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Gear Review: 2011 K2 Auto Agogos

I did my research and it paid off: This season I’ll be rocking the 2011 K2 Auto Agogo bindings. After laps down hardpack groomers and through thick-powder moguls, I’m happy to report: The Auto Agogos offer superior performance in a feature-packed design for the serious rider.

The auto system cinches the toe strap as you ratchet the ankle strap, making for a highly efficient design and on-hill convenience. Because the straps are synced up, getting each dialed-in so that it rests on your boot properly requires some patient back-and-forth adjustment. But the pay-off is worth it, especially given this: the top and bottom toe straps can be individually adjusted, making this binding incredibly customized to your boot and riding preference.

After additional on-hill fiddling (no tools needed), the AAs are incredibly comfortable. That’s due to several features: the padded highback designed for a woman’s calf, approved by K2’s Alliance team; a thick, embracing ankle strap that’s secure, but not intrusive; and toe straps that are hardly noticeable, highly responsive.

But also, the footbed is canted, meaning it angles just slightly enough to support your foot’s natural stance when on the board. Added to the thick “Harshmellow” pad that dampens chatter, this makes for happy feet that don’t get fatigued.

That seemingly fragile or pinchy auto-adjust cord on the toe—turns out, it’s not weird.

The ride: So enjoyable. The AA’s mid-flex side-to-side provides stability on the hardpack, but isn’t restricting when tossing the board around through tree lines and moguls. It seemed lightening-quick on the response, but somehow, not overly so. I wasn’t tossed about. Carving on both toe and heel sides never felt awkward. Strapping in and out was a breeze because the toe strap just slips in place (I prefer around the toe). The AAs are lightweight and, truly, hardly noticeable on your foot.

They come in black and teal. In the black, subtle snakeskin in the highback and on the ankle straps hints at the binding’s hardcore side, the pink and purple dustings keep it feminine. For my size 8 Salomon boots I got Mediums.

For $179, here’s a binding that takes some love to set up, but will return it ten-fold in comfort and performance to the rider with a little patience and a mission to shred.

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