NOW: An in-depth look at the future of binding technology
Words & Photos: Josh Ruggles
From ratcheting buckles to ever-evolving toe straps, the way we connect to our snowboards seems to always be changing. But every once in a while a new binding technology comes forth that changes the way we think of bindings.
And NOW Bindings are setting a new standard of what a binding should do for the rider.
The six-year project headed up by retired pro J.F. Pelchat has resulted in a binding that is unlike any other binding on the market. At first glance, NOW’s flagship model, the I.P.O. looks similar to any other binding. But on closer inspection, the binding definitely has something different about it.
The bright green bushings on each corner of the base and the kingpin inspired pivoting mount are instrumental to the revolutionary response system. Having the pivot point in the center of the binding mimics the technology of a skateboard. When transferring on to an edge the binding follows your foot, instead of working against you.
Setting up the binding is somewhat unusual. To reach the mount, the footbed has to be peeled back and like many other bindings with removable footbeds, it may be a little confusing the first time. While mounting the I.P.O. the bushings would easily fall out when not attached, which was initially a cause for concern, but Pelchat has addressed the issue for mass production. The bushing will come in a dual injected material so it will snap in place and not fall out when handling.
A front view of the new NOW binding | CHECK OUT THE FULL NOW GALLERY
“It was inspired by the motion of a skateboard truck and how energy is transferred to the edges,” Pelchat said.
When it comes to riding them, these bindings make the board feel like it is an extension of your body; the heelcup tightly hugs the boot and eliminates heel lift, intuitively syncing the rider with their board. With many bindings it is more common to be constantly adjusting and re-adjusting the binding to try to get the perfect fit.
Riding without highbacks has been trending through the industry these days, especially for urban riders. In turn, the heelcup and highback sit flush against each other on the I.P.O. making the option for riding without the highback much more accessible.
After spending a few days on the I.P.O. it is clear that Pelchat has created something unique. The pivot system seemed to effectively do two things: create a skate-like feel that makes the whole snowboard feel more playful, and create a snappy and responsive system through transferring more energy to each turn.
NOW’s I.P.O. is a binding that truly feels like it can take you anywhere; whether hitting rails at four in the morning or first tracks in two feet of fresh, the I.P.O. can get the job done. And with the blessing of some of the industry’s top pro riders, NOW is sure to establish its place at the forefront of the industry.
“Right now we have Devun Walsh and Jeremy Jones supporting the brand, plus we are doing a team sponsorship with YES snowboards,” Pelchat said. “With this new tech in hand, possibilities are pretty much endless. We have plans to introduce more models in the next coming years and then some.”
With a projected price of $289, NOW is set to release the I.P.O. this coming September and it will be available in medium and large sizes and in black or white color-ways.
Devun Walsh talks about the NOW binding system: