Binding Manufacturers

Catek info
Bomber info
Catek/bomber Comparison
F2 bindings
Snowpro bindings
Other bindings
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You may want to consider buying alpine snowboard bindings from a small manufacturer that can provide excellent personalized customer service:

These bindings are extremely durable. The baseplates on both are made from 7075 aircraft Aluminum – the strongest and most expensive Aluminum alloy readily available. As a side benefit, they both qualify for duty-free status under NAFTA.

Catek (Caron Alpine Technologies, Inc.) Bindings

Catek Olympic bindings, '05
Catek World cup bindings, '02

Catek bindings are a boon to people who want to independently adjust the cant, lift, and binding angle. In particular, Cateks may be your only option if you prefer a unique stance, or if you are knock-kneed or bow-legged. If you carve in ski boots, you probably need the flexibility of Cateks to get your knees where you want them to be. They are also bomb-proof, made from sturdy machined aluminum. Catek manufactured three versions of highly-adjustable bindings:

Catek OS2

Starting in '06, Catek discontinued the older models, and now sells the OS2, which offers more flexibility when setting the binding angle by eliminating the need for a divot hole ring. See the guide to setting up Cateks.

The Catek OS2

The Catek OS2 works by first mounting the disc to the board, then mounting the powerplate on top of the disc. The angle of the power plate determines the binding angle. Both the disc and power plate have elastomer cushions.

The first model year of the OS2 bindings offered a disc that accommodated both 3D and 4x4 insert patterns. However, starting with the 2nd model year, the bindings come with discs that accommodate only one or the other. If you want both, you need to buy a disc kit for $69.


One guideline applies to the older Catek World Cup / Olympic bindings:

Some guidelines apply to all models of Cateks:


The amount of isolation you get with Cateks depends on the model. The diagram below shows a cross section of two models: An '02 World Cup, and an '05 Olympic. The drawings are to scale. They show the geometry before the screws are tightened, and before the True Flex Disc donut ring gets compressed.

The older World Cup, and also some older Olympic models, used a 5mm thick donut ring. Before the screws are tightened, there is a 1.3mm air gap between the metal disk and the board. After the screws are tightened, the donut rings gets compressed, but the disk does not touch the topsheet of the board - there is still an air gap. If you ride these Cateks all season, and then remove them, you will notice that the topsheet inside the donut rings is untouched.

Starting with '04, Catek moved to a 3.2mm donut ring. Before you tighten the screws, there is about a 0.1mm air gap between the metal disk and the board (nearly flush). When the screws are tightened, the metal disk makes contact with the board.

Catek Olympic bindings

Starting in '04 (or more precisely, March '03) Catek moved from a 12mm spherical nut to a 10mm nut. Which means that the old World Cup bindings, and the first year of the Olympic bindings use a 12mm nut (right), but later models of the Olympic binding, and all Catek Freeride bindings use the 10mm nut (left). Happily, you can now buy a 12 to 10mm conversion nut, which allows you to mix and match parts between the old and new Olympic models, as well as the Freeride model.The 10mm nut uses a 6mm hex wrench, in contrast with the 12mm nut, which needed an 8mm hex wrench.

Catek OS2 bindings

Starting in '06, Catek added a separate rotatable power plate, which bolts to the center disk. The power plate can be rotated without 3 degree restrictions to set the binding angle. 4 cupped platforms on the power plate provide the mounting points for the quick-cant screws in the baseplate. The power plate makes it easier to set the binding angle. OS2 info:

Catek Freeride bindings

Catek introduced the Catek Freeride binding in '04, a version of the Olympic that uses the same canting mechanism. It is highly responsive, and the binding of choice when riding stiff softies on a wider all-mountain board. When originally introduced, the binding came with respectable straps and a good highback, but some riders decided to keep using the straps and/or highback from their existing soft bindings, primarily out of personal preference. However, the after-market straps of choice were from the Nidecker Carbon 900 bindings. In response to this trend, Catek started selling the Freeride Pro in March 2004, which features straps from the Nidecker Carbon 900. All was good, except that the Nidecker toe strap was a bit too short when used on the Cateks. So Jeff sent out free toe strap extensions to all previous customers (that's service), and now sells the Freeride Pro with longer Nidecker toe straps. Facts about the Freeride series:


For 2007, Catek is introducing the FR2, which uses the new OS2 powerplate design. The bindings will be available later in the season, and details will be added then. However, there is one quirk related to these bindings: They come with discs that are compatible only with the 4x4 insert pattern. If you want to use them on Burton boards, you have to buy the OS2 disc kit for the 3D pattern, then use the OS2 discs with the FR2 binding. This work-around has to do with legal agreements between Catek and Burton.

