G3 Onyx Beta Testing — Lou’s Review

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G3 Onyx binding review.

G3 Onyx Binding

Beta testing anything (software or hardware) offers a dilemma. Do we go public with problems that might eventually be fixed, or stay silent about such on the hope that tester feedback will result in re-tooling and keep egg off our faces for slacking on our reporting?

The way I deal with this is by categorizing feedback. Problems found in beta but not inherent to the basic design are better kept private, as usually anything with even a hint of importance will be fixed by the time retail product is pumped from the factory. And positive feedback is of course worth going public with for a variety of reasons: As in being nice, but also reminding possible customers of why said product might be worthy.

Beyond all that, do we go public about fundamental parts of the design that are obviously intended for final production — but could possibly be tweaked? My opinion: Write about such, but in a tempered fashion so as not to give the new product a black eye where none is intended, nor in the end, warranted. So read on.

G3 Onyx backcountry skiing binding.

G3 Onyx backcountry skiing binding on Independence Pass a few days ago.

First, let me go on record as saying the G3 Onyx binding heel unit, presumably with a ski brake that works, is most likely a masterpiece. It is strong. The ability to easily go from alpine to tour mode without exiting the binding is slick (again, assuming this will still work with a ski brake). The heel lifter system is an improvement over more awkward setups I’ve used in the past.

Other positive feedback: Mounting plate system is very very cool. This does add weight. But with the cost of bindings these days, along with the never changing desire of most serious skiers to own more planks than Tiger Woods has golf clubs, being able to swap bindings between skis is a HUGE benefit. Along with that, you can vary your fore/aft foot position very easily with Onyx. Precise experienced skiers should love that, and those setting gear up for novices will also welcome having some options. Ski too squirmy for that newbie? Move their feet back and watch them relax.

Now for feedback on the fundamental design. Entering the Onyx binding requires pressing down with your ski pole on a lever, which in turn holds (but does not cock) the toe wings open so you can line your boot sockets up with the “tech” (meaning Dynafit-like) toe pins. I’ve messed around with this feature quite a bit now, including use on some steeper terrain where I simulated what it would be like getting skis on or off during an extreme descent.

My take on the Onyx pole-press entry system is, first, with my beta test bindings it takes an excessive amount of pressure to open the toe of my beta test bindings. G3 says they’ve had enough feedback about this to inspire changing the production binding so it takes about half that pressure to open it. My guess is that once changed, opening the binding will still be somewhat awkward for smaller folks, but ok for average sized to larger users.

Note that OPENING the Onyx toe is different than HOLDING it open. Once the toe is opened, it only takes a few pounds of downward force to keep it ready for your foot. That’s fine to an extent, but the problem is you don’t-quite-know how much force you really need to keep the binding open, and if you let up just a bit too much the toe lever flips up, the binding jaws close without grabbing your boot, and you’re starting over again. No doubt those backcountry skiers who extensively use the binding will develop muscle memory and technique that makes this easier, but in my view the Onyx needs to provide clear audible or tactile feedback that makes this process crisper — or cock open like any other alpine or randonnee ski binding.

Also, even with less force required, I must conclude that only large/strong/coordinated people will be able to enter the Onyx without using a ski pole. Beyond mere inconvenience, this means you won’t be able to enter the binding easily in situations such as being perched in a steep couloir or any other place without solid footing. (This problem is inherent to all tech binding/boot systems, but is mitigated by the ability to cock bindings such as Dynafit in the open position, then close them by either stepping in or snapping the toe wings closed with your hand, or a combination thereof.)

To be fair, I should point out something really cool about the Onyx toe. One reason why G3 is playing around with using such force to open the binding is because it uses powerful springs to stay closed on your boot toe. What that means is average sized skiers with good uphill technique may be able to tour the Onyx binding in avalanche terrain without locking out the toe release (as is normally required with any tech compatible binding). At about 158 lbs body weight, doing so worked for me. This is a fairly significant safety plus. Thus, I hope that in tuning the force it takes to open the Onyx, G3 doesn’t reduce the force that keeps it closed.

More positive: As the guys at G3 point out, Onyx is designed around DOWNHILL performance. Hence, it has things like a modern (near neutral) ramp angle (4 mm positive, same as Fritschi) and a super solid boot/ski connection that’s obviously in the same class as Dynafit or Marker Duke.

