Straps and Highbacks
There’s only one place to start here, and it’s with the highback. Older shredders might dimly recall those stumpy bindings from the early to mid 1990s. Back then, highbacks were still in their infancy and a generation of rippers like Mike Ranquet and Terje Haakonsen were pushing for shorter freestyle-focused designs that let them pull outrageous tweaks straight out of the skatepark. As the jumps got bigger and riders ventured further into the backcountry, taller highbacks that offered greater support began to take over. They were stiffer too, more responsive when you set the board on edge – inviting you to go faster. Somewhere along the way – and in conjunction with more supportive boots – snowboarders gained more of a robotic style.
The Chaos, though, is leading the resistance. Its Quarterback highback is reminiscent of those smaller designs of yore, only with modern materials and better ergonomics. There’s more space to move your lower leg which helps you style out rail slides or yank the crap out of that japan air. Everything moves in cycles, we guess, and of course there are still advantages to a full height highback, but it’s great to be able to enjoy a touch more of that fabled surf/skate freedom without going to the extreme of running nobacks.
The Transfer ankle strap is a low profile design that’s built to withstand plenty of abuse. It’s a bit plasticky, but pre-curved for a good fit, and with all those perforations it’s flexy enough to match the binding’s freestyle ambitions. FastEntry ladders keep the strap out of the way when you’re getting your boot in, saving you a few vital seconds which – added up over a season – equates to five laps and at least one new trick. Fact.
The toe strap is similar in style. It’s more basic than the AuxTech ones seen elsewhere in the Bataleon line, which helps keep the price within the range of dirtbag park rats. There’s nothing budget about the buckles, though, which are made from chunky aluminium for reliable leverage.
Finally, the Chaos comes with Bataleon’s ‘Never Miss a Day’ spares set, so you can get straight back on the lift if you damage or break one of the ladders. Thoughtful guys, aren’t they?
“There’s more space to move your lower leg which helps you style out rail slides or yank the crap out of that japan air”
Exciting tech doesn’t have to mean it’s complicated or made from carbon. As the Bataleon Chaos proves, it can be something as simple as shortening the highback – a move that genuinely changes the feel of your whole set-up. Riders who want to hit jumps and rails will love the creative possibilities, and though the straps aren’t exactly luxurious, they’ll be happy with the price, too.
- Tweak-tastic highback
- Two chassis options
- Straps feel a bit no frills