Tech Ski Boot Fittings — Clicking, Play, Weird Release and other Nefarious Occurrences


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Update: January 2013.
Well, by now you’ve all seen the good, the bad and the ugly regarding tech fittings. We had Salomon’s blowout, Garmont at just plain weird, and we’re all pondering how we can have something so critical work across brands with no industry standard other than voluntary attempts to get it right, sometimes by people who appear to have no idea how a tech fitting is supposed to perform.

Now we’ve had a few comments about BD fittings clicking while in use (see below). Truth be told, on occasion over the years I’ve had boots that “clicked” while in touring mode in tech bindings — of various brands. I usually cured the problem by either swapping bindings or boots, usually boots. And the condition was so rare as to be no more than a passing thought. Recently, Tim (see comments below) wrote in about some clicking he’s getting with his BD boots. I went ahead and evaluated some BD ski boots I had lying around here, as well as a new pair of BD boots I borrowed for testing. While one of our BD boot samples could be made to click if we worked super hard at it (it was so intermittent I couldn’t easily video the behavior), the other pair we evaluated were rock solid, as have been our BD test shoes over the past few seasons.

One theory that’s bandied about regarding the click syndrome is that the boot fittings cause the binding to close at an incorrect width. More likely, it’s caused by a particular boot toe tech fitting being slightly of the wrong shape around its outside rim and conical interior.

Out of curiosity, I caliper measured the binding toe wing spread with different boots inserted, in case that might say anything. Nothing really leaps out at me, though the variations are interesting:
New BD Prime – 87.28 mm (works fine)
Almost new BD Swift – 87.49 mm (slight clicking if we work hard to get it)
Used TLT-5 – 86.68 mm (works fine)
New La Sportiva – 87.76 (works fine)
New Garmont Cosmos – 86.26 (no clicking but other problematic behavior)

At the most, I’d regard this as a boot warranty issue and would suggest if you do experience annoying clicking while in tour or alpine mode, you swap your boots out on warranty. But first try another boot to make sure that’ll solve the problem. Let logic prevail. If you try three pairs of boots in the same binding and only one clicks, it’s probably the boot fittings. If all three pairs click, it’s the bindings. As for whether the clicking actually compromises performance, I have no idea. I do know that when I had this behavior occur in one setup years ago, the “pop” on nearly every step was annoying and needed fixing. More, it appeared the micro-movement causing the sound could wear something out over thousands of use cycles.

Readers, your comments on this issue would be greatly appreciated by both myself and the boot makers out there. Fire away.

Original post follows:
I’ve gathered the following over the last year or so from a variety of off-the-record industry insiders as well as my own experience. For reasons that will be obvious as you read, it is time to get this out on the table.

First, a note on language. As far as I and many others in the industry are concerned, the fittings in boots that work with Dynafit type bindings are correctly termed “tech” fittings when not Dynafit branded (or for that matter even when they are branded, as in “Dynafit tech fittings”). “Tech” is a term of art that’s come into common use, not any sort of DIN ISO standard “norm” that’s certified by TUV. At least not yet.

The term “tech” originates from the name of Dynafit binding inventor Fritz Barthel’s company, Low-Tech, and also from various names for Dynafit bindings that have been used over the years, e.g., “Tourlite Tech,” “TLT,” and so forth.

Dynafit boot fitting.

Dynafit brand boot toe fitting, arrows indicate carefully shaped bevels that yield smooth safety release while still providing retention for touring with the binding locked.

Beyond semantics, this is important. Reason being that despite their simple appearance, tech fittings which perform properly are actually somewhat difficult to make–especially the toe fittings. In a word, they are indeed high-TECH.

Boot-toe tech fittings that perform correctly have to be an exact hardness of steel to not chip or break due to pressure from the binding toe pins and the minimal volume of metal present in the fittings. Thus, tech fittings can’t be super hard steel. Problem is, moderately hard steel could wear quickly, so Dynafit manufactured and branded tech boot toe fittings (and probably the correctly functioning fittings done by other manufacturers, such as those from Black Diamond) are surface hardened in an exact and somewhat proprietary fashion.

Not only that, but while anyone can make a boot fitting that will hold a boot in a tech binding (just drill two holes in a bar of steel), configuring one that does safety release correctly and wears well is another matter entirely. For example, I got my hands on a pair of full carbon (not Dynafit brand) rando race boots the other evening, and it was obvious at first glance that while the tech fittings in the toe would hold you in just fine for rando racing, they would perhaps not function correctly when asked to provide safety release in an unlocked binding. As far as I could tell, the fittings appeared to be nothing more than holes drilled in a bar of steel which was molded into the toe of the boot.

Dynafit heel and toe fittings.

Dynafit tech heel and toe fittings removed from boot. Toe fitting, at top, is a solid bar of steel with the specially shaped depressions at each end.

At first glance tech fittings do look simple, but correctly made tech boot-toe fittings have a series of tiny bevels on the outside edge of the socket. These bevels are engineered to provide just the right amount of boot tension and side release elasticity depending on the ramp angle of your boot in the binding, and the direction of forces applied. In other words, with your heel down and latched in alpine mode, when you demand a lateral release, the binding pins climb out of the toe socket on a different bevel than what you’d be in if you were up on a heel elevator, and so forth.

As far as I know the only boot company other than Dynafit who has made boot toe fittings (up to the original date of this post) successfully is Black Diamond. Obviously (as in the race boots I looked at) and not so obviously, other companies try making or jobbing out their own fittings because buying fittings from Dynafit is expensive (some sources told me the fittings add upwards of $100 to the retail cost of a boot). But said again, making them correctly is difficult and requires care, though it’s not rocket science.

Regarding tech fittings, it’s also important to note that how they are installed into the boot is of equal importance to how the fitting is made. If installed defectively or incorrectly, tech fittings can loosen or even pull out of the boot. More, they may be misaligned between toe and heel. Sadly, there is no easy way for the consumer to check the quality of the installation, but pay attention to web reports about boot models cracking near tech fittings and that sort of thing. Also, check the boot construction. I’ve seen boots with tech fittings in such minimal surrounding plastic you could almost be sure they’d easily pull out or loosen during all but the most mellow use.

IMPORTANT: Companies other than BD usually buy their fittings from Dynafit, so don’t get the idea that a bunch of boot makers are going rogue. But the temptation is there since Dynafit charges a premium for their fittings. (Also note there is no reason why the occasional fitting from any company, including Dynafit, would not be defective — nothing is perfect. So if you have problems with your tech boot/binding interface with any brand, always experiment with a different pair of boots and see if you can replicate the problem. If the behavior can’t be replicated with a different pair of boots, perhaps the tech fittings in your boot are the problem.)

All the above is resulting in an interesting and problematic situation. As far as most consumers are concerned, any boot they buy that fits in a tech binding such as Dynafit or Onyx has “Dynafit” fittings. If something doesn’t work regarding the boot/binding interface provided by the fittings, the common reactions are “something is wrong with my binding,” or “the DYNAFIT binding system just doesn’t work for me.” Reality is that such problems with the binding could be caused by a defective tech fitting. Perhaps one made by Dynafit, perhaps someone else — like any manufactured item, tech inserts can be defective. Or, the boot could have an incorrectly made fitting, if someone is not doing his homework or going to the effort of making a fully functional copy.

Because doing so would start a weather event known as an S-storm, other than the case of Black Diamond I’m not going to make any effort whatsoever to try and identify which boots on the market have either Dynafit manufactured or correctly made tech fittings (aside from the obvious fact that Dynafit boots have Dynafit fittings). As far as I can tell, most tech boots DO have either correctly made or Dynafit made fittings (for example, Scarpa’s new Maestrale and Gea boots have “Quick-step” fittings that are obviously the Dynafit made and branded items, and BDs fittings are known to work well). More, identifying the exceptions would be journalistically irresponsible at best, or impossible, as things such as steel hardness and surface hardening would require a lab and a degree in metallurgy to evaluate fairly.

Instead, I’m making a call to the industry for a voluntary standard. I would ask any boot maker to please state if the tech fittings in your boots are either made by Dynafit or are guaranteed tech binding compatible, and that that guarantee means they wear equally as well as Dynafit manufactured fittings, and have the same (or perhaps even better) safety release and touring retention characteristics. In other words, if you’re making your own fittings or buying them from somewhere other than Dynafit they’d better be good, and you’d better guarantee they are good or you will be called out.

I’m sure back in the 1980s Dynafit binding inventor Fritz Barthel never thought his boot/binding interface would result in any sort of common standard, informal or otherwise. But that’s exactly what’s happening. So I’ll even go on record and predict that at some point we’re going to need an industry wide standard for the “tech” boot/binding interface. In the end, that’s the only thing that will eliminate what in my opinion will be a growing problem as more and more boot makers install tech fittings, but choose to make their own instead of buying them from Dynafit.

Comments

154 Responses to “Tech Ski Boot Fittings — Clicking, Play, Weird Release and other Nefarious Occurrences”

  1. ScottP January 28th, 2010 10:41 am

    “Because doing so would start a weather event known as an S-storm, I’m not going to make any effort whatsoever to try and identify which boots on the market have either Dynafit manufactured or correctly made tech fittings.”

    The many, many owners of Scarpas and/or Garmonts with Tech interfaces (myself included) just cursed under their breath. But with so many of their boots on the market, if they weren’t working right I would assume more reports would crop up? As you say, though, this could just fall under the “tech bindings just aren’t for me” reviews.

  2. Lou January 28th, 2010 10:56 am

    Scott, I was still writing my post and published it accidentally. You’re a fast reader! If you read my final write, you’ll see I tried to make it clear that the vast majority of major brand boots out there do have good fittings.

    The point is that crumby fittings could happen and do happen, so I wanted to get this out on the table so that problems caused by badly made fittings are not blamed on the bindings. And since such fittings are so danged hard to identify, I called for at least voluntary standards.

    This is indeed a difficult issue to write about, because depending on your point of view or what’s going on with your bindings, it indeed could give you another thing to worry about. But reality strikes. All you binding consumers need to know that this is an issue. That the boot fittings are a critical component of the system, not just some holes drilled in steel. Knowledge is power, and in the end that power will result in a better world for everyone, even in the trivial and small case of tech fittings!

  3. sherryb January 28th, 2010 10:57 am

    I am grateful to myself that I decided to stick with a “matched” package on my new skis. This article is enlightening, however I think I had an intuition about that sort of thing from the many times I have tried to make “custom” setups and just not had it all go together the way I would like. Even the telemark industry has issues with sole/duckbill thicknesses. The proof is in the riding. As you state, I am sure that some non-Dynafit boots work OK but not wanting to spend my hard-earned dollars on a less than optimal pairing, I went Dynafit on both bindings and boots. A factor that worked in my favor is that Dynafit boots fit me well. So far, NO problems. Thank you for gettting this OUT THERE.
    As a sidenote, after all the worrying over the issue of not including screws as part of the weight on your binding reviews, I had to laugh at the inclusion of a screw along with a penny on this blog posting. Tongue-in-cheek, no? :lol:

  4. Lou January 28th, 2010 11:03 am

    Sherry, he he, good point about the screw!!!

    And now that Dynafit is selling ti screws and will be making binding toes that use 4 instead of 5 screws, my approach of detailing or backing out the weight of screws turns out to be the correct approach to getting accurate weights.

    And about tech fitting quality, even Dynafit could mess something up, they’re only human. One important point is if your bindings don’t work, the problem could be the boot fittings, not the binding.

