Diamir Vipec 12 — New Fritschi Tech Binding


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

If the new Fritschi Vipec tech binding proves to be all this preliminary look indicates, it’ll be a player. Probably first string. This morning some of us bloggers received the equivalent of papal blessing to go public with carefully ladled factoids about the new rig — as well as played with a “real” binding on a demo board. Check it out, looks good.

Vipec (pronounced with the i as 'eye') on a mysterious ski, this pre-production version is very close to what will be retailed in January 2014.

Vipec (pronounced with the i as 'eye') on a mysterious ski, this pre-production version is very close to what will be retailed in January 2014. Click to enlarge.

Vipec in highest heel lift touring mode.

Vipec in highest heel lift touring mode. See photos below for heel lift mode details.

Diamir Vipec "Viper" image from the Powerpoint. More coming.

Diamir Vipec "Viper" image from the PowerPoint. More coming. Click to enlarge.

We got to see a somewhat strange preview of Vipec last winter (then called Zenith); a fragile 3D printed model that amused throngs of panting bloggers at last winter’s OR show. This is a much better looksee and is promised to retail this coming January!

Yes, Vipec (we want to call it THE VIPER!) goes to release value (we call it RV, it’s sort of like DIN) of 12, and you can switch from downhill mode to tour without removing your skis. Latter is a holy grail to some skiers, a yawner to others.

But what shouldn’t be a yawner to anyone is the claimed weights: 470 grams without brakes, 599 grams with brakes. In other words, include brakes (which are said to be beefy) and you come in about 50 grams lighter than the equivalent top brand RV 12 version, and only 8 grams heavier than the top brand RV 10 version binding.

In terms of upsides and downsides, it appears that the added flexibility and release characteristics of the Vipec come at the price of simplicity. Mounting and adjusting the binding looks somewhat tricky. One wonders how it’s going to be for the ever growing DIY segment who do all their ski work themselves. The official mounting instructions inform on this, so I added a link to those at the bottom of this post. All subject to revision of course.

Lateral release is accomplished by toe unit sliding to the side on a track, and one of the wings opening up.

The significant difference with Vipec is the binding has side release at the toe. This is adjusted at the toe and occurs mainly by virtue of a track under the toe moving to the side, followed by the toe wing opening up. Conventional tech bindings “release” at the heel with assistance from the toe, but release tension at the toe is a set value and has more to do with holding you in during tour mode than it does with safety release (one exception is Dynafit Beast, which has the toe units mounted on a rotating turntable that could be said to “release”).

More, Fritschi is claiming some pretty good elasticity — lack of which is a problem that haunts most tech bindings. Note that by “elasticity” Fritschi is talking about side movement at the toe as well as the ability of the heel unit to move for/aft and absorb energy from the ski flexing. In terms of vertical (upward) release elasticity at the heel, Vipec is virtually the same as most other tech bindings, in that it has somewhat limited elasticity that may require you to dial up your vertical release setting to prevent pre-release from forward/upward shock forces (exacerbated by big boots and rough terrain).

I think it's fair to call this 'odd." One of the toe pins is adjustable. From the mounting instructions, this appears to compensate for variations in tech fitting dimensions.

One of the toe pins is adjustable. This is said to be set at the factory to work for about 80% of the boots out there, but is available to compensate for variations in tech fitting dimensions that would otherwise render the binding disfunctional.

This is the step-in trigger. Same location as other brands of tech bindings.

This is the step-in trigger. Same location as other brands of tech bindings. Probably the same issues of snow or ice packing underneath, though having it made of a wire will probably help.

Vipec has ZERO tech gap. Instead, turn a screw at the rear until binding heel contacts boot.

Vipec has ZERO tech gap. Instead, turn a screw at the rear until binding heel contacts boot. Then back of slightly. That's it, done. The heel unit moves fore/aft on a track as the ski flexes. For you forward pressure fanatics from the 1970s, there is NO forward pressure until the ski flexes. Adjustment of the heel unit is done for BOOT LENGTH, not forward pressure.

Vipec from the rear, lower pozidrive screw does for/aft movement. RV (DIN) is adjusted from above.

Vipec from the rear, lower pozidrive screw does for/aft movement. RV (DIN) is adjusted from above.

Indeed, I keep looking at this thing and thinking, will Vipec be the first tech binding certified to the ski touring DIN 13992 standard for touring bindings, formerly only attainable by frame bindings? As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, the first company to get their tech binding DIN certified can rule a huge market share, due to how regular ski shops will favor a binding that could possibly cause fewer legal headaches if someone gets hurt on it. Check out the following official PowerPoint slides, they hint at this by using the term DIN instead of RV.

Vipec heel lift modes.

Vipec heel lift modes. We hope they at least gave a private nod to G3 as this looks quite similar to Onyx. Continuing that thought, the way the heel unit moves for and aft, locking the brake and thus allowing mode switching without exiting binding, that's a lot like Onyx as well. So perhaps it wasn't the Austrians, but the Canadians who cooked up some of this stuff? And then the Swiss came along and put it all together in Vipec? In January the answers will begin.

Also, check out the official mounting and adjustment instructions, for more insight as to how Vipec functions. (Moved from this blog post due to bandwidth issues.)

A few specs:
“Vipec” binding delta angle created by a 10 mm difference in height between toe and heel pins (toe lower). Dynafit Beast has an 8 mm difference. Both have a very relaxed Delta angle compared to other tech bindings which can have 15 mm or more delta.

Screw hole patterns, Vipec at top with red dots marking pattern. Both are similar, Dynafit a bit wider.

Screw hole patterns, Vipec at top with red dots marking pattern. Both are similar, Dynafit a bit wider.

Screw pattern of Vipec is narrow at the heel, 27.8 mm left/right. Dynafit Radical is 35 mm front pair 31 mm rear pair. While the even the Dynafit is considered narrow by some standards, it’s really quite fine since the boot is held by heel pins on a much narrower form. In other words, a “chain” is only as strong as its most rigid link.

Front screw hole patterns. Dynafit Radical in green, 'Viper' in red.

Front screw hole patterns. Dynafit Radical in green, 'Viper' in red.

Vipec screw patterm is wide at the front. Pair at the front on 42 mm centers, pair at rear 39 mm centers. Compare to Dynafit Radical at 30 mm wide for both pair. Again, I’m not sure this matters any more than the width of a snow crystal you’re skiing on, but I knew someone would ask.

Weight: This is not exactly a production binding so I did not weigh it. “Official” weight is 470 grams per binding without brakes, 545 grams with brakes. This is very competitive and should make weight of this rig a non-issue compared to similar bindings of other brands.

Comments

139 Responses to “Diamir Vipec 12 — New Fritschi Tech Binding”

  1. Doug Bryce October 24th, 2013 8:08 am

    Fritshci designed something new for the first time in 20 years!
    Looks nice… If the price is sensible it could be a nice option.

  2. Sam F October 24th, 2013 8:08 am

    I saw this thing last year. I wonder about the DIN. It does appear to have a kind of “foward pressure”, which should keep the vertical RV more constant. Very interesting. A real shame if Diamir can’t get back in the mix, in alot of ways modern backcountry skiing owes something to the Diamir frame bindings, and those that skied it so well.

  3. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 8:18 am

    Doug, essentially the Swiss had to copy (and perhaps improve) something Austrian. Had to have been difficult. Perhaps took them 20 years to get used to the idea (grin).

    In truth, credit to Fritschi for taking their time and doing something that appears to be a design and function evolution. So many tech bindings are pretty much total copies, that gets boring. This is not boring, that’s for sure!

  4. Harry October 24th, 2013 8:27 am

    Is it “Vee-pek” or “vi-pek”?

  5. Justin October 24th, 2013 8:51 am

    So that weight is per pair I assume? Do they have an anticipated release date? Let the torture testing begin Lou!

  6. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 9:22 am

    Pronounced with the I as in “eye.”

