2020-21 NOW Recon Snowboard Binding
Size Tested: Medium
- Skate-Tech- a fulcrum in the center of the binding acts similar to a skateboard truck, in that it pivots underfoot to transfer more energy to the board more efficiently
- 12K non-crimp Carbon Fiber composite highback – light weight, stiff and responsive
Flushcup technology sets the back of your boot flush with highback and heel cup, for improved response
- 3-D toe straps with EVA padding
- Freestyle ankle straps- 2 layers of EVA padding for comfort and support
- NOW tool-less adjuster straps
- Adjustable bushings available in soft, medium and hard (comes with medium and hard)
- 9 out of 10 NOW Flex rating
Blister’s Measured Weight (Medium): 924 grams / 2.04lb
Test Locations: Mt. Bachelor, OR; Alyeska Resort, AK
Days Tested: 16
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Recon, which was not changed for 17/18, 18/19, 19/20, or 20/21.]
NOW bindings, founded by former professional snowboarder JF Pelchat, says they focus on creating what they call “an unconventional product—an unparalleled and revolutionary binding lineup that just keeps on giving.”
The Recon is new to NOW’s binding line, and is one of their stiffer flagship bindings for high-performance, all-mountain riding. Although there are several features that set the Recon binding apart from the competitors, the most significant is the “Skate-Tech,” which has taken the concept of how a skateboard turns and pivots within the truck, and adapted it to snowboarding with a hanger and kingpin in the center of the binding.
NOW’s Skate-Tech is featured on every NOW binding, which makes their product very unique. NOW explains Skate-Tech as, “a hanger that powerfully transfers energy input from the straps to the bushings and onto the edges of your board. The Kingpin acts as a fulcrum, magnifying this energy through leverage. Traditional bindings diminish energy transfer by the flexing and bending of their baseplate, forcing you to crank your straps down harder, ride with more forward lean, or run taller and stiffer highbacks. This all leads to more foot fatigue and pain. NOW bindings bypass the middle of the snowboard and direct your energy right onto the board’s edges. They simply transfer more power to the board with less work, meaning your feet will stay more relaxed and comfortable, longer.”
And here’s a video NOW uses to further explain Skate-Tech:
The unique ride of Skate-Tech is accomplished through four main components: a post, hanger, kingpin and bushings.
Unlike traditional bindings, the NOW Recon connects the center of the binding to the board with a post, which is a small plastic and carbon fiber plate that is secured by a 4×4 nylon mounting disc (used to set the desired stance angles). The post rises on either side of the center of the binding, connecting the main binding chassis or “hanger” via a kingpin bolt, allowing the binding to pivot. The kingpin / post interface does a great job creating a smooth fulcrum point for easier energy transfer.
The fiberglass reinforced nylon hangar (main chassis) is essentially baseless, in that it pivots from toe to heel for uninterrupted torsional board flex. Interchangeable bushings snap to the hanger on either side of the post, which acts as the main contact points on the binding. The bushings are very effective in dampening the ride and reducing board chatter, while offering some customizability… the replaceable bushings are available in a soft, medium and hard option to suit your weight and style of riding best. The base of the binding is covered with a thick EVA foam pad that feels very comfortable underfoot, while helping create a smooth chatterless ride.
The Skate-Tech creates a unique carving experience that took me a couple days to get fully use to. It felt pretty foreign to begin with since I had been riding softer bindings like the Burton Cartel and Karakoram Prime Connect on my resort set up. But the Recons quickly became inspiration to go faster once I figured out the pivoting Skate-Tech, added stiffness and how easy it was to transfer energy while carving.
It is worth noting that the hangar seemed a bit narrow near the middle of the binding and heel cup. I used a size Medium binding which accommodates sizes 7- 9.5. With my 9.5 sized boot, I’m on the larger side of the scale. Although the binding was still very comfortable, my boot was pretty snug. I could potentially see a wider boot with a larger footprint having issues, which may be easily resolved by sizing up if you are near the upper size limit.
The Recon binding is a stiffer (9 out of 10 on NOW’s flex rating), hard-charging binding that’s designed for all-mountain freestyle riding. The energy transfer and responsive edging is very dramatic thanks to the extreme stiffness of the 12K carbon highback coupled with the Skate-Tech pivot.
The FS carbon highbacks on Recon really make this binding stiff yet snappy. I have become a big fan of carbon highbacks for charging in all conditions, especially deep powder and tracked variable snow. Although I wouldn’t recommend them for park laps, carbon highbacks offer a lot of support when crushing through variable snow at high speeds to hit natural features and jumps.
At Mt. Bachelor, I was very impressed with how well the Recons could blast through crud and sketchy runways when airing off of trees, stumps and side hits. Obviously plastic / composite highbacks offer a more playful ride conducive to tweaking and buttering, but if you prefer blasting over tracked snow for side hits and big natural airs, the FS carbon highback will deliver the confidence to carry enough speed for whatever you desire. The added stability may also be due to the psuedo wing at the top of the highback that seems to wrap the boot well and creates great contact areas for smoother binding flex.
Performance and stiffness wise, the Recons FS carbon highback is comparable to my Karakoram Prime Carbon highback, but doesn’t seem quite as comfortable. The top of the highback seems unnecessarily sharp, and would sometimes cut into my calf when railing heelside turns and slashes. The issue may be a result of my particular boots, but additional padding near the top would most likely alleviate the issue.
NEXT: Freestyle Straps, Performance, Etc.