Expert Review: Ride A-8 Snowboard Bindings · 2023

Published on 05/09/2023 · 6 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2022.
Gaelen Mast, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast

I bought these bindings to ride terrain like this. All photos courtesy of Gaelen Mast

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2022.

My take

The 2023 Ride A-8 Snowboard Bindings are for riders who value performance over everything else and are willing to sacrifice comfort for it. These bindings are extremely aggressive and are great for taking on extreme terrain, but should only be used by advanced riders.

My first day riding these bindings

About the bindings I own

  • Model: 2023 Ride A-8 Bindings
  • Size: Large
  • Burton channel compatible: Yes
  • Mini disc (reduces footprint of the binding on the board to enable more board feel): No

About me

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 150 lbs
  • Experience: 11 years of snowboarding

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: December 2022
  • Days tested: 30
  • Where I’ve used it: Winter Park, A-Basin, CO
  • Terrain: Powder, groomers, Trees, Park

How they perform

Boot Adjustability
Shock Absorption

What I was looking for

My search for new bindings began because I had just moved from the East Coast to Colorado and I wanted to buy a powder snowboard set-up for that legendary West Coast powder. I had already bought a stiff board (the Ride Peace Seeker) for maximum control and stability. So, I wanted to find bindings that would complement the board and unlock all of its potential.

Smiles all around with these bindings

Why I chose this gear

I knew to get the most out of my board, I had to pair it with a stiffer-flexing binding, as it would offer the maximum combination of precision, responsiveness, and stability. Ride was having a great sale, so I was only considering Ride bindings when I went to make this purchase. The Ride A-8s immediately caught my eye, but I was also heavily considering the Ride A-6s too. See, I had only ever ridden soft flexing bindings before, and I was worried that the A-8s might be too stiff for me, so I considered the A-6s.

Cruising around at A-Basin with the A-8s

What I love about them

  • Binding adjustability to boots: The adjustability of the straps is quite easy, I simply have to flip up a tab and then I can shorten or lengthen both the toe and ankle straps. This lets me adjust the straps to a very precise degree to get the exact length I want, and it lets me adjust it without any tools.
  • Shock absorption: These bindings take any impact with ease. I didn’t get airborne all too often, as the board I was riding these bindings with wasn’t the best for popping. However, on the occasional powdery cliff drops I did, these bindings absorbed the impact perfectly and didn’t cause my body to buckle as softer flexing bindings might.
  • Responsiveness & Carving: The carving experience with these bindings is where they really shine. Since they’re quite a stiff flex (8/10), they respond incredibly quickly to every movement, which makes riding trees and other tight spots much easier. I feel I can really push through carves and the bindings transfer this energy to my board perfectly.
  • Durability: These bindings are clearly built with durability in mind. They have an aluminum chassis and aluminum disc as well as a well-built highback and straps that I don’t think I could break if I tried. These are one of the few pairs of bindings that have no cosmetic damage after 25+ days of riding as well.

As you can see, there’s zero damage after a lot of use

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Comfort: The biggest downside of these bindings is their comfort, or lack of therefore. Stiff-flexing bindings are known to focus on performance over comfort, and this is the case with these bindings. So while the performance they deliver is amazing, I could never ride them for more than 3–4 hours at a time before my legs (specifically my calves) would begin to ache.
  • Buttering: This one should be obvious, stiff-flexing bindings aren’t going to be “butter friendly”. One can certainly butter with these bindings, but one isn’t going to be able to tweak or flex their board nearly as easily as they could with softer-flexing bindings, and this extra effort and subpar results took the fun out of buttering for me (but then again, that’s not what these bindings are meant for).
  • Weight: As mentioned above, these bindings have an aluminum chassis and an aluminum disc. This is inherently going to make them heavier than other bindings. While I appreciate this extra weight, as it makes the bindings durable and dependable, this extra weight makes it harder to get in the air and could be uncomfortable for riders who are unfamiliar with a heavier snowboard set-up

OMW to go find some powder

Favorite moment with this gear

I didn’t realize my favorite moment with these bindings until I had actually ridden the same trail with two different pairs of bindings. To paint a picture, there’s an area at Winter Park called “The Cirque” which is full of steeps, powder, and lots of drops. I rode this area several times with my board that had the Ride A-8 bindings with no issue and really enjoyed charging and hitting as side hits into the powder. I then rode this same area with different bindings that were softer flexing (the Union Stratas) and got tossed on several side hits I had no trouble with before. I believe the reason was that the Ride A-8s absorbed impact much better and their rigidity kept me upright whereas the Union Stratas just flexed out and threw me upon the same landings. This made me appreciate just how hard the Ride A-8s let me charge.

Value for the money vs. other options

While I personally love my Ride A-8s, as they really let me push myself as hard as I can, I find they’re often overkill, as I’m not fully sending it every day, and sometimes they just feel like a bit much. I would recommend one consider the Ride A-6s, which are less expensive, a tad softer flexing (6/10 flex versus 8/10 flex), and are more practical for everyday riding. But they still give riders the option to push themselves harder when they want to. For those who are set on having a very stiff flexing binding but are concerned about the weight or comfort of the bindings, they might also consider the Ride C-8s, which are built on the same platform but have a “composite” chassis instead of an aluminum one. This reduces weight and helps with overall comfort.

Final verdict

These bindings were more than enough to tackle expert (double black) terrain on the West Coast. They’re not a daily driver binding, but when riding in especially aggressive terrain, they’re an invaluable asset if paired with the correct snowboard.

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