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Black Diamond Helio Recon 95 S
Boys The Training Starts Now S
NOW Recon 2020 - 2019 Review by The Good Ride
The NOW Recon got a much wider highback that is just as stiff as last year. This is second to the top when it comes to response in the NOW line. It isn’t very adjustable and it has some arch issues depending on the kind of boot you own but it is a very damp shock-absorbent smooth ride with a very unique turning experience.
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.
Highback Flex: The new highback for 2020 is big wide and stiff. It’s a big changeup from the 2019 model in terms of overall surface area. Especially at the top. It’s just as stiff though.
Binding to Boot Adjustability: You can adjust the straps and give some forward to the highback but that’s it. The footbed of the NOW Recon or any now binding doesn’t have any adjustability. Being a size 8.5 Adidas boot I sat almost centered in the binding because it fits 7-9.5 boots but it might be problematic for larger or smaller boot sizes. At least it didn’t feel like it wasn’t as important to be perfectly on the gas pedal as it is with other bindings. So all you have to center your binding/boot on the board is the disc. Weirdly enough it didn’t bother me that much except for with the high back rotation because they were biting into my calves and I would have loved to rotate the front binding.
Stance Width Adjustability: The disc doesn’t have that much room in the channels to slide tip to tail and you can only use that if you are centered up on board.
About Kingpin Tool-Less Kit- You can buy this kit that you can mount on other boards and then bring one binding to the hill or on a trip but easily switch the Now Recon’s between boards. at $45 per board, it helps justify the cost of these bindings. It’s soo much easier to change out quickly than tooling around with a screwdriver at the bench on the mountain or in your car. All you do is unscrew the bolt in the middle of the binding, take it off and then screw it back in. Not all NOW bindings can do this but you will probably see it roll out to all over the coming seasons.
Comfort: Two things bothered me with the NOW Recon. 1. the highback bit pretty hard into my even featured calves. 2. there was a little pressure on the arch of my foot due to the sway bar under the gas pedal pressing up on my foot. This happens with softer sole boots like my Adidas boots. If you have a stiffer sole boot with lots of rubber that doesn’t flex/give as much this probably won’t be a problem. That being said the stiffer EVA foam footbed helped to reduce this feeling. The rest of the binding is very comfortable and the straps are really well done when it comes to not causing any pressure points on the boot. Same with the Hanger 1.0 footbed. It didn’t feel like it was choking the heel area of my boot or pinching at the sides where the kingpin tech is.
Boot Support: The highback is super stiff and the heel cup wraps pretty well around the boot but the ankle straps aren’t as stiff as you would think. I liked that though and it had a little freedom to move. The toe strap could sometimes come loose and I’d love to see rubber or something like that instead of EVA foam. It comes down to how the material on your boot toe interacts with this toe strap. If you want you can buy the 3D Contour Rubber Strap that we feel has a better grip on all types of boots.
Turn Initiation/Response: The NOW Recon is not quite as responsive as you would think. It’s on the border between being medium/fast and medium but the turning experience is pretty smooth and predictable throughout the turn. It’s a cool feeling and I can see why many of my friends like these bindings.
Buttering: Not very easy to butter with these bindings. Maybe it will be a little easier with softer stoppers but overall the board feels stiffer (not dead though) underfoot and there isn’t much room to lean from tip to tail to get more leverage on the board.
Ratchet System: Pretty strong bite right out of the box but breaks in super quick and smooths out. It seems like a good overall ratchet system.
Shock Absorption: In my humble opinion this is where the NOW Recon shines. There is soo much going on in terms of dampness and shock absorption which is uncommon for a binding to excel at both. I don’t think I’ve come across better all-around slow to high-speed shock absorption in all conditions….except for with other NOW bindings. The rubber stoppers are the first barrier and they are really chatter resistant. It will make even the most chattery board bearable. Then you have a pretty dense EVA foam that does a great job at absorbing shock for most riders who land flat or just go big. It’s just a very all-around cush damp ride.
So there are a few ifs and then’s when it comes to purchasing this binding due to adjustability and the footbed issues described above that would make me pass on it. That being said there are some really unique shining qualities like the really smooth/fun turning experience and super damp ride that could make this a great binding for you if it matches up better with your boot and specs than it did with mine.
NOW Recon Past Reviews
The Now Recon is kind of like a lower high back take on the O-Drive and although it’s not perfect when it comes to adjustability and comfort depending on the boot you have, it really shines when it comes to smooth super damp powerful response with less calf bite than the O-Drive. If you have moderate Calves like I do or bigger you might prefer this lower high back over the O-Drives but still get almost the same response.
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.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs)
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gameghangers Low Profile
Boards: Yes Typo, Yes Optimistic 2016, Yes Greats, Jones Ultra Mountain Twin
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