  5. carver January 28th, 2010 11:11 am

    Hi Lou,

    Sounds like Dynafit needs to give up on it’s “closed source” policy and there needs to be an industry standard since this seems to be a safety issue.

    I just had Dynafit ST bindings mounted on my side-country skis and they are much easier to get into than my older Dynafit bindings. I can just step into them – no fuss at all. Garmont Radiums for boots. Is the improvement a function of a better mounting job or has the ST binding been improved?

  6. Dan January 28th, 2010 11:25 am

    Bravo Lou! You continue to deliver high integrity reporting on all matters of backcountry skiing and especially safety issues. As a relatively new member of the backcountry skiing community, I appreciate having this brought to our attention and to the attention of the boot making industry. I have no doubt that there will be standardization of the tech fittings in the future as you predict. Most things you predict come true. I praise your clairvoyance!

  7. Nickd January 28th, 2010 11:46 am

    Interesting. I had always assumed that Dynafit owned the “tech” design and specification and licensed out the appropriate parts when someone else wanted to make instead of buy from Dynafit (e.g. a boot manufacturer). So someone couldn’t just go off selling Dynafit compatible boots without executing a licensing agreement. If I read your post right, this isn’t the case. Then who owns/maintains the “tech” design specification if it’s not Dynafit proprietary?

    This would help explain why it was so damn hard to get a set of heel inserts from Salewa/Dynafit in Boulder. I had an old pair of Megarides that seemed to show wear in the heel inserts, and wanted to replace the inserts. The people in Boulder kept saying “It’s the boot – talk to Garmont”, and I kept saying “but you make binding system and sell the boot people the parts”. After a few loops, they finally offered to sell me a heel insert set for $14. But they didn’t seem to buy the “you make the binding system” argument.

  8. Clyde January 28th, 2010 12:10 pm

    I don’t see why companies should settle for using Dynafit fittings either when there is clearly room for improvement. If a standard results in the industry settling on “just good enough to pass” as is typically the case, I’d be opposed to a standard. Since it takes many years for a new standard to become reality, this won’t be an issue anytime soon. At least Dynafit isn’t hoarding the easy step-in version anymore. But it would be nice for someone to offer fittings that prevent fake holes that are all too common.

    BTW titanium screws will mean snapped screws. Have fun with that.

  9. Smokey January 28th, 2010 12:11 pm

    Any of this have to do this the four star Eurpoean vacation you just went on Lou? Looks like you drank a bit to much of the Company’s Kool Aid over there…

  10. Paul January 28th, 2010 12:21 pm

    Good info. I had a pair of blue boots (the brand and model to remain nameless) that had a premature toe insert deformation that rendered the boot dangerous and essentially useless w/ Dynafits. The manufacture did nothing to rectify the situation. I also had a friend that had the same issue.

  11. Thomas B January 28th, 2010 12:39 pm

    you need a “like” button on your site. Good one.

  12. Nick January 28th, 2010 12:44 pm

    So what does Garmont do? Attempt to make their own, or purchase fittings from Dynafit?

  13. earle.b January 28th, 2010 12:59 pm

    The “tech” world needs to step up and get TUV certification for the boots and bindings. Would solve any of this “off the record” bs.

  14. Matt January 28th, 2010 1:16 pm

    Good point Lou, last year I was skiing a few weeks on a telemark boot, which was supposed to fit in Dynafit bindings (with a plate to fit where the ski crampons can be placed). The fit between boot & the Dynafit toe piece was poor to say the least… Wasn’t so good for tele either actually. And this year it seems that my AT boot, same company, loose the compatibility with Dynafit as the sole wears down from use( up front underneath the inserts). Perhaps a tech standard is the solution.

  15. Ryan January 28th, 2010 1:31 pm

    Lou
    I love your site as you’re one of a few who even cover content we’re all interested and then you’re part of an even more select few who actually write things worth reading on that content.

    I think this topic is an interesting one as inferior “Tech” style fittings could have a negative effect on consumer perception and as a result drive design ideas for the future in a less effective direction.

    All that being said I nearly choked on my lunch when I read “identifying the exceptions would be journalistically irresponsible”. I think you kind of throw “journalism” out the window when you do a factory tour every year of Dynafit and worship at the altar of light is right. I’ve got to feel like there’s a slight bias mixed in there so I don’t really think journalism is the right word for what you do.

    Now again I think the original topic is an important one so I don’t want to completely distract from that but it would be interesting to hear yours and others thoughts on the transperancy/disclosure subject of outdoor blogging. Andrew Mclean was rather rudely trying to take Steve Romeo to task awhile back on TetonAT.com but I think it brought up a good subject. That of how unbiased can or should we expect you guys to be while still allowing you to make a living doing what you’re doing which is certainly a great service to all of us.

    So, maybe you can address this in a future topic and hopefully too many people won’t stray from the original topic.

    Thanks and keep up the good stuff.

  16. Tom Gos January 28th, 2010 1:36 pm

    Is there really no ISO/DIN/whatever standard for “Tech” boot fittings? If not, this seems like a huge swing & miss to me – there should definitely be a standard as there is for all the other boot/binding interfaces in the industry. I’ve actually never heard of anyone have problems with their boot fittings regardless of brand of boot, but that’s just me. I’m a bit of a skeptic by nature, but I have to wonder if this isn’t Dynafit doing some crying over the spilt milk of expiring patents. Are they possibly saying that no one else’s execution of their design is as good as their own as a way of trying to scare market share back to their brand?

  17. Lou January 28th, 2010 1:46 pm

    Smokey, actually quite the opposite in some ways, but beyond your insinuations of bias, the main thing is the facts. Dynafit and others would probably rather I didn’t open this can of worms. That I did it I can blame on the lingering effects of weiss beer, some of which Dynafit paid for.

    The fact is that tech fittings are not that easy to make. Some people try and are successful, some are not. Good thing for consumers to keep in mind.

    As for the question about patents, yeah, the patent for the basic tech fittings is expired, in my opinion this is one reason Dynafit designed their “Quick step-in” version, which does have a patent.

  18. Pete January 28th, 2010 1:53 pm

    @carver: I noticed the same thing: My ST bindings seem easier to step into than my TLT Comforts!

  19. Lou January 28th, 2010 2:00 pm

    One of the nice things about my EU trips is I pay for most of it. I stay on a budget because friends over there are very generous and I don’t stay in hotels unless I’m doing a factory trip like the one last year to Trab. Yeah, Dynafit buys my bunk bed in a hut and some beer. Dynafit also supports me with loaner gear, some of which I end up using for quite a while and keeping . There, full disclosure. You can ask the guys at the magazines how much they pay for when they do press trips, you might be surprised. The thing with bias is it’s more a matter of personal integrity than some sort of magic formula about how much support a writer gets. In the end, all I’ve got is my reputation. I know that. You guys can accuse me of bias all you want but I’m comfortable with my integrity, and I’m comfortable with how I approach things here in terms of bias. I’m also well aware you can all vote with your feet.

    This post is based on an immense amount of experience, along with a half dozen people giving me good inside info. These folks were from different companies, with different interests. It was not that tough to separate the BS from the good info. With personal expertise in a subject, combined with a variety of sources, it’s not that tough to come up with a valid take.

    Oh, I should add that of course Dynafit and a number of other companies pay real money to advertise here. Thus, yeah, that’s there. So, what it really comes down to is do I have integrity or not? I’ll report. You decide.

  20. earle.b January 28th, 2010 2:15 pm
  21. Lou January 28th, 2010 2:17 pm

    Ryan, if I have a slight bias and thus a post like this is not journalism, than what is the New York Times? Seems like I’ve read a slightly biased article there once in a while (grin).

  22. Ryan January 28th, 2010 2:18 pm

    Lou
    Well said. I think you strike a decent balance. Obviously you’re going to review products that are more interesting to you. Why waste a day in the mountains to confirm that you don’t like something.

    I think bloggers can maintain support, whatever that support may mean, from key vendors and still provide great insight and opinions on gear. That support may come in the form of gear, cash, travel or whatever. And we can most certainly make our opinions known via the traffic we give or don’t give a website.

    I just can’t consider it journalism and/or completely unbiased, though I suppose in todays media that might be all we can hope for.

    Thanks

  23. Kevin January 28th, 2010 2:18 pm

    I went away from Dynafit bindings ( to Fritschi) a few years ago because of problems with the “volcanos” on my Comforts breaking off and auto-rotation due to the brake interface.

    After much study and debate over the Onyx, I decided that it needed more time in the field before I would purchase a pair. I just purchased (not yet mounted) a pair of Vertical ST’s and am giving Dynafit another try.

    Now this.

    I don’t know if my boots have Dynafit tech fittings and I may not ever know? The assumption (mine) has ALWAYS been that all tech fittings were manufactured by Dynafit.

    Dynafit and the boot companies that use “real” Dynafit tech fittings need to tell the consumer loudly and clearly, what is what. Dynafit’s reputation would seem to be at risk. Can you say “lawsuits”?

    Thanks Lou for breaking the story. It is now up to the Industry to alleviate the consumers concerns and quickly.

  24. Tuck January 28th, 2010 2:24 pm

    ” Companies other than BD usually buy their fittings from Dynafit, so don’t get the idea that a bunch of boot makers are going rogue.”

    Thanks for clarifying… I’ll go get my Garmonts back from the trash bin. ;)

    Lou, I don’t think anyone who reads this site regularly doubts your integrity. You seem to really be a stand-up sort of a guy.

    And if you have your price, I’d hope it’s higher than a bunk in a hut and a few beers! (Maybe they should try pastries next time… :)

  25. Clyde January 28th, 2010 2:26 pm

    Well call me biased but I’m in a pretty good position to judge bias in outdoor gear journalism. I can spot the BS hacks who regurgitate company lines a long way off because I know the same industry folks and get the same spiels. Safe to say I’ve never seen indications of Lou being in a company’s pocket or even paying back favors. That sure ain’t true of a number of other “gear gurus” who write for mags and blogs. Now if you want to see real bias, look at a bunch of the editor’s choice awards out there. Nuff said.

  26. Lou January 28th, 2010 2:27 pm

    I don’t know if I really broke a story. A bunch of people have just been somehow assuming that the only people who make tech fittings is Dynafit. All I did was state the facts, which anyone who asked or paid attention would be able to at least get a pretty good grasp of. For example, it’s no secret that Black Diamond doesn’t use Dynafit made fittings, or at least they were not when they first started their boot line (again, I don’t pretend to know every last detail of who uses what, the important thing is that whatever is what is that it works, and there needs to be a system to insure that.)

  27. Lou January 28th, 2010 2:29 pm

    Thanks Clyde, that alone inspires me to try and do even better…

  28. Lou January 28th, 2010 2:33 pm

    Matt, the shape of the boot sole is a whole other and important issue. Onyx does not require a special shape to operate, Dynafit does. That’s one of the pluses for Onyx, though they got around that with the “press down to open” feature that’s a bit awkward for some folks.

  29. Lou January 28th, 2010 2:37 pm

    Tuck, I forgot about the pastries. The evil strategy of Dynafit with journalists is they first make you gain weight by buying you kilos of pastries, then they seduce you with lightweight gear to compensate. Your so glad you can still ski tour even with a kettle belly, you write nothing but praise for Dynafit. Even a New York Times reporter would succumb to this devious and nefarious procedure. (just kidding)

  30. ScottP January 28th, 2010 2:39 pm

    Just lucky timing on the speed, I guess. Good to know not to throw out my Spirit 3s just yet.

    I figured that if Scarpa or Garmont were not using acceptable inserts then it would be pretty big news; I would guess they have a much bigger share of the Dynafit-compatible AT boot market than Dynafit itself by this point. If anyone has numbers on what the market share is I’d be interested.

    And Lou, while you do have a clear bias towards lighter weight gear on this site, I don’t think it has anything to do with your integrity, especially since you’re upfront about it. Read a few posts here and it’s clear that you’re lightweight-touring and ski mountaineering oriented and don’t do sidecountry or cliff-hucking. Less to do with bias and more with target audience, really. Anyone who regularly reads this site has to know you’re not in the pocket of any gear maker or they’re not paying attention. Keep the great info coming!

  31. Lou January 28th, 2010 2:43 pm

    Ryan, I would say that I use the word “journalism” in a rather broad context, though I’m not trying to re-define the term. In my opinion some of my blogs are pretty close to journalism in the classic sense, some or definitely not journalism other than them being classified as op-ed. Some, like poems or retrospectives, are just, blogging.

  32. Lou January 28th, 2010 2:48 pm

    It just occurred to me that I do publish a verbatim press release here once in a while. As far as I know I’ve always made it clear that I’m publishing a press release, but I thought I’d mention that as an example of something that is definitly NOT journalism and is heavily biased. Just thought that might put things a bit more in perspective.

    This post is most definitely not a press release!

  33. Kevin January 28th, 2010 2:53 pm

    “I don’t know if I really broke a story. A bunch of people have just been somehow assuming that the only people who make tech fittings is Dynafit.”

    Lou, I pay a little more attention to gear than the average consumer ( my ski buddies) and I had no idea that there was anyone manufacturing tech fittings other than Dynafit.

    At the time I first purchased Dynafit bindings and compatible boots the was no other “Tech Binding” competitors out there so what other “assumption” could I make?

    This IS the first I have heard of it and this blog IS my primary source for Dynafit information. Who else covers Dynafit as comprehensively?

    New Dynafit Tagline, “Dynafit, Accept No Imitations”

  34. Lou January 28th, 2010 2:57 pm

    The BD fittings seem to work just fine. Good on them. Story is they made an effort to work with Dynafit to make sure their fittings functioned correctly, since fittings that don’t work tend to make the binding look bad, since as mentioned above most people would not consider the fitting to be the problem.

  35. Layne January 28th, 2010 3:33 pm

    Long time reader first time commenter.

    If everyone just used Lou’s policy (or Steve Romeo or Andrew McLean’s) of having 3-4 different pairs of touring boots, they will become obsolete & replaced long before fittings wear out. :) Case in point: the new TLT5 boots just obsoleted the F1, F3 & maybe even some 4 buckle boots like megarides or zzeros. I’m sure many people will be upgrading to the TLT5 (like me) for 10/11 and leaving boots with partially worn fittings on the shelf.

    I enjoy reading what you and your team come up with every day. Because of your unbiased opinion, I decided to try naxo nx21′s last year. However, reading your blog over the past year or so, I’ve learned alot about tech bindings and decided to get some Dynafits for this year. Great decision by me if I can say so myself.

    Keep up the good work!

  36. AJ January 28th, 2010 3:40 pm

    Hi Lou,

    No doubts about your integrity.

    Sponsors come and go, loyal readers come back every day.

    Keep up the good work!

  37. Lou January 28th, 2010 3:59 pm

    I just got an email from yet another industry insider. He said that this is indeed an issue in the industry. After I speak with him on the phone perhaps I’ll be able to share more.

  38. Chris January 28th, 2010 4:18 pm

    The use of a “DIN” setting may be part of the problem. A DIN implies standardized boot/binding interface…

    I had a pair of Look PX12s put on my alpine skis recently and the shop tech told that to get an actual DIN of 6.5 the toe pieces had to be set at 4.5 – any further out of spec and they wouldn’t be able to give me the skis. How many people verify the DIN on their dynafits?

  39. James January 28th, 2010 5:03 pm

    Lou,
    What I take away from this is that if I want to maximize my chances of getting quality inserts, I should buy either Dynafit or BD boots. I realize that you aren’t intentionally biasing me toward those two brands, however, I don’t want to find out the hard way that my non-Dyanfit or non-BD boots have inferior fittings. So, what can you suggest for future boot purchases? Do you think most companies would be forthcoming with information about wear they source their fittings?

  40. Lou January 28th, 2010 6:19 pm

    James, wrong. It’s a tough communication issue and I took some risk with this post, but I’m not trying to make any read-between-the-line implications specific to brands. So please don’t do that.

    The take-away I’d like everyone to get is this:
    Defective or poorly made fittings can happen, but they are not specific to any brand. Test fittings with first a visual check, then just do a release check. The side release should be smooth, without catching, and should feel like it requires the correct amount of force (DIN 5 shouldn’t feel like a downhill race binding set to 16, for example). Beyond that, if you find you can’t stay in a tech binding in tour mode with it latched, try a different pair of boots to make sure the issue is not the boot fittings.

    Oh, also, if the boot fittings wear noticeably faster than the usual wear rate, then again, perhaps they’re not up to spec.

    Clear?

  41. Chad January 28th, 2010 7:57 pm

    You’ve got a good life Lou. We’re just jealous. I see your point. Fact is, Dynafit makes the best backcountry binding on the market. Done so for a long time. I recently bought a Manaslu outfit with FT bindings this year. Couldn’t be happier. So far the Garmont Axons are working marvelously, but that’s not to say Dynafit doesn’t have a better boot solution to their own gear. It’s a natural microcosm of development when the engineers of male and female technology sit in adjacent cubes.

  42. Dostie January 28th, 2010 8:03 pm

    Haven’t read all the comments, but you walked the line well there Lou. Bravo!

  43. Phil January 28th, 2010 8:16 pm

    Ok Lou, ya got me confused! A common state of mind for me anyway…

    Are my Garmont Radiums safe to use with my Dynafit Vert STs?

    I don’t mean to put you on the spot…but are they going to release correctly?

    Thanks..Phil::

  44. vturn January 28th, 2010 8:31 pm

    Lou, “whatever”, concerning your relationship with companies. You sure beat reading a ski mag. Regarding age of inserts… At what point(year) should a tourer/backcountry skier be concerned about the integrity of old Laser inserts?? Do these things ever ‘fail’? And I agree with many that the joy of Dynafits is in the user. thanks

  45. Lou January 28th, 2010 8:48 pm

    Phil, my guess is that they’re 101% ok. But I’d have to look at any boot, including Dynafit, before I’d say 101% for sure, heck, I’m not clairvoyant!

    Vturn,
    You can use them till they fail, which can be never, as the binding pins tend to wear faster than the inserts. Also, the inserts seem to wear in a way that might affect touring performance, but does not affect downhill performance. More of the genius of the creator, though he’d probably say it was just luck they turned out that way.

    BTW, wear is not much of an issue with the tech system, at least with the components that are made correctly. I’ve seen people using bindings and boots with hundreds and hundreds of days on them.
    :angel:

  46. Lee Lau January 28th, 2010 8:50 pm

    FWIW – I have no doubt about Lou’s integrity. I’m going to echo Clyde here but the quality of article Lou puts out is far and above the pap put out by many other gear-whore bloggers (you know who you are) with their generic regurgitated pablum. Lou’s anality and attention to detail forces me, for one , to try to write to a higher standard

  47. Scott January 28th, 2010 9:56 pm

    Off Subject:
    I am wondering if anyone out there has performed a function (torque) test comparing the release results of a DIN specified binding to a Dynafit. Ideally if I had the equipment I would want to compare the torque results of say a Marker set on 7 and a Dynafit set on 7. Obviously there will be a variation between the results as with testing any binding but I just wonder how close they would be. Is a Dynafit set on 7 with the toe lock click up once closer to a DIN specified binding set on 8?

    In my previous life as a ski tech I would perform this comparison while setting the DINs on my Fritschis but now since I have been using Dynafits it seems that setting your DIN and toe adjustment is just a shot in the dark.

    Any ideas or comments would be appreciated.

    Thanks

  48. Jonathan Shefftz January 28th, 2010 10:56 pm

    “I am wondering if anyone out there has performed a function (torque) test comparing the release results of a DIN specified binding to a Dynafit.”
    – I bought my own torque tester this past summer. All my Dynafit setups that I have tested have been spot-on (using the same protocol and values as for alpine downhill bindings).

  49. Bar Barrique January 28th, 2010 11:15 pm

    Scott; I use an alpine set up (Atomics) for riding the “lifts”, and, Dynafits for BC. My DIN settings are roughly the same. While you may have to fine tune, I have found that the settings translate rather well.

    Bar

  50. Phil January 28th, 2010 11:27 pm

    Lou:::

    Thanks…for the information and thanks for asking the important questions..that really means something and is appreciated..

    Phil::

  51. Lou January 29th, 2010 7:44 am

    Also good to realize that when bindings such as Dynafit are examined by TUV, they undergo some pretty strict release testing (though it’s unclear what norm they test to). I’m not sure if/how the Dynafit binding is tested during manufacture, but when I was at the Fritschi factory a little over a year ago, they actually release tested EVERY binding as it came through the assembly line. Thus, I’d think that at the factory where they make Dynafit bindings they must have some kind of testing procedure.

    Another thing to remember about Dynafit is that the boot/binding interface (assuming the fittings are good and the binding up to manufacturing specifications) is MUCH more consistent than random or worn boot soles encountering binding toe wings, as in Fritschi or Duke. Thus, if the components of the Dynafit system are up to spec, in my experience it’s very easy to obtain consistent release values. This is counter-intuitive for some folks, as they look at the tiny boot/binding interface of the tech system, and compare it to the traditional toe wing binding, and just assume the toe wing binding is somehow better because the parts are bigger.

    For more about DIN, TUV etc please see our glossary at:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/more/backcountry-glossary/

  52. Michael Silitch January 29th, 2010 3:30 pm

    To Jonathan Shefftz. Have you torque tested any of the race bindings that do not have adjustable DIN? (ATK RACE, Haereo, Dynafit Low Tech Race). Have you tested a “locked” toe piece? Really curious to see these tested.

  53. Michael Silitch January 29th, 2010 3:37 pm

    To Lou: I know there are big differences in tech fittings especially when it comes to the Carbon boots.

    More with the big boot companies , what I was told Dynafit never licensed their fittings, and that only dynafit boots have the toe with the “pin guiding grooves” in them. Or maybe they licensed them, but only the ones without a “pin guiding groove” in the toe.

    Since I have never used a Dynafit boot, just curious how much easier they are with the “pin guiding groove” to get into and out of. I guess constant release values are another issue, but just curious about the only visible difference (to me any way) of the ‘pin guiding grooves”. Keep up the good reporting.

  54. Jonathan Shefftz January 29th, 2010 3:44 pm

    “Have you torque tested any of the race bindings that do not have adjustable DIN?”
    - I have not, but I would like to, as I am very curious as to their release values.

    “Have you tested a “locked” toe piece?”
    - No, and I would do so only with someone else’s ski boots. I once conducted a very simple test (before I had the torque tester), putting the heel in tour mode and the toe in tour mode, at the third “click” so that the bottom of the toe lever was just barely engaging the round knob of the base plate. I twisted out with similar force as to my alpine downhill race binding toes (which are set at 7). That convinced me that touring in potential avy terrain with the toe in tour mode still allows for normal release if caught in avy while skinning. However, twisting out sure did seem to put lots of stress on the binding, and may have ever so slightly scored the boot toe interface. So, no further testing from me on that (at least with my boots), whether the heel is in ski or tour mode.

