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NOW IPO 2020 - 2013 Review by The Good Ride
The Now IPO is the binding that started it all
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
How This Review Happened: We borrowed this for an extended demo and then returned it.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs)
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gameghangers Low Profile
Boards: Gentemstick Mantaray 156, Yes Ghost, Yes Greats
Highback Flex: Pulling it back doesn’t have much give but it has a pretty good twist.
Binding to Boot Adjustability: There really isn’t much adjustability to dial the NOW IPO out to your boots. Other than the straps and forward lean on the high back, there isn’t anything else you can do to dial this out to your boot. I like dialing out the binding to center my boot perfectly in the middle so I thought I wouldn’t like this but somehow it still worked for my boots and felt pretty good. I think the softer footbed helps and the mellow gas pedal does as well along with the pre-rotated high backs. They want you to use the discs to center the boot on the board. This wasn’t a deal-breaker but it might be as you get to the larger and smaller side of the recommended size range. I thought this would be a deal-breaker but it’s not.
Stance Width Adjustability: It all depends on if your boot is centered in the binding. If it is you can turn it sideways and get a little bit of a slide either way but not as much as most full-sized discs. Maybe they needed more of a solid disc to preserve the integrity of the King Pin tech that allows the binding to pivot at the disc.
Comfort: So the 2020 NOW IPO has the 2.0 hanger footbed which is wider and fits my boots really well. In the past, I used to feel the heel loop choking my ankle and it was hard to get the boot in and out. The straps, especially ankle strap, are super comfortable and feels good. Because of the pre-rotation in the high backs, I didn’t have calf bite. One issue I have with all NOW bindings paired up with my softer sole Adidas Tactical ADV. The sway bar under the gas pedal presses up into my foot and stresses my arch. It’s better if I move the toe strap out as low as I can and don’t crank it too hard it’s less and almost doable but I always feel it a little or a lot when riding and it leads to my feet cramping. So if you have a thick rubber sole that isn’t really flexy then you shouldn’t notice this so comfort it’s dependant on your boot choice.
Boot Support: I don’t feel as locked in as I used to now that the NOW IPO footbed is wider but there is still good support through the heel loop and the toe strap pulled me in the boot well. The Ankle strap is a nice balance of freedom and support.
Turn Initiation/Response: Slow but a really smooth fun turning experience. It matches up well with easy turning boards and it changes the feel of the board a bit which is fun.
Buttering: Not an easy buttering binding. You can get softer stoppers to ease up the ride but you also want to pair this up with a board that already butters well.
Ratchet System: Pretty good and after about 1/2 day of use it goes from being a bit grabby to being pretty smooth. Seems like they will last a long time and work well.
Shock Absorption: I personally think one of the coolest things the Kingpin tech does is just make almost any ride you get on feel super damp at slow or high speeds in any condition. This is mainly the rubber stoppers at each corner doing that. Then the super cush footbed (especially in the heel) does an amazing job for those like me who go small to medium and love slow speed shock absorption but it still has a lot there for those who go big. Some of the higher end/more responsive bindings have denser/stiffer foam board going bigger but this is pretty exceptional across the board. The NOW IPO has shock absorption/dampness that is the industry leader and some bindings out there come close but I can’t think of an equal off the top of my head. It makes the board you are riding underfoot feel stiff and it makes most uneven snow conditions seem better. It it doesn’t stress your foots arch it could extend the life of your snowboarding career.
So the NOW IPO is a bit of a mixed bag if you like to adjust/tweak the binding to fit your boot or if you have a softer sole boot as I do. However it has a very unique and fun turning experience, ultra cush, ultra damp ride that I think many will appreciate.
NOW IPO Past Reviews
The NOW IPO binding is very unique to the industry. There are only 2 bindings out there with hinge technology. Burton and Now. Burton has a spring-like hinge that works lengthwise to improve your ollie power. With NOW the hinge is in the middle and works edge to edge. It makes for a smooth ride and reduces fatigue.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. No one is perfect and we do make money from the “Where To Buy” links below, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
NOW has this hinge that changes the feel of your edge to edge transitioning and relieve fatigue from the constant chatter you get from snowboarding. NOW also has another rather unique design when it comes to dealing with the heel. So what most bindings do is wrap the high back around the heel loop so the only thing that touches your boot is the High Back. What NOW does is have the high back start after the heel loop and your boot comes in contact with both. What does this mean? Well for those that are real old schooler or those that like to try new things you can take off the high back and just ride using the heel loop. On a similar note, the High back isn’t really a high back but more like a low back. So this binding in a lot of ways is a merger of modern and old technology.
