Flux’s sleek, adjustable freeride machine, the XF is a responsive, minimalist complement to any all-mountain charger’s deck. The asymmetrical Axis highbacks are cleverly engineered: a slit down the middle supplies lateral flex, while a heavy-duty spine and broad calf encourage heelside domination. Testers were hyped about the slim and utilitarian F.T.M. Versa toe straps (rock ‘em as traditional straps or as cap straps).
Plus, what pairs better than beer and waffles? Flux’s “Beer Buckles” incorporate a bottle opener into the ratchet design, while the ankle “Waffle Strap” is a two-layer segmented strap designed with responsiveness, power, and fit in mind. A match made in heaven? Our testers delved in to find out.
The straps offer excellent security and comfort, surprising given their a minimalist design. The hexagonal, dual-layer Waffle Strap locks in the heel with the sweet stickiness of maple syrup.
Whether you’re railing turns or popping out of a jib, the Axis Highback is a blessing. It’s torsionally flexible and responsive, cups a boot comfortably, and is reliable enough to make game-time decisions at speed. Still, it doesn’t constrict the rider, and testers twisted in and out of butters with ease. That versatility is rare in a freeride highback, as they’re often too rigid to be very playful.
Tool-free binding adjustments are also a major reason to consider Flux. The baseplate is minimalist, stiff, and solid, which is fine when blasting straightlines down open faces, but it also did lead to some complaints from our testers. More on that below.
The FooTon footbed is designed to keep snow build-up from occurring, and it does this just fine, but it does not provide much support or shock absorption. Yes, its lighter and more responsive than some of the cushier bindings in this guide, but that comes at a cost. Also, testers were bummed to see a plastic heel cup, preferring metal in a freeride chassis.
Also, and we’re sorry we got you stoked for the magical beer-opening buckles, but it turns out they’re a bit trickier to use than, say, a lighter, a table top, or a keychain. One of our testers timed himself cracking two beers back to back in an experiment: he opened the first using the beer-opening binding buckle, and the second using a regular binding buckle. We’re sad to say that the regular binding buckle opened the beer a full 8 seconds faster. So, a bit gimmicky… Also, who brings a glass bottle to the ski resort? Anyways, don’t buy these bindings because you think they’ll help you open beers faster… buy them because you want to snowboard faster.
Tester Quote: “The XF hangs tough in emergency braking situations, like when your skier friend makes a surprising navigational split decision.”
Key Attribute: Responsiveness
- Stiff and responsive binding for riding steep, techy terrain
- Axis highback spine offers tons of heelside support
- Transfer baseplate drives a direct power transfer
- Adjustable toe and heel cushion absorbs big impacts
- FooTon footbed prevents pesky snow and ice buildup
- Waffle straps offer seamless connection for better response
Size: XS, S, M, L
Material: nylon and fiberglass