Dynafit Radical, Vertical, Comfort Bindings – Brake Removal & Install


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

(Note, this how-to covers the Dynafit Comfort, Vertical and Radical FT and ST bindings. Classic TLT model brakes are installed by simply screwing them on to the binding baseplate, and are discontinued.)

Dynafit binding brake parts prior to 2013, when brake was made non-removable.

Dynafit binding brake parts prior to 2013, when brake was made non-removable. Arrow indicates important retainer clip that is easily forgotten.

Trapped brake of latest Dynafit Radical FT/ST series bindings.

Trapped brake of latest Dynafit Radical 2013 FT/ST series bindings. For different width brakes you'll need to buy different base plates and brake combos, or else do a somewhat challenging swap of brake arms.

For more about dealing with the permanent brake on Radicals, as well as swapping brake arms, see this blog post.

We’ll describe this as if installing brakes. Removal is reverse of the procedure. Bindings here are pictured unmounted — while mounting bindings you DO NOT want your brakes installed, so do this procedure AFTER mounting your bindings.

Parts pictured above include the Comfort heel unit to right, the all important retainer clip in the middle, and brake to the left.

Tools you'll need, a right angle pick and wide flat-blade screwdriver.

Tools you'll need, a right angle pick and wide flat-blade screwdriver. Sometimes you can forego the pick, more about that below.

Removing spring cover barrel is much easier than replacing it.

Removing spring cover barrel is much easier than replacing it.

First step is to remove upper heel unit from base plate, as pictured above. Do so by backing the release barrel all the way out, then removing the internal springs and thimble bushing. NOTE: If you bought the brakes separate from the bindings, you will notice that a set of black springs comes with the brakes; these springs are one release value (RV) number softer than the stock springs to compensate for release and resistance friction that the brake adds to the system. You don’t have to use the black springs if you simply set your RV one number lower. But if you set your RV by the numbers and not by experimentation, it’s recommended that you swap in the black springs so you won’t get fooled and end up with a higher DIN setting than you think.

Barrel and springs removed.

Barrel and springs removed from Dynafit Radical or Comfort backcountry skiing binding heel unit, thimble bushing is still inside.

Sometimes you can pull out the thimble bushing with your finger, but a right angled pick works reliably. You don't need to completely remove bushing, just back it out.

Sometimes you can pull out the thimble bushing with your finger, but a right angled pick works reliably. You don't need to completely remove bushing, just back it out.

You’ll find the plastic thimble bushing inside the cavity where the springs were. Back it out using your right angle pick or finger if you’re feeling lucky. You can leave the thimble bushing in the bore if it’s backed out a centimeter or so.

Heel unit lifted off spindle.

With the thimble bushing out, you can lift the upper heel unit off the base plate and post. Now you've got a pile of parts. Keep them organized.

NOTE for Radical series bindings: When you pull the heel unit up and off some early models, you’ll expose the “stop pin” that prevents rotation in the wrong direction. This pin may pop out and suffer loss due to it being under spring tension. To prevent the pin from flying, keep your fingers over it as you slowly raise the heel unit off the center spindle post. Note that all Radical models should be upgraded by removing the “stop pin” and installing an external anti-rotation stop on the brake.

Slide brake onto plastic baseplate, paying attention to how the prongs engage the aluminum spindle.

Slide brake onto plastic baseplate, paying attention to how the prongs engage-clip flanges on the aluminum spindle.

Arms on brake engage vertical aluminum post spindle.

Arms on brake engage vertical aluminum post spindle.

After sliding the brake on, the arms will engage notches in the post, as shown above. If you have trouble sliding the brake on to the plate, look for obstruction (such as glue gobs) in the groove on the underside of the plate.

IMPORTANT, retainer clip must be installed!

IMPORTANT, retainer clip must be installed!

Next, install the retainer clip as shown. The arms of the retainer clip have to fit on the OUTSIDE of the brake arms. This holds them so they can’t expand outwards and let the brake come off. Be aware of the front and rear of the binding – the clip goes around the FRONT of the post, as shown.

