With a Sims Protocol in tow, I needed a binding that would keep my boots attached to it (re: bindings). I decided to go with a Sims offering, thinking they'd be the perfect fit. The Sims Carbine were a mid range choice that was a decent one.
The Carbine is plastic for the most part, except for the heel hoop, which is aluminum. The plastic isn't cheap, but doesn't look like it's the most advanced space age material either. The ratchets are also plastic, so rusting won't be an issue, but the construction of the ratchets isn't as good as higher end bindings from other companies. However, with all my skepticism abouthe construction (after I bought it, of course) it did a admirible job.
Strapping in with my big ol Thirty Two 305 boots, the Carbine heel hoop has plenty of room, and the cushy ankle strap didn't pinch anywhere and was really comfy (although a bigger strap would be nice). The toe strap was mainly plastic and wider than your average strap, keeping a constant pressure over a larger area. It has a small hole and is flexible to be 'used' as a toe cap strap, but really its much better in its use as a normal over the foot style. The straps extended outwards a little bit since my boot was so wide, but this didn't affect performance, but could lead to strange wear patterns (none as of 2 short seasons of riding). The 'toolless' adjustability was a little bit of a stretch. The forward lean was the only true toolless part of the binding, however, it wasn't that easy to use and a removal of gloves was necessary before switching it up. Also, the toe ramp was slightly curved, which matches up well with my boot when adjusted (with a screwdriver and a little bit of prying to get access to the screws). The highbacks have a little bit of foam in them and are decently flexible, given the large holes cut out for lightness. And these holes were necessary. The binding is relatively heavy, with all the plastic and metal heel hoop holding down the fort.
The battlegrounds on the slopes weren't too much of an obstacle for these binders. They definitely do well for comfort, with a cushy ankle strap (not so much the toe strap). They're a little flexy, even with my stiff board, so I guess it balanced out a bit. Strapping in at the top of the hill never warranted any snow issues or complications with the cold, which is good. For a beginner to intermediate binding, its definitely worth a look if you can get it for cheap. The Sims Carbine does the job, and doesn't try to pretend its anything it isn't.