The moment we saw these snowboard bindings we knew we needed them. As an aging snowboarder with a gammy knee from an old accident, faffing with bindings is becoming a more and more painful chore. Even without a gammy knee, it's jarring getting off a ski lift and then stopping to mess with your bindings as your skiing mates glide off into the distance.
Step-in bindings are not new, but Nidecker’s Supermatic step-in technology brings the first self-closing two-strap binding that works with any snowboard boots. Two-strap bindings arguably give you the best feel of any type of snowboard binding with your foot locked in for responsive turns but not overly so like with Burton's Step On bindings. Riding these bindings feels like any other decent high-end two-strap snowboard binding so it takes little to no time to get used to the feel.
The way these work is ingenious. They're super quick and easy to get into and out of, with a simple and intuitive system that needs little explaining. They are probably most similar to flow bindings although with flow bindings you still need to lock the high back in place with your hands, while the Nidecker Supermatic bindings are entirely operated with the foot. The main components that make this possible are a pivoting high back and a ratcheted locking system. This is complemented by a slide and glide footplate which helps your foot slide into the binding at the front and a roller at the bottom of the high back to help the heel of your boot slip into the binding. To release you simply pull down on a lever that releases an arm from the ratchet system and lets the high-back pivot backward. The ratchet has three teeth which essentially gives it three points of failure, as well as a bit of flexibility if your board or binding is clogged up with snow.
Because these can also operate as conventional two-strap bindings, in deep snow or on cambered slopes you can use them in a conventional way. It's amazing to have the option to use these as conventional two-strap bindings as well as a step-in system, we feel that this truly does offer the best of both worlds.
When riding with these bindings there is no noticeable performance difference between this and other high-end all mountain bindings, apart from a little extra weight and bulk, which is more noticeable on the lift than it is when riding.
Nidecker rate the flex of the Supermatic’s as an 8 which is pretty stiff, these are meant as a performance all-mountain binding so treat them accordingly. They have an asymmetric highback, which is adjustable and there’s a decent amount of shock absorption underfoot. These bindings suit a relatively stiff board offering great turn initiation and a balanced feel from heel to toe.
If you like the feel of a two-strap binding system but you’re looking for the convenience of a step-in, then the Nidecker Supermatic is one of the best options out there.
Buy Nidecker Supermatic Bindings: £365 at Nidecker