    “Since I have never used a Dynafit boot, just curious how much easier they are with the “pin guiding groove” to get into and out of.”
    - I’ve used boots with both the traditional/original toe interface and the newer ones (Zzero4, DyNA) with the groovy interface. If you’re already an experienced and skilled Dynafit user (especially if you use the heel in flat tour mode to help guide in the toe), the groovy interface is definitely a plus, although only a very minor improvement (since getting in is already so easy). But for newbies and those who somehow manage to still have trouble despite lots of experience, the groovy interface is probably a major advantage.

  55. jeffrey Brown January 30th, 2010 3:35 am

    Lou,

    As one laying here with a spiral fracture of the Tib/Fib(Nail and two screws to put together) kudos for elevating this issue. I have been using Dynafit FT’s with unnamed backcountry boots for 3 years. I have had nothing but praise. A week and half ago I took a bad jump. Ended up landing in a twisting motion. Unfortunately for me my right leg had planted in softer snow and the rest of me kept rotating. Pop goes the weasel and the right leg. I never even fell down. I have been wracking my brain as to how, with that much lateral force, the binding didn’t release. I will have to dig deeper on the boot side of the equation. Thanks again for taking this up. It is probably one of the most critical issues for us tech binding users to consider. Signed one who has serious skin in the game!

  56. Ray Thomas January 30th, 2010 10:05 am

    Hi Lou
    I’ve been using Dynafit TLT since 1998, and have experience very little problems with binding. Minor ice buildup under the wing at the toe. The first pair I had for 9 years and well over 500 days skiing, mainy touring but some powder days at the hill. I have greased up the cup in the heel and kept them well maintained by following your advice on maintenance, The screws on the top of the heel peice that hold the top plate started breaking so I bought a new set of tech bindings.
    My first boots were Scarpa lasers, then a pair of Garmont megalite all tech compatable. After reading all the good articles on the Dynafit green machines I purchase a pair in Dec/09. The big difference I notice is that it is so much easier to get the boot into the toe of the binding with the Dynafit boot especially in steep terrain.
    Keep up the good work

  57. Michael Silitch January 30th, 2010 10:35 am

    Thanks for the tech binding testing info. Very imformative. It would be great to get something even more extensive going; that would probably require a budget, etc. In the future…..

  58. Lou January 31st, 2010 9:04 pm

    Jeffrey, there are angles and forces that can break your leg with any ski binding, so don’t necessarily blame it on the tech binding system. On the other hand, just for your own edification you could have the boot/binding combo release tested. As I cover in the article above, a lot of variables are involved.

  59. Lou January 31st, 2010 9:07 pm

    Michael, the “Quick step-in” Dynafit fittings make stepping into the binding easier, but in my experience it’s only a small improvement. They have the disadvantage of taking up even more sole material so the sole tends to wear into the metal rather quickly if you use them for much hiking or scrambling. This wear doesn’t affect the performance of the fitting (at least not ’till it gets extreme, which I’ve never seen” but you do end up with metal on rock when you’re scrambling, for better or worse.

  60. KevinD February 1st, 2010 12:23 pm

    Lou,

    I wasn’t sure where to post this question, so I’ll just try here.

    I’m mounting some ST’s and tried to get my line layout as close as possible, but erred about 1mm on the centerline. My punch/drill drifted a further .5 mm (in the same direction, of course), so now my front hole on the toe piece is 1.5 mm off centerline. :angry:

    That’s the only hole I’ve drilled so far and I’m wondering how I should fix this. Filling and re-drilling seems excessive, but I could if I have to. With 4 holes left to drill would it be crazy to get those lined up and then scarf out the front hole a little and epoxy the screw? Or am I screwed? :ermm:

  61. Lou February 1st, 2010 5:43 pm

    Scarf out the front hole a bit and insert the screw after you’ve lined the binding up using the other 4 holes, then insert that fifth screw. To be sure, wait for the epoxy on the 4 other screws to cure.

    BTW, Dynafit is going to 4 screws on all their binding toe units. You do need that 5th screw to hold the front part of the 5-screw binding down when you’re yarding up on the latch, but it’s not important to keeping the binding on the ski. So scarf out the hole all you want so long as you can get the screw to thread in there a bit in some epoxy you’ll be fine. Lou

  62. Lou February 1st, 2010 5:54 pm

    I’ve been doing a ton of research today on the tech binding system (a couple hours on my phone, ouch, my ear…), and I wanted to emphasize that ALL tech fittings are a manufactured man-made item that can be subject to error or defect. More, there is indeed no legal standard for tech fittings nor how they are located in a boot sole. Thus, the important point I’m trying to make here is that as consumers we should be aware of all this, and do four things with that knowledge:
    1. Not necessarily blame your tech binding when you have problems with it.
    2. Release check your boot/binding system after it’s mounted, as both the Dynafit and Onyx manuals state to do.
    3. Watch for what appears to be inadvertent or excessive wear on your fittings, and if you think you’re seeing such, get your boots examined by a dealer or boot company customer service person.
    5. Set release values using the ISO chart, err to the lower end of the range the chart suggests, then test in the field before dialing up to a higher number.

    I also wanted to emphasize that Black Diamond has shown it’s possible to build excellent tech fittings, and thus we should have high expectations of ANY company that ends up building and installing their own.

  63. KevinD February 1st, 2010 8:29 pm

    Thanks Lou,

    Worked fine. The front screw does seem vestigial, so I can see some minute weight savings by eliminating it. But leave the holes so we’re not tempted to drill them out for further weight reduction!

    Like it matters mounted to Coombacks.

  64. Lou February 1st, 2010 8:51 pm

    Kevin, use the 5th screw on your bindings, don’t leave it out. Only eliminate on the bindings designed for 4 screws.

  65. KDog February 1st, 2010 9:23 pm

    I did put it in with some epoxy as well. I was commenting on the upcoming models.

    Will test and dial in DIN tomorrow along with some Climbing Skins Direct skins I’m trying for the first time. I like the weight and flexibility, but the quality control leaves something to be desired. Neither end was cut square and one side was not either. The wimp strip tape wanders a bit as well and there was glue on the plush. Won’t affect performance, but I put BD tips and tails on them and that took some careful measuring.

  66. Lou February 1st, 2010 9:43 pm

    KDog, sounds good. And thanks for your gear impressions. That’s gold.

  67. Paul Parker February 2nd, 2010 9:44 am

    Hi all,
    Paul Parker of Garmont here. I can clarify a bit of this discussion.
    As far as I know, to date, Garmont and Scarpa have been the only Dynafit® licensees. We buy the inserts from Dynafit® for a cost that includes their licensing fee.
    Garmont production boots have never had any Tech inserts other than Dynafit®’s. The inserts are warranted by Garmont as are all components of our boots.
    TECH has evolved as the name for this style of system because there are bindings that use the Tech system from G3, ATK, Plum, Montura, and Ski Trab, and boot companies like Black Diamond that have developed their own inserts. TECH refers to the kind of boot/binding interface, and does not imply a manufacturer for the binding or inserts, whether it’s Dynafit® or anyone else.
    Dynafit®’s patent on their “basic” insert, the design which many of us believe to have the best all-around function, has expired. For this reason we skiers will see other inserts emerge from different manufacturers. BD is the first widely-known example of a boot company’s developing their own inserts. They work well and have been well-received.
    There is a learning curve for skiers first using the Tech system. We sometimes see boots with plastic carved away from the edges of the inserts because of initial mis-alignment. It may be inexperience or, as in my case, stepping in when it’s dark with no headlamp. The loss of plastic around the insert usually doesn’t affect the function of the boot in a Tech binding.
    We also see boots that have badly worn soles and toes. Kicking steps, particularly in mixed conditions with rock under ice and snow, is very abrasive and can wear away the boot toes and damage the inserts, and possibly compromise the interface. This is the case with any boot toe, brand, and binding system.
    I can’t predict what other manufacturers will do with their Tech fittings. I can say that, at Garmont, we will continue to improve the quality and value of our product for the greatest dependability and performance, Tech fittings and all.
    Thanks for your interest,
    Paul

  68. Lou February 2nd, 2010 9:52 am

    Thanks Paul!

  69. KevinD February 2nd, 2010 10:02 am

    Thanks Paul,

    That’s what I wanted to hear since all my boots are Garmont!

  70. Ben W February 2nd, 2010 10:20 am

    So we can assume Salomon is making the inserts for their new Quest boots?

  71. Lou February 2nd, 2010 10:25 am

    Ben, that would be the best guess, but they could be back-channeled in a number of ways so it’s hard to know for sure. The main thing is to keep an eye on the fittings in new tech compatible brands such as Dalbello and Salomon, and make sure they function correctly.

  72. slave.to.turns February 2nd, 2010 11:54 am

    @BenW

    A ski buddy of mine gets a pair of these Salomon Quest boots sent his way via industry. He asks me to dial them into his Dynafit bindings for him, “no problem” I say.

    Not fitting in there very well. Seems like the jaws are “loaded”. Take some more looks and see that they (Salomon, designers, etc) have not created the standard bevels needed for clearance at not only the toe wings, but at the very front center of the boot! Take a look at any boot that’s Dynafit compatible, it’s there.Except for these new boots.

    We carved the needed bevels out ourselves and it now works. That’s my story on new “Tech” inserts from new players in the game. Take from it what you will.

    BTW, like Paul said, everyone (sans BD) up until now had “Dynafit” brand “Dynafit” inserts, with “Dynafit” keeping it’s patented Easy In grooves for it’s own boot line.

  73. slave.to.turns February 2nd, 2010 11:58 am

    To clarify, the missing bevels I was referring to are on the boot sole rubber.

  74. Lou February 2nd, 2010 12:17 pm

    Slave, that’s exactly the point of what I brought up in this post. Thanks for contributing!

    I should have mentioned that the boot sole has to be shaped a certain way, but that seemed like stating the obvious so I left it out as the post is confusing enough as it is.

    So again, we need a tech standard that includes the fittings, and the boot sole shape.

  75. Lou February 2nd, 2010 12:29 pm

    BTW, I’ve got some Dalbello Virus here. They’re nice boots and the metal tech fittings look good. The toe of the boot fits Dynafit binding perfectly, but the slots in the heel are in my opinion incorrectly milled and cause extra resistance at one point in lateral release. This incorrect milling is a legacy thing that’s been done on some other boots as well. I’ll bet Dalbello copied the wrong pair of boots. It’s easy to fix. I’ll blog about it when I review the Dalbellos. Again, lack of a standard possibly compromises consumer safety.

  76. Dave February 4th, 2010 5:00 pm

    Dave with SCARPA North America. Thanks, Lou, for a very thorough look at something that’s definitely not widely understood.

    As you noted, SCARPA is the first licensee (other than Dynafit itself) to use Dynafit’s Quick Step inserts, which will be on some of our new lighter-weight AT boots next fall. But we wanted to add to the conversation that SCARPA has long been using only tech inserts produced by and purchased from Dynafit under a licensing agreement between the brands. We consult with each other on designs and the boot-binding interface constantly and meet annually in the USA and Europe to review designs and interface considerations.

  77. Lou February 5th, 2010 11:52 am

    Official word from a source at Dynafit:

    1. Dynafit’s patent on standard inserts has expired.
    2. As of 1/1/10, Dynafit is no longer supplying standard inserts to Garmont
    3. As of 1/1/10, Dynafit’s Quick-Step-In inserts are licensed exclusively to Scarpa (and used in all Dynafit boots of course) .
    4. Dynafit is also currently supplying standard inserts only to Scarpa (but may supply to others in the future).
    5. Although Dynafit cannot vouch for the quality of other inserts, Dynafit has released technical information to TUV, to help all manufacturers make standard inserts compatible with Dynafit bindings.

