Dynafit FT12 Undressed — Honey, You Look Marvelous

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

I couldn’t find the garter at first, but I did see a few other interesting things. This is a full-on 2008/2009 retail ready Dynafit Vertical FT12 backcountry skiing binding. Number “12″ in name refers to max DIN release setting. Check out the show.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.

My first move, shown above, was a user-style maintenance breakdown of the heel unit. For comparo I grabbed a Vertical ST from last season and stripped it at the same time. It’s on the left above. Only difference in part count for mechanicals is a small washer (indicated by arrow) you’ll find in the heel unit spring barrel cap. We assume this works in concert with stiffer lateral release springs to raise the lateral (side release) DIN level, by compressing the springs more for a given heel cap position. Another purpose for the washer could be to prevent damage to the soft aluminum of the cap.


 Dynafit Freeride
On first glance FT12 looks good, with caps of thin but strong fiberglass over the toe and heel bases, nice graphics, and an overall impression that holds its own with any other current grabber. (Click image above to enlarge in all its glory.) They’d look foxy on just about any ski in our quiver, and we thank Skadi that the Dynafit industrial designers didn’t pick a sister color to that downright strange yellow shade one version of the ST comes in.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.

To open up the FT and ST series bindings you have to drive a roll pin out of the housing. This little bugger is a PITA compared to opening a Dynafit Comfort or TLT, but serves to good purpose as it unites the heel post with lower housing, thus providing extra beef for hackers who get too agro with their ski poles while rotating the heel unit.

(FYI, to get the pin out select a drill bit that’s close to the exact size of the pin and drive it inward with the butt of the bit, tapping with a brass hammer. There is just enough room for the pin to move in and free the parts. For reassembly you yank the driven pin out of a cavity with a pair of needle nose pliers, then replace it. The process is obvious once you dig in.)

Dynafit backcountry skiing.

Heel unit guts of FT12 (right) are nearly identical to ST (left). Arrows indicate one of the only differences in appearance of the mechanicals: small grooves in the heel pins which are probably just machine marks of some sort. Which begs the question, what makes this DIN 12 instead of 10 insofar as vertical (upward) release?

Dynafit backcountry skiing.

Adding even more Sherlock Holmes style details, vertical release springs in the ’12 heel are about 1.5 mm shorter than those in the ’10. For more DIN, I’d have thought they would be the same or slightly longer. Only guess I came up with is that the ’12 springs are stiffer. I tested by pressing down into the benchtop with my hand, and they do feel slightly stiffer than those of the ’10, so that must be the answer.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.

Most obvious difference with FT12 is the fiberglass shell that’s molded over the regular plastic toe and heel bases. This stuff no doubt adds some strength (especially to the plastic tab just behind the crampon mount, which does tend to snap off other models), but it’s obviously cosmetic as well and does look good. As the fiberglass doesn’t appear to add much if any weight, then fine — it all works together in the pleasant way most Dynafit gear has become known for.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.

Heel shell pictured above.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.

As shown in the total binding photo near the top of this blogpost, FT12 is connected for and aft by a skinny fiberglass strip (detail in photo above). Some alpine binding makers tout this configuration as a way of stiffening the ski under your foot, ostensibly to make the ski perform better, or to prevent the flexing ski from causing unseemly binding behavior such as pre-release. I’ve heard a bit of verbiage about this from Dynafit, but they never came on too strong with it. Since the connector is not fixed in length but rather slides back and forth in a slot on the underside of the heel unit, it would have no effect on ski flex, and we thus deem it cosmetic. This is the ONLY part we deem removable and unnecessary, leave the fiberglass covers on the toe and heel baseplates if you’re into removing stuff as those covers are necessary for strength if you’re skiing at higher DIN settings, and also act as spacers for correct function and mounting of the binding.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.

I left the best for last. A known weakness of earlier Dynafit bindings is the base of the heel “post” AKA “spindle,” (this is pretty much hidden on an assembled binding, and the heel unit rotates on it.) My theory about this is that some heel posts are cast or machined in such a way as to unnecessarily remove material that would otherwise provide strength. In the photo above, arrows indicate the area in question. Binding base to far left is an older Comfort model, you can see a large recessed area with less aluminum. Middle is an ST10 from last winter, notice how the larger recessed area is now tiny. On the right, FT12, with almost no material removed. Nice.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.

On the same note about strength, previous Comfort and ST heel units have an unthreaded hole that the threaded for-aft adjustment shaft runs through. With FT12, this hole is threaded and the shaft fits tightly. In my view this adds strength as not only do we have more alu around the shaft, but less potentially metal fatiguing play.

Not much to say about the for the toe unit. It’s the same mechanically as that of an ST10, with difference again being the fiberglass shelled base plate. We’ve always felt the ’10 toe unit to be virtually perfect, so good on that.

As for the new FT being DIN 12, we have no doubt the binding does provide that level of release tension. That said, it is important to know that Dynafit bindings are limited by their design to less vertical heel elasticity than that of high performance alpine bindings. Most people never notice this, and having a higher DIN compensates to some degree — but know that in most cases the right binding for landing 75 foot cliffs is still an alpine grabber.

So why DIN 12 Dynafit? Simply because some folks need a DIN of around 10, and having a binding that goes above that allows some “cushion” without setting it to the limit.

Weight? At 560 grams (19.8 oz) per binding FT12 is virtually identical to ST10 in heft, so don’t swing your decision on that factor. (Weight details here.)

In all, while Dynafit FT12 is quite similar to ST10 in terms of mechanicals, it offers enough subtle changes to receive our initial nod. Moreover the new grabber looks great in terms of design.

Update, May 2010: Well, FT 12 has been out long enough now for plenty of consumer testing. Overall it’s done well, without any major issues we know of. Like any Dynafit binding or “tech” style binding, the FT 12 seems to be problem free for the vast majority of skiers and we highly recommend it. Nonetheless, a small number of skiers, especially those of larger stature who ski quite aggressively, may experience pre-release in certain situations. If you’re in that class of skier, we recommend you try the binding in some hard use for a couple of days. If it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, just move on. Not every piece of equipment out there is for everyone.

As for the garter, we did find it. But I’ll leave the location up to your imagination.

Shop for Dynafit Vertical FT12 Backcountry Skiing Binding

Comments

123 Responses to “Dynafit FT12 Undressed — Honey, You Look Marvelous”

  1. Tony October 2nd, 2008 9:38 am

    Lou, how do B&D and Dynafit ski crampons work with the fiberglass plate between the toe and heel units? Can you remove the portion of the plate that would interfere with the ski crampons without effecting the funcitonality of the bindings?

  2. Lou October 2nd, 2008 12:10 pm

    Tony, first, Bollinger will no doubt respond to the market. More, the ’12 would be easy to mod to fit any cramp that fits the ’10 or Comfort. I thank Dynafit in my prayers every day (well, almost, and I mean I thank God for Dynafit) that they make most of their stuff somewhat backward compatible, and this is an example of that. For the mod, all you’d do is cut off the fiberglass aft of the toe unit, then re-shape the plastic to it fit with the shape of the cutout in the Bollinger crampon.

    Now, you could also use the toe baseplate from a ’10, that would be another solution for using aftermarket cramps that fit the ’10.

    Of course, I’ll get scolded by someone for even mentioning the word mod in association with an expensive binding. But then, mod and hack is the name of the game in so many arenas these days — I feel like it applies to ski gear just like it does anything else, cars and computers, for example.
    Which

  3. Graeme October 2nd, 2008 3:55 pm

    I have last years FT, DIN 10 (yes, that yellow) on 2 sets of skis. I have B&D crampons also, so I can answer that question. The B&D crampons work fine on higher left settings, but on the lowest heel setting, the fiberglass plate mildy obstructs full lowering of the heel. The heel will go down, but it feels like there is upward tension on the toepiece to get it there. My answer – remove the fibreglass plate form behind the toepiece, which seems to have little function beyond assisting with lining up installation of the toe, and as Lou has pointed out above, protecting that tab (which does what?).

