Onyx Final Production Binding — Parts One and Two (Pre-Release prevention, Brakes, More)

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

I’ve been working on another Onyx post. Rather than publish as another blog, with this great comment string in mind I figured I should just add part two to this post. So here you go:

Part Two
G3 Onyx ski binding final development was done by releasing a beta non-retail version last year. Doing a public beta is a risky endeavor. You might receive useful feedback, but people’s impressions of the beta tend to become gospel, achieving a perverse immortality on the internet despite the fact that the very problems encountered in beta can be (and often are, unless you’re Microsoft) resolved in the production version.

With those thoughts in mind, I took the time a few days ago for a lengthy conversation with G3 so I could get clear about which beta lessons schooled the production version. Here is more of what I learned (also see part one, below), as well as some of my own impressions.

First, I did a visual comparison of my 2009/2010 production Onyx to my beta version. The two bindings are nearly identical, but a pair of ribs on the production version heel housing make ID fairly easy (one of the heel lifts rests on top of these when it’s not in use).

Onyx binding heel.

Onyx binding heel, showing reinforcement rib that exists on production version.

In my view, getting into the binding is still Onyx’s biggest issue. You open the toe by pressing down with a ski pole on the tab in front of the toe jaws. My beta version required what I thought was a ridiculous amount of force to do this. Other skiers agreed, and so did G3. So perhaps the most important tweak in the retail version is less force required to open the binding. More, aside from being easier to open, my production binding seem to be easier to HOLD open — which is the important aspect of this entry method.

In steep or awkward situations, having to hold your binding open while getting your boot in is in my experience problematic. So making the Onyx easier to hold open is good, but why is my spidy sense tingling and telling me there is still room for improvement or even a different methodology? The future will tell.

Other improvements: Heel lifts that are more stable, and that click into position with a positive feel. Latch that switches from tour to downhill and back has a more obvious “snap” when it’s in position.

All above is fine and good, but in my view the big thing is G3s retail version of ski brakes. G3 admits that developing brakes for the Onyx has been a challenge (they had to send out a service kit to dealers for the first generation brakes), but it appears they’ve got something functional that’s impressive for a freshman effort. If you’ve wondered how they were going to make a brake that stayed true to the “change tour/alpine modes on the fly” feature of the Onyx, here is how it works.

When in alpine/downhill mode, the brake functions in similar fashion to most other ski brakes. An actuator pad rides under you heel, keeping the brake compressed and retracted until your boot leaves the binding, thereupon the brake extends and hopefully stops your ski from flying back to your pickup bed at the trailhead (you hope).

The cool trick is how the Onyx brake folds up and stays there for touring mode. It is really quite simple, but must have been a bear to engineer. What happens is when you shift the heel unit rearward for touring mode, a tiny catch is positioned that hooks and holds the brake the first time you press down on it. So once you switch to tour mode you step down once on the brake, it catches and stays closed, then you flip up your chosen heel lift and start your climb. When you change back to downhill mode, the tiny catch releases and you’re back to having a normal type of ski brake.

Onyx backcountry skiing binding

Brake catch indicated by arrow is shown in touring mode, holding the brake closed. When you slide the heel unit forward into alpine mode the catch releases. Click image to enlarge.

I’ve got one concern with the brake. If any ice or snow jams in the brake when you try and press it down into the catch, it’s not going to click into retracted mode. Thus, in icy conditions you could quite possibly be back to the Dynafit scenario of taking your ski off to change to tour mode.

But my theoretical concerns aside, one has to applaud the sheer mechanical genius of how the Onyx brake works in concert with the binding’s mode change methodology. Indeed, while Onyx has been branded somewhat of a “me too” effort because it uses the now public domain Dynafit “tech” interface, the way the brake and heel unit work are definitely a unique departure that makes the Onyx easily stand on its own in terms of innovation.

It’s of course up to you, dear reader, to decide if Onyx features such as easy mode changes and the ability to swap between skis are deal clinchers. But these are things worth considering if you’re shopping.

We’ve got our production Onyx rig out in the field being used by various backcountry skiing testers. We’ll file a field report eventually. For now, whatever binding you are on, enjoy the spring ski mountaineering season!

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PART ONE — Onyx and Dynafit Comparo — Toe Wing Tension and Prevention of Pre-Release (Published March 15, 2010)

Since the G3 Onyx has a weight penalty of 326 grams per binding (with brake and screws) over Dynafit FT12, in all kindness I’ve been trying for a year now to get a handle on why one would go with G3 instead of Dynafit.

