Expert Review: Union Flite Pro Snowboard Bindings · 2022
This review is my honest opinion of the bindings which I purchased with my own money in October of 2018.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the bindings which I purchased with my own money in October of 2018.
The Union Flite Pros are professional quality binding at an entry-level price. They are versatile enough for all ability levels, incredibly durable, and, most importantly, affordable.
About the gear
- Model: 2018 Union Flite Pros
- Size: Large
- Burton channel compatible: Yes
- Mini disc: No
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 150lbs
- Experience: 10 years
- When I bought these: October 2018
- Days tested: 100+
- Board: 2017 Rome Mechanic (154cm), 2022 Rome Partymod (153cm)
- Boot: Vans Aura OG (10.5M)
- Where I’ve used it: Berkshire East (MA), Mt. Snow (VT), Mt. Hood (OR), Alyeska (AK)
- Terrain: Groomers, powder, park, glades, ice, and everything in between
How they perform
What I was looking for
When I set out to purchase new bindings, all I knew was that I wanted something that would last. I had owned several pairs of bindings before, but these simply didn’t hold up, so finding gear that wouldn’t give out on me mid-way through the season was my biggest priority.
Why I chose this gear
I kept hearing about Unions and how amazing they were. They seemed to be one of the top names within the snowboard industry, and naturally gravitated towards them. Unfortunately, they were expensive brands. While browsing their website, I came across the Flite Pros, advertised as their “entry-level bindings were decently cheaper than their other bindings. I took the plunge and ordered them that same day!
What I love about it
- Buttering: As someone who likes to use the whole mountain like a terrain park and jib my way through every natural side hit I can find, these bindings were heaven on earth. They flexed in every direction without resistance, making presses and spins on the board a breeze, really allowing me to explore what was possible.
- Lightweight: While the snowboard is the heaviest part of any set-up, binding weight still plays a role in your riding. The Union Flite Pros are advertised as the lightest snowboard binding on the market, and I’m inclined to believe that. Their light weightiness made me easy to get into the air when popping ollies. They also provided an elegant feel to them, and turn initiation was very quick.
- Replacement Parts: Like any bindings, there will be issues eventually; in my case, after about three years, one of my straps (the right toe strap) snapped, and a couple of my bolts were stripped. I wrote to Union’s customer service and to my surprise they offered to send me some replacements free of charge. Knowing that replacement parts are easily accessible is a huge plus.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Carving: At the end of the day, the Union Flite Pros are soft flexing all-mountain/freestyle bindings, meaning they’re never going to carve as well as stiffer flexing specialized bindings. While it never was an issue for me personally, I could feel the limitations when leaning hard into a carve. These bindings sometimes lacked a “snappiness” when entering or exiting a carve.
- Buckles: The main issue I encountered with the buckles was that a small spring within the ratcheting mechanism broke off pretty quickly. This spring is supposed to hold the ratchet close to the rest of the buckle. Without this spring, the top half of the buckle didn’t automatically retract and bounced around when riding (see picture below). This didn’t affect the usability of the bindings as the straps still held firm, but at higher speeds, I could hear that piece flapping up and down, which was a bit annoying.
Favorite moment with this gear
Weirdly enough, my favorite moment with this gear was the first time my heel ladder strap fell off. This may sound odd, but let me explain. The strap fell off simply because the hardware holding it to the heel cup came loose. This is common with all bindings, the vibration from riding causes the hardware to loosen over time slowly. I had forgotten to check my hardware before going out that day, and my strap popped off while riding through the woods. However, when I picked my strap up off the ground, the hardware was still with it! A small piece of plastic with grooved teeth held the screw and washer in place within the strap even though it was now separated from the rest of the binding. This proved to me that Union considers every detail when designing products to provide the best possible experience. I’ve had experiences with other bindings where a strap pops off, and the hardware is gone forever, but this wasn’t the case on this day with my Union Flite Pros!
Value for the money vs. other options
As I’ve alluded to earlier, I think the Flite Pros are some of the best entry-level yet professional quality bindings on the market right now. Although they aren’t the cheapest bindings, they are far from the most expensive, and paying that extra $50-$60 for these vs. something like the Rossignol Battle bindings is almost certainly a better long-term choice if upgrading isn’t an option for a few years.
The Union Flite Pros offer a durable and versatile platform that isn’t going to break the bank. They’re excellent for the all-mountain or freestyle rider regardless of if they’re a complete beginner or a seasoned snowboarder.