Ride's Preston Preston EX Bindings
By Cori Jones

Over the last several years companies have been working hard to develop the perfect binding, Ride Snowboards, has managed to emerge as a leader with their well designed and crafted Preston strap in bindings. The Preston binding line-up consists of the LS, LX, EX and the Jeff Brushie pro models. All the models feature an aluminum base plate, adjustable high backs, and basically the same ratcheting systems. The differences come in small things like the padding on the straps, the toe ramp and heal "shock" pads, and color and style. When I bought my Ride Timeless the package came with the Preston EX bindings, they are at the top of the Preston standard line.

First Impressions:
From the first time I strapped in I have had a tough time connecting the toe strap. The design requires some tricky strap tucking with both sides of the toe strap, so it is definitely a two-hand job strapping in. The ankle strap on the other hand is super easy to connect. Once I got them on right I noticed that the ankle strap rides slightly low. That means the pressure from the ankle strap pushes more down against the top of my foot than back against my shin. This caused me a lot of pain until I got used to it. The aluminum base plates are quite thin which allows your boot to stay close to the board giving you more feel than other thicker bindings. Because the base is aluminum, the Preston bindings are quite rigid, this allows for instant, efficient energy transfer from your legs and feet to the board.

After A Full Season:
I grew to love the Preston EX bindings. The more I got used to them and the way they hold my feet the more I was able to loosen the death grip I usually put my feet into by ratcheting the bindings down as hard as I possibly can. As I was able to loosen the bindings my feet became a lot more comfortable.

My one major gripe remains the difficult to use toe strap. Ride has changed the toe strap for the 2001 model it will have the same ratchet system on the ankle and the toe, making it a lot easier to strap in.

I have heard from others that they have had problems with their ratchets and straps breaking. I haven't seen this happen however as I mentioned I have been able to ride the bindings a little looser, reducing stress on the straps.

Last Word:
All in all I think the Preston EX bindings are excellent bindings. They are a reasonable deal at about $160.00 a pair. They hold your feet well and are lightweight. I would recommend them for almost any rider.

Cori Jones is a new contributor to GearReview.com and specializes in snownboarding and mountain biking.

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