Snowboard Binding FLEX – the right FLEX for your style!

The market is flooded with hundreds of different Snowboard Bindings! But basically, all they do is connect you with your board. They are supposed to deliver your movement and your controls through your boots to where you need it – Nose, tail and the edges. So why is there not just one binding that fits all? Well, because we all ride different styles, different terrain and have different skill levels. That all comes together and plays a role when you choose your Snowboard Binding and one of the things to look into is the Snowboard Binding FLEX.

 

 

 Snowboard Binding Flex

 

 

What does that mean?

Manufactures put a lot of effort into their bindings and constantly improve and evolve them. Many of them might look similar but the differences can be massive. The FLEX of the binding tells basically how “forgivable” they are.

Let´s say you´re a beginner. The board sometimes might have more control over you than you have over the board! That is of course not what we want, but totally fine and is going to get better every day on the snow. But at this stage your movement is not as precise and still a bit random. If your bindings (and your boots) are very stiff and do not have a lot of FLEX, they deliver every shaky movement you make to the board which results in an unsteady, unsecured and therefore unsafe ride.

A Snowboard Binding with more FLEX is, and here we go again, more forgivable. They simply absorb some movement of you and this results in an over all more mellow ride. But soft bindings are not just for beginners, it just really depends on your style and the terrain you ride. Freestyle riders want to have more flex to get away with dodgy landings and perform sick moves like butters or grabs!

 

A flexy scale from 1 to 10

Most manufactures put a number from 1 to 10 on their bindings. While this is never 100% accurate and can vary slightly from brand to brand and even binding to binding, you can say: 1 – 2 soft, 3-5 medium, 6-8 stiff and 9-10 very stiff.

Freestyle softys

Riders who spent most of their time in Parks or jibbing around the slopes tend to have soft bindings. They give them more flexibility, freedom in movement and increase the chances not to fail. If your landing is not quite right, your soft bindings (as well as your board an boots) bend and twist and you easier get away with that. We all know that happens again and again and again … 🙂

All Mountain mediums

People who just can´t make a decision, like me! Especially if you don´t live in the mountains and snowboarding is something you do in your vacation, you probably want to have the freedom of doing everything. Not everyone can have different gear for different occasions.
Snowboard bindings with medium FLEX give you enough stability and response to carve your lines into the snow while being soft enough to let you jib around the park, too. You can quite easily set your own focus and therefore choose the right binding:
Do you tend to spend more time on the slopes going fast? Stick to a 5 or higher.
Are you buttering your way around the ski field? You are going to be more happy with something around 3.

Freeride hard boys

Here we´re going BIG! Challenging terrain makes us want to have two things: control and response!

We need to have a feeling for the conditions below us and how to react properly!
The board has to react the way we want it to – as quickly as possible!

Bindings with less FLEX give us exactly that. They transfer our energy to the board while absorbing less of it. Soft bindings would end up giving you a wobbly response and they are unable to handle roughness and speed.

Although, with that comes not much room for failure and the stiffer the binding is, the higher the chances that a wrong reaction ends up in white-out conditions.

 

The perfect combination

FLEX is not limited to bindings! Boots and especially boards have different attributes as well and they are designed for specific terrain. Unless you are very unhappy with your current set up for some reason, you don´t have to throw everything out and buy new gear that goes perfectly together. But there is no point in mounting an extremely soft binding on a rather long, stiff, full camper carving board.

If you consider buying new stuff, make sure it matches!

 

Which Flex is the right one for me?

After all the information you just read, you probably know which terrain you ride mostly. I am assuming, someone who rides freeride or freestyle probably knows how soft or stiff they need it anyway.

To everyone else – what kind of riding do you enjoy the most? If your gear is limited to one board and one binding, make sure it suits you, your needs and your style! It is only there for one reason: to give you pleasure so don´t buy just anything!

In case every Lifty knows you by name because you rush down that slope like a maniac, don´t bother with a soft setup and get yourself properly fixed on that board.
Are you more mellow and quite jumpy? Well, too stiff is going to annoy you.

You can quite precisely figure out what you need just by thinking about your own style. One last quick overview:

Beginner: Rather soft

Freestyle and park: soft
Riding but constantly looking for jumps and jibs: mediumsoft
I need one for everything: medium
Going fast and steep: stiff
Powderdays: rather stiff

 

 

Decisions to make…

But that shouldn´t be too hard. Focus on what you love the most and get the right set up! I hope that article helped you to understand why Snowboard bindings have different FLEX characteristics and which is the right one for you. If you feel like leaving a comment or have any further questions, don´t hesitate to do so. I am happy to get back to you.

Thanks for reading
Manny

4 Replies to “Snowboard Binding FLEX – the right FLEX for your style!

  1. Hi,
    I’m an avid snowboarder from Utah. I loved this article and I think its helped me determine that I may need two different setups… I ride big mountain slopes on major powder days, but if its not dumping snow, I stay in the park the entire day. I have always loosened my boots big time in the park for more play or like you say flex, but its kind of sketchy. In your, opinion, do you think I’m better off with two boards and bindings? Or just to try and find something in the middle and make it work?

    Thank you!

    – James D.

    1. Hi James

      Well, if you have enough days in the snow than yeah, totally get at least two boards bro. What binding do you ride at the moment?

      A good all mountain binding with two different boards will do but since you have such a high focus on freestyle, I would get a softer binding for your park board. They are not even that expensive! Check out the FLite Pro for instance. That might be a good option for you, depending on what binding you already have, and it´s only 150 bucks.

      IPO has something called tool-less kingpin system. That makes it super easy to change your bindings between two boards and only costs a few dollars. But you obviously need two IPO bindings to make that work.

      Long story short: two boards will make you more happy! If you want a second pair of bindings as well depends on what you already have. 

      I hope that helps, let me know if you need further help!

  2. I am getting ready to vacation in Vermont and I will be taking up some snow boarding.
    Thing is I have never done it before. While I am excited for the trip, I am worried about injury.
    I never even knew that on set of bindings would “Flex” more than another. So this is great knowledge for me, Thanks.
    Does my body weight play a role in the flex I should be looking for? I weight about 255 lbs. So would the rather soft bindings you recommend for beginners be adequate for someone my size?

    1. Hi Brendon! Good question and hard to answer actually. A higher body weight will result in more flex which “basically” means a medium binding for instance, might be soft for you. But, I don´t think the differences are that high. Way more important when it comes to body weight is to have board that fits you. 

      For you I would say, a FLEX of around 4 should be fine as a beginner. Maybe don´t go for something extremely flexible but really focus on the board first. Still go for something more forgiving. Don´t assume you need a super stiff one just because you´re heavier 🙂

      Don´t worry about injuries! You´ve only got limited time mate, so enjoy it! And I mean that in a good way 🙂 Have a good trip!

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