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Union Atlas Snowboard Bindings
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Atlas Treeline Snowshoes
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Union Atlas 2021 - 2012 Review by The Good Ride
The 2021 Union Atlas had a major overhaul and it seems the only part that is the same is the heel loop. It isn’t quite as fast initiating a turn but you get a lot more dampness. So it still has that Atlas personality that you get from a soft high back and very responsive base plate that blends well with a wide variety of board types.
Turn Ons/Swipe Right: Much more damp compared to the older model. Super comfortable ankle strap. Soft highback has zero calf bite. Excellent boot and stance width adjustability. Very responsive well rounded binding.
Turn Offs/Swipe Left: The toe strap doesn’t conform to the boot like it used to. The ratchet ladders are softer and not as smooth as in past years. The screw in the gas pedal isn’t secured.
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 but we want to own a few as it’s a favorite.
Union Atlas 2021 Snowboard Binding Review – How it rides and who its for
One thing we like about Union is almost every part is interchangeable in their line and you can order different ankle/toe straps, highbacks, discs, etc. at C3 here. We don’t get paid by this link.
2lbs and on the light side of bindings.
Even softer than the older Atlas and its more on the medium soft side. You realize how much response is generated by the base plate. If you get calf bite these might be your binders. They are all party in the high back and business in the base.
Binding to Boot Adjustability
The way the 2021 Union Atlas Integrates with almost any suggested size where most boots out there in the industry don’t. The adjustable gas pedal and heel loop allows almost every boot in the suggest size range to fit. This is one of the best options out there for those that want there boot centered in the binding. There is also high back rotation, forward lean, toolless straps, and all the rest you would expect from a good snowboard binding.
Stance Width Adjustability
I thought the older disc is a little better with one continuous channel but I was wrong. A reader, Ingo, pointed out that there is actually a longer channel and more adjustability with the new Camber Disc. The channel is wider and has more range than before. The Union Atlas can provide any stance width you want. You can even switch out the dual screw washer, put in old Union Washers from C3 here and set up mini-disc style if you want.
The new ankle strap of the 2021 Union Atlas has just about the same surface area of the 2020 ankle strap that is now on the Union Force for 2021 but is a little softer so it really conforms to your boot on a forward flex without any pressure points. I couldn’t get the toe strap to fit completely around my boot. The top and bottom would stick up a bit but they held just like the older straps. I really like the ankle strap on this binding but if you prefer a different type of strap there are usually other options here and I might get the older toe straps if I can’t get used to the new ones.
The ratchets on the Union Atlas are just as smooth as the older models but the ladders are softer. I can’t speak to long term reliability but I like the way the older ladders worked with the ratchets better.
On one run I put a 2018 Union Atlas with 2020 Ankle straps on one foot and a 2021 Union Atlas on the other. The older Atlas initiates a turn a little faster but the new Atlas is more damp and powers through the turn better. I think it is because the older model Atlas has soft EVA foam on the bottom so there is less solid contact with the board. That allows more easily accessible leverage to start the turn faster.
The Union Atlas new base makes it a touch slower to turn. It makes the initial part of the turn more smooth where the older model felt a little sharper. Then once it gets going its just as, if not a little more responsive throughout the rest of a turn. With the damper base plate the new Atlas can hold a more aggressive turn than the older model so in some ways it’s more responsive. Both bindings turned the Jones Mountain Twin quickly which isn’t easy to do with most bindings.
Flex Under Foot/Buttering
Because of the more dense rubber the 2021 Union Atlas doesn’t quite butter as easy but it isn’t a slouch either. It just takes a little more effort. If you want an easier binding to butter with then the Falcor and Strata are a better call.
What I really like about the new 2021 Atlas is how much it dampens up the ride. The full size disc and rubber like base really dampen up the ride. When I had the old Union Atlas on the back foot and the new Union Atlas on the front it was really surprising to feel how much better the new Union Atlas was. In the soft uneven snow, I was in, the front foot gets a little more chatter because it’s hitting the bumpy snow first and smoothing it out for the back foot. This was the biggest change to the 2021 Union Atlas over the older models. It’s just soo damp now.