Bomber Bindings

Bomber TD1 bindings, 6º cant.
Bomber TD2 bindings, 6º cant

Bomber bindings are stiff, heavy duty bindings for carving. Previous to '04, Bomber sold the Trench Digger (now called the TD1). For '04, Bomber discontinued the TD1, completely redesigned the bindings, and started selling the TD2. For both old and new models, the bindings are adjusted by selecting between one of three cant/lift disks that come in angles of 0º, 3º, and 6º. Previous to '04, the cant/lift disks were mounted with the slope of the disk in the direction of the long axis of the board, and provided limited combinations of both cant and lift depending on the angle of the base plate. With the TD2, the cant/lift disks can be rotated so that their slope faces any direction, allowing a wider range of cant/lift combinations. This adjustment is handy because a lot of riders prefer to have only lift on one or both bindings. In addition, the TD2 model allows much greater control over the stiffness because the binding rides on top of an interchangeable urethane ring, available in different durometers. This design contrasts with the older TD1 models, where the binding was rigidly attached to the board, and two additional bumpers between the board and base plate added minimal flex. Bomber Trench Diggers come in either regular or Intec step-in flavor, with the step-ins somewhat stiffer than the regular style. The step-ins require Intec heels that replace the heels on your hard boots.

Bomber details - TD1 & TD2

If you attempt to unscrew the bolts from trench diggers, make sure that you first remove or melt all the snow out of the socket caps first: if not, your hex wrench won't be properly seated and you are guaranteed to strip the hex socket. You can clear out the snow with a smaller hex wrench, an ice pick, or turkey skewers.

All adjustments on TDs can be done with a 5 mm hex wrench. The base plates are held to the cant/lift disks with bolts that have a 5 mm hex socket on the top, and they sometimes require an enormous amount of leverage to loosen. A small L-shaped hex wrench comes with Bomber bindings, but it's best to have heavy-duty T-handle wrench in your gear bag, as well as a heavy-duty ratchet wrench with a 5 mm hex bit, shown here.

If you swap the bindings a lot, the bolts supplied with the bindings will wear out quickly. A set of Bomber bolts will handle maybe 10 binding swaps. Get extra bolts - order a pack of 50 bolts for $10 from The Nutty Company (See the parts list) . They are more durable than the stainless/316 bolts that come with the bindings. Other details:

Bomber TD1 Bindings

Bindings for carving require a larger footprint to distribute a large amount of force over a larger area of the board, in order to avoid excessive stress on the board inserts. However, a larger binding footprint will distort the flex pattern of the board, allowing less flex underfoot, and result in dead spots on the board. The Bomber Trench Diggers offer a good compromise by distributing the force through compressed bumpers. Make sure the trench digger bumpers are compressed when the bindings are tightened, otherwise the bindings can rip the inserts out of your snowboard. Compressing the bumpers also keeps the base plate from coming loose. If you are clueless, get the medium hardness (purple) bumpers.

Pressure on the circular cant/lift disks of Bomber TD1s can create circular impressions in the topsheet (usually half-circles). You can bevel the edges of the disks with a file, or you can add a gasket underneath the bindings. If you add a gasket, you have to increase the thickness of the bumpers by a corresponding amount with a washer, and you might also need longer bumper screws and binding screws. Older Donek topsheets are rather soft are more susceptible to breakage from Bombers, so Donek provides a gasket to go underneath Bomber TD1 bindings, along with shims of the same thickness to go between the bumpers and the base plate. You should use these gaskets to make sure your Donek warranty remains valid. If you make your own gasket, you can use 1/32" material, like nylon, plastic, P-Tex base material, or Delrin. See the parts section. You can also use disposable cutting board sheets. You might also need longer screws.

Older models of the TD1 came with center disks compatible only with the 4x4 insert pattern (right). If you buy older used bombers and intend to use them with Burton boards, make sure you get a 3D compatible center disk (left).

Other TD1 details:

Bomber TD2 Bindings

TD2 bindings have two major innovations:

The stiffness of the TD2 can be adjusted by swapping out the urethane ring between the board and the binding. The ring comes in three hardness levels: soft (yellow), medium (purple), and hard (red). All rings provide vibration dampening, with the soft ring smoothing out the ride and the red ring providing more direct power transmission to the edge. Each ring works independently of the weight of the rider. The hard ring provides a stiffness comparable to the TD1, however, a lot of people can't tell the difference between the various TD2 ring durometers. Because of the urethane rings, you don't need protective gaskets under the bindings to protect the topsheet of the board. Starting in '06, the yellow ring is softer, and the urethane is now solid plastic instead of translucent.

Other enhancements

Other TD2 facts

Warning: If a shoulder bolt on TD2s is even a tiny bit loose, it will shear off. While you are carving.

Bomber TD2 Gold Digger Ti

Catek / Bomber comparison

For carving, there is a lot of discussion on the relative merits of the Catek and Bomber bindings.

TD1/2 vs WC/Olympic/OS2:

TD2 vs Olympic / OS2:

Bomber Bishop Tele Bindings

Bomber also makes bomb-proof tele bindings, the Bomber Bishop. These bindings have a major benefit for the backcountry: If you are trekking out into the middle of nowhere, you really can't afford any breakage. Every year, Couloir Magazine runs a binding review issue, and does a run-down:

Bomber Skwal Bindings

You'll want to use the Bomber Skwal bindings on those really skinny Virus and Trans boards.

F2 Bindings

F2 makes several hard plate bindings, which are lightweight and offer very good response without the jarring stiffness of Bombers/Cateks. They also have a low profile, which allows your boots to be close to the board for more responsiveness. For these reasons, F2 bindings are preferred by a lot of pro racers. Plus, they are less expensive than Bombers or Cateks. F2 makes several plate binding models, but carvers should look at these:

Other issues with F2 bindings:

Snowpro Bindings

Snowpro bindings are sold in the US by Dan Yoja:

IBEX Bindings

Starting in '06, the IBEX company bought out the molds for Burton race plates, and these are now offered as the Speed TC.

Other '06 Bindings

DeeLuxe/Raichle X-bone bindings:

Spirit Snowboards, in Italy:

World cup Slalom
World cup Giant
Tracer fx

Phiokka, in Italy:

Several manufacturers have borrowed heavily from OEM factories: Pogo, Volkl, Hot, Virus

Rabanser Snowboards in Italy Sells the IBEX and Phiokka bindings.

Bindings available in Korea:

Bindings available only in Japan. Step-in versions of these bindings often use a proprietary mechanism that is not Intec compatible:

Old bindings

These companies no longer make hard plate bindings. You might find older used bindings for sale:

Burton previously sold several hard plate bindings, all of which are made out of plastic:

Burton Physics step-in bindings have vertical pins at the heel of the binding, which mate with metal rings in the boot heel. They come in two versions: the Carrier Physics, with a front bail, and the Race Physics, which come with a pair of front hooks called speed hooks (shown). The hook mechanism is definitely stiffer than the toe bails of other step-in bindings. You must be careful to verify that you have correctly engaged the speed hooks before you put your heel down, otherwise you can either pop out of them, or have extreme difficulty releasing from the binding. But as long as you verify the toe hook engagement, you will never pre-release from a Physics binding. Even though they are plastic, the Burton Physics with the speed hook are almost as stiff as Bombers/Cateks, because there is zero play in the boot/binding interface. Any Intec-compatible boot can be used with the Physics, as long as you use the wire toe bail instead of the speed hook. Sigi Grabner races with the Physics.
The Burton Carrier step-ins. They have toe and heel bails, and a clip is located on the heel bail. They operate similar to ski bindings. You place your toe in the toe bail, and step down on the lever pad, causing the heel clip to pivot up. To release, you press down on a heel clip. However, these bindings only work well with certain models and sizes of boots. If your boots are a bit narrow, they might wind up twisting out of the bindings. The bindings look rather sloppy, however, if your boot has the proper fit, you will not pre-release out of them.

Other Burton issues:

Some Burton bindings include extra pads that go under the bindings to vary the stiffness: red (soft), blue (stiffer), and gray (stiffest). If you buy Burton bindings used, ask if extra pads are included. On Burton bindings, the teeth on the center binding disk will mesh with teeth on the binding. If there is any debris under the disk, it won't be able to provide holding pressure to the binding, causing the teeth to lose grip, and the binding will spin while you are carving. As a solution, you can add a gasket under the main binding (in addition to the pads), which raises it up, and allows the center disk to apply greater teeth meshing pressure.

