NOW Revisited: The Drive snowboard bindings
Last year we dropped a review on the iPO snowboard bindings from a new company called NOW. Pioneering technology drafted from the trucks on a skateboard, founder and snowboard veteran JF Pelchat turned heads with one of the biggest binding innovations since cap straps. Currently in its second season, NOW Bindings has gone from getting some well-deserved attention with a single-model debut, to dropping full-fledged assault on the industry by tripling their product line.
One of their new releases has been carrying hype since it was announced—the Drive. Developed around legendary pros Jeremy Jones and Devun Walsh, this binding was meant for a bit more than carving up lines in the corduroy. But since a lot of us won’t be dropping in on some AK spines anytime soon, it seemed like the perfect time to check in on their 2014 line to see what’s new, and if they could offer anything to those who haven’t yet achieved heroic status.
First off, just unboxing the Drive is an experience. A jet-black binding emblazoned with a big orange N adds a level of class to these bindings that are capable of so much destruction—sort of like putting a ribbon on an AK-47. And just like the Russian assault rifle, these things are meant to go anywhere, and they’re always looking for a fight.
Though there are a slew of bindings capable of all-terrain destruction, it’s rare to come across bindings that can get out of your way, and actually feel good anywhere. Given the focus on lateral support and rigidity, it appeared as if the Drive would be too stiff for the playful rider, or too much of a power binding for the jibbing park rats. Surprisingly, it attacked them all with zero prejudice. With Flippit ankle straps the Drive lets you serve two masters by having both freestyle and freeride modes, essentially by allowing you to swap the strap placement to alter support strong points. Whether you need to stay loose for those backlips in the streets, or dress up to drop hammers in avalanche country—the Drive is meant for all action, at all times.
Above all the genius behind the Drive is the same with all NOW models; the patented Skate Tech relies upon a pivoting hanger that follows your foot, which is fact—not just marketing swill. They have also innovated what they’re calling Flush Cup, a simple solution to the age-old issue of heel lift. By making the inner heel cup and highback meet flush, there is no room for your heel to go anywhere, making them feel like an extension of your feet. The best way to replicate the feeling of Flush Cup and Skate Tech combined would be to glue your boot to your binding, which is not recommended.
Taking the Drive from trolling the park to the scariest line you’ve ever dropped is as easy as the push-button NOS those import racers are so fond of. For once a binding that responds to the rider, instead of dictating what it will allow. The Drive is the type of binding that can go to level 11, when others only go to 10— but it’s your decision whether or not to take it there.