  4. Tom G October 2nd, 2008 4:17 pm

    Lou, it would be interesting to do an actual release test of both the 10 and 12 bindings to see if the advertised DIN is truly accurate. I’ll bet you know some shop over there that would let you do this. Even more interesting would be to know what the actual DIN is of a 10 binding that is set on 10 or maxed out. Inquiring minds want to know.

  5. Lou October 2nd, 2008 5:10 pm

    I know a couple of shops with Vermont release checkers. I might play around. Did this once when Dynafit first came out, and due to friction of metal on metal parts or amount of elasticity the readings were whacked out. Apparently the machine wasn’t designed for this type of release, though the TUV certification obviously can deal wtih it, or they wouldn’t certify the binding. TUV is pretty strict, so I’m not sure what value my testing would really have, especially if I can’t find a modern sophisticated release checker that can deal with it.

    What I like to do is set binding a bit low and see if I ski out, then dial up gradually till I stay in during normal skiing. For extreme I dial up a bit more, then lock out if I’m in a no-fall zone. Funny thing is, this results in a DIN setting right in the range where the chart says I should be. Imagine that.

  6. Tony October 3rd, 2008 9:15 am

    Lou, can you tell us more about the TUV standard? How is it different from DIN?

  7. Ken Gross October 3rd, 2008 9:28 am

    Lou, Great Post! What it made me think of are potential hacks and mods that could be made to the Comforts or FTs. Namely the threaded heel post or spindle. I have had some issue with the heel post base twisting slightly especialy when using the heel elevator. It seems that the threaded post would tighten up this area of the binder and eliminate the play between the rod and the non-threaded hole. Did it appear as if the threaded adjustment rod was a bigger diameter than the previous models? I am thinking about tapping that hole and going to a bigger threaded rod. Your thoughts?

  8. Lou October 3rd, 2008 9:30 am

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure TUV just provides verification/certification that a given item conforms to a DIN standard. DIN is the standard, TUV is the authority that stamps the item.

    http://www.tuv-fs.com/

  9. Lou October 3rd, 2008 9:32 am

    Ken, the rod is the same. Tapping existing hole and going to bigger rod would weaken the heel post. The rod does nothing but provide for/aft fixation and adjustment, and it’s plenty strong as it. Any strength issue is in the post, and I’m guessing that’s now a non issue.

  10. Jonathan Shefftz October 3rd, 2008 2:35 pm

    Just to clarify a point that always seems to get confused: DIN designates the German Institute for Standardization, which promulgates standards for all sorts of things, not just skiing. And even within skiing, all sorts of standards exist — downhill, cross country, touring; skis, boots, poles, screws, etc.

    The alpine touring ski binding standard is 13992:2006; the alpine downhill ski binding standard is 9462:2006 (and both cost a small fee to view, which is apparently too large for any of the backcountry ski magazines to pay as opposed to just baselessly speculating about differing release standards).

  11. gonzoskijohnny October 3rd, 2008 3:01 pm

    After a knee surgery due to a non-release of a demo dynafit at DIN6, I now get all my bindings torque tested, easily and cheaply done at most competent alpine ski shops. The Demo binings probably spent too much time on roof racks in the I-70 salt slushfests care of CDOT.

    My old fav. dynafit setup gave irregular and unpredicatable releases in rotation when torque tested last fall- (test is supposed to be 3 consistent tests, not just 1- takes most of 45 seconds). Glad I checked, as spring cap was worn to nubbin, space jammed with colorful plastic shavings and NO LUBE WHASOEVER was in that binding. Easily reparied, lubed and re-set (thanks to wildsnow beta), tested fine and skied just fine last spring….

  12. burgbilly October 4th, 2008 5:41 pm

    OK, I’ll admit it I’m vain. I finally made the switch to Dynafit bindings. I bought the “strange yellow” colored FTs from last year at a pretty good discount. Is there anyway to combat the color? Can you paint them using one of those Krylon paint pens? Any other suggestions for a first timer on Dynafits?

  13. Matus October 5th, 2008 3:32 pm

    I am sure not to be the only one who sets the dynafits to max DIN just to make sure they will not release. I ride Comforts pretty hard and have never had any release problem. Considering that I am about 75 kg + pack and all, I think that FT 12 are aimed mainly to those big guys (90kg +) who were “forced” to buy Fritschi Freerides. I see this mainly as another attempt of Dynafit to broaden the marketing portfolio to please freeride oriented riders. However, although with fancy fiberglass and black color, the dynafits, still look like….dynafits. You knpw what I mean (usual set of FAQ, when talking about dynafits).

  14. Lou October 5th, 2008 3:47 pm

    Indeed, it’s pretty cool they got the binding up to DIN 12 without adding weight. I’m amazed at that. Just shows how Dynafit is always striving to give it. Since the binding has to use the boot fittings, and the configuration for that is so tried and true, I’m not surprised the 12 is so similar to the 10, I’d actually be pretty surprised if it was not. Keeping costs down from ridiculous levels is also a factor, and having some parts interchangeable between the two bindings is not doubt a plus in that way as well.

  15. BStory October 6th, 2008 9:28 am

    One minor factor in the post-Comfort dynafit designs that I have personally been disspointed with is the longer toe unit. Although it is easier to flip up into tour mode than the old Comfort/classic toe units, I had several occasions last winter where the toe unit on my FT10′s has flipped down out of tour mode while bushwacking and/or skinning over down trees. I have not had this happen with my TLT classics. This could potentially be a safety issue, with the toepiece snagginng on a ski pole or rock (while sidestepping) in no-fall terrain. I know Sky Sjue, Cascade skier extroidenaire, has expressed similar concerns. Anyone have an opinion on this?

  16. jack October 14th, 2008 7:34 am

    I’m thinking of making the switch from Fritschis to Dynafits. 85 kgs, 190 cm, no hucks, no jumps. About every Dynafit dealer and sales rep say I should go for the FT12. Some of my buddies say I should select Comforts, because my highest setting is 10 anyway, savins $$$$. A dealer here in Europe mentions the small price (about 29 euros) difference between ST (with separate 100 mm brakes) and FT (including 100 mm brakes) Who must I believe ?

  17. Lou October 14th, 2008 9:33 am

    Jack, if you’re using DIN 10 I’d get the FT12, that’s exactly what it’s designed for, so you don’t have to crank it to the max for your chosen DIN number. The other improvements I detailed above are nice as well.

  18. Ira Edwads October 20th, 2008 7:07 pm

    Lou, what about using the FT12 with flexible boots like the TX Pro (NTN boot) the F3 o the F1 from scarpa? they come with a block to mount under the ball of the foot and that woudl get in the way fo the “cosmetic” fiberglass peice. Just get rid of it and save a couple of grams or router out the Scarpa block?

    Thoughts?

    Ira

  19. Lou October 20th, 2008 7:15 pm

    Ira, sure, you’d just cut the fiberglass. But why not just use an ST or Comfort? Is having DIN 12 some kind of holy grail or something?

  20. Ira Edwads October 21st, 2008 11:52 am

    Lou,

    that is the binding I am getting a good price on. not that I need a 12 DIN, as I’ll probably keep it at 8-9. Maybe I’ll router the Scarpa block to save more weight in the middle…

    Thanks for the heads up…

    Ira

  21. GaryH October 29th, 2008 11:32 pm

    Dittos on the great post! “folks who ride with DIN around 10″ so you think riding at DIN 9 would fall into this catergory and benefit by the cushion of having adjustability up to 12? In other words, if you are at DIN 9 on the ST10 vs the FT12 will there be any noticeable difference, such as more ‘elasticity’ in the FT12 springs if they are not close to max? Thanks, Gary H

  22. Lou October 30th, 2008 7:21 am

    Gary, I’d say that at using DIN 9 you’re right at the margin of seeing any benefit from going to the FT12. Do you already have ST Dynafits you’re skiing at DIN 9, or are you just wondering?

  23. Magnus October 30th, 2008 7:50 pm

    Like Ira, I’m also wondering about flexible bellow boots… I’m considering the Terminator X-Pro since I would love to have a boot for both tele and AT. Any thoughts on how they would perform on technically harder descent (since I won’t tele on those days) for a 90+kg skier with Dynafits? They obviously would skin very well and they’re fairly light. But how do they ski and how are they for scrambling and mountaineering? I wonder if the bellows are to soft for kickstepping and crampon use… Would be very interesting to see a review of the AT capabilities of the new NTN boots.

  24. GaryH October 30th, 2008 10:33 pm

    Lou, I’ve been skiing on older pair of dynafit’s at din 9, I think they are late 90′s vintage with yellow plastic; I bumped up the din to 9 after twisting out at 8.5 in deep pow too many times, 9 seems to work pretty good. I’m a bit nervous that they are getting old and sticky which I suppose servicing them would cure, but I also need brakes which I dont think these are compatible for, not sure. So I’m essentially looking for a 2nd pair, Comforts, ST or FT. GaryH

  25. Lou October 31st, 2008 7:58 am

    Gary, if you’re buying new bindings because of brake issues and such, I’d just go with the FT 12. But the ST or Comfort would work. All these bindings are more similar than they are different, so don’t get caught in over thinking your shopping.

    Regarding older Dynafits. They usually work fine after being re-greased, but after years of the lateral release spring being compressed it has to loose some of its stiffness, so what you think is DIN 9 might actually be 8.5, for example. Not only that, but if the thimble bushing becomes worn (see FAQ via top menu), and this could lower the actual DIN value as well. And…a poorly lubricated binding can cause pre release because it lacks a snappy return-to-center.

  26. BryanL November 1st, 2008 2:08 pm

    In Europe, Dynafit offers the Vertical FT10, which seems identical to the FT12 except for DIN range. Are you aware of any other functional differences between the FT10 and FT12?

  27. Lou November 1st, 2008 3:03 pm

    Yeah, the FT 10 has yellow accents and a connecting plate between toe and heel and is indeed virtually the same as the 12, only it has a maximum of DIN 10. Or you could say the FT is virtually the same as the ST, only the ST doesn’t have the connecting plate. By the way, the yellow binding is not in Dynafit’s current catalog for Europe or North America, so any on the market are presumably just those remaining in inventory at Dynafit or at retailers.

    So to answer your question, there are no functional differences between any of the FT or ST Dynafit bindings, function meaning how the mechanicals … function.

  28. BryanL November 7th, 2008 9:30 pm

    Thanks for the info. For what it’s worth, the heading for the FT10s on Telemark-Pyrenees said they’re ’08-09s.

  29. Lou November 8th, 2008 7:44 am

    Perhaps they do still make the FT 10, if so I wasn’t aware of it… If so, it would be virtually identical to the ST only difference being s the yellow color and the connecting skin on top of the base plates. And would be even more “virtually” identical to the FT, only difference being the springs and perhaps a few tiny hidden improvements described in anatomy above.

    In the Dynafit 08/09 catalog (118 pages), which they put a lot of money and effort into, there is no FT10, but there is an ST with yellow accents.

    In any case, I’ll ask about this. Nothing like a bit of Dynafit trivia to keep the mind occupied (grin)!

  30. Rusty Rigg November 11th, 2008 9:02 pm

    Lou,

    To your knowledge has there been any talk of longer pins in the heel assembly (to prevent pre-releasing from a “de-cambered” ski)?
    Regards, and thanks for such an informative site.

    Rusty Rigg

  31. Lou November 12th, 2008 6:32 am

    Rusty, the heel pins in Dynafit Comfort, ST, FT are several millimeters longer than TLT/Speed, and seem to be plenty long.

  32. Gary Holmquist November 18th, 2008 12:47 pm

    Lou,
    I need to change the excenter levers on the toe pieces of a pair of Dynafit vertical FT bindings. Can you give me any pointers on how to do this properly? I understand the two ends of the pin are sllightly different diameters and that you can only remove this pin in one direction. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks,

    Gary

  33. Lou November 18th, 2008 1:21 pm

    Gary, Louie and I haven’t done that very frequently, but my recollection is that it’s not that tough. I think what worked best was to remove the tiny spring first via the end that’s hooked around a bar pin. And yeah, there is only one pin that needs to be removed, you just drive it out with a reversed drill bit or exact size punch, via the smaller end. Do one binding at a time, of course. When we were in Europe last winter, Dynafit inventor Fritz Barthel had Louie doing this in just minutes.

  34. Fritz November 22nd, 2008 7:03 am

    I wonder why my brand new Dynafit FT 12 is yellow because I can’t find it in yellow on the dynafit website.

    Does anybody know?

  35. jeff pfleger November 22nd, 2008 4:19 pm

    dont see the ramer military mickey mouse boot adapter kit ? he ha fun for the whole family .

  36. Lou November 25th, 2008 3:52 pm

    Fritz, I spoke with someone at Dynafit and they said while there is no “official” yellow FT12, there might be some one offs out there or something like that. Where did you obtain your binding?

  37. Samo November 30th, 2008 5:37 am

    Hi, Lou! I have a doubt.
    Have the springs, for horisontal release, the same force, strength? If springs are same and extra metal ring provides higher din, it mean thet ST10 and FT12 have same squeezing point from 6 to 10 din. So lateral release is not so better if you have set on 10?

  38. Lou November 30th, 2008 7:47 am

    The word I got is the spring is stronger, and the shim/ring is mostly there to add just a bit more and to fine tune. Makes sense, as the shim is very thin.

  39. Samo November 30th, 2008 1:36 pm

    Hi! I thought so.
    Maybe the shim is there just because plastic is not so durable at higher din and it helps. Maybe I will get them to replace my Naxos on alpine set up. But I will certainly wait Daves review.
    Thanks for your answer!

  40. Lou November 30th, 2008 1:50 pm

    Indeed, I think a big reason the washer/shim is there is for durability (against alu, not plastic).

  41. Frank R December 8th, 2008 6:56 pm

    So after a month of staring at them I have decided that I want to put ft12′s on a pair of BD Zealots. I am going to do the mount, first dynafit mount (first pair of dynafits), since the brakes don’t come in 110 are they easily removable on the ft12? I perused the dynafit faq and didn’t see anything regarding installation or removal of brakes.

    Since I’d be losing the brakes, for your safety leash system, what is the benefit of having two metal rings? I’m assuming that in a hard fall or avalanche that it is the rings that are supposed to fail and not the cord (looks like you use 2 or 3mm?). Are you counting on the cord breaking or the clasps bending thus releasing the cord?

  42. Lou December 9th, 2008 7:52 am

    Frank, I typed “install dynafit brakes” in our trusty search box, and look what it found (grin):

    http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/dynafit_faq/comfort-brake-install.html

    Folks usually use metal rings so they’re easier to clip to. The failure point (fuse) can be any part of the rig. On mine, it’s usually the small clips I use.

  43. Frank R December 9th, 2008 12:06 pm

    ahh, search engine, novel…thanks for pointing me in the right direction. check on the clips, makes perfect sense now.