Speaking of ramp angle, I’ve actually been a fan for years of the backcountry skiing binding providing ramp while the boot is as neutral as possible. Reason being that you get the ramp angle while in your skis, but get a better walking boot on dirt or while scrambling. Thus, I’ve been disappointed at bindings that provide little ramp or even go slightly negative (heel lower). That is until recently, when I’ve realized that a refurb of my ski style (necessary every 15 years or so) requires rethinking ramp angle and possibly using less for a more upright and natural stance.

What’s that mean for me in real life? I’d still like more ramp than neutral, somewhere around what a Dynafit TLT gives me, but less than a Dynafit Vertical or Comfort. It’s easier to add ramp to a boot than subtract it (add by placing shim under heel inside boot), thus, starting with a binding that’s neutral can be good. Kudos for Onyx on that. (That said, bear in mind that performance skiers have been changing ramp angle for years by simply installing shims under the toe or heel of the binding.)

Another Onyx issue is weight. We now know Onyx will weigh in per binding at around 6 ounces less than a Fritschi Eagle, and 9 more ounces than a Dynafit ST/FT. (I can’t be more precise because Onyx has no brake yet, and almost everyone uses the above bindings with brakes). Thus, you’ll hear chatter asking why one should hassle with Onyx and tech fittings when you can get a true step-in Fritschi for what some view as a reasonable weight penalty? Or, conversely, shave noticeable weight with Dynafit? (Onyx weight is 25 ounces per binding, no brake.)

While we feel Onyx would be better at a few less ounces, crit should be tempered by the fact that with any “plate” type binding such as Fritschi, you’re doing extra lifting of the heel unit and plate with every step. Over the course of a big day the energy this takes is significant. I can testify to this, as during my uphill Onyx field testing it felt remarkably more efficient than I expected. In other words, combine 6 ounces of weight savings over Fritschi, along with that of not lifting extra weight when you’re foot pivots up, and you’ll notice.

As for carrying more weight than Dynafit, G3 likes to point out that you get a LOT in trade for that 9 ounces: Like the plate mount system, easy mode switching without removing your foot from the binding, and what’s said to be extra beef in both toe and heel unit along with good resistance to icing. I trend to the lighter side, but informed consumers will no doubt swing either direction.

What else? Another obviously interesting Onyx feature is the heel lift system. I found the heel lifters fairly easy to flip up and down with a ski pole, but a bit fiddly nonetheless. Like heel lifts on any other rando binding, time using them would probably make their use second nature, so no big deal. More importantly, it is tempting to flip the smaller lifter forward of the heel unit in a way that provides a small amount of heel lift for moderate terrain. Turns out the lifter is not intended to do this, and if you do so, you’ll break it. Don’t ask me how I know.

Overall, it is worth mentioning how much we appreciate G3 setting up a beta test program for their new product — without a non-disclosure agreement. (Lack of a ski brake for beta takes this down a notch, but only one click.) I won’t name names, but sometimes companies in the outdoor industry beta test a product by unleashing it to retail — with most of their prior testing done by a small group of insiders who are so familiar with the product they can’t view it objectively, or worse, have a vested interest in making it work as-is, and after rationalizing out the flaws, concoct some sort of whacked out PR story once the public finds the problems. Public beta is risky in the short run, as you get folks like myself publishing crit. But G3 had the confidence to do a truly open beta test, so let’s hear a round of applause!

So what’s my overall take on Onyx at this point? Any skier of average size or larger who’s comfortable being an “early adopter” will definitely want to look at the new G3 backcountry skiing binding as an option. Smaller skiers and those seeking extreme terrain should extensively demo the Onyx entry method before committing.

Mounting Onyx backcountry skiing binding
Lee’s Onyx review
More Onyx blogs

Comments

38 Responses to “G3 Onyx Beta Testing — Lou’s Review”

  1. verbier61 June 3rd, 2009 9:31 am

    Lou, how easy is to step into the toe? like the dynafit, or is there any significant difference? thanks!

  2. Lou June 3rd, 2009 9:48 am

    I tried to explain but perhaps didn’t do a good enough job above, you don’t step into the toe like with think of the term “step in” with other bindings. Instead, you open the binding by pressing down on a lever, and while HOLDING THE LEVER DOWN you place your boot toe in the open binding, then release and let the binding close on your boot. It is totally unlike any other binding in that way.

    I should have probably mentioned that the Onyx toe is cleverly designed in that as you push your boot in from the rear, the binding pins register the boot position and thus allow the binding to close on the boot accurately. Hard to totally explain, but this works by the pins being just far enough apart to let the boot enter from the rear JUST far enough so the pins end up positioned over the boot sockets. Like I said, very clever. Dynafits also work somewhat this way, though not as obviously.