Removal of brakes is easy. First delete the retainer clip, then nudge the clip arms around the center post as you slide and wriggle the brake off the plastic base plate.

Removal of brakes is easy. First delete the retainer clip, then nudge the clip arms around the center post as you slide and wriggle the brake off the plastic base plate.

To remove the brake, disassemble the binding as described above, and remove the retainer clip. While pulling the brake away from the center post, work the retainer arms out of the notches.

When reassembling the Dynafit Radical, Vertical or Comfort backcountry skiing binding, be sure the thimble bushing is greased and inserted all the way in, insert the springs, then take care not to cross-thread the spring barrel when you thread it in. Set your DIN, and off you go for fun powerful parallel turns on the technical marvel of the age.

Comments

54 Responses to “Dynafit Radical, Vertical, Comfort Bindings – Brake Removal & Install”

  1. Chris September 9th, 2013 8:27 pm

    Next time iron the sheet before you take photos. Where is that pro touch I’m looking for in these blogs. Ha.

  2. Greg September 9th, 2013 10:22 pm

    I found that for removing the bushing, once you’ve removed the barrel and springs, if you rotate the heel unit it pushes the bushing out far enough that it’s loose within the threads. Also note that the 2012/2013 Radical ST‘s that I have have a bushing with a ~2 mm diameter circular hole, rather than the full-width slot as shown above – would be hard to get a pick in to. Just something to keep in mind before running out to buy a right angle pick.

  3. Lou Dawson September 10th, 2013 8:29 am

    Greg, I don’t bother trying to get the pick into the hole in the bushing, I just rake the pick against the inside of the bushing and pull. Another tool that works for bushing removal are circlip pliers set to expand, with tiny sharp prongs on them. But that’s generally overkill, though I have had bushings that were pretty tough to remove due to gummed up old grease and such.

    Good tip about rotating the heel to push the bushing out a bit.

  4. Lou Dawson September 10th, 2013 8:30 am

    Chris, at least it was a clean sheet!

  5. Fraser September 10th, 2013 10:43 am

    I’ve found that a long screw works really well at getting the plastic bushing out. Depending on the size of screw you use it should fit snug into the hole in the middle of the bushing after you thread it in ever so slightly, being careful not to damage it of course.

  6. Mike September 11th, 2013 8:32 am

    Lou, I have a pair of TLT Vertical FTs and my brake sometimes slides forward. This prevents the brakes from retracting all the way when in tour mode so they drag on the ground. I’ve been able to fix the problem in the field by banging it back into place with the butt of my ski pole but feel like I’ll break something eventually.

    So what do you think the problem is? I bought the skis and bindings used so they might have been mounted incorrectly.

  7. John Milne September 12th, 2013 8:53 pm

    Mike, either A) you no longer have the brake clip installed and/or B) the metal post has worn down at the catch points to the point that the prongs now ramp off the post rather than catching onto a vertical 90* corner. If A, call Dynafit for new brake clips. If B) buy new baseplates.

  8. Lou Dawson September 12th, 2013 9:38 pm

    John, exactly. Mike obviously does not have the retainer clips installed. A common occurrence Mike, see photo one above. No way the clip could be in there if the brake has slid forward. They fall right out if that happens.

    I’d add that sometimes inept shop employees or do-it-yourselfers can think the clip and brake are installed, when as John alludes to the brake is actually not clipped to the center post. And yes, there can be wear that makes the brake not clip effectively, though I’ve alway been able to deal with this by bending the brake clip/prongs closer together so they fit more firmly around the center post.

    Lou

  9. Ryan November 10th, 2013 9:21 am

    I’ve got a set of TLT Speeds that I’d like to put a set of brakes on. I am guessing that the same brakes that fit the comfort from that era would fit? Any word to the wise would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Lou Dawson November 10th, 2013 10:00 am

    Hi Ryan, you guess wrong (grin). If I’m not mistaken (due to the confusing model names of Dynafit bindings), the “TLT Speed” of that era had an entirely different base plate, center spindle, etc. than the Comfort. If you want to be sure, just email a photo of your binding to the contact link in menu above and we’ll respond as the WildSnow binding identification service (grin). Lou

  11. Ryan November 10th, 2013 2:00 pm

    Thanks Lou

    Email is on it’s way. I’m hoping that it isn’t one of those discontinued brake set ups!

