Fritschi Vipec Adjustable Toe Pin – Latest Details


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Update January 11 2014: Fritschi recommending Loctite 263 if you can’t find Loctite 2701. Post below is updated to reflect this.

What's the deal? It has to be done 100% correctly or you'll get 100% failure.

What's the deal? It has to be done 100% correctly or you'll get 100% failure. Luckily most should work with factory settings, but it'll depend on your boots.

Anyone involved with tech bindings and related consumer issues could see it coming. Include a critical adjustment feature with virtually no room for error — issues will arise. Such has been the case with the adjustable threaded toe pin on Fritschi Vipec backcountry skiing bindings. Challenge is that the adjustable “pin” has to be nearly perfectly set, as well as the pin’s lock nut being torqued per specification along with correct use of thread locker chemical (Loctite 2701 or 263). While virtually all Vipec bindings sold will have the pin pre-set for nearly any tech bindign compatible boot, it may have to be adjusted. Read on for details.

If the pin is out of adjustment you will experience one or more of the below:
a. Have a boot that doesn’t safely release from the binding (and/or doesn’t step out of the binding easily).
b. Have extra play in the boot binding interface.
c. Have a binding pin that eventually fails due to steel-on-aluminum threads being destroyed.

Finetuning binding fit and DIN is easily done in the parking lot.

Fine tuning the fore aft adjustment for the heel piece for Vipec binding fit and DIN is easily done in the parking lot. Adjustable toe pin width, not so easy, but super important.

Partial solution is that Fritschi will now deliver all Vipec bindings with the adjustable toe pin pre-set, with thread locker (Loctite) on the threads as well as the lock nut properly tightened. This will be good for most tech boot fittings being sold. These bindings will be marked with a green colored patch on the pin.

Even with the factory adjusted fittings and verified boot/binding interface performance, anyone (DIY or dealer) must ABSOLUTELY check the torque on the adjustable pin’s lock nut before going on snow with this binding, as the slightest movement in the steel threads of the pin, which ride on aluminum, will result in irreversible damage to the binding. (Note, while checking lock nut torque be careful to not break any existing Loctite bond unless necessary.)

Fritschi sent out some service bulletins and such, I’ll try to relate things below both in my own words or quoting Fritschi:

Below is the intro communication from Fritschi, dated January 22, 2014. Main point here is that the toe pins will now come from the factory pre-adjusted and locked, and should work for nearly all tech fittings out there. How to tell if they work? Basically, test on the bench that your boot can enter the binding as with nearly any other tech bindings, and that it can release to the side at the toe. Testing can be more methodical and a bit more complex, but that’s the basic idea. Added notes from me are in double parenthesis.

Dear Dealer,
During the launch of the Diamir Vipec 12 we have received some feedback concerning the wing width adjustment and that if not tightened as instructed, the adjustable pin can loosen while touring.

Due to this feedback we have decided to deliver the next bindings with a factory stock setting that covers 90% of commercial AT boots and does not require adjustment (WildSnow note: essentially, this means Vipec will fie virtually all Dynafit and Scarpa boots as well as most other brands, though be advised that any tech fitting can be defective, and there is no real manufacturing standard for tech fittings). This width is torqued and set with Loctite 2701. Bindings with factory stock setting have an insert pin marked in GREEN.

Bindings WITH stock factory width setting (green): Should you need to adjust this stock setting, break the Loctite bond (WildSnow note: heating helps break Loctite bonding), remove the pin, and insert a fresh PIN

(WildSnow note: in other words, if the pin in the new green marked bindings becomes loose through whatever means, it needs to be replaced with a new one. Do not re-use original pins. The original sales run of Vipec bindings, without factory Loctite, do not need a new pin after you loosen the pin, but they do need to be Loctited. See below.)

Regarding existing bindings WITHOUT stock factory width setting. (WildSnow note: meaning earlier retail and demo bindings not marked with green on the adjustable toe pin.)

The adjustable pin has to be secured with Loctite 2701 or 263 after checking proper width setting and securely tightening the M5 nut to 6 Nm torque. Do not over-tighten or risk stripping the nut.

In the Service Manual please review the detailed instructions for adjustment settings.

Best regards, Fritschi AG Swiss Bindings

Fritschi illustrated instruction concerning toe pin adjustment.

Fritschi illustrated instructions for toe pin adjustment. This will come pre-adjusted from factory, but may still require adjustment in about 10% of situations. Note this set of photos doesn't show the lock nut being tightened, which is critical. Loctite 2701 is tough to find in North America, equivalent recommended by Fritschi is Loctite 263. Any Loctite of the 'red' variety is ok in my opinion so long as the parts are cleaned with solvent before re-assembly. All red Loctite products need to be heated for dis-assembly to avoid possible damage to components, as they create a 'permanent' bond.

Okay, there it is, a possible critical adjustment. But how do you do it? We’re not supposed to copy the service manual verbatim from the Fritschi website (fair enough, since it’s bogus to have multiple versions floating around that confuse things if Fritschi wants to make change). So below is my edited and simplified version, upon which we can do an ongoing clarification once we have our evaluation bindings being tortured in Colorado or elsewhere.

Adjustment of Vipec to the boot toe “pintech” “tech” fittings — re-written by Lou

Boot heel “tech” inserts behave virtually identically between manufacturers, whereas the toe inserts may differ. That’s the reason why the Vipec has adjustable distance between the front pins and may require adjustment to specific individual boots. If this adjustment is done incorrectly it will result in damage to the binding and incorrect operation. In my opinion giving this well engineered binding this feature may not have been a wise move, as chasing poor manufacturing standards (of the boot tech fittings) by adding mechanical complexity to the binding is likely to cause more problems than it solves. Indeed, don’t be surprised if Vipec version 2 sheds the adjustable toe pins (and perhaps a miracle will occur and boot tech fittings will be ISO/DIN standardized). Meanwhile, back at the ranch, read on:

After mounting on skis, first step is of course to adjust the binding for your boot length.
This has to be done with the ski FLAT, not with the ski suspended on an elevated vise system. This is because the length adjustment is critical and the slightest flexing of the ski will throw it off.

Back off the length adjustment screw till the heel unit starts to come back itself. In this position bring the heel unit back by rotating screw another ¼ turn. What you want is a gap from 0.5 to 1 mm between your boot heel and the binding (a “mini tech gap is what we’d call this here at WildSnow.com”).

To check boot length adjustment, simply check how the boot steps in to the binding to downhill mode as well as how it does some simulated touring strides at various heel lifts. And double check that you have the “mini tech gap.”

Once your backcountry skiing boot fits the binding in terms of length, check lateral release. This is where you many have to tune the toe pin width adjustment.

Important: Adjustment must be made at RV value of 6.

1. Place boot in binding by simulating how a user would enter the binding (toe first, then snap down heel). Change the Easy Switch Toe lever to position SKI.

2. To check the lateral release push sideways on the carriage (the toe part that slides to the side) to simulate elastic behavior while skiing, and let go so it can hopefully return back to center without your intervention. The carriage should come back into the initial position by itself due to it being spring loaded. For this to happen correctly, there will always be a small amount of play in the system so don’t obsess on that.

3. If the carriage does not come back into the initial position by itself, the distance between the toe pins is probably too small and has to be adjusted as follows (This is the critical toe pin adjustment that adds to the complexity and possible user or dealer caused problems with Vipec):

a. Remove boot from binding. Loosen the M5 hexagon lock nut at the toe pin unit. If your binding is one of the factory adjusted an Loctited versions, marked with green, you will need to replace the pin with a new one after you loosen or remove it. If the binding is an early version without Loctite, you do not need to replace the pin but you do need to Loctite it before tightening the locknut, after adjusting to boot. In either case, you must apply Loctite to the pin threads. In Europe, use Loctite 2701, in North America Loctite 263 is recommended, or in WildSnow’s opinion any “red” variety “permanent” Loctite will work fine provided you clean the parts with solvent before assembly.

b. Place boot back in binding, in alpine mode. Carefully loosen the adjustable toe pin until the pushed-to-the-side carriage comes back into the initial centered position on its own, without your help. This will usually require only tiny adjustments. Apply Loctite to the threads of the loosened pin.

c. Remove boot from binding taking care to not rotate the loose adjustable pin you have now carefully positioned. Hold the adjustable pin with a slotted screwdriver as you tighten the lock nut. When you tighten the lock nut, you must do so with either the instinctual torque of an experienced mechanic, or use a torque wrench. The torque specification is 6 Nm, or what I believe is 4.4 foot pounds. A firm push on a short wrench for the experienced mech is all that’s required.