    Also, the Onyx toe has a boot toe “stop” that also helps you locate your boot. This isn’t totally precise because it has to be set forward a bit to allow the boot toe to pivot, but it’s still helpful.

    In my opinion, for average to larger sized skiers who can provide necessary force pressing down with ski pole the Onyx will be no tougher to enter than Dynafit, but in its present incarnation Onyx entry/exit is tough to deal with on steep slopes, especially if it has to be manipulated by hand rather than with a ski pole. That could change in production version, but it appears to be part of the fundamental design so I went public with my opinion about it.

    I’d do a vid about this, but G3′s videos are way better than anything we’d do. See http://www.g3onyx.com/

    I did laugh when the guy talking about their binding says something about how letting up on the toe lever allows a nice easy entry of the boot, but he let’s it snap up like a mouse trap after saying that, which is what I found usually happens.

  3. Tim June 3rd, 2009 11:38 am

    Lou, any thought on whether the binding-to-plate interface could wear with time, and introduce slop, or even fail?

    This is such a great feature if it works, and well worth a bit of weight.

    Second, is the release function more “evolved” than the Dynafit? Or is the toe release still dependent on heel movement?

    Last, what is your take thus far on whether the Onyx could be used as an “everyday” resort/sidecountry/BC rig. (no hucking over 10 feet, promise)

  4. Dostie June 3rd, 2009 11:43 am

    Verbier,

    If you read all three reviews of the Onyx available on wildsnow.com you’ll see that the common thread is the relative difficulty of getting your boot latched into the toe unit. Even a telenut like me picked up on this immediately. It will be interesting to see how G3 overcomes this without adopting the same sort of lock-open system that Dynafit uses.

  5. Sean June 3rd, 2009 12:44 pm

    Great review, Lou. I appreciate the details you offer, and I would hope the gang at G3 appreciate them too.

    Regarding ramp angle — negative or flat ramp angle doesn’t work for some people who don’t ski standing straight up and tall. Some ski coaches and teachers will tell you it’s better for everyone, but they’re being partisan, dogmatic, or closed-minded when they do that. Standing taller can be more relaxing, or it can be tougher… it depends on the skier. When I have skied on bindings that have flat ramp, I have felt wobbly and unsure. I have enough body awareness to know what is/was required to ski on a flat ramp angle, and simply stated, that posture doesn’t work for me.

    The only time I find positive ramp angle to be a problem is when the boot adds too much forward lean. I think posture is better handled in the boot, not the binding.

  6. Lou June 3rd, 2009 1:26 pm

    Tim, I see no problem whatsoever with the binding/plate interface so long as all screws are kept tight and the binding is well maintained. It’s definitely another thing that’s “mechanical” so definitely a consideration.

    Sean, good thoughts on ramp angle.

  7. Lou June 3rd, 2009 1:30 pm

    As for the release function being evolved, let’s all be clear that the tech systems release at BOTH toe and heel, it’s just not as obvious at the toe because the amount of movement is miniaturized. To anyone who views the tech bindings as not releasing at the toe, I say get over it. It does. Tech bindings have a very safe and smooth lateral release. Their upward release is where you should have more concern, because the range of vertical elastic movement is limited.

  8. Steve June 3rd, 2009 2:21 pm

    Lou,

    What’s your take on the importance of being able to go from ski to tour mode without removing the boot? The Duke gets harped on for this all the time. The way I see it:

    1. It allows the .0001% of people who can put their skins on with skis still on to do so without taking off the ski.

    2. On tours where there is “rolling” terrain it may help a bit.

    But it’s really not that big of a deal unless I’m missing something “bigger picture.” Most people take off their skis to put on their skins anyway and this is a great time to manually engage tour mode on a Dynafit. So what’s the big deal about this feature? Thx

  9. Lou June 3rd, 2009 2:41 pm

    Steve, for me it’s pretty much a non issue, but I always mention it because some folks really want it. I think it has to do with what type of terrain you tend to do, as well as who else you go with. If your partners are on tele or easy to switch plate binding, and you’re slow with your tech system, you end up 45 seconds behind them each time you switch, and that can be very embarrassing (grin).

  10. ellen June 3rd, 2009 2:46 pm

    sorrty to change the subject…(although I do like minimal ramp angle for those long flat skins) but the Mt. Pilot girls need some advice. We are meeting on Indy Pass tomorrow and are curious if there is any skiing left on the east side of Blue or Brumley? You could save us a lot of time and trouble!

