The Recon features NOW’s Freestyle ankle strap and a 3-D EVA foam toe strap. The Freestyle ankle strap seems to be one of the more basic straps of the NOW arsenal, but they do not disappoint. Layered with EVA foam panels and inserts, the bindings fit very comfortably during long days of riding. Although I didn’t have any issues with the straps, I personally like the fit and security of the Air-Form ankle straps better (used by Karakoram on the Prime splitboard binding and Connect resort binding). Karakorams Air-Form strap delivers the same comfort, is a touch lighter and forms to the boot better.
The NOW 3-D toe strap is one of the most comfortable toe straps I have used and does a very effective job of wrapping securely around the toe of the boot without creating any pressure points.
The NOW straps on the Recon are easily adjustable without the need of any tools—a really nice touch when switching between boots and super convenient to tighten up while on the mountain.
The stiffness of the carbon highback coupled with the Skate-Tech makes this binding an extremely powerful and responsive all-mountain carving machine that seems to excel in all conditions. Growing up in Alaska, I have always preferred relatively stiffer boards, bindings and boots for the stability at higher speeds and responsive performance, especially in a denser maritime snowpack. Although carving and energy transfer with a pivoting binding tooks some time to get use to, the NOW Recon has become one of my favorite bindings for charging in all conditions.
The stiffness of the Recon needs to be matched with a stiffer snowboard to thoroughly enjoy the benefits of stability and maneuverability at higher speeds. When mounted to a softer board, such as the Rossignol One Magtek, the board felt slightly squirrellier and grabbier in all the wrong spots.
My first introduction to the NOW Recon was during a deep storm cycle at Mt. Bachelor. I initially mounted them on a Jones Hovercraft, I was very impressed with how effortlessly the bindings helped edge and make smooth consistent turns. The Skate-Tech seems to really enhance the board control and performance floating on light, dry pow, as well as fighting through wet, heavy snow. The ride was extremely smooth and allowed me to load the board for big, fast turns and explosive slashes. From tight trees to big open lines in deep snow, the Recon remained responsive and lively.
Groomers / Variable / Hardpack
The damping properties of the Recon make groomers, hardpack and variable snow smooth and controllable. I was specifically impressed with how easily it was to transfer power from edge to edge, as well as how much energy / weight I could sink into the board regardless of the snow consistency. These bindings were my first choice for the Alyeska Town League slalom racing through gates. Even after the track got choppy, icy and rutted, the Recons had no problem getting the edges initiated into tight carves and quickly transition from gate to gate.
The pivoting of the Skate-Tech is very evident on soft corduroy when making long powerful turns. I could feel the smooth and efficient transfer of energy to the boards edges. Between the long, loaded turns the board seemed to pop off the snow from edge to edge, similar to the feeling of porpoising between turns in deep powder where there is a sense of weightlessness between turns. I am very pleased with the ability to transfer from edge to edge
Who’s It For?
NOW’s Recon is for the moderate to advanced hard-charging freerider. It is comfortable at high speeds, and extremely responsive for those who can handle it. It would be a terrific complement to a stiffer all-mountain, directional snowboard. From gnarly, steep resort runs to the backcountry via snowmachine or helicopter, the Recon would be an excellent choice in demanding terrain.
If the idea of the Skate-Tech sounds appealing, but you would prefer a softer and more playful binding, consider the NOW Drive or Pilot.
The NOW Recon is a very dependable binding for all that is steep, deep, and fast, and the Skate-Tech makes carving smoother and more efficient. The Recon is a top choice for a solid freeride binding to put on a stiffer, all-mountain board, since it offers a lot of power without sacrificing its sporty, playful feel.