Going against the Flow

I have been happily using Flow bindings since I first bought my own snowboarding equipment in about 1997. I always used to recommend them to people on the basis that they were so easy to use and comfortable and that these advantages made it worth persevering with the odd reliability issue.

Lately though I have suspected that my bindings were limiting my performance and I began to wonder if I should try straps again.

I have just returned from a week in the Alps riding some new bindings (Ride Tomcats) which I picked up in the TSA sale and the old Flows are going on eBay.

I noticed two striking differences with straps.

1. Absolutely no heel lift. This had always been an issue with my Flows, as the way the strap pulls down on the instep, holding your foot against the base plate, is just never going to be as positive as having a strap over your ankle pulling your heel in to the highback. Its like the difference between wearing shoes and boots.

2. Weight. I had not appreciated how heavy my old Flows (FL39) had been, despite being made of carbon fibre. The new Tomcats have an aluminium base and minimal design making the board feel much lighter in the air and taking the effort out of ollies (easier to carry too).

The straps are a pain to put on though and I don't buy any of that crap about strapping in being a ritual. its a P in the A but I'll be doing it from now on.

15 March 2005 Permalink | Comments (4)

I know exactly what you mean i used step in for a while as coming from a cycling background where clip in pedals killed of leather toe straps in the late 80's. I thought step ins or flows where they way forward, last year after hiring a board for a morning in 2 Alpes during a summer cycling holiday. I realised the how good normal bindings where and promptly went back to them. The performance is great but strapping in can still be a right royal pain in the arse espicially if you happen to be some skiers.

Posted by: Jason at March 15, 2005 12:51 PM

You should try the Salomon range - they have a neat 'fastfit' front strap that means the toe strap never needs to be re-engaged, just tightened. Although it can't be more than 50% quicker than having to do up two - it does seem that way!

Posted by: Phil at March 20, 2005 06:31 PM

I've just gone the other way - onto Flows - after using hired strap-ons for years. If they fit well, they work fine. I suspect your problem was that your Flows were a size too small and loosened to accommodate your feet - which you don't mention in your post!

Whilst for extreme freestyle you would want performance over convenience, I'm happy not to be the one delaying the group while strapping on for a few years!

Posted by: Michael at March 20, 2005 06:58 PM

Yeah, I like the Salomon system and had intended getting their top of the line binding but the only one available was a cheaper model which felt very soft.

Michael, you may be right as my last set of Flows were on the small side but don't expect to wait for me!

Posted by: Luke at March 21, 2005 10:03 AM
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