  11. Lou June 3rd, 2009 2:54 pm

    I’m certain there is skiing up there, I’d head for exact top of pass and climb Blarny direct to north, then hit the couloirs on the NE side of Blarny, so laps on the white stuff and avoid the snirt. I’m sure Geissler will still be fine as well, but with some hiking and snirt involved. Enjoy.

  12. Steve June 3rd, 2009 3:25 pm

    “Slow with a tech system” vs. a telemark skier transition? NO WAY: they have to bend over and fuss around to get their cables on. 60 extra seconds at least!

  13. Bar Barrique June 3rd, 2009 10:45 pm

    Thanks for an informative review, I think that continued innovation in the field of pin to boot bindings will provide innovation. I was slow to adopt the lightweight advantage of Dynafit, but, my Spouse was much more pragmatic.

    Bar

  14. verbier61 June 4th, 2009 3:49 am

    Thanks for the details, very useful. I believe that the cumbersome step-in of the toe is one of the very few flaws of dynafits…. a pretty functional toe could be a relevant plus for G3 if it works smoothly in the final version

  15. Mark Worley June 4th, 2009 8:05 am

    All I can say is I’d like to try ‘em. I’m a big Dynafit fan, but I always welcome innovation and competition.

  16. Randonnee June 4th, 2009 8:14 am

    The weight penalty for the Onyx is a real deal-breaker. Why fiddle with pins if not for weight savings? Fritsches work well, easy step-in, easily switch mode, etc., and have a proven record of performance. My Dynafit FT 12 binding works so well for this heavyweight skier so as I have not complaints, and the FT 12 is very light even with brakes.

  17. Ben W June 4th, 2009 1:10 pm

    The weight and toe design a deal killers for me. The binding plate, however, is a great idea. Someone over at TGR has designed a plate system that should allow switching between Dynafits and Dukes. Hopefully his product testing will be successful, as I will happily deal with a few ounces and some unwanted stack height to save a thousand or so dollars on skis and bindings.

  18. Jonathan S. Shefftz June 5th, 2009 9:31 am

    Lou, some thoughts on your Onyx take:

    “The ability to easily go from alpine to tour mode and back without exiting the binding is slick (again, assuming this will still work with a ski brake).”

    - The “and back” part is misleading, since tour > ski (i.e., “and back”) with Dynafits is super easy: rotate the heel unit and step down. (And no need to clear clogged up snow as with the Diamir heel lock down.)

    - And the ski > tour changeover issue with Dynafits is way overblown. I often go on one particular tour with a long nordic-esque approach on a flat hiking trail or old logging road. (Nothing like starting out the day with 30 minutes of skinning that produces only ~600, ugh.) If snow conditions are fast at the end of the day, I can skate out. If not, better to kick and glide. But exiting the binding doesn’t require something like a Marker Duke mode change. Instead, it’s just pop the toe lever, wiggle the boot out but leave it hovering over the ski, rotate the heel, reenter the toe, yank up on the toe lever

    – takes less time per ski than it took me to write this sentence. (And the G3 Meetu’s advantage here would save me less time than writing this sentence took.) Eventually my route out does have some moderate downhills, but since they’re just moderate, I cruise along still in tour mode.

    “Other positive feedback: Mounting plate system is very very cool.”

    - Given that each new ski setup will entail the cost of, well, skis, plus skins, plus G3 Meetu mounting plates, that’s not having a big % reduction in the cost of each additional setup.

    - I agree that experimenting with fore/aft position on a ski is a plus. I’ve done that a lot with my alpine downhill race setups (that have predrilled plates allowing for easy experimentation). I also did that with my Manaslu, using the fore-biased set of a toe holes. (I never bothered trying the aft-biased set, since the fore-biased set skied so perfectly that I can’t imagine anything better.)

    - But is the toe unit’s fore/aft position designed for such experimentation or only to accommodate a wider range of boot sizes? In other words, if the heel track adjustment range is like that of a typical alpine downhill binding or a Dynafit Comfort/Vertical, then the greater toe unit adjustment range can’t be used for experimentation.

    “Beyond mere inconvenience, this means you won’t be able to enter the binding easily in situations such as being perched in a steep couloir or any other place without solid footing…”

    - I find that Dynafits are the other way around: much *easier* to get into in tricky situations, since the toe can be entered first, with almost zero force, then pull up on the toe lever, breath a sigh of relief, then rotate the heel unit and step down.

