Flow bindings have been around for quite some time now and have almost entirely conquered the budget bindings section with some of their models. The Flow Alpha MTN snowboard bindings are by far one of my favorite cheap options for this season and I have a lot of thoughts on them that I want to share with you here…
My Verdict: If you are tired of spending precious time at the top of the hill strapping in your traditional bindings, then these rear-entry Flow Alpha bindings are just the thing for you. They have a reliable and convenient strapping mechanism with the highback falling back. The fusion straps feel nice and snug and provide excellent comfort and control. While they aren’t the most solidly build bindings, they have a great price-to-value ratio which puts them at the top of almost any list of good all-mountain bindings.
In this review, I will go over some of the main features of the Flow Alpha and show you their strong sides as well as their weaknesses which ultimately make them some of the most famous beginner’s binders used even by intermediates and pros in the park. So, without further ado, let’s jump into this!
Overview & Features
The general theme of the Alpha models is their affordability. That usually brings construction quality down a bit but I honestly don’t have any major complains about it here with a single exception of the buckles. But more on material and build quality a bit later on. Now, let’s discuss the response and overall flex of these bindings, as that is what primarily defines them as a good all-mountain alternative to traditional bindings…
Flex & Response
In my all-mountain snowboard bindings guide, I discussed that there is no unified measuring system for the flex and response of bindings. However, companies are using the 1 to 10 scale more and more and it has made it really easy for customers to get an idea of what a certain pair of bindings has to offer. For instance, the Flow Alpha MTNs have a response of 5/10 which is almost precisely where an all-mountain binding should be. Usually, if you’d take them primarily to the park, you’d want to have somewhere around 4-6 in response and 3-4 in terms of flex. The flex, however, is determined by the highback and how it reacts to lateral and toe-to-heel movements.
The highback is quite flexible here and has a unique rear-entry mechanism which does help a lot, especially if you are riding in the park where you are constantly rushing to the top in order to try a trick one more time.
The toe-to-heel stiffness here is 4/10 and the lateral stiffness is quite loose at 3/10. That makes them perfect for park snowboarding where you will mostly hit rails and will need the most control in your movements. If you primarily ride on slopes and trails, you’d need bindings that excel more at freeriding, such as the System MTN Step-in snowboard bindings.
The thing that is worth mentioning here is that the falling back of the highback doesn’t compromise its integrity or rigidity. It simply is built very well to accommodate the rear-entry design. On the inside of the highback, there is EVA cushioning which helps with comfort, making these especially good for beginners.
The baseplates here are well-cushioned and aren’t too stiff. That can be good for people looking for comfort but at the same time, they don’t provide a lot of power transfer from the bindings to the board.
I’ve found that with most Flow Bindings models, the straps aren’t the strongest point of any given model. These here aren’t any different. While super comfortable thanks to their fusion design, the buckles of the straps aren’t the most durable and are often a point of complaints from customers. Luckily, thanks to the step-in design, you won’t have to use them really often or as much, as they will just require a click or two to get you in and out. It is also important to note that the upgraded LSR ratchets are a tad better than the previous versions, in case you owned older Flows.
The materials here aren’t anything particularly special or noteworthy. In short, you get what you pay for, as these can be considered budget bindings. Still, they offer a decent amount of durability, especially if you don’t push them too far daily in the park.
The Flow Alphas are compatible with 2×4, 4×4, and Burton’s 3D, only missing Channel board compatibility. Still, this is quite universal and will help you fit the bindings to most board types.
I also want to mention that despite the cheap price tag, these bindings still have a 1-year warranty covering everything on them, apart from damage. Now, let’s see their main pros and cons…
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Excellent price for what they bring
- Super easy to strap on
- Highback is very durable yet flexible
- Very comfortable
- Perfect for beginners
- Good response
- All-mountain toe-heel stiffness levels
- Buckles tend to malfunction if used inappropriately or without care
- Some people find the flex on these bindings a little too much, removing some of the rigidity and control
When riding in various conditions, you will greatly benefit from waxing your board regularly to keep it in top condition. To learn more about waxing and how to do it, click here!
Conclusion & Rating
The Flow Alpha MTN snowboard bindings are one of my top picks for this year mainly due to their affordability. That same affordability is backed by the unique rear-entry step-in design which makes strapping much faster and easier, and while the rest of your friends will spend some time at the top of the hill strapping, you will already be halfway down. The bindings are durable and have a decent flex and response to them. The highbacks are well-padded and the fusion strap keeps your foot tight and snugly. As a whole, I gave them a four and a half out of five stars rating.