So overall the 2021 Union Atlas still has almost all the response and adjustability of the older model but added a shit ton more dampness to the ride.
Union Atlas Past Reviews
The Union Atlas is one of the few full-sized disc bindings left in Unions line and it works with a wide variety of board personalities, insert configurations and boot sizes. It’s a binding we own and often recommend to those that want a do everything bingind.
The 2020 Union Atlas has a slight upgrade to the base and a new more supportive ankle strap with more pre-curve than the 2019.
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.
Highback Flex: As you can see from the video above the Union Atlas has a very soft flexible high back and the 2020 seems even softer than the 2019 high back. It has a very good twist to it and that is one of the more unique things about this binding. It’s soft up top so it doesn’t bite into most calves but stiff and responsive on the bottom. It’s like a sensible mullet.
Comfort: No binding is comfortable to everyone but the Union Atlas is doing a good job at improving the comfort every year. Most of the comfort comes from the ankle strap and the Union Atlas has a pretty comfortable strap. Also, most boots fit inside the footbed so it doesn’t have much side bite and like we discussed above not much or any calf bite.
Boot Support: The ankle strap is the most supportive we have tried on the Atlas to date. The 2020 Union Atlas has more pre-curve than the 2019 so it wraps around the boot better and makes you feel more locked in than before.
Turn Initiation/Response: More about the ankle strap with the 2020 Union Atlas. Not only does it wrap around your boot better than before it is a little stiffer in the middle giving it a little bump in response. The base plate is almost the same as last years but some might feel it be a touch more responsive. Most won’t though.
Buttering: The Union Atlas can butter but it isn’t the binding you get if you butter a lot. You need the board to be good at buttering and then the Atlas won’t hinder or accentuate the board’s ability to butter. If you want more butterability then check out the Strata or Falcor instead.
Binding to Boot Adjustability: There aren’t many bindings we have come across in the industry that can conform to most boots in the recommended size range. You really have almost everything you need from the Atlas. You can’t really adjust the angle of the ankle strap but that is about it. Getting your boot to fit centered on your binding makes it utterly simple to center on the board. If it is centered up in binding then all you have to do is turn the disc sideways and you will be centered on the board. If you are all centered up then you will have a better time riding. This is accomplished with an adjustable toe ramp/gas pedal and heel loop where most bindings only have one of those options. Often times some bindings are great if you are a middle size in the suggested sizing like a size 9 in the 8-10 recommended range but 8 and 10 are a little off and hard to center on the board. However, with the Union Atlas you can center up any size almost perfectly with minimal compromise. Another thing to mention if you are just looking at Union again after a few years is the screws don’t come loose any more thanks to a newer better washer. That’s been the same for 2 seasons now.
Stance Width Adjustability: These discs can find most stance widths you want weather set back or centered and that is a great thing for picky riders like myself that want to be in a certain place on the board with a certain width. The full-size disc with long open channels makes that happen. Unlike most Union bindings with mini-discs, the Union Atlas works with boards that have an extra pair of inserts set approximately 40mm back from the nearest insert instead of 20mm for powder days because those only work for full-sized discs. The Union Force can do this too and has the same disc if the Atlas is our of your price range.
Ratchet System: Very smooth and reliable. I haven’t had an issue for many years now and they are some of the best in the industry.
Shock Absorption: The Union Atlas has very good shock absorption with all the EVA foam from the gas pedal to the heel. It’s not quite the best in the business but it’s definitely in the upper tier. Also, the canted footbed aligns your joints better and reduces fatigue for most. If you have unique injuries it might cause more stress on the joint though.
So all in all the Union Atlas keeps tweaking and refining the ride but keeps that general responsive baseplate with a mellow high back theme that we really like.
The Union Atlas is one of the most recommendable bindings we have ridden because it works with such a wide variety of boards, boots and continues to evolve bit by bit every year. It’s middle-ground for buttering but it’s very damp and responsive, even with a more mellow high back. This is why I own 4 pairs.