    - This came in handy Wednesday, as I was close to the top of a 800′ vertical couloir when a falling skier rocketed past me (helmet-less) head-first toward massive rock outcroppings. How he dodged certain death numerous times is still a mystery to me, but after he disappeared around a corner, I had to switch from boot crampons to skis on a ~40-degree pitch. Getting into my Dynafits so easily helped to speed along the process, plus with this pack I didn’t need to remove my pack to remove my skis or to stow away my boot crampons:
    http://tinyurl.com/q6l4le

    “To be fair, I should point out something really cool about the Onyx toe. One reason why G3 is playing around with using such force to open the binding is because it uses powerful springs to stay closed on your boot toe…”

    - Putting the Dynafit toe lever in the third “click” so that the ribbed end of the toe lever is fully engaging the bump on the toe’s base plate is *not* locking out the release. I testing twisting out, and the resistance seemed comparable to twisting out of my alpine downhill race bindings that are set at 7 for the toes.

    “More positive: As the guys at G3 point out, Onyx is designed around DOWNHILL performance. Hence, it has things like a modern (near neutral) ramp angle (4 mm positive, same as Fritschi) [...]”

    - No such thing as “modern” delta. When I was an alpine race coach, I measured all my athletes’ setups. The results are all over the map. The trend is more toward zero-ing out the delta, but it’s a matter of personal morphology and preference. (Also, ramp angle inside the boot accomplishes a different purpose than ski-binding delta outside the boot.)

    - Plus if you want to zero-out the delta with Dynafits, just get some LDPE sheets from smallparts-dot-com, get some longer screws (Salomon sells boxes to shops, or see if your shop has random extra screws available, and also ask at http://tinyurl.com/qse7c5), and experiment away.

    “As for carrying more weight…”

    So for lugging around over a pound of weight on each tour, I get:

    - Some relatively minor costs savings for each additional quiver after I spend $$$ on skis, $$ on skins, and $ on extra G3 Meetu mounting plates . . . offset by whatever time it takes to do the swap.

    - Time savings of about 10 seconds at the end of tours when I need to kick & glide to get out.

    - Other benefits that are “said” to exist, but have yet to be proven in the field.

    Overall, this is definitely still a far better binding for backcountry use than “Diaxos,” and it’s a huge blessing for G3-sponsored athletes who have had to stay on tele all these years, and it would be a huge breakthrough in backcountry bindings were it not for the creation of Dynafits a decade-and-a-half ago, but it sure seems like all G3 has done is design the second-best binding in the history of backcountry skiing.

  19. Lou June 5th, 2009 9:52 am

    Thanks for your comment Jonathan, as always excellent!

    The number of clicks when you lock a Dynafit toe is NOT any kind of precise indication of extra release tension, it is there to absorb variations due to manufacturing tolerances. More, depending on tolerances and even the type of ski topskin (which flexes), the force required for a release with a locked toe varies greatly. You had something around a DIN 7, but I’ve had skis that were so high in side DIN when locked I’d say they were around 18 or more! Remember to test this with the boot locked in the heel.

    As for my writing about switching modes, I agree I could have been more clear. And yes, when in touring mode, switching back to alpine with Dynafit is a simple matter of rotating the heel unit, stepping down, and remembering to unlock the touring latch if you want normal release. I’ll edit that.

    As for the mode switch issue being overblown, let’s keep in mind that it’s a very big deal for some folks, and their take is valid. It’s not a big deal to me, but if did more flatter touring in terrain such as the 10th Mountain Huts access routes, it would be a bigger deal. My solution is to do that kind of touring without brakes on my Dynafits, which does make them pretty easy to switch from alpine mode to tour without removing boot from binding.

  20. Jonathan S. Shefftz June 5th, 2009 11:32 am

    You’re most certainly welcome, and thanks as always for the comprehensive review.

    I’m sure the Meetu will be very popular in New England, given the growing awareness (at long last) of the advantages of Dynafit’s zero lifted weight, coupled with the huge disparity in the G3 vs Dynafit dealer/rep networks out here. So given what I’ve read so far, I think it’s a shame so many people will be lugging around over a pound of apparently pointless weight, but that’s still a vast improvement over the current binding scene here in New England.

    Back to the details:
    “The number of clicks when you lock a Dynafit toe is NOT any kind of precise indication of extra release tension, it is there to absorb variations due to manufacturing tolerances. More, depending on tolerances and even the type of ski topskin (which flexes), the force required for a release with a locked toe varies greatly. You had something around a DIN 7, but I’ve had skis that were so high in side DIN when locked I’d say they were around 18 or more! Remember to test this with the boot locked in the heel.”
    - I agree that release tension could vary across different setups for a given number of clicks. However, on any single setup, I think the number of clicks makes a big difference in retention, since the tour lever’s end is more tightly engaging the toe’s base plate hump.
    - I was referring to release tension in touring mode, hence my test was with the binding in tour mode (i.e., boot heel *not* engaged with the binding pins). The toe lever’s effect on release tension in ski mode is a whole ‘nother issue….

