- Very responsive
- Great ankle straps adjustability
- Very durable bindings
- Bushing choice provide different ride qualities
- The price
- Carbon fiber shows wear
There’s no other binding design like Now’s on the market: taking inspiration from a skateboard truck, the binding pivots on a kingpin to deliver pressure only to the outside edge. On the snow the kingpin helps deliver more power to edges and provides quicker response. Although it’s the best binding we tested, it’s also the most expensive.
Now is the brainchild of former pro, JF Pelchant, and the O Drive is Now’s top of the line binding. Now doesn’t spend much on marketing, but they spend plenty on design, that is evident in this binding. It’s for the rider who wants one of the fastest, most responsive bindings money can buy.
The highback is full carbon and the baseplate is carbon infused. The highback showed a wee bit or wear as carbon does—the material gets just slightly scuffed earlier than other materials. Not a big deal for most as rider’s pants obscure this part of the binding. The buckles and straps are best in class.
If you like a stiff binding, Now’s O-Drive should be considered. The company gives it a 10 out of 10 in its stiffness rating and they’re spot on. The carbon fiber highback translates your input quickly. But, for riders who want a more freestyle feel, the ankle straps can be adjusted from freestyle to freeride. There are also two sets of bushings (medium and hard), so riders can fine tune the feel and performance of the binding.
The Now O-Drive might be the best binding out there. Both burly and elegant, this binding will last a very long time with proper care. Sure, at $500 they’re more expensive than the competition, most of which range between $260 and $320, but the upgrade in materials on the O-Drive is obvious.
The O-Drive is one of the lightest on the market and provides lightning quick response. This is the binding for race car-like handling.
The overall comfort of the O-Drive is good. The straps are well built and integrate well with boots and the fit is fine-tunable with multiple bushings and two settings for the ankle strap. But a carbon highback modus operandi isn’t for comfort, its raison d'être is performance.
EASE OF USE
Set-up of the Now O-Drive is straightforward, and once they’re mounted the straps can be adjusted sans tools. One hitch? It takes a bit of work to access the base plate for adjustments. Channel users might be put off because the O-Drive doesn’t include a Channel system baseplate. But, we didn’t ding Now for that. Less unused plastic is a good thing.
How We Tested It
The bindings in this test were used inbounds and off-piste in variable snow conditions at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Mammoth Mountain, and in the Eastern Sierra as well as at various resorts in Utah.
For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our other snowboard reviews, snowboard boot reviews, and snow goggle reviews along with our snow helmet reviews and other related ski and snowboard gear reviews.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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