From jib style to surf style, the Lineup binding offers a flexy alternative.
The K2 Lineup is the freestyle version of the K2’s popular binding, the Lien AT. They both share the same tripod tech baseplate and straps, but the Lineup comes with a significantly softer highback. This gives the Lineups a 2 on K2’s stiffness rating (with 5 being the stiffest).
This year K2 brought out the new Bender ankle strap on these bindings. This new type of injection-molded strap is in line with moves by other binding manufactures to move away from padded leather-style straps, whether it be for performance reasons (hmmm, probably not) or as a cost-cutting measure. When I first heard about this strap I was disappointed, just because I really liked the Precision ankle strap on last year’s Lien AT. I’m happy to report though that these Bender straps have won me over. They are quite flexy and give a little when being cranked down tight, mimicking the super cushy straps of old. Perhaps durability wise, they are an improvement over the older material, which can get ripped. In the performance/comfort equation though, they are as good as more padded straps. The ankle straps have a hinge to make the ankle strap swing out of the way when placing your foot in the binding.
The toe strap on the Lineup binding is K2’s Perfect Fit 2.0 strap which is extremely adjustable and should fit any boot. Minimalist and offering weight-saving advantages, this toe strap is solid – no slippage or movement during riding. I’ve been using these toe straps since they came out on the Lien AT two years ago and I have never been let down. These are my favourite toe straps on the market right now.
Both the ankle and toe straps feature Cam-lock adjustment tabs that we looked at last year in the Lien AT review, which make on hill adjustment a breeze.
The Opti Tweakback highbacks are really soft and can be bent backwards by hand – good thing your calves don’t flex that way! They are stiff enough in heelside carves but truly shine when tweaking a grab or pushing out a layback – you’ll love the extra flexibility you get from the lateral movement. Forward lean is still the same system as last year – fiddly but is a one-and-done operation. Highback rotation is possible but I don’t recommend bothering. It takes the fiddly-ness of the forward lean to the next level, but it’s not so needed anymore with the ergonomically shaped highback designs.
The K2 Lineup shares the same baseplate as the Lien AT which features Tripod Tech. You get the same 3 degree canted footbed, but miss out on the basepad or the medium (yellow) and stiff (blue) pods to switch out with. I’ve been riding the Lineups in resort since last year, and honestly, I haven’t felt that they were too loose with only the red (softest) pods. Granted, I’m not racing snowboard cross or dropping big AK lines, so keep that in mind if you prefer stiff bindings. Japanese K2 pro Ryuji Takai says, “with the K2 Lineup you can pinpoint exactly where the board is flexing underfoot and leverage that to get the most out of it. I feel like I am more in tune with my deck. Also, the power transfer is slightly different to other bindings, which opens up different possibilities for applying board pressure when riding.”
K2 calls the Lineup their “most natural flexing binding” and yes, I’d have to agree. The lateral give is quite significant, without it being detrimental to regular freeriding. Some K2 team riders skip the Lineup for better power transfer from a stiffer baseplate, while others choose this binding for a more natural and flowy interface with their board. The K2 Lineup are very closely related to the Lien AT bindings, only differentiated by highback stiffness, and the bonus basepad and pods on the Liens. Which to choose though is a tough question – they’re both really good and are among the best bindings on the market. Basically, riders wanting a softer binding with excellent straps should choose the Lineup. Whether you want to kick out a method with a bit more style, layback slash fully laid out, or even get some snowsurf magic going, the K2 Lineup will make a great binding choice.
Get more information on K2 Snowboarding at their official site.
Disclosure: The K2 Lineup bindings were provided by K2 Snowboarding.