    As for importance of quickly switching from ski > tour mode, I suppose it is possible to design a “descent” that features long flat sections that call for kick & glide (instead of skating or skinning) interspersed with downhills too long and/or difficult to just cruise along with the binding still in tour mode, along with enough back & forth between those two terrain types so that having to exit Dynafits to switch from ski > tour will add up to more than a minute or so out of the entire day’s tour . . . but I have yet to come across such a tour (in over 1.1 million vertical on various Dynafit setups).

  21. Lou June 5th, 2009 12:32 pm

    The clicks of course vary the amount of pressure, but not in any precise or calibrated way relating to DIN. As stated above and direct from Dynafit inventor/engineer, they’re there to take up slack due to variations in boot and binding dimensions.

    As for how much tension it takes to come out in touring mode, that depends greatly on the angle of the boot in terms of how high the heel is lifted off the ski, as the boot toe sockets have slight variations in shape that make that a factor.

    Thus, you not only have boot angle changing how much tension it takes to release in touring mode, but also the flex of the ski topskin, manufacturing variations in boot and binding, binding wear, which way the wind is blowing, what price tea is in China, and probably more. Thus, I’m constantly trying to remind people that those clicks mean very little.

  22. LeeL June 5th, 2009 2:55 pm

    Somewhere in the Deutoronomy chapter that Johnathan wrote he asked:

    “- I agree that experimenting with fore/aft position on a ski is a plus. I’ve done that a lot with my alpine downhill race setups (that have predrilled plates allowing for easy experimentation). I also did that with my Manaslu, using the fore-biased set of a toe holes. (I never bothered trying the aft-biased set, since the fore-biased set skied so perfectly that I can’t imagine anything better.)

    - But is the toe unit’s fore/aft position designed for such experimentation or only to accommodate a wider range of boot sizes? In other words, if the heel track adjustment range is like that of a typical alpine downhill binding or a Dynafit Comfort/Vertical, then the greater toe unit adjustment range can’t be used for experimentation.”

    The answer is Yes.

  23. Lou June 5th, 2009 4:23 pm

    Yes, both toe and heel move for and aft, so they lend themselves to experimentation. That’s why I said in the review that one can vary their for/aft foot placement.

  24. Bar Barrique June 5th, 2009 10:32 pm

    Mmmm, My take so far is that this plate thing adds considerable bulk, without adding any performance attributes. As I value the lightweight aspect of the dynafit binding highly, and, mate them to lightweight skis to optimize the benefits; I do not see any benefits to this binding. I use brakes on my Dynafit setups as they seem to be common sense to me (regarding my backcountry experience) I do understand that some users are looking to find “one” perfect solution to their gear selection decision, however, I have learned that this is not possible for me. I welcome the G 3 initiative, however, as I am sure that innovation will result.

    Bar

  25. Bar Barrique June 5th, 2009 10:45 pm

    Hee Hee, I think you need an edit function, at least for me. I guess what I meant to say is that I do not think that the binding transfer plate is worth the extra weight between skis for me, as I have alpine bindings for riding the lifts, and, my older skis have very durable previous generation Dynafit bindings.

    Bar

  26. Lou June 6th, 2009 6:08 am

    If you guys want anything edited for clarity, just ask. Sometimes I correct spelling if I’m not to busy, but appreciate it when you guys make an effort to get it right.

    By the way, when you write a long or difficult to write comment, always write it in some sort of editing or word precessing ap that you know is reliable, then copy/paste as a comment. That way you won’t loose your writing because of a server glitch.

  27. Slave.To.Turns June 6th, 2009 11:02 am

    I still fail to see why anyone would intentionally buy this binding over a Dynafit.

  28. Christian November 15th, 2009 1:52 pm

    Have you done any tests regarding its stiffness/flex compared to dynafit or duke?

  29. bob November 21st, 2009 7:17 pm

    Hey Lou, Tim asked early on in the blog if this would be a good all around resort, slackcountry, BC binding?

    I’m curious too, I am debating between these and the freeride plus, i am about 65 resort (gets some good snow) and 35% touring ish.

    can i use this binding all the time? even on the icy days? going off jumps? dropping some cliffs? or should i go for the fritchi. I know they may not be made for this but i’m going to want a touring binding that can handle all.

    Thanks.