Much of the reviews and PR surrounding the Onyx tend to harp on the fact that unlike Dynafit, you can very easily change modes from downhill to touring without exiting the G3 binding. To me, that’s like choosing a Ford over a Chevy because the key fob is easier to use for the Ford. Let’s get serious.

Firstly, the available G3 binding swap plates really are a nice feature. You can buy one set of bindings and with the purchase of additional plates swap your grabbers to as many skis as you like.

But more importantly, Onyx is said to be a beefier tech binding, with better release/retention characteristics than Dynafit. Is it?

In terms of beef, it’s obvious when you look at Onyx that some parts are stronger, most markedly the toe wings. If you’ve ever broken a Dynafit you might find that to be attractive. Thing is, the vast majority of users do not break Dynafits, so for most of us more strength just means more weight to haul.

So, on to the most important issue, that of release/retention.

Skiers, especially those of the larger stronger persuasion, are sometimes adamant about the need to prevent pre-release by locking Dynafit toe for their downhill skiing. Locking the toe basically results in super high side (lateral) release tension, but to be clear does NOT change vertical (up at the heel) release tension. For all but the largest and strongest skiers, downhill skiing with a locked Dynafit toe means you effectively do not have sideways safety release and you have dramatically increased your likelihood of being injured. Thus, locking the Dynafit toe for the down is a serious move, and for many skiers could even be called stupid (though locking either Onyx or Dynafit for fall-you-die extreme skiing is a nice feature).

Enter Onyx. In bench and field testing it’s pretty obvious the Onyx toe, while similar in exterior appearance to Dynafit, is somewhat different. It looks stronger and perhaps it is, but mainly, it has a more subtle yet to some folks an important difference.

To put it simply as I can, while downhill skiing on hard snow, larger skiers may be able to throw enough force at the Dynafit toe to start it opening or even pop it open. To understand this, look at how any tech binding toe closes. Snap it closed without a boot, and notice how the spring loaded mechanism under the boot toe pops down and goes “over center” to thus lock the pins onto your boot. It’s the same concept as snapping into a clip on crampon with a heel throw that goes over center on your boot heel. The tension this provides is enhanced and elasticized by the small barrel springs you can see if you examine the binding.

The question is, in the real world, how much side force on your boot toe does it take to open the toe wings of a tech type binding, and thus pre-release? Most people will never find this out. I know I have not.

onyx-dynafit-comparo

Forces as indicated by arrows may cause pre-release of tech type bindings. Onyx (to left) is much more resistant to this force than Dynafit (to right)

Nonetheless, from time to time I speak to big strong skiers who adamantly claim they need to lock the Dynafit toe or it’ll open while they’re skiing. Some have figured out how to replicate such pre-release by wearing their boot and ski indoors and slamming the ski sideways on the floor. While initially taking this with a healthy dose of skepticism (since most people have no problem skiing Dynafits unlocked), I now feel this test is somewhat valid if it translates to something these folks are experiencing in the field — which they are. In other words, while any properly set ski binding can be made to pre-release if you abuse it sufficiently, I know enough about Dynafit to know these folks are not imagining things nor being obsessive.

Besides slamming your ski on the carpet (feel those knee ligaments stretch!), a more controlled bench test for this is easy. Stick a boot in either Dynafit or Onyx. Tilt the boot and ski on its side, then lean your body weight on to the boot toe, directly perpendicular to the long axis of the ski. With the ski on the bench you can press with your hands, or lay the ski on the floor with the tip propped up on something and yard down on the boot toe with everything you’ve got. With enough weight on the Dynafit rig you’ll see the toe wings begin to open, thus enhancing the possibility of pre-release. With the Onyx, no matter how much force I applied I couldn’t get the wings to budge.

My source at G3 claims “you simply do not need to lock the Onyx to to prevent pre-release. That applies to everything from high speed charging to cliff jumping.” I believe them. (Bear in mind we’re speaking here of locking the binding for downhill skiing. Both bindings should usually be locked for touring.)

That, my friends, is one reason why some skiers might favor Onyx over Dynafit.

Comments

198 Responses to “Onyx Final Production Binding — Parts One and Two (Pre-Release prevention, Brakes, More)”

  1. Mark March 15th, 2010 9:49 am

    I once owned some non-Dynafit alpine bindings that would occasionally pre-release, and just the mental stress of wondering if or when this might happen again was annoying at best. Dynafit pre-release is nearly non-existent as far as I have heard, but for the big boys, Onyx might give just that extra level of peace of mind that some need. Cool testing, Lou.