  78. Thomas B February 5th, 2010 2:18 pm

    Glen Plake said ” if Lou doesn’t hurry about and try my boots out I will take him on a cliff dropping tour and to my hairdresser” :biggrin:
    allright, I’ve never talked to the guy but….seriously jonesing for a solid and objective review of the virus ( ie wildsnow review)…..

  79. Lou February 5th, 2010 9:47 pm

    Viri are here and being vetted. Low cuff pivots and “Flexon” style chassis are not for everyone, but Plake likes them so if you ski like Plake perhaps you will too (grin).

  80. Gideon February 18th, 2010 11:02 am

    Am I the only one here wondering what has happened to Garmont shoes since the 1st of January? I guess they had enough Dynafit fittings to finish this season, but it would be nice to know for sure. As the manufacturers seem to read wildsnow.com as well they might be willing to clear this up.

    Many thanks for all the information on your website, it’s a great help!

  81. Chris March 16th, 2010 9:18 pm

    Hi Lou, you made this comment: “BTW, I’ve got some Dalbello Virus here. They’re nice boots and the metal tech fittings look good. The toe of the boot fits Dynafit binding perfectly, but the slots in the heel are in my opinion incorrectly milled and cause extra resistance at one point in lateral release. This incorrect milling is a legacy thing that’s been done on some other boots as well. I’ll bet Dalbello copied the wrong pair of boots. It’s easy to fix.”

    I have the dalbello virus boots and am mounting up some ST’s. What is the easy fix? I’m concerned about safety. also concerned since I just spent a whole bunch of $ on new boots I probably can’t return – wish I would have seen your post first.
    thank you, Chris

  82. Michael Finger April 18th, 2010 12:18 pm

    Just hear an account on Teton Gravity of someone ripping their ‘tech inserts’ out of there brand new Salomon quest pro boots and getting hurt pretty bad. Buyer beware indeed!

  83. CB April 19th, 2010 9:01 am

    The failure mentioned above was the boot itself, apparently, not the inserts. The boot is constructed with a separate piece of the toe that has the inserts in it. Word is that the whole thing came apart. Bad, bad, BAD brand new boot. Perhaps someone forgot the glue?

    Serious injuries is right. The failure occurred in a no-fall zone, and resulted in an 800-foot high speed slide into some krummholz, a broken femur, a shattered kneecap, and a National Guard heli/winch rescue, then another medevac flight to a bigger hospital. Way to go Saloman!

  84. CB April 19th, 2010 9:32 am

    More word, maybe the boot didn’t come apart, but the interface is described as mangled.

  85. Lou July 27th, 2010 2:10 pm

    Just thought I’d mention that while I don’t have the equipment to identify subtle variations in tech fittings, the Salomon occurrence mentioned above was a major deal that resulted in a boot recall after we tested the inserts in question to the point of destruction. The whole thing is covered here:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/2888/salomon-quest-tech-fittings-failure/

    and here:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/2899/salomon-quest-boots-announcement/

    It’s just too bad Salomon didn’t read my first post about this subject, and too bad more consumers didn’t take my comments to heart and avoid being early adopters of boots such as the Salomon Quest. As mentioned above, there is no international standard or certification for tech fittings. For something as important and related to personal safety this is of course a stunningly ridiculous state of affairs, but reality bites and consumer please beware.

    Indeed, I might start a list of what boots we here at WildSnow feel have correctly made and installed tech fittings, based on direct observation and testing…

    Lou

  86. Gordon August 22nd, 2010 12:43 pm

    :shocked: Lou,

    Years of skiing and three sets of Fritschi bindings later, I’ve mounted a pair of Dynafit ST’s on my new Coombacks for the coming ski season (2010-2011). I got an early start on the change, and I’m glad that I did! Since 2007, I’ve been skiing on a pair of boots that were Dynafit compatible. When I got the skis back from the shop, I decided to test the bindings. With the boots mounted in the bindings, I tried to force a lateral release by rotating the heel pieces. Imagine my surprise when I found that my left ski boot would not “climb out” of the toe piece! At this point, I’ll cut this part of my story short. The manufacturer has accepted that my boots have “issues”, and has proposed an out of warranty settlement. No money has changed hands yet. If I don’t get the promised settlement, I’ll report back on that later.

    The boot issue has certainly increased my paranoia associated with the binding change. Due to my age and ability, I ski at the bottom of the release range of the ST: somewhere around DIN 5 to 5.5. My question to you and other readers is this: when I arrive in Salt Lake City to begin my ski season, where can this “flat lander” get his boot/binding combo checked? I know from my engineering career that mechanical systems have “boundary behaviors”. I don’t want boundary behavior to cause me to have avoidable knee surgery.

    In fact, let’s widen the scope of the search to both SLC, Utah and the “I-70” resorts in Colorado.

    BTW, two weeks ago, I wrote Vermont Ski Safety to see if they could provide a list of shops equipped with their test equipment, no response.

    Thanks in advance for your help… and your excellent blog!

  87. Lou August 22nd, 2010 1:11 pm

    Gordon, tech fittings can be defective. Good you tested lateral release. Be sure you are testing with the boot latched at the heel, as with some well made fittings the tiny angles on the socket is better for release when the boot is in the downhill skiing position.

    Personally, If I didn’t get satisfaction from the retailer I’d go directly to the distributor. Ask either the retailer or distributor what they plan on doing for you if you spiral your leg because the binding doesn’t release because of the tech fittings, assuming this is easily demonstrated on the workbench.

    At the same time, I’d be sensitive to the issue of warranty. Companies can’t warranty this stuff forever. So if all you can get is a replacement at deep discount then that might be fair. I’d go for MSRP less 60% or something like that. The idea being you’d like to get the new boots for less than they’ll be on sale for in 12 months on Sierra Trading Post (grin).

    Sometimes you can make the fittings work smoother if you do a series of lateral releases on the workbench, the idea being you ream out the boot fitting a bit and create a tiny “ramp” the binding pins can climb out on. But that’s a pretty funky solution…

  88. Jonathan Shefftz August 22nd, 2010 2:13 pm

    Gordon, any alpine downhill ski shop will have a torque tester (whether from VSSR or a competitor). Many backcountry ski shops often will claim that they can’t test Dynafit bindings – in a way, they’re right, because . . . most backcountry ski shops don’t own a ski binding torque tester. But I have one, and Dynafits pass the standard protocols for alpine downhill bindings.
    I wouldn’t be surprised though if downhill shops made you sign some paperwork etc since Dynafit does not have the standard shop certification program like all the downhill companies do.
    Lou, “breakable crust” didn’t work for my anti-spam answer. Does that mean that I will never encounter breakable crust this season, or that I should just stay home under such conditions?

  89. AJ August 22nd, 2010 2:20 pm

    breakable crust ROFLOL

  90. Jonathan Shefftz August 22nd, 2010 2:22 pm

    Hey, stop laughing at our New England backcountry skiing conditions!
    (And now it won’t accept wind slab — oh well, back to ice…)

  91. Matt Funk September 27th, 2012 7:18 am

    This is indeed an important consideration, thanks for helping me sort out my own thoughts and purchase strategy — I’ve been thinking along these lines.

    Question: What’s the very best Dynafit binding to mate with the Vulcan?

    Cheers!

  92. Lou Dawson September 27th, 2012 8:00 am

    Matt, that would be the Dynafit Vertical FT with the wider 110 mm brake, mounted with Power Plates. The wider brake version has stronger springs in the toe unit. This binding and add-ons combo is in my opinion the best freeride capable binding Dynafit ever produced.

    Here is a shopping link:
    http://www.backcountry.com/dynafit-tlt-vertical-ft-12-binding

    If you’re mounting on a narrower ski, still get the 110 brake version and also purchase a set of narrower brakes.

    Not sure where you can get the Power Plates, but here is my blog post about them:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/4683/dynafit-power-plate/

    With stiff boots and big skis, do NOT run the FT without the Power Plates, as the binding toe “wings” overhang left and right, meaning they are unsupported and may flex or even eventually break.

    Lou

  93. See September 27th, 2012 10:58 am

    I’m currently planning to mount up my new Justices (115 underfoot) with Vertical FT’s (will adjust 110 brakes as needed) using ST toe plates but retaining the fiberglass covers for the heels, much as I dislike them (like putting carbon fiber contact paper on the hood of your car).

    Did you not mention the ST toe plates because they aren’t available or because the power plates are somehow superior? Are the heal covers really required? Any problem with the plan or suggested improvements?

    Thanks.

  94. Lou Dawson September 27th, 2012 11:06 am

    See, thanks for mentioning that. In this sort of situation I usually attempt to recommend setups with a minimum of mods since I don’t know anything about the person’s skills or those of their shop, nor how comfortable they are with eliminating binding parts. Nonetheless, now that you bring it up I’m sure Matt will consider it. Nice thing about the Power Plates is they’re a binding part, not a mod. I love mods — but some folks do not… Lou

  95. rod September 27th, 2012 11:17 am

    lou, I got new bc skis (blizzard Bonafides), and I was thinking of replacing my FT12 verticals (with power plates), which have about 100 days on them, with the FT12 radical.

    I noticed that you advised Matt to get the FT12 vertical, which is the old model, instead of radical.
    may I ask why?

    I often ski steep couoirs, in sometimes challenging conditions.I have BD factors, and obviously the Blizzard Bonafides are pretty burly skis

  96. Lou Dawson September 27th, 2012 11:31 am

    Rod, I like the way the rotation works on the Vertical heel better than the Radical, as you don’t have to fiddle with making sure the pin is out, anti-rotation installed etc, and you can rotate the heel both directions. I also feel it’s difficult for many consumers to understand the problems the original Radical had, and to check and make sure what they’re getting has the solutions to those problems.

    So, when folks asks what Matt asks, I recommend the Vertical. Radical is fine if you mind the details, but by no means is it any more burly than a Vertical — they’re pretty much the same binding if the Vertical FT has the Power Plates or is mounted with and ST toe plate.

    The PR folks, company people and consumers wanting the latest and hopefully greatest don’t like it when I go retro, but you can’t blame me in this situation, considering what we all went through with the Radical breakage last year.

    And I’ll repeat, Radical is fine if it does not have the anti-rotation pin in the heel, and includes the external rotation stopper.

    Lou

  97. Matt Funk September 27th, 2012 6:50 pm

    Greetings from Prince Edward Island,

    This is such a great forum — thanks for the great advice, Lou — Didn’t want to bore anyone with the object of my quest, but I’ll offer a little background, as it may help others with their own objectives:

    I’m a 6′ 0″, 200 lb., 44 year old economist, smf old-school bump and powder skier. Taced SL, GS, and DH through high-school (Colorado Rockies) and logged a dozen great seasons at Mammoth Mtn., CA. I learned to ski both mogus and powder on skinny mid-80 Blizzard Thermo SL 205′s — would buy them in a heartbeat if I could find them in a museum somewhere.

