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Burton Step-On Bindings review


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So, you guys have been waiting for a review of the new Burton Step On Bindings. We have now had two weekends on the new bindings, and now two boardercross races this weekend, and I have to say that they work great! They click in and out easily, and have a very solid feel to the board. My wife and I both have the boots with the extra strap across the ankle and this strap helps significantly with the firmness of the attachment to the board. When I loosen the ankle strap I get a bit of pistoning of the foot inside the boot, but with the strap cranked down absolutely none of that occurs.

The boots are very comfortable, and in my opinion, the direct attachment of the boot to the board is far more comfortable and solid feeling than conventional strap bindings. Overall two thumbs up??

The only thing I would like changed is the teeny little levers all the way down on the top of the board. Will anxiously wait to hear from Barry how his modification works out. The current lever is quite a reach for us old farts.

Anyway, will let you know if my opinion changes over time, but right now they are solidly recommended.

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Burton had a Step-On demo day at Spirit toward the end of the last season.  I demo'd the Step-Ons there... I've owned nearly every type of step in system and I liked the O-Sin system the best. In fact I still have that setup but I only use it for the annual pond skimming contest.

The Step-on system is great and I had no issues with the system.  (Note: there is a Step-On "update" (recall) for the system. Read more here- https://www.burton.com/us/en/stepon-update )

The boots are medium stiffness at best and are far too soft for me.  I am on the large size  (195cm/112kg) so keep that in mind.

I asked one of the Burton VIPs that was there about additional boot choices and was told that none are in the pipeline.  A Driver X step-on version would be very tempting.

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anyone having issues with one of the front engagement points popping out? I ride regular foot, and on a hard heelside carve, or when really torquing my rear foot inward, the right side front engagement point pops out. heading back to the shop where i bought them this week to discuss. it looks like those 2 front engagement points on the binding may be replaceable? performance! and convenience are great, but this disengagement is scary. looks like those points will wear pretty severely, but time will tell.

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To add my .02 to the Step On  discussion -  I've just finished two days on the Step On's + Bomber Power Plates with 3 degree cant disks front and rear running 55/50 angles

No problem stepping in even with the 3 degree Power plates and the connection is secure!....along as your on level ground!!  Attempting to step in horizontal to the fall line with the slope starting to pitch, even a little was futile....I gave up and pointed the nose downhill and prayed I could "Step On" on the 1st attempt...luckily it worked that time!   

Yeah, Dr. S is right, the teeny, weeny release levers are a pain and an awkward reach, so I created my own quick release modification and it worked great,  Butt Ugly but worked great!    Don't know if you really see it in the photos but it's just cord attached to the release lever via one half of a double fisherman's knot and the cord is threaded up thru some semi white bendable plastic tubing (I spray painted black) and tied off to a lawnmower pull handle attached with zip ties at three points.  Besides the appearance the only thing I would change is add a velcro strap to wrap around my leg and hold the tubing/handle above the binding  closer to my body.  I based the length/height as the same as my Fintec release cable and pull.   

I got cuttoff once by some park rats abruptly stopping across the slope and took a tumble and then bodyslided on the heelside and the handle,  zip ties and tubing took a beating but didn't break or release and the boot didn't pop out from the impact either!

The Photon boots are great and I think they are stiffer than my DriverX's....or at least I can get them Much tighter than the DriverX's, which I think delivered better performance!   What I Really enjoyed was the convenience  of driving to the Mtn. in the Photons (yes, I was alone and no it's not against the law) walking thru the village to the gondola in the Photons,  going straight to the lift and Stepping In ..etc.etc.  you know,  as compared to hauling the hardboots thru the village ,  finding a spot to boot up and then a spot to leave the other footwear and boot hauling pack...... yes I'm a lazy bastard and don't want to walk from the parking lot thru the village to the gondola in my hardboots - ugh!  

I'd say it was my best day's of softboot "riding" to date  ....but that's my issue,  it was a fun ride but I couldn't ever find the sweet spot (right  stance, angle, cant)  to "Drive" my Moss PQ60  like I do with my TD3's and Track 325's   and I played with all possible adjustments over these two days.