    Luv it – wildsnow binding identification service. Should be a nominal fee for this service (grin).

    Cheers,
    Ryan

  12. Lou Dawson November 11th, 2013 9:21 am

    Hi Ryan, we got your photo of your bindings. Sorry to say that brakes are not available for that model. They actually did make brakes for them at one time, but they were elaborate, difficult to install, and unreliable. Below is the photo you sent over, for other folks to use for binding ID of Dynafit TLT. Lou

    Radical ST is probably your best bet if you want brakes.

    Dynafit TLT ski binding

  13. Ryan November 11th, 2013 4:35 pm

    Bummer!

    Thanks for the beta Lou! Anyone out there interested in parting with some brakes for the TLT???? I could use a set of out of production difficult and unreliable brakes for my TLTs (grin).

  14. Satoru November 12th, 2013 5:05 am

    Hi guys

    I have a question.
    I think I will mounting Radical FT myself and I just opened box now.
    What is the metal thin plate under the heel unit? Is it required?

  15. Lou Dawson November 12th, 2013 6:24 am

    Probably to prevent damage to the ski top skin, due to the center spindle of the binding resting on the ski top. I’d install it. Lou

  16. Jeremy November 18th, 2013 2:40 am

    Hi Lou,

    Last year I took a fall and destroyed the sliding part of the new AFD brake on the radical ft 12. In a pinch I put the comfort brake on instead and it fits and functions great, no AFD.

    Now, the brake kit comes with black springs that go in the heel. Why?
    Do I need those or am I ok with the original heel springs?

  17. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2013 6:54 am

    Hi Jeremy, the black springs have release value (RV) about 1/2 to 1 less than normal springs, to compensate for friction from brake without AFD. I’m pretty sure the only reason they ever provided those was because of ongoing efforts to get closer to binding certification to DIN standards. Since many if not most users of tech bindings set their RV values higher than what the DIN standard chart would indicate, the black springs have always been kind of unnecessary. Add to that the fact that friction varies with the type of boots, and is probably more important of a consideration for smaller skiers since it would be a fixed percentage of your total release value. Lou

  18. Enrico November 19th, 2013 4:11 am

    Hi Lou,
    great post!
    And a great hint is to pay attention t not to cross-thread the spring barrel when you thread it in. i think is the only think one has to pay attention to when doing the whole job.
    I finally got brakes on my Vertical ST paired wid Nunataq skis!
    I didn’t need to put grees on cose there was quite a lot.
    Used new springs set.
    Ciao!

  19. Michal November 27th, 2013 12:32 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I have a similar question to Ryan’s. I got an older model binding from a friend to put on a setup. I think it’s an old TLT Classic or Speed (it has blue and green plastic elements and says “neissl Tour” on the side; I can email you a photo). It has cracked plastic bases (around where the countersunk screws go and brakes that are too narrow for the skis I want to mount them on (the brakes screw into the base plate with 4 screws). I’m hoping that a set of new Radical FT baseplates with brakes (the ones that also have the center spindle) might kill those two problems with one stone but I’m not sure of the backward compatibility of this piece. Indeed, I think it’s a long shot but figured I would ask ;)

    Thanks for any help and advice!
    Michal

  20. Roger December 2nd, 2013 9:16 pm

    Hi Lou,

    So I am looking at buying a pair of this year’s TLT Vertical ST and am interested in using them without brakes. Is that still an option or are they “non-removable” like the Radicals?

    Cheers!

    Roger

  21. Lou Dawson December 3rd, 2013 9:09 am

    Good for you, those bindings are the stuff and they’ll eventually be hard to get. As other stuff gets heavier and more complex, enjoy the simplicity. They might even appreciate in price as folks realize their glowing position in the tech binding Pantheon. Easily run without brakes. Lou

  22. harpo December 4th, 2013 7:58 pm

    Any tips on efficiently removing the Vertical brake without three hands? I am removing the free floating clip but am having trouble working the prongs out from around the heel post efficiently (sometimes I get it, sometimes, I don’t).

