Bindings are designed so that they can be adjusted and altered, allowing you to get the best fit to your boot, which will ultimately give you better power transfer and control in your riding. When you’ve got yourself a new set of bindings it’s worth giving them this attention before you get out on the hill, so that both you and your bindings can perform to their best ability. The method of binding adjustment will vary according to different brands and models, but here is a brief overview of the main binding parts that you can customise to achieve a better fit.
Firstly pick up one of your boots and strap it in to one of your bindings so that you can get an idea of the general fit and you can then work from there.
Heel Cup and Baseplate
Once you’ve got your boot strapped into your binding have a look at how much the heel and toe of the boot are overhanging the binding baseplate. For balance and control you want the boot to be centred and the toe and heel overhang to be even. You can measure this by eye or you can use a tape measure if you want to be really specific. If you find that the overhang isn’t even then you should adjust the heel cup. There will be a set of holes allowing you to move the heel cup forward and backwards depending on the size of your boot. On some binding models the footbed can also be adjusted to line up your boots with the contours of the basepad for better power transfer. When you are adjusting this you ideally want the toe ramp to match up with curvature of boot.
Ankle and Toe Straps
The key to adjusting the ankle and toe straps is that you want the straps to be centred over your boots to minimise pressure points and optimise power transfer. Brands offer various methods of strap adjustment, with some straps able to be adjusted without the use of tools, while others will need a screwdriver. When you centre the strap and crank it up to your desired fit, you are looking to achieve about an inch of strap showing from the ratchet to the baseplate for easy release (as shown below).
Toe straps can be worn traditionally over the top of your toes or capped to hold your toes and boot back in the boots. Some bindings offer you ability to adjust the mounting position of the toe strap, so that you can change the distance of the toe strap to the ankle strap. If you were using the toe strap capped you would run the strap further back towards the ankle strap than if you were using the toe strap traditionally, to help keep your boots locked into the back of the bindings.
The term forward lean describes the angle of the highback. If you are into power and carving turns, charging the half pipe or free riding generally you would appreciate some forward lean to give you more response on the heelside edge and help you power through turns. Jibbers and freestyle orientated riders prefer to have less or zero forward lean, as it allows for more tweakability and a bit forgiveness and freedom of movement.
Once you’ve mounted your bindings on to your board, it is then time to look at the highback rotation. Unless you are going for a 0 degree stance, you will see that your highback will not be in line with the heel side of the board. Ideally you want the highback to be as close to parallel to the heel side of your board as possible, which is where adjusting your highback rotation comes in. Adjusting this rotation usually involves unscrewing one screw at either side of the binding which will then allow you to rotate the highback to the desired position. By lining up the highback and heel edge of the board it will allow for better power transfer. Highback rotation is not always necessary if you have a tapered highback as it should contain a soft enough lateral flex to automatically adjust the rotation to your stance.
Once you’ve got your bindings setup you’re good to go, but remember to give them a check now and then and tighten the screws when necessary, as they’re bound to loosen over time due to knocks and vibrations. There’s nothing worse than getting to the top of the hill in perfect powder conditions to find that you’ve lost an ankle strap!
For more information on mounting your bindings on to your board and deciding your riding stance click here.