Whether you are using an electric mountain board or going old school, one thing is constant: you will need to use a good set of mountainboard bindings. These are quite simply the unbreakable links between your deck and your feet.
With the right mountain board bindings, you will not only be comfortable when riding your mountain board, but you will also be in better control of it.
As you would expect, there are many different types of mountainboard bindings, and not every one will be the right one for you. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at what these are, why you need them, and how to choose the right mountain board bindings for your specific needs.
What Are Mountain Board Bindings?
Mountainboard bindings are your literal connection to the board. The straps tie around your feet and fasten to the board.
There are many different types of bindings. The idea is to find the type that works for your riding style. The best part is that you can use bindings even with your shoes on so that your feet have an extra layer of protection.
Why Use Mountain Board Bindings?
Even though you can go mountainboarding without using bindings, some benefits come with using a pair that simply can’t be ignored. Here are some excellent reasons to consider using the right mountainboard bindings.
- Safety: As is the case with almost every piece of gear you use when mountain boarding, from knee pads to elbow pads to other protective gear, your safety should be a priority. Your bindings are part of the equipment needed to enhance that safety. The right kind of bindings keeps your feet secured to the mountain board, which means that you won’t easily slip off the board and onto the rough terrain beneath.
- Control: Even if you aren’t using a powerful and fast mountain board such as the many available gas-powered options, there’s a good chance that you will end up going quite fast. This is particularly true if you are fond of riding down the sides of hills or downhill. At a higher speed, you have very little control over your mountain board. You can increase your level of control by having it bound to your feet. This will also allow you to perform several tricks and risky maneuvers without worrying that your mountain board won’t jump when you do.
- Comfort: Apart from giving you more control over your mountain board, the right kind of foot bindings will allow you to ride in comfort. Whenever you want your mountain board to turn one way or another, you need to move your feet as well as shift your body weight in a certain manner. For example, if you want it to curve right, you need to lean a little to that side, and so on. With the right bindings, all you have to do during these maneuvers is worry about how far into the lean you go instead of worrying if your feet will come off the board and leave you splattered on the ground. Your feet will remain comfortably secure, and you can learn, jump, and turn as much as you need.
- Style: Let’s face it, sports such as mountain boarding are also mostly about how you look. Riders want to maintain a specific culture and riding style. With the right kind of foot bindings, you can do all of this and even more. Being comfortable in the knowledge that your feet are secure on the deck gives you the freedom to try out new riding tricks and styles, which will enhance your image as a mountain boarder.
Tips on How to Choose the Right Mountain Board Bindings for You
How do you choose the right mountain board bindings for you? It boils down to personal preferences, but some features of mountain boarding come into play. For example, whatever kind of bindings you choose, your safety and comfort need to be considered regardless of the style.
Other factors, like brand, pricing, and lacing styles, are more subjective than objective. However, choosing one directly influences your riding style going forward. That said, let’s take a quick look at some of the key factors you need to consider when choosing your preferred mountain board bindings.
Let’s start with the obvious considerations. If you choose bindings that aren’t comfortable, your riding experience won’t be either. Consider what kind of restrictions will allow you to ride in comfort, whether you are cruising down a hill or struggling to get your mountain board up that windy road so you can cruise back down.
When it comes to finding comfort, there are two main questions you need to ask yourself:
a) How tight can you get your bindings?
The bindings need to secure your feet to the deck of your board, which means that they need to be fairly tight. However, just because they need to be quite tight doesn’t mean that they need to cut off blood circulation to your feet just so you feel secure on the board. The straps that attach to the bindings should be tight enough to be comfortably secure. That means that they need to be adjustable, which also comes with its own set of questions.
- What kind of adjustment mechanism works best for you?
- How reliable is that mechanism?
- How durable are the straps in question?
b) Are the bindings going to dig into your feet or any other part of your leg?
