Binding Model: Ride A-8
Binding Size: Medium
Stance and Angles: 21.5 Wide 15 Negative 12 Goofy
Boot Used: K2 Thraxis
Boot Size: 10
Board Used: K2 Cool Bean
Rider Weight: 200lbs
Location: Arapahoe Basin
Conditions: Overcast skies, some wind up high, low to medium visibility, chunder, ice, scraped off snow, death moguls, corduroy, and everything in between.
Binding Adjustability: There’s a fully adjustable heel cup so you can size it up or down as needed. With the straps you have flip cams to lengthen or shorten them while the heel strap has a slide slot to center it as needed. The toe strap is locked in a fixed position. You can adjust the highback rotation as well as the forward lean. You can also slightly move the footbed back and forth to help center it but this is a very minimal adjustment.
Straps: The nice thing about the heel straps is they are reversible which allows you to choose if you want more drive or more play in them. While testing the A-8’s I opted for more play as that’s my personal preference. But it grips well and contours to the boot keeping it locked in. The toe strap does its job but it’s very minimal and doesn’t seem to fit all boot shapes.
Ratchets: The new ratchets are super solid when they lock down, THEY LOCK DOWN!. They climb with ease and the one finger quick release works perfectly. I never noticed these slipping or having any issues at all.
Highbacks: The highback does what you would expect it to do. It does have a different shaping than it’s C series counterpart and seems to be ever so slightly softer when you push into it. This could be due to the aluminum frame having a more rigid flex they wanted to compensate for it.
Binding Flex: The overall flex is on the stiffer side of the all mountain spectrum. You’ll notice it right away that there isn’t much base flex and when you drive into the binding it just wants to roll from toe to heel and distribute pressure and power evenly. There isn’t much lateral flex in this binding at all which is what you can expect from an aluminum base.
Ride: So for these being aluminum I expected them to be a bit more lively and not dampen at all. That’s not the case this binding was actually super damp and didn’t feel like a tuning fork with vibrations resonating through it. Over all the ride is very smooth and predictable. You feel like you know how these are going to power through everything.
Rider in Mind: All mountain rider that does it all.
Personal Thoughts: This is one of the best aluminum based bindings I’ve ever been on. Traditionally I hate the feel of an aluminum chassis as it just creates too much chatter, but these did a great job of dampening them. I will say compared to their C series counterparts they do seem a bit more narrow and have a slightly reduced imprint on the board. For having canting in the footbed I did not notice it at all. If you like a more rigid binding these could be a solid contender.