4. If the system has too much free play (audible) at the toe pin unit, the toe pin width is probably too big and must be adjusted as follows (somewhat the same procedure as above):
a. Remove boot from binding. Loosen the hexagon nut M5 at the toe pin unit (lock nut). Apply Loctite to the threads of the loosened pin.
b. Place boot in binding in downhill skiing mode. Tighten the adjustment screw at the toe pin unit left until the pushed-in carriage doesn’t come back into the initial position itself.
c. In small steps, loosen the adjustment screw at the toe pin unit until the pushed-in carriage comes back into the initial position itself.
d. Remove boot from binding. Hold the adjustment screw with the slotted screwdriver as you tighten the hexagon lock nut M5.

5. Once all is done, check again if the carriage comes back into the initial position itself — what English speaking skiers frequently call “return to center.”

After that, be sure the shape of your boot toe isn’t going to make mischief with the binding toe. Step-in and put the Easy Switch Toe lever into the SKI position. Swing the boot forward simulating what would happen after you release vertically at the heel. For safety, while in ski mode, when the boot swings forward the boot toe should impact on the Easy Switch Toe in a way to open the binding and to release the boot. If not, exchange the Color Clip Toe (basic) with the Color Clip Toe high. Then check again.

Shop for Fritschi Vipec.

Our previous Vipec posts.

Comments

118 Responses to “Fritschi Vipec Adjustable Toe Pin – Latest Details”

  1. wbarker January 31st, 2014 10:20 am

    Hi Lou, thanks for your timely coverage of the Vipec rollout. I just bought a new set of skis with Vipecs installed and have a few questions. My boots are TLT 6 which I noticed you using as well.
    - Are these among the boots that will accommodate the factory pin width setting?
    - Examining it on my workbench it looks to me like the toe shape of the TLT 6 will require use of the high toe clip in order for the boot to push open the toe piece in a forward fall. But I saw a picture in an earlier post in which TLT 6s were being used with standard clips. Have you looked into this?

    Thanks,
    Wen Barker

  2. Ted January 31st, 2014 10:51 am

    I notice you didn’t mention when and where to apply the loc tite in your adjustment instructions. This might be worth including for clarity.

  3. Joe K January 31st, 2014 11:10 am

    Yep, this is bad. Loctite 2701 is neither easy to find nor cheap. What are the odds the average shop/tech is going to get this right?

  4. lou dawson January 31st, 2014 11:12 am

    Barker, yes, apparently you might need rhe other “Color Clips” As for the boots that will work with the factory pin setting yes anything with Dynafit made fittings is likely to be in the 90percental. Thing is your dealer can check this I 30 seconds. Lou

  5. Ralph January 31st, 2014 12:33 pm

    Brings me back to my days adjusting the valves on an aircooled VW motor.

    Hello hydraulic lifters (and the pin-tech equivalent thereof).

  6. lou dawson January 31st, 2014 1:20 pm

    And wear eye protection!

    Also, with all due respect I have to point out that if one does not know how to use Loctite they might need to consider turning to a an expert mech if Vipec requires pin adjustment. Lou

  7. John January 31st, 2014 1:22 pm

    It is a PITA. The old Plum Race had adjustable toe pins. They have been demoted to my split board. I bought an extra pair of pins to carry, because any time threads are cut it creates a stress riser. Rolling threads is a little stronger, but still creates potential for failure. Besides, the Euros use crap metal.

  8. lou dawson January 31st, 2014 2:25 pm

    Some of the first Dynafit branded bindings had threaded pins so they could be replaced but they were not adustable really. Fritz told me it was just too hard to make the threaded parts strong enough so they went to pressing and otherwise attaching. Lou

  9. Joe K January 31st, 2014 2:45 pm

    Loctite 2701 doesn’t appear to even be distributed in the US…

  10. lou dawson January 31st, 2014 3:16 pm

    Seems like red Loctite would be fine.

  11. Joe K January 31st, 2014 3:38 pm

    Looking at the technical data sheets now. Breakaway torque M10 steel nuts and bolts for red/271 is 17 to 40 N·m. Breakaway torque for M10 black oxide steel nuts and bolts for green/2701 is 26 to 50 N·m. Then there’s green/270 which also seems to be a non-US product, though it seems easier to find here (spec’ed for BMW motorcycle parts), that lists 33 N·m. 2701 appears to be a replacement for 270.

    I guess they’re all in the ballpark, considering these shipped with no locker. But I’d like to follow Fritschi’s directives as much as possible to keep under warranty (seems prudent).

  12. Joe K January 31st, 2014 3:45 pm

    Only concern I have with red/271 would be this line in the green/270 TDS:

    “It not only works on active metals (e.g. brass, copper) but also on passive substrates such as stainless steel and plated surfaces.”

    I’m assuming the pin is stainless steel??? I didn’t see any mention of this in the red/271 TDS, so maybe it’s not the best choice? The euro TDS’s provide a lot more detail.

    Found some 270 on ebay for $10, I’ll probably go with that.

  13. lou dawson January 31st, 2014 5:24 pm

    Hmm, I didn’t think of it but in this situation it’s steel threads in alu.

  14. lou dawson January 31st, 2014 5:28 pm

    And no way that pin is stainless steel.

  15. Joe K January 31st, 2014 7:40 pm

    Yeah, metallurgy isn’t really my thing.

  16. John S January 31st, 2014 8:45 pm

    How do other tech binding makers (Dynafit, G3, etc) cope without having this adjustment?

    Is this an overcomplicated solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist?

  17. Torey January 31st, 2014 9:30 pm

    I have been using the Fritschi Vipec backcountry skiing bindings for my last month, and was not happy at all with there performance. I switched back to my old faithful Dynafits. The Fritschi just is not there yet. I had trouble getting in and out of them. The elevators broke free, and also got suck under the brakes. The toe piece released and I had to step on it with my ski boot to get it to return to center. The toe pin keeps loosening up . A lot of little thing add up. I love the idea and I hope they work out the kinks! Maybe next year.

  18. Alpine Hoser January 31st, 2014 11:24 pm

    Fritschi believes I am too ham-fisted to install my own bindings. They refused to send me a mounting template for my Vipecs, so I had to have them mounted in a “Fritschi-Qualified” shop here in Switzerland.
    Well, the mechanic forgot to tighten the brakes down, and didn’t even know about the adjustable pin. Had to explain it to him.

    Fritschi know very well which boots do not work with the factory pin adjustment. For safety’s sake, they should list the boots that they KNOW will require pin adjustment.

  19. bryan February 1st, 2014 7:30 am

    This is insane.

    I’m not even going to consider the vipec with this amount of “unknown”. How do we know how a K2 boot or Technica boot fittings compare to Dynafit / Scarpa fittings? Will a Dynafit boot fittings work ok with the vipec out of the box?

    Good boots for your skiing style and feet > the right ski for where you live > bindings of any kind.

    FT12s x2 for another 1.5-2 years!

  20. Lou Dawson February 1st, 2014 9:12 am

    Bryan and all, there is a positive side to all this, be careful of the negative take. The facts. First, Fritschi will factory set their bindings so they work for 100% Dynafit branded/certified boot fittings (unless such fittings are defective). That means no adjustment will be required for any Scarpa or Dynafit boot, or any other brand/model that gets their fittings from Dynafit. More, most other boot fittings will work fine with no adjustments. Fritschi claims something like 90% of the fittings out there will work fine. That sounds reasonable to me (since I’ve been dealing for years with boot fittings that don’t work, long before Vipec was even a dream in a Fritschi engineer’s mind).

    As for the unfortunate remainder of boot fittings that don’t fit the Fritschi factory set binding, by doing a few simple tests when the Vipec is mounted, it is very easy to tell a fitting that is out of spec, and very easy to adjust the Vipec pin to compensate. This is a positive. I wish I had a dime for every email and blog comment about fittings that “click” or otherwise don’t work correctly, that having an adjustable binding toe would perhaps compensate for.

    In the end, the problems is NO STANDARD for boot tech fittings, and various manufacturers who play around with trying to make their own instead of using Dynafit, and subsequently fail. To be fair, many of these guys succeed, but the ones that don’t are just depending on the random nature of most tech bindings being able to compensate for manufacturing variations. Vipec codifies this, kudos to them. Also, due to the way the Vipec opens to the side for release, and provides energy absorption via the movement of the carriage, it is much more forgiving to the exact shape and taper of the boot toe tech fittings.