  44. Jack February 10th, 2009 6:49 am

    Hi Lou,

    Had an uncanny experience with my Ft12′s. While doing shortturns inbounds on a fairly steep hardpacked slope in the Swiss Alps, I applied to much pressure and too much angle on my skis and they started to shatter pretty bad. Instead of releasing some of the pressure, I (an erring humanoid….) applied even more pressure. Two big bangs later both my boots came off in such way that I pivoted with the heelpiece as the center of the arc. Releasing as it did, the FT12 heelpieces LOCKED both brakes. With plenty of luck I recovered my skis (one within 100 yards, the other half a mile down the mountain). Question: Is this a one in million chance or did it happen to other FT12 users as well ? I tried to repeat the release + locking at the same time, but could not reproduce.

  45. Lou February 10th, 2009 7:08 am

    Jack, sounds like the toe units might have opened up somehow? Sounds like one in a million….

  46. Jack February 10th, 2009 7:19 am

    You mean opened up before releasing ? Obviously the toes released when the lateral pressure became higher than the setting (8) of the bindings. I am 6’2 and weigh about 190, but because I’m over 50, Dynafit advises to go one notch down (8 instead of 9). If you twist the heel unit with your hands and simulating the boot pivots from the heelpiece, you’ll find the brakes gets locked easier than you think…..

  47. Jason Gregg March 1st, 2009 1:15 pm

    On the issue of vertical release have you been able to determine how the FT12 generates the extra DIN?

  48. Lou March 1st, 2009 10:01 pm

    Jason, I asked the engineer, he said the vertical release springs are stiffer.

  49. trollanski October 2nd, 2009 1:32 pm

    Hi Lou and friends. We have shortened our Gotamas, modded our boots… What’s the chance of swapping out the verticle release spring on a pair of ST’s with those from the FT’s and ending up with DIN 12. I am skiing with my toes at about 8.5, however,my heels require 10.5-11. I am 45, 185, charge as hard as I can in heavy coastal snow. The added cost ($170 btwn. ads on web) of the FT’s begs the question of ski bums everywhere….

  50. SB October 2nd, 2009 2:41 pm

    I know this may sound a little overbearing, but I don’t mean it that way. You might want to look at the reason why you need din 11 before swapping out the spring — seems like their is either something defective in the heel piece or something odd with your technique. Of course, the latter could be really difficult to change.

  51. trollanski October 2nd, 2009 6:22 pm

    Thanks for the input. I use the time tested method of starting with the recommended DIN, and SLOWLY up-ing it till I am no longer blowing the ski off for no GOOD reason. I have been on skis since ’71′, have always pushed my perfomance, never blown a knee, and am addressing the obvious questions such as why the binding is so much more costly, or why the brakes are $75. The oldest Dynafit devotee in town uses cheap brakes and a piece of cutting board plastic that swivels to hold them down in tour mode.

  52. Lou October 2nd, 2009 9:28 pm

    Trollanski, I supposed it’s possible in theory to put a stiffer spring in any Dyanfit binding. Where you’d get the springs is the question. As is if we’d be certain the binding could hold up to the force.

    Also, did someone ask why this stuff is so expensive? I think you’d need a degree in economics to figure that out, and even then there are probably things no man can know. Start with the Euro exchange rate and go from there.

    All I know is I just spent a heck of a lot more on my new mountain bike than the retail of a pair of Dynafits. A set of axle shafts for my Jeep also costs more. So does a plane flight to Europe. All is relative.

  53. Scott Dresser November 1st, 2009 10:09 pm

    Just wondering if there was any info out there to address the question of Magnus on October 30th, 2008 re: Scarpa TX-Pro bellows flex and the Dynafit FT12. Thanks.

  54. Lou November 2nd, 2009 6:55 am

    Scott, a bellows boot would perform no differently in the FT12 than it would in any other Dynafit binding.

    When used in a Dynafit, bellows boots sag while in alpine mode and this not only can cause premature release, but changes the binding DIN setting depending on how much the sagging changes the position of the boot heel on the heel pins. This is prevented somewhat by attaching a “puck” to the ski under the forward part of the boot. Problem is, the boot sole ends up resting on the puck, which can introduce possibly release compromising friction into the otherwise beautifully friction-free Dynafit system (normally, the boot is suspended between the toe and heel units.)

    Personally, while I can see that bellows boots might be slightly more ergonomic for lower angled touring and for walking around the parking lot, I don’t obsess on them. I’ve used them extensively (I have F1 and F3) and find that they actually take energy when used with binding heel lifters, as they sag at the bellows each step. And when used with crampons, while doing front pointing they’re definitely not as efficient as a stiff soled boot.

    Where they shine, again, is in lower angled touring. That’s why I keep some in my quiver, and is why they’re popular with the race crowd, because most rando races do not have much steep skinning. Instead, racers use glide optimized skins and sometimes almost look like nordic skiers doing classic stride.

    If your goal is to telemark and AT ski in the same boot, perhaps they have their advantages there. I don’t telemark ski, so I’m not up to speed on that aspect. Though I do have to think that any core telemarker would want a dedicated pair of telemark boots that are set up specifically for telemarking…

    Fact of the matter is that building a bellows plastic ski boot has always been a challenge. In terms of doing it for AT skiing, it’s pretty much a solution without a problem — and just adds cost and complexity to an otherwise elegant solution.

  55. Jason Gregg November 8th, 2009 6:17 pm

    Lou do you think the torsional rigidity of the Dynafit boot/binding system is higher in the case where the ski brake gives the sole of the boot something to rest on? In my “grab the boot and pull sideways” home tests it seems there’s a little less slop with the brake under the boot. I ask because it would be nice to have a heel rest that would install on the heel piece for when the brake is removed/unwanted. I don’t want to run brakes just to get more downhill performance.

  56. Mark November 8th, 2009 11:04 pm

    The new Dynafit DyNA boot has a micro bit of flex at the ball of the foot, mere milimeters, but Dynafit claims such flex is useful for efficiency in racing (forgive the poor paraphrase).

  57. Jason Gregg November 9th, 2009 9:42 am

    Slight clarification on my point, just to be clear I’m talking about torsional rigidity in the boot sole. Nordica hs added an aluminum bar into the footbed to achieve this in their race boots. The Dynafit setup “pins” the boot upfront pretty well but the two pins in the back don’t really do much to help prevent twist induced at the boot shaft. Thats where the ski brake dos seem to help some. Lou mentions the “puck” for the AT race boots and I thnk something similar under the heel for the “free riders” would be good

  58. Lou November 9th, 2009 9:58 am

    The sole of the boot does not “rest” on the Dynafit brake. The brake is spring loaded, and pushes up on the boot sole and has some give, depending on thickness of sole. That said, to worry about torsional rigidity of Dynafit would indicate someone is not skiing enough. The thing is more rigid than many alpine bindings! Seriously. After a certain point, how much play you get side-to-side (when force is applied left/right to the boot cuff) is a non issue. Shoot, the shaft of your tibia moves within muscle and tissue too.

  59. Walt November 24th, 2009 1:33 am

    I bought my Dynafit FT 10’s just before the Dynafit FT 12?s came out. I really wish I had the 12’s because I am a big guy and usually ski right around 10 or 11 DIN. Anyway, there looks to but very little difference between the two models. So, I was wondering if you know if it is possible to convert the FT 10’s to FT 12’s by changing the springs and whatever else that needs to be done? Will Dynafit sell the parts?

  60. Lou November 24th, 2009 9:12 am

    Walt, in theory it’s possible but you’re not going to get the parts. Carpe skium and don’t look back.

