Flux SF45 2013 - 2010 Review by The Good Ride
The Flux SF45 is a slightly heavier and slightly less snappy version of the Flux DMCC with very similar performance. Flux makes really good bindings and should always be considered when its time to upgrade. The build quality and fit is exceptional. This is a great do anything binding for those that like moderate to challenging boards.
Days Used- 50+
Riders who tried it- 5
Boards Used- Too many to count.
The 2013 Flux SF45 has changed up considerably compared to the 2012. It is lighter and has a much larger asymmetrical ankle strap. It also has more of an all mountain/softer flex than past high backs making this the call over the previous models if you are looking for more of an all mountain ride.
The Flux SF45 competes directly with the Union Force SL, the Union Charger and to a lesser extent the Burton Diodes, Union MC. Where Flux shies is
Flex: This is a very stiff responsive binding. From 2010 to 2012 the Flex hasn’t changed much at all. You can switch the asymmetrical high backs from left to right and vice versa to make for a more mellow flex which isn’t a bad idea if you have a mellow and aggressive board. The 2013 Flex is a little different and has a little more give when you pull it back.
Adjustability: These are very easy to adjust and also have a good amount of options to customize this to your boot. Almost the entire binding is tooless so it makes it pretty easy to adjust if your hands are warm. There are 3 holes for the binding angle which is better than some but not the best.
Comfort: The flux SF45 has a very comfortable set up. We like how the ankle strap is inside the frame of the binding instead of outside. It makes for a more comfortable and responsive fit. Off the top of our head we cant think of any other company that does this. This is hard to explain but the ratchet system is incredibly easy to tighten compared to bindings that have it on the outside. It feels like it tells you when you are securely tightened and stops you from cranking it too tight. For 2013 the new larger ankle strap makes it even better and more supportive than before. Every part of the binding is purposefully constructed to work perfectly with each other part. The 2010 Flux Feedback had very durable straps but the 2011 strap material is plastic that isn’t bonded to the material below. The performance is the same but it probably wont wear as well as the 2010 Feedback. There is a bit of a change to the 2012 ankle straps and toe straps. They lost some weight and usually lighter means more comfortable. All models are very comfortable but the 2013 has a slight advantage over all due to the larger size and lighter weight.
The Toe strap for 2010 was the best in the industry. We love that it wasn’t a compromise toe strap and it securely fits any boot. For 2011 it isn’t as good as 2010 but it can go traditional or over the toe. We would of liked to see 2 separate straps or have them provide the over the toe strap with the binding but have an option for the traditional strap for the old schoolers to buy but that is expensive. The 2012 has a new single piece toe strap that offers a good grip over the toe and it’s also very light. The ankle strap from every year is incredibly cush and if you like to crank your straps down super tight then you should definitely try these. We’d like to see tree positions for the Ankle strap like Burton has but lets face it most people don’t really care or adjust the angle of the ankle strap. The 2013 is an even more slimmed down version of he 2012. The 2012 and 2013 straps work well but most of us liked the fit and feel of the heavier straps on the older models. This is our only real upgrade complaint.
Heel to Toe Response: Our first experience with these bindings was on the Never Summer SL and thought it might be overkill for an all mountain board but they were incredibly fun. When we put them on the Salomon Special and Salomon Burner we fell in love. So they will do very well on any aggressive board but will also perform rather well with any all mountain board. Later we put these bindings on some of our more aggressive freeride boards like the Arbor A Frame, Nidecker Platinum and Never Summer Raptor. The SF45 was quite at home with these incredibly stiff, super carvy, ultra bomber freeride boards while still feeling somewhat smooth compared to other bindings in there category. We had the most fun making big, hard fast turns and had a pretty good time in the half pipe as well. The gas pedals on the toe side are very responsive compared to our C60’s and Co2’s in 2010 and 2011. Compared to the Union SL’s these felt smoother but just as or a tiny bit more responsive. The Diodes are less responsive and feel more like responsive all mountain bindings compared to these. To us there is only one binding that is clearly more responsive in 2013 and that is the Union Charger.
Tip to Tail Response: The ankle straps size from all years helps you flex the board for jibs and ollies but the binding creates a dead spot under foot. That being said it still overpowers the board and flexes it pretty well with the rubber stoppers off.
Boot Support: So The SF45 has a large, asymmetrical supportive ankle strap and a relatively stiff very contoured high back to keep the boot locked firmly in place. So one thing that I don’t like about these bindings also helps them remain very locked in and that’s the firm almost pad-less heel plate. It really allows the ankle strap to hold the boot in place without much give or bouncing that softer materials underneath can do. This is a blessing and a curse. I guess it’s always a compromise so if being about as locked in as possible is what you want you’ll have to sacrafice some shock absorption. If you are all about freedom of movement look else ware but if you like it locked in for superior edge to edge transitioning this is one of the top bindings.
Ratchet System: Very easy and smooth. These guys have great ratchets that are easy on or easy off.
Approximate Weight: For 2012 Flux got all south beach diet on all their bindings or they had binding lipo. The 2011 and 2010’s are light but these are border line feather weight with the new tech. The Straps and base plate were stripped of weight without loosing any strength or support. The 2013 is the lightest of them all
Shock Absorption: The base plate is very damp and makes you feel comfortable at any speed you have the ability for. We have noticed that the heel shock absorption is at the top of most flux bindings but it still doesn’t compare to other bindings like Ride, some Unions and Burton. It still has a fiberglass/plastic base underneath the padding. We’d like to see the fiberglass/plastic base disappear under the heel portion of the bindings or at least see more padding and less base plate. However the toe has more shock absorption than almost any other binding out there with the exception of some of the 2009 and above Burton Est Bindings. For 2012 some improvements were made to make the base plate more shock absorption friendly but we’d still like to see more.