    I’ll do more clarity on the weights in a little while, and accurize as much as possible.

    http://www.wildsnow.com/more/backcountry-skiing-gear-weights/

    The weights are for single bindings.

  7. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 9:25 am

    Release date is January 15, 2014

  8. Fraser October 24th, 2013 9:27 am

    Hi Lou,
    Do you see any downfall to what looks to be easily adjustable pins? i.e strength issues or issues of them coming loose? I know that no other tech system has pins that the user can take in and out or adjust, or at least none of them advertise that you can, and I feel like there is a reason for that.

  9. Dave Field October 24th, 2013 10:32 am

    I’d be concerned as well with the toe-piece having each side release separately. It would appear the adjustment between the pin spacing and the boot sockets would need to be checked regulary and any slack that might be developed through releases and use adjusted.

  10. Skian October 24th, 2013 11:12 am

    I salute you for calling it release value (RV)…as I remember last year they did promise dealers it was going to be DIN. Many shops made their buying decisions on this.

    The features are IMO are very intriguing and game changing if executed correctly and as promised.

    I hope they can encourage TUV to create a truly worthy release test specific for tech bindings.

    This category deserves its own testing protocol. I really wish marketing departments would not write copy without clarifying products true features before misleading the general public and dealers in the market, but maybe I’m just smoking crack with that dream….

  11. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 11:28 am

    At one time, for a season or so, the original Dynafit bindings had pins that were threaded in. They were indeed unreliable. But done with good metallurgy and design I think it can work. Much will be on the user to tighten/adjust correctly, and I’m wondering if when switching boots you will have to re-adjust the toe pin (one pin is adjustable, not pair). That could be a major detriment for some folks.

  12. Lee Lau October 24th, 2013 11:38 am

    OK Fritschi – get it right and you’ll have something very cool

  13. Harry October 24th, 2013 11:44 am

    Here is a good rumor. The Vipec is going to be extremely price competetive in comparison to what is out there at the moment. I beleive it.

    I was only a little excited about the zenith last year, I thought it might be more than a season farther away than this January before retailers had them in stock, but now I am pumped.

  14. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 11:51 am

    Harry, just Google it. You’ll find them already priced on Euro websites for around 450 euros and Dynaft Radical ST for 395 euros, indicating street pricing difference perhaps. Official U.S. MSRP is $599.95.

  15. Sam October 24th, 2013 12:16 pm

    Can someone explain the utility of being able to switch from downhill to touring mode without taking the ski off? Unless you’re some sort of yoga master who likes to make things unnecessarily difficult, I can’t think of any reason why you would want to attach the skin with the ski still attached to your foot.

  16. John Lee Pettimore October 24th, 2013 12:30 pm

    Remembering the “Skyhøy” tele bindings that Fritschi introduced in ’98, I’d like to see the plastic actually work for at least one season before going for the Vipec.
    The solutions offered look intriguing, though. But, so did the Onyx and the Naxo NX 21s. I’ll stick to my guns (Radical FTs) for this season, and wait for the improved Vipec 2.0

  17. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Sam, some folks like meadow skipping on AT bindings, Fritschi has addressed that market (grin).

    Seriously, it comes in handy when you reach flatter terrain and want to shuffle along without skins. I’ve found it to be an over-rated feature, since it’s pretty quick to switch regular tech bindings once you’re used to it. Stunning to think of the amount of engineering that goes into providing this for 1 out of every 900 users (grin).

    Lou

  18. Harry October 24th, 2013 12:40 pm

    Lou, based on some information I recieved that may be different soon.

  19. HughP October 24th, 2013 2:34 pm

    Super-sexy.

    Yeah, the adjustable pin is kinda odd and an area of weakness for sure. But I imagine that with all the thought that clearly went into these it was done for some good reason.

  20. Rob October 24th, 2013 2:48 pm

    The capability of switching from ski mode to tour mode without removing the ski would allow AT skiers to keep up with telemarkers on flat egress terrain. Thus eliminating the (sole?) remaining advantage of tele bindings (other than soul?).

  21. Steve October 24th, 2013 3:00 pm

    Any idea if the hole pattern matches Dynafit Radical or Pre-Radical?

  22. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 3:14 pm

    Screw patterns are kind of strange in that toe is nice and wide (wider than Radical)but heel screw pattern is narrower. No matchup as far as I can see, pretty sure mounting these will require a whole new set up holes. Lou

  23. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 3:16 pm

    Rob, OMG, that telemarker got 68 seconds ahead of me because I had to remove my tech bindings to get my heel to tour mode!!!! They’re going to drink up all the PBR!!! (grin)

  24. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 3:18 pm

    BTW, difference in height between toe and heel pins is 10 mm (toe lower), Beast is 8, so they’re virtually the same in binding delta angle, and the angle is low. Radical, for example, is about 15 mm difference, quite a bit of delta, too much in my opinion.

  25. Big Steve October 24th, 2013 3:54 pm

    The ability to switch on the fly from DH mode to tour would be a very nice feature with fat fishscale skis, e.g., Voile Vector BC/Charger BC, aka neo-hippie stix

  26. david October 24th, 2013 4:02 pm

    any word on delta/ramp angle/difference btwn front and back stack?

  27. david October 24th, 2013 4:03 pm

    Never mind… see it’s been added. Thanks Lou

  28. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 4:11 pm

    Yeah, I virtually got locked out of the site today by all the traffic on this post, so I’m late on some of my additions. The plan was to start early and spread it all out over the day, little did I know! The pent up interest in new tech bindings is amazing. But in some ways not surprising as it’s been rough and rocky traveling what with all the recalls, breakage, changes and stuff for the last 30 years. For the most part, goodness, but reality is reality. Let’s hope they can release this binding with a smooth entry into popularity.

    I just added some photos of the screw patterns, compared to Dynafit Radical.

  29. David B October 24th, 2013 4:39 pm

    Sam, the ability to switch to tour mode on the fly is extremely handy in deep snow regions (like Japan) when guiding, if not on tele’s.

    The need to bush bash a little and break trail regularly calls for the easy switch. Taking the ski off can mean post-holing up to your armpit. Not overly enjoyable with a bunch of paying customers on your hammer giving you death stares.

  30. Adam Olson October 24th, 2013 4:42 pm

    Sweet, sign me up. I want a pair ASAP! Looks good for big guys.

    Is that hole pattern the same as the old Fritschi?

  31. Gentle Sasquatch October 24th, 2013 5:19 pm

    I am drinking this cool aid and loving it. There are few all day trails in the east that start steep, flatten out, go steep again, mellow out, flatten out and then finish steep. Witch BC skis and fish scales this would be perfect.

  32. Louie October 24th, 2013 5:36 pm

    Looks like a cool design. I like the potential for better elasticity. As far as switching to tour mode, I know one Telemarker who puts on his skins on with his skis on. He always beats me to the top, too.

  33. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 5:49 pm

    Gentle, what color is the Coolaid, or have you drunk too much to be able to tell? Lou

  34. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 5:50 pm

    Louie, you actually KNOW a telemarker? That’s like saying you know Nefertiti!

  35. Big Steve October 24th, 2013 5:52 pm

    The color? White, of course : )

  36. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 5:56 pm

    White is totally absolutely the best color for this stuff. Pass on that!

  37. Lou Dawson October 24th, 2013 5:58 pm

    Fun now that our readers are not creating a virtual DDOS attack! I can actually participate in the comments, and even upload some new photos! Miraculous!

    Anyone has any suggestions for scale-able managed VPS server, I’m all ears.

  38. d October 24th, 2013 7:22 pm

    Exciting looking binding.

    @David B

    “Taking the ski off can mean post-holing up to your armpit”

    Then only take off and transition one ski at a time whilst standing on the other. That is the norm in any powder.

