If you’ve followed my site for any length of time, you’ll know that I usually have some type of Flow binding in my quiver, and that I’ve ridden Flow for quite some time. From the old skool to the NXT FSE’s I’ve had my boot in just about everything they’ve put out. Flow has typically been known for their uni-strap, and drop down highback, making binding entry rather easy. That’s been their “bread and butter” for many years. This year Flow dropped a whole new design on the world with the introduction of N.A.S.T.Y technology, and toe caps on some bindings. I picked up a pair of the NX2 GT bindings, and have spent quite a bit of time out on them riding. There’s definitely some good, and then some bad with the new technology, so let’s jump right into this.
First and foremost, the bindings themselves look great. Well built, aluminum baseplate, and heelcups, that just feel solid. At first glance you wouldn’t think these bad boys were flow bindings, I mean they have a toe-cap on them afterall, but that ever so popular dropping highback reaffirms that these are indeed Flow bindings. The New Active Strap Technology 0r N.A.S.T.Y is definitely a welcome addition to the Flow lineup. Essentially the strap will raise up when the highback is dropped, allowing much easier, and quicker entry into the binding without having to really kick in as you may have had to do with some earlier bindings. I can’t give Flow enough praise on how simple this design is. I mean seriously they took it to the barebones with the engineering of this, but it works beautifully without moving parts. Great job on this part for sure!
The next big thing you may notice is the introduction of a whole new strap system, including a toe-cap on some models, including the NX2 GT. The “Hybrid” Powerstrap, as pictured below, combines the best of old Flow straps with the incorporation of the new toe-cap system.
And this is where some of my gripe really comes in. First things first, the toe-cap itself just continually fell off the front of my boot. I thought this was just a problem perhaps with my Vans Cirro, but confirmed with a friend who was riding new Flow’s as well, that their toe-cap was indeed falling off their boot as well. With the ankle strap tightened down, this wasn’t a huge issue, but I generally ride my straps a little lose, and found that missing toe-cap presented a bit of an edge initiation issue. The other issue is the rubber on the toe-cap had this habit of folding in on itself, when you’re trying to move the cap backup, or adjust things after riding. I found that to be annoying honestly. What I did to fix the issue was simple. I took off both toe-caps, and put them on swapped, and upside down, so the ratchets aligned again. Flow actually recommends doing this if you want to ride the toe-cap a certain way. This actually worked much better in terms of staying on my boot, and made things much nicer.
The image above is my bindings with the swapped and flipped toe-cap. You had to swap the toe-caps to ensure the ratchets were on the proper side, so moving them from each bindings to the other made that possible. The only other recommendation I’d have for Flow is to work on how the toe-cap rises with the rest of the strap, because it doesn’t come up nearly enough, so you may find yourself haggling with the toe-cap more often than you should. So now that my initial gripe is over with the binding, let’s talk about some other features. You’ll notice Flow really brought a lot of new things into the new bindings, including the introduction of the LSR ratchets, which FINALLY are full size real ratchets that work as ratchets should. LSR stands for “locking strap ratchet,” meaning you really just have to ratchet them, and give em a quick pop to lock down the white lever ensuring the ratchets hold tight in place exactly where you want them. I was so stoked to finally get real ratchets, and they work!
The other big addition is the Flow Bank Bed, which is their version of canted footbeds. There is only a 2.5 size available on the NX2 GT at the moment, and I’m not sure if that will be something you can swap out later, but I found that the 2.5 Bank Bed worked really well, especially since I’ve been riding canted footbeds in Rome Targas for a while now. I also talked to a friend who spent his first season on Flow with the NX2 SE, and he couldn’t say enough good things about the Bank Beds, and how they helped his knees out a bit. Good stuff indeed.
I rode, and am still riding the NX2 GT’s with a NeverSummer Cobra X, and a Lib Skunk Ape HP. The bindings feel great! They’re responsive, and yet still stiff enough for a bigger guy like myself. The straps are comfortable once you get everything dialed in. I didn’t have any pressure points over foot, which is something I’ve loved about Flows in the past. I did notice I do tend to ride the strap of the NX2 GTs a bit tighter than I would my older NXT FSE’s, but I think that’s due more to how the new Hybrid strap works. Honestly, the bindings are great with just a few minor annoyances in the toe-cap area, but on a first year binding completely new from the ground up, I’d expect to have some issues somewhere. I’m still riding my Vans Cirro size 12 boots, both the 2010 model, and the new 2013 model in this binding, and both fit beautifully. The NX2 GT’s are pricey, but if you’re a Flow rider you’re probably used to those price tags anyways. They ring in at $369.99 MSRP, and only come in the “Jet Black” color way. I’d love to get my hands on a pair of the NX2 RS’s to see how the N.A.S.T.Y tech with the old skool Flow Unistrap works, and responds, so look out for that hopefully coming shortly. All in all, I love the bindings even with their quirky nature. They feel great, respond incredibly well to my riding, and are easy in and out bindings. Hopefully Flow will work on that toe-cap/strap to get that ironed out which will make these pretty damn solid.
More information can be found at Flow’s website : FLOW NX2 GT
**Disclaimer: I bought these with my own funds from 720 Boardshop **