding Compatibility
Knowing whether your not your bindings are compatible with your snowboard is another important factor to consider when picking out bindings. Today most bindings are designed to work across different mounting systems. The main four types are 2x4, 4x4, Burton 3D, and Channel.
The most common snowboards feature mounting patterns that are 2cm x 4cm or 4cm x 4cm. Some Burton boards have a 3D mounting system which uses six screws total in its’ design for less overall weight. The Burton Channel system is versatile and can be personalized. It cuts down on the screws needed per binding, allows for more mounting options, and can be adjusted on the fly.
Burton Re:Flex vs. EST Bindings
Finally, let’s talk about Burton Re:Flex and EST bindings and how they relate to the mounting systems. Re:Flex bindings can be mounted to boards that have the Channel system, 3D system, or to a standard 2x4 or 4x4 system. Burton EST bindings bring out the best of the Channel and provide the ultimate performance, versatility and comfort. EST bindings can only mount to the Channel system. There are a few bindings from other manufacturers can be adapted to work with the Channel System by purchasing separate compatible discs.
You now should have a better understanding of what to look for in a snowboard binding, the different types, and the different mounting systems. If you’re still not sure what you’re looking for, you can always stop into the Ski Shack, where we can help get you into the perfect binding for you. Make sure to shop our amazing selection below where we offer free shipping on all snowboard bindings.