  39. Neil October 24th, 2013 7:41 pm

    “I am drinking this cool aid and loving it. There are few all day trails in the east that start steep, flatten out, go steep again, mellow out, flatten out and then finish steep. Witch BC skis and fish scales this would be perfect.”

    We have a lot of rolling ground here in Oz. Kick and glide with skins on isnt easy.

  40. jim knight October 24th, 2013 10:18 pm

    I hope you’ll be reviewing the ATK Raider 12 sometime soon.

  41. Joe Risi October 25th, 2013 5:58 am

    Wow the Kool-Aid has definitely changed since January!
    It’ll be interesting to see how smooth the release actually feels.

  42. Rodney October 25th, 2013 6:37 am

    Sign me up! Going to give these a go. Really like the idea of improved elasticity in the binding.

    I suspect the adjustment in the toe pin in necessary to get a consistent release value.

  43. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2013 6:52 am

    Jim, that’s my hope as well!

  44. Poach Ninja October 25th, 2013 8:44 am

    Lots of plastic. Looks like the Onyx.

  45. Douglas October 25th, 2013 8:56 am

    New stuff is Kool but do we all remember when the Fritschi Diamir (not the original if I remember correctly: Lou?) was released in the late nineties? I can’t remember the exact number of years it took for them to get it right but it was somewhere around five years until they finally stopped breaking. I bet we all remember friends or ourselves who had broken them, sometimes, far from civilization. That was a surprise seeing that the company is Swiss.

    Of course, they are a good company and they are doing their best. I just believe it’s best to not purchase things just because it’s new or different, from any company. In these ‘fast-n-light’ consumerism days of the 21st Century, companies use us, the public as their testers: Oops, we’ll have to fix that eh? Unacceptable. Make sure they don’t fail on us!!!!

    That climbing post looks a bit sketchy. Plastic with nothing under it? I have been a Dynafit skier for fifteen years and although I sure would like nothing more than to see a tech binding with DIN, I’m not so sure this is a wise choice as of yet. So, best of luck to Fritschi and their quest.

  46. Pierre October 25th, 2013 9:06 am

    Lou, are you an official Dynafit dealer ?

    I really hope that Diamir will be the concurrent that Dynafit needs to have, I am really enthusiast to see this kind of evolution.

    Your “impartiality” (as a blogger) becomes less and less visible, what I regret.

  47. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2013 9:16 am

    Douglas, good points. My recommendation is unless you’re either 1.) Needing certain features, badly, or 2.)Just enjoy early adopting of fresh product, it is indeed best to wait out a season for new products that involve personal safety. With all companies, the record for AT binding product launches is abysmal. I’ve actually been pretty surprised that some of this stuff has not involved the Consumer Products Safety Commission or whatever it’s called. I’ve hurt myself testing bindings. Let me say that here at Wildsnow.com, we are very leery of testing totally new first-year ski bindings. And even beyond that, we seem to constantly have concerns pop up.

    As for the holy grail of DIN, I wouldn’t put too much faith in that to mean the binding is somehow vastly superior to others. DIN standards can have advantages for consumers, but it’s not the end-all be-all. Look at all the orthopedic surgeons getting rich off the performance of DIN certified ski bindings. It’s sad but true that, for example, a traditional tech binding could conceivably be safer for your legs than one that gets DIN certified. That’s how messed up the system is.

    I do like the added elasticity of the Vipec, that’s always a plus, and is what I’d say is the main advantage over most tech bindings. But it needs to be consumer tested before we know that elasticity works correctly.

  48. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2013 9:20 am

    Pierre, I’m neither an official nor an unofficial Dynafit dealer. As for being a blogger, yes I am. Sorry to disappoint you, perhaps CNN will start covering tech bindings more impartially. Or perhaps the New York Times. Lou

  49. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2013 9:34 am

    Not sure if you guys are dissing plastic or not, but here are some points to consider:

    1. Some of the most scary breakage with tech bindings over the past years has been in metal parts, for example the heel pins on Plum, and the rear spindle post on Dynafit.

    2. Next time you ski, consider how much metal vs plastic there is in your skis. Do they still work? Do they hold up ok? Do they need to be solid aluminum? And yes, the edges are steel, just as tech binding pins are steel.

    3. Main thing about plastic vs metal is how everything is engineered, and the quality control. Plastic can actually be stronger than metal in many ways.

    4. I wouldn’t evaluate a product according to how much plastic is in it or appears to be in it, but rather by how it holds up under use. Fritschi has had their moments with plastic, and the exploding Diamir of decades ago is one of those downers that tends to stick in the brain like a plastic shard embedded in your toe — but that was more than 20 years ago people! Before some WildSnow readers were even born! Since then, the Diamir binding has for the most part been a model of plastic and metal engineering.

    Lou

  50. Big Steve October 25th, 2013 9:39 am

    I recall that the common failure of the early Fritschi TItanals was of the aluminum alloy underfoot bar. The bar would flex, sometimes bend, work harden and crack. Last time I checked, aluminum was a metal. : )

  51. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2013 9:54 am

    Steve, indeed, exactly my point. Thanks for chiming in. Lou

  52. Woody Dixon October 25th, 2013 10:07 am

    Lou/All re:Plastic…

    There are a lot of firearms that feature polymers/plastic… if you look at most law enforcement officers holsters these days they are carrying guns that are mostly plastic short of the slide. The best selling rifle in the US right now features a ton of plastic parts.

    Just saying. Sure beefy metal bindings are awesome, but I think it’s unfair to short change modern plastics if they’re done right. Metal parts break too.

  53. Woody Dixon October 25th, 2013 10:14 am

    Plus I could imagine that a dynafit style binding made entirely of polymers would fix most of the chattering/high frequency vibrations experienced on hardpack.

  54. Charlie October 25th, 2013 10:42 am

    To pile on here; good engineering matters, but the material choice may not. I was amazed when I got my first pair of Dynafits and the entire body of the heelpiece was plastic. Done right, plastic can be as good as metal. In a backcountry ski binding, it can be better, simply because it’s lighter.

    The Fritschi moldings don’t catch my eye as elegant, too many ribs, lots of moving parts, but the proof is in the pudding. If it operates well, doesn’t break, and weighs less at a comparable or lower price point, we’ll all be using them soon enough…

  55. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2013 10:56 am

    Woody, when was the last time you skied hardpack? (grin)

  56. Woody Dixon October 25th, 2013 11:51 am

    The Outdoor Retailer WM demo in powder filled Utah! (Come to think of it, I’ve only ever skied hardpack in Utah, which has me convinced it doesn’t actually snow there like the marketing videos show.) (grin)

    The future will be full polymer dynafits that are engineered for your weight/height/RV with minimal moving parts that you make on your 3D printer.

    The new fritschi binding looks pretty sweet. It’s a shame Dynafit didn’t go this route rather than THE BEAST. I think they missed the mark a bit.

  57. Gentle Sasquatch October 25th, 2013 11:58 am

    Lou – I drank to koolaid so fast I didn’t even notice the color. :-)

    This binding is what many vendors have been trying to achieve for years. While they achieved it in some aspects they faltered in other. In this case they mostly failed in keeping the binding within tolerable weight levels when compared to Dynafit bindings.

    Fritchi (at least on paper) has done it. This binding has an acceptable weight that is within Dynafit Radical/Vertical. I believe this is where the comparison is supposed to happen. Both have some plastic incorporated into their design.

    I am definitely the type who enjoys to be an early adopter. If I only had one pair of skis then I would be more cautious. But because I have several pairs at my disposal I will be most likely installing this binding on my Voile Vectors in January barring some alarming testing surprises.

  58. Scott Keating October 25th, 2013 12:29 pm

    Being one of those guys that still skis the lifts quite a bit with Dynafit compatible gear, I love the elastic toe release and the rest of the features on this binding. I will make the gamble and have them on my next pair of Alpine boards. Climbing the Bowl keeps getting easier, the lighter my gear gets!

    I agree, I think Dynafit missed the mark with the Beast. There is a binding that is TOO over engineered.