  23. louis dawson December 4th, 2013 10:13 pm

    Wriggle the brake and push forward while spreading the prongs, but don’t overdo the spreading as that will bend the prongs. The prongs can be bent back in a few times but may eventually break due to fatigue.

  24. John December 5th, 2013 10:29 am

    Swearing seemed to help me. I had a real tough time when I first tried.

  25. Harry December 5th, 2013 12:24 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Any word about the running change to the radical heel peice that is now springload with “forward pressure”, or at least some give should the boot contact the heel piece compression?

    All of the 2014 bindings we have installed have it, but we don’t have any feedback on how effective it is.

  26. Lou Dawson December 5th, 2013 3:06 pm

    I’ll be doing the WildSnow take this week. Lou

  27. Alan Bol December 8th, 2013 11:15 am

    Lou,
    I just popped the brake off my Comfort binder without removing the heel piece. I just turned the heel 90 degrees and was able to lift the retaining clip off and slide it out. Then the brake slid off rather easily. It appeared to have been properly installed, but what do I know.

    On a related note…Comfort brake + Scarpa Lazer = titanium tibia – $4000.

  28. Indigoflow December 20th, 2013 5:07 am

    Hi Loua nd rest skiers,

    I am in a dilema becuase i have the option to buy the Dynafit vertical st or the Dynafit speed vertical for the same price.

    Please can u give me which one u should recomend me to buy as the same price.

    Thanks in advance!!

  29. Obewhanskinobi December 20th, 2013 6:37 am

    Obewhanskinobi says: Vertical ST if you want brakes, Speed if you don’t want brakes.

  30. Erik Erikson December 20th, 2013 8:15 am

    @ Indigoflow: I am not sure if Speed and Vertical have the same range of adaption ton to different shoe-sizes. So if you plan to switch shoes or maybe buy a shorter / longer shoe in the future (and are not willing to redrill the ski) I would check on this.
    If you do not need brakes: speed is lighter of course

  31. Lou Dawson December 20th, 2013 8:39 am

    Erik, they both have about the same range. And FYI Speed has same range as Radical ST/FT, catalog says 12.5 mm. I did a blog post about this somewhere (grin). Probably should add to FAQ if I didn’t already do so…

    Lou

  32. Erik Erikson December 20th, 2013 9:01 am

    Lou, I am sure you did a blog post about this. Just did not want to look that up by myself at the moment but advise Indigoflow to do so.. I would be in great danger to read for hours again if I begin to search wildsnow and come across all the interesting topics here… don´t have time for that right now ! (grin).

  33. Lou Dawson December 20th, 2013 9:23 am

    LOL

  34. John S December 25th, 2013 3:17 pm

    Hey Lou and others…

    I have an old paid of Mustagh ATA SL skis that I am “upgrading” to the new Grand Teton as my ski mountaineering rig. They’re a bit heavier, but offer modern geometry and width for not much more weight.

    Anyway, the old skis are mounted with Vertical STs with 92mm brakes. The new skis are to be mounted with the old bindings, but I can’t source 110mm brakes. As I won’t be using this rig in-bounds, I don’t mind running without brakes. Do the Verticals work well without the brakes installed?

  35. Lou Dawson December 25th, 2013 4:22 pm

    John, they’ll work fine, even better. But use a leash if you the slightest inclination to do so. Also, know that without brake your lateral release values might be a bit lower due to reduced friction. Lou

  36. Dave February 3rd, 2014 1:34 pm

    I’m thinking of buying some Voile V8s in a 176 or 186 length. The respective waist width is 112mm or 115mm. I wanted to mount them with Dynafit TLT Radical STs. The brake sizes are 110mm or 130mm. Which brake size should I order? I’m not wild about getting 130 brakes on these. Can I “widen” the 110s to fit a slightly wider waist?

    Second question is if you know if the V8s ski short or are pretty much on the button? I currently ski 176 non-rockered ski and like the length.

