Brand new for the 2023 season and the latest incarnation of the now classic Raider series of bindings, the Raider EVO family are at the forefront of ski touring and Freeride binding technology.
They are available in 3 different release setting bands, Raider 11 EVO (3 – 11), Raider 13 EVO (5 – 13), Freeraider 15 EVO (7 – 15) allowing them to cover almost all skiers but the bindings are the same and all share the same set of features and weights (The only difference other than release range is that you get the freeride spacer with the 15 EVO).
They build on their Raider predecessors (check out our up close look at the Raider series for more back ground) and many of the features carry over to the EVO series but the Raider EVO bindings have several new design elements that improve or refine their function.
The release toe piece adjustment represents a new inovation in tech toe design and allows the skier to match the clamping strength at the toe to the release setting at the heel. This gives several advantages in reducing the chance of pre release and improving the elasticity and stability of the bindings whilst skiing by matching the toe and heel piece performance. It also helps with release characteristics in the event of a fall as the toe clamp strength can be set differently for lighter or less aggressive skiers.
The Automatic brake system is also a new addition to the Raider Evo and replaces the push button ski brake lock on the predecessor. This makes transitions quicker and easier whilst also making it impossible to forget to unlock the brake when transitioning back to ski mode. The brakes are also more powerfull so they deploy harder giving better stopping force and they have more grip to the end caps.
This feaured on the Raider bindings too but is redesigned in the Evo bindings and is now under the front of the locking lever. It allows the locking stiffness to be adjusted depending on the boot used.
Again this blanked out toe piece which prevents snow from packing into and under to toe piece calipers featured on the raider binding but it has been deepened in the Evo series to prevent snow from packing even if the bindnig toe piece is left open in step in mode.
Along with the big changes above there has been a host of inline adjustments made to the Raider Evo bindings to improve function and ease of use such as a reshaping of the toe lever to ensure toe release for almost all boots in the event of an over the front fall and a new design to the crampon slot which means a more consistent stiffness of the ski crampon.
The Raider EVO series of bindings represents a step forward in tech binding design but it’s early days, we haven’t skied them yet and new binding design features have been known to have teething issues in the past. The new features all have a place but it’s important to remember that the previous Raider series that gave rise to the Evo’s are still an exceptional design and have been tried and tested for several seasons now. Whether you stick with the classic Raider bindings or go for being an early adoptor will depend on you but both binding systems represent design at the highest level.