UPDATE: Check out our review of the 2017/2018 NOW Brigade here

JF Pelchat's skate-inspired binding company continues to expand, with three new models added to its 2016/17 line. The NOW Brigade is geared slightly more towards freestyle than the IPO, but less so than the Select. It’s designed as a tip of the cap to riders like Devun Walsh and JP Solberg, who redefined what was possible in the realm of backcountry trickery.

Of course, no mention of a NOW binding would be complete without a look at the ‘Skate Tech’ system. The brand’s unique system allows the binding to subtly rock from edge to edge as you turn, pivoting through a central kingpin much like a skateboard truck. Four bushings at the corner of the bindings take the energy generated when turning and distribute it directly into the sidecut of your board, improving edge hold. They also absorb some of the vibrations that occur while you ride, especially over uneven terrain. All parts of the baseplate come with a lifetime warranty, so you get peace of mind too.

"The NOW Brigade can turn its hand to pretty much anything, so if you’re wanting to try Skate-Tech this is the ideal place to start"

The system had won several fans, but NOW aren’t resting on their laurels. This year they’ve introduced the SIEVA (Single Injection EVA) ankle strap, which requires no stitching and only a minimal amount of glue. EVA is renowned for its light weight, durability and shock absorption, which is why you find it in so many boot soles. They’re all ideal qualities for an ankle strap to have too, so the design of the SIEVA makes perfect sense.

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The highback has been designed to better fit your calf muscles, so is slightly higher on the inside of your leg. It’s still not massive, however - one of the benefits of Skate-Tech, say NOW, is that you don’t need to rely on bigger, stiffer highbacks to get power through the turns. Or you could ditch it altogether; the heelcup is designed to make it easier to ride without highbacks.

The NOW Brigade can turn its hand to pretty much anything, so if you’re wanting to try Skate-Tech this is the ideal place to start. It excels at freestyle though, so get it in the air whenever you can.

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Tester's Verdict

Mike Brindley - whitelines.com

For me these sat somewhere between a high-end responsive set and an all-rounder, making for a natural-feeling freeride inbetweener.

"Although you can’t particularly feel the rock from edge to edge in the hangar, the system does make for smooth transitions"

Although you can’t particularly feel the rock from edge to edge in the hangar, the system does make for smooth transitions from heel to toe and vice versa. Your control isn’t hindered, but you get a slightly less aggressive ride than some similar bindings offer.

If you’re looking to use these for freestyle be aware that they’ll need a fair bit of power input for flexible manoeuvres, but there’s still plenty of play in there.

Trade Secrets

JF Pelchat - Founder, NOW

The NOW Brigade is a new addition for the 2016/17 binding lineup, and is a tribute to the NOW riders who have helped test, design and push the brand forward since day one. It’s also one of our top picks amongst our team riders, because it's versatile and suited for all type of terrain.

Once you go Skate-Tech you don't go back to traditional bindings, as it is straight-up superior. Reduce foot fatigue and board chatter, enhance board control and edge hold, and customise response & dampening.