The 2019 Union Atlas Updated its ankle strap this year and it’s a nice improvement over the 2018 strap. For me, it’s almost a tossup between the old strap (now the team strap) and this but I think with a little time I will prefer the 2019 model. It’s just got more support/response and doesn’t seem to have pressure points. Hopefully, the production model will have a little more pre-curve and then it will be a great addition to the Union Atlas. Another welcome addition is the new washer around the ankle strap screws that keeps the screw from coming loose like it used to.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. No one is perfect and we do make money from the “Where To Buy” links below, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
Days: 50+ on the 2019 and many more to come. 80+ on the older models.
Riders: James, and Grant
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV, Burton SLX
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gamechangers
Boards: OZ Custom Woody, Jones Ultra Mountain Twin, Capita Mercury, Capita Black Snowboard of Death, Rome Powder Division 157
Highback Flex: The Union Atlas Highback is soft at the top and it’s great for people like me who hate calf bite. What’s great about the Atlas is it’s still a very responsive binding.
Boot Adjustability: I’m riding mediums with 2018 Adidas Tactical ADV’s size 8.5’s that have a very reduced footprint. I could slide the heel cup in most of the way and make the size medium’s fit perfect. Conversely, Grant, With a size 11 reduced footprint SLX that’s about the same as a size 10 on the outside can fit the medium if he slides the heel cup all the way out. It’s one of the best bindings out there when it comes to dialing out the binding to fit your boot perfectly. The only minor issue I have is with the high back rotation because when rotated, it can poke at your boots and cause wear. I can rotate the high back with the heel cup. It’s not as good but it’s pretty close and it doesn’t bite into your boots. Even better is every Union binding get’s a new washer that makes the screws around the ankle strap hold super well when in the past, they would come loose. The only thing keeping from being perfect here is you can’t adjust the angle of the ankle strap without changing your position of the boot in the footbed and therefore make it un-centered. That being said, I can do without the ankle strap angle adjustability if I have a centered boot and good straps.
Stance Width Adjustability: The discs on the Union Atlas are great from heel to toe but really great from tip to tail and you can pretty much get any kind of stance width. You can put the screws close together like a Mini-Disc for a little more flex underfoot (still not as good as mini-disc though) or go with the normal set up. It can fit an extra pair of set back inserts too like boards that have a 5×2 insert pack per binding but then an extra 1×2 1.5″ inches back instead of the normal .75″. They fit Burton Channel and any board out there.
Comfort: The new ankle strap had minimal issues for my comfort. The only thing I’d like to see is the strap soften up, which I think it will. It’s really all about the ankle strap with Union as the toe strap doesn’t really hit any parts that can cause foot pressure on your feet. The heel cup and base plate seem to understand that many boot manufacturers come in many different widths, footprints, and shapes and the Union Atlas seems to accommodate more boot brands than most.
Boot Support: When it comes to boot support, the toe strap really locks your heel into the heel cup and holds down the front part of your boot. The ankle strap didn’t seem to have the pre-curve that the other straps in the line did and even though it’s much bigger than any other Atlas strap I tried, it doesn’t feel like it has a really supportive wrap. That’s good for those that like a little freedom of movement to tweak it out but for those that want more support and response might be a little disappointed. This is a demo strap and we might see changes in the production model. I’ll let you know when I get mine. Regardless, the 2019 Union Atlas Strap is much better than the 2018 and I’d say it’s pretty close to being a tossup between the 2019 and the team strap (2017 Atlas Strap). If you don’t like the new strap or want to change out an older model you can always order a Team Strap from the C3 shop and it’s softer/more comfortable than it used to be when it was the 2016-2017 Atlas ankle strap. If you want more support and let’s say you are a size medium like me, you can order the size large and they will work too.
Turn Initiation: The Atlas has a powerful base plate that compensates well for the somewhat softer high back. It’s got a somewhat sharp transition that can power most boards but not be so sharp that it overpowers the board. It can work with a wide variety of boards and it’s a good choice for all but the super easy turners.
Buttering: It’s not the best buttering binding and if you want that you can go with a mini-disc or other technologies but if you want a binding to dampen up the board between the feet and turn really well then the Union Atlas is a great choice.
Ratchet System: Super smooth and easy.
Shock Absorption: The Union Atlas is not only pretty damp but also shock absorbent. It does a very good job at keeping the bad stuff happening between the snow and board from coming up into your joints. Every year I get older I appreciate bindings like this more and more.
