Union Strata Snowboard Binding Review

Union Strata Snowboard Binding Review

Union Strata Binding Review Test Information:
Use: Freestyle/All Mountain
Binding size: Medium
Boot size: 9
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV
Binding Color: “HyperBlue” (if I could describe it in other terms – cyan or somewhat baby blue)
Snowboards tested on: Never Summer TypeTwo, Instagator, Shaper Twin, Sims Dealers Choice and Terry Kidwell RT2.

Intended Use: Snowboarding in almost every condition. You can ride these as your park/pipe and all mountain weapons they will serve you well on powder days too.
Recommended for: intermediate/advanced/expert riders

 

Review Date: April 2018 – May 2018 (in Colorado)

Review:
The 2018-2019 season will be Union Binding Company’s 14th year producing snowboard bindings and they have always sought the feedback of their team riders to make a better binding for every type of riding out there. From freestyle, all mountain, freeride and backcountry Union has a binding that will fit your riding style. That’s why it’s no surprise to me that they continue to build on their strong platform with new “industry first” products like the Strata bindings new Fused Vaporlite Bushing System. Torstein Horgmo and the Union Binding engineering team have created a binding that checks off a lot of the boxes for me in what a snowboard binding should do, and goes the extra mile with some big improvements bringing that WOW factor. So, if you’re looking for something different from Union for the 18-19 season, read on.
When I first saw the Union Strata Binding I was very intrigued by the look of the binding. The Strata is part of the classic series which includes other heavy hitters from Union like the Atlas, Force, Contact, and Contact Pro. The Strata hyperblue color is spectacular to see in person and it looks even better mounted to any board (any color choice of the Strata probably looks great too, but this one rocks the house!). You’re immediately drawn to the slightly asymmetrical highback, with  waffle like cutouts in it. The new “forma” ankle strap looks similar to the exoframe ankle straps from the prior season, and provides similar comfort in a durable lightweight housing. the ultragrip x toe straps have always hit the mark and stay put on your toe no matter what the conditions and, as always, Union has solid toolless adjustments and tough magnesium buckles. Check, Check and Check, that’s what I would expect from a Union binding. The forward lean adjustment “hex flad” does require a screwdriver to adjust, but that’s ok for me as I don’t adjust my forward lean that much on the fly, I’m pointing this out though as several other bindings have a toolless forward lean adjustment and the Strata does not.
The heelcup adjustments are all standard as they are on other union products as well as the adjustability of the ankle and toe straps so they fit snuggly across your ankle and toe for optimal comfort while riding, I usually check the toolless adjustments each time I go riding to make sure they are tight and locked down as you don’t want to lose these during a day riding. Check again, everything I wanted from a Union binding.
Now, let’s dig in to the WOW factors, the highback and the new fused vaporlite bushing system. I typically ride the Union Ultra for almost everything, and I thought a stiffer highback was what I wanted, and I still love the Ultra, but here’s where the Strata Highback has won me over for freestyle and all mountain domination. The Strata Highback is less stiff torsionally than my ultra carbon fiber highback (which makes sense) but a little stiffer than my contact pro highback. It’s superlight weight and the asymmetrical design really works well with my boots so I can still tweak an air when I want to, they are very forgiving and fun in the park. That being said, the response from these highbacks is awesome, they feel rigid when you’re carving and forgiving and tweakable for airs so this is a wow factor for me, nicely done Union!

Now let’s look at the direct injected base and all new fused vaporlite bushing system. I’m no stranger to cushioning in bindings, the Ultra Vaporlite baseplate provides an amazing amount of cushioning and shock absorbtion and is why I fell in love with it in the first place, and I wasn’t really sure how Union could improve upon this. They did though, I still feel the Ultra has more cushioning characteristics, but the Strata fused vaporlite bushing system is very close and provides a very different ride. After riding the strata now for a few months on several different boards, I really can’t say enough about the responsiveness and board feel the strata has. These bindings are very responsive when putting your board on edge, it’s a different feeling than other Union bindings I’ve tried and it’s a very stable quick response. The cushioning properties of the all new fused vaporlite are great too, coupled with a good boot you will have a cushy ride with some of the best dampening characteristics around.
I took the Strata Bindings through almost every condition I could find, from park, pipe, groomers, bumps, slush and powder and they’ve really performed well in any condition I could throw at them. Even in powder conditions these bindings are very responsive and won’t miss a beat once you’re back in the park or carving up that groomer on early mornings. Lastly, the Strata is a slick looking binding, I have to give it up to the team at Union they really made this look like it came right out of the Porche factory, for all the tech in the Strata you also get a sleek design that’s ready to rip anywhere you take it.

Summary:
The Union Strata Binding is a great option for park/pipe and powder too, it’s a great looking binding. This binding will provide you with superb dampening characteristics when you’re riding through rough conditions and provides incredible board feel. The strata highback is the perfect amount of flexibility for tweaking airs, yet is rigid enough to euro-carve like a champion when you want too. If you are looking for a binding for freestyle domination that will handle a foot of fresh also then the Union Strata Binding IS a great choice for your next pair of bindings.

Pros

  • New Fused VaporLite provides a cushioned and damp ride all over the mountain
  • Responsive turn initiation
  • Strata Highback is a great mixture of freestyle and performance
  • Lightweight
  • minidisc system works great
  • Easy-to-use ratchets
  • Easy, tool-less adjustments
  • versatility to ride almost anywhere on the mountain
  • Tasteful Binding Design

Cons

  • Forward Lean requires a screwdriver to adjust
Style: (5.0 / 5)
Comfort: (5.0 / 5)
Features: (4.8 / 5)
Overall: (4.9 / 5)

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