The NOW IPO has one of the smallest high backs in the industry right now and looks like a version of a 90’s binding. It’s really a low back. Also if you are going to do one color we have to agree with the stormtrooper or shuttle white for an IPO.
It must be told that the demo model we rode was different from the production model you will see. This is very common for new models to have a few differences between the two. So the Demo model had a few flaws.
– The milling around the ankle strap didn’t go all the way so you couldn’t put it behind the high back when stepping in. This was annoying and we are happy to report it’s fixed with the production model.
– The heel loop is going to be wider than the demo model which will be good since it has contact with the boot. This was the biggest complaint.
– the little rubber footbeds that look like the soft stuff you put on couch legs that sit on a wood floor were a little loose. This should be fixed with the production model so you shouldn’t lose them when taking on and off the binding.
Flex: It’s a soft small high back with what feels like a medium flex.
Adjustability: There is your normal adjustability here. Nothing like a Burton binding but enough to get you dialed in.
Comfort: This was either loved or hated depending on the size of the boot you stuffed in there. If you were a size 8-9 on the medium binding we rode it fit pretty well but still felt a little snug around the ankle. Our friends who were 10 plus (US) were not happy with the fit around the heel loop with the size medium. Most of us at The Good Ride would like to see NOW spit the IPO into 2 Types of bindings. One would be just like this binding. The other we’d like to see a hinge binding that has a normal high back that doesn’t use the heel loop to fit the boot. That way it would be incredibly responsive and fit almost any type of boot. We could see this heel loop either making or breaking the IPO for many riders. Some could love the snug feeling around the ankle that can help reduce heel lift and others could absolutely hate this.
Heel to Toe Response: Your initial reaction before riding would be to “say please don’t put this on the Jones Carbon Flagship”. We didn’t say that out loud and just went up to the chair anyways. It powered the boards well enough edge to edge but many of our riders felt a delay when it came to edge to edge transitioning and felt it’s better suited for easier turning boards. I’d personally love to see springs in the kingpin hinge or in the stoppers on each corner because then you would have a response that would defy the flex.
Tip to Tail Response: The way the NOW IPO is set up there is good torsional and longitudinal flex underfoot. The tight heel loop around the ankle makes it a little less friendly to butter though than other bindings with this type of flex underfoot. Still it’s pretty good to play around on. If you had the freedom to butter.
Approximate Weight: Felt light but not ultralight. You know like every other good binding out there.
Dampening: If this was a 1-10 rating this would get a spinal tap 11. The super cush uniform footbed combined with the hinge technology make for a very stable ride in any type of situation or speed. There is also reduced fatigue when riding this binding. For example, if you have a long crappy traverse that’s been rutted up and filled with whoops for a half mile or so the NOW IPO’s will feel much better underfoot.
Shock Absorption: If you go out and ride rough conditions that are chopped up or rutted up the NOW IPO’s base plate will really help you deal. Landing flat on a jump sucks no matter how good the bindings are but If for some strange reason I (editor) was forced to land flat on a jump the NOW IPO would be at the top of the list for the binding I’d want to do it with.
The NOW IPO will work well with any board and make it ride better but at this point, boots could be in question here. Reduced footprint boots, for the most part, will be more favorable here because they will be a little smaller around the ankle and fit this binding better.
So if we were looking at a binding that has the hinge tech with a traditional heel loop and high back this would just own it over any other binding in the market. However, with the tech that allows you to ride this binding without the high back, it makes it more of a questionable call because of the snug fit. Instead, those who fit this binding well will love it and those who are in-between-er sizes might find it uncomfortable. We hope to see Now make it another year and offer up a few different styles of binding. Then the industry, especially the freeride side might be in trouble.
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