FF Pro bindings are faultless…

Purchased late 1999 along with 2 hard rubber spacers (raising the binding 7.5mm – 2.5mm and 5mm), fitted to a Line Jedi 89cm Skiboard.

This was my first adventure on real skiboards. Previously I had skied big boy’s skis for about 17 years and then had a play on some Salomon Blades for a week or two. However the need to go off piste was a must, so I immediately got a pair of Jedi’s with the FF Pro’s.

Compared to a release binding, on a traditional ski, there was a bit of transition required with regard to the binding…however I am casting my mind back 13 odd years now, but this is what I can remember (FF’s last used 3 years ago although they are now on my spare Lacroix 99 and will be used again next season)

The bindings on a Solomon Blade are basically cheap and crude. Okay for a beginner/intermediate, but anyone wanting to do anything serious would not keep with them, or the actual blades themselves, other than for on-piste convenience.

The setup of the FF’s is easy once you understand the basics of how a binding and boot are designed to work together. Each boot has a mid point (centre) mark (normally small line) on the lower side of the boot. Whilst the binding main plate has a centre line marking.

Initially for setup you should go with the boot directly over the binding centre point, and then go and ski a bit, before trying a few different setting. The FF binding has a fine toothed interlocking base-to-clamp setup, so movement is straightforward. One hexagonal nut at either clamp would release it so it could be moved a few teeth in the direction required. Moving the other clamp proportionally. Make sure it is a firm fit though i.e. when you activate the clamp there is a bit of snap to it actuation as it closes on the boot front.

Finally, once you have decided on your on piste and off piste setup (primarily if on a low floatation Skiboard), you should then mark the positions so you can change quite quickly (about 5 minutes to do all 4 clamps).

One tweak I did was to place a bit of foam under each clamp nut within the rubber spacer to prevent the nut falling off in to the raised (7.5mm) gap. Which if you are up a mountain is a little bit annoying, as you need to take the complete binding off to get the nut back on.

As the FF’s are a fixed binding then there are no brakes so you need to get used to that setup. However, u
sing the ankle strap (release binding brake equivalent!) was a right faff and I soon modified it. Basically getting in to a fixed binding can be awkward particularly depending on gradient, snow conditions and if you are a little under the weather! Normally you are forced to take the skiboards off on bubble lifts etc and when you do a bit a trekking to get to some powder, so you definitely need to have got that sorted before you venture there.

I adjusted my bindings to accommodate this by making sure the heal and toe swing arms had some resistance (slight bend) so they would stay where you placed them – especially needed on the heal side. Then you do not need to use the strap to hold it up…Next I made an adjustment to the standard ankle strap as the clip would get full of compressed snow preventing it’s ease of use. There I changed by modifying the strap – made it one 10 inch single length with a stop at one end – so it could be placed under 2 boot buckles so no strap clips to connect. This meant if the ski did come off – it never did – then the strap was clamped under the buckles and prevent an escaping ski. Other than that a slight boot adjustment to the rear if a lot of off piste was to be undertaken and that was about it.

Also I went away from the little tie cord loop which went around the heel bar clamp, and looped the synthetic material (about 2.5cm (1 inch) width) around the bar and hand sewed it on and then placed a small plastic cable tie through it. The idea there was to provide extra strength and to give the setup some resistance so that the strap did not just fall down. It basically stayed in the position you placed it and hence made it easier to locate and use.

The front clamp is a double swing mechanism and the same idea was used on the upper swing element as it was to the main clamp. Hence, some resistance was introduced in to the smaller clamp so that it did not just flop around. Basically, once again, it would stay where you put it…Which when you are bending over with all your ski gear on, sometimes half way up a mountain, with a wind blowing, it can make things a lot easier.

From what I can recall they were the only mods carried out. They all worked for years making it quicker and easier to get in and out of the FF’s – should work on other fixed binding setups too.

Construction wise the FF’s were faultless. Light, strong and after being tweaked easy enough to get in and out of what ever and where ever.