Low-end Burton bindings, like the Burton Carriers did not always include a cant/lift disk, so if you buy them used, ask if a cant disk is included. The cant/lift disks that came with Burton bindings typically had a non-adjustable fixed angle, always sloping in the direction of the long axis of the board. Some of the cants had removable center metal pieces, so you could swap out a 3D piece with a 4x4 piece. However, the metal centers do not allow conversion between 3D and 4x4. For some of the Burton cant disks, the screws that attach the center metal pieces to the board need to be shorter than the standard binding screws: It's safe to go with 12mm long screws (flat head screws are measured using the entire length, including the threads and the head). When attaching your bindings to the cants, you can use the screws that come with your bindings. The following is a list of cant/lift disks, and the actual measured angles provided by those disks. The actual measured angle seems to differ from the advertised angle:

  • (top left) Small-diameter round wedge, non-removable center (3D or 4x4): 6.5 deg. These disks have a diameter of about 16cm, which is way too small for hardboot bindings. The toe and heel pads of your bindings will overhang the cants.
  • (top right) Hexagonally shaped wedge, with removable metal center (3D/4x4): 7 deg. These are the wedges that came with the later model year Burton Bindings. If you buy one of these, make sure you get both a 3D and 4x4 metal center.
  • (bottom left) Large-diameter circular wedge with "radiating fins", with removable center (3D/4x4): 7 deg
  • (bottom right) Large-diameter circular wedge with "radiating fins", with non-removable center (3D or 4x4) : 3.5 deg


The "Universal cant" or the "Unicant" (Burton has used both names to describe the same thing) is a set of two stacked disk shims that allow you to dial in a cant/lift angle from 0º to 8º in 1º increments. Unlike the Bomber TD1 cant/lift disks, you can rotate the position of the Unicant on the board in 15° increments to achieve various combinations of cant and lift. The Unicant can be used with many types of bindings and fits both the 3D hole pattern and the 4x4 hole pattern. Unfortunately, the Unicant has a few "issues":

  • With a diameter of 19 cm, it adds to the footprint of the binding, distorts the flex pattern of the board, and creates dead spots.
  • The Unicants also have about 1º of rotational play, which is really annoying.
  • The bolts that hold the Unicant to the board (hidden under the binding) tended to come loose.
  • The Unicants tended to break easily, and that's probably why they were discontinued.

The big complaint with Burton is the 3D insert pattern. For carving, 3 inserts really doesn't feel safe. To add insult to injury, Burton introduced the Uninc Freeride board in 2005 with "2X Technology," a 2-hole insert pattern. Rather than kill off this failed experiment, Burton continued the Uninc.


Fritschi made the F41 bindings: Similar to the Unicants, they have two disks stacked on top of each other: the bottom disk can rotate to create lift/cant. Fritschi also make rat-trap style step-ins: They have toe and heel clips. There is a protruding lever on the toe clip that causes it to close as you step in. To release, lift the toe clip.


The Emery Course binding has a vernier system that allows you to adjust the binding angle in 1º increments. As shown above, the baseplate has a ring of 36 holes, each separated by 10º. The bronze-colored center disk rides on top, and has a ring of 40 holes, each separated by 9º. For any single degree binding angle, you can find 4 holes (separated by 90º spans) in the center disk that match up to 4 holes in the baseplate. The Emery also has a very low overall height of 24mm.

Emery bindings use pozidriv screws (left). Notice the diagonal slashes on the screw head. For these screws, do not use a Phillips screwdriver. You must use a #3 pozidriv screwdriver (right) to avoid hopelessly stripping the screws.

Other Discontinued Bindings

Vintage Bindings

In the Paleozoic era of hardbooting, the first bindings to emerge were two-piece bindings: You attached the binding toe piece to the board using two inserts, then you attached the binding heel piece using two more inserts (just like ski bindings). Every time you wanted to change the angle, or stance width, or setback, or toe/heel bias, you had to drill four new holes into your board. Angle markings were printed on the topsheet to assist with binding placement. Boards would soon become riddled with new insert holes. A lot of people added inserts but didn't bother to cover the back of the inserts with recessed P-Tex, meaning it was necessary to keep the board very high on edge at all times.


Later, "plate" bindings emerged, which used the same insert locations as the two-piece bindings, but consisted of a single plate that spanned both sets of inserts. Shortly thereafter, Burton 5-hole Variplate bindings were introduced, which had the same two pairs of inserts as the two-piece bindings, but also had a hole in the center for more stability. The 5-hole Variplate was even available with a heel wedge. Other examples included the 5-hole circular insert pattern of Sims Freecarve boards, and the 6-hole pattern of Hooger Booger.


The first line of Catek plate bindings were the "CAT No.7" series, introduced in 1993. Affectionately called CAT-traps, they had a non-pivoting toe bail, with a heel clip instead of a toe clip. The toe bail consisted of a U-bolt that spanned the entire length of the binding and attached to the heel piece via threads. It was necessary to customize the binding to the length of the boot sole by cutting the U-bolt with a hack saw.


Later, Burton came out with the 3D rat trap bindings


Bomber Toaster bindings predate Trench Diggers, and were used with snowboards as well as ski boards. They had an elastomer gasket that spanned the entire binding, and could be rotated to any angle.


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