So the best way to sum up this binding is to say I own 4 pairs and I use these more than any other binding in my quiver. I can get any binding I want and these are my choices. Yeah, they aren’t perfect but as my father always says, you love your friends despite their faults, and what few faults the Union Atlas’ have, I can easily live with. Also, Union is the kind of friend that listens to other friends and keeps improving their shit.
The 2018 Union Atlas kept the same body but upgraded the straps. The biggest change is the ankle strap as it’s a little longer and a little more supportive.
Days: More than I can count……I own 4 pairs and use these more than almost any other binding when it comes to testing/comparing boards and boots.
Riders: James, Jimbo, Peter, Matt,
Boots: Burton Almighty, Adidas Tactical ADV, Burton SLX, Burton Rover
Boards: OZ Custom Woody, Korua Puzzle, Salomon Assasin, Rome Agent Rocker, Yes Optimistic, Yes Greats, Yes Pick Your Line, Jones Mountain Twin, Jones Ultra Mountain Twin, Jones Flagship, Jones Hovercraft, Loaded Algernon, Rossignol One Magtek, Rossignol XV, Lib Tech TRS, Lib Tech Hot Knife, Burton Flight Attendant, Burton Skeleton Key, Gnu Mulair, Capita Mercury, Capita Outerspace Living, Capita Spring Break Powder, Gentemstick Stingray, Never Summer Proto Type Two, Never Summer Chairman, Never Summer West, Never Summer Ripsaw and a lot more.
The 2017 Union Atlas is pretty much the same binding as the 2016 Atlas and still a binding that we love to use because it blends well with a wide variety of boards.
2016-2017 Union Atlas Review
Riders: James, Peter, Jimbo, Stephen
Boots: Burton SLX, Burton AMB, Burton Imperial Salomon F3.0, Burton Fiend LTD, Burton Ambush, Nike Lunarendore
Boards: Yes Optimistic, Yes Greats, Yes Pick Your Line, Yes Jackpot, Jones Mountain Twin, Jones Ultra Mountain Twin, Jones Flagship, Jones Hovercraft, Loaded Algernon, Rossignol One Magtek, Rossignol XV, Lib Tech TRS, Lib Tech Hot Knife, Burton Flight Attendant, Burton Barracuda, Capita Mercury, Capita Spring Break, Gentemstick Stingray, Never Summer West, Rome Agent Rocker, Never Summer Ripsaw,
Flex: Nice Mid flexing high back but the response is more than you would think by just flexing the high back.
Adjustability: You know it’s not perfect but I really like the adjustable heel loop to dial out the binding to your boot’s size. The only real issue is the ankle strap angles are fixed but you can rotate your high back as well as do everything else you might want. It just takes longer to dial out than some bindings.
Comfort: Super comfortable and I love how the binding fit’s around our boots.
Turn Initiation: Sharper turn initiation than you would think for it’s flex. The base plate is pretty responsive and it’s just a little shy of being rated fast when it comes to edge to edge transitioning. For example when I had Cartels on my Jones Ultra Mountain Twin and then switched to Union Atlas there was a noticeable improvement in turning response. Even when paired with boards that are easier to turn it doesn’t overpower the board and make it twitchy. So the best way to describe it is sharp but not overpowering or twitchy. What I mean by twitchy is some bindings can be too responsive so they make the board turn so quickly that it makes the slightest lean respond way too fast and it turns the board too much. AKA it makes you look like you have a tick when you ride.
Buttering: Pretty good flex under foot and it doesn’t hinder the boards natural ability to flex. It’s a little less than some bindings like the Contact Pro with it’s mini disc or Burton’s re:flex but it’s still pretty easy to butter with.
Boot Support: So these ankle straps are pretty good. I love the width and the only thing I wouldn’t mind is a longer ankle strap so it wraps around more. I tried the size L/XL ankle straps on my M/L bindings and kept them on as they are longer, a touch wider and wraps around the boot more. Still with the regular ankle straps it’s a nice balance of support and freedom of movement.