Basically the FF’s are 13 years old and there is nothing wrong with them – particularly as there is nothing much to go wrong with them. It’s a simple, but effective design. Whilst to break an FF you would need to attack them with a power tool or something.

The double spacers provide a bit of cushioning – I imagine – and lift the FF off the board so the clamp arms/boot are out of the way on high angle carves. So for the little bit of extra cash they cost are worth having – I think 2.5mm was standard and then you could add to that if you wanted.

As a quick comparison to using the FF’s against a release binding (with brakes) on a Skiboard I would say the FF’s have several plus points.

They are a really light binding (max of 700g inc spacer each) in comparison with 2000g each (2Kg) for the release binding, riser & spacer (Tyrolia SP130) especially as the release binding requires a riser plate. So the lightness makes all day skiing effortless – unless you are off piste on low floatation skiboards.

Once setup for “you” then there is basically nothing to worry about. Just clamp yourself in and then that is it. They’re on, and they are not coming off unless you take them off.

Another little nice thing is the rear clamp loops make them easy to carry at the end of the day without dragging on the floor – depends on how tall you are though !

The 4 hexagonal screws fixing them to the board mean that they are easily removed so you can flat-pack you skiboards in your travel bag or rotate the binding if some “damage” has occurred.

Downside(s). Well once tweaked that would be the getting in to them on tricky terrain, but similar problems can be had with the release bindings i.e. compressed snow on bottom of boot issues…With a release binding you can kick/drag your boot over the top of the binding whilst the brakes prevents the ski from liberating itself. However, when there is no brake then you have a free moving ski and you need to build a flat platform first etc – can be tricky when it is steep and deep. Then you have to go for pole pashing/stabbing off the boot base by yourself or a mate. Hey, but you can still have that fun with a release binding just that is is a little bit easier with a braked ski.

Overall the FF’s are faultless and on piste/park I would give them 10/10 especially as they transmit any input directly to the board…7.5/10 unmodified.

Off piste they have fixed binding limitations. If you do not need to take them off then really they would be 10/10, but that is never going to happen. So off piste I would say 8.5/10 (modified) and 7/10 (unmodified)

Presently I ski Custom Summit 110’s (2012) with 5mm rubber spacer, synthetic riser and Tyrolia SP130 release bindings with brakes (downside, quite heavy compared to fixed binding), which I have reviewed elsewhere here. Whilst my big boy’s skis are generally left in the garage! Ski standard Expert when fit!

Rider – Spanners – Expert Skiboarder

Robert reviews the GGO Spine and Middleman Binding System…

I knew I didn’t want to spend another day on the slopes in ski boots, so off to snowboard boot skiboard bindings I went.

My setup: 2009 Ride LX bindings, GGO’s MiddleMan riser & Spine highback on Summit Custom 110 Woodies, and Salomon Malamute boots (one of the suggested “stiff” snowboard boots for this off-prescription use).

The skiboards got on edge as easily as they did in hardboots (good MiddleMan riser height), and I don’t know whether they were confidence-inspiring or I was just getting cocky, but I found myself being (even) more playful on the slopes than normal.

Additionally, I appreciated being able to adjust the rotation of the boards in relation to my feet. The option to have this adjustment allowed me to discover, that at least with my riding style/body mechanics, I felt more confidence, and felt as if I was “gripping the slope better” by pointing my toes toward each other 3 degrees in relation to the skiboard tips. Doesn’t mean that you’ll come to the same conclusion, but at least you get to easily experiment with this setup!

Regardless, I recommend this product. Thanks for the skiboard bindings, Gadget Geeks!

Rider – Robert – Intermediate Skiboarder

Skiboardreview.com’s Andrew reviews the Rocker Bindings…

During the 2011/2012 season I picked up a set of the new Rocker soft boot bindings for skiboards. I also bought a pair of soft snowboard boots so I could get the full experience. Right out of the box I was impressed with the bindings.