    My only AT experience was a month-long NOLS Mountaineering course in Eastern AK when I was 17 (1985!). If I remember correctly, Plastic shelled Kolflach boots with sketchy wire-around-the-soles bindings. With 70-80 lb packs, the skiing wasn’t the highlight — but this may be the time for me to give AT another go:

    I’m teaching ski school on weekends this seanson and patrolling one night/week, so I’ll be spending a lot of time in my boots, I’d also love to hit two hut circuits — one in Maine, the other in Quebec — this year, so AT seems right for many reasons. But I’ll be riding chair lifts 90% of the time. Perhaps I should also mention that I’ll be teaching my 2 year old daughter to ski this year — again, AT boots seem better equipped for this task as well.

    So, back to the problem at hand:

    I was looking at the Black Diamond Quadrant and Garmont Comos ($300 cheaper, lighter, and much softer), but after much deliberation, I’ve bought into the logic that perhaps it may be best to buy Dynafit boots to insure design is matched to binding to the highest degree. Brakes aren’t a requirement for me, so I was wondering if the TLT Speed Radical would be beefy enough, but loved Lou’s pick of last year’s Vertical — they weren’t even on my radar. Are these still on the market? Better yet, are they on sale anywhere?

    Ski-wise, like Rod, I was sold on 187 cm Blizzard’s Bonifides (there appears to be substance to the flipcore production process) — but I’ve been reconsidering in light of my discovery that Blizzard’s Kabookie spec’s out the same, sans metal, so they’re lighter and, I imagine, would be better in powder and for a rip through the bumps from time to time (realize I may not be able to charge as hard as I once did one alpine gear — blew out of my old Marker MRR’s once in a while). But I’m wondering if my boot/binding strength would benefit from wider skis? The Bonified/Kabookie’s are 98 at the waist, should I consider something else? Like the mellow graphics (as opposed to the Sk8tr/terrain park inspired graffiti art that seems to dominate today) on Vokl’s AT line of skis — anything to consider there?

    In closing, as an aside on graphic design, I thought Powder mag hit the mark on his review of the Huascaran (http://www.powdermag.com/stories/junk-in-the-truck-2013-dynafit-huascaran/):

    “I would have called it the Funshred 9000. And the creature on the topsheet graphic is a little off-putting. Apparently it’s supposed to be cross between the company’s snow leopard spirit animal and a fish, somehow symbolizing the, um… to be honest, it sounds to me like the marketing dept took Ecstasy on some kind of corporate team retreat, came up with something that totally made sense while they were high (“Ja, Dieter, I too am like the mutant kinder of the snow leopard und a halibut! Look at me slither in the dirt—I’m a Landfish!”), and then actually rolled with it.”

    Sorry for the long background post — any and all thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

    Cheers and thanks again for all the thought, consideration, and advice.

    PS: If anyone’s interested in the curious inter-connection between economics, astrophysics, and evolutionary theory, I just published an unusual paper, I’d be happy to forward it to any and all: matt@funkisland.org

  98. Lou Dawson September 27th, 2012 7:03 pm

    Matt, I’m a little scared to read your astrophysics paper, after finishing with above post, but perhaps I’ll give it a try (grin).

    The mythology of Dynafit bindings is that somehow the different models have different amounts of strength. That’s totally false. They are all essentially the same (perhaps full-on race binding might be less strong in a few areas) and just vary in weight and complexity (and brakes). Thus, the Speed Radical is just as strong as a Radical FT or ST. So go for it.

    Sounds like all your other thoughts are spot on, though you did fail to understand how macro evolution led back to the landfish ski.

    Lou

  99. Matt Funk September 27th, 2012 7:19 pm

    Awesome, thanks — I take it I’d need Power Plates for the Speed Radicals, too?

    Here’s a link to that paper, by the way, pretty much everything I’ve been able to figure out about man’s struggle for life on planet Earth in a dozen pages.

    :-)

    http://mail.funkisland.org/edgedesk/cgi-bin/filemanager.exe?id=01955e2567bf60438c3ec599a6c78b30df26&file_id=2978959&download=/Funk_2012_Publication.pdf

  100. Lou Dawson September 28th, 2012 6:10 am

    Matt, the Power Plates only work with the Vertical FT, and that’s all they’re needed for. Lou

  101. Tim January 19th, 2013 5:04 pm

    Funny you mentioned BD boots have well made fittings cause they’re the only ones I’ve had an issue with. Go ahead and take some calipers to measure the distance between the toe dimples, you’ll find all BD boots run about 1/2 mm wider than any other tech fittings out there. This has created no pre-release issues but causes an obnoxious clicking and makes for a difficult time getting out of the binding. I’ll get back to you after I talk to KP about the issue. Funny no one else seems to know about this issue… Anyway I’m all for the adoption of a universal tech fitting.

  102. Lou Dawson January 19th, 2013 5:19 pm

    Tim, the Black Diamond fittings I evaluated some time ago were fine. I can only base my opinion on that. However, I can always evaluate some more.

    It is quite possible that some fittings are out of gamut, since essentially what all these companies do is grab some Dynafit tech fittings and copy them. If the tech fittings they copy happen to be at either range of manufacturing tolerances, then they’re starting with a fitting size that almost out of gamut, add to that the possibility of more manufacturing variations, and you’ve got perhaps a 50/50 chance of the copied fittings being wrong. That’s possibly what happened to Garmont. Even Dynafit fittings are defective some times. As is nearly any other manufactured item.

  103. Tim January 19th, 2013 9:10 pm

    Lou,

    I’d like to believe that this was some sort of fluke with my boot, but when I presented the issue to the ski tech at BD last week we measured the distance between the toe fittings (on the outside) of the binding with the boot clicked in. After measuring about 1/2 dozen different boots, including BD, Scarpa, and Garmont, on two different dynafit bindings (tlt vertical ft’s and radical’s) we found that every one of bd’s boots measured about 1/2 mm wider. I realize my language here is misleading so… an easier way to measure what I’m talking about is to simply click the boot into the toe-piece and measure the distance between the leaver and the ski, the leaver being what you’d pull up on to put the binding into tour mode (I’m not trying to be an ass just want to be clear). Again you’ll find when you use any boot other than a BD, the lever will come up about 1/8 of an inch higher then if you had used a BD. Also, if you pull up on the lever to put the toe-piece into tour mode, you’ll encounter more resistance when using a BD boot than any other.

    Again, I’ve had no pre-release problem so it’s much more of an aesthetic issue then anything else (obnoxious clicking when duck-walking or side-stepping). I work as a ski patroller and ski in the binding every single day, never had this issue till I switched to the BD boot so I’m making some assumptions. Haven’t had the chance to ski with my old scarpa’s and see if maybe it’s the bindings…. Anyway, I’d appreciate it if you did a little detective work of your own, as you’re pretty much the authority on this stuff and I’d like to avoid opening a thread on TGR. Also, I’d like to know I’m not just going crazy.

    Another quick point. If it wasn’t clear before, I believe the “clicking” is being caused by the calipers of the toe-piece not being fully engaged, and when I put forward pressure on the boot (weight my toe, possibly combined with the ski being flexed) the binding passes a point where there is an audible clicking. I haven’t yet been able to re-create this sound without my foot in the boot, and on the ski, but without a boot in the binding, I can lift up on the lever and find the point at which the binding does “click”.

    Sorry for being long-winded, but as this is my lively-hood, life-blood, true passion, and safety equipment I’d like to get it figured out. With the advances of Dynafit technology I’ve found that I can work and shred on these bindings all day, every day, but an issue like this has me wondering if maybe I should switch back to Scarpa’s till BD understands the need for universal tech fittings. If I’m not crazy and this is real, hopefully we can let them know so they’ll be able to fix the problem for next year’s boots.

    feel free to email me @ burleighman at gmail if you’ve got any other questions about it all. thanks.

    tim

  104. Lou Dawson January 19th, 2013 11:48 pm

    Tim, I’ve got access to a lot of BD boots so I’ll do some eval. Probably tomorrow. Have a pair sitting here, actually, and can ask the user if she noticed any clicking. I’ll do some measuring.

    Meanwhile, anyone else experiencing this clicking with BD boots in tech bindings?

    Myself, I’ve actually had this happen a few times over the years, but it was never brand/model specific and was intermittent.

    Lou

  105. Lou Dawson January 20th, 2013 11:02 am

    Tim,

    I just evaluated a pair of BD boot tech fittings (toe) here in comparison to Dynafit.

    My caliper shows a difference in fitting width/depth of nearly exactly 1 mm total, by measuring the outside dimension across binding toe wings with boot inserted in binding. The difference is also visually discernible.

    By heavily weighting and twisting the toe of the BD boot, I could replicate the clicking behavior fairly easily, but the user of the boots is not reporting this in real-world use. The clicking is indeed caused by the boot toe fitting socket slightly shifting up and down on the binding toe pins.

    My take? It appears the fittings are out of spec as compared to Dynafit branded fittings, but since there is no industry standard specification for the fittings, I’d say if they work and you don’t have the clicking, run with ‘em. But if the clicking occurs and bothers you, I’d recommend attempting to first try another pair of boots of the same model, and/or using a different model boot of perhaps a different brand.

    Of greater concern is how the BD fittings perform in terms of release and retention. In that, my evaluations show they are FINE, in my opinion. If it was otherwise I’d have seen it a long time ago and reported on it, as I put the BD fittings through their paces when they first came out.

    I’m sure someone at BD will be concerned about this and perhaps I’ll have more info Monday. What’s weird is it has not blown up into a huge issue, indicating that it must be a less common problem, as well as not changing the way the binding skis. But the clicking is indeed annoying and could cause undue wear due to the constant repetitive micro-movement.

    Lou

  106. Tim January 20th, 2013 11:56 am

    Thanks Lou, Pretty much what I found. Good to hear I’m not crazy, at least as far as this issue goes ;)

    My guess is that most folks using this setup are skiing out-of-bounds and (hopefully) in soft snow, so either they can’t hear the problem, or it just doesn’t happen, making it, like you said, a less common problem. Like I said, I ski this setup at work on the hill, so I’m in bounds with it at least 3 days a week. I did previously work in a Scarpa boot that had no clicking, but when I switched to the BD boot, voila. I don’t take big air or anything, but I’d like to believe I do ski hard and the Dynafit bindings preform very well, and there are at least two other guys on the crew who ski and work on them every day. With the advances in the technology, I don’t think skiing this setup in a resort is out of the question, the problem is clearly with BD’s boots.

    My guess is that as the Dynafit systems keep improving more and more folks will be skiing them in bounds, possibly giving rise to more people experiencing this issue and giving added incentive for a universal system.

    I’ve also experienced no release/tension issues, have to agree with you there. But like you said, it could cause undue wear, especially considering the binding is harder to get out of in a BD boot (imo) which means more pressure having to be put on the toe release lever, mis-stepping into the binding, thinking you need to chip snow out from under the toe, and other related side effects. Not to mention, like road biking, any sort of clicking is absolutely obnoxious and can simply drive you insane.

    I’d love to just get another boot, but as it’s a design issue, every single one of their boots is pretty much the same, and I imagine they’ll all create similar issues. I’ve measured both this year’s and last years Quadrant, the Factor, Slant, and the Prime, and they’re all wider then any pair of Dynafits or Scarpa’s I’ve measured (Rush, Maestrale, TX comp, TLT 5, Vulcan, Mercury) Obviously Scarpa runs Dynafit inserts but the few Garmont boots I measured were the same width as Dynafits and Scarpas. It is weird this hasn’t blown up, I really can’t believe I’m the first one to bring this forward, furthermore, I have trouble accepting that this is something that BD would have overlooked. I expect I’ll have to switch to a different brand till this is worked out, which is a bummer. I just hope that BD gets the message and can solve the problem for their next run of boots.