    More, the tendency over the years has been to blame everything on the _binding_ when in reality it is frequently the boot fittings that cause problems. Power to Fritschi for making this obvious.

    Now, not to sound like a Fritschi apologist, I have no doubt that the threaded pins are possibly weaker and possibly prone to loosening, especially when not installed or swapped or adjusted correctly. Also, if adjusted it has to be done perfectly to spec and while many shop techs and DIYers are perfectly capable of this, reality is a percentage of those folks are not and Fritschi has to figure some way of dealing with this.

    Fritschi’s way of dealing with their binding being more technical is to attempt more control of who mounts it and adjusts it. That’s their way for now. Instead, in my opinion they should just provide excellent information and mounting templates, and let things fall where they may. Indeed, that’s probably what the state of affairs will end up being anyhow. But what is, is.

  21. Lou Dawson February 1st, 2014 9:17 am

    John S, to answer your question specifically, the binding tends to get blamed for boots that are out of spec that don’t work, and over the years there have been plenty of tech fittings that were out of spec, and the tech binding makers dealt with it by essentially just regretfully accepting that a certain number of boots wouldn’t work in their bindings, and they’re probably be blamed. Lou

  22. Chris C. February 1st, 2014 10:30 am

    Seems to me like they overlooked the simple fact of hardened steel threading into lightweight aluminum, at a high load point. They should have designed a steel rivet insert and pressed it into the aluminum wing, and then threaded the pin into the insert. Probably woulda added a few grams though, and put them over the weight of the Dynafit FT12, heaven forbid the marketing dept would allow that to happen!
    Too bad really, it looked like a promising binding.

  23. Tom Powell February 1st, 2014 11:00 am

    Sorry if I’m being dense, but I’m still not clear on where I stand. My vipecs do not need adjustment from the factory settings to fit my boot, but they aren’t one of this newer batch which come correctly torqued and with loctite applied. Should I be thinking about loosening the nuts, applying loctite and torqueing them up again?

    Tom

  24. lou dawson February 1st, 2014 11:30 am

    Tom, as far as I know you’re just supposed to be sure the lock nut is torqued, but perhaps Fritch should clarify.

  25. Ben W February 1st, 2014 7:16 pm

    TLT Speeds. Still the best.

  26. JQ February 1st, 2014 11:00 pm

    1 NM = 0.74 Lb Ft
    On occasion if torque wrench won’t fit into tight spot (on bike etc) I have done a “test’ by hand against the torque wrench and then tried to duplicate that twist on the real thing. DIY is often a ballpark endeavor. Please keep field reports coming. I am very interested in this non-rotating heel system.

  27. BW February 2nd, 2014 7:43 pm

    I wish I was more surprised by the negative reaction to these adjustable pins. It seems a typical manifestation of sue-happy, liability-loving culture terrified of personal responsibility. The reality is, every other binding manufacturer worth their salt must be aware that ~10% of boots deviate from the Dynafit norm, yet none before Fritschi were willing to address it. If they’re really only giving mounting patterns to authorized dealers, that sucks and they should stop. But otherwise, kudos to them.

    As a bicycle mechanic, I’m reminded of similar issue. We used to have adjustable hubs across the board. Same lock-nut system as these pins. You could get any decent quality hub into good adjustment with a little skill and practice. Now all the mid to high-end hubs are machined to use press-in, sealed bearings, and it’s quite common to find the bearing bores machined to the wrong diameter, and the only choice is to warranty the damn thing.

    Sure, it’s not an exact comparison; a loose pin is probably more immediately detrimental to your day than a loose or tight hub on a bike, and maybe Fritschi needs to bump up the thread size, or make the wing from steel instead, but those are engineering issues secondary to a good concept. I’m stoked that their design shows some level of faith in the human element.

  28. Joe K February 2nd, 2014 9:15 pm

    Tom and Lou, from Fritschi’s recent “Information for Dealers”:

    Bindings WITH stock factory width setting (green):
    Should you need to adjust this stock setting, break the Loctite bond, remove the pin, and insert a fresh insert.

    Existing bindings WITHOUT stock factory width setting:
    The adjustable pin has to be secured with Loctite 2701 after checking proper width setting and securely tightening the M5 nut to 6 Nm torque. Do not over tighten or risk stripping the nut.

  29. Joe K February 2nd, 2014 9:27 pm

    And, rereading my last post is the first time I realized that they say “secured with Loctite 2701 after checking proper width setting AND securely tightening the M5 nut” rather than “secured with Loctite 2701 after checking proper width setting FOLLOWED BY securely tightening the M5 nut. In other words, this reads as if you should apply the Loctite after assembly. Now, Loctite 290, also green, “wicks between engaged threads and eliminates the need to disassemble prior to application”, but I can’t find any reference to 270/2701 doing so.

    Agreed, losing faith here.

    Clearly though, Tom, Fritschi does want you to be loosening the nuts and applying loctite.

  30. Joe K February 2nd, 2014 9:33 pm

    Although the illustration Fritschi has provided clearly contradicts my literal reading of the dealer info. Poor translation?

  31. Jason K February 2nd, 2014 11:14 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I had the worst of your 3 mentioned problems. After spinning itself out while in walk mode, the steel pin stripped the threads out of the aluminum wing on the binding. Now it just falls out. The shop I bought it from thinks it will be warrantied no problem, but it’s a pain to likely wait for a replacement. Even before reading this I figured that had the shop done a little loctite work before I skied the bindings, the whole problem could have been avoided. What is the numerical torque spec for the locking nut?

    Glad my situation is not unique and there is a fix on the way.

    Also any idea if La Sportiva boots are on the list that have “standard” (ish) size toe inserts?

    Best,
    Jason

  32. Jason K February 2nd, 2014 11:18 pm

    Oops, found the torque spec. Should have read more carefully.

  33. Dan F February 3rd, 2014 4:05 am

    Just got a pair of Vipecs, and stumbled on this conversation while doing the set-up. This adjustable pin situation seems like quite an annoyance. Mine do NOT have the mythical “green pin”, so I assume they have not been Loctite-ed. But pre-release press/blogger info going back to last year said all along that the binding will come with the pin pre-set for “90% of boots”.

    Now, my question is– if the factory pre-set the pin at the standard position on even the earliest bindings– which would be good-to-go for the vast majority of users– why would they still expect the installer to undo the lock nut, monkey with the pin, loctite it, and retorque the lock nut? Is it that these non-green pins are not in fact set to the default position, or not loctite-ed, or that their nuts aren’t torqued, or all of the above??

  34. Lou Dawson February 3rd, 2014 6:26 am

    Dan, they have indeed been pre-setting the pin to the “factory” width all along. I watched them doing it in the factory with the first production run. Photo in our factory visit blog post.

    What they’re saying is that despite this pre-set, the pin in the binding that is not marked green needs to be backed out, coated with Loctite, adjusted again to the boot, then set with correct torque of lock nut. I’m not clear if the binding would need a new pin or not in this case. Am checking.

    The “why” of the above could be all sorts of reasons, some of which we may never know. Perhaps the guy in the factory wasn’t doing his job, or perhaps they simply discovered that Loctite was mandatory and they hadn’t been using it.

  35. Lou Dawson February 3rd, 2014 6:28 am

    Agree on the confusion of when to apply Loctite. Done with our return trip from Europe and back in office, will get this clarified. Personally, I’d never depend on Loctite wicking into installed threads for something this critical to personal safety. If it was me owning a pair of the “non green marked” Vipec I’d acquire a new set of pins, and install with Loctite and correct torque on the lock nut after adjusting for my boots. By the way, many of you reading this probably got your Vipecs from a dealer? If so, they should be taking care of all this but as always it’s buyer beware. Lou

  36. Tom Powell February 3rd, 2014 6:33 am

    Thanks Lou and Joe,

    This site is an incredible resource and I’m very thankful for your time and advice. Fortunately I’m not going to be skiing imminently, and will be able to give myself piece of mind by doing things properly before then. I’m impressed with every other aspect of the Vipecs so far, just don’t want to end up worrying about the toe pins the whole time. Still whatever the case they should make a good step up from my old bindings – Naxo NX01s, now there’s a crummy binding!

