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Union Expedition 2.0 Review

A comfortable binding that is focused on the descent
Union Expedition 2.0
Photo: Union Binding Company
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Price:  $400 List
Pros:  Downhill performance, comfortable, easy to lower heel riser, pucks included
Cons:  Pin system, harder to work with gloves on, heavy
Manufacturer:   Union
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 19, 2021
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 11
  • Uphill Performance - 20% 6
  • Weight - 10% 5
  • Transitions - 30% 5
  • Downhill Performance - 30% 9
  • Straps, Lean, Risers - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Union Expedition 2.0 is designed with the primary objective of offering resort-like downhill performance. The model has the feeling that many snowboarders enjoy from Union bindings. Union has also addressed many of the shortcomings of the previous model, such as the swivel, which originates from the mounting disk. While the model has been refined, the downhill performance comes at the cost of uphill efficiency. It tours well, but its features lack backcountry tuning, especially in transitions. The Expedition 2.0 is good for beginner to intermediate splitters who are looking for a familiar and freestyle oriented ride and who are also willing to sacrifice transition efficiency.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Union Expedition 2.0
Awards  Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $400 List$385 List$540 List$275 List$285 List
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Pros Downhill performance, comfortable, easy to lower heel riser, pucks includedUphill and downhill performance, lightweight, good value, efficient transitions, lean adjustersLightweight, easy to transitionAffordable, comfortable straps, forward lean adjustmentInexpensive, lightweight, lean adjuster
Cons Pin system, harder to work with gloves on, heavyHeel risers can be challenging to deploy with softer basketsHave to buy heel lock separately, soft pole baskets can struggle with riser barHeavy, wet snow clumps in pin box, pin based bindingPin-based binding
Bottom Line A comfortable binding that is focused on the descentTop-notch performance that keeps your wallet in mindThe best of the best for all the lady splitboarders out thereA comfortable and user-friendly binding that is nice on the walletA classic contender in our fleet, it comes at an excellent price, with decent performance across the board
Rating Categories Union Expedition 2.0 Spark R&D Arc Spark R&D Arc Pro -... Voile Light Rail Spark R&D Blaze TR
Uphill Performance (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Weight (10%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Transitions (30%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Downhill Performance (30%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Straps Lean Risers (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Union Expedition 2.0 Spark R&D Arc Spark R&D Arc Pro -... Voile Light Rail Spark R&D Blaze TR
Measured Weight (pair) 3.56 lbs 2.8 lbs 2.4 lbs 3.34 lbs 3.12 lbs
Compatible Systems Karakoram Splitboard Clips, Union Crampons Spark Pucks, Voile Pucks (Regular or Canted), Burton Channel Pucks, One Binding System, and Ibex Crampons Spark Pucks, Voile Pucks (Regular or Canted), Burton Channel Pucks, One Binding System, and Ibex Crampons Voile Pucks, Voile Splitboard Crampons Spark Pucks, Voile Pucks (Regular or Canted), Burton Channel Pucks, One Binding System, Sabertooth Crampons, Ibex Crampons

Our Analysis and Test Results

Product Changes from 2019 to 2020


Union released the Expedition 2.0 in the fall of 2019. They have redesigned the binding and made modifications to the interface, which addresses the main issues from the previous expedition. Conceptually, the interface remains the same; a pin that slides in the middle of the binding. Last year, even when set up correctly, the bindings had a few degrees of play. Union tightened up the allowance between the pucks and the receptacle on the base tray of the binding to address the swivel issue. The pin also rotates toward the heel in a receptacle rather than the toe and in the way. The binding itself received a few updates to boast durability.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

After having tested the Expedition 2.0, the upgrades to the model have significantly increased the quality of experience when using the binding. The swivel is no longer present, and the pin is more user-friendly.

The Expedition 2.0 is the company's take on a splitboard binding. Their goal was to make a binding that is less rigid, more comfortable, and more like a standard snowboard binding. The binding is one of the few pin-based systems that still exist on the market. However, it is differentiated by the location of the pin, which is in the middle of the binding.

Performance Comparison


The Expedition 2.0 provides comfortable straps and a padded base...
The Expedition 2.0 provides comfortable straps and a padded base plate for all-day comfort.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Uphill Performance


When the bindings are in tour mode and it's time to ascend, the Expedition 2.0 tours in great comfort. The base plate has a plush layer of EVA foam that is nice for long days of touring, while the robust side arms provide solid sidehilling performance. The touring action is fluid and seems to have above-average friction relative to other options on the market.