  61. Christian January 5th, 2010 3:51 pm

    Love this site, and love dynafits. Mid season last year I had my first pre-release, and this season they have been quite common. The releases as all been on windpack/ice when I have wanted to do non skidding turns by engaging the edge. What bothers me is that the releasing does not seem to be affected by the din settings – din 8 or 12 does not matter. I have now been able to simulate what happens: if I stand on a flat area and kick the ski into the ground as if about to engange into a new turn, the front pin is pressed down and releases the shoe (I can do this on a carpet, so ice is not an issue). This is a very common move when doing short turns, and I surprised that I haven’t seen this mentioned . I am not doing extreme skiing…just normal short turns. Needles to say, I have lost some trust in my dynafits due to this….any comments?

  62. Lou January 5th, 2010 4:46 pm

    Christian, can you be more clear about what’s happening? Is part of the boot pressing on something? If so, can you just skive a bit of material off the boot? Let’s fix this. Lots of great very agro skiers crank turns on Dynafits, so your problem is not endemic.

  63. Ben W January 6th, 2010 8:22 am

    Christian, are you having problems with the heel or the toe? I had a similar problem last spring until I replace the plastic bushings in the heel. Problem solved. The wear on the bushings was quite subtle, but they were no longer snug in the housing, allowing too much rotational play. Even with the DIN at the max, it was easy to rotate out of the heels.

  64. Christian January 6th, 2010 10:41 am

    The problem is with the toe – and with two different set of skis. I will check if the minor boot-modifaction might work (i.e. skive of some material). I got new boots this summer, after a toe break, so the boot is a likely suspect – even more so when considering that I did not notice the problem earlier. What makes me wonder is that I have also been skiing a lot more with race skis and heavy duty freerideskis (Black Crows Corvus (196,5cm)), so my technique has become more “powerfull” – more like when I used to race. (I am 85kg, and usually ski with bindings at din 8 or 9).

  65. Lou January 6th, 2010 10:46 am

    Christian, it’s definitely your boots (I say that remote, so I’ll give it 99%). You need to get them on the bench, in your bindings, and try to replicate the problem at least to some degree. You probably need to remove a bit of sole material. Be careful, as you need the correct configuration to trigger the binding closure when you snap them on.

    Please let us know how it goes.

  66. Christian January 6th, 2010 1:33 pm

    A bit of the sole is now removed: there was some resistance when the back binding was in the lowest touring mode (i.e. the sole touched the binding)
    Unfortunately it did not help in the living-room test I did: a 60 degree kick into the carpet still causes the ski to release. Most of the time I see a little movement in the back binding….but not sure if the movement is before or after the release.

    How much should be removed? Should there be space all the way between front binding and the boot?

    Unfortunately very cold weather (below -20c) prevents me from testing it in the slopes now – a living room test isn’t a real test.

  67. Christian January 9th, 2010 9:26 am

    Update: the shoe modifcations worked for my old skis with ft10. On the new skis it did not seem to fix the problem. It seems that Ben W guessed correctly: there is quite a lot of rotational play in the back bindings, and to top it of…I lost the thing that holds one of the pins on the back binding. So now I will have to get them repaired…

  68. Jonathan L February 22nd, 2010 9:25 pm

    Do not deem the fiberglass strip that comes off the toe “cosmetic”. It is not. The authorized Dynafit dealer who installed my FT12s on my Manaslus did as well and tossed it in the trash in front of me. Both toepieces cracked the first time I used crampons. Dynafit took one look at the the photos and replaced both for me.

    What’s even worse, is the binding tech who threw the pieces away quoted —- AHHHH :shocked: — you as he tossed them in the bin. :smile:

  69. Lou February 23rd, 2010 1:44 am

    Thanks for keeping me on my toes, but I read above and noticed I never said that the toe and heel baseplate fiberglass was a throwaway. In fact, didn’t I mention that it looked like it would reinforce the crampon mount? But I added a sentence to emphasize that. It’s always been obvious to me that the fiberglass shell over the toe and heel units is part of them, but that the connector strip can be eliminated. We do that all the time.

    But perhaps I didn’t make that clear somewhere else here on WildSnow? If so, let me know and I’ll edit.

  70. Jonathan L February 23rd, 2010 10:57 am

    Lou,

    I in no way blame you. You just speak in such deep sonorous tones from the mountaintop that someone with a screwdriver in his hand took you literally.

    BTW you are indeed such the voice of authority that when I had questions, Dynafit sent me here. :biggrin:

    Off to do the Silvrettta in 3 weeks. Also plan to use you as a pastry authority.

  71. Lou February 23rd, 2010 11:28 am

    Jonathan, it’s in interesting position to be in, that of so many people using one’s writing for reference. I take it seriously and try my best to do good, help people, be accurate, etc. But I’ll be the first one to admit that errors creep in. I don’t hesitate to correct such, but sometimes they haunt. Also, it’s human nature for folks to interpret what they read, sometimes into something that’s not the original intent of the writing. In that case I believe I fall short as a writer, but I’d rather take that risk, work hard, and take the occasional hit.

    In this case, the guy obviously misinterpreted. So I could have written with more clarity.

  72. Matthias Schabel March 18th, 2010 7:14 pm

    Just bought a set of Dynafit crampons to go with Vertical ST bindings. I can’t see an obvious way to get the crampon attached without unscrewing the toe piece from the ski…must be missing something obvious. Any hints?

  73. Matthias Schabel March 18th, 2010 7:27 pm

    Drrrrr….cancel that request. Actually quite simple and elegant. I’m too used to cludgy tele gear.

  74. Rob Stone March 19th, 2010 12:05 pm

    Matthias – maybe this will help

    1. Open Box
    2. Read instructions
    3. Install Crampons
    4. Enjoy

  75. edMac May 1st, 2010 9:16 pm

    For those of you that did not get your instructions in the box with your Dynafit ski crampons (like me), you SLIDE the crampon from the SIDE of the ski into the Dynafit crampon slot. You do not try to push in into the slot from the top. Tilt the crampon up to 90 deg from base of ski, then you will see that it will slide in sideways. Hope this helps others that find themselves without instructions.

  76. Jonathan Shefftz May 14th, 2010 11:50 am

    Okay, so this is a pretty old comparison, but I just noticed something:
    “I left the best for last. A known weakness of earlier Dynafit bindings is the base of the heel “post” AKA “spindle,” (this is pretty much hidden on an assembled binding, and the heel unit rotates on it.) My theory about this is that some heel posts are cast or machined in such a way as to unnecessarily remove material that would otherwise provide strength. In the photo above, arrows indicate the area in question. Binding base to far left is an older Comfort model, you can see a large recessed area with less aluminum. Middle is an ST10 from last winter, notice how the larger recessed area is now tiny. On the right, FT12, with almost no material removed. Nice.”
    – The ST10 from the current season is identical in this regard to the FT12.

    Also curious about this:
    “On the same note about strength, previous Comfort and ST heel units have an unthreaded hole that the threaded for-aft adjustment shaft runs through. With FT12, this hole is threaded and the shaft fits tightly. In my view this adds strength as not only do we have more alu around the shaft, but less potentially metal fatiguing play.”
    – How could the hole be anything be threaded? If the hole is perfectly smooth, then the heel unit would just be sliding all over the place, right?

  77. pete July 28th, 2010 10:23 am

    im interested in this binding as id like to do more touring.
    i ski various types of terrain and snow .
    im after best combination between touring ability and downhill performance.
    is this binding going to withstand agressive ride in powder od hard snow in a steep coloir?
    i think about marker baron,duke binding but it is relativelly heavy,and touring mode is not as good as dynafit i suppose.
    i didnt ski any of them,just want to ask if making long tours with marker will cost me much pain?
    in the other hand in aggressive downhill steep terrain is dynafit going to be 100%secure and wont release or breake?

    thanks for all comments as im new i want to hear all the opinions
    thanks again

  78. Lou November 15th, 2010 5:45 pm

    I got an email comment notification, but don’t see the comment here… strange… At any rate, the guy asked if I’d recommend using Dynafit for mostly lift served. No, I wouldn’t. The only binding I’d recommend for that would be any of the Markers.