The solid construction and material used instantly made me feel like they were going to be able to hold up to my 6’ 2” 225lb frame. I proceeded to mount them onto a pair of RVL8 Revolts. I started using a regular socket wrench for attaching them to the boards, but quickly found that it was a little more difficult with the height of the back and side of the bindings to use that socket. So I got out the extended socket wrench and had installed them easily.

Also during installation I checked on the bumpers which are solid rubber secured with a screw so the base plate. Those rubber bumpers are really a great idea and help keep the screws in place during use of the bindings. I needed to tighten one bumper and that caused a problem. The base of the binding has a thick sole glued to it to provide cushion for your boots, and it’s a great idea because you definitely don’t want to be standing directly on metal when skiboarding, it would be quiet uncomfortable. It also covered up the screws for the bumpers making it difficult to tighten once they become loose, but it can be done.

Never having been a snowboarder I wasn’t sure how comfortable it would be to be using soft boots while on skiboards. But I took a recommendation and got the stiffest boots I could find and went out with them.

Bindings are now secure to my satisfaction, time to hit the slopes!

I took it slow and leisurely at first, but just like with the first time I was on skiboards, I quickly became comfortable and picked up the pace. The three straps on the binding that hold you in place are solid as a rock, and if tightened properly, hold you in place and give no wiggle room. This allowed me to feel the snow better just like I would in my hard shell boots.

As I got more and more comfortable I put myself on edge more and more and carved harder and harder on groomers. The bindings held true and did not give at all.

The real concern I had was with the long screws from the base of the binding down to the skiboards. I thought with such a long screw that getting on edge and pushing hard would cause the board to separate from the binding and the screws would rip out when given so much side pressure. But that was not the case, they held true and I was as comfortable carving with the Rockers as I am with my Spruce Riser Pros. That’s saying a lot from a soft boot binding system.

I did take them to the Midwest Meet last year up at Mount Bohemia, which is all powder backcountry skiboarding. That is where my comfort ended. I found out quickly that I ride on my heels a lot, not knowingly, almost too far on my heels that I was no longer comfortable. Not being a veteran powder rider I wasn’t prepared for it and lost my footing a lot. Since that trip I’ve learned that the Rockers are prepared for goofs like me with the ability to adjust the back leg rest of the binding forward. Had I been aware of that at the time it could have very well made a huge difference, but I wasn’t able to try that feature out last year during that trip. And the rest of the year all I have are groomers to ride on.

I don’t do park, so I can’t speak for the bindings there, but with as solid as they are, I can’t imagine there would be any issues.

The more I used the Rockers in weeks and months throughout the season, besides Bohemia, I really enjoyed the comfort of a soft shell boot and the knowledge of knowing the Rockers are tanks and would not release on me in any way.

I’d comfortably give this product 4 out of 5, great job Rocker!

Rider – Andrew Deehr – Intermediate Skiboarder – Webmaster@Skiboardreview.com

Pro Sport bindings plowed through everything with ease…

After riding non releasables for a few years, I decided to try the Spruce Riser system with the Head SL100 releasable binding system that was bundled with the Spruce 120 skiboards on special at SBOL. I took them out for my first day out of the year and put them through everything I could going full speed up on edge around switchbacks and through some glades with some fresh powder (the eastern north american kind) and it plowed through all of these with ease. The height difference from my Bomber elites to the riser is quite a bit, but I found it to be beneficial to getting up on edge and didnt notice much difference after a couple of runs — even the weight isnt noticeable.

Rider – Bruce McDonald – Expert Skiboarder

Pro Sport bindings makes this rider glad he got them…

Spruce Pro Sport bindings: Glad I got these. Second time out on them I landed wrong off a natural air and tweaked my knee. Strained all kinds of ligaments and was off the mountains for a month and a half before the doc felt I was ready to go back out. I do prefer the feeling and weight of the non-release bindings, but I’m not sure I really want to risk my knees anymore. That being said, I love the ease of release bindings for getting in and out, especially when we decide to hike a feature in the park.