    Thanks!

  37. Scott Nelson February 3rd, 2014 2:55 pm

    Dave- on the v8′s, I am 5”7″ and 160 #. I ski a 176 in the v8 and am pretty happy. They have a lot of rocker, but are still pretty stable at speed, but really shine in pow, and can make really tight turns easily as well. Very versatile in a 176 for me. I could ski a 186, but the extra weight on the up and losing some of that quick turning ability is not worth it for me. If you are taller / heavier than me I’d go a 186. The v8′s felt a little short for me at first, but all doubts were erased when I got used to them, which did not take long at all.

    I ski them with vert st’s and dynafit ones, no brakes, and just use a leash when I need to.

  38. Burnsie February 3rd, 2014 3:18 pm

    I ski the V8′s in a 186cm length under my 6 ft. 175 lb. frame. I advise going with the right length, not too long, and not too short. Less weight on the skin up will translate into less ski on the way down, so be careful here. I use the Dynafit Speed Radical on this ski with a leash and BD mohair pure skins with a bikini cut. Great ski for what falls from the sky in winter in the West. Humms in the trees or in the open. You will enjoy this ski.

  39. Lou Dawson February 3rd, 2014 4:24 pm

    Dave, you should be able to get the 110 brake to work. For that small amount of width I usually just remove some plastic from the insides of the brake arm “feet.” Lou

  40. Dave February 3rd, 2014 5:13 pm

    Scott, Burnsie and Lou,

    I split the difference at 5′ 11″  and 170 lbs. I have been skiing 176 mm Dynastar Little Big Fats for years (meaning no rocker) with Fritchis, which are 88 mm at the waist. so am looking forward to less weight and more width.  I’m 62, a Montana skier, who loves to make turns, rather than reaching supersonic speed. In past years I spent a week on 178mm Manaslus with Dynafits and loved them excpet for tip deflection in the crud.  the V8 looks like quite a tool, dare I say a quiver,of one.

    Given that what do you guys suggest for length?  Thanks.

    Lou, thanks for the brake info.  Makes sense.

    Dave

  41. Scott Nelson February 3rd, 2014 8:45 pm

    Our weight range is pretty similar, so I would think the 176 would be fine for touring and a lot of turning on a variety of conditions. They will feel short , but this a solid ski with surprisingly good edge hold and stability. And I love them in the trees. The wildsnow tester who tested these skis is at least 5-10 / 160ish, and I know he skis pretty aggressively and he tested the 176 and loved them. Can you demo the two sizes nearby?

    Maybe Lou has tried the 186?

  42. Nick February 6th, 2014 2:45 pm

    Not sure if this question regarding brakes on the new “elastic” heel Radical FT/ST is better posted here or on the article regarding that in-line change. I am going to assume that the actual brakes are the same as on the pre-elastic model, so….

    Are the Radical FT/ST 100 mm brakes sufficiently adaptable to bending, or whatever, to make them fit on a 107 mm width ski, e,g Cham 107, or would I really need to find a replacement 110 mm base/brake combo for the skis and bindings?

    If the FT/ST 100 mm would work, any advantages/disadvantages of one over the other for this modification andd/or general use? Thanks!

  43. Jailhouse Hopkins February 17th, 2014 7:21 pm

    Hey Lou,
    Will a TLT Vertical brake work on a Vertical ST binding?
    Thanks

  44. Lou Dawson February 17th, 2014 7:45 pm

    Jailhouse, I’m not sure about the terminology but I’d guess the answer would be yes.

    Nick, I think you could get that out of the brake by first removing plastic from the feet, then do a slight bend.

    Lou

  45. Jailhouse Hopkins February 17th, 2014 7:58 pm

    I was just given a pair of Vertical ST bindings that came with a narrow brake. I’d like to replace that brake with a wider one, but I can’t find Vertical ST brakes. I can find TLT Vertical brakes though. Because the TLT”s have “Vertical” in their name, I’m wondering if this is possible.

