I hate buying bindings, Im the same with trucks on my skateboard, I prefer both well worn in and reliably consistent in how they perform. With new bindings you have to get the straps, heelcups, and highbacks adjusted plus new bindings are just not as comfortable as old worn in ones. Until recently I was still rocking a pair of Drake TM’s from their 08/09 line. They were really getting a bit out of hand with the constant screw tightening and strap adjustments needed. Finally last week I broke two straps in two days and decided that it was time to find a new pair. Heres another reason I was slow to get new bindings, I like low high backs and 0 forward lean so my choices can at times be limited. I was able to find the same 08/09 Drake TM’s for $105 shipped online but decided to see what my other local options were first. Drake stopped making the TM this season and replaced it with the ReLoad but the highbacks were really tall on them so Drake was out. I also looked at Flux (who has low highbacks) but then I had a couple people tell me to check out the Raiden line so I gave them a once over at Milosport and hooked em up.
I like to ride my bindings right out of the box with out making any initial big adjustments other than dialing in the strap placement. Luckily for me the heelcups and angles were good to go and I havent needed to do any of the tinkering normally associated with new bindings. Raiden does include a handy positioning chart in the manual that lets you know exactly where to adjust the bindings for each size boot within the 0′s size range.(noted however the chart is made with Nitro boots in mind which is what Im currently wearing).
The Raiden 0 also features the new Mini-Disc setup. The Mini-Disc is, as its named, a smaller than normal disc for the footbed of the bindings. This new smaller Disc allows you to use only two screws to hold the bindings (but has room for four if youre sketched on that idea). The thought behind it is that the smaller disc allows for more room for dampening materials on the binding itself and also gives a smaller footprint of the mounting surface which means it has less effect on board flex.
The Raiden 0 is one of the softer flex bindings within the Raiden line. Its billed as a park/urban slayer with the flex needed for presses and tweaks. Since I ride all over the mountain it would seem this isnt the binding for me but I prefer a bit softer than normal board so I need to pair it with a softer binding. Remember to always match your board flex and binding flex kids. Its not going to do you much good to get a good mushy binding and put it one a super stiff big mountain board and vice versa.
So far Ive only put a couple days on the 0′s but have managed to take them on some pretty varied area within Brighton. They handled great in the park of course but I also found them more than responsive enough to enable me to weave through the dense trees around the bottom of the Rock Garden and cushy enough to feel confident to take them off the drops as well. The Raiden 0 also feature an air cushioned heel bladder to help lessen the impact on those big drops as well as give a good comfortable all around ride. The ratchets on the 0 are aluminum but the teeth are hard plastic. Ive had bindings with plastic teeth before and found that as long as you have your bindings adjusted properly ( and dont live somewhere like Jackson Hole where its perpetually 0 degrees) a plastic tooth will last you as long as you need it to. Remember when properly adjusted you tighten your straps until they are snug but not constricting. If youre tightening your straps all the way down and struggling to get that last final click youre doing it wrong and need to take a few minutes to adjust your straps.
One small thing that I dont like about the 0. The footbed flap that covers the mounting hardware has no heel cup anchor. Basically what this means is that it just rests there. When you initially put the cover on its actually pretty flappy but once you tighten the screw down at the one mounting spot it tends to lower and goes a bit flush. My issue with this is on a deeper day there is the possibility of snow getting wedged underneath it and becoming a pain in the ass. To be clear I havent had this problem I just see it as a possibility and wish Raiden had put in even some small groove and insert to help keep this thing secured. Of course Im also talking about a park oriented binding so I can understand why its not there because if its a deep day you shouldnt be in the park anyways…. remember that.
Overall Im very happy with the Raiden 0 and glad I was able to get a good solid binding that fit my list of needs with very little searching. Im new to the Raiden family but would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a softer skate inspired binding. Check out more on their site here.