  2. Randonnee March 15th, 2010 10:18 am

    Happy to report that my newer Dynafit bindings, the FT12 and the ST Pro have not pre-released. I was actually skiing hard groomed piste fast the first time on the ST Pro bindings, carving hard, no problems- I gained total confidence as I ramped up the speed and carve. I ski powder on the FT12 unlocked, no problems.

    My old Tri-Step and Comfort bindings’ toes reliably demonstrated instant opening of the toe in a normal smooth turn on hard snow. My on-the-carpet test demonstrated that in a brand new Tri Step toe, freshly mounted, I was able to just push downward with the ball of my foot and open the wings/ pins of the toe. As far as the upward release, even with a locked toe on my Speed binding and Seven Summit, I pedal-turned out of breakable crust over wet granular and left the ski behind so easily that I did not notice until I stepped down- on a boot with no ski.

    As far as safety release, on any of my Dynafit bindings, I regularly walk out of locked toes in normal walking on skins, so perhaps there is a safety margin for me with a locked toe. However, I ski carefully since I have seen demonstrated many times in many years of Patrolling and skiing that any skier may be injured with any binding at any setting if the fall is awkward. twisting, or backward.

  3. mike March 15th, 2010 10:21 am

    I just skied my dyanfits at a resort for the first time. I had one gentle forward release that surprised me. I skied harder and harder all day with no prerelease. I weigh 190.. very pleased with the dyanafits.

  4. bikerider March 15th, 2010 10:22 am

    Lou- great website! I would like to reiterate how dangerous it is to ski with the toe locked! My buddies and I refer to that as “leg breaker mode”. Since my incident, i have also heard of others whom have broken their leg with dynafit binders. I expect that a lot of people ski locked when they are in steeper terrain and many forget to unlock after ripping their skins off. Its no fun to have a tib/fib break in the bc! Ironically, one of the reasons i switched from tele to dynafit was for the releasability. Sill love my Dynafits!

  5. Randonnee March 15th, 2010 10:26 am

    Another point if interest is that Dynafit is the first ski binding that has not broken and become non-functional under me with normal non-hucking use (except heel elevator). While fulltime Patrolling I broke pretty much all brands of alpine bindings just in normal use. My first Fritsche bindings broke beneath my foot- the bar broke in front of the brake. So, as I said, of six separate Dynafit binding that I have owned, the only broken part from normal use was the plastic heel-elevator on the Tri Step and Comfort.

    The newest Dynafit bindings have gained greater confidence in my view.

  6. Lou March 15th, 2010 10:36 am

    Yeah, as I tried to say in the post, any concern about pre-release of Dynafit is for a very small sub-group of users. But we leave no stone unturned here, now do we?

  7. Lou March 15th, 2010 10:37 am

    Bikerider, can you relate your injury story for this thread?

  8. RB March 15th, 2010 10:41 am

    Question regarding switching from ski to tour mode: While locked down in ski mode, a Dynafit user showed me a technique where he placed the handle of his ski pole between the back of his boot and the high riser post. He then torqued the pole while lifting his heel, the rear unit rotated into tour mode. I tried it, it will obviously take some coordination development, but is this abusive to the binder?

  9. Joe March 15th, 2010 10:54 am

    Lou,
    I posted my review of the onyx in response to your earlier review already, http://www.wildsnow.com/1861/g3-onyx-binding-review-2/comment-page-1/#comment-24525 I am a big powerful skiier and I have been toe releasing the onyx binding whether the toe is locked or not. I had them mounted “professionally” at a reputable shop and have not touched the binding settings yet at all. They may not have been set properly by the shop or my issues may be dalbello virus “tech insert” related. I have yet to release from the heel. I am still investigating this issue but thought I would let your audience know my real time skiing experience with the onyx. Also was wondering if anyone has had the same onyx brake issues I explained in my earlier review. On another note I have been extremely satisfied with my virus boots and am anxious to compare my thoughts with yours, and curious about your “tech heel fitting fix” on the virus heel. Thanks for all your stellar reviews on wildsnow!

  10. Bill B March 15th, 2010 10:56 am

    I have often wondered why Dynafit has not expanded the product line of bindings to provide bindings designed for those that are lighter and those that are heavier.
    Like a junior version and a clydesdale version.
    Seems like the basic design has room for that.

  11. pete March 15th, 2010 11:02 am

    Light weight is obviously a plus for Dynafit but there’s got to be plenty of skiers where 326 grams (11.5 oz) of weight per binding is not a deciding factor in binding selection. I for one, can be completely happy doing short tours and slackcountry poking around in search of first tracks and fresh snow where the Onyx weight is still better than other AT binding alternatives. Binding swaps are a plus for G3 and if comparing overall pricing, this may factor in more than weight for some purchase decisions. In any case, developing a more complete matrix of the pros/cons, feature-by-feature, heel piece vs. toe piece is a service to readers and consumers everywhere. Keep it going!

