Tested with Burton Freestyle SI boot.

Ease of entry: Above Average
Ease of exit: Below Average
Performance: Good
Snow clog factor: Average
Step in on the fly? Yes, but can miscue.
Highback: External

After a few years of tinkering, Burton has wisely adapted its industry-standard highback binding into a step-in. It must first be noted that the supportive highback combined with an actual soft-binding ankle strap on the boots makes this feel most like the conventional setup you may be used to. It would be tough to rank the ride of the SI as second to anyone’s. The system is heavy, but hopefully Burton’s R&D department will shave some of that off in the next generation.

The connection-two tabs on either side of the binding that lock into two recessed beds on either side of the boot-is good, though not always clean. It’s pretty much a straight-down operation with helpful green “go” indicators on either side giving visual confirmation that you’ve stepped in and won’t step out. At its best you can line it up, step straight down, and ride away smiling, even with some forward lean. However, the operation can miscue if you don’t step down evenly.

The release is a different matter, requiring two hands-one to push down on either side of the binding. Sometimes you could almost feel a hernia coming on when bending to apply pressure to both tabs while lifting your foot out of the binding at the same time-there’s got to be an easier way.

But, in action, the SI’s feel nearly makes up for everything.

Thumbs up: Oh, the feeling.

Thumbs down: Low-tolerance mechanism can clog. Two hands needed to evacuate.

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