  59. Ted October 25th, 2013 2:13 pm

    A lot of us ski Dynafits without the brakes to avoid added stress on the rotating heel. No rotation here but I can imagine some folks wanting to skip the brakes for weight or other reasons. Can the Vipec be skied sans brakes?
    Also, is there a ski mode vs tour mode in the toe? I assume not but was just wondering.

  60. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2013 3:08 pm

    Hi Ted, yes, skied without brakes, easy. Yes, the toe has a ski and tour mode just like other tech bindings. I didn’t detail the toe in the video because it’s pre-production and didn’t work as it will when retailed.

    By the way, everyone, VERTICAL ELASTICITY AT HEEL is the SAME as most other tech bindings (with exception of Beast, for example). Wanted to make that clear as the way I wrote the review implied it was better. That’s a bit of a disappointment, but hey, nothing is perfect. I tested this last for fear of messing up the proto binding, but it held together fine.

  61. david October 25th, 2013 5:38 pm

    Thanks for the video demonstration. Appears to be a very interesting binding and looking forward to seeing it when it hits the shops. Also looks like there might be more interesting news coming from BD as well – is that a Carbon Aspect 176 in supporting role with the Vipec?

  62. Bigsnowtrucker October 25th, 2013 5:39 pm

    Skian (poster from above) is the NA distributor for Plum. But I’m sure it was an honest mistake in him not mentioning that in his misleading comment. Interesting.

  63. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2013 5:44 pm

    Big, I didn’t see anything in Skian’s comment that made it necessary for him to post in his business name, and his comment didn’t strike me as misleading. On the other hand, I probably should have reminded him to do so no matter what, just to keep it on the up-and-up. Thanks for reminding me about that. Lou

  64. Douglas October 25th, 2013 7:11 pm

    I stand humbly corrected and constantly learning. Nice video Lou. They certainly do look interesting and I also like the elasticity factor as well. Regarding DIN; yes I understand. Bizarre it is.

    Thanks for the beta all!

  65. Jailhouse Hopkins October 25th, 2013 8:03 pm

    Close but no cigar. I can’t believe in this day and age that some company hasn’t nailed by now. Maybe it is truly elusive.
    How’s the elk hunting going big fella?

  66. Matt October 25th, 2013 8:10 pm

    Lou not sure if it was addressed (tried to make my way through the comments but there is a lot) but do you have to adjust the toe when going from ski to tour like a dynafit binding?

    Just wondering as when you are in tour and all the pressure is on the pins, those icy sidehills put a lot of torque on the toe piece. Just wondering how that will work with a sliding toe piece with wings that open up.

  67. neonorchid October 25th, 2013 10:30 pm

    Lou, i’m looking at this and the Beast as a hopeful alternative to Duke, Adrenalin, Guardian, etc., rail types, something more suitable both in and out of bounds. A one ski quiver if you will.

    As such, wondering if the toe piece seemingly unimpeded lateral release demonstrated in your video is the only mode of release or is there also some degree of (DIN set), diagonal and or vertical release release mechanism?

  68. Jake October 26th, 2013 2:32 am

    Hey Lou,

    thanks for all this information. At first glance the Fritschi looks very promising!!!

    But theres still one open question regarding the release of the front toe.

    Let´s say I´m in ski mode, I already released at the heel but won´t lean as much forward as needed to push the “open” trigger on the front neither do I use those 13mm of Elasticitsy on the front. Instead the skis start twisting so that my heel starts to twist around the front toe. Will the Vipec release in such a scenario or am I trapped!?

    An next question is. I mounted some F 12s on my touring rig. Is it possible to mount the Vipec as well without having to change the boot center (BSL328)
    or do the screws don´t have enough distance between each other.

    Thanks for answering and sorry for my poor English ;-)

  69. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2013 6:31 am

    Jake, I can’t figure out what you’re really asking about release.

    As for mount positions, I doubt that screw hole overlap will be a problem and changing from Dynafit Radical to Vipec would work fine. But you never know for sure. When the production binding comes out, paper templates will be available and perhaps we can figure out a way to answer that question with more precision.

  70. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2013 6:59 am

    Matt, yes, I mentioned somewhere above that the toe has the usual tech style lever that you engage for touring. The binding companies don’t like calling this a “lock,” but we’ll continue to call it the “touring lock.”

    Neon, are you talking about vertical release at the toe, and “tilting” release? I didn’t see any provision for those angles that was any more developed than other tech bindings.

    Note that Vipec does not compete with Dynafit Beast — it doesn’t have the vertical elasticity at the heel that the Beast does. The niche of Vipec is as an alternative to bindings such as Dynafit Radical. Vipec is much lighter than Beast and has the mode-change-on-the-fly feature. Overall Vipec appears to be an improved touring binding, while Beast feels like it’s indeed a full-on alpine binding that tours better than any other such binding.

    The other thing Vipec appears to be is a legit effort to achieve certification to DIN standards, which would give Fritschi a huge boost in sales. That’s a wash in my book. Not particularly exciting and has a downside, but probably a positive factor in the end.

    Something you guys should focus on is how you presently use your tech bindings. Do you lock the toe while skiing down? If so, you are skiing on a binding that could tear your leg apart and should look at products with release mechanics that don’t require you to lock out your safety release. Vipec could be one such product.

    Do you ski with your tech bindings in “normal” downhill mode without the toe locked, at normal RV settings, and never have problems with pre-release either to the side or up vertical at the heel? Then don’t obsess, your bindings are working for you.

    Vipec appears to be a tech binding that solves some of the pre-release problems endemic to the traditional tech binding form factor, but we’ll only know for sure when it’s been out in consumer use for a few months or perhaps a winter.

    P.S., You’ll probably eventually hear some marketing spreech about how the Fritschi brake is more beefy and functions better than Dynafit. I did not form an opinion on that. Again, take a look at your own experience and evaluate if brake performance is something important, or just white noise. For example, my wife and I usually ski our tech bindings without brakes… but sometimes I go with brakes, especially if I’m at the resorts.

    Lou

  71. Jake October 26th, 2013 7:02 am

    Thanks for the answer.

    I will try to explain it again.

    Let´s say the boot is attached only with the the toe pins and you are in skiing mode.
    Will the Binding be able to release If you are now twisting the heel from side to side. Or does it only release after having used those full 13 mm of Elastictiy?

    An Alpine Binding for example gives your toe “free” after you released at the heel. Dynafit give your toe freee after you released at the heel and twist your boot. What about Zenith?

  72. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2013 7:06 am

    Jake, that’s a very astute observation! I understand your point. Next week I’ll look at the binding again, but I suspect it does exactly what any other tech binding does, in that once you release from the heel the toe comes out very easily when torqued. Remind me if you don’t hear a definite answer next week. Lou

  73. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2013 7:11 am

    I’m thinking that when we’ve had retail version of Vipec for a few weeks on-snow and it appears to be ready for prime-time, we’ll do a shootout between it and Dynafit Radical. That’ll be fun. For example, I’m thinking that sometimes the “lever flip” mode change of the Vipec would be nice, but other times the traditional heel unit rotation of the Dynafit could be the preferred mode change method. Another thing I’ll be evaluating is how easy snapping into the bindings is. For example, Dynafit has the Power Towers that help guide your foot into the binding. How Vipec assists in the click-in is unknown at this time.

    Whew, lots to think about and write about, eh!?

  74. Jake October 26th, 2013 7:18 am

    Thanks an I´m glad you understood what I was trying to say.

    And no worries! I will remind you if necessary.

  75. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2013 7:41 am

    Everyone, THE BINDING IS CALLED VIPEC not Zenith. Good lesson in the science of branding, mistake by Fritschi to fool around with names… but then, any gear from Europe always has three or four names, right (grin)?

