The first thing I noticed about the Cobra V2 was the radical paint scheme and highly appealing aesthetic design, but unfortunately looks do not always make for a solid binding. This specific model features an adjustable highback, wherein rails on either side of the binding itself slide in and out of a housing allowing one binding to accommodate a variety of different boot lengths. The adjustable back is an interesting design element, but if it is not going to be used as a rental binding it seems rather pointless to have such a wide variety of adjustments. The traditional sizing system of small, medium, large and extra large seems to be working so there is no point to alter a functional means of binding production. The addition of a sliding rail to one of the crucial support areas of a binding could possibly compromise the overall integrity and strength of the unit. The more moving parts found on the binding itself, the higher the chance of a structural malfunction. Personally, I would rather have a solid construction design to lower the chances of something breaking or failing when I’m cruising down an aggressive line or deep in the backcountry. Despite some of these potential flaws, the Cobra V2’s were very light and had a number of features that I did really like. The buckles were very smooth and strong and the ladder straps seemed very solid. This allowed for a quick strap-in and release even though the temperature outside was fairly low. Many buckles have trouble releasing when frozen but under these circumstances the Cobra V2’s excelled. The baseplates, featuring the “HC-X 18 Baseplate”, were very comfortable and included crucial heel and toe padding. All in all the binding had a number of nice features and was uniquely stylish but unfortunately it did not live up to any of my expectations for a Rossignol product.
Despite the physical appearance of the binding itself, I felt the entire experience to be quite bland and disappointing. The highback was relatively stiff while the base and straps had a fair amount of give making for a combination that was detrimental to my riding style. I believe one of the most important advancements in binding technology in the last 10 years was the Burton Capstrap, so I feel there is really no excuse to have the traditional strap combo any longer because it is completely obsolete. Even though the binding was adjusted out past a US size 12, the base was short and did not comfortably accommodate my boot. Even when maxed out, the straps were extremely tight and the support itself was less than optimal. I had a fair amount of heel lift within the binding despite the ankle strap being uncomfortably tight. The one thing the binding did offer was security, there was never a time where I thought the straps might slip off or that the board was not under my control. These bindings did not offer a very high level of control but there was control nonetheless. Unlike a lot of other products, the padding on the baseplate could really be felt through the boot and it definitely did absorb a lot of shock from the snow. This was a very nice feature that after a day of riding would really cut down on foot, ankle and leg fatigue.
The Bottom Line:
The Rossignol Cobra V2 is a very beautiful and unique binding, but it fails to uphold the high standard of the company itself. I was rather disappointed with the entire experience and for the price range I feel there are a number of other far superior products. Unless one is in the market for aesthetics alone, the Rossignol Cobra V2 offers nothing special in terms of overall performance.
I would rate the Rossignol Cobra V2 two out of five stars.
The Cobra V2 can be found here: http://www.rossignol.com/US/US/cobra-v2_RG00007_product_snowboard-men-bindings.html