While mostly an iteration in Fritschi’s Diamir model line, the new Fritschi Eagle departs in several significant ways. Mainly, a relocated touring pivot provides much needed ergonomics (i.e., no more Fritschi Frankestride), and a wider binding support foot under the boot heel yields enhanced stability. Weight remains similar yet somewhat lighter (35.5 ounces per binding, Freeride is 36 ounces), stack height is the same, heel unit looks and performs as with previous models, and ramp angle stays identical. In all, we’d call this an excellent improvement to what’s easily the best step-in step-out touring binding line on the market.
Fritschi Eagle backcountry skiing binding.
Check out the new pivot location, fully 23 mm behind boot toe!
Fritschi Freeride touring pivot lines up with end of boot toe, resulting in less than ideal stride ergonomics.
Fritschi Eagle has the excellent 'anti-insta-tele' feature that Fritschi came up with a few years ago.
Eagle support foot under boot heel is 6 centimeters wide, a full centimeter more than earlier Fritschi bindings. While not much of a contributor to static rigidity as measured on the bench, a wider platform definitely makes flexy plate bindings feel less like skiing in boots full of jello.
Any Fritschi binding is susceptible to damage from a 'knee fall' in touring mode, meaning you take a nose dive that drives your knee towards the ski tip and pivots the binding up to its limit, where the screws rip or worse. Eagle mitigates this problem by mounting the toe on a track that moves back if a knee fall stresses the binding. This system still has a limit, but your knee will probably hit the ski before the binding gets damaged (ouch).
Boot clicked in, showing stack height, delta, and the pivot that's located even farther to the rear than the Dynafit socket in our pair of Radiums! (Note that Scarpa sets their tech fittings 4 mm back from most others, so when used with Dynafits, Scarpa boots will be closer to this optimal pivot location.) Rear stack is 43 mm, front is 39mm (both same as Freeride). If you need about 4mm more ramp angle (delta), it appears the front plastic plate could be removed, provided you left the sheet steel ski topskin protector and were willing to accept the possibility of less protection from knee-fall damage.
Testing this binding didn’t yield any surprises. Performance is similar to earlier Diamirs, and the better pivot definitely makes a difference in comfort and efficiency. So far, thumbs up. But remember this is only a first look.
More Fritschi backcountry skiing binding information.
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