As part of our new Envision Series, we take a first look at Flow Bindings' new season product line
Welcome to our new Envision Series where we’ll be bringing you the latest gear previews, with some of the most exciting new snowboard, boot, binding, outerwear and goggle products to drop for winter 2021-22. In this Envision episode, we’re taking a look at next year’s lineup from Flow.
In previous years, the Whitelines team have spent January and early Feb roaming trade shows, watching presentations in conference halls and out on the hill across Europe, testing new products and getting the skinny on the latest innovation in the snowboard world. This year things have panned out a little differently, but despite the resort closures and travel restrictions, we’ve still managed to get the scoop on some of the best snowboard gear for winter 2021-2022.
“For next season we see the return of some upgraded team and fan favourites”
Flow offer a unique spin on the traditional binding concept, bringing convenience and speedy entry to the forefront since day one. For next season we see the return of some upgraded team and fan favourites, plus a few new entries bursting their way into the product line.
Working alongside team riders to bring modern design themes and inspiration to the table, Flow have shaken up their offering to appeal to a whole new generation of riders.
Check out our full gear preview below, as well as our interview with Lucien Vink, Sr. Product Manager & Designer
What’s your hero stories going forward into the 2021/22 season?
1. SpeedEntry: Flow bindings are convenient to use, easy-in easy-out, without sacrificing comfort or performance. In fact, because of the energy transmission of the steel PowerTriangle cable, and the energy transmission and comfort of our boot-hugging and pressure-relieving PowerStrap footstraps, even if you were to not use the reclining hiback feature, Flow bindings are arguably the most comfortable and performance-oriented bindings on the market!
2. Set-it and Forget-it: Adjust your Flow bindings to your boot once, and then enjoy the simple easy-in and easy-out convenience of the reclining hiback.
“We duplicated the popular Fenix bindings and upgraded them with ExoKush Powerstraps and custom graphics”
3. Versatility: Flow bindings fit almost all boots on the market, are offered in 2 types of straps to suit your personal preference (a boot-hugging 1-piece Fusion PowerStrap or a toe-gripping cap-strap in our Hybrid PowerStrap), and feature full-sized Locking Slap Ratchets for the option to get in and out of your bindings through the easy-in easy-out reclining hiback or use the ratchets to get in&out through the side by opening the footstrap. The possibilities are limitless!
What products are you personally most stoked on?
1. The Fenix-Plus (and womens Mayon-Plus). Brand-new for W22, we duplicated the popular Fenix bindings and upgraded them with ExoKush Powerstraps and custom graphics to turn it up a notch on riding experience, comfort and style. They feature the freestyle-friendly rockered-baseplates with canted footbeds, Expanded-EVA ExoKush straps with LSR-ratchets for extra comfort, the Asym hiback for support and playfulness, and Flow’s PowerTriangle cable for a locked-in and responsive feeling.
As always, getting in&out of Flow bindings is super easy through the ActiveStrap assisted reclining hiback. The Fenix-Plus is for riders looking for something between a freestyle and a freeride binding that will let them explore the whole mountain, and comes in either a wild MagentaBurst colorway or a more stealthy GunmetalBlack. The Mayon-Plus comes in the colors Midnight and SnowDye. And both these models and colors come in Hybrid strap versions too, bringing the Hybrid option down into a lower price-point for both mens and womens.
2. NX2-TM. The all-new NX2-TM is light, lean and functional, and an instant team-rider favorite for it’s simplicity, efficiency and reliability. The rockered Aluminum NX2 baseplate is famous for being stiff and responsive, but still allows natural boardflex, and this new model brings the popular NX2 platform down into an exciting lower price-range! Other features are the medium-stiff Asymmetrical hiback, linked to the baseplate by the PowerTriangle cable. The ExoFrame PowerStraps are minimalistic in design but form-fit your boots really well and transfer all your energy without excessive pressure-points.
“The Slip-N-Slide BankBed found on the NX2-TM model is a new EVA footbed with a Nylon slide-plate”
The LSR-ratchets are easy to use and lock down to keep your straps at the same tightness. Getting in&out of Flow bindings is super easy through the ActiveStrap assisted reclining hiback, which automatically creates a wider entry and exit, and the new Slip-N-Slide canted footbeds. Less is certainly more for the NX2-TM’s, which makes them ideal for doing what our team loves; riding everywhere on the mountain with total confidence and fun. The NX2-TM’s come in the colors Camoss and Black (both in Fusion and Hybrid strap-options). This is my go-to binding for this season for sure!
3. FUSE-CARBON. The new Fuse-Carbon basically replaces the old Fuse-GT model, but takes it up a notch as it’s engineered for speed and precision. The baseplate and hiback are injected in the same Carbon-Infused Nylon material as used for the NX2-CX hiback, to give these parts increased strength and stiffness for maximum response while maintaining that molded binding feel and lightness. The canted BankBeds with toe&heel N-gel inserts, and the expanded-EVA of the ExoKush PowerStraps with Aluminum LSR-ratchets, deliver a perfect combination of form-fitting, control and lightness, and assisted by the PowerTriangle cable the Fuse-Carbon is made for lightening quick edge-to-edge transitions.
