Expert Review: NOW Pilot

This review is my own honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I bought with my own money in January 2021.

Man snowboarding down the slopes
Published on

About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the snowboard bindings, which I bought with my own money in January 2021.

My take

I really enjoy the comfort that the Now Pilot Bindings provide, including the supportive, well-padded, and 3D-contoured straps found over foot and over toe. They are geared for intermediate to advanced riders, and also have a nice, comfortable base and provide just the right amount of response without feeling overly stiff or too soft.

Nathan G. snowboarding with the NOW Pilot bindings

Photo by Nathan G.

About the gear

  • Model: 2021 Now Pilot Bindings
  • Size: Large
  • Riding level: Intermediate to advanced
  • Burton channel compatible: Yes
  • Mini disc: No
  • Flex: Medium-stiff

About me

  • Height: 6’ 2”
  • Weight: 190 lbs
  • Experience: 20 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: January 2021
  • Days tested: 15
  • Board: Lib Tech Orca
  • Boot: Thirtytwo Lashed Double BOA
  • Where I’ve used it: Afton Alps, Minnesota
  • Terrain: Park, all-mountain, and groomers

How it performs

Adjustability
5/5
Comfort
5/5
Durability
2/5
Lightweight
4/5
Responsiveness
3/5
Shock Absorption
4/5
Stance Adjustability
4/5

What I was looking for

I wanted to try a different binding than the Flux XF bindings I owned to compare my options. I was hoping for a more convenient experience strapping in after every lift and something that was a bit more flexible and comfortable.

Why I chose this gear

I was really interested in the Skate Tech feature on these bindings, which is a skateboard truck-inspired hinge on the baseplate. I had already purchased the Flux XF bindings, which feature straps that attach to the inside of the bindings to supposedly provide a more responsive feel, but I found that the straps were really annoying to get on after every lift. I wanted to give these a try to see if they were more convenient and to feel what the Skate Tech had to offer.

Photo of snowboard with the NOW Pilot bindings.

Photo by Nathan G.

What I love about it

  • Binding Adjustability in Boots: These bindings are very easy to adjust and very comfortable. I also have two options between a softer or more firm bushing, which sits between the base of the binding and the surface of the board.
  • Stance Adjustability: These bindings are really made for all-mountain conditions with a freestyle focus. The adjustability is geared toward those types of riding styles and is a bit more perpendicular to the base of the board rather than being an aggressive lean forward.
  • Comfort: These were very comfortable, especially compared to the Flux XF bindings I had previously worn.
  • Shock Absorption: Shock absorption was really quite nice. As I previously noted, I can swap out the bushings depending on the type of feel I want, including the shock absorption with the softer bushings.
  • Responsiveness: I would say these are fairly responsive bindings because they are medium-firm. They aren’t designed to be super responsive, so I think they meet the mark.
  • Carving: These provide great support and won’t hold me back in any carving I might do for all-mountain riding. However, these are not the right bindings for carving in the backcountry or steep lines.
  • Ease of Turn Initiation: These were great for turn initiation and I had no problems getting the board around, even on a volume-shifted board that was a bit wider than a regular-width board. These performed very well.
  • Straps: The straps are one of the real highlights of these bindings. They are super comfortable, easy to use and adjust, and have toolless adjustability. When I say toolless adjustability, I mean that I can adjust these on the slopes with my hands, which is literally what I did when I first rode these bindings.
  • Buckles: The buckles are fantastic and hold really well. I didn’t have any issues with them jamming or skipping on the ratchets, so I was pleased with their performance.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Durability: I would say I haven’t had a chance to really test out the durability of these bindings after only riding these for one season. The baseplates have a lifetime warranty, which is pretty much industry-standard these days, but I’m not really happy about all the other parts only having a one-year warranty. Brands like Arbor will provide a three-year warranty on all other parts of the bindings, so I would like to see the industry, including Now, go in that direction with providing longer warranties.
  • Skate Tech: This one is pretty significant to me, since this feature was one of the reasons I bought these bindings. I really can’t feel much of the Skate Tech that Now boasts about — I didn’t feel any additional turn initiation due to the hinge underfoot. I feel it is simply too small of a pivot point to make a noticeable difference. It was pretty discouraging to find out it didn’t live up to the hype.

Favorite moment with this gear

I would say one of the best experiences I had with this gear was when I wore these bindings for the first time and was able to adjust everything on the fly and on the slopes with ease. I found the bindings to be really comfortable and easy to strap in for every run.

Nathan G. snowboarding with the NOW Pilot bindings.

Photo by Nathan G.

Value for the money vs. other options

I think these are definitely worth the money. They are reasonably-priced bindings and were much more comfortable than the Flux XF bindings I previously used, so it felt like an upgrade even though the price was the same as the other bindings.

Photo by Nathan G.

Final verdict

All in all, these are fantastic bindings. I would be happy to ride these again all season long and would have no complaints with the performance, fit, and comfort. With that being said, I wouldn’t buy these for the Skate Tech because I just don’t really feel the skateboard-truck inspired pivoting that Now advertises.

Selling Now on Curated.com
Now Pilot Snowboard Bindings · Kids' · 2022
From $164.97
$254.96
Up to 35% off
Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
I've been the go to friend for tech and equipment recommendations for decades when it comes to snowboard equipment and apparel. I started snowboarding at a small resort in southeast Idaho about 25 years ago and instantly fell in love. I have been boarding at over 30 different resorts all over the Ro...

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy