Union Expedition Review 2.0

Union Expedition Splitboard Binding

The best splitboard bindings on the market are the Union’s. Yes I just said that and stand behind it.  Why you ask?  The Union Expedition is a Splitboard Binding that looks and rides like a real snowboard binding.  I love my Spark’s and they have been the go-to in the industry for years but with Union and now Spark and Nitro making a binding that looks more like a snowboard binding the future is here, regardless of the pin.

Union Expedition 2.0 Upgrades

Union Snowboard Straps

My original Union Expedition Review can be found on page 2 of this article.  For the Expeditions 2.0 Splitboard Bindings Union did some small upgrades including updated straps, a new pin, a locker for the pin, NEW TOURING BRACKET, and new high back adjustment. The rest of the binding remained pretty similar to the original version.

 

Union Expeditions vs Sparks R&D Bindings

Snowboarder Teton Pass, Wyoming

One of the main differences between Spark and Union bindings are the climbing wires or risers that are used for touring on steeper terrain.  Union built their climbing ladder directly into the base of the binding which has 1 height to rise to.  The climbing wire is made of thick plastic and is easy to get up and down on the fly.

Spark R&D uses a Whammy Bar climbing wire that has 2 heights available to rise to.  For the most part I have found that 1 height is enough which makes the Union’s work fine on the up. For someone touring longer days say 6 hours in.  The Unions will feel a bit heavier than the Spark’s especially the Pro line they offer.

I don’t like to really fiddle with my setup on the way up and if I can manage it with a legit skin track that’s not too steep I prefer to stand on my toes on the up instead of using climbing wires until absolutely necessary.  Try it some time, just make sure you’re boots have a stiff toe.  Think the Nitro TLT’s or Vans Infuse Boots.

Union Pin and Play

Union Binding Pin

Oh the peanut gallery or arm chair quarterbacks sure love to hate on the Unions.  Sadly even my friends at Spark won’t try these?  It’s a good binding, and once you run the Union’s after riding the Spark’s you will notice a difference in the way you ride, in the way you control your board and so on.  This is a snowboard binding vs a big mountain binding.

Do the bindings spin while going down hill?  NO.  Do they spin a little when mounting them yes.  These bindings take a little more time to setup as you have the ability to really cut down on any play in the binding if you use Union’s mounting templet (little piece of plastic) I would say leave an hour to get them dialed.

Talking shit on these bindings reminds me of when I proudly wore a t-shirt that said the band “Phish Sucked” I was a punk rocker and hated on hippies.  Then I went to a show…  Threw the shirt away and have seen over 30 Phish Shows.  To knock something without trying it is silly at best.  We are snowboarders after all so maybe the ego is getting in the way.  Or the bro-brah love for Spark.

I love Spark, I ride their bindings a few days a week when testing other boards and bindings. The funny part of all this is the new Nitro Splitboard Binding essentially feels and looks like Union and Spark had a baby.  Wham, now a splitboard binding that’s more so like a snowboard binding in look, feel and performance.

Union Comfort

Union Baseplate

I ride light on my feet, I way about 155lb.  Union makes the ride feel soft and gives that nice bit of shock absorber feeling with the bushing under foot in each corner of the binding.  Along with a padded base plate.  How and why the splitboard binding companies in the past got away with metal base plates is sort of shocking to me.  Especially since Spark makes a 3M Pad that can be added to their bindings.  Think about how your board will vibrate up through a pair of metal bindings directly to your feet.  Vs the vibration via bushings, plastic baseplate / bindings and a padded foot bed?  Come on folks…  You paying attention here?

If you’re looking to adjust the straps on your Union’s it can be done without a tool.  Vs the Spark’s that require a Philips head to increase or decrease the length of the straps.

Overall Impression

Snowboarding Union Expedition Bindings Review

If you can find a pair buy em, even if it’s the old versions.  One thing I do always recommend with the Union Expedition Splitboard Bindings  and is a must have in your repair kit, is an extra pin.  If you loose your pin, your SOL.

If you’re more focused on the ride downhill, want to smash powder, pillows and cliffs or even kickers, you will be stoked on the Unions.  I know I am.

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Union Expedition Binding

About the Author

Mike Hardaker
Mike Hardaker grew up surfing and snowboarding in Orange County and followed his love of surfing to Hawaii before eventually moving to the mountains to concentrate on snowboarding. He went on to found Mountain Weekly News where he is still CEO and Editor in Chief.

46 Comments on "Union Expedition Review 2.0"

  1. Hi Mike, thanks for putting together a solid review. I have been interested in the 2.0’s for a while now, as I travel a lot and want to have a solid and split with me, utilising the solid disk option. I have an older pair of sparks, like them, but needing an upgrade for a number of reasons.

    I have a burton landlord 168 at present. I have just found out that the Union’s aren’t compatible with the channel system? Is that correct? Do you know if that is going to change? Or any other options are around this?

    Cheers

    Benny

    • Benny,

      Correct indeed on the Burton Landlord Splitboard for the most part. Here’s what Unipn had to say:

      The channel hardware that originally comes with their split boards protrudes the top sheet and doesn’t work with our baseplates. It’s do able but not perfect out of the box.

  2. This is the stupidest review ever, written by a doushebag who can’t even type out some proper grammar. I can’t even count how many times have I seen people getting hosed by their Chinese made Union garbage bindings, because they can’t get the damn things back into ride mode. These “splitboard” bindings are a liability in the backcountry, and I would not tour outside of the resort with someone using these. The only reason this dumb cunt posts such raging boner reviews is because he gets paid by Union to do so.

    • Mike Hardaker | March 23, 2021 at 12:59 PM | Reply

      Travis,

      Thanks for the comment, this is a blog. The Union are my favorite splitboard bindings. I have tested the Nitro Verticals, all the Spark Bindings, Voile and avoid Karakoram. Most likely you ride the latter?

      Mike

      • Mike, I ride Sparks and would never touch those Unions. I also don’t bother riding non-American made split bindings. I was in a store messing with them and BROKE the tour mode with my bare hands just playing in the store. The shop owner said after that that he would no longer order those bindings. I’m not sure of the type of splitboarding you get into, but those of us who ride real terrain in actual Teton backcountry can’t be bothered with garbage equipment that fails. The only reason anyone rides these are 1) They get paid to do so, or 2) Are brand new splitters on a budget and don’t know any better. Your review is irresponsible because it promotes a product that is an actual safety liability in real terrain.

        • Mike Hardaker | March 28, 2021 at 3:53 PM | Reply

          Travis,

          ” I’m not sure of the type of splitboarding you get into, but those of us who ride real terrain in actual Teton backcountry” mellow terrain brah, after finishing my Avy3 I pulled back a bit. Thanks for your feedback on the bindings, if they were as unsafe as you say a recall would happen which has not.

          Non-American made bindings eh? So you only ride Sparks? What board you ride, American made too?

          -Mike

  3. Vaughn Moore | March 19, 2021 at 1:27 PM | Reply

    Would these fit on a Salomon Premiere Splitboard? Having some trouble trying to figure out what is compatible with what system. Thanks!

    • Mike Hardaker | March 19, 2021 at 4:39 PM | Reply

      Vaughn,

      Great question, let me reach out to the team at Salomon.

    • Hi there! The Premiere comes with specific 3 parts pucks that are compatible with the Voile standard, so the board can be mounted with all Sparks, Voile and K2 bindings
      Plum are also compatible but you will need specific pucks they sold separately
      Unions and Karakoram are not compatible, they use dedicated pucks system designed for 2 parts boards only
      thanks !

  4. Hi, I was wondering if the 2 holes in the baseplate in which the pin goes through while in walk mode are still made of plastic with 2 bushings glued in them? I own the 1.0 version and love them but unfortunately those wholes have broken on me several times (the fact it is in plastic) while skiing down (silly skiing). And once they are broken you can not hike up and need to replace the baseplate (which is lifetime guarantied by Union and their customer service is the absolute best).
    Thanks for all these great reviews,
    Frank

    • Frank,

      Seems the bushings are the same in the 2.0 and the 2022 ones I just got to test. I haven’t had issues with the 2.0 but did notice the little metal bushing coming out on the first versions.

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Mike

  5. I apologize for my english. I’m from Russia.
    Mike Hardaker, the same thing happened to me. In my bindings, the bolts broke out of the base plates twice. Cut the threads on the plates. These are clearly defective discs. I sent an application to the manufacturer. I look forward to hearing from Union. It is a pity, as the mounts are very pleasant.

  6. Ignat Khalturin | January 25, 2021 at 12:44 PM | Reply

    Hi Mike! Thanks for sharing your opinion on the Expeditions. Took a long time to choose my own first split setup and i went with the 2021 Expeditions and 2019 Jones Solution 162W. I Really do love the way they feel on the way down, and the only hike issue that i noticed is the need to pull the climbing heel away from the binding before pulling it down.
    But i did run into some issues with them in ride mode. On one of the runs the back foot felt a bit wobbly and during the transition i found two screws missing and the binding just came off as soon as i removed the pin. I’ve checked with many reviews around and haven’t seen anything similar in any of them… Still waiting to hear back from the rep in my country regarding the warranty (and if there was something wrong or i’m just too heavy at 220 Lbs) i’m having a hard time deciding if i should exchange them for another pair or return them altogether and get something from Spark R&D just to be safe. What wound you suggest?
    It’s really a pity, because i do love the ride with them and the build quality looks great otherwise.

    • Ignat,

      Thanks for the comment. I have seen the Union screws loosen and when it happens it’s basically impossible to put the binding back on without tightening them back on using the mounting template. That being said I check now before I go out daily with the split stuff. Traditionally the Spark’s will be more durable for larger riders. Although I did just have my first issue with Spark’s durability in over a decade, which will be addressed in my Nitro Vertical review to follow in next few weeks.

      Mike

  7. Hey Mike, thanks for the great review.

    I was wondering if you’ve been able to try the 2021 version, and whether they also have the same couple degrees of play on the way down.

    • Ivo,

      I do have the 2021 versions. Little bit of play in the bindings but only really noticeable when mounting them to the board

  8. Would this binding be compatible with the Rossignol Sushi Split?

  9. Andres Crosetto | September 4, 2019 at 2:42 PM | Reply

    Got a pin question,

    Will the Spark touring bracket marry up to the Unions? Is the pin more or less the same gauge and how about the spacing?

  10. Tim Wheelock | March 29, 2019 at 3:42 AM | Reply

    I bought these bindings after seeing them heavily discounted at REI online, and subsequently reading your review. I rode them all season in Japan, and they were fantastic.

    I totally agree that they aren’t great for sidehilling on icy summits (but that could also be a function of my flexy soft boots), but where I was really, very, pleasantly surprised is that I get ZERO rotational play in my bindings, and I have only mounted them once! They are 100% solid.

    I wonder what’s different about mine than the dozens of reviews across the internet that found a few degs of play?

    • Mike Hardaker | March 29, 2019 at 9:33 AM | Reply

      Tim,

      Stoked you got on the Unions, and the REI deals late season are pretty darn solid. Most likely the peanut gallery that is talking about these bindings online never actually went past mounting them in a shop or at home. Everyone that has actually gone downhill on these bindings is a huge fan. The up is a little wanky, but for shredding down the Unions are simply put, fun to ride.

      What board did you have them on?

      • Tim Wheelock | April 1, 2019 at 9:17 AM | Reply

        Coda Splitboard. Was looking at that vs the Jones Mountain Explorer (or whatever the name is for the entry-level jones board, I can’t remember), and your review pushed me over to the Coda. And I’m super psyched about it. That board is amazing in pow, and I predominantly ride in Japan, so… no brainer. So thanks for those reviews!

  11. Thanks for a bomb review after sending it out in the field. Just ordered a pair to throw on my jones explorer for some sierra pursuits. Yeeewww

  12. joe
    i just cut an old palmer in half.
    will the Expiditions mount directly into the base plate screws?

    so i wont need to drill more holes through the board?

  13. Fantastic Review. I bought the 2018 Expeditions and was really excited to try them out and was a bit concerned about the slight spin, but your feedback makes me feel much more at ease. I got these cause I love Unions and knew that they would feel amazing on the ride down, so I’m also stoked to see your feedback on the ride feel. I put them on an Arbour Abicus, and I’m stoked to get on the snow and try these out!

    • Thanks, Joe I appreciate the feedback. The Unions with the Abacus are going to offer a fun, very familiar style of shreding. That’s a great combo/. What have you been using in the past for splitboard or splitboard bindings?

      • I’ve rented/borrowed Arcs over the last few years on a Salomon Herren and they just felt too clunky and stiff – but after I saw the announcement of the Union Splits, I knew I had to try them. Are you still using the same Unions for this season as well?

        • Hey Joe,

          Good to know on the Arcs with the Salomon, do you know which board in particular it was? I am now using this seasons union, the White-colored ones. And will be trying the FC bindings soon. The Union Splitboard bindings are really fun to ride.

          • It was the Salomon Herren Split from 2017. Cool to hear that your using the Unions again, as you’ve reviewed lots of different bindings. Is the Union your go to? P.s. curious to know if you notice any major changes in the new 2019 expeditions, so far it seems they’ve only changed the high back and upper strap

          • Mike Hardaker | November 18, 2018 at 10:25 AM |

            Joe,

            I have yet to post up the new Union review, binding seems like the first edition but with upgraded parts. As for ride quality very similar. Herren = Mens in German? I can’t find a “Salomon Herren Split” for the life of me online 🙂

          • Yes it’s just the men’s split haha – I googled it and I thought that was the name of the board, it was a rental from Revelstoke. Looking forward to the updated review!

            p.s. I’ll be doing a 3 night backcountry trip and was curious to know if you think these bindings will hold up well for that long of a trip? The first day will be a 12 hour tour into a hut haha

  14. Phillip Carlson | January 14, 2018 at 5:14 PM | Reply

    First thorough review I’ve seen on these. Thanks for taking the time to actually use them a bit before spraying more garbage on the internet.

    Phil

  15. Eric Hoskinson | January 2, 2018 at 2:49 PM | Reply

    Great review. I’ve been touring on these since last season and love em. I also have a set of Spark Tesla that I enjoy as well. However when it comes to “snowboarding” the union expedition crush it. I find it funny all the haters on a Pin System. It doesn’t take any longer to transition with a Pin IMHO. Just a another way to connect a binding to a board. Keep up the reviews. If your ever in the PNW give a holler.

    • Mike Hardaker | January 2, 2018 at 3:11 PM | Reply

      Eric,

      Thanks for your feedback, most likely people bitching about the pin were around when we used to cut our snowboards in half, we’ve come a long way since then. This is a snowboard binding that works for splitboarding. Not the other way around.

  16. Oh awesomeness! I love my Union bindings for my resort board. My only gripe with Spark R&D is the components (straps, backs) are kind of cheap (breaks). I wonder how these will hold up. Anyhow thanks for sharing Mike, now I just need $375 (and some snow). See you in D-town!

    • Denver for sure, and how about a road trip out this way for a little Montane product testing, I got some binders you will dig.

      • Ha I wish! Jackson is holding a 54 inch base! Plus you’re about to get the hammer dropped this week. Nearly zero snow here in the Southern San Juans, I haven’t even got the snowboard box out of the shed. If snow doesn’t come soon I’m just going to start road cycling in spandex like the rest of the geezers.

        why are you at work? Go shred that pow for the rest of us. go Go GO!

  17. Nick Highland-Brown | December 20, 2017 at 11:34 AM | Reply

    I’ve got these on my Coda and I’m super stoked to try them, just need some snow…

    • Nick, that sounds like a freaking awesome setup!!!! 2 of my favorites for sure. Where about’s are you doing most of your riding?

      • Nick Highland-Brown | December 20, 2017 at 11:43 AM | Reply

        I’m in SLC, so I’ll be in Wasangeles for most of it. Got a trip booked to Chile for this summer though, and I’m definitely going to take advantage of being able to use these bindings on my entire quiver for that.

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