I'm not giving up on  them just yet, we have a pow day coming up Tues and that's my next test but my current opinion is you gotta have young legs with much more flexibility than I do at 61 to get the same results as compared to hardboots......maybe that's a Duh, You Moron! ...... but I'm not sure that's a trade off for the convenience I'm willing to give up ....aka:  you can't teach this old dog new tricks!

 

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I disagree with Lonbordin and agree with Barry, I think the photon boots are relatively stiff, and was able to carve well on my Kessler SBX board. 

Getinng in on a hill takes a little practice, but sitting down you can put your toe points in first then step down on the heel. Kneeling is a bit harder, but if you pull the heel edge up with your front foot or with your hand, the heel will lock in and the toes go in just fine.

I’m going to work on a lever extension that attaches to the high back, that would give enough height, and would allow to to just step out without having a cable still attached to the board.

Doc

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I wanted to share some information on my experience with Burton Step On’s.

I did get a set, but never rode them. Except on carpet.  I was unimpressed with the amount of play in the bindings/boots interface. The boots did not fit me very well either (no Burton boots do).

But, I think their performance/fit really depends on the boot size.  The bindings fit multiple boots as you know, and they seem to move the size and location of the toe cleats forward/back and up/down in order to fit into the bindings.  I had size 10.5 boots.  With a 10.5 boot, I could lift the toes of my boot a good centimeter at least before they hit the top of the cleat holder on bindings (during this time, there was no input to the board).  Compared to being strapped into bindings, there was much more play in the set that I had.  This equated to much more movement so to speak before the board moved.  On carpet, I was also able to really flex them side to side and get a cleat to disengage as well.

I may be in the minority, but I liked the original step-ins.  They had a slight bit of side to side controlled movement, but you were really attached to the board.  For me, they were much more reactive than strap bindings.  I would say these new bindings are much closer to straps, and for me actually had much more play.  Also, the reflex baseplate is not as stiff as older generation Burton baseplates.

The Photon boots are mid flex in my eyes, if that.  They are not as stiff as well used/broken down Salomon Malamutes.

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So, the problem you had carpet surfing may be a technical/user issue. Burton has upgraded the heel receiver to be wider, this provides better engagement. The other thing that is not clear to many people (including me until I talked to a store rep and brought my board in to discuss), is that there are TWO heel receiver locking positions. When you step in, it will click and lock, but this is not the final position, this is a higher position that has some play in it to accommodate snowpack on the bottom of your boot. You then stomp firmly on the board and it clicks down to a lower position which is rock solid to the board.

Two thoughts about boot stiffness:

1. While the boot itself is not as stiff as some others, the “ride stiffness” is much better because of the attachment to the board. The combination of boot plus secure attachment gives a lot of support. Better than my old bindings and some really stiff boots.

2. Despite our penchant for stiff boots, the ability to flex your ankle is very important for proper body position in carving. Too stiff and your ability to carve actually decreases.

Doc

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My experience was in the lower more locked in position. The upper position for the back attachment had even more play in the back. Once in the lower position the back was fine.

And the disengagement was of a toe cleat.  I basically just twisted my boot and was seeing how much the bindings were flexing etc. Similar to Steven's report above. 

My play and issues were basically in the front half of the binding. 

I was hoping they had the locked in feeling of the older bindings.  Maybe they will refine or offer more binding sizes or work on that more. 

 

 

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Hey BX    Yeah.........I think this years model is a great leap forward but I am already hoping next years model will offer more refined improvements on the design.....maybe offer an even stiffer binding/boot combo!  A release lever that's usable with gloves!    A release mechanism  (option?)  that's reachable for mere mortals!   

I love the convenience of this softboot system........but not at the sacrifice of performance.

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Thanks Doc appreciate the reply. I only asked as I found myself thinking about @barryj saying he couldn't get a "comfortable" response from his setup and I wondered if the really high angles he runs (for softies) were exposing a soft cuff boot i.e. it's fine heel to toe once locked down, but was collapsing under load in the lateral when cuff is pressured like a hard boot (although he did say he tried multiple setups). Barry please wade in here :)

Its unique that we can get feedback from hard boot aficionados. 

Gotta say I'm really keen for the big B to get this concept to work, but as a larger silverback, soft flex boots won't work for me.

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My opinion, in a nutsheel/from my experience......I think it will be a hard sell for Hardbooters to  transition to the  softbooting route if you expect the same performance........you just give up too much performance.  At least with the current offerings.