    Tom

  37. Brian February 3rd, 2014 7:35 am

    “the sad fact is that ski shops do not offer consistent quality of service,”
    agree with this statement. my local ski/bike shop frustrates the heck out of me time and again because they do not keep up on all the new tech. in the sports. And its typical of all shops in my area. Luckily we have Wildsnow to direct them to!!!

  38. Lou Dawson February 3rd, 2014 8:28 am

    Just did an edit on this post, apologies for the typos, had a lot of trouble in Europe getting fast enough internet and enough time for edits. Back in HQ office now so things are easier.

  39. Joe K February 3rd, 2014 8:55 am

    Lou, I think getting a new set of pins for bindings that have never seen Loctite is unnecessary, I don’t think Fritschi has ever indicated that is needed.

    My guess is that, for whatever reason, these pins have loosened up and stripped in the wild (unlike in testing I suppose). The Loctite procedure is the response to that. Clearly they didn’t think it was necessary when they launched it over here. Have they been out in Europe longer?

    By the way, BD has been pretty cool about getting templates out if you ask nicely. I think it’s Fritschi across the pond who is sticking to the “authorized dealer” line. Even the shops that I sort of trust, I don’t trust to get this right. Excuse for me to buy a new tool (torque wrench) :)

  40. Dan F February 3rd, 2014 9:56 am

    “BD has been pretty cool”
    Yes, they kindly sent me a template too. Now I’m envisioning having to beg them for extra pins, though. Even if I don’t need to replace the original right off the bat, the idea of going out for a week’s tour without some spares is uneasy-making…

  41. Lou Dawson February 3rd, 2014 10:20 am

    The pin is steel, you don’t need a spare. If you had a problem it would be from hole in the aluminum arm that the pin threads into.

  42. Dan F February 3rd, 2014 10:23 am

    Ah, so a whole spare toe piece, then : )

    (Actually what I was envisioning was the pin unscrewing itself and falling out, never to be seen again– but I guess long before it fell all the way out, my boot would be rattling around in the toe piece, so it wouldn’t happen suddenly.)

  43. Lou Dawson February 3rd, 2014 10:35 am

    The pin will destroy the aluminum threads long before it falls out, if it becomes loose during a ski tour. Lou

  44. Joe February 3rd, 2014 3:33 pm

    Lou-
    In years gone by you would enlist the manufacturer rep to join your site to address issues or explain product decisions. Any Diamir rep you can think of?

    Overall I think the binding has lots of potential and it far from a lost cause. I toured 4500 ft yesterday and generally I was happy w the Vipecs as far as the pins go. One area of concern however was the toe release activated by the heel lifting vertically. On my Vipecs, the toe piece portion (detachable colour plate) has the bump in it to allow the boot toe to hit it earlier releasing the toe piece. (See Frontal safety release on Vipec site – http://www.diamir.com/en/product/diamir-vipec-12/ ).

    I found on steep skin tracks the boot hit this bump very easily kicking it over to ski mode and even triggering a few releases.

    Diamir offers two variations of the colour plate – with and without the raised bump to engage this feature. What they don’t seem to offer is guidance on how well the toe release function with the colour plates lacking the “early engage bump.” For me the bump version presents too great a risk of early release. (Could have easily lost a ski in an ugly slot canyon as the brake is disengaged in touring mode.) Some literature on this difference would be good. Otherwise I guess I’ll dremel the bump down so it takes more effort to engage the release.

    Thoughts?

    Joe

  45. Lou Dawson February 3rd, 2014 4:21 pm

    Joe, we still have brand reps here, Sportiva for example. The language barrier is difficult as writing American English is not easy if you’re not a native speaker. I have close contact with Fritschi, am essentially just waiting for the time difference and expect to hear from them. The only real question here is whether the pin _always_ has to be replaced when loosened for adjustment or application of Loctite.

    As for the bump on the Color Plate, just use what works for you.

    Lou

  46. Billy Balz February 3rd, 2014 5:55 pm

    This is gonna make for a great Harvard biz school case study on botched product introductions. We have a market segment formerly at the mercy of manufacturers relying on consumer end users doing the ‘beta’ testing…all with little real-time info dissemination to the unsuspecting public. But now with the internet and entrepreneurs like wildsnow, there is a world-wide forum for instantaneous feedback on design flaws. The feedback loop is shortened/exposed. Makes one wonder how something seemingly so simple slipped (un-torqued) through the cracks.

  47. JCoates February 3rd, 2014 10:21 pm

    Grüezi Herr Balz,

    Trust me, there is no shortage of mechanical engineers or ski tourers in Switzerland. I promise you the Vipecs were well thought out and thoroughly tested. My gripe is that all of the ski bindings seem to be heading in the “over-engineering” direction. How come skis and boots are getting lighter and simpler, but the pin-bindings are getting heavier and more fiddly?

  48. Lou Dawson February 4th, 2014 5:30 am

    One answer to why pintech bindings are getting heavier and more fiddly: the ongoing desire to conform and be certified to the existing DIN/ISO standards for ski touring bindings. In my opinion that’s a worthless endeavor since the existing standards are designed for conventional “toe jaw” alpine bindings. But the first tech binding to get certified will have a big sales advantage, so the incentive is there.

    (Not sure if you guys noticed, but in my post about Trab TR2 binding I mention that Trab has specifically decided to NOT fool around with trying to conform to the DIN/ISO. I thought that was actually a pretty big deal.

    Another less cynical answer comes from faith in human kindness and the desire to improve (grin): companies such as Fritschi, Dynafit, G3 are trying to make tech bindings that perform more reliably on the down while still providing full safety release. The simple 30-year-old pin binding design works, but can accidentally release in certain situations unless skied at higher release value settings than one might ski an alpine binding.

    Plum and ATK stick more with the 30-year-old design and seek to refine it. I like their approach, but I also like the idea of attempting to improve safety in more ways than the old design allows.

  49. billy g February 4th, 2014 9:21 am

    The NX01 taught me a valuable lesson way back when. Stay away from first year production runs. The “consumer beta tester” is a much more critical and larger group that will find the flaws.

  50. Lou Dawson February 4th, 2014 2:17 pm

    GOT MORE BETA FROM FRITSCHI:

    “Bindings delivered before February 2014 (no green patch on toe unit)
    Generally it is our advice to see a dealer for a check. The dealer will proceed according instruction “Toe width adjustment reminder feb 2014_EN_USA_263” without removing the mounted pin.”

    In other words, if you have the orginal binding and DO need to adjust the toe pin, loosen the toe pin, apply Loctite, adjust to boot, torque the lock nut.

    If it’s a binding sold with the green marking on the pin, indicting it is factory-set and loctited, it’ll be factory adjusted to work with most tech bindings. But if adjustment is needed the pin DOES NEED TO BE REMOVED AND REPLACED WITH A NEW ONE due to the possibility that breaking the factory Loctite bond damaged the threads or the lock nut.

    So there you go. Early Vipec bindings with no Loctite don’t need a new pin if you loosen the existing pin for adjustment, newer bindings do. You tell the difference by the newer bindings being marked with a green patch on the pin.

    Lou

  51. Tom Powell February 4th, 2014 3:34 pm

    Thanks for the clarification Lou, really appreciate your efforts.
    Tom

  52. Dan F February 4th, 2014 4:54 pm

    Hmm– So I guess what I’m going to do is loosen the pin, counting how many rotations I make– apply some Loctite– return pin to original position– retorque locknut. Tempting to use that “penetrating” Loctite, but as you mention, seems safer not to. (On the other hand, getting the recommended Loctite subspecies seems to require a trip to Europe… I guess that wouldn’t be so bad : )

  53. Lou Dawson February 4th, 2014 5:24 pm

    Dan, that’s what I’d do if you have the original version without the green mark. Or get a dealer to do it. Lou

  54. Brian A February 4th, 2014 5:41 pm

    Dan, that is exactly what I did on two pairs: mine and my wife’s. First I checked the elasticity to make sure no adjustment was needed. Then I loosened the lock nut way out. Then screwed the pin in 4 rotations. Applied common red loctite. Screwed the pin back out 4 rotations. Tightened the lock nut well. Let dry 24 hours. Spent two tours afterwards checking the pins in both pairs regularly. I am satisfied it is something I shouldn’t have to worry about anymore.

    My only existing concern is the durability of the heel risers.

  55. Dan F February 4th, 2014 6:36 pm

    Brian– thanks, just what I wanted to hear! I’m taking mine touring in Switzerland next month, so if I have any problems I’m just going to show up with them at the factory and demand answers : )

  56. Lou Dawson February 4th, 2014 6:39 pm

    Tell them WildSnow.com sent you!