Ratchet System: Much smoother than the older ones and we have no issues with these. Very reliable and I’ve had no issues with sticky or broken ratchets.
Shock Absorption: The EVA foam is pretty stiff but it’s still got a lot of shock absorption. It’s not perfect but we always get a really damp ride.
So all in all these bindings do a great job and work well with a wide variety of boards.
2014 and Below Union Atlas Review
The Union Atlas took over for the Union SL this year and this is fine because the Atlas and SL were pretty close. The Atlas hasn’t changed much over the last 3 years and remains pretty much the same binding from 2012-2014. There is one change though with the 2014 and that is the toe strap pressure was reduced from 10lbs to 7lbs which makes it easier to un-strap. Also a reader pointed out (I missed it) that there is more padding this year in the heel than previous years making the 2014 a little better than previous models.
Weight: Size M/L 4.0 lbs with discs and screws.
Riders:Most of us
Approx Weight: 3.8lbs
Flex: Like with some Union bindings the flex doesn’t match the response. It’s got a medium torsional flex but when you pull straight back there is no give what so ever. It’s more medium/stiff over all. It allows a good torsional flex for a little tweakability but really is stiff when it’s time to transition from edge to edge.
Adjustability: Like all union bindings the adjustability is not there if you compare them to a binding like Burton but you can make some tweaks that will adjust it to your liking. You can rotate your high back a little bit but you can’t adjust the angle of the ankle strap like you can with other bindings. Instead the heel loop is there to adjust to the exact size of the boot. Some might like that and some might prefer 3 sizes instead of 2 and more adjustability for the high back and ankle strap. Also most of the binding requires a tool where many these days don’t.
Comfort: We were pretty amped on the larger ankle strap when it first came out but now we feel they are about mid level in terms of size, support and comfort. The ankle straps hold well without pressure points if you have good boots and the toe straps have minimal contact and good support as well.
Heel to Toe Response: The Union Atlas along with most Union bindings offer rather sharp responsive turn initiation that seems to be more than you would think after playing around with them in the shop. They make the board feel more responsive edge to edge. It’s not the most responsive in Unions line but it does a lot better than you would think. It’s not as responsive as the Factory, Charger and MC but it’s got a quick snap edge to edge. The bottom line is the Atlas has a ride that can make boards turn easier and seem more responsive than they are.
Tip to Tail Response– The ankle strap gives you enough leverage for buttering and such and combined with the reduced dead spot under foot you get a pretty good flex from tip to tail. It’s right there with the mid level Burton Re:Flex tech.
Boot Support– The larger asymmetrical ankle strap was a huge improvement over the older ankle strap but now that it’s been around for a few years their are larger ankle straps that provide more support. This is still a good balance of freedom and support and in 2014 it’s kind of medium sized now.
Ratchet System: The Union Atlas ankle ratchet is fine but the toe strap can be sticky trying to undo it. The 2014 is easier to un-do and they have made some improvements there. It’s still not the best toe ratchet out there but now it works and works pretty well.
Approximate Weight: We didn’t put these on a scale but they felt on the light side of middle.
Shock absorption– The footbed is very damp and provides great sock absorption. It use to offer hollow heel but this year it’s got more padding to where it’s pretty much not hollow under your heel any more. Instead it’s got a little more padding from top to bottom making it even better than previous models.
Unions Toe straps can be a bit sticky. For some this is a big problem and for others it’s not that big of a deal. Until Union addresses this issue here are some pointers on how to make the toe strap less sticky so you can enjoy the bindings better qualities.
2012 Union Atlas Review (same as 2013)
The Union Atlas is new for 2012 and quickly became one of our favorite bindings. The Union Atlas uses all of Union’s new tech and solves many issues the old tech has. It’s hard to characterize this binding, but it seems to be a smoother more comfortable version of the Union Force and is one of the best bindings we found in the low $200 price range. It’s right there with the Burton Cartel when it comes to a good do anything binding for a wide variety of boards and it’s one of our favorites.
The Union Atlas arrived on the scene in 2012 and offered a ride with a little more higher end tech than the Union Force. There is a new base plate, new ankle strap, new high back and new toe strap. The only old tech on the binding is the heel loop. The 2013 and 2014 Union Atlas is almost exactly the same.
