What Is Forward Lean On Snowboard Bindings?
Forward lean is a way to adjust your snowboard bindings’ and change your stance on the board. The adjustment is made by adding a forward angle to the binding highback, meaning when you adjust for forward lean your calves are pushed forward too.
Forward lean will also cause you to bend your knees more on the board. However, it can help add more power and accuracy when you’re riding too. It is ideal to use forward lean for better responsiveness with heelside carving and other heelside movements.
It also allows you to adjust how much weight you put on each turn. If you are leaning too far back, this will mean that you'll need more effort and energy when turning or carving. If your toe angle is too far forward, it will result in less balance and less control over the board.
Every rider will use a different angle, but there is a general rule for how much forward lean works best. Some riders will prefer a relaxed feel on their board while others like the bindings to feel tighter with more response.
Freestyle riders tend to opt for less forward lean closer to 0% to stay relaxed on the mountains. Racers and free riders will ride with more forward lean closer to 90%, but ultimately it depends on personal preference and riding experience.
Why Is Forward Lean Important?
Forward lean is an excellent way to help lock in your heels during deep heel carves and more aggressive riding angles. Once making the change from no forward lean to a significant amount, riders will realize how much easier it is to carve with accuracy.
When you start to use forward lean, you will be able to engage your edges better and approach skidded turns more aggressively. However, you will feel a major calf burn on your first run since you aren’t used to the stance and the ankle so be prepared.
A new board with bindings from the factory will almost always already be set to zero, so unless you make the change your board won’t have forward lean already set up. Without forward lean, you need to completely straighten your legs to engage the heel edge the right way. This can hurt your knees and slow you down significantly.
Leaving this dead spot between your leg and your highback is dangerous and highlights the area where your board is non-responsive to your leg movements. This puts you at more risk for injury or failing to carve correctly.
The best way to find out how much forward lean works for you is by putting it all the way forward and taking a test run to see how it feels. You can make adjustments based on this first run to find the perfect adjustment for you.
Should You Use Forward Lean On Your Snowboard Bindings?
This entirely depends on you as a snowboarder and how you currently feel on the mountain. If you are looking to improve and see what else you are capable of, it is a no-brainer to give it a try and see how it feels.
You are not forced to pick one or the other either. However, we would recommend avoiding zero forward lean because of the lack of responsiveness and risks it can pose for you when riding and trying to carve at different angles.
There are plenty of benefits that we have mentioned that make it a great idea, especially for more experienced free riders looking to add more to their board.
One big reason to use forward lean is that it creates more control over your board while riding down steep slopes or while performing tricks or jumps because it gives you greater control over the direction that your board is moving.
The best advice is that you should use at least some kind of forward lean on your snowboard bindings. It will help you improve the way you snowboard and put you in better positions.
How To Adjust Your Forward Lean?
Just about every binding will have some forward lean adjustment that can be made. It will either be a twist lock or a flip lock so you won’t necessarily need any tools to make the adjustments so it can be done quickly.
The binding and your boot are what drive your board around. You should align your boot tightly against your high back and strap in your boot near the toe side edge.
Adjusting the forward lean is easy, especially if you have a flip lock binding. Simply unclip the flip lock and tilt the high back forward to your desired angle and lock the binding into place. You will notice there is a forward angle on your high back now that will help when riding.
The most important part of this maneuver is to learn how much pressure you need to put on your front leg when you lean forward so that you don’t fall over from the weight being placed on it too early or too late.
Once you have locked the high back into place, you can clip your boots on like normal and head towards the mountain to try it out.