  57. Bar Barrique February 4th, 2014 9:20 pm

    The Fritchi binding looks quite innovative, however; I wonder what will happen as the pins, and, the boot sockets wear. In a conventional tech binding the design allows for wear without creating a gap between the pin, and, the boot. The Fritchi binding would seem to require adjustment.

  58. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2014 6:21 am

    Bar, good point about wear. Vipec does have some tolerance for variation in toe fitting width, it’s just not as much as other tech bindings, hence the adjustable pin. Wear might not be a big factor since it would create a very small variation. Such wear would be evidenced by additional play and would not compromise safety until it became excessive.

    BTW, all, I edited the post to include the latest info about the adustable pin issues, mainly when to replace with a new one, and more clarity on Loctite use.

    Lou

  59. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2014 6:43 am

    More, I just added Loctite info including an Amazon link for variety Red 272. Aparantly Locite “2701″ as specified by Fritschi is a European SKU, near as I can tell our North American equivalent is Loctite 272. If anyone has a more accurate take on what the 2701 equivalent is please let us know.

    Also, remember that while some Loctite varieties are “oil and grease tolerant” it’s always a good idea to clean parts with solvent before re-assembly.

    All “red” varieties of Loctite need to be heated before dis-assembly to avoid possible damage to components.

  60. Todd February 5th, 2014 7:06 am

    Conceptually the Vipec seems like a great binding with some new and improved features over the Dynafit bindings. That being said, however, I can’t see paying $100.00 more for a 1st year binding that clearly is having some issues. Even with Dynafit I have never bought the “first” year whenever they make a big change because so often there are unforeseen problems, some minor, but some major. I would doubt that even an authorized dealer here in Boise where I live will have seen or worked with enough of these bindings to be competent which is another issue for me. Thanks to all of the early adopters though for purchasing and testing in the real world! Maybe they’ll be ready for a non techy guy like me in a year or two.

  61. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2014 7:18 am

    Todd, I’d agree that in the backcountry skiing binding industry, it’s best to wait out any product for one season. History has taught us that. If the binding makers don’t like that, they only have themselves to blame. I’m actually pretty fed up with the whole deal — but then, they recall automobiles as well. To be fair, Vipec so far is more an issue of communication about adjustments than it is any sort of big mechanical or manufacturing problem. So let’s all keep that in mind.

    In the case of Vipec, the issues are more about communication and teaching users a whole new part of checking and adjusting a “tech” binding. After nearly 30 years of doing it exactly the same way, I think we all might have forgotten that even the simplest adjustments are sometimes very hard to explain to people who are not mechanically confident.

    For example, I’ve probably written 10,000 words about setting the “tech gap” at the heel of Dynafit bindings. Doing this adjustment is actually incredibly simple if you know the concept behind it as well as have some mechanical experience, but those of you who do have hand skills might be very surprised how tough even this simplest thing is for some folks. For them, if they don’t have the help of a dealer they could have issues — especially if they set the gap incorrectly.

    Lou

  62. Dan F February 5th, 2014 7:19 am

    I’m kind of cracking up, because I *never* buy the first iteration of anything– usually buy cars just as a model is being discontinued, and most of my gear acquistions are “new old stock” or secondhand… but somehow I wound up with these bindings! It’s my first pair of tech bindings of any sort, so I’m going in with no point of reference, which is probably good.

    As for Loctite, I decided to get some “263″, for its alleged heavy-duty and oil-tolerant properties. It’s pricey, but available. I guess I’ll still try to solvent clean the little pin and its hole in the wing first…

  63. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2014 7:21 am

    That is indeed funny Dan! So you buy a new product in a category that is known for first-year failures across the industry!? Why? The power of branding? Or WildSnow.com’s amazing ability to get inside your head and influence your thoughts (grin)?

  64. Todd February 5th, 2014 7:28 am

    Lou Wild Snow definitely had me wanting to buy this binding! But the $600.00 price tag, the fact that the first run seemed to sell out quickly, and now some real world testing will allow me to be more patient. Dan good luck and keep up the postings on how they work out.

  65. Dan F February 5th, 2014 7:35 am

    “So you buy a new product in a category that is known for first-year failures across the industry!? Why?”

    1) Because I was too naive to know that the category is known for first-year failures
    2) Because I was struck by an uncharacteristic urge to be “ahead of the curve” for once
    3) Because I’m getting old, and the idea of a more-releasable tech binding has increasing appeal (the complexity of the adjustable pin system pales in comparison to the complexity of driving to work with a leg in a cast)
    4) Yes, your write-ups here– with detailed and useful info– gave me a nudge : )

  66. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2014 7:41 am

    Dan, thanks for the honest and funny answer!

    I’d agree that the Vipec might be somewhat “safer” — but totally dependent on how a person uses tech bindings. If you’re like me and are able to ski tech bindings at lower RV settings, I don’t believe it’s any safer. But if you are a person who finds you need to be dialing up your RV settings and/or locking your tech bindings to prevent pre-release, in my opinion Vipec is probably much safer — if used at normal RV settings.

    Not to mention that they have a really nice ski brake, and the on-the-fly mode change is pretty cool for some folks.

    Lou

  67. Dan F February 5th, 2014 7:45 am

    Oh no, I am definitely not a lock-the-release kind of guy. I agree they probably aren’t going to be any safer for me, in reality.

    But I did forget to mention the on-the-fly mode change, which I like. Plus, they just look cool…

  68. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2014 7:51 am

    They do look cool and have some very impressive engineering, that is for sure!

  69. Brian A February 5th, 2014 8:16 am

    Just an FYI for folks buying these for wider skis: the “120″ brake would not work for me on a 178 DPS Wailer 112 RP at +.5 for a 314 bsl. The pair being sold in the US as 108mm is labeled “100″ on the factory box sticker, and the pair sold as “120″ is labelled smaller as well (“115″ I think…the box is 3000 miles away at the moment). Fortunately for me, I prefer leashes anyway.

  70. Ed R February 5th, 2014 9:19 am

    I have toured 10 days + now on my Vipecs and am loving lots about how they work. Switching on-the-fly to walk mode I use every other day and is a valuable asset. It is my first pin-tech binder so I’m still getting used to looking so intently at the binding when clicking in. (Hardly have to look down w/ my Fritschi frames!) Since there is a minimal gap between my boot heel and the binding, I’m getting used to slipping my heel on first (depress brake w/ heel and slide back onto pins). At the top this is easier with the tail stuck in the snow so the ski won’t slip back. At the bottom I leave the heel in ski mode (location) while donning skins, then use my pole tip to put the heel into climb position after clicking in. The skins keep the ski from slipping back after you depress the brake to slip your heel back onto the pins. With my heel in first, the toe always clicks in perfectly!

    I used Permatex red threadlocker on the adjustable pins but did not get them adjusted correctly at first. Had to use a soldering iron to heat the area and in several increments before getting it correct. Working fine now.

    I”m in the Dynafit TLT6 boot and checked the clearance between the boot sole and the toe binding. It was touching lightly so I used a grinder to take a “smidgeon” of material off both the boot sole and the toe piece plastic at the contact point.

    I’m not using the alternate “bumps” on the toe piece to effect full release in a In-line heel release. These pop the ski off way too easy when climbing. I heat molded the toe box of my boot and ground the white bumps on the toe piece just a little and the release happens on one ski now. With all the different toe box shapes, this could be as difficult a compatibility problem as the pin width. I’m looking forward to their solution next year!

    Fritschi will also need to rework the plastic on their brake. Mine DO NOT spring fully into position with release. I”m going to try taking a little plastic material off of the “pop point” today. Will report on that later.

    Having (side) release at the toe in walk mode is good BUT, with the heel free, rotation happens easiest with pivot at the toe and the toe does not release that way! At least not easily. The toe releases sideways with pivot at the heel. Keep working on it, Fritschi engineers!!

    Thank you Lou for the forum here. I can only imagine the engineers are “watching”. Such a rollout will always result in snafus. I’m positive that your site is invaluable to creating better gear, both for the manufacturers and in-home tinkerers.

  71. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2014 9:31 am

    Ed, yes, the Fritschi guys read this several times a day. Verified that when we were visiting them a few weeks ago. They are serious about doing this well. Posts like yours are invaluable. Thanks, Lou

  72. Bill Givens February 5th, 2014 9:59 am

    I have TLT bindings with 6mm adjustment range. Just bought new BD Prime boots that are 1cm longer than old Scarpa Lasers. I would like to be able to switch boots. Can I use rental mounting plates to do this? Where do I get them?