  46. Andrew February 19th, 2014 11:29 am

    I’m looking to ski the TLT vertical ST without a brake but was concerned about how high the boot is suspended off the plate–a full 3/4″. I saw it mentioned the release might be softer because lack of friction, but what about durability of prongs, plate holding prongs and heel of boot holding up with all this weight and torsional force loaded on just those two prongs?

    Anyone seen a failure with this setup, and which piece is first to go? Guessing glueing some cork to plate would help take some of the weight off prongs.

  47. John February 19th, 2014 2:25 pm

    The brakes do not do much to help support your boot. It just looks like they do. When you remove the brakes without swapping the lateral release spring it reduces your RV by about 1 or 2 due to a loss of friction. Removing the brakes has minimal to no effect on vertical release. If you glued cork down to help support the prongs you would be adding a new source of friction that would effect your lateral release. It would be up to you to find some sort of way to recalibrate your bindings to that. Maybe a RV of 10 has changed to an RV of 15, who knows?

    Plum made a similar block for some of their bindings. Maybe it would be worth trying to duplicate that? And maybe it would be better to use some super slick plastic than cork, but maybe that would be worse.

  48. Lou Dawson February 19th, 2014 5:16 pm

    What John said. It’s no big deal. People have skied tech bindings for 30 years with the boot suspended between toe and heel, that’s how they’re supposed to work. Stomp block under heel can have some effect, but it’s mostly psychological. Lou

  49. Andrew February 19th, 2014 7:49 pm

    Thanks John, Lou. I spoke with Dynafit CS in Boulder, CO, today and they apparently do not know their bindings as well as the community. When asked if these were safe to ski without brakes, they had no answer. They warned that the plastic surrounding the prongs that act like a retainer were likely to be the thing that failed first. There were no encouraging words given towards skiing these without support of brake pad under foot.

  50. Russ March 5th, 2014 11:49 pm

    Lou, Appreciate the last few posts on the risk of skiing the vertical ST with the brakes removed. My local shop has both the radical and vertical on sale right now and I’m leaning toward the vertical mostly due to the flexibility of skiing with or without the brake. I plan to use the these both in area (brakes on) and may remove the brakes for big tours. I know the vertical doesn’t have the “power tower” on the toe piece and am willing to live without that for the brake\no-brake option. Any other points I may want to consider before I plunk down the cash?? The money saved by buying the Vertical would probably go straight to ski crampons for the setup. I plan to mount these on a pair of ski logic yetis. Any additional feedback would be much appreciated!

  51. Lou Dawson March 6th, 2014 7:05 am

    Verticals work fine. I’ve always said the best Dynafit binding ever was the Vertical FT 110, mounted with power blocks under toe plate. But the Vertical ST is fine as well, we use quite a few pair of them in the greater WildSnow family. The removable brake is super useful, and we still like the rotating heel lifter. Don’t get me wrong, we use Radicals as well. But if someone gave me a choice and said I had to pick between one or the other I’d probably use the Vertical.

    The Radical Power Towers are cool, but they’re not a deal breaker or maker.

    Lou

  52. Erik Erikson March 6th, 2014 7:15 am

    I totally agree: Vertical FT plus power block (have those on my coombacks): Just perfect!!

  53. Jeremiah March 11th, 2014 1:17 pm

    I’m in the process of installing inserts (Binding Freedom) so I can switch between tele and Dynafit Radical ST (12/13). I haven’t finished epoxying the inserts yet, but I dry fit them and tested the heel piece installation to make sure I had everything right. In order to get access to the screws, I had to back the heel piece out with the lower positioning screw, and then move it forward again to get it in the right position.

    Would you recommend taking off the brakes permanently, or even taking them off each time I swap bindings, instead of moving the heel back and forth?

  54. Lou Dawson March 11th, 2014 1:42 pm

    Jeremiah, good question. I’d say if you’re only swapping a few times a year then don’t worry about it. But indeed if you’re spinning that adjustment threaded rod over and over again it could wear on the aluminum it is threaded into. If I were you, I’d just see how much you really swap. Most people end up swapping bindings about as much as they adjust their adjustable ski poles (grin). Lou

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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