As always, getting in&out of Flow bindings is super easy through the ActiveStrap assisted reclining hiback. Clearly the Fuse-Carbon Hybrid does not compromise on performance and it doesn’t compromise on comfort either, making it the ideal binding for all-mountain attacks and all-day charging. The Fuse-Carbon is available in the color Graphite, and in a Hybrid version too.
What new tech and materials can we look forward to seeing for 2021/22?
For most components we rely on our true and tested materials, specifically engineered for the uniqueness of Flow bindings. The Slip-N-Slide BankBed found on the NX2-TM model is a new EVA footbed with a Nylon slide-plate, reminiscent of the old disk-covers on the NXT bindings, which facilitate less friction in the center of the footbed for sliding your boots in&out more easily through the reclining hiback.
Have you made any specific changes or leaps within your women’s range?
The addition of the Mayon-Plus adds a strong model for women in the range focused on a great balance of comfort and performance, and brings the option between Fusion or Hybrid strap into a lower price-range than just only on the Omni.
Where are we seeing innovation within your existing line?
W20 and W21 were pretty exciting for us on new development; completely revamping the lower price-points line with the introduction of the new Axis-Series platform, and introducing the new ExoFrame and ExoKush PowerStraps on a lot of Fusion and Hybrid models. So, when COVID hit we were fortunate enough to have a little breather planned already, and we focused on refining and creating new opportunities by utilizing the modularity of our components. The new NX2-TM BankBeds with Slip-N-Slide plates for even more effortless sliding your boots in&out are pretty cool to check out though.
“The NX2-TM Camoss colorway was a close collaboration with Tim Humphreys”
Is there an overall theme/inspiration driving your 21/22 line?
A big part of the line lives in the safe and tonal zone but we strive to keep them visually interesting and rich with nice badging, material selections and small details. But as always, we create some pop colorways and especially on the new Fenix-Plus and Mayon-Plus models we chose to have strong visual graphics, and on the Fuse Instinct we have an exciting graphic collaboration inspired by the new Nidecker Instinct Series snowboards.
Have any team-riders been involved in the R&D process? Where have you been putting these new/improved models to the test?
We always listen closely to input from our global teamriders and brand ambassadors, and especially the new NX2-TM has been based on a lot of their feedback. And the NX2-TM Camoss colorway was a close collaboration with Tim Humphreys on color & graphic direction too.
Covid has shaken up everything this year. Are there any big changes taking place with you guys ahead of next season?
Covid definitely made us scrutinize our line, to see where we could trim some fat, and where we could help create opportunities for our retail partners as we all head into the uncertainty of the seasons ahead. We have an amazing product with very unique selling points, and we believe that with our refreshed 21/22 product-line we will continue to strengthen demand and sell-through for our brand and partners.
Regarding carry-over, typically, 75% or more of the line would see new development and refreshed colors & designs. For the 21/22 collection we have chosen to adjust this balance and carry over around 50%, but offset this by introducing completely new models with great strategic opportunity and add some cool new colors and collaborations. All in all, we have retired 2 mens models, but are introducing 3 new mens and 1 new womens model, and the final SKU count for 21/22 has even gone up slightly.
In the end we expect everyone will be happy with our choice to carry over a larger portion of especially the ‘safe’ colors and high-volume models, because nobody will know for certain how the W21 season will affect the W22 market and beyond. This way there will be less stock risk and pressure. But we are also sure that our brand partners will be very excited by the NEW! products and stories which will certainly create demand, and to help keep excitement on the wall and engage with customers.
“We all want to continue to ride pow for as many years to come and we try to do our part”
Where can we see updates or changes within the company, not product related?
Flow has been under the new Nidecker Group umbrella for a few seasons now, but for this season we are really ramping back up on videos, Social Media and promotions and we have a fantastic in-house team with award-winning videographers, so exciting things are ahead! We have also seen some changes in distribution channels which always come with their own challenges, but we are happy with the strong partnerships we currently have.
Do you have any new sustainability stories for next season? Has any of your production moved to become more sustainable?
Flow bindings are designed to stand the test of time, which in and of itself contributes to a certain level of sustainability. We also strive to be as environmentally conscious in our material selections as long as durability and safety are guaranteed, and by design we try to avoid as much burdensome processes like glueing and painting etc as possible, within reason. Not unimportantly, we also try to be as environmentally friendly in our logistic approach, ranging from minimalistic packaging to choosing appropriate transportation. Did you know that a large part of our goods travel by train from our factories to Europe instead of by boat or plane? This is quite unique and leaves the smallest carbon footprint. We all want to continue to ride pow for as many years to come and we try to do our part.
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