  73. Joe February 5th, 2014 12:47 pm

    Thanks Ed for highlighting the “bumps” toe piece issue. With The larger bump insert the release for me is too easy as well.. I took off the big bump insert (comparable to the colour clips Diamir sells) and when I rotate my boot the toe box on my TLT5 actually caves inwards when it hits the binding’s left over mini bump but the toe release doesn’t release. I think an insert where the bump could be adjusted would solve the problem. No easy feat, but worth it I hope to maintain the vertical tow release function Fritschi has put so much effort into.

    Like Ed, I’m a fan so far in general. I’m encouraged, Lou, that the Fritchi folks are reading this.

  74. Ed R February 5th, 2014 1:36 pm

    Speaking of snafus, remember when BD put metal tube protectors over the cable loops on the tips of their climbing skins ON THE STRAIGHT PART RATHER THAN THE CURVES WHERE THEY ARE NEEDED!!!! I was just re-taping some loaners of mine along the curve and cut my finger!! Probably took some consumer input on that one!

    Thinking back, (RIP Paul) RAMER seemed to use consumer testing throughout. A friend made the mistake, ON FIRST USE, of touching RAMER skins glue to glue and pulled all the plush right through the fabric backing!!! (LOL)

  75. Ed R February 5th, 2014 1:41 pm

    Yes Joe, Maybe an after market, hard plastic, glue on toe cap for the boots????

  76. Joe K February 5th, 2014 2:06 pm

    Lou, any reason you’re suggesting Loctite 272? 271 has a higher breakaway torque, which is much closer to 2701. I think the only reason to go with 272, in general, is higher temperature resistance, but it seems that comes with a sacrifice in breakaway torque.

  77. Bill Currie February 5th, 2014 3:17 pm

    Way off subject but a local ski shop in Sandpoint Idaho told me to contact you to see if anyone knows of a ski brake for Silveretta Pure bindings at least 100mm for sale? Appreciate any help..thanks

  78. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2014 5:32 pm

    Joe, just because that’s what my research led me to. Sounds like it should be 271, thanks! I’ll edit that in.

    And Bill, yes, that is WAY off subject. I think you can probably find a better post to leave Silvretta Pure brake questions on.

  79. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2014 5:38 pm

    Bill, I didn’t mean to be rude, just suggesting you could use our search function and find a Silvretta post to leave your question on, which is much better for these blog comment threads. Lou

  80. Ed R February 5th, 2014 11:56 pm

    Yup! Just a tiny bit of carving with a utility blade and the Vipec brakes are popping all the way down now. Photo shouldn’t be needed. Just carve a little “ahead” of where they get stuck, on both sides of course.

  81. Lou Dawson February 6th, 2014 6:50 am

    Ed, good job. This is WildSnow.com — everything shall be modified!

  82. Lou Dawson February 11th, 2014 8:56 am

    Update Feb 11 2014, Fritschi recommending Loctite 263 as the alternative to 2701 if you can’t find 2701. No idea why. Researching.

  83. Lou Dawson February 11th, 2014 9:00 am

    From Loctite company:

    LOCTITE®
    263™ is designed for the permanent locking and
    sealing of threaded fasteners. The product cures when
    confined in the absence of air between close fitting metal
    surfaces and prevents loosening and leakage from shock and
    vibration. LOCTITE®
    263™ is particularly suited for heavy duty
    applications such as studs into motor housings, nuts onto studs
    in pump housings and other fasteners where high strength is
    required. LOCTITE®
    263™ provides robust curing
    performance. It not only works on active metals (e.g. brass,
    copper) but also on passive substrates such as stainless steel
    and plated surfaces. The product offers high temperature
    performance and oil tolerance. It tolerates minor surface
    contaminations from various oils, such as cutting, lubrication,
    anti-corrosion and protection fluids.

    Data sheet:
    http://tds.loctite.com/tds5/docs/263%20NEW09-EN.PDF

  84. mountainlover February 11th, 2014 10:18 am

    Fritschi starts to annoy me. Bought some Loctite 2701 last week and already secured the pin with it. I hope that´s enough and am wondering why Fritschi changed it´s choice.

    So far I´m happy with my binding but I do have to say I have this bad feeling Fritschi is trying to fix a badly engineered toe pin with “Loctite”. Maybe I should have spent my hard earned money otherwise…

  85. mountainlover February 11th, 2014 10:22 am

    ahhh its either 2701 oder 263. My fault ;-)

  86. Lou Dawson February 11th, 2014 10:25 am

    Mountainlover, work on your reading skills (grin). 263 is just the alternative to 2701. You’ll be fine as you are. Lou

    P.S, Looks like my comment about the 263 could have been more clear, so I edited.

    P.S. P.S., Have to admit if I read the word Loctite one more time I’m going to scream (grin).

  87. Dan F February 11th, 2014 9:25 pm

    Lou,

    During your tour of the Fritschi factory, did you happen to observe their technique for assembling the toe piece parts, safely and easily? I ask because I have learned the hard way that the toe piece, as delivered, is really held together by nothing more than minimal plastic friction and the rubber bands it arrived with. (Perhaps this is true of all tech bindings– I am a newcomer.) Anyway, I was test-mounting a toe piece on my skis (with inserts), and while taking it back off it just blew apart. It’s easy to see how it WAS fit together… but there is nothing restraining the spring from popping the bottom and top apart from each other. And the spring is strong, and the moving parts are entropic, and after an hour of machinations I’ve gotten nowhere with re-assembly. I assume they had some kind of machine, or mini-spring-compressor, or something? This is ridiculous.

    Why couldn’t there be a couple screws that hold the binding together when it’s not mounted to a ski?!? Very frustrated.

    (P.S. On top of that, the adjustable pin factory setting was not (by the Fritschi guidelines) accurately set for my Scarpa Freedom boots. The carriage did not return to center after being “dislocated”, indicating the pin is in too far.)

  88. Dan F February 11th, 2014 10:14 pm

    Uh… apologies for that rant above. After sitting back with a beer and staring at the binding for a long while, I saw why I was having so much trouble re-assembling it. Tip to anyone in the same boat: make sure the pin arms are both in “engaged” position (up). If they are down, you will never ever get the binding put back together, no matter how strong your fingers are.

    (I still think 4 grams worth of screws to hold the binding together would be worth the weight.)

    Now on to adjusting the pins…

  89. Dan F February 12th, 2014 8:09 am

    One last tip for others: If you’re handling / mounting / removing / or, especially, trying to re-assemble a Vipec toe piece— it would be wise to set the quasi-DIN at lowest level, to minimize the pressure on the spring. Very prone to flying apart (and impossible to reassemble) even at DIN 6. Off the ski, at max tension, it would be a bit of a grenade. Just remember to put it back to your personal release setting when you put it back on a ski!

    (If I’m totally missing something here, and there is supposed to be something other than being mounted to a ski and/or rubber bands that keeps the binding in one piece, I hope someone will jump in!)

  90. Lou Dawson February 12th, 2014 8:57 am

    Dan, I’m glad you figured it out. Thanks for the comments, it’ll help other folks with the same issue.

    The way they do factory assembly is frequently so jigged and otherwise assisted it would be difficult to replicate.

    As for your problem and eventual solution, remember that as these things get more complex, it’s not going to be the type of situation where you just dive in with no technical training.

    I’m actually starting to get concerned about people thinking they can buy a ski binding they know nothing about, and somehow immediately dial it technically. It’s like buying a car and thinking you can just take the motor apart and fiddle around with it, then put it back together and drive away — with no technical training and perhaps with no diagrams or how-to.

    That said, I do admire and adhere to the DIY ethic, so don’t get me wrong. More power to all of you who dive in and figure it all out. But let’s be realistic about how far you can go with DIY as opposed to turning things over to a trained person (if they exist…).

    Lou

  91. Dan F February 12th, 2014 9:08 am

    Thanks Lou. For the record, I had absolutely NO intention of taking the binding apart– only of screwing it on to / off of a ski. In the process of doing that, it dramatically took itself apart!

    So this wasn’t so much like buying a car and thinking I could take the motor apart… more like buying a car, popping the hood to check the oil, and the motor falling into 6 pieces. Which is why I say putting a couple screws to hold the package together would be good (and I wouldn’t even object to one of those labels that says “Do not open: No user serviceable parts inside”!)

