The 2017 Union T.Rice binding has a new much more supportive ankle strap in play and it’s much more fun to ride now.
2015-2016 Union T.Rice Binding Review
The Union T.Rice is new this year and it’s got a higher tech version of the Union Factory.
Here are the differences between the Union T.Rice and Union Factory.
1. Lighter and slightly more responsive base plate.
2. It has an asymmetrical high back compared to the symmetrical team high back.
3. It’s got their high end toe strap that offers up a better fit for over the top and really good grip over the toe.
4. It’s got a smaller ankle strap.
Both have a shorter ankle strap connector in 2015. If you want the longer ankle strap connector from the 2014 bindings just contact Union and ask them.
Riders: James, Peter, Kyle, Jimbo, Mike,
Boots: Burton Imperial, Burton SLX, Nike Lunarendor
Boards: Gnu Whip It
Flex: Snappy and stiff but not the stiffest binding in the line.
Adjustability: Same adjustability that is great in some areas and lacking in others but there is more great than bad. It also has a tooless toe strap this year and a better tool free ankle strap. You hear this in all Union reviews. The heel loop’s ajustability is really good for dialing out the binding for your boot size but not ideal for rotating the high backs and there is no way to adjust the ankle strap angle.
Comfort: no pressure points with our crew and like all Union bindings it’s got a good fit around your boot.
Turn Initiation: Very snappy and quick. We were on a mid/wide board and this turned it like it wasn’t. For Peter and I this was great becasuse we have size 9 and 8 boots so it made the mid/wide experience much easier for us.
Buttering: Nice easy buttering ability but felt a shade less easy than the Factory and it was probably because of the smaller ankle strap.
Boot Support: For all of us we preferred the more supportive ankle strap of the Factory over the T. Rice binding here. It just felt like our ankle was over exposed and our boots would fold way too easy at the ankle if we hit some rough terrain. It was fine on groomers and only really came out in rough terrain or awkward moments on the board. It’s an interesting move to go with such a narrow ankle strap in a world where everyone has gone for more supportive bigger ankle straps.
Ratchet System: Pretty smooth and easy to use.
Shock Absorption: Nice thick shock absorption that doesn’t sacrifice response. Also love the canted foot bed similar to the Factory.
So we liked all the new tech except for the new smaller ankle strap. If we could take the Factory’s ankle strap and put it on the T.Rice we’d have a favorite. That being said if you like a lot of freedom of movement then you will like the new ankle strap but all of us prefer either support or a balance between freedom of movement and support.