If you’ve been looking into snowboarding, you will probably have noticed the high price tag of bindings. They’re an essential piece of kit and you won’t get far without them. If you want a good quality set of bindings then, unfortunately, you’re going to have to pay the price.
Snowboard bindings are so expensive as you are paying for good quality materials that are lightweight, strong, and have increased durability. The research and development of bindings are also factored into the cost and you will also be paying extra money for brand names.
Lets now look in a bit more detail into exactly why bindings command such a hefty price tag and I’ll also share with you some useful tips on how to get bindings at a great price.
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What Makes Bindings So Expensive?
Let’s face it, the actual value of bindings is a fraction of the sales price, but this is common in many industries, that Nike T-Shirt didn’t cost $30 to make.
Profit margins aside, there are several important factors to take into consideration when analyzing the cost of snowboard bindings.
Type of Material Used
Snowboard bindings are designed and built to be as lightweight as possible whilst maintaining the strength and responsiveness needed to perform. In general, the type and quality of material used by the manufacturer will be reflected in the price.
The main structure of a binding is centered around the base plate; cheap bindings will have a plastic base plate whereas top of the range bindings will use a composite or aluminum base plate.
Composites materials used can vary depending on the brand however they usually include materials like glass/nylon, carbon fiber, or fiberglass.
It is argued that the average rider won’t notice too much difference between the high quality and cheaper materials in terms of performance and only the more experienced riders stand to benefit from such materials.
Whilst I tend to agree with this sentiment what this doesn’t factor in is durability and longevity. Plastic base plates won’t last as long as aluminum ones, and in the long term can potentially work out more expensive if you have to replace them.
Most bindings will have 2 chunky straps, one at the toe and one across the ankle. Each strap has two sides, a plastic ladder strap and a padded EVA foam strap with a mechanism to tighten, usually a ratchet.
Expensive bindings will use aluminum ratchets which are better quality and more durable, cheaper bindings on the other hand will use plastic ratchets which are more prone to snapping.
Fortunately, if your straps are starting to wear down or your ratchets are beginning to rust or break, these parts can easily be replaced for a fraction of the cost of new bindings.
Straps can be reasonably cheap to replace and you can pick up a new set for around $10-$30.
Research & Development
Snowboard equipment has evolved and evolved fast. The funding of research and development ensures manufacturers’ products are cutting edge and kept inline with ever-improving technology. Added to this, new designs are constantly being created to keep up with the latest trends.
Despite the evolution of snowboarding gear slowing down some what, incremental improvements are continually being implemented.
Top brands can’t afford to fall behind their competitors so expect this to be factored into the cost.
You Are Paying For the Brand
Although there is a strong correlation between cost and quality, higher price tags don’t always equate to better bindings. However, in the eyes of the consumer, a brand name offers some reassurance that what they’re buying is going to be of a good standard.
If a consumer thinks the product is of high quality than they will be willing to pay considerably more than if they think it is of low quality.
People Are Willing To Pay The Price
Without turning this into an economics lesson, simply put the companies who make bindings know how much customers are willing to pay.
These companies are obviously looking to maximize their profits as much as possible whilst covering all their costs and overheads.
How to Save Money On Snowboard Bindings
So you’ve made up your mind, you’re going to invest in some bindings. A wise decision I must say. But before you go splashing the cash lets take a quick look at some ways you could save yourself a few bucks.
Sales: Yes that’s right, good ol sales. If you wait until after Christmas you can see big reductions in January. Retailers and online shops alike will often have big discounts on all types of snowboarding gear, not just bindings. Same goes for Black Friday as well, if you don’t want to face the crowds then online will be your best option.
Choose Your Season: Avoid the weeks building up to Christmas and New Year. This will undoubtedly be the most expensive time of year to get yourself some new bindings.
If you can wait until around March / April, this is a great time to grab yourself a bargain. Everyone is thinking about the summer and beaches however you can pick up a whole range of snowboarding gear at a fraction of the cost.
Online Discount: If you’re buying from an online store, check to see if, at the checkout, they give an option for a discount code, sometimes, with a bit of googling, you’ll be able to find these codes online. Alternatively, just ask the customer service if you can have a 10% discount you might just get lucky.
Alternatively, if you have your heart set on a particular set of bindings, shop around online and you may be able to find the same pair at a reduced cost (make sure you check postage costs).
Second Hand: Always approach with caution when buying second-hand bindings online, if your buying on a site like eBay make sure you check the seller’s feedback and review the photos carefully for any signs of damage. You can always ask for more pictures if you’re not sure.
You can find some great deals online for second-hand bindings so if you’re on a tight budget this can be a great option.
Rent: Renting bindings can be a totally feasible option for many people depending on personal circumstances. In general it will be cheaper to rent bindings off mountain, the trade off for this is you won’t be able to drop them off at the end of the day and you’ll have to carry them with you when you travel.
Bindings can be rented from $15 – $30 per day.
Are Expensive Snowboard Bindings Worth It
Expensive bindings are expensive for a reason, and so if you want the best quality, durability, and performance its a worthwhile investment.
The way I see it, a good set of bindings will last you a very long time. I wouldn’t go as far as to say a lifetime but they will certainly last you a lot of years.
The only time you’ll have to replace your bindings is if they start to crack or break. You should get at least a 1-year warranty from most snowboard companies for cracked baseplates, and some companies have much longer warranties.
As previously mentioned a lot of the smaller intricate parts can easily be replaced, like straps and ratchets, etc. And although base plates can break it’s not very common.
My advice would be to go with a reputable brand and buy within your means, the amount of fun and awesome memories you’ll get out of them in the long term will be well worth the money spent.
On a final note, I would always lean toward more expensive brands for peace of mind and reassurance, and in that sense, they are worth it.
One of the reasons why I go with Burton bindings is because they are tried and tested and offer a lifetime warranty on their base plates. A few other companies offer this as well so its always worth looking into before purchasing a pair.