At first glance it appears to be the latter. Burton’s SI press release dives right into a defensive position in the first line. “Just say no,” it says. “To Englesman methods, to hardboots coated with a veneer of leather, to Convenience as an all-mighty deity.”
Aside from taking a pretty lame swipe at a extremely talented rider, Burton claims to have developed this product strictly from rider testing. At first look it appears that the riders have been testing a lot of other companies’ products. The new Burton SI looks nothing like the models the company has been teasing riders and retailers with for the past three trade shows. In fact, the Burton SI owes more to the Device and Rossignol Step-in systems than it does to any secret lab research. It features a high back attached to the binding (like Device) and “dual side engaging latch plates” that connect like the Rossignol. The rest is basic Burton Custom binding design.
Apparently, Joe Curtes, J.J. Thomas, and Jeff Anderson are the teamriders tapped to promote the new SI step-ins. The press releases challenges people to “look close” because you’d swear these guys were riding traditional bindings. Look closely at the Burton riders you see at the next contest and see if they’re riding straps or step-ins. That should tell you something.
We haven’t ridden this system yet, but when we do we’ll share the low-down right here.