Rome Black Label 2019-2020 Snowboard Bindings Review

  • Sizes: M/L, L/XL
  • Flex: 7-10
  • Entry System: Classic
  • Price: £470 / €550

The Black Label bindings are the latest addition to the Rome family for 2020. The technology in these things is from the future – they could release them ten years from now and they’d still turn heads. Mind you, it might take you ten years to save up for them. Black Label isn’t a title that implies a budget product – just ask Jonny Walker – but the quality on offer here truly deserves its place on the top shelf.

It takes a lot of its inspiration from the fan favourite, and best selling, Rome Katana. For starters, there’s Rome’s signature AsymWrap Technology. This places two points of contact from the heel hoop to the baseplate on the inside of the binding, with only one point on the lateral side. The idea here being that the binding allows for more room to tweak and move around the board, whether you’re styling out grabs or surf slashing trees in the backcountry (all whilst still retaining the power from a more powerful wrap). Rome have spiced things up a little with the Black Label, building the baseplate with a nylon and 45% glass fibre to make it their lightest and toughest available.

“The technology in these things is from the future – they could release them ten years from now and they’d still turn heads”

Then there’s another brand (and industry) first with the new composite highback. You get a split personality with the Black Label. The top section is designed to fight you through every second of your heelside carve and launch you back over onto the toes, while the over-moulded lower composite is much softer flexing and allows for more torsional tweakability. Essentially you get two highbacks in one and, depending on how and what you’re riding, you’ll feel the different characteristics of each.

The final new addition from Rome is their ProGrip straps with AuxTech. It’s a bit of a mouthful but, to cut through the jargon, the toe strap virtually melts around your boots without the slightest hint of coming loose.

All the new tech is backed up by Rome’s tried and trusted options for tweaking the strap heights, highback canting, footbed and more. There are so many ways to customise the fit and feel of the Black Label that defining it to a certain type of terrain or rider is redundant. If you’re prepared to spend, these bindings will go absolutely everywhere without a moment’s hesitation.

Tester’s Verdict

Rob McCreathWhitelines

“When was the last time you spent more on a pair of bindings than you did on your snowboard? Never? Yep, same here. The all-new Black Labels come in at £30 less than I bought my first car for, but I suspect you’d get a lot more mileage out of these things than I did from my 1.2, 1999, three-door Renault Clio.

A lot of the budget has gone into that industry-first over-moulded high back. It’s a sort of two-in-one design, where the upper portion of the highback delivers the kind of smack in the arse you’d pay top dollar for in a Thai massage parlour, while the lower section keeps the binding feeling pretty forgiving when moving laterally along the board.

It’s a pretty smart idea and one that I definitely felt, switching between high speed carves and flatlanding around the piste, but you’ve got to be a seriously demanding all-mountain rider to fully benefit from this. For me, the asymmetric design on something like the Katana’s sufficed just fine. Still, you’ve got to admire what Rome have achieved here. I have several boards and only one pair of bindings. The Black Labels should appeal to exactly that kind of rider – one who wants completely uncompromising performance wherever they find themselves on the mountain.

“They’re the kind of bindings that raise the bar for the entire industry and will no doubt pave the way for future R&D and innovations”

In a similar vein, the AsymWrap heel-hoop is a brilliant tweak to the conventional binding chassis design. Placing two points of contact on the inside and only one on the outside compliments the technology going on in the highbacks. You have the freedom to move around and get a bit looser with your riding to properly tweak out and slash your way over features, whilst still feeling contained in a responsive and powerful basplate.

There’s so much going on with the Black Label bindings. Just like the Katanas, there are an infinite number of ways to dial in the fit and tweak the performance characteristics – it’s really up to you how far you go with that.

Performance, fit, and feel wise, there is absolutely nothing to fault with the Black Labels. They’re the kind of bindings that raise the bar for the entire industry and will no doubt pave the way for future R&D and innovations. If you’re happy to spend big on one pair of bindings, then get stuck in to them. If you currently ride with two different sets and want to consolidate, these are a win-win solution. If you’re just loving the sound of how good these are, but not sure how to justify the jump up in costs, I totally understand. Although, having ridden them, I can tell you that they do live up to the hype.”


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