    Thanks for looking into this Lou, I appreciate it. I don’t have much time off but I’m hoping to make it down to BD headquarters on Tuesday, possibly set up a meeting with KP or someone else from QA who is interested in the problem, and try to work something out. Let me know if you get in touch with anyone tomorrow, It’d be good to have you on my side when I make it down there. Bottom line is I’d love to keep skiing and supporting BD gear but it might have to wait a year.

    Ski fast and take chances.

    Tim

  107. marc syrene January 22nd, 2013 9:58 pm

    so is it easier to get the tech inserts now? I want to aquire some to try and adapt my leather mountaineering boots with them.

  108. marc syrene January 22nd, 2013 10:13 pm

    Better yet, some ambtious fellow should come a with some sort of (really light) adapter that is adjustable to fit on mountaineering boot to use with dynafit bindings. Could be attatched to the boot kind of like a crampon with the tech fittings maybe below the boot sole so it could adjust to the binding without having to remount the binding. I tried making a template and figuring it out but wasn’t ambitious (or smart) enought to see it through. The right design would appeal to all the climbers who want to use there skis for aproaches and for people who love to ski in leather mountaineering boots. Maybe some boot manufacturers will start to add the tech inserts to their mountaineering boots and then crampons can be made to fit the inserts. Kind of surprised it has not happened in Europe yet.

  109. turndog January 23rd, 2013 8:02 am

    I had a pair of BD Methods(sole = 307mm) that I used for at least 3 years for resort skiing(Alta mostly). Skied in Dynafit ST mounted on K2 Coombas(174cm). Skied all conditions including moguls. I too noticed the clicking when I would ‘click’ in the beginning of the day, and thought it rather odd. It appeared to result from a depressing of the toe piece. Bugged me a bit, but didn’t notice any unusual release problems or trouble skiing. I never noticed any problem with Laser’s and, currently, Dynafit boots. Considering all of the standards in manufacturing and industry in general, one does wonder why the discrepancy in something that seems rather important. BTW, I’ve been skiing on Dynafit bindings at resorts for over 15 years in every condition imaginable, as well as in the backcountry. I have owned 4 pairs, including the Comfort. You could say that I am a fan, although that new Fritchi sounds interesting. Granted, I keep my skis on the ground, but I am just a normal skier. The only time I have had pre-release issues is when I haven’t adjusted the DIN on the heel high enough and I come out of the heel after compressing the ski too hard. Usually, I’ve been able to just click back in and keep skiing(and I should reset the DIN on that pair!).

  110. Lou Dawson January 28th, 2013 5:34 pm

    As an aside: When I chose to re-publish this post today, I had no idea it was originally published on this exact same day in 2010! Should we name Jan 28 the day of the Tech Fitting and get Obama to declare it a national holiday? (grin)

  111. bryan January 28th, 2013 6:08 pm

    Lou,

    I have the clicking problem in only one boot (technica cochise). I’m wondering if you can confirm the width in mm of a new dynafit boot? My assumption is that a new dynafit boot should have the appropriate spacing…

    Is that correct?

  112. Lou Dawson January 28th, 2013 6:17 pm

    Bryan, I don’t think it’s a spacing issue, it’s more about the shape of the fitting interior. I could measure boots till the cows come home, but that’s not going to tell us much if anything. That’s what I was trying to get across by publishing those measurements in new post content above.

    More importantly, have you tried some other boots? Are you going to return the Cochise on warranty?

    Lou

  113. Brian January 28th, 2013 7:06 pm

    I’m now getting play in my Cosmos heel fitting as well. Seems the metal piece isn’t very snug around the pins, and allows for a noticeable movement in the vertical direction. Gonna try to swap out with a metal heel fitting from another manufacturer if I can find it…

  114. Drew January 28th, 2013 7:29 pm

    Brian
    What binding is giving you vertical play in your heels when using the cosmos?

  115. Kim January 28th, 2013 7:41 pm

    I use a pair of BD Factors (about 3 seasons old) in Dynafit Verticals and experience the clicking in the right boot only. The click is only apparent when herringboning and therefore placing pressure particularly through the toe piece in a downward and sideways motion. Never had any problems with sticking or pre-releases. The clicking was more of a psychological concern, so I’m really pleased to hear of others experiencing the same with no problems.

  116. dave downing January 28th, 2013 7:44 pm

    My BD Methods (Factor 110s now?) are still rock solid. No clicking, no release issues.

    Lou, have you looked into the percentage of time in the resort v backcountry, and days at a resort, relative to clicking issues? It would be hard to measure, but interesting to note. Are most skiers with clicking issues spending a lot of time at the resort on tech binders?

  117. Brian January 28th, 2013 7:46 pm

    Dynafit Radical FT is being used with my Cosmos. A touch of play coming from the binding itself, but I can clearly see the pins moving in the heel of the boot.

  118. Carl January 28th, 2013 8:06 pm

    Is it ok to grease toe fittings to reduce ice build up and squeaking?

  119. Mic Brown January 28th, 2013 9:21 pm

    I thought my Vertical/ Spirit 3 interface was clicking.
    It turned out to be my right knee.

  120. Brian from Boise January 28th, 2013 9:30 pm

    I just purchased some BD Primes (2012′s) to go with two pairs of skis, one with Dynafit Speed Radicals and the other Radical FT’s, that i just had mounted.

    The guy at the local ski shop in Boise (Greenwoods) didn’t think the boots were fitting into the bindings correctly.

    After talking to BD and getting a less than enthusiastic reply (in their defense, it was the week before winter OR … guessing they were busy) he decided to grind down a bit of sole on either side of the boot below the toe fittings.

    made all the difference in the world. i just thought they were a pain in the ass to get locked into (i’m a tele to AT convert this year)… in actuality the boots didn’t fit the bindings very well. They work much better now.

  121. Lou Dawson January 28th, 2013 9:59 pm

    Carl, don’t bother, it’ll just attract dirt and get pounded out immediately. Lou

  122. msulkers January 28th, 2013 11:12 pm

    I have 2011 Quadrants. They click in both my sets of ST’s when skinning or herringboning on hard surfaces/old tracks. I’m a rather bowlegged fellow, and I think this puts more stress on the bindings in that my weight doesn’t come down evenly on the ski/binding interface.

    At least the Quadrant tech fittings are still hanging in after two full seasons. Previous boots were Scarpa Spirit 3′s and the tech fittings wore/tore out (the insert literally wore out through the top of the depression) in 2.5 seasons (about 110 days a season). Although I had several friends that had the same problem, none of us were able to get them replaced on warranty. Word was that we’d used them up, worn them out.

    The BD fittings are most clicky, it seems, when the snow is just around that -1C temp. I’ve had some success at clearing snow out from under the toe piece in those conditions, but they still click some.

  123. Phillip January 29th, 2013 12:20 pm

    Hey…I am reading intently and still, if there is one, would like a recommendation for the best brand of boots that will not defeat the release of Dynafit or fit such that they “click” and loosen/wear or have a toe pocket blow out…damn discouraging..my three year [?] old Radium seems to be solid…but what 2013 brand is bomb proof?

    Lou, what boot brand and specific model do you favor for use with Dynafit bindings?

    Thanks…Phil

  124. Lou Dawson January 29th, 2013 12:32 pm

    Phil, the best I’ve seen are Dynafit/Scarpa (same fittings) Black Diamond (unless they click, which most don’t), La Sportiva. Jury is out on all the new ones out there such as K2 and Salomon. Tecnica had some problems but I’ve sure they’ve fixed, but I need to do more testing. I’ve been told that the Sportiva fittings are the same as Garmont, but that’s obviously not the case in real-world evaluation. Perhaps they’re made by the same people, but they have to be different batches or something. The La Sportivas we have here work fine.

    I think it’s all shaping up to be a consumer nightmare. Like telemark bindings, only with 100 times more users. What’s unfortunate is that in most cases, problems will be blamed on the bindings even when caused by the boots.

    BD/Fritschi and Scott, for example, should JUMP on the opportunity to work with Dynafit for a certified fitting voluntary standard. That is, unless Dynafit is seeking to inordinately profit from such. We shall see.

    I’d love for there to be “certified” tech fittings. We’d immediately go on the record and ONLY recommend them. I’ve been accused of bias and undue influence in the market. We’ll, there is my bias and let’s see how much influence I really have. Let’s get this tech fitting certification program going!

  125. Phillip January 29th, 2013 12:59 pm

    Lou thanks for making that call…appreciated that someone squarley takes on the issues. If any of us can help tug, push and pull manufacturers to institute toe/heel piece standardization for the Dynafit/tech bindings please give us the addresses and name so we can make contacts.

    I really love my Radiums and after hearing that the newer ones had more room in the toe area I was going to spring for a new pair…not now! I will either get them punched out a little or go with Scarpa/Dynafit boot.

    Thanks yet again for your reviews and information.

    Phil

  126. Lou Dawson January 29th, 2013 1:09 pm

    Phillip, you can vote with your wallet by just buying what works. That’s a start, since there has been some pretty lame stuff coming down the pike these past few years. Beyond that, make public comments on social media. These companies have become as sensitive to that as a 3 inch heel blister after 4 hours of uphilling. Lou

  127. powman January 29th, 2013 1:15 pm

    Well I will comment. Salomon and Garmont gave us junk fittings and tried to get us to pay for them. I’ll vote with my wallet. Scarpa or Dynafit for me. If these lamers get a fitting cert going, I’ll buy based on that. I’m not holding my breath.

  128. bryan January 29th, 2013 2:38 pm

    As someone who is on my second round of Technica boot soles, I’d have to lie to myself to say they’ve design them properly.

    First pair of 2012 tech soles: warrantied as defective.

    Second pair 2013 tech soles: clicking in tour mode, yet to be determined if they will pre-release on firm spring snow.

    If I email Technica and request them to warranty the boot, they will punt me over to the retailer who sold me the boot, and the retailer will tell me there’s nothing wrong with the fittings.

    All of a sudden I’m back at square one.

  129. Lou Dawson January 29th, 2013 2:45 pm

    Well, the retailer has no legal standard he has to adhere to, so he can say they’re fine and you can say they are not. Truth. But that could be said about nearly anything that doesn’t have a DIN/ISO/CE standard. Thing is, if a retailer sold boots with fittings that the customer is not happy with, I’m incredibly surprised they would not make good on the sale and swap the boots or refund. How can they stay in business behaving that way? Mystery to me… Lou

  130. Jaded January 29th, 2013 3:25 pm

    For the commenter above (Gordon) asking about shops that will perform torque tests on tech bindings: no shop with any sense will touch your tech gear unless they are a dealer for that brand, and I doubt any AT dealer will do a torque test either. At least if the owner/manager/employees have any sense.

    The second a shop touches your bindings, they assume a degree of liability. Even doing a torque test implies that the shop has done a visual inspection and is somehow certifying a binding as “safe” for a specific user. Or at least an attorney could sell that case, hence the paperwork, tech certifications for different bindings, and all red tape in alpine ski shops when you deal with bindings.

    Unlike alpine companies who indemnify their products for dealers, and produce gear that is made to comply with industry standards, “tech” gear is 100% use at your own risk.

    People who buy this equipment without understanding it, or the risks they are assuming by using it, and then expect it to work just like alpine gear… not hard to see that this is going to be a problem for the industry (or why Dynafit is throwing so much energy at a TUV/DIN/whatever binding).