  76. Rodney October 26th, 2013 9:33 am

    Lou, could you have a look at another comparison with the Dyanafit. There is a pre-release that you have demo’d before on the Dynafit which has impacted me – the one where our push the boot to the side and then rotate it towards the side with the pressure (essentially the pressure laterally opens the binding at the toe on e other side and the rotations then pops it out).

    I think with the side to side elasticity of the Vipec, this would be reduced? Interested in your desk top test!

  77. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2013 10:49 am

    Rodney, no reason to comparative test that, as I can tell you there is no comparison. Vipec _releases_ intentionally by how the boot toe moves to the side, and that tension is adjustable — along with there being quite a bit of elasticity. 100% different than Dynafit and most other tech bindings. Sure, the Vipec could pre-release just like any binding in existence can pre-release, but it’s not the same as other tech bindings. Thus, “reduced” is the wrong word. “Completely changed” is how I’d describe it, and say I’d “hope” the changed mechanics lessen risk of pre-release, as it appears they likely might.

    Thus, the toe action could be where the news is here. It’s just too bad they didn’t add some vertical elasticity to the heel upward release mode. That’s actually where I’ve had most of my problems over the years with tech binding pre-release.

  78. Rodney October 26th, 2013 11:16 am

    I think vertical pre release could come from two sources in Dynafits can come from two sources – the lack of elasticity; and the variation in the release value based on the flex in the ski. I suppose this binding addresses one of the two.

    Shame it does not help with the elasticity as well!

  79. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2013 12:38 pm

    If I didn’t do so (thought I alluded to it at least) I should have mentioned that the spring loaded heel unit of the Vipec does eliminate two modes of pre-release:

    1. Shortening of the “tech gap” as ski flexes, resulting in bottoming out of boot against fixed binding heel unit. Very dependent on how soft the ski flexes, weight and aggression of skier, etc.

    2. And use, variation in release value as tech gap shortens and elongates (much less of a problem and possibly imaginary).

    To me, the worst problem with tech binding heels is the lack of vertical elasticity, that’s why I tend to emphasize it. Again, it’s a shame Fritschi didn’t build in more vertical elasticity. But understandable, as doing so adds weight and complexity that might be inappropriate.

    Lou

  80. Terry October 26th, 2013 1:51 pm

    >Anyone has any suggestions for scale-able managed VPS server, I’m all ears.

    Lou, I highly recommend Cloudflare, which will add content-caching, plus protect your site from attack. I use it at work and it saves us considerable cost due to bandwidth reduction. The $20/mo plan is enough, or try the free plan to start. All you do is make some DNS changes to implement it, so Cloudflare is “in front” of your current site.

    https://www.cloudflare.com/overview

  81. Sedgesprite October 26th, 2013 3:28 pm

    Team Pansy wants to know if the crampon can be secured in an always down mode. Or, if a B&D crampon lock system would fit the gap and soothe our nerves.

  82. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2013 3:30 pm

    Probably gonna need B&D…

  83. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2013 3:33 pm

    Thanks Terry, I looked into that a while ago and nixed for some reason I can’t remember. Will revisit. I think the deal was we needed the $200/month plan. We already pay quite a bit for our dedicated server, and for much less than that a month we can do some server upgrades. But like I said, I’ll re-examine. We get some pretty big bandwidth peaks, caused by around 20,000 unique visitors a day on some days, on a content rich site that demands lots of pipe volume as well as many html requests per visitor. And we already do major stuff to block attacks, which reduces total traffic quite a bit. More defense is always better, of course. Lou

  84. Hallvard October 27th, 2013 5:14 am

    I really like the solution for the toe. I’d think it’ll solve the pre-release issue some experience on hardpack. Let’s hope it actually works and holds up for more than a seasons use.

    But why they didn’t do anything smarter for the heel post I don’t understand. Shouldn’t it be easy to get a more alpine like solution for the heel retention. Doesn’t Ski Trab have something coming that works like that. That should had some vertical elasticity and you could possibly make something that doesn’t rely on any metal insert in the heel.

  85. dmr October 27th, 2013 1:42 pm

    Thanks for the great article, Lou, it’s nice to see additional options out there.

    Regarding the binding release issues mentioned, here’s my two cents, and I’m only a data point of one, so take if for what it is. I have the classic TLT Speed, am an aggressive skier (ski stiff race boots and stiff skis when at the resort). My short stature (5’3″, 140lbs) may mean that my experience is of course much different than others.

    *Vertical release: never had a pre-release issue, and my bindings have always released when needed.

    *Lateral release: I’ll admit that on the down I’ve never really had to test this (only test the vertical release). However, on the up, on a few creek crossings and such, I’ve put enough torque on the front piece in lock down mode for it to (thankfully) release when I took a fall. This leads me to believe that there really is no significant issue with the front pincers releasing (when in ski mode and not locked out) in a fall where there is enough force to release the heel piece.

    Only in truly steep exposed terrain do I lock out the front piece, otherwise it is always in ski mode, and I have never had a problem with it pre-releasing.

    As a side note, other than alpine racers (where bindings are cranked to 16 or higher), all the knee injuries I’ve seen/heard of (friends or acquaintances) on tech bindings have been slow rotation injuries where there just was not enough force (or initial force before the knee got torqued) to release the binding. Two of these injuries occurred on flat traverses only 200 to 300 meters from the car after a long descent and a long day touring.

    Hallvard,

    Here’s Lou’s article on the Trab binding (protoype), dates from 2011:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/4462/trab-binding-latest-version/

    And here is an article with photos from ISPO 2013:
    http://www.ski-libre.com/news/infoskirando/trab-tr2-ispo2013-ski-fixation-rando/

  86. Matt Brake October 27th, 2013 8:14 pm

    Maybe I missed it, but what is the stack height? Looks high.

  87. Lou Dawson October 27th, 2013 10:24 pm

    Hi Matt, yes, about the same stack as Beast.

    See our chart:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/10733/get-up-rise-up-stand-up-for-your-ramp/

    ‘best, Lou

  88. etto October 28th, 2013 7:44 am

    Lou,

    There seems to be an (almost) production ready version of the Trab TR2.
    ( http://friflyt.no/Ski/Festes-foran-og-bak )
    ( http://skitrab.com/en-au/c-15-tr-race-bindings/181-tr2-bindings.html )

    With all your connections in the business could you possibly dig up some more information on this binding? It also seems to fullfil your requirements for a tech 2.0 :)

    The binding requires a non-standard heel on the boot, a mod of standard techboots in good wildsnow style would be appreciated!

    (a bit off topic, but we’re talking new tech bindings, close enough!)

  89. Superyards October 28th, 2013 7:54 am

    It looks great. Can’t wait to get out there.

  90. EasTim October 28th, 2013 10:18 am

    Looks great, but has the same kind of cantilevered arms for heel lifters that Dynafit brought in. I have to say I prefer the old turn-for-tower idea – much more solid when kicking in a skintrack. Even if the plastic is strong, that’s a lot of stress on those arms!

  91. Drew Tabke October 28th, 2013 7:23 pm

    Cool video, Lou. Super exciting.

    Without having seen the binding, I think this will likely be a great option for more novice to intermediate skiers with a keen interest in backcountry skiing. Seems a little more user-friendly than a traditional tech binding with the tradeoff of added weight and plastics. Heck, I’d love if through testing it proved to be durable and high-performance enough for a more aggressive skier as well.

  92. Jake November 5th, 2013 5:10 am

    @ Lou

    Did you investigate further how release works at the toe if you release from the heel and and then torque your toe?

    I´m also thinking about putting those Vipec on one of my Freeride Boards. Those are mounted with Look Pivots and some Marker Dukes. Of course I will have to make new holes for the Vipec, but do you think it´s possible to mount some Fritschi Vipec while keeping the same mounting point (I have a BSL of 228) ?

    thx!

  93. Lou Dawson November 5th, 2013 8:00 am

    Jake, I don’t think there’s any problem with release in that mode. And yes, I’m still getting around to looking at it again.

