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Union Falcor 2019 - 2018 Review by The Good Ride
The Union Falcor replaced the T.Rice from last year. It keeps the same fast response edge to edge but adds more butter ability. It’s a great binding for those that want really upper tier response.
The 2019 Union Falcor has a couple of improvements that make it the call over 2018.
- The ankle strap is probably my favorite in Unions line. It’s big, comfortable and super supportive.
- The screw that holds the heel loop and ankle strap received a new washer that keeps it from coming loose like the older models did. It’s such a little thing but it makes a really big difference. I tested one of these washers for a season and the binding never needed tightening where my other union bindings needed them about once every 4-5 days of riding.
Highback Flex: The Union Falcor has a very minimalist high back that looks like it might be soft but it’s pretty stiff when pulling it back. It twists pretty easy for how much carbon fiber is going on with this so it doesn’t bite as hard into your calves if you don’t rotate the high backs as you think it would.
Boot Adjustability: You can’t adjust the toe ramp but the heel loop is and it’s pretty easy to dial this out to your boot length so you can center your boot on your board. You can’t rotate the high back without doing it with the heel cup so it does compromise dialing out your boot to fit center if it’s on the bigger or smaller side of the sizing recommendations but it should work for most. The only other issue is you can’t adjust the ankle strap angle without un-centering your boot but this isn’t as big as a deal as centering your boot.
Stance Width Adjustability: These mini-discs can get just about any stance width. The only issue is they don’t work with those 1×2 inserts that are set back 1.5″ from the rest of the insert pack. A lot of companies have this option these days so it’s the only real drawback.
Comfort: The new ankle strap really makes the Union Falcor such a more comfortable binding and it works well with most boots out there.
Boot Support: Again, the new ankle strap is very supportive and matches the aggressive go big nature of the Union Falcor.
Turn Initiation: Super fast edge to edge and only a few bindings are faster. It can overpower some easier turning boards so make sure it’s paired up with a board that likes responsive bindings.
Buttering: Super easy to butter with and it makes stiffer boards feel softer underfoot.
Ratchet System: Super smooth and reliable.
Shock Absorption: Not incredible but very good. They seemed to take some of the Union Falcor’s foam out to improve response so there is a little trade-off here.
So as long as you don’t plan to use these bindings with an easy turning board or a board with setback inserts the Union Falcor is a great choice for those that want a lot of response and butter ability.
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2018 Union Falcor - First Impressions
I haven't ridden these yet so can't speak to their performance but I doubt I could add anything further to the review from the team at The Good Ride anyway. I just wanted to get some information out to potential buyers of Falcors after my experience with seeing them in the flesh and setting them up with my boots and board.
I'm running these on a Jones Mountain Twin 161W and with size 10 (US) Adidas Tactical ADVs. I purchased the Falcors in size M and the size 10 Tacticals fit in nicely.
Straight out of the box I was surprised how light the Falcors feel. I also have Union Contacts, which are quite light but the Falcors are impressive.
The all black Falcor looks like a cross between some military stealth machine and a ninja's home made weapon. Most of the construction is beautiful but the forged carbon on mine is a bit raw in places. One binding has a few burs remaining and the other seems to have been sanded smooth. I may remove the burs because some are touching my boot but it's not an issue. Considering the price and looks of these bindings, I had to smile when I remembered old sayings about the gap between Italian design and manufacturing. They are a bit like the Ducati motorbikes I've owned; look great, are a blast to ride... but are never perfect.
The ratchets seem really smooth and strong. The toe strap is a super grippy beast that moulds to the toe of the boot a little better than the toe strap on the Contacts. The ankle strap is an interesting design, you can immediately feel it will be more supportive than other Union offerings. The size of it means the top edge is close to the bottom lace hooks on the Adidas boots but doesn't seem to touch, no matter how much forward lean I try to simulate. I only mention it because different size boot and binding combos might have different results (running a size 10.5 or 11 boot in a large binding with the heel cup pushed in for example.) I was able to get my strap lengths perfect but be aware that the first time you use the tool less adjusters you will need the hands of Hercules. There is some sort of blue thread grip on them, which eases up after the first use but I wouldn't like to be trying to do it for the first time on a mountain with frozen hands.
The heel cup is fully adjustable and I easily got the boots centred over the board. The high back rotation is gone though. I like my high backs nearly parallel to the edge of the board. Apparently Mr Rice doesn't because although I've gotten close by pushing the heel cups in and out on opposite sides, you can't get to the parallel position. I really don't mind because it's close enough and using the heel cup method has meant there is no hook created at the base of the high back to gnaw away at my boots, (which was a problem with my Contacts until I learned this trick.) There is forward lean available in the high back but the convenience of tool less or quick release to do it has been taken away too. I suspect it makes for a stronger and more durable system, so again, I don't mind (I had someone bump the tip of a board into the back of my binding once and it smashed the lean adjuster, it likely would't have affected the Falcors).
Although only aesthetically 99%, I've given these five stars because there is something in the uncompromising design of them I just love. The ethos seems to be about putting some time into getting them dialled in for a rider and never looking back. It's all about performance first, cost be damned... and no apologies for it.
I'll do a ride review of them after my next trip if I've got anything worthwhile to share.
Responsive, Light, Great binding
I would have given this a 5 star review but couple of things that people need to know when they buy this binding.
This binding is using EVA foam which is super comfortable underfoot but during the first day of riding, you have to check and tightenyour screws. This is because the EVA foam takes time to compact under your foot. Your screws have more room to travel each time if the foam isn't compacted.
Other than that, this binding is one of the best out there.