Expert Review: Now Ipo Snowboard Bindings · 2021Published on 01/03/2023 · 7 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in September of 2021.
Backyard Play. All photos courtesy of Liz Swan
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in September of 2021.
The Now IPOs are freestyle-centric, all-mountain bindings. They are my daily driver with which I can slay all the hills. These are meant to hold up and perform on the groomers as well as in the park. They handle a wide variety of terrain and conditions and can accommodate any stance preference. The IPO is a one-stop shop in my setup when it comes to bindings. This binding is versatile and is a great option for riders of all abilities.
About the bindings I own
- Model: 2021 Now IPO
- Size: Medium
- Burton channel compatible: Yes, from the 2022 model and onward
- Mini disc: No
- Height: 5’6”
- Weight: 145lbs
- Experience: 30 years of snowboarding
- When I bought these: September 2021
- Days tested: 20
- Board: Capita Equalizer
- Boot: Ride Context
- Where I’ve used it: East Coast resorts and backyard park play
- Terrain: Everything from greens to double blacks, bumps, drops, tree runs, park features—pretty much anything available within a resort. (I have not tested these in the backcountry.)
How they perform
What I was looking for
I wanted a step up from the softer-flex bindings I had been using. I needed something that was capable of performing on technical steeps, but would also be fun, comfortable, and great for riding anything on the mountain. I also had been searching for something that was a better fit for my more aggressive, medium-flex board.
Why I chose this gear
I bought the IPO based on the reviews, description, and my past experience with Now bindings (I had previously been using Vettas). I looked at the Union Legacy, K2 Hue, and the Flux GS as possible options at the time but landed back where I began my search at the NOW IPO.
What I love about them
- Binding adjustability in boots: The IPO does a great job with their straps and the distribution of pressure. They are easy to adjust and Now uses a toolless system to change the position of the straps. It kind of feels like a layer of sturdy marshmallows when I put my boot on them. I really get a locked-in feeling when I am strapped into the IPO. The ratchet buckles are super quick to tighten and loosen.
- Stance adjustability: These bindings can be set up in countless ways—making them great for anyone who rides with forward angles, a ducked out stance, or any other number of possibilities. If one rides with a different kind of stance (maybe pigeon-toed), these bindings may not be the best.
- Comfort: They are super comfortable, open to close, and I might take one break. These bindings have practically eliminated foot fatigue for me. I do not get any pressure in the wrong places.
- Shock absorption: The shock absorption is the best I have experienced. In Now’s SkateTech, they use bushings in three textures: soft, medium, and hard. Soft is for those looking for a mellow and surfy feel. For hard-charging, choose the most firm option. The bushings help dampen chatter during the ride. The cushion in the footbed is also ample but extremely lightweight. I don’t get thrown off by granular conditions or ice largely because of these two factors. Stomping landings is also not as hard on my knees as it was with my previous bindings. I am on the mountain from open to close on the days I ride, and I have very little foot fatigue by the end of the day.
- Responsiveness: What I find innovative about these bindings is the SkateTech Feature that is proprietary to NOW. This feature helps to increase responsiveness while maintaining stability and offering shock absorption. The biggest advantage of SkateTech is the power transfer from the binding directly to the edge of the board when I engage hard toeside or heelside turns. It differs from a traditional binding in the sense that the power transfer from a binding is going to be distributed to the primary contact points—which is the plate. A little effort goes a long way when it comes to the power transfer from rider to board with these bindings.
- Carving: Carving is an area I excel, and the IPO is fantastic for this. The SkateTech delivers the energy of the rider directly to the edges, so when I engage my toeside and heelside to really dig into the carves, the response is smooth and quick. The other element that makes carving easy in these is that the highback has a tool-free forward lean adjuster. So if I am ready to seriously shred something, I just dial it into my preference and I’m off.
- Ease of turn initiation: It’s a breeze to turn in these bindings. Again, thanks to the SkateTech and the power transfer that occurs when initiating turns. I have been able to increase maneuverability on any board I ride with the use of these bindings. I attribute this to the SkateTech feature.
- Buttering: No issues on the buttering front in these bindings. The mid-flex makes them quite maneuverable for working on stylistic ground tricks if that’s one’s thing.
- Straps: With the single-injected EVA ankle straps being so soft and light, I can really get nice and tight. The toe strap is minimalist in design and allows it to wrap seamlessly around the toe box of my boot. The straps can be worn around the toe or over the top of the boot. I prefer mine to go over the toe. They are super grippy.
- Durability I really only use these bindings. They go everywhere with me. My riding style is freeride-heavy: time in the trees and the occasional blast off a side hit. I ride hard and fast, and these have kept up with me on challenging expert terrain. They have not failed in performance once. They also do not look banged up visually, and I ride these through some pretty gnarly conditions.
- Weight: This is a very lightweight binding overall with no compromise on quality or function.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Buckles: The ratchet buckles are made from a lightweight material composed of high-grade nylon and glass fibers and are typically easy to use. However, on rare occasions, the release mechanism gets a little sticky. If it is extremely cold, some ice might get in and momentarily lock it up. Just a jiggle will loosen it right up. It has happened to me three times in the last two years. I have found this is not an uncommon issue with most ratchet bindings. Though these are not big enough issues that would inhibit me from using these as my primary bindings.
Favorite moment with this gear
I don’t know if I can choose just one moment that I can call my favorite, but the overall riding experience on these bindings is just so much fun. It has made riding more comfortable and really created a pathway to improve my carving skills. I do not have to think twice about wondering if I can maintain stability on the steeps—I simply just trust my equipment to perform. SkateTech has given me more confidence in my skills and has added a killer responsiveness to everything I do.
Value for the money vs. other options
This is a great value. These are high-quality bindings with a mid-range price point. They’re similar to the Union STR or Legacy, the K2 Hue, and they are much less expensive than the Flux GS.
Unlimited possibilities are two words that come to mind when it comes to the Now IPO. I think these bindings can go anywhere and do anything for anyone of any ability anywhere on the mountain. Two thumbs way up on these bindings and Now’s SkateTech.