  92. Lou Dawson February 12th, 2014 10:32 am

    Dan, point taken! Also, laughing out loud!

  93. Michael Finger February 12th, 2014 11:33 am

    Took my Vipecs to BD yesterday to get the pins ‘serviced’. I noted they were using Loctite 263. Also of note, the lock ring on my pin had stripped and destroyed the fine machine threads on the pin, so it is possible to destroy the pin with out destroying the aluminum wing…..

  94. Jason Gregg February 13th, 2014 9:03 am

    Hi Lou,

    I’m pretty set on getting some Vipecs. Having been a long time toe locker with the Dynafits and a bad ankle from a number of very bad twisting sprains over the years I find the toe elasticity and release of the new Fristchi IRRESISTIBLE. But I do have one question- in one of your earlier posts you said “this is not a freeride binding, just a new touring binding”. I get it if one is comparing the Vipec to a Beast, but I own the Vertical ST and Speed Radical. Isn’t the Vipec going to be much more cliff/ankle friendly than those two??

  95. Lou Dawson February 13th, 2014 9:31 am

    Hi Jason, I’m not sure it’s more friendly provided you ski Vertical/Radical unlocked. But if Vipec allows you to ski a tech binding without locked toe, I’d say that’s more “friendly.” As for “cliff” Vipec has no more vertical heel elasticity than any other tech binding, so in that sense it won’t be any more “cliff” friendly. The “not a freeride binding” takes comes directly from Fritschi, they actually wanted me to be very clear about that, and I agree with their take.

    Without any clear standardized testing of binding release, much of this is just plain opinion. In _my_ opinion the way a standard tech binding releases is actually incredibly safe, provided it smoothly comes out at both heel and toe as it’s designed to. This can easily be evaluated on bench. But if a person finds themselves dialing up their release settings with a given model/brand of tech binding, or skiing with a locked toe, then throw safety out the window.

    Lou

  96. Greg Schutt February 14th, 2014 8:01 pm

    Yes indeed, had the toe pin fall out on my second uphill. Put it back only to find it 2/3 stripped at home. Hit it with loctite, did a long day of touring then went to check it. Pushed out as soon as I put the screwdriver on it. Could’ve been bad. BD sent me a whole new toepiece. Otherwise I’ve gotten to know the bindings and like them quite a bit. Better than dynafit? Maybe not but I suspect after working out a few kinks they will be equal or superior.

  97. Dan F February 16th, 2014 8:16 pm

    First test of the Vipecs yesterday. In preparation, I checked out the pin adjustment per the Fritschi suggestions, and found the pins were “too tight” (i.e., the carriage, when displaced, did not return to center.) A little surprising, as I had assumed the “factory setting good for 80% of boots” would be good for my Scarpas. Then again, these are not dedicated AT boots (Freedom model– swappable soles), so maybe that’s why.

    Anyway, loosening the pin one revolution brought things to “spec”. I glued things down with Loctite 263. Tightened the lock nut. Found it hard to achieve the advised 6NM of torque, as it’s tough to get sufficient purchase on the tiny slotted head of the pin. A hex or torx or even phillips head on the pin would’ve been easier…

    Yesterday, did +/- 2,000 feet of uphill, plus some pretty spirited downhill (including some moguls), and the pins both still appear secure. Nonetheless, given the comments above, I’m a bit apprehensive about heading out on a multi-day tour with these. ..

  98. Jason Gregg February 24th, 2014 8:38 am

    Lou your last response got me thinking. Two points you made, that locking the toe throws safety (or at least ankle friendliness) out the window and “In _my_ opinion the way a standard tech binding releases is actually incredibly safe, provided it smoothly comes out at both heel and toe as it’s designed to.” really spurred me to think about these matters. One thing you and I have is ankle issues, mine isn’t too bad yet, fusion is still only a distant possibility. The way that it has gotten injured is past forward twisting falls with a loaded toe binding set at too high a DIN or improperly adjusted AFD clearance. Imagine skiing powder and hitting something with the tip of your ski that prevents it from turning down the hill or even deflects uphill as the body continues fall line. I’ve seen video of Dave Treadway spiral fracturing his tibia that way.

    I know a lot of people who ski with toes locked. And I am not confident that even unlocked the tech toe is designed to release when all the twisting load is applied at the front of a boot when all your weight is pressing down plus g-force induced added weight in the kind of fall I’m talking about. This is where the Vipec looks really promising even compared to the turntable solution that Dynafit is pursuing with the turntable.

    Jason

  99. Lou Dawson February 24th, 2014 9:06 am

    Good points Jason, let us know how it goes! Lou

  100. Jason Gregg February 24th, 2014 9:36 pm

    I rented a pair of Vipec’s from Bristlecone today so I could take them home and bench test them. I did so side by side with my Radical ST’s. Anyway without going into detail I won’t be getting the Diamir it turns out the thing doesn’t respond to toe only twist anywhere near as well a the Radical ST. Mission Accomplished. The lateral elasticity and release mode of the. Vipec didn’t seem to translate at all into twist out mode, which I find very strange.

  101. Andy M February 24th, 2014 10:15 pm

    Thanks for the info Jason. I’m paranoid about blowing out my knee from a lack of lateral release due to rotation, and was hoping that the Vipecs would alleviate that concern. Now I’m curious how the Radical 2.0′s handle that scenario.

  102. Jason Gregg February 25th, 2014 8:05 am

    Andy my “bench” testing yesterday was real quick and dirty. Just grabbing the heel of the boot and twisting as hard as I could, not even with a proper torque measure inserted in the boot the way shops do it, however the Dynafit totally passed whereas I have my doubts about Vipec. I’m gonna try it one more time, but ideally if you turn your DIN down to half what is recommended you should be able to twist right out of the toes when standing in the shoe/binder.

    Lou has probably seen/knows a lot more about this particular release mode/direction testing than me, like a 100 times more. It’s the most important one for me because forward twisting falls are the ones that I get hurt on. Other kinds I seem to have no issues with.

  103. Jason Gregg February 25th, 2014 8:43 am

    I want to repeat I know Jack about DIN. I’m a self taught bike mechanic and pretty good and adjust/work on my own bindings but Lou could tell me in 5 minutes more than I know bout toe piece functionality in the pin tech world. I did notice in re-watching his videos yesterday both of the Beast and the Vipec that he didn’t seem to focus on this the way I do. I know of three ways to “test”, and I use the word in a very general sense, toe function: grab the heel and twist (that’s the least realistic but can be a good “twist out while skinning” mode check, put the torquer bar in a boot, insert the boot, and bench test, and lastly put the boot on your own foot and stand on a carpet and twist. Having now down two of three, I’d say the Vipec toe makes me feel more safe than Dynafit, certainly a big part of that is that it has an actual “DIN” type adjuster on it. I’m glad I spent the $35 to take a pair home and play with them, but I’d hesitate to claim have said here is what you’d call an informed view.

  104. Lou Dawson February 25th, 2014 9:37 am

    Not sure I should say it, but this discussion of how safe bindings are reminds me of the discussion about how safe ski helmets are. Just a lot of theory and anecdotal experiences — though it’s encouraging to me that unlike ski helmets (which seem to be taken for granted as being some kind of amazing device that is incredibly effective), many people want to know their ski bindings are improved. More, it’ll be just like helmets when a pintech binding company does get DIN/ISO certified, in that just like “certified” helmets, people will assume the binding increases “safety” simply because it is certified. That will sell bindings, perhaps quite a few, but how much safety it adds will be super difficult to discern.

    Perhaps the reason for this is that a lot more people are suffering knee and lower leg injuries while skiing, then they are head injuries, and despite the amazingly aggressive helmet marketing and evangelism, reality strikes.

    (Disclaimer as always: Helmets can be a good thing, we’d just like them to be better, so helmet fans please don’t freak out.)

  105. Jason Gregg February 25th, 2014 2:00 pm

    Lou do you think that having a release value adjustment on the toe piece is really a game changer? Or has Dynafit proven that it is possible to do everything at the heel?

  106. Lou Dawson February 25th, 2014 2:59 pm

    Jason, it would be ridiculous for me to speculate to that degree, as I have no engineering training nor specific training in how binding safety release functions. Yeah, sometimes I stick my foot in it (grin), but I don’t feel I should do so about a binding that’s not even had a season of consumer testing.

    I _can_ say that if a conventional tech binding works properly and is adjusted properly, in my opinion from observations it has a high degree of protection.