Unfortunately, not every manufacturer considers comfort as a priority. That’s why you find substandard products flooding the market. When it comes to bindings, some are comfortable and high-quality materials, and some are plastic and low-quality materials. The ones made out of low-quality materials or plastic tend to dig into your feet after a little while. This will only increase your level of discomfort as well as create a new set of injuries to go along with it.
The Right Fit
Mountainboard boot bindings come in the kinds of sizes you would expect:
- Small or S/M
- Medium or M/L
- Large or L/XL
There are also other types of bindings that are adjustable. These bindings are more flexible in terms of fit, but they take a lot more time to mount on the board.
You must find the right size or fit for you. The best way to go about this is to check the manufacturer’s binding size chart on every individual product. If you can’t find it on their website, sales landing page, or advertisements, you can simply call them up and ask. That’s yet another reason why it’s important to buy from established brands that have this information ready for your consumption.
In some cases, simply checking the manufacturer’s sizing chart might not be enough. If you are in a position to do so, you should try the bindings with your boots on before you buy them.
The trick is to put on the boots or shoes you intend to wear most when you are riding and try on the bindings without taking off the shoes. The right fit should be snug but not too tight or too loose.
Your shoes or boots shouldn’t hang over the bindings, at least not excessively. The idea is to have your boots or shoes flex as opposed to sway while inside the bindings. The ideal should be a comfortable fit.
Your boots or shoes should be snug and capable of flexing while the bindings should be tight but not uncomfortable. If the bindings grip your shoes properly, comfortably, and without much play, you found the right match.
- Note: Those buying online might need to rely on the size charts and the manufacturer’s return policy.
Just like trucks, mountainboard bindings come with a host of mountain options, and it’s absolutely important to find one that works with your specific mountainboard deck. The mountain option differs, and there are a variety of hole patterns. Thankfully, most of these patterns are compatible with one another. That, however, isn’t to say that you can buy any binding. You need to pay close attention not to get stuck with a pattern that isn’t compatible with your deck.
Noted that most brands have taken to making many discs that can be considered universal. Most companies also offer multiple disks with each sale to cater to different types of holes. It’s important to check with the manufacturer if they have the kinds of bindings that are either compatible with your specific deck or, at the very least, universal.
Type of Bindings
Mountainboard bindings come in a wide variety of styles and types. While there are many specialized bindings for professional and competitive mountain boarders, most leisure riders have two main options from which to choose:
- Strap-in bindings
- Speed entry bindings
These are very much like snowboarding bindings in that they work in the same way. As you would expect, both types of bindings have their advantages and disadvantages.
- Strap-in bindings: These bindings are popular with freestylers or free riders who don’t want to stop for long periods to either undo or do their bindings. With these kinds of bindings, they can simply hop in and out whenever they see fit. Another excellent advantage that comes with these kinds of bindings is the kind of precise pressure they offer. If you are the kind of rider who prefers to feel the pressure of the straps on your feet, then strap-in bindings would be perfect for that kind of custom tightness.
- Speed-entry bindings: These are ideal for beginners who want everything on their board to be compact. Yes, these types of bindings are a little disadvantageous in that they require a lot of work to both puts on and take off, but once you are strapped in, you are good to go. Another issue with them is that if you fall while strapped in, you will have to learn how to pull yourself back up without unstrapping them. You could also choose to unstrap them first and then strap them on again, which can be quite cumbersome.
Then there are other factors, such as price, brand, and color, but these are subjective issues that don’t have too direct an impact on your riding quality and safety. Although the brand does matter, it is mostly because well-known brands tend to manufacture more reliable products than obscure brands. As you would imagine, the price tag also matches the quality of the product produced.
So which kind of mountainboard bindings are right for you? That depends on your riding style and personal preference. The tips laid out here will help you find and pick the right option.
One of the best ways to go about it is to simply walk into a mountain boarding pro shop and try out the different styles and sizes they have in stock.
The one that is most comfortable and most secure is the one that is right for you.