  79. Bert December 3rd, 2010 7:04 pm

    Hey everyone,

    I am very new to backcountry skiing and have a question about the dynafit vertical ft binding.

    1.) I have a bellowed boot (Scarpa F3) which, as I understand it, needs a shim installed under the bellow for decents. Is a shim still needed with the vertical FT or does the fiber glass work as the shim? If I do need a shim, what is the best way to install it?

    I was kinda shooting in the dark when I bought touring boots. I bought my vertical FT’s to go along with my Head Joe 105s after a recommendation from a friend. Knowing that I needed Dynafit compatible boots I snapped up the F3s when I saw them on sale for cheap online. I hope I didn’t make a big mistake.

  80. Jonathan Shefftz December 3rd, 2010 7:09 pm

    Yes, you absolutely most definitely need a shim. The Scarpa sliding shim (be sure to get the thicker one since you have the Vertical ST) allows you to easily swap in a ski crampon, plus the wider more contoured shim makes the F3 ski better. Or you can screw in a fixed shim, either Scarpa’s or one of your own making.
    The F3 is a very nice boot overall — I eventually ended up selling mine, but had lots of great tours on them.

  81. Jonathan Shefftz December 4th, 2010 12:36 pm

    Almost forget about this very clever after-market option:
    http://tinyurl.com/35ttagn
    Essentially an integrated F1/F3 shim + ski crampon attachment, which gets around the problem with using ski crampons on a setup that has a fixed shim.
    A partner of mine has this for his F1 setup, and works fine.

  82. Bert December 4th, 2010 1:03 pm

    Thanks for the info. I ended up buying the 12mm sliding shim from MEC.

  83. Anthony December 5th, 2010 11:21 am

    I have just purchased my 1st set of FT12s, i have them mounted on some volkl nanuq, im 85kg, 5’11. 1st impressions are that i love the setup, however i have been having some prelease problems with the toe, most disconcerting, havent tried it out in the deep back country yet but i was just doing some cruisy runs on piste and on a standard turn my toe would release, most disconcerting!

    My question is could there be a fault with the binding/boot or so i just need to lock them, when i step in it doesnt sem to click in that hard, my friends with st10 the snap seems harder and they ski no problem alongside me? i can obviously lock them out but then i have no idea what sort of release i can get, is it normal to ski on hard pack with them almost locked out (top – 1), any advice most appreciated as i really want this etup to work?

    Cheers
    Anthony

  84. Christian December 5th, 2010 12:58 pm

    Anthony,
    I would start with taking a look at wildsnow’s video tutorial on youtube. The most common problem is ice, either in the sockets or under the toe springs. I tend to lock the toe, do some simulated skinning and then unlock them before going downhill. Have you toured on them yet? If not, do that . What are your din setting? I have the same dimentions as you and have set the bindings at 10/10.

  85. Lou December 5th, 2010 4:33 pm

    Anthony, provided you are doing EVERYTHING correctly as to entering the binding for downhill mode, including adequate RV settings, inadvertent release (pre release” may indicate you are having the same problem that several other skiers have been adamant about reporting here, and which Dynafit has addressed by making the FT12 110mm brake model with stronger toe unit springs. My advice would be to practice a bit and make sure you’ve got everything dialed. If you still pre-release after that cut bait immediately by 1., seeing if you can somehow upgrade to the 110mm version, or 2., changing to an Onyx, Fritschi, or Marker.

    The main thing to look for in terms of getting it dialed is indeed ice in the boot toe fittings and under the binding toe wings. Those two things can cause all sorts of problems.

    Lou

  86. Greg Louie December 5th, 2010 5:14 pm

    X3 re: ice buildup under the wings and in the toe sockets. If you can, have an experienced Dynafit user watch you step in and get his/her reaction.

    If not possible, then Christian’s suggestion of skinning for a while before descending (preferably ripping skins without exiting the toepiece) may help; alternatively you can slide the ski back and forth to simulate the same action right after you step in. This will help the toe pincers “bore” into the sockets a bit. You can check to see if they are seated correctly by locking the toe lever (as if you were going to skin) – if you can’t get 4 clicks or so with normal effort, then the pins are not seated properly and you should check for some sort of obstruction. One or less clicks usually means something is wrong.

  87. Greg Louie December 5th, 2010 5:22 pm

    FWIW, there COULD be something wrong with either your toe sockets or the binding itself that’s impeding engagement – misaligned sockets (very rare, it’s
    a one piece casting) or some machining glitch or something physically stuck in a socket . . . other than that I should think you are within the range of people who should be able to stay in an FT12 unless your ski style is super aggressive.

  88. Lou December 5th, 2010 5:30 pm

    Simulated touring motion after clipping in toe for alpine mode, before stomping down to enter heel. Nearly always essential unless you’ve stayed in the binding during transition.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/skiwildsnow#p/u/1/_DysqbyjyRc

  89. Anthony December 5th, 2010 6:01 pm

    thanks for the advice, are you saying if i have the toe clip set at the ‘horizontal’ downhill position (ie just snapped in position) and still release its time to give up, or is it ok to click the toe up a couple of clicks (i appear to have 5 clicks) and ski downhill ok then this is acceptable? really want these to work!!

    ps: my skis are only 92mm wide so the 110mm brake would be too large

  90. Lou December 5th, 2010 6:15 pm

    The clicks mean nothing, they are just there to compensate for manufacturing variations. You can ski with the toe locked, but then you don’t really have any lateral release it’s around DIN 13 to 18. If you have to ski with the toe locked during moderate skiing, at normal weights and RV settings, yes, it’s time to cut bait or get some mentoring. Lou

  91. Greg Louie December 5th, 2010 6:45 pm

    What I was saying is that “clickability” is a way to check to see if the pins are adequately engaged in the sockets, regardless of whether or not you choose to ski with the toe locked.

    If you can’t pull the lever up at least 3 or 4 clicks, it probably means there’s ice under the wings or something clogging up the sockets (or you don’t actually have the pins in the sockets and they’re lodged in the plastic of your boot sole).

    Try snapping the binding open and closed a couple of times (wear gloves) and/or use a tool to clean out the sockets.

  92. Lou December 5th, 2010 7:48 pm

    Greg, absolutely. I just get tired of people thinking the clicks are intended as some kind of variable locking mechanism, so I react (grin).

    Might as well restate for Anthony and whomever, that the Dynafit toe lever “clicks” are just a ratchet that allows various amounts of pull on the locking lever to compensate for binding manufacturing differences. I guess you could count the number of clicks while carpet skiing, then count in real situation to know if the binding was closed or not… better is to do the “foot swing” simulated stride, then lock your heel down. Again, we almost always do that. It has become a habit.

  93. Christian December 6th, 2010 2:17 am

    Anthony,
    personally I do not think it is time to give up.
    1. There is a difference between your, and your friends bidning – indicates that there might be a problem. Is it possible for you to try your friends setup? If not ski, just try clicking in? Do they sound the same/look the same. What if they click into you bindings?
    2. When clicking the boot into the binding on the living room floor – does it seem to engage fully? Does anything change when you lock it? What about when you unlock it after having it locked?
    3. Are your bindings perfectly alligned (if the back binding is a little bit twisted when the heel is clicked down, they release easier). I have had both boots with misplaced dynafit inserts (at the back) and bad mounting that have caused this.
    4. Is the problem the same for both skis?
    5. Are your din set high enough … ? For me the recommended din is around 7 I think (we’re the same size). That is nowhere near to hold me in. For regular alpine bindings 7 works on perfect groomers, but anythink icy/steep/sluchy/powdery demands higher. I ski with din10 – which I can twist out of…I would probably go for 11 if the bindings would let me (have st).
    6. Are there movement in the pins on the back binding? I had a pair of faulty back bindings that caused a lot of greif…in the end the metal that holds the pins broke.
    7. What is the distance between the boot and the back binding? A lot of shops don’t know that they should use a different length for st/ft and speed – so they use 4mm or 5,5mm for everything….
    8. …allways check for ice!

