The Overall Binding 4 System (OB4) is the newest releasable binding system on the market for Slalom, Trick, and Jump. From the first time I saw the product in person I was impressed with the way the system has been designed with every attention to detail utilizing anodized aluminum, high grade plastic and stainless steel parts.
Before I made the switch to the OB4 I rode a hardshell releasable system that I trusted for the past 4 years. One issue I always had with my previous system was the inability for the binding to release in a rotational fall. I injured my ankle last season in a fall where there was no pull from the heal which was the release point for that system. I looked at all the systems on the market and finally settled on the OB4. The OB4 System’s style of release in my opinion is the safest at this time for double hardshell and RTP skiers because it can release in out-the-front, out-the-back, rotationally or any combination there of in a fall.
With any kind of spring controlled release system there is a trial period to figure out the release tension that works best. From the factory the release will be set at a standard tension based on weight, height and skiing level. From there the tension of the spring can be adjusted to better suit the users skiing style. I believe it took me about 4 or so sets to get fully dialed in. I have released from the system from both my slalom and trick skis multiple times. Every time I released I felt that I should have and I now fully trust the system to hold me in when I am pushing myself to my limits when it comes to rounding buoys and attempting new tricks.
One of the best features of the OB4 besides the multi directional release is the ability to use your current hard-shells or mount any kind of shells you desire. I was able to mount the shell I have been using for the past 4 years right onto the OB4 binding plate in a matter of a few minutes with the hardware provided from the factory. This made the transition to the new system that much easier. From my first set on the OB4 I did not feel that the system required me to adjust my skiing or compensate for the change in systems. Another great feature of the OB4 is the ability to adjust the rotation of your bindings on the binding plate which is not always an option with other hardshell systems.
There has been some talk on the forums about the weight of the system. I have been told it weighs less than a rubber binding set up and compared against my previous system the OB4 is only a few ounces heavier. If you are that concerned over weight then don’t eat that donut for breakfast!
One thing I noticed about the OB4 was that the binding plate raised my binding off the ski higher than I was previously used to. I thought that this was not going to be conducive to my skiing. After my first set on the ski I could not tell a difference in performance of my skiing with my front binding raised.
The OB4 does require a set of inserts near the release mechanism that do not come standard on all skis. The forward inserts that come on HO (& possibly Connelly) skis are in the correct location. I did not want to add inserts to my ski right away so I have been using 3M auto trim tape to hold down the release with great success. I will be tapping my ski for 2 new inserts to allow for easier binding adjustment. Mike at OB4 can give you step by step instructions on how to tap a ski for inserts. I do not see an issue with long term use of 3m auto trim tape but it will need to be changed out from time to time and it also limits the ability to quickly make a binding adjustment. I have a workaround in my mind to avoid taping for inserts that allows for normal binding adjustments without chaining out the tape but will have to work with the guys at OB4 on it.
On my first set on the ski I felt and heard a knocking from the lever which looses some of its tension when the binding plate is engaging the spring. I would feel the lever when I was in my glide and coming off the second wake. I switched off a system where a clicking sound comes from your feet meant you were no long attached to the ski so it was not a comforting sound to hear. From the factory there is some velcro on the lever and release unit. I personally added some 3M Duel Loc to the tip of the lever and release unit to hold them together. I also added some 3m backed rubber to fully absorb the side to side movement. I feel that these modifications do not compromise the releasability of the system and I now do not notice any movement or sound coming from the release. I also PlastiDiped the rear half of the heal block where my rear toes touch the metal to smooth out the edges so it was not as harsh during a release.
The service is second to none from the guys at OB4 Systems. Mike was more than helpful with setting up the system and was prompt in responding to my questions regarding maintenance and spring adjustment as well as about installing inserts. With any product there is always R&D going on for the next generation and they guys at OB4 are already thinking of ways to improve on this great product. To repeat what I have said above I believe the OB4 to be the safest system on the market for RTP & double hardshell setups.
If you are looking for a new system or want to move onto something you think is a safer product do not forget about giving the OB4 a try.
You can contact OB4 Systems on their website
or contact @mmosley899
in the forum.
If you have any questions regarding my review you know the drill post them below and I will respond. I was waiting to get some video and pictures of the OB4 in action before I posted this review but I was unable to get some in time.