Straps and Highbacks
Did we mention these things have got carbon in them? Well, the highback is no different. It’s a single piece of carbon-infused nylon that doubles as the heel hoop. An asymmetric shape means it supports the back of your boot more ergonomically, and of course it transfers energy into your heel edge as rapidly as you would expect from a rigid highback that’s full of the c-word. Again, though, the lateral flex is not bone-shakingly stiff; the holes in the back have the effect of focusing most of the support down the spine, in a toe-to-heel direction, so torsionally you can still bend it a little (and of course, those cutaways make an already featherweight design even lighter).
Being a Flow binding, the highback reclines with the flick of a lever so that you can gain entry from the rear (oo er). The Fuse Carbon is fitted with their ‘Active Strap Tech’ that hinges the straps upwards when you operate said lever, giving you more space to slide in your foot; as soon as you pull the highback back up into the ‘locked’ position, the strap re-engages over the boot. Bingo.
Speaking of straps, there are two varieties to choose from prior to purchase. On the ‘Fusion’ version, the toe and heel straps are more closely integrated. It’s designed to make it as easy as possible to put your foot in – maximising the benefit of the speed entry system – and pressure is spread over more of your foot. Support feels a bit more ‘top-down’ which suits riders seeking locked-in power from edge to edge. The ‘Hybrid’ option looks more like a conventional two-strap binding, with a webbed toe cap helping to pull your foot back into the binding, and in fact some riders like to operate them in a traditional style without using the highback. There’s a little more side-to-side movement available in these, too, which tilts the balance towards freestyle.
Both strap versions are made from expanded EVA, which is tough as nails, though the Hybrid style features an AuxTech mesh on the toe strap that helps it expand around the end of your boot. Machined aluminium ratchets complete the premium feel, and boast a locking mechanism that means you can crank them to your favoured level, then fix them in position and get in and out using the reclining highback. This probably makes most sense with the Fusion strap, which is the purest rear-entry design.
“The new Flow Fuse Carbon bindings are all about speed”
The new Flow Fuse Carbon bindings are all about speed. Speed of entry, speed of exit, speed of response. They’re obviously on the stiff side, which puts them firmly in the realms of intermediate to advanced riders who understand edge control. That said, they’re not just for hipster euro carvers. Given they’re so light, and they have more lateral flex than you might credit, they’re more than capable of sending it over the pro line if you’ve got the chops (and deep enough pockets). And you’ll look like Batman if you do.