    As for binding screw hole overlap, I doubt you’ll have a problem, especially considering you can move 2 or 3 mm fore or aft to prevent overlap.

    But, Vipec is not a Freeride binding. I don’t know why that take is being spread around. Vipec appears to be a beautifully engineered touring binding with some nice features, but the heel unit is virtually the same limited vertical release elasticity as most other tech bindings and virtually the same weight as Dynafit Radical. In other words, this is not a substitute for Marker Duke or Dynafit Beast. Actually, it is competition for bindings such as Radical.

    Lou

  94. Nick November 15th, 2013 1:58 pm

    I saw the Vipec at the Northwest Snow and Avalanche Workshop in Seattle over a week ago. I liked the setup. The only disadvantage I see thus far relative to the current dynafit bindings, at least from my limited inspection, is that the toe clamping area does not have the tower-like guides. Not sure if that would really make that big of a difference in ease of engagement – I have never used the tower-type of dynafits. I also like the idea that they can be used either with or without the brakes, based on previous comments.

    I might be willing to be an early acceptor of these since I need a set of bindings for my skis. Was told they would arrive at retailers in Seattle in mid-January which would be fine since I am nursing a bad foot.

  95. ffp November 22nd, 2013 5:36 am

    Hey Lou,

    did you already ski those bindings? Is there a “first impression” review coming in the near future?

  96. Lou Dawson November 22nd, 2013 8:57 am

    They were still not ready to be skied. Someone is skiing them, somewhere. We have major coverage planned, but gradually. We’ll probably visit Fritschi in Europe and get the inside scoop, might even ski with those guys for a day. Lou

  97. bonschorno November 26th, 2013 6:46 am

    Hy Lou,

    Just cecked the actual Infos on the diamir site. Diamir says, stand height would be 39mm (http://www.diamir.com/produkt/diamir-vipec-12/, it is just mentioned in the german version of the website) – my old marker dukes have a stand height of 36mm and I already found this was a little too far away from the ski. For comparison, stand height on the dynafit beasts is 23/17mm. What do you think about that, how could this affect skiing in your opinion? Is their measuring standard different then other brands or did they really not work out a acceptable low stand height? bonschorno.

  98. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2013 7:06 am

    Bons, my opinion is that we all obsess a bit too much on stack/stand height. In ski touring, you need to get the binding that has the desired functions, and get used to the stack. It’s all rather a chuckle if you’ve been around for a while. In the 1970′s I remember seeing racers grinding out the inside soles of their boots to get closer to the ski, then a few years later they were on stilts and they even had to make an FIS rule on how high off the ski you could stack, and now we’re back to wanting to be lower… Again, my advice is to not worry about it. Binding delta is a more important consideration. Carpeskium

  99. bonschorno November 26th, 2013 7:20 am

    Lou, thx for the quick reply. Good point. It makes sense to me, giving the vipecs a try on snow, rather then just guessing about the performance of the bindings by studying the specs ;-) Greetings from the alps, where the magic white is already back…bonschorno

  100. The Gimp December 14th, 2013 7:28 am

    Not sure if I missed it in prior post ,but does the Vipec toe release in climb mode?
    Worries of getting crushed in the skin track have kept me in the Freerides so far.

  101. Lou Dawson December 14th, 2013 7:58 am

    Gimp, I’m recalling it has usual touring lock as with any other tech binding, but I could be wrong. As for tech bindings releasing in touring mode, they actually do, as many skiers can attest to (grin). It’s just that the release is inconsistent and not engineered. Would be cool if it was always adjustable, as with the, if memory serves, ATK?

  102. Frank December 14th, 2013 11:00 am

    Gimp, yes the Vipec does offer release in climbing mode and offers adjustable release in the toe.

  103. Gregg@Estes December 19th, 2013 5:34 am

    Lou
    My wife and I in our mid 60′s (I think in real good shape for our age) and just started AT skiing (have been Alpine skiers a while)-used Fritschi Eagles and Pros for about 10 days last week
    I am trying to decide which bindings to purchase- the Fritschi Vipec or the Fritschi Scout Bindings
    Not concerned about price differential
    Do you a recommendation, one vs the other?
    Thank you
    Gregg

  104. Lou Dawson December 19th, 2013 7:43 am

    Greg, if the Vipec works ok I’d recommend it as it’s tech binding and will be more efficient on the uphill. But it is not consumer tested, nor out in the journalist testing world any more than a small amount. Judging from the problems nearly every brand seems to have with new binding products, I’d be leery of early adoption until you can get some feet-on-the-ground opinions. We’ll be coming up with a good take at some point, and even have a direct visit with Fritschi scheduled in January in Switzerland. Will have much more information between now and then. Lou

  105. Lew December 24th, 2013 3:58 pm

    I’ve been following the Vipecs and am as curious as anyone on how they compare to Dynafit (when I’m going AT, I ski the Dynafit Radical TLT Radical FTs). I’m still learning some of the more technical aspects of the design features and think I understand “elasticity” but could you explain “delta” please? I also just landed some DPS Wailer 112s (Pure 3) and don’t want to set them up with a binding I’m not going to be happy with. I love the Dynafits and could easily stick with them but would prefer not to drill intoo these pricey skis and then find that the other works better. I’m also getting my wife set up on a new touring set-up and am wondering if the Vipecs would be a “safer” solution for her. Thanks for all you do for us with this research and advice!

  106. Daniel Dunn December 26th, 2013 8:07 am

    Check BD’s site, they’re up and available (for order anyway.)

  107. MBR December 29th, 2013 8:38 am

    Available in brake widths of 95, 108 and 120 mm. You might think I’m being cynical and making this up, but… Don’t like white? You can buy “color clip” kits, available in, count ‘em, five different color choices, for $40 USD.

  108. Harry December 29th, 2013 9:45 am

    I would say it is giong to be a long time before anyone knows if the Vipec is “safer” than any other tec binding, bind both meanings of the word. I am very excited about the features the the Vipec offers and already ordered my pair. However anyone with a conservative mindset about their gear should probably stick with a known quantity until there has been a large body of comsumer use to draw conclusions from.

    I am getting mine because I love new.

  109. Gentle Sasquatch December 30th, 2013 5:22 pm

    me too. Ordered and expected a delivery 2 weeks ago but some delay pushed it to January. Excited to try it out.

  110. Henrik January 3rd, 2014 11:30 am

    Will it be possible to run the Diamir Vipec binding without brakes? On the Diamir website they are marketing the brake unit as separated from the brake mechanism. Meaning that you only swap the brake arms when changing to another brake width.

    Most resellers here in Europe only have the 90mm and 100mm version in stock, which is why I would like to run the binding without brakes on my 115-125mm wide skis. I will use inserts (quiver killers) to mount the bindings to different skis with different widths.

  111. Lou Dawson January 8th, 2014 1:31 am

    Fritschi Vipec.

    Henrik and all, we spent the last two days in Switzerland working really hard on getting to know Vipec. Fairly long tour yesterday and all day in the offices at Fritschi the day before. A couple of things before I get another blog post done:

    - Yes, Vipec can easily be run without brakes but you’ll need an available part from Fritschi that screws on instead of the brake. It’s nice.

    - The toe safety release is NEVER locked out, they release in touring mode as well as downhill ski mode. The upwards position on the toe switch lever is just there to take up most of the side-to-side play caused by elasticity in the system, so they tour better on sidehills and such. I toured most of the day with the lever DOWN in the skiing downhill position and had no problem whatsoever. Very nice. This is a very important safety feature and something I was not clear on prior to the last couple of days. In other words, unlike all other current pintech bindings the Vipec has NO release lockout.

    - The adjustable boot toe pin in the toe wings is set at the factory for at least 80% of the boots on the market. It’s just there for boot companies who make their own inserts and mess up the dimensions. It’s a bit technical to adjust but can be done as do-it-yourself. If you need it adjusted, I’d recommend having a dealer do it. It’s obvious it it needs adjustment. There will either be too much play in the system, or the boot will not enter and exit the binding correctly.