  12. Guido March 15th, 2010 11:05 am

    I wonder if at least a portion of the undesired pre releases at the dynafit toe are a result of excessive pressure on the tension spring/wing metal/center plastic piece due to imprecise ski boot toe area rubber molding. For example, I’ve had to file down the rubber so the toe holes line up properly for easy step in and had to ‘contour’ it so that the rubber didn’t contact the underlying metal while the boot was engaged in the binding…can this be a variable that may influence ‘pre release’ ?

  13. Guido March 15th, 2010 11:07 am

    **boot sole rubber**

  14. Lou March 15th, 2010 11:07 am

    Joe, the Virus boots we got in here had the heel fitting milled incorrectly, though the toe fittings looked okay and they’ve been out being tested and no problems with pre release.

    That being said, before you draw any conclusions I’d think you’d better ski the bindings with at least one other boot. The fact you come out with the toe locked would indicate there is something going on that’s way beyond any design parameters of the binding, and I’d indeed look at the boot.

    As I wrote about at length a while ago, it’s very possible for defective boots to get into the pipeline, and when they do people will tend to blame the binding rather than the boot. We all need to watch that.

    As for the brakes, we’re still trying to get some decent testing done but we’re getting closer. Good things sometimes take time (grin).

  15. Lou March 15th, 2010 11:10 am

    Guido, totally, the shape of the sole is critical. I’ve dealt with quite a few boots over the years that needed sole modification to work correctly in Dynafit bindings. The funnest were the boots that you could get into the binding with, but couldn’t get out!

    In my view, at least some reports of pre-release are most certainly caused by the boot sole rubber contacting the binding incorrectly.

    Having such critical dimensions on the boot, yet no international standard, is a recipe for problems that’s for sure. Word is there is progress being made on a standard, so we consumers have that to hope for. Otherwise it’s going to become a mess, mark my words.

  16. bikerider March 15th, 2010 12:14 pm

    The story behind my leg break goes as follows; My buddy and were skiing Grizzly couloir in summit county. At the top i had my toe locked in order to prevent any pre-release that i have heard of(though never experienced, i am 5-11 165lbs). This was also my biggest line to date, and i was pretty nervous. We skied the line with no problems and then were down below, skiing a slope less than 30deg on our way out. With my guard down and a bit excited about the line we just skied, I got a little tripped up on a buried rock and fell forward(and twisting i assume). When I popped back up I noticed my ski wasn’t skiing inline with the direction of my knee!

    Ended up with the fairly common “boot top fracture” tib/fib break. During the crash, i never completely released from my bindings- maybe my heel released- I dont really know. Needless to say, my spring ski season was over! I was lucky to be within 45min ski from cell coverage and only had to sit in the snow(by myself) for 2 hrs until help arrived! My point is that people should reconsider how much they need-or think they need- to lock a tech binding for the descent. It may have big consequences. Big riders may have an issue, though like Lou pointed out, most riders will have no problems with pre-release.

    Is that what you were looking for Lou?