    …and yes, you should be able to ski with them unlocked. If you follow the link on my name, you’ll see a picture of me skiing a 60 degree section with the ski unlocked. We are about the same size. The ski had approx the same with as yours… (Sorry, I don’t have a video of myself, so you could check if we have similar technique. )

  94. Anthony December 6th, 2010 3:10 am

    Hi Christian,

    Thanks for the thorough response Christian, it was point 1 that had me thinking there was a problem, i went skiing with 3 friends who all have st, their initial click in snap appears much firmer, and yes just on the carpet i can twist the front of mine easier than theirs, mine are ft though so didnt know if this was why they were different, i also appear to have 5 clicks on my toe where they only have 3?

    That said i took them into a local shop and the tech said he fits hundreds a year and thought mine seemed fine, he said my ski was quite stiff and i should just ski with the toe up a couple of notches, especially on hard pack, quite happy to do this as long as i will come out at some point?

    Sorry Lou but my final point on the toe notches 8O are you basically saying there are 2 setting unlocked and locked, so for my 5 click approach only the final one is full locked, the others are not locked but slightly tighter, on my carpet testing click 3 of 5 appears to offer a lot of resistance but will come out if twisted hard enough.

    Thanks for all your help guys, apart from this great resource there really is so little info on these bindings on the web, dynafit provide no info!!

  95. Christian December 6th, 2010 3:30 am

    Anthony,
    my carpet-testing, and skiing experience, indicates the same as yours…semi-locking does indeed help from the dreaded prerelease, but still allows for easier release than a full lock. I don’t think Lou agrees…?
    That said – it should not be necessary, and makes your binding-release work in an uncontrolled manner – so should be avoided. I would go back to the shop, or talk directly to dyanfit. This is bad publicity. Take a video of what is happening if needed… (I have had working setups, and non-working..and it is not easy to spot the difference – which might be the real problem).

  96. Lou December 6th, 2010 6:57 am

    Christian, thanks for taking the time to help out, really appreciate it.

    I’d agree that on some bindings/mounts you can add some release resistance by pulling lock latch up part way, but this is totally un calibrated, and up to a certain point does nothing but make noise. Perhaps it works for some people as your carpet test indicates, but I hate to hear of a ski shop recommending it, as for most folks it’s just an extra step to putting on the binding, and could be dangerous to your leg bones as who knows how much release resistance you’re adding to the lateral release. The slang word for this kind of solution would be “ghetto.”

    This is a good discussion to have here, but it bothers me that a ski shop can’t resolve this with better than recommending that the person do something that could rip their legs up. If I was that shop, the least I’d do would be to send the guy out on a few pairs of demos and see if he had the same problem. I hope this mysterious shop is not listed as one of our Top Shops!

  97. Anthony Kallay December 6th, 2010 10:28 am

    Thanks again for the help, to remove doubt i have had the skis/bindings sent back to Dynafit as personally i believe it to be a fault with the spring tension on the toe, i came out far too easily, should have them back in a week so will let you know the outcome.

  98. Lou December 6th, 2010 10:43 am

    Wow Anthony, that is radical, but wise! Please please let us know how it goes.

  99. Ben W December 6th, 2010 12:53 pm

    It would not surprise me to hear that some Verticals have toe spring issues. Reports of pre-releasing have not matched my experiences skiing FT’s on large skis with Titans, including some resort days. I’m 180 without gear, and while I’m not doing backflips off cliffs, I do jump off things with soft, steep landings landings, and ski quite fast at times on hard snow, without a single unwanted release. I’ve got more muscle than technique, and a propensity for finding submerged rocks, so if anybody has the ability kick their way out of a binding, it should be me.

  100. Lou December 6th, 2010 1:07 pm

    Ben, I’d agree there is something going on with all this, but remember that the Dynafit release/retention is also a function of the boot, not just the binding. So the issue is complex. Bindings that pre-release need to be tested with various boots, by skiers who are experienced with Dynafit bindings and know how to eliminate all variables that could cause retention problems. Thus, while it’s possible, I’m not convinced there are some FT12s that have a weak spring or something. Problem is, I’ve not had ONE person I’ve worked with locally who has had this problem, so all I can do is react to what I read here in the comments. If one person who has this problem would work with me, I’ll bet I could quickly figure things out.

  101. Anthony Kallay December 6th, 2010 1:15 pm

    Hi Ben, It was all the images of people dropping off things that made me wonder why my setup would release doing a small turn 10 seconds after setting off on a piste, not once but every time!

    I am in no way an engineer so i have valued all the advice on here but taking all the tech out of the equation if i snap up all 3 of my friends front binding by hand they all react the same, firm, fast with some initial resistance, on mine it lifts up with little resistance and although it does snap it is much softer than all 3 other bindings i have access to, obviously a simple unscientific test but quite noticeable, watch this space for the dynafit assessment!

  102. Lou December 6th, 2010 1:19 pm

    Anthony, you really did your homework. I’m not going to be surprised if you had a binding that needed to be replaced, but remember the boots are a factor as well.

  103. J.P. December 6th, 2010 4:40 pm

    Howdy Lou et al,
    So just had some dynafits mounted and noticed while touring that locking into ski mode was kinda ‘funny’. Had to stomp down pretty hard to get into ski mode. Checked once i got home by putting the boot into the binding and found that the toepieces were both mounted crooked — centered but rotated slightly. Heels are fine. Don’t know how i missed this before; now that i’ve seen it it’s impossible to miss. Anyway they toured and even skiied totally fine in 6 inches fresh on top of firm base. I’m worried however that over time the toepiece may torque out of the ski or that i may damage the toepice or boot due to the funny angle; or just start coming out of the binding after awhile due to abnormal wear. I’m not a dynafit newbie either (third setup with dynafit and been skiing them for almost ten years) so i’m pretty sure this isn’t a good thing. Took them back to the shop and the tech was able to adjust them a tiny bit by moving the toepiece itself relative to the metal plate, but didn’t really fix the problem. This place isn’t a ‘ competency center I guess’. HA! Guy just shrugged and blew smoke up my arse and made an excuse that “dynafits are always a little crooked”. Checked against older setups and their perfect. (kudos to the Alpineer in Crested Butte and The White Room in Whitefish for doing good work. Don’t want to lambast the shop, at least on THIS site. Should I really worry about this or what?

  104. Lou December 6th, 2010 4:50 pm

    J.P. The heels of your boots should drop centered into the heel unit pins. They can be off a hair (less than a millimeter or so that you only notice by carefully studying boot as it drops down and sits on the pins) as nothing is perfect. If it’s off much and requires extra stomping to get into alpine mode, the bindings are probably mis-mounted. But before blaming shop, check both boots in the same binding. Sometimes the boots can be different, meaning the binding will be centered for one boot and not for the other.

    That said, if the toe units are noticeably crooked and neither boot drops in centered at the heel, they’re definitely mis-mounted . Is this shop on our Top Shops list?

    http://www.wildsnow.com/3921/top-best-ski-shops/

    If so, please send me an email so we can discuss in private, and I’ll remove them from the list if it sounds like we should. See contact link above for email to me.