All in all we were very impressed with the smooth traditional feeling these bindings have. We feel it’s one of the top freeride bindings out there and one of the better all mountain bindings. Our only real complaint would be to see some more shock absorption but that’s it. We always try to get the SF45 in our quiver for testing aggressive all mountain to Freeride boards.
For 2012 their are some new upgrades like, continuous padding along the top of the base plate, a new, lighter base plate and more padding along the base plate.
For 2011 there were a lot of little changes worth mentioning. They added gel at the base of the high back and heel which is a good thing. They also added low profile strap ratchets. The pure over the toe strap has been replaced for a more hybrid strap but we preferred the 2010. We would of liked to see more of the base plate removed to allow better flex of the board but these bindings are soo good we can’t complain too much.
Challenging - Moderate Turning
Advanced - Expert
Reduced Dead Spot
Burton Channel Compatible
User Reviews of the Flux SF45
Responsive, Versitle, Aggressive All Mountain Killers
After three months of using the SF45 I have to say these bindings are incredibly responsive & aggressive! This I expected, what surprised me was how comfortable and versatile they are. I ride these everywhere: groomers, moguls, trees, hard pack, frozen over ice (yuck!), powder, park. I suspect this has alot to do with my board as well. James recommended the Rossignol One Magteck paired up with these bindings & what a great set up!
First off they're so stiff & resposive that they'll take a stiff (7/10 nose, 8/10 tail) all mountain board like the One and bend & twist it into a fast hard charging carver (I use Hertel Racing Wax, it's hard & difficult to apply but man is it fast). The faster you go, the quicker your movements & adjustments have to be to avoid obstacles, trees, other people. When riding on the edge of your current ability is when you truly appreciate the SF45's heel and toe responsiveness. Paired up with some really stiff boots and the highback cranked as forward as it can go, the SF45 will twist the nose of the board helping you carve tighter, faster and set you up for the next turn.
Groomers are just too easy now unless I'm looking for absolute top speed. I've started carving moguls, how the heck is this even possible? Well I have found that with moguls you need to have a very stiff & responsive binding like the SF45 that can bend & twist the board in any direction. You need to be able to lift & unload the nose of the board heading up so as not to launch off the top of mogul, quickly twist the nose into the next turn at the top, then reengage the nose & lay into it while lifting & twisting the tail over the top as you head down. Is this simple? No, there's a lot to think about at first until it ingrains into muscle memory. Does is it ever get easier? With a stiff board, H*LL NO! But treat it like a leg work out at the gym. The payoff is when your riding in the trees or on groomed runs you have the skill & strength to twist the board into very tight turns. I haul @ss now & the ski patrol follows me sometimes. As I am able to turn very quickly & tightly to avoid others they just smile & let me be.
Now the versatility, I usually just find a comfortable setting & just let it be for the season. But this board & binding setup is so versatile and easy to adjust that I've started to adjust my setup as needed. In the morning when the mountain is uncrowded I'll hit the groomers at full speed with straps tight & highback forward. As more people come up, I'll move to the trees & moguls. If stopping quickly at the park I unbuckle, loosen up my boots & adjust the highback all the way back. The whole binding is tool-less & so easy to adjust with well fitting gloves that it takes me only a couple of minutes. The only thing you need a tool for is removing & adding the stabilizers as well as adjusting the angle & spacing of the SF45 as it's bolted on the board.
While resting & fueling up at midday I'll widen the SF45s into a duck stance for hitting the park & remove the stabilizers. I've carved without them and it's when your really charging hard that you'll appreciate the extra responsiveness & control of they provide, they do make a difference. While buttering, pressing, jumping, ollieing & jibbing, you'll also find that removing the stabilizers gives the SF45 a more forgiving feel. The base is rounded at the bottom and without the stabilizers it lets the board flex more naturally. I have found that without stabilizers, straps loosen, highback at zero lean & spacing widen into a equal duck stance it makes the park easier to handle with such a stiff setup.
This is the one compramise you make for all the great responsiveness of these bindings; the park, buttering & ollieing can be difficult and not as enjoyable. The park is all about having fun. And while you can adjust everything on SF45, the one thing you can't adjust is it's stiff baseplate & sides. On landing jumps, more cusion in the base padding would be nice, but then again that would take away some of it's great resposiveness. If you only go into the park occasionally it'll be okay and certainly get the job done, especially without the stabilizers & highback lean. But if your spend at least half of your time in the park go with something more flexy, or get a park only setup for your quiver.
The straps are very wide & comfortable, though thicker padding on the ankle would be nice tradeoff for the slightly extra weight. The SF45 is light enough, there's hardly any metal to it as it's mostly hard plastic & fiberglass. The only way to make it lighter (and more expensive) would be trade some of the fiberglass for carbon. I like that I can really crank down and tighten the SF45 to squeeze as much response as I can out of the board, but it'll literally stop me at point of discomfort. You can fight it and crank down even more, but it just gets painful. Props to Flux on the buckle design.
I personally like the the toe strap and adjustable angle very much. I do wear it in front of the boot versus over the toes. It's nonpadded flexible open shape conforms to my boot very well and really helps shove and hold my boot tightly against the back of the base & highback for more response, but I can see how over the toe it wouldn't be so great. It's just a small part with a buckle, you'd think Flux could easily make an over the toe padded strap available as an after purchase option.
All said if your beyond beginner, and looking for a stiff responsive binding that'll slay the mountain this will do. It has given me the control I was looking for and taken me from intermediate to advanced. Thanks again James & The Good Ride, I couldn't be happier.