One of our biggest complaints was the old ankle straps from 2011 and below; they are just too narrow and didn’t provide the support that many other ankle straps out there have. The Ankle strap of old used to give you this insecure feeling in chop or at higher speeds because it was so thin and small. These new larger asymmetrical ankle straps really make this ride a lot more comfortable and give much more support than the older ankle straps. It really changes the ride.
We feel the Union Atlas is a great all mountain do anything type of binding that we feel will do a great job with a wide variety of snowboards and riders. It’s a binding with some quirks but over all it’s a really fun ride and we will be using to test many boards this year.
Union Atlas Images
Union Company Information
Union Atlas User Reviews
Great response, great bindings
I'm riding the 2020 version of these bindings and I love the feel and response. I paired them with my Neversummer Westbound board and they have been able to handle everything I've thrown at them so far. I was concerned based on the reviews of loosening hardware, but they must have fixed that issue because I have had no problems, and every time I checked, they are tight and ready to rip.
Union Atlas Bindings
Absolutely love these bindings! I didn’t understand all the hype about these bindings until I bought a pair and tried them. Perfect combination of a soft high back but is still super responsive that really helps drive the board. Also, in 2019 Union started to install different hardware to attach the ankle strap to the binding. This new hardware has fixed the issues of the screws coming loose and eventually falling out. You can also purchase the new screw hardware for an affordable price through Union. I have done this practice on a pair of my pre 2019 bindings. Total game changer!
Atlas 2018 VS 2019 VS 2020
My favorite Union binding by far and the best binding on the market.For reference I ride the Size Medium and Im a 10.5 size boot in Thirtytwo’s.
It has the perfect balance of flex response and comfort. Easy to match with pretty much any board and use it in any condition. The 2017/2018 model are my favorite to date because of the ankle straps. I found that the 2018/2019 model was lighter, but I the the plastic on the ankle straps just didn’t mold and the straps themselves were so large even for my 10.5 boot that it sat on the hard plastic sat on the top of my foot which created pressure points for me. This might not be the case with everyone but it was my experience. The 2017/2018 ankle straps weren’t necessarily perfect but they were comfortable and I didn’t think about at all when riding as they were just comfortable, and I didn’t notice weird pressure points as the season went on. I haven’t ridden the 2020 versions yet looking forward to the added carbon for weight reduction and hopefully they’ve slimmed down the straps material to help the conform a little better. I have a feeling the 2020 version will be the best version yet, not sure how I feel about the hinge on the ankle strap, i like innovation but in my opinion hinging an ankle strap that hinges is just annoying.
If anyone has a pair of 2017/2018’s in size medium preferably in the black or white color I will buy them off you for a fair price.
Mostly good bindings
Decided to upgrade my equipment since it's been quite a while. Bought a YES Optimistic 157, Burton Imperial boots, and Union Atlas bindings. All based on reviews from this site!
My previous bindings were Burton Customs circa 2003. They are great bindings and aside from a replaced strap that cracked, have held up well. I figured I'd try something new given how old my Customs are and went with the Union Atlas. So far I like them and they give me a lot of support and responsiveness, but I have to echo other people's comments on hardware loosening. I've had the bolts on both baseplates loosen on me after 3 days riding and also have to re-tighten my ankle strap bolt every time I ride. Still glad I bought them but I never had these types of issues with my Customs.
Good bindings, but just don't forget to check them.
Comfy bindings that need to be checked
My friend and I both have these bindings. They are good bindings and all around response is great for all mountain riding. The issue I have with the attachment for the heel strap to the chassis, and the infinite base plate.
1) the heel strap attachment to the chassis specifically where the bulky attachment mechanism attaches to the chassis. I have to tighten this pos every time I ride and my bindings have less than 40 days on them. I have lost two screws during hikes in the sidecountry, actually putting me at risk. Really scary, like really bad, like really REALLY BAD.