  131. Tim January 29th, 2013 3:35 pm

    Lou,

    Just so you know I met with QA @ BD and they were very receptive. Besides makig an effort to fix any issues I might be having, they are definitely aware that their fitting runs a little wide and have made adjustments for next years run. But like we all know, and they made sure to point out, there are no releasability issues and that’s pretty much the bottom line. I’ll stick with BD through the thick of it, as long as their customer service, design, and QA keeps their high quality of professionalism. With tech bindings branching out with different manufacturers, and boot companies trying to follow suit with tech fittings, I think we’ll naturally move towards a universal system, where a dynafit boot will work with a Frischi binding, and a BD boot will work with a dynafit binding.

  132. Lou Dawson January 29th, 2013 3:48 pm

    Tim, I heard from them as well and am delighted in how they’re dealing with issues. No gear is made this technical without the occasional piece being out of spec or something. So long as the company stands behind their product and makes it work for the customer by whatever means, great (unless the product is dangerous, but that’s not the case here.)

  133. Lou Dawson January 29th, 2013 3:49 pm

    Good points Jaded.

    Ironic how this is all ending up like tele gear. Those guys are laughing at us, I can hear it.

  134. John January 29th, 2013 4:27 pm

    Hey Lou quick question, I’m replacing the heel lifter on a set of Vert ST bindings and it’s all going smooth with your article on how to take the binding apart, except that after I removed all of the screw in the top of the heel piece the lifter was still held on by a hole with what looks to be a small medal tube in it. at the bottom side of the heel piece. Know any tricks on this guy? My replacement lifters do not have that hole, so I’m a little hesitant to reef on it, especially as this goes from a one to multiple beer job. Thanks a ton!

  135. Lou Dawson January 29th, 2013 4:50 pm

    Yeah, roll pin in there, drive farther in with blunt end of drill bit or correct pin punch, install new part, then drive back so it’s in original position.

  136. John January 29th, 2013 5:09 pm

    Deal. Way to translate my question into comprehensible English.

  137. bryan January 30th, 2013 2:30 pm

    Lou – this is now hugely off topic, so I apologize. You wrote:

    “Well, the retailer has no legal standard he has to adhere to, so he can say they’re fine and you can say they are not. Truth. But that could be said about nearly anything that doesn’t have a DIN/ISO/CE standard. Thing is, if a retailer sold boots with fittings that the customer is not happy with, I’m incredibly surprised they would not make good on the sale and swap the boots or refund. How can they stay in business behaving that way? Mystery to me… Lou”

    I agree complete. Ironically they are a local brick and mortar shop here in town, and I quickly dropped my $700 with them because they had my size in stock (backcountry.com / REI.com did not). This is the cornerstone of what small brick and mortar retail is built upon. Unfortunately their lack of understanding in this case will likely mean I buy my next pair of boots online with a company that takes returns “no questions asked”.

    It’s mind blowing to me that they are willing to lose me as a customer forever, instead of losing the $200 margin they made on my purchase in the first place!

  138. Lou Dawson January 30th, 2013 2:57 pm

    Well, they probably won’t be in business for long if that’s their ‘tude… RIP

  139. Bob January 30th, 2013 10:01 pm

    All of the boots I’ve used have clicked in tour mode (and even downhill mode) occasionally. This includes Scarpa Lazers, Garmont Megarides, and Dynafit ZZeus. This is across several pairs of comforts. I always assumed the problem was in the bindings but who knows. I never really worried about it too much since it didn’t happen all the time and didn’t seem to cause any problems.

    Something I’ve never heard anyone discuss is the difference between the original style fittings and the newer dynafit “easy” entry version. It seems to me that the newer “easy” version is more susceptible to pre-release than the older version. It least using the boots listed above. And they are no easier to use anyway.

  140. Mark Staples January 31st, 2013 9:19 pm

    Lou, Tim, et al,
    I also get clicking with BD boots. I have quadrants that I bought in Dec 2011. and I have Vertical ST’s on two different skis.

    Thanks for digging into this issue. It’s been a nagging concern of mine, but haven’t had any pre-releases Can’t speak for how they release in a fall.

    Hopefully this will be a non issue, but please let us know if you find out more, or hear any more from BD.
    Thanks again

  141. SimonC February 1st, 2013 10:15 am

    Here’s a question for the Wildsnow posse.

    I have been using Dynafits (Comforts, Verticals and now radicals) for a good few years. Currently have a pair of Mantras mounted with radical FTs, with Dynafit Titans on my feet. In normal ski mode the sideways release is scarily light – a gentle tap of tail sideways against snow is all it takes to ping out (and have had one ‘judder-pre-release’ on morning unfrozen corn) – quite worrying if you want to stomp a little platform somewhere steep. Anyone else had this experience? I am not huge (83Kg) and lateral release setting is up at 10/11. Never had this happen with other Dynafit bindings.
    Merci

  142. Lou Dawson February 1st, 2013 10:56 am

    Simon, sounds like something is wrong with those bindings.

  143. SimonC February 2nd, 2013 1:10 am

    Hi Lou, yes, was coming to that conclusion – Dynafit after-sales contacted, will see what they say… Seems like way less needed to release than with Vert FTs or even my old Comforts…

  144. RobertC March 3rd, 2013 12:34 pm

    Hi Lou, great website. There doesn’t seem to be a better resource for Dynafit questions out there… Even so I can’t find an answer to my particular problem so thought I’d see if anyone could help.

    I was skiing in-bounds on my BD Voodoos, Dynafit Vertical FTs and Garmont Radiums (not a typical in-bounds set-up but I was doing some back-country on the same trip and didn’t want a heavy bag). After a couple of runs I noticed that when I was putting pressure on the toe of my left boot the pin on the inside on the binding toe-piece (ie the right hand side of my left boot) would squeeze out of the slot on the boot. When I released the pressure the pin would slot back into the boot.

    I wasn’t sure if the problem was with the boot or the binding so I swapped skis around and the same thing happened on the same boot (but not the other boot with the originally left ski). I had a look at the toe-insert on my left boot and noticed that it had a bit of damage on the outer edge – the metal was gouged a little bit (hard to describe without a photo!). Would this have led to the pin popping out when pressure was applied? Is there any solution that anyone with the same problem has come up with?

    I skiied the rest of the day with the left toe-piece in touring mode but obviously this is not ideal. The binding and boots are both about 4 seasons old now with about 70days on them maybe.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be great.

    Thanks,
    Rob

  145. Lou Dawson March 3rd, 2013 3:03 pm

    Rob, that’s actually pretty much what this post is about. The test is to try other boots in the binding. If the problem doesn’t happen with the other boots, then it’s caused by your Radiums. Only solution is new boots.

    Also, be sure there is no boot plastic or rubber pressing against the binding toe wings, check on workbench. If so, trim with disk grinder or knife. This can sometimes cause the problem you describe, but it’s more likely to be wear or improper shape of the boot toe fittings.

    Lou

  146. Phillip March 3rd, 2013 3:29 pm

    Robert C…..

    How old are your Radiums? I seem to remember that early Radiums [hopefully like mine] did not have this problem.

    Phil

  147. RobertC March 4th, 2013 12:52 am

    Lou – thanks for the quick response. I will definitely do the checks – but I fear it is the boot. But on the upside it is a good excuse for a new pair :-)

    Phil – boots are about four seasons old – I got them in January 2010.

  148. Lou Dawson March 4th, 2013 7:08 am

    Everything wears out. That’s something it’s hard for tech binding users to sometimes force themselves to realize (grin).

  149. Ben March 16th, 2013 10:12 pm

    I didn’t read every comment above but thought I’d share my recent experience with the clicking issue…

    I’ve been skiing a pair of Vertical ST’s for 3 years now and switched to a BD Quadrant boot in 2011. After maybe 40 days of skiing the Quadrants (some resort skiing, mostly BC) I began noticing the clicking in the toe piece while skiing (not so much while skinning with the toe locked). I purchased a pair of Radical ST’s last season, tried them out with my Quadrants, and almost immediately began experiencing the same clicking. After reading a thread on TGR that led me to believe the problem was in the boot fittings, I reached out to BD and had my Quadrants warrantied. Received a brand new pair of the second generation Quadrants last week, took em out for the first time today, and immediately noticed the clicking while using my Verticals. It didn’t seem as severe as with my previous Quadrants, but it’s definitely still present. Haven’t skied my Radicals yet but I’m assuming the clicking will prevail with those as well.

    At this point I’m not sure I want to try and go with a different boot, as the Quadrants work well with my wide forefoot (and sending boots through the mail is a pain in the a**). Really the only question I have at this point is, based on what we’ve all seen thus far, is there any evidence that this clicking issue creates a safety issue? I skied a full season with the clicking present and never had a pre-release or binding failure, so naturally the longer I’m able to ski w/o issue the less I worry about it. i just wanted to get input from others on the subject before I head out to ski no fall lines this spring.

    Thanks!

  150. Lou Dawson March 17th, 2013 7:23 am

    Ben, I’ve not seen the clicking create a safety issue, but then, I’ve not evaluated any high mileage bindings that have been used with the clicking. The only times I’ve been able to replicate the clicking, I’ve seen movement in the pin/boot interface and one has to assume that such extra movement would produce extra wear. If you have to have the boots, I’d live with the clicking and just be sure to do plenty of release checks as your use cycle progresses.

    One thought experiment you could do is ask yourself, would you ski with an alpine binding and boot that exhibited this type of behavior?

    Lou

  151. Ben March 17th, 2013 8:00 am

    Thanks Lou, makes sense. I’ve also noticed the clicking goes away when I lock out my toe pieces, so I do not experience it while skinning with either pair of bindings. In the BC I’m a pretty big fan of locking out the toe for descents as well (I’m paranoid about my skis flying 3,000′ into the abyss) and if they are indeed locked I don’t experience the clicking on the downhill either. Skiing inbounds with the toe pieces horizontal is really the only time I have the problem, so maybe the answer for me is to stop skiing Dynafits inbounds and go with a more conventional setup (using Barons perhaps) and save my Dynafits for BC use only. This would not only increase their lifespan but I’d also sort of “solve” the clicking issue. I wouldn’t be that bummed out about not skiing Dynafits inbounds, so perhaps this will have to suffice as my own personal solution to the problem.

    Thanks for the quick response!

  152. Bob March 20th, 2014 11:18 am

    I have a new pair of Dynafit boots in which the boot sole rubber around the base of the tech fitting slots on the heel appears to be out of alignment. My question: is this a big enough issue to affect anything and warrant a return? I haven’t skied the boots yet, still new, so could return pretty easily. Lou, I sent you the pictures to your email so you might see what I’m talking about (could not see a way to post them here easily). Basically, the rubber is off just enough to make me worry that the pins could get caught during a safety release – i.e. the rubber edges out a bit into the holes of the heel fitting. This is not the case on the other boot, or other Dynafit boots i’ve examined (though I haven’t looked as closely at many). Thanks for any advice.

  153. Lou Dawson March 20th, 2014 11:42 am

    When a good technician mounts and installs boot/binding combo, they take a single edged razor blade and trim any excess rubber that blocks easy entry/exit of the heel fitting into or out of the binding. You can do it yourself, or test the shop where you’re getting the mount done and see if they do it without you asking. Lou

  154. Bob March 20th, 2014 12:04 pm

    Thanks Lou. So just for my future knowledge, this is normal to see on Dynafit or other boots? At first I thought the fitting was misaligned b/c of a different look upon comparing the left boot clicking in to the right. Then I realized the rubber was off a bit and not the actual fitting.

    Since the shop that responsible is in my garage, and I am the technician, I’m sure they will grant my request :)

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