Arbor isn’t brand new to the binding game, but they’re definitely still one of the fresh faces. However, their earth-tone aesthetic—which flows so fluidly from their board line—is already recognizable after only a couple years on the market. The Cypress, their freeride model, is designed with subtle tones and accented with burnished aluminum gracing the levers and heel cup. Whether you have one of Arbor’s decks with a classic woodgrain topsheet or a louder deck from another manufacturer, this binding makes any setup look rad. Yet, to paraphrase the wise words of Zoolander, “There’s more to bindings than being ridiculously, ridiculously good looking.”
From the ground up, the Cypress is rooted in freeriding. The X-Drive Baseplate is beefy, durable, and ready to stand up to big lines. Whereas the pliable Hemlock (Arbor’s freestyle offering) is reinforced with 15% fiberglass, the Cypress is over double that at 33% for improved strength.
The EVA footbed is comfortable and cushions flat landings and unexpected bumps in the road. The asymmetrical highback is tall, damp, and responsive, leading one tester to claim that it’s “great for high speed runouts and less than ideal landings.” The aluminum heel cup is adjustable, strong, and responsive. Together, the base plate, footbed, and heel cup strike a balance between necessary support and desired minimalism.
Little details go a long way with the Cypress. Tool-free strap adjusters are always a plus. Also, Arbor’s disc is awesome: despite its minimal size, which improves board feel and flex, the disc is compatible with both standard inserts and the Burton channel. The Wire-Core Adjuster Strap is a noteworthy addition on the tech side, too. A stainless steel wire is embedded into the ankle strap, ensuring that it stays out of the way when you’re stepping into your bindings and that, regardless of wear, the strap won’t break off and leave you stranded.
The binding is well-cushioned and burly—both positives—but these properties sacrifice minimalism and weight. One tester, hesitant to go one way or the other, articulately summed it up thus. “Not quite clunky, but not not quite clunky.”
Tester Quote: “Don’t hit the knuckle, but if you must, this is the landing gear you need.”
Key Attribute: Durability
- Freeride design for gnarly terrain and techy lines
- X-Drive baseplate is stiff and responsive
- Stiff 75A bushings offer excellent energy transfer
- Asym highback provides tons of lateral support
- Canted footbed reduces fatigue and strain on joints
- 3D-contoured straps offer pressure point-free fit
- Wire-Core adjuster strap stays out of the way
- Universal mini-disc allows better board flex