  30. Sarah Marshall December 28th, 2009 12:25 pm

    Hi Lou,

    First off, I would like to thank you for all the great reviews on your site. I have found them very helpful in assembling my first AT set-up. Thought I’d share my experience with the G3 Onyx bindings so far, since there don’t seem to be too many reviews coming from smaller female skiers.

    I tried out the Onyx bindings on a tour in the Oregon Cascades yesterday. Conditions were a mixture of crust, ice, and powder. Having only skied beefier alpine bindings and a variety of tele bindings, I was a little nervous about skiing on more of a touring set-up. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of these bindings.

    I had the tour lock mode in the first setting on the climb, and only popped out of my right binding once on a steep, icy slope while digging my edges in. I am assuming this would not have happened if I had gone to the second or third lock setting. Given other reviews I have read, including your review, I was concerned about getting the arms of the toe piece to open under a variety of conditions since I am a smaller person. This was not a problem at all. Engaging the heel risers was also a cinch with my ski pole handle.

    The bindings felt extremely solid coming down a steep, icy slope and skiing through variable snow conditions. I did have some issues switching to ski mode when snow became lodged in the heel piece after intermittent touring. Lifting the larger heel riser up and then putting it back in ski mode helped solve this problem. Fortunately, it was easy to tell when the binding was not fully (safely) locked. With the ski brakes, I am not yet convinced that switching from tour to ski mode is a cinch using just a ski pole. Perhaps this will become easier with practice and time, but I found myself double-checking the set-up with my hands. I also kept an eye on the larger heel risers after one almost twisted off one of the metal piece holding it on the ski.

    I hope to become more familiar with these bindings and test them out under a variety of conditions this coming winter and spring.

    Sarah

  31. Lou December 28th, 2009 12:37 pm

    That’s gold Sarah, thanks for contributing!

  32. Adrian Slootweg December 29th, 2009 5:05 pm

    I purchased these binding and placed them on g3 tonic skies for myself and on g3 lushish for my wife in November. Having never skied back country we thought we would try them on ski hill first. I am 6’5 220lbs my wife 5’4 120lbs. these bindings preformed like a dream on the slopes. After 6 days on Mt Washington skiing icy crud.black diamond moguls and groomed runs we are happy. We are going out to try some touring next weekend.

  33. Joe March 14th, 2010 12:00 pm

    I’m 31, 5’10, and a solid 200 lbs. Been downhill skiing for 25 years. Only toured one time on k2 bakers and freerides but loved it. I decided to start my bc quiver with BD Verdicts and the G3 Onyx binding. Using the slick new dalbello virus boots also (AWESOME!) My initial impression was “those pins are really going to keep me in?” Now after the “tech fittings” culture shock I tested them out at the local ski area to see how the whole setup skiied. Getting into them was a challenge the first time and every time since. The toe piece does require quite a bit of force to open, so much as to bend the tip of my pole. This does seem to have let up after some use now and has become easier with practice but lining up the pins with the inserts seems to be a gamble. I’m sure a user issue which will get better with practice. The heel unit clicks in with hardly a sound which always leaves me wondering if I’m fully engaged. The return to center on exiting the binding does not always end up in the ready position so you must check every time to make sure they are really ready to click into because they are very easy to partially engage. Switching from skiing to touring mode is very easy as you just press down on the back lever and your heels are free. The problem is that this is very easy to inadvertently do with your other ski while skiing which can be very problematic. Switching from touring mode to skiing mode is nearly impossible with a ski pole because you can’t get enough leverage to lift the lever, no problem just reach down and flip it with your hand, oh wait I definitely can’t get my fingers under the lever with a glove on because it is flat against the ski, not so good. On to the brakes. Very slick upon first examination. Step into the heel and the binding goes up. The brake is integrated with the heel piece, so move heel into touring mode, step on brake and it is stowed up while allowing free heel movement. The problem is that because of the brakes integration with the heel piece if you release from the toe while in downhill skiing mode the brake stays stowed in its upright position. This is a major design flaw which I realized while watching my ski barrel down the mountain at Mach two with no brakes! Not good. If the heel does not release the brake does not come down. This happens every time on a toe release. I will be changing my release settings to try and prevent toe release, however the brakes seem about useless at this point. The other design flaw is that they do not retract towards the ski in the upright position either, so I am constantly catching my other ski on the brake while skiing. My skiing review is a bit mixed. The bindings seemed to work flawless on some runs and prematurely release on other runs. I could charge hard, rip through moguls, air big, land switch, carve hard etc. on some runs then pop the toe off just coming to a stop on another run. I will be setting the din higher to see if I come out less but I had them set to skier type IV and added a good 30 lbs to my weight on the shop form so I shouldn’t be coming out of the toe anyways. I will have my shop check them out also to make sure they were mounted properly and post an update with any news. All in all I can’t say I love them but I don’t hate them either. My issues may just be related to the compromise of touring capabilities in a binding and I have only skiied them downhill so far. I will make my final decision on what I think of the onyx after I have toured with them. I will post that review as well. – JOE