Rider – Mitchell Kuntz – Expert Skiboarder

Pro Prime bindings makes carving easier…

I received these last year after a slight knee tweak in a rut at an insignificant CT Ski hill. They will weigh more then non-release bindings, this make for more work carrying them to and from the car to the mountain. Once you are on them and riding them, there is not much difference in feel.

The one change I did notice was that carving was much easier even though I was only 1/2″ or so higher then I was before on the bombers. Power transmission was direct without any complaints or excuses emitted from the bindings or riser.

I have not broken any boards since switching to release bindings and I think non-release bindings is a major factor in broken skiboards, Regardless of manufacturer. These are very quick on and off. I did have to modify the brakes to fit on the Condors, but they work perfectly.

I have been off some fairly large jumps, disasters onto rails, spun onto and off of rails, and these have exceeded my expectations. Don’t be afraid to use them in the park. If you are planning on riding park though, get the higher end (pro prime) setup from Jeff (Spruce).

The composite risers are just fine for new riders, though.

Rider – Mark Carraro – RVL8 Team Rider

Pro Prime bindings makes this rider not miss non-releaseables…

My wife and I each got a set of the new Spruce Pro Primes with the Z10Ti’s. She blew out her MCL 2 years ago on her non-releasables, so she isn’t going to ski non-releasables again. I decided to go the safe route as well and we both ordered Pro Primes. We both liked the idea that they both had brakes instead of leashes and both thought they seemed like better quality bindings.

So, first day on the Pro Primes… I don’t miss the non-releasables a bit. They are a little heavier, and not much taller. After a while, I could hardly tell the difference. My wife said she loved them. She says she just feels safer. She was always worried before. And like she said, when you feel safer, you have to try less hard and everything just flows easier.

Rider – Smok3y – Intermediate Skiboarder

Pro Prime bindings are so dang easy to get in and out of…

I was your typical avid non release binding rider… until I broke my leg. I was bummed, and knew I had to switch to release bindings. Leery of the added weight & height and just not being ‘as one’ with the board, I called up Jeff Springer of Spruce and he set me up. I also told him I was flat out leery of going back out, so he set the DIN just right for me too.

First day out on the slopes since the break and on release bindings… woo-hoo!!!!! love them!!! So dang easy getting in and out of, I was laughing at my brother still fiddling getting into his Zero’s! The added height & weight…. so not an issue! My only gripe, fitting them into the bag! LOL Be safe, get some!

Rider – Shredfest Shelley Pinkkid Bright – Intermediate Skiboarder

Pro Lite bindings are a revolution…

With the standard bindings for skiboards being non-releaseables for many years, Spruce came out with a product that allows one to use a regular releaseable ski binding without compromising the flex of a skiboard. This product is a revolution as it allows those who were always curious about skiboarding, but was wearing of using a non-release binding. This is especially the case for those who have previously suffered various leg injuries.

Spruce binding is raised higher than the Bomber Elites, so for someone like myself that loves to carve, this is great as it allows for a more aggressive carve.

These bindings have only released on me a handful of times, and each time, I was glad that it did. One was going down a tree chute which my skiboard got caught between a tree stump and a rock. I’m sure if that happened with my non-releaseables, I would have at the very least suffered a pull-type of injury.

With the ability to be mounted on both skiboards with 4×4 and 4×10 hole configurations, this makes the Spruce bindings a versatile binding that gives you the added piece of mind that it releases just like a regular ski binding.

Rider – Edward Ho – Expert Skiboarder

Pro Lite bindings are high quality…

Nice, solid, high quality bindings that will serve you well. I’ve never had a pre-release (release without a fall) except for once trying out the park, but I’m afraid that might have been my DIN settings or that I might have stepped on the release lever coming off the box. They have a good connection to the board, and being able to step right in is very convenient. I sometimes wish for the wide brakes that come on the Pro Prime so I could finally leave leashes at home, but ah well. I can’t comment much on the feel compared to non-release, unfortunately, since I haven’t had the opportunity to try any non-release bindings on my boards. All in all, great bindings, but I’d recommend considering getting the Pro Primes for the wide brakes. (plus the white ones are hot)

Rider – Nate Myton