K2’s bindings aren’t as widely known as their boots and boards, but they’ve been cranking out top quality models for years. This one is brand new for 2014/15, and is available in two different styles. The one you see here is the K2 Lien AT, a mid-stiff binding that would suit the all-rounder.
Then there’s the Lien FS, a more freestyle-focused variant with a softer flex. Sticking with the AT, it has an asymmetrical ankle strap that’s ultra-thin and ultra-light, with K2’s ‘Harshmellow’ technology reducing the pressure points when you tighten the ratchet. You might have heard that word elsewhere – there’s versions of it in some of K2’s boards and boots too. Indeed, there are also some Harshmellow pads in the heel and toe areas of the Lien’s footbed. Three urethane bushings have been placed under the baseplate, positioned at the natural contact points (two at the front, plus heel) that the sole of your foot makes with the board. What you get is unrivalled shock absorption, which is always good but particularly handy when clipping a knuckle or bomb-dropping a ledge.
It does slightly raise the rest of the binding from the topsheet of the board, something that K2 appreciate isn’t likely to be for everyone, so they’ve included the option to remove them if you’re after a more traditional feel from your binding. It really does work, though – our deputy editor kept coming back to them at the Spring Break board test, mentioning that he found them to be “anonymous in the best possible sense. You’re never aware of what the bindings are doing, only of how comfortable the ride is.”