    Problem is, people ski with bindings locked, iced up, set at high RV settings, and without testing boot toe fittings for smooth ejection and return-to-center.

    One thing I can say for sure about Vipec as well as new Dynafit bindings that rotate at the toe is that such bindings will help with the hidden problem in the industry of “defective” boot toe fittings that don’t release smoothly from conventional tech bindings. But, “game changer?” Look at what is said to be about a million ski tourers are presently doing on tech bindings — it would take a pretty big something to change that game!

  107. Alpine Hoser March 2nd, 2014 5:38 am

    Here’s why it’s so difficult to step into and out of my Vipecs.
    In the latched open position, the pins are 62mm tip-to-tip.
    My BD Quadrants are 65mm wide at the tech inserts. As a result, the Vipec pins have chewed up the rubber and plastic around the inserts quite nicely.

    Compare this to my Radicals which latch open at 68mm and allow me to click in blind-folded.

    So what do I do? Well, I hold the lever all the way down to the ski. This is way beyond the latch point and opens the pins an additional 8mm to 70mm. The guy in this video does exactly that at 1:16 into the clip, after futzing around for a while. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8zMUH-7CbQ

    The threaded pin is properly adjusted. Return-to-center test works well.

    In summary, my Vipec does not open wide enough for my Quadrant. Does yours?

    Ciao for now from CH.

  108. Lee Lau March 2nd, 2014 6:11 pm

    Hoser – thanks for the comment and video link. Needing to press down with the pole to get into the binding is the same biggest complaint that people had about the Onyx. If that was true for every boot that needed to work with Vipec (ie you need to press down the lever to get the Viper to open wide enough) then IMO that would be a detriment.

    Hopefully that isn’t the case that every boot is as wide as the Quadrant

  109. Jeff Scott March 4th, 2014 12:32 pm

    Left Toe Pin GONE. I took my Vipec 12 out for my third trip and walked out of the bindings, skinning up a deep powder covered road. Upon inspection the adjustable toe pin was completely missing. I have Spectra La Sportiva boots. Very lucky I was close to the trail head.

  110. Lou Dawson March 4th, 2014 12:44 pm

    Jeff, any more to the story? Were they the binding that had been factory Loctited? Or not?

  111. Tom Powell March 6th, 2014 6:58 am

    Perhaps this is the wrong place to say this, but due to a mix up I now have 2 spare 5ml pots of Loctite 2701. If anyone is struggling to get hold of it I’m happy to send it (from the UK), for £5 a pot plus postage.

    Lou sorry to be using your message board as a sales forum, but I thought this was the best place to reach someone who might be in need. By all means delete the comment if it’s breaking the rules.

    Tom

  112. Lou Dawson March 6th, 2014 7:22 am

    Tom, for something like that it’s fine to use our comments system. If anyone want to contact Tom, leave a message here but do the contact through Facebook, not by leaving email address hung out to dry for the spambots. Lou

  113. ph March 17th, 2014 2:58 pm

    Alpine hoser: my vipecs open up to 68mm in step in mode. Note: on one binding, one wing occasionally doesn’t open all the way, reducing the width, however a slight tap with the boot before entering opens it up, nothing difficult. In ski mode, no boot in binding, I’m measuring a bit more than 58mm between pin tips.

  114. Joe K March 20th, 2014 12:42 am

    Got a new set of pins recently, and they already had blue loctite applied. Had to resort to methylene chloride to remove it (as the loctite people recommend), and even that was difficult. Not fun. I like a lot of things about the engineering on these, but the multiple boot interface issues have proven pretty annoying. And I find the Vipec toe pretty tricky to get into. My Dynafits keep looking better and better.

  115. Timmy March 24th, 2014 12:29 am

    I just mounted a pair of Vipec 12s, running through the toe distance check I found that one works perfectly, the other one is “Toe distance of the inserts too small”–ON THE SAME BOOT. What the hell kind of quality control is that, Fritschi?

  116. Timmy March 24th, 2014 11:24 am

    Update on my poorly quality controlled bindings: as I wrote above one binding was factory set to work with my boots, the other one was “too close” for my 2012/13 BD boots.

    Warning: Breaking the factory sealed loctite is a ROYAL PITA. I’ve broken red loctite free before but this took a LOT of heat, like 60+ seconds in the full glow of a propane torch heat; I could not touch the aluminum wing and was worried about melting the binding. For an “easier” time, consider holding a soldering iron directly to the screw for quite a long time, OR hold a nail or old screwdriver to the screw with a long pliers and then get the nail red-hot with the torch so the heat is conducted to the screw without flaming the rest of the binding.

    Fristchi, if you’re going to “factory set” the pins with nearly permanent loctite to work with most boots, PLEASE make sure you do it right…I would be a much happier customer had both bindings “worked” out of the box on the same boot.

    Unfortunately in my breaking of the loctite I partially stripped the screw slot on the pin and some aluminum shavings came out with the pin–not sure if it was from a burr or from the manked flathead slot, but at any rate BD has offered a warranty. For those of you anxious about new technology/problems/etc I have to say that my experience with BD has been really, really good, and not so much for other unnamed tech binding companies (‘problem? first we’ve heard of it!’) so at least there is that!

    People have been asking about how to put loctite back on the threads. It’s not hard. Simply adjust the pin to your boot and tighten the nut down to the wing with VERY light pressure. The slot in the pin controls the pin depth, the nut is just there to lock it. So the nut set with light pressure against the inside of the wing serves as an index of the right pin depth. Now push the pin nearly all the way through (righty tighty with your #2 flat screwdriver) until most threads are exposed (don’t screw it all the way through the hole in the wing). Now coat those threads with loctite and if you’re feeling extra frisky put some inside the threads on the wing. Then back the pin into place (lefty loosey with your #2 flat screwdriver), DO NOT TOUCH the hex nut. When the hex nut stops, you’re set at the adjustment you already made with loctite coating all the threads. Double check it but you should be able to tighten the hex nut down (torque settings be damned) with a firm twist, holding the screw in position with the flat screwdriver. Remember, tightening the hex nut with the screw held in place simply locks the pin, doesn’t adjust the pin spacing at all, so if you had the hex nut in place to index the right pin depth you should be good to go!

  117. Lou Dawson March 24th, 2014 11:42 am

    Nice beta there Timmy, thanks for letting me off the hook!

  118. Dan F March 24th, 2014 11:48 am

    Just chiming in with some further field-test experience with the Vipecs. To recap, I had “non-factory-Loctited” bindings. They did require pin adjustment (loosening) to meet “spec” with my Scarpa Freedom boots. After adjustment I sealed the pins with Loctite 263 (expensive).

    The week before last I did 7 days of combined lift-serve and touring in France/Switzerland, including perhaps 10k vertical feet of uphill use. On the plus side, I detected no problems with the pins– they are still locked tight. I did have difficulty with two things:

    1) Toe release: In the first couple days of the trip, several times I did a kick-turn while skinning and my ski went flying off down the hill (disconcerting). I eventually figured out this was probably because my boot toe was hitting the release “clip” on the binding toepiece. I had used the larger “clips”, based on the observation that my boot could go > 90 degrees to the binding without hitting the clip, and figuring that I would never intentionally go beyond that angle in walking. But I hadn’t considered kick-turns. I didn’t have the smaller clips with me so couldn’t replace them to test out, but I think that would help. (I will try to bench-test this when I have a chance.)

    2) Heel release: I had troubles with the heel releasing under heavy ski flex (mainly, jump turns). This was a disconcerting event, as it was usually in a steep spot. I had set up the heelpiece fore-aft adjustment as advised in Fritschi literature, but I now think (as did our guide) this was too far forward. After backing it off a few mm, I didn’t have further trouble.

    Otherwise, they preformed fairly well. Several Swiss people came up to me and asked my opinion of them. Almost everyone (including our guide) agreed that it was in any case poor judgment to buy the first iteration of a new binding, and were pleased it was me rather than them skiing on them…

Got something to say? Please do so.





Anti-Spam Quiz:


If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.
:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after we approve it. Once you've had one comment published, your comments will be pre-approved and appear immediately if you're using the same computer and not blocking browser cookies. NOTE however that ALL comments with one or more links in the text will be held for moderation no matter what, again for spam prevention.
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.

All material on this website online magazine is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked.. Permission required for reproduction, electronic or otherwise. This includes publication and display on other websites by whatever means. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

Switch to our mobile site