    I am so tired of hearing this type of thing…

  105. J.P. December 6th, 2010 5:03 pm

    Lou
    Yeah man, I checked both boots in both bindings and they’re both crooked. I’d be fine if i had to have a dedicated right-left ski but that’s not the case. The boot heel falls a good CENTIMETER off, not just a couple millimeters. Definitely mis-mounted. Question is, since they ski and tour ok, will this cause me problems with wear/damage to the binding or toe inserts on the boot? I don’t think this shop is on your “Top Shops” post, but I’ll check it out again to be sure. It’s especially frustrating since I live in a place with only one real ski shop that i’d like to support when i feel like I could have gone to REI and gotten the same or better results.

  106. Lou December 6th, 2010 5:08 pm

    J.P. sometimes one just needs to shop at WalMart…

    Yeah, you need to get them mounted correctly. Sure, they’ll tour, but they’ll do weird things in alpine mode since the heel unit will be pre-loaded in one direction.

    I’m just curious, but does this mysterious ski shop even have a Dynafit mounting jig?

  107. J.P. December 6th, 2010 5:19 pm

    Lou
    I made sure to ask the tech if they had a dynafit jig when I dropped them off. . . he claimed they did but i haven’t seen it personally. After more research on this subject it kind of seems like mismounting dynafits is fairly easy even with a jig. (been looking at Jonathon S. dynafit mounting posts on TGR as well as elsewhere) Thanks for the definitive answer as to whether I need to remount. Wasn’t trying to spam for REI on that last window or anything, just feeling like I’m beating my head against the wall is all.

  108. Lou December 6th, 2010 5:24 pm

    J.P., that was about as far away from spam as you can get. Remember, we are not business haters here. In fact, we are in business, imagine that!

    Mismounting any bindings is easy if a bozo is doing it, or if a plain old human mistake is made. What makes a good craftsman is that they fix their mistakes before you ever know about them.

  109. SteveG December 6th, 2010 6:05 pm

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but drilling the holes is Step#1. Step #2 requires the tech to tighten in a cross pattern to allow for any boot induced discrepancies in the axis from the toe fitting to the heel fitting. I’ve mounted 4 pairs of Dynafit’s ala wildsnow instructions myself and had one pair mounted by a “Competence Center”. The shop mounted bindings pre released once while skiing frozen corduroy at minus 8 fahrenheit but never before or since. My bad I suspect.

  110. Lou December 6th, 2010 6:22 pm

    Steve, exactly, but you also while tightening screws, lock the toe and push heel of boot to side to “bias” the screws so the heel ends up perfect. The “bias” effect happens because the screw holes in the ski have a tiny amount of give, which due to the multiplicative effect of the angle and length of boot have a marked effect on the position of the heel, left/right. Then, when the epoxy hardens everything is locked into place, perfectly.

  111. Jonathan Shefftz December 6th, 2010 7:36 pm

    “After more research on this subject it kind of seems like mismounting dynafits is fairly easy even with a jig. (been looking at Jonathon S. dynafit mounting posts on TGR as well as elsewhere)”
    – I thought I wrote more of the opposite, i.e., that I’ve never had any problems with crooked mounts using my own jig. However, I have noticed crookedness reports from shop-mounted Dynafits that must have been using a jig. That said, my hunch is that crookedness matters only if the lateral release spring is preloaded. But then again, some of those crookedness reports definitely sound so off that the lateral release spring must already be engaged even as soon as the heel enters the binding.

  112. Lou December 6th, 2010 7:53 pm

    Jonathan, indeed, a tiny misalignment is absorbed by slop in the binding without much if any preload. But any more than a tiny amount is unacceptable, in my opinion. I usually get mine visually perfect, provided the boots are similar right vs. left. Sometimes the boots are slightly different and one has to either reach a happy medium, or make a left and right ski.

  113. SteveG December 6th, 2010 8:04 pm

    Lou, Yeah, quickly written. I knew what I meant:-)

    On one mount I had to really push the boot heel laterally while tightening. Even then it came out “close enough”. I would guess a tech, looking at 20 mounts before quitting time, often does a “drill and drop” as they might on an alpine binding. I love the Dynafits. A conundrum wrapped in an enigma due to all of the variables. But then I really like to play with my restored 1976 Wheel Horse with the 1966 snow blower attachment.

  114. Lou December 6th, 2010 9:25 pm

    SteveG, every once in while I have a mount like that, but by playing around with the screws I can almost always get it perfect. In the rare case it’s really off, I egg out one or two holes just a hair using a side cutting spiral bit, and things come out perfect after that.

  115. Anthony Kallay December 17th, 2010 11:06 am

    Hi All,

    Quick update from me (the guy who kept coming out of the front of the bindings)

    Sent my skis/bindings back to Dynafit, they sent them back a week later saying they could see nothing wrong with them, claimed just didnt suit my ski or me, i complained a bit more and they agreed to fit new toe pieces, just been out all day on them, skiied much harder than ever before on the old ones including some drops as the confidence built and guess what.. didnt release ONCE!

    so they were defective in some way, even though 2 shops and a dynafit rep said they were fine, not sure exactly what was up, either the spring or the toe socket i dont know but shows that sometimes they dont get it right, love them to bits now though…

  116. Lou December 17th, 2010 11:09 am

    Wow Anthony, that’s super interesting. Wish I’d seen the boots and bindings…

    Hassle for Dyanfit, but they made a happy customer and that is gold.

  117. Wayne Jeffs November 28th, 2011 2:34 pm

    Lou:

    I managed to break the gray plastic plate that holds the heel post in place on a 2010/2011 Dynafit FT-12 binding yesterday while enjoying a good ski day. I managed to ski a creek crossing and landed hard on the opposite bank. I was curious if other readers have experienced a break on the heel post plate. The plastic cracked around the screw that adjusts the forward/rear adjustment of the heel post. Any recommendations for re-installing the heel plate? I have ordered a replacement plate from Bent Gate. Also, I have had a difficult time in installing the brakes on the same binding. I followed your posted instructions closely, but the brake retaining clip keeps popping off. Any ideas?

  118. Lou November 28th, 2011 2:41 pm

    Wayne, I’ve seen a few others broken. Not common but anything can break if you whack it hard enough. The replacement is reasonably easy if you’re handy with tools, see directions above. Remember before removing top plate to dial vertical release setting down, otherwise the binding will explode when the cap comes off. On the other hand, while dialing the release down don’t go too far or you can damage the internals. Lou

  119. Marc March 11th, 2012 12:15 pm

    Hey Lou, Great post, Im thinking of removing the brakes from my FT12 to eliminate the icing “flip around to ski mode” and to save a little weight. Does the brake provide any additional strength for the heal post and do I need to worry about the heal post fatiguing without the brake installed? Thanks

  120. Lou March 11th, 2012 12:49 pm

    Only extra strength the brake provides is the metal ring does fit under the “heel flat on ski” thingy that juts from the base of the heel unit. Since those thingies break occasionally, perhaps the brake helps prevent that. We never break them so I can’t tell you for sure. Lou

  121. slcpunk April 2nd, 2012 7:51 am

    I managed to break the plastic part behind the crampon mount on my FT12s. Can I/Should I get a replacement part? The only downside i can see so far is that I actually bent the crampon mount slightly so that it was hard to install the crampon this spring (had to really wiggle the crampon in the first time). I think if I’m careful (ie: stop banging boot toe on crampon mount to clean snow off) I can avoid that problem.

    I do use my crampons pretty heavily during corn season for what its worth.

    Real lesson was: stop using binding parts to clear snow out of boot toe … bad habit.

  122. Jim December 29th, 2012 10:27 pm

    The retaining clip on my STs keeps popping out so the ski brakes/ski stopper comes off. Anyone dealt with this issue?

  123. Lou Dawson December 29th, 2012 11:03 pm

    The length adjustment screw on the binding base sometimes holds it up too high, or else it’s simply not installed correctly. Lou

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

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