......but Step On's are  a game changer for sofbooters wanting more performance!  

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On 1/7/2018 at 7:05 PM, lonbordin said:

The boots are medium stiffness at best and are far too soft for me.  I am on the large size  (195cm/112kg) so keep that in mind.

I asked one of the Burton VIPs that was there about additional boot choices and was told that none are in the pipeline. 

Dealbreaker for me.  A step-on Driver X would get me.

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Scottishsurfer thanks for posting the video! - that "wiggle" is pretty disconcerting I would agree Matthew.....more like a Huge amount of slop and play going on!       Looking at that video , all I see is,  that's a lot of wasted energy/control/performance ...lost.

I had my 3rd day on the Step On's today in 6 inches of heavy pow and I'd say some of that "wiggle"  worked well in the pow....in the sense of being a forgiving ride...........but again, not as good a feel or performance in the pow as with my TD3 SW SI's and Track 325's

Overall I found the Step On's an even more fun setup in the pow than on the groom, imo......but alas, I'm not going to give up performance just for the convenience of softboots......so it was another futile attempt at softboot carving and I don't plan on keeping them!  

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I don't know if that wiggle automatically translates to bad performance. It would be interesting to see a comparison to a HB setup (same camera angle).

FWIW I saw a video where Burton engineers talked about the need to add some flexibility to the connection to match what softbooters are used to.

 

That being said, there's more to it than the "wiggle".  If the boot/binding combination is very rigid then the wiggle might be interpreted as a "dead zone" and might not affect how responsive the combination feels.  OTOH it might be infuriating.  I am reserving judgement until I get a chance to test it out for myself.

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that "wiggle" in the video is not the norm for these set ups, at least the 3 combos i have tried, and reports from others around here who have tried them. The attachment was rock solid, and i loved everything about them, until the set up i purchased started popping out as i mentioned above. I returned for refund, no issues. I will try another combo whenever they are more readily available, as the 2 sets of demos i tried did not have this issue.

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On 1/9/2018 at 7:10 PM, scottishsurfer said:

This guy has probably +130lbs on me but the amount of play and movement is pretty off putting

Thanks for posting that eye opening video.  First; i do suspect that the rear binding is not clicked in properly.  Probably on uts first heal click (the hail mary, the legal eagle).  Snow was probably preventing the 2nd latch from engaging.  But what i see in that vid is generous toe lift.  If u r carving low angles toe lift is your nemesis, while heal lift is your best friend.  All my bindings hav the toe lifts removed or ground down to nothing w a Dewalt ?.  True.  And then i glue in 3/8 inch lifts for the heals.  It seems....  mechanically.... I couldnt grind off the toe lift on the burtons and still click in without super slop?  No?  And if u carve w  low binding angles and your bindings hav loads of toe lift and no heal lift, well, u then u have a nice toeside but zippo healside.  But dont fret, its not a skill thing,, its yur setup ??.

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Hey West

18 hours ago, west carven said:

dibs on the power plate... let me know how much... plate only...

Thanks for the offer..........but they were ridiculously hard to acquire and I'm keeping them!   Secretly hoping next years Step On system will be the One!!

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7 hours ago, sic t 2 said:

Thanks for posting that eye opening video.  First; i do suspect that the rear binding is not clicked in properly.  Probably on uts first heal click (the hail mary, the legal eagle).  Snow was probably preventing the 2nd latch from engaging.  But what i see in that vid is generous toe lift.  If u r carving low angles toe lift is your nemesis, while heal lift is your best friend.  All my bindings hav the toe lifts removed or ground down to nothing w a Dewalt ?.  True.  And then i glue in 3/8 inch lifts for the heals.  It seems....  mechanically.... I couldnt grind off the toe lift on the burtons and still click in without super slop?  No?  And if u carve w  low binding angles and your bindings hav loads of toe lift and no heal lift, well, u then u have a nice toeside but zippo healside.  But dont fret, its not a skill thing,, its yur setup ??.

Sounds like you'd love my union ultras :P.... the base plates+mini disc result in the overflexing causing ice to pack in under the heel edge overtime(roughly 30mins).

Regarding video other than the obvious toe movement due to the poor cleat design the binding does seem to rock somewhat heel to toe and vice versa also.

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