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Salomon Highlander 2020 Review by The Good Ride
The Salomon Highlander takes a lot of what we loved from the Quantum and Hologram and combines it together to make a little more responsive binding than the Hologram and a little more comfortable binding than the Quantum.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
How This Review Happened: We borrowed this for an extended demo and then returned it.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs), Peter (Size 8, 5’11” 185lbs),Grant (Size 11 6’ 160lbs), Zobel (Size 11.5, 6’ 180lbs), Nick (Size 10, 160lbs, 5’8”), Jimbo (Size 11, 5’11” 160lbs),
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV, Burton Imperial
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gamechangers, Footprint Insole Technology Gamechangers Lite, Footprint Insole Technology Gameghangers Low Profile
Boards: Gentemstick Mantaray 156, Korua Pencil, Korua Dart, Korua Otto, Yes Optimistic, Rome Powder Division 153, Lib Tech BRD, Burton Flight Attendant, Gnu Mulair, Loaded Algernon, Endeavor Scout, Endeavor Pioneer
Highback Flex: There is a pretty medium-stiff flex any way you work this but it is a very contoured High Back so it didn’t bite into the calves as some do with soo little adjustability
Binding to Boot Adjustability: The Salomon Highlander is very much like the Hologram and Quantum when it comes to adjustability. There isn’t much to dial out your boot to the binding but at least the heel loop and high back do a pretty good job molding to the boots we had. There is an adjustable toe ramp and the tooless straps are really easy to adjust on the fly. The high back rotation is combined with the forward lean so you can’t do one without it affecting the other and that is a little frustrating. Despite these frustrations, I was really surprised how well the binding fit around the boot.
Stance Width Adjustability: The Discs work with any kind of insert configuration or type out there so that is good. You can also slide them a little bit each way but not as much as some full-sized discs. Most people will get the stance width they want though if the boots can center up in the middle of the bindings so you can turn the discs sideways. They also have a little plastic attachment that keeps the screws from falling out which I love for normal insert packs but hated when I put them in channel system boards because it isn’t easy to remove the screws.
Comfort: Very comfortable all-around binding here with the Salomon Highlander. I never felt any pressure points throughout the extended demo. I never crank down my ankle strap as some do but I think that most will find it free of pressure points.
Boot Support: The Salomon Highlander is very supportive from the toe strap that really conforms well to the toe of the boot and pulls it into the heel loop, the wide ankle strap that wraps well and the highback that didn’t bite into my calf even though I couldn’t really rotate it. What is really weird is this soft heel loop doesn’t make your ankle feel exposed which is really counterintuitive.
Turn Initiation/Response: The Salomon Highlander is very quick edge to edge and it turns easily any board I paired it up with. It feels just a little faster than the Highlander and a little slower than the Salomon Quantum but a bit closer to the Hologram.
Buttering: So what really surprised us when we compared this to easier buttering bindings like the Union Strata with it’s mini-disc and it was very close. It wasn’t quite the same but was on the border between being a pretty easy buttering binding and more middle ground kind of bender. It’s not quite there with Re:Flex bindings or some of the softer EVA foam min-disc Union bindings but it really butters well for a full-size disc. There is minimal contact around the disc underfoot but also I think the easy flex side to side of the Salomon Highlanders shadow tech allows more leverage and makes the board flex easier from tip to tail while still not making the board feel softer underfoot which keeps the board’s dampness in check.
Ratchet System: Pretty good but nothing that really called to us as amazing either. Just didn’t even catch our attention either way but seems reliable.
Shock Absorption: This improved footbed that is very similar to the Hologram and it is pretty good all-around from slow-speed to high-speed shock absorption.
So if I was a consumer, like I used to be, and I was looking at this binding on-line, I probably would have passed on it because I would have thought the limited adjustability would lead to comfort issues. I’m glad I got to ride it and feel what it could do. It is a very unique design that has a very functional application to making a binding fun to snowboard.
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