2)the infinite baseplate does not stay tight. Again, another piece of equipment I have to tighten before every time I ride. I have tried lock tite, going to my local shop and trying different screws, and everything in from under to over tightening these things. It may be because I am a bigger rider, but I can not get these things to stay tight or in place. Both front and rear bindings loosen. I have had this issue with every binding I have ever owned, but it seems to especially worse with the infinite base plate because lack of support at attachment point. Ok biding, wouldn’t buy again recommend.
Great response, but bring spare parts!
My buddies and are had some freaky mind-melding going on and all three bought this same style binding. They are extremely comfortable under foot, but still have decent responsiveness. I prefer a stiffer high-back, so I liked the feeling this binding offered there. The "gas pedal" design to the front and back of the footbed made carving a joy--especially on the toe side.
I would be remiss in my review, however, if I didn't tell you about the serious problems not one, but all three of us had with the hardware. I have lost two screws mid-mountain and a third at the top of a black diamond (thank god it was a groomer). Both of my other buddies have lost the hand screw on the side of the heel strap and one of them lost the high back adjustment screw.
If you go with this binding, my suggestion to you is to double check all your screws before each ride and double check the hand screw on the ankle strap multiple times a day. I'll confess, we ride relatively hard and are throwing a lot of torque into our bindings, but if you're riding the same way, I might consider something else.
2014 Changes not listed
For 2014, they also changed the heelcup making it taper down providing less ding on the lower back part from previous years. Also, the heel part of the footbed is now filled in with foam providing a solid stable contact with the board where as prior it was floating.
Response: Thanks for pointing that out!
good but have problems
binding is great overall. it feels like feather and gives great response in almost any condition for edge to edge turns. although my board is (capita BSOD) is a bit on the stiffer side, I tried them in park and I was able to use its max flex with these bindings which gives a great versatility for these bindings. Landings were quite soft and you feel really comfortable even when you ride at higher speeds.
HOWEVER; there are well known problems with Union toe straps and buckles which Union said they made big improvements in 2013. I have New Balance 1971 boots and toe straps comes off almost in every ride and I have to re-attach them every time I get to lift. I have tried many different ways of mounting it, even took it to local shop and it is what it is. as for the buckles; its been said they resolved jamming issue however I have issues 3 times out of 4 and I almost slap it with my hand to open it. I had a long chat with local distributor of Union and they said 2014 models will have no buckle issues so I m hoping to get new buckles for my bindings.
Apart from well known strap and buckle issues, its a great binding. I have to take a star out due to those issues.
ps: I also have Union contact, it doesnt have toe strap issue but buckle remains.
A fantastic binding.
This might be the best binding I have ever tried, I must confess I didn't see what all the fuss was about with Union and thought it was just a bandwagon thing, but now I have tried them I am a big fan.
I waaaaay prefer the way these flex outside the foot as opposed to the burton reflex system which flexes at the disc.
Whilst riding with these I noticed the following improvements -
my board had better edge grip, it was easier to get more pop off jumps and bumps, they were noticably lighter (than my '12 cartel reflex) and overall it just gave me alot more control over my board, made it easier to turn and gave me better dampening.
All this whilst being softer than cartes.
I bet these are the shit in powder!
I would recommend these for all mountain and park but not for a beginner cos they have too much response but as soon as you know what you are doing I think you will like them.
great feeling binding
Boot size 8 (Burton Ion), binding size small. 2013 Atlas.
Got these after reading thegoodride review. Love them. I had some cartels, which were ok but i couldn't quite see why everyone says they're a really great binding. I had size medium in the cartels so it's possible they were a fraction too big for my boot. Anyway, the small Atlas fits my boot really snug and the ride is improved substantially. The toe-strap ratchet thing I've read about is a complete non-issue. You must be a tard if you can't work them. I feel the ratchet to be very secure and they never once slipped on me while riding. This is what you want right? I use the toe strap right over the top of my boot rather than around the front of my toe. I found it locked my boots in place and the toe strap never moved around at all for me. As for riding response, I really like them. I put them on a Jones Mountain Twin and also on a channel system Custom X. Superb on the MT and I actually preferred the Atlas to my cartel est on the channel board! Felt just more solid. I'm a Union fan now and will be looking at some of their other options when the end of season sales come around. The Atlas is great for all mountain cruzing, groomer bombing and a few natural jumps. SOLID!