The bushings of the touring brackets seem to wear out quicker than expected. This creates play between the pin and the touring bracket. This play is felt as a light side to side motion of the binding on each step.

The uphill performance of Expedition 2.0 is definitely an upgrade...
The uphill performance of Expedition 2.0 is definitely an upgrade from the previous model.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Weight


The field weight of the Expedition 2.0 is four pounds, 9.6 ounces. This includes the touring brackets, riding pucks, screws, and bindings. If we break it down to weight per binding, you'll find yourself looking at one pound, 12.22 ounces per binding. This is slightly skewed to the heavier end of the spectrum for a splitboard binding relative to the ultra-light and the heavyweight models.

The Expedition 2.0 weighs 810 grams, and is one of the heavier...
The Expedition 2.0 weighs 810 grams, and is one of the heavier options in the category.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Transitions


Transitions on the Expedition 2.0 facilitate the function. They transition but require more steps than the average system. We find the pin system to be outdated, especially when placed in the middle of the binding. This can complicate the process when challenging environmental are present, which might cause snow and ice to impede the pin or requires you to be wearing your larger set of gloves.

The transition from tour mode to ride mode requires that you place the middle of the binding on the center disk with the toe ramp and high back oriented to the tip and tail of the board. Then the user rotates the binding in the correct direction, which aligns the pinhole of the binding with the pin slot of the disks. The 90-degree movement is a good mechanism to clear snow, which helps prevent snow blockages. If you are familiar with the previous model, you will remember that the correct alignment was hard to locate as it could spin infinitely. The Expedition 2.0 has a stopping feature that doesn't allow the binding to rotate past the pin slot.

The transition from ride to tour mode on this model is similar to most pin based binding. We are excited to see the transition system of the Expedition 2.0 improve. Currently, the centrally located pin system makes the Expedition 2.0 best for shorter, simpler days, where fewer transitions are required.

Downhill Performance


Fortunately, Union has fixed the permanent disco foot that was our primary complaint about the previous model. Now, descending is the bread and butter of the Expedition 2.0, and it provides a very consistent, playful feel that doesn't compromise response. It carries that classic, smooth Union feel that has made the brand a beloved binding company. This model has more freestyle rather than freeride inspirations to encourage tweaked airs and playful supported turns.

The Expedition 2.0 provides the same fluid and fun performance we...
The Expedition 2.0 provides the same fluid and fun performance we would expect from our resort Union bindings.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Straps, Lean, and Risers


Straps

Union has been in the binding game for some time. The comfort and user-friendliness of the straps and buckles are representations of that. The straps have a lot of negative space, which reduces weight and also limits the potential for pressure points.

Comfortable, light, and durable.
Comfortable, light, and durable.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Lean Adjuster

The lean adjuster is a thin tab that has limited movement. To engage walk mode, you have to flex out the tab, so it no longer rests on the heel cup. It can be challenging to engage in use with gloves on. The lean adjuster provides noticeably less negative lean than other binding options and can be felt at the peak extension of the stride of flatter terrain.

The tab pictured here is the negative lean riser which provides zero...
The tab pictured here is the negative lean riser which provides zero forward lean when its in touring mode. For reference, the industry-leading binding has -13 degrees of negative lean in touring mode.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Heel Riser
The heel riser is easy to deploy with a ski pole and provides sufficient height but only offers one height setting. Also, the Expedition 2.0 lacks a strike plate. The heel riser has a rubber bumper, and the base plate has small foam pads in the corner to absorb shock. This design could put more abuse and force on the board when touring, especially if ski kicking as a form of taking observations on small, inconsequential terrain features.

Value


The Expedition 2.0 is a lower-priced splitboard binding that has excellent downhill performance and could be a good value for the correct person. Options exist on the market for a marginal increase in price, that will offer better well-rounded performance.

The Expedition is a good option for simpler tours; however, the...
The Expedition is a good option for simpler tours; however, the market offers other bindings at similar price points, which have more inherent value in backcountry environments.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Women's Version


Currently, no women's version exists of these bindings. However, the binding will accommodate a US women's 6 to 11.

Conclusion


The Union Expedition 2.0 offers exceptional downhill performance, and stays true to the feel of Union bindings. The centrally located pin based transition system to have some pitfalls, especially in challenging conditions. The model has experienced refinement in every metric, and we are looking forward to improvements, especially in the transition system. The Expedition 2.0 is ideal for beginner to intermediate splitboarders looking for a freestyle feel and are willing to sacrifice some uphill efficiency and ease of transitions.

Isaac Laredo

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