  112. HW January 8th, 2014 2:06 am

    Why no wider brakes? Fritschi make a 130mm brake!

    Widest I see on the Fritschi WEB site is 115mm, whereas Dynafit Radical goes up to 130mm. I thought I was one of the few in Europe to use Dynafit on 120mm+ wide skis, but saw many others during my X-mas trip in Italy. Works fine, no problems.

  113. louis dawson January 8th, 2014 2:27 am

    HW you will see this evolve quickly, and aftermarket will kick in as well, making a lot of different brake widths is expensive for both manufacturer and retailer and ups the cost of everything.

  114. Gentle Sasquatch January 8th, 2014 4:27 am

    My Vipec is being mounted today. Yay!:)

  115. Billy Balz January 8th, 2014 4:40 am

    Does the Vipec’s toe have adjustable release value settings? If not, how does the tension/spring strength compare to a speed rad or FT? Thanks.

  116. louis dawson January 8th, 2014 6:08 am

    Billy, the way it works is not comparable and the toe tension release is indeed adjustable in the sense that what holds you in the bindng no matter what mode you are ln

  117. Billy Balz January 8th, 2014 8:20 am

    Thanks Lou, when will you be putting the Vipec paper templates and mounting instructions on your website?

  118. Lou Dawson January 8th, 2014 9:59 am

    Billy, it’ll be a while, the other guys (grin) will probably beat me to it. It’ll be worth doing, so I’ll get on it when we return from traveling. Thanks for asking — I need the prodding. Lou

  119. Alpine Hoser January 8th, 2014 10:27 am

    I hope Lou’s experience with the folks in Reichenbach was better than mine was today.

    I live in Switzerland and mail-ordered my Vipec bindings from a shop in Luzern. They promptly arrived two days ago. Since I install all my own bindings, I rolled up my sleeves to get down to business, but I realized there was no drilling template in the box.

    You see, I had read Lou’s “Vipec Shop Mounting and Adjustment” article, and convinced myself that the sticker template would be readily available. Not so.
    I got in touch with Fritschi. My written & verbal requests went up to the director level.
    I won’t be getting my Vipec template from Fritschi.

    Now that they’ve got my number, if anything goes wrong with the binding after a home installation, I can forget any warranty claim.
    Be carefull, and check Black Diamond’s policy on this.
    Regards from CH

  120. louis dawson January 8th, 2014 11:16 am

    Hmmm

  121. mountainlover January 9th, 2014 1:45 am

    Unfortunately I have the same problem as “Alpine Hoser” explained above.

    What is Fritschi thinking? I´m pretty confident I´m mounting my skis better than about 90% of those “trained and skilled” shop employees…

  122. Pablo January 9th, 2014 3:03 am

    Hi Lou,
    I’ve just skied the Vipecs yesterday.
    The binding ski really nice, it’s very easy to change modes ski/skin, skin/ski, very easy to use the lifters and didn’t experienved any unexpected reléase.

    But… (there’s allways a “but”) I have some issues… with interfacing with my TLT5 Perf.
    First, when adjusting the booth lenght, I put the bot in the binding and turn the screw until it’s Zero heel gap. Then i change mode to skin mode, flip up the boot, return to ski mode and try to enter the boot by stepping on heel pins….surprise! the Heel pins impacts with the rubber sole and it’s imposible to engage… So if I adjust the distance to the rubber sole then there is a small heel gap…

    The second Issue is when stepping in the front… most of times the front pins just doesn’t fit into the toe fittings…They just close OVER the toe plastic protussion wher the fittins are instaled. I had to step in ver carefully, with very Little pressure to fit right in the fittings and not over the fittings. If I just setp the same way as with my verticals or my Guides, the pins simply close over.

    I don’t try with any other boot and don’t know if it just occur with TLT5…

    Did U experienced any issue of this kind??

    apologies for my bad english.

  123. Lou Dawson January 9th, 2014 3:04 am

    Mountain and Hoser, I’m sure both you guys can do the technical mounting, it’s the other 99% of DIY folks that Fritschi is concerned about. I’m in the middle on this, and understand point of view from both sides. If I were you I’d have some sympathy for Fritschi, if a bunch of DIY mounts go wrong and they have to deal with it, that’s a nightmare. On the other hand, in my opinion they do have to support DIY so they might as well implement a system as soon as possible. We’ll see how it goes, and please report back when you get your issues resolved.

    In other words, if the consumer wants ski bindings that are this high-tech, we need to be a least a little sympathetic to the maker trying to be sure the bindings are installed correctly.

    Lou

  124. Henrik January 9th, 2014 9:36 am

    On the other hand. Dynafit doesn´t provide any mounting instructions or binding hole pattern templates either. Or do they? I can´t find any on the Dynafit website. Even though I´m quite aware that many third party sources provides this information (such as Wildsnow).

  125. Big Steve January 9th, 2014 9:43 am

    Is it that hard to measure the screw centers and make your own template? I’ve done that for numerous bindings. Waterproof map paper (e.g., NG Adventure Paper) is tough, lasts for numerous mounts.

    Whoever is using these, please mount ‘em and get out there, bash the hell out of them and report. Please report specifically on the DH-to-tour-and-vice-versa mode switch in the field cuz if it’s slick I’m gonna want a pair of these for my fat fishscale rigs : )

  126. MBR January 10th, 2014 7:10 am

    If Fritschi is holding back mounting templates to force DIY folks into a shop to ensure that the job is done right, most DIY folks will still mount their own. It never stopped me. Withholding information just has the potential to increase the probability of a mounting problem. About the only thing that most ski techs have over that a competent DIY person is a drilling jig. Any person that can read and is competent with tools can learn to mount bindings. It’s not rocket science. Most mounting problems occur when adult beverages are consumed in the garage during the mounting process, instead of waiting until the job is complete…

  127. Brian A January 10th, 2014 11:29 am

    I just got off the phone with Black Diamond, and I have Vipec paper templates on the way. All he needed was an address.

  128. Alpine Hoser January 10th, 2014 12:24 pm

    Brian A,
    Good for you, I’m glad it’s working out over there. Black Diamond forever!
    I still can’t get a Vipec template here in Switzerland, however. Tomorrow I’m driving to Luzern to get the Vipecs mounted by the shop that sent them to me. No extra charge. Luzern is beautiful, and I love to visit that town.

    Big Steve,
    Of course you’re right. Like you, most of us are capable of boring the @rsehole into a wooden hobby horse.
    Grüsse aus CH

  129. Tuck January 21st, 2014 10:31 am

    Just saw my first pair of these at Race Stock in VT. They look really nice. Not nice enough to replace my Radicals, but nice.

    (I’ll let ‘em break-in for a season on other people!)

  130. Nick January 26th, 2014 4:46 am

    Took my new vipecs mounted on K2 waybacks for the first tour yesterday. Combined with black diamond quadrant boot.

    Felt solid on the way up, and on the way down. Can’t say I did anything spectacular but I was certainly having more issues with the new lighter ski than with the bindings. If anything, felt stiffer than the old Fritschi freerides. Climbing aids were real easy to flip back and forth with the ski pole – and a lot more solid than they look.

    So for me – seems to work well – although I’ll leave it to someone else to give it a hammering or will write back if and when anything breaks.

    Now to getting in and out….

    My first tech binding – so I can expect getting in and out will take getting used to, but at times I felt like it was getting a bit ridiculous.

    Getting in:
    when I compare the binding pins to my boot, they are a bit too close together to get the boot in. So I sort of need to force the toe in and wiggle it a bit to get it between the pins. There is no mechanical function to align the boot and binding, so at the moment, it is sort of luck whether I get it or not – a bit like learning to wear contact lenses for the first time. Fritschi do show in their video how to use the heel to get the right spacing to the toe, – but obviously Fritschi, this isn’t going to work when the binding is in tour mode!