  34. Sarah Marshall March 14th, 2010 12:27 pm

    Joe,

    I am interested to know when you purchased the Onyx bindings and if your problems with the toe piece have anything to do with ice. I’ve had good luck with opening the toe clamp on the latest generation Onyx, but have had issues with ice getting into the whole toe piece at the end of the day. The ice prevents the toe clamp from fully opening, resulting in multiple re-tries until I beat on the skis to dislodge the offending ice… not exactly what you want to do to backcountry gear :) I have also thought I was finally secured in the toe piece and been ejected from one or both skis while enjoying my hard-earned turns.

    When I contacted G3, they said that some of the brakes have had issues, and that you can get a G3 dealer to fix the problem for free. As for the ice, they said it was just something I’d have to deal with, and that maybe I could grease the inside of the toe piece to reduce ice issues. Seems like Dynafit owners do not have to deal with this problem? I think G3 needs a re-design of the toepiece that does not include a big, downhill-facing snow trap.

    Good luck!

    Sarah

  35. Joe March 14th, 2010 2:36 pm

    Sarah,
    I purchased the bindings from Marmot Mountain Works in Bellevue, WA. at the end of February this year and also had them do the mounting. I don’t believe my toe release issues are ice or snow buildup related. Its been pretty warm and the conditions haven’t really been prone to icing, although I could see that possibly being an issue. I’m thinking the lateral toe release settings were incorrectly set by the shop and I seem to be coming out when I put a lot of force on them laterally. I’m going to tweak them and see if that fixes it. As for the pressure to open the toe piece it hasn’t been an issue since I’ve had more practice but I still have much difficulty lining up the inserts with the toe pins. Maybe its my boots, but I have nothing to compare it to since these are my first “tech” style bindings. This all makes it pretty difficult to get back into on a steep slope though. I find myself digging out a platform just to get my ski back on! The ski has to be perfectly level to engage the toe lever with a pole and line up the pins. Then I shake my foot to make sure I’m in and then I can click in the heel and hope I’m secure. I usually know on the first turn! ;)
    Thanks for the input though. Oh I almost forgot but I’ve already tore off the large riser on one side. Not sure yet if it just pops back on or not though.
    -Joe

  36. Sarah Marshall March 14th, 2010 3:03 pm

    Joe,

    Sounds like you’ve been having quite a few problems with those bindings! I have noticed that the pressure required to open the toe jaws makes binding entry a pain on steeper slopes (especially with loose snow) as well. I’ve shredded some of the plastic around the toe holes on my Scarpa boots this season as a result.

    I’ve managed to knock one of my heel risers part way off, but snapped it back in place. Haven’t had an issue since, but am always a little skeptical of plastic pieces like that.

    All in all, I like many of the design features of this binding, but am starting to think about Dynafits for my next pair of skis.

    Sarah

  37. Adrian Slootweg March 16th, 2010 3:29 pm

    I have been out with my binding 15 time so far this year and love them. A couple of issues have arisen. The plastic riser came off just re attached it and got a spare from dealer for free,part off my touring kit. Had a issue with brakes not functioning which was repaired by dealer. I wiped out hard on some ice and brake was dammaged from tumbling down mountain. As for swicthing from tour to locked I found that my black diamond poles have a little notch in the handle that fits under lever and works really well.

  38. Francois July 6th, 2012 10:27 am

    Lou,
    I have a pair of G3 Onyx (2011/2012) mounted on G3 Zenoxide (2010) and an extra pair of skis, namely Dynafit Se7en Summits.

    Since I also have Onyx extra plates, is it feasible to mount the G3 Onyx on the Dynafits? I understand that this might void the Dynafit warranty but don’t really care about their warranty anyway. Just want to know if the binding, well mounted, will remain on the skis taking into account those Dynafit pre-drilled holes?

    If possible, any recommendations on mounting them? i.e. Adding a little bit of epoxy to the screws before mounting them?

    Also, thanks for all of your efforts in bringing this wealth of information to neophytes like me. Can’t start telling you how appreciated all of this information is.
    Cheers,

    Francois

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