The first year Union hit the snowboard scene, their bombproof bindings had a zero percent warranty return rate. Entering their 5th season, their 2010 lineup remains an industry standard in strength and versatility. Union isn't all hype either, there's a very good reason riders want to strap into a pair of their bindings.
I'm a huge tech nerd. When it comes to boards, bindings, boots, whatever, I want to know what all the tech means. Leafing through tech profiles, it is apparent what sets Union apart from the rest. First of all, their belief in their product quality is so high, that unlike other brands, they offer you a lifetime warranty on their gear. Guaranteed you probably won't use it. They're using industry firsts, such as magnesium and aluminum injected heelcups for strength and injected EVA bushings to dampen vibrations while riding. Their bindings also reduce the dead zone bindings create in the natural flex of the board. If you've ever mounted a pair of bindings, then taken them off after a season, you've noticed the wear mark on the board from the base of your bindings. Try throwing on a pair of Unions. Only 19% of the base is in contact with the board, eliminating a lot of the dead zone and allowing you to experience a lot more of the true flex of your board.
Union offers two shapes of highbacks. Asymmetric/Symmetric highbacks distribute the force and stress on the highbacks out from the bottom of the highback to the outer edges near the top. Multizone highbacks layer the design into three zones, each with its own strength to flex ratio, with the most strength located at the base and going up to a 50-50 split between strength and flex at the top.
The base structure is made to dampen vibrations. It layers a solid, one piece fibreglass blend base with injected EVA and purethane bushings, followed by a durometer dampener to essentially eliminate dead zones.
Union was one of the first five companies worldwide to use injected magnesium for their heelcups. When it comes to snowboarding, they are the only company to use this tech. It results in a stronger and lighter heelcup, reducing the overall weight of the binding. Their also use injected aluminum heelcups of most of their models, which are anodized after they come out of the mold. Anodizing basically means that it's strong than straight up aluminum. I'm switched my old heelcups to anodized injected aluminum (thanks Dad!) when they broke and I've sh*t kicked them to the curb, but the heelcups still hold strong. It makes a difference.
For those of you that I've bored with the tech, perk up. Here's a sneak peek at the product.
This year, Union is also hitting the sustainable, enviro conscious maket with the Re-Union. This binding is the same as the Cadet but uses recycled EVA and excess/byproduct materials left from the manufacture of the other bindings in the Union line. Along with creating an amazing binding, they've also essentialy eliminated all nylon waste. Couple this with the Capita Geen Machine and you've gotta yourself a hippiemobile on snow.
On the woman's end of things, the tech is the same, but the fitting is made for a woman's physique.
The Trilogy features a highback made specifically for a woman's calf, which is lower than a man's, provide a more comfortable fit. It also has a woman's specific baseplate and a softer flex profile designed with a lighter weight rider in mind.
Keep your eyes peeled for Union on store shelves next September. Thanks once again to Mikey Scott and Tony Lefroy for helping us get some of the product in the park for some reviews, which will be coming your way soon.
See you on the hill,