    Not sure if I should move the adjustable pin out a bit. Edelrid (agent for Fritschi) sent out an email to make sure the lock nut was tightened – but nowhere have I found instructions on when, if and how this adjustable pin should be adjusted. Might solve the toe width problem.

    No little alignment slots on the quadrant boot, as is the case with e.g. Scarpas. Could also be the same on Dynafits (but I wouldn’t know because Dynafit discriminates against people with wide feet). Rather than “step in blind” it a bit more like “blind step in attempt” and I think these little metal tabs could be worth an extra 10 bucks for BD to include in the future.

    Another ‘issue’ is the fact that the binding holds the toe a couple mm above the binding. Its solid, but means that when I miss the pins, I have a bit more trouble pulling the plastic of the boot back out of the clutches of the metal claws before trying again.

    Getting Out:
    The toe levitating above the binding also means that the when I take the ski off, I need to lean back and use my pole. If I lean forward, the boot slips down between the pins, and I the plastic is once again stuck in the claws.

    Combine the binding with snow, and getting out turns into a bit of a joke. Had to ask a friend to step on the font of the binding so I could wrench and wriggle my foot free from the front of the binding. wtf?

    I suspect that snow gets packed in the ‘big’ gap between boot and binding whilst skiing and probably interferes with the ‘trigger’, not letting it pop up and release the metal claws. Can’t confirm the cause, but it looks like some optimisation is required in this department.

    So I like being in this binding, but not getting in or out of it. To be fair, I will post any solutions as I come across them.

  131. Alpine Hoser January 26th, 2014 7:41 am

    Nick, I’ve observed some of the same issues myself.

    Spent some time scrutinizing the Vipec on the bench and found that this binding does not tolerate any forward pressure whatsoever. The tiniest amount of forward pressure results in one pin sticking (not opening) when trying to exit the binding.

    A fraction of a turn of the adjustment screw then eliminates the pressure and the pins open up nicely. Very precise and repeatable, I might add.

  132. Nick January 26th, 2014 11:43 am

    Thanks Mr. Hoser,

    to add to that, I think the slightest bit of pressure in ANY direction causes the pin to get stuck in the boot (e.g. when standing on a hill). This has to do with the fact that the ‘wings’ are free to flap about – so they seem to get cammed into the tech insert. Moving the heel piece back seems to help on the workbench, but I am not sure if the situation is much improved when standing in the boot on uneven terrain.

    What is the point of allowing the wings to flap inward? Does this have a purpose, other than getting the binding stuck diagonally on the boot when trying to get the skis on and off?

    To add to the cam effect, the other side of the boot can slide diagonally past the wire ‘trigger’. Stopping the boot slide in diagonally would be tricky due to the clearance needed for the lateral release (you would probably need to recognise this problem and solve it in design, before bringing the binding to market).

    I can also confirm the ‘jammed up with snow’ theory. If something (like snow) gets packed in between the trigger and boot, the trigger can’t flick up, and the binding won’t open. Can’t say I have any statistical data, but it happened 1 times out of 1 times on the hill so far. Sticking some paper between the boot and binding on the workbench confirmed the theory.

    The inserts in my BD Quadrant are also 1-2mm wider than my wife’s Scarpa Gea. Is this grounds for adjusting the adjustable pins, or are they just there for decoration?

    My suggestions for Vipec V2.0:
    1. Restrict wings’ movement to outward (release) movement.
    2. Add some ‘steps’ to the white plastic mould, just behind the plastic release to stop the boot sliding diagonally past the height of the pins.
    3. Add a some plastic around the wire trigger to deflect the snow and prevent it packing in.

  133. Mike January 26th, 2014 12:34 pm

    I had the Vipecs mounted on K2 Hardsides a week ago and went for a relatively mellow tour yesterday using Scarpa Maestrale boots. I had the same issues gettting into the binding as others, but figured practice would take care of the issue. I had read a post on here about the pin loosening, so I asked the tech who mounted them about using Loctite. He assured me that it wasn’t necessary and that the opposing nut would keep the pin in place. About 20 minutes into the tour, I noticed one of the nuts had loosened. I tightened it with a multitool (the only thing I had) and kept going. It only got worse. Long story short..by the time I got back two hours later, one of the pins had completely stripped the threads in the toepiece wing and the other was headed that way. I had to tighten the nuts every 50 strides or so. Clearly, trying to do so with a multitool was not optimal, but it beat walking. I’ve just seen a post on TGR talking about exactly the same thing happening to someone else on their first tour. The shop offered to replace the binding under warranty, but I’d seen enough. I switched back to Dynafits. I don’t know if the pin was originally adjusted correctly, but I assume that it was. I suspect this problem will be seen a lot in the coming months.

  134. derek January 30th, 2014 7:02 pm

    I’m really curious about the whole pin loosening issue, I’ve been following the TGR thread and I have a pr sitting in the box waiting to get mounted on the new powder boards – just can’t pull the trigger due to snow conditions. I’m intrigued with all that the Vipec has to offer but this recent pin backing out and stripping thing has me concerned a bit. Anyone have a copy of the rumored Tech Bulletin from BD yet?? Do you think Red loctite would be strong enough??

  135. Robin March 17th, 2014 7:39 pm

    I took the plunge and have just spent my first day with the Vipec and I am delighted with the solid yet natural response it permits the ski. However, like everyone else I want Diamir to distribute a retrofit boot spacer to ease the toe engagement plus a reliable means of locking the adjustable pin. Until they do I won’t have the confidence to go too far back. If Diamir resolve these issues for all the early adopters I will become a Vipec evangelist. If they don’t…!

  136. Lou Dawson March 17th, 2014 9:32 pm

    Robin, what is unreliable about Loctite and a lock nut? Don’t they even use that technology in high performance race car engines, to mention one of thousands of applications…? Just curious about perception vs reality among you guys who are dealing with Vipec on a day-to-day basis. Lou

  137. MBR March 18th, 2014 6:44 am

    Re: Loosening Toe Pins
    I think this is what’s happening with the loosening issue [a.k.a. armchair speculation, since I don't have this binding]. The toe wing is trying to force the pin thru the toe wing and the lock nut is trying to pull the pin out in the other direction. With the lock nut located on the inside of the toe wing, it has to be providing much more force than the toe wing pushing on the pin. Otherwise the lock nut doesn’t live up to its name. If the lock nut were on the outside of the toe wing, the lock nut would probably better keep the pin from loosening. Confused? Yeah, me too…

  138. Bobby B April 9th, 2014 10:30 am

    Apart from the difficulty of getting in and out of the binding I think the biggest problems are:
    1/. Toe Pins – I have lost 2 pins that have loosened off and then sheared off under pressure and destroyed the thread inside the toe wing. As a result in one of these incidents I could not insert the spare pin I was carrying. I was left skiing on one ski. Each of these incidents has happened after a long traverse combined with an hour or more climbing on skins. I tried Locktite but it did not solve the problem.
    2/. When repositioning the back binding from touring to skiing position it is very easy to fail to lift the black lever into its correct position. As a result you end up telemarking on one ski.
    3/. The first heel lift is clipped onto the side of the binding under pressure from the shape of the plastic, but it is not secured. Twice it has been forced out of position when bundled together with other skiis to go into a helicopter cage.

  139. Robin April 9th, 2014 11:21 am

    I followed Lou’s recommendation regarding Loctite, and once that had cured (took a couple of days to cure properly) I had no further problem with the pin backing off and then completed a trouble free week touring/skiing in a wide range of snow conditions. Unless Loctite is applied at an early stage I suspect the thread profiles will quickly get galled, loose or fatigued.

    Yes you have to double check that back lock lever, but its easily engaged.

    Don’t be embarrassed about the heel lift getting in the way when clipping in, unless of course you are heli-skiing. :wink:

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