  17. Jonathan Shefftz March 15th, 2010 12:19 pm

    “Some have figured out how to replicate such pre-release by wearing their boot and ski indoors and slamming the ski sideways on the floor. “
    - I couldn’t believe this either when I first heard it last year, even though it was from a very reliable and knowledgeable source. Much of my skepticism was that I now have almost 1.4 million earned vertical on Dynafits (plus the equivalent of several lift-served days), and I ski my various Dynafit setups (when conditions allow) with almost as much angulation as my various alpine downhill ski racing setups, but at much lower release settings. (The NCAA race coach in me still can’t allow alpine downhill racing to slip away entirely…) Yet zero prereleases. (And three releases when they should have: vertically when ski got caught underneath a log, lateral when ski tip hooked on shrubbery, and vertically when drove my tip into a depression and went over the handlebars.)
    - The one big caveat was that my source claimed such prereleases occurred only with Vertical toe pieces (not with the Speed/Classic/Comfort toe), and my only Vertical setup last year was on the Manaslu skis, which of course get used only in soft snow, where such angulation-induced prereleases are highly unlikely.
    - I tried the indoor tests, yet even after carefully following the technique in a video he sent me, I couldn’t replicate it.
    - So on Thursday, before getting ready to teach an avy course, I was doing a compare/contrast for a prospective “Tech” buyer who had just upgraded to compatible boots, and had demoed on Onyx setup. She really gets her skis up on edge and out from underneath her (i.e., one of the few backcountry skiers I know who can accurately claim to “carve” turns), so I spent some time trying to describe exactly the topic of this post.
    - I described the carpet test and explained how I could never replicate it, then proceeded to . . . whoah! I realized that previously I had been trying the tests on some climbing wall mats near my basement ski room, so that had probably been absorbing too much of the impact, but the indoor carpeting of the avy course classroom was far less yielding. The setup I was using = Dynafit DyNA race boots (which probably influence this test, since their crazy stiff cf upper cuff transmits lateral forces very well)+ Vertical ST bindings + M.A. SL skis. Out of about 8 or so trials, I got the binding to release maybe around half the time.
    - Now for the punchline. When I “successfully” performed that [rather scary] prerelease test, I had just returned from my fifth outing with that setup. All four prior outings had been on very firm snow of various sorts. However, this outing had been at another level of firmness altogether. A quick afternoon outing with disappearing sun, I started with a descent of a bit over 1200’ vertical, the first third or so was on horribly eroded and firm sastrugi, and then more smooth after that, but still somewhat rattly. Next, the 4260’ summit descent started with some nice packed powder on the auto road, but to get to the summit snowfields I had to cross “snow” so chattery that one of my BD knee pads vibrated off my knee and down to my boot top. After some firm windslab, I then skied a 40-degree couloir, which during my earliest descent had been beautiful corn, but now it was all refrozen with previous tracks. After that the pitch moderated, but I still had about 2500” of refrozen surface to the trailhead.
    - So in other words, the setup performed flawlessly in torture-test conditions, even though right after that descent I replicated the indoor prerelease that others have reported.
    - The next morning I went another quick tour before my course duties started up, but this time out of my ~6150’ vertical I timed the snow much better.
    - The following morning I had only a little over an hour for a quick ski outing, but of my 2300’ continuous descent, all the snow was truly horribly refrozen, so bad that I often stopped just because I couldn’t stand the sound any more. Once again, no prereleases.
    Conclusions? Yes, the indoor test can create a prerelease. But just because you can do this indoors does not necessarily mean you’ll have this problem on snow.

  18. Thomas B March 15th, 2010 12:20 pm

    1) It is easy to go from ski mode to tour mode with the a little practice and a ski pole, I do it almost every day. Please put this dynafit myth to rest.
    2) Are all these large skiers with problems also “backseat skiers”? If you are going to look at the issue you have to look at it honestly. What I mean by this is we have all seen the skiers who need skills improvement who fall and the first thing they do is look at or blame the binding or ski.
    I’m not saying we don’t all need skills improvement, but I’m suspicious because I’ve seen a lot of people absolutely tear it up on TLT’s and comforts ( cliffs, bumps. you name it) but all these supposed binding failures seem to be coming recently with how shall I say “more technically lazy skiers”, chargers for sure, but lazy in their form.
    Not trying to start a flame war here, but this needs an honest look.
    3)I’ve noticed that in my Virus lite’s I can’t pull the toe piece lever the very last click. Shallower toe holes? or maybe my Mega rides were just mega worn…
    4) I’d say that 80% of Dynafit users I see ski down with the toe locked, when I point it out most of them are unaware and were misinformed by someone and didn’t realize that upped the knee risk. The rest of them have a psychological block that prevents them from trusting “two small pins’. Not dynafits fault.

  19. Jonathan Shefftz March 15th, 2010 12:31 pm

    I love how G3 tries to have it every possible way with regard to skiing with the toe lever in tour mode:
    1. Sure, go right ahead, as the website still claims in text, “The tour lock mechanism can also be used as a DIN Booster. This feature allows the skier to increase their release setting while still remaining within a reasonable and releasable range” and then the video states, “… while still remaining in a reasonable [or?] releasable range. What’s unique about this feature is that with the Onyx when you lock the toe out, the binding remains releasable and it’s in a reasonable range.”
    2. But then again, no need to, as Lou’s source claims, “you simply do not need to lock the Onyx to to prevent pre-release. That applies to everything from high speed charging to cliff jumping.”
    3. Plus if you still insist on doing so as our marketing materials suggest, you’re in a lot of trouble according to the user manual:
    “WARNING: The G3 Onyx binding is only recommended to be skied with
    the toe tour lock lever unlocked in ‘ski’ mode. If the product is skied
    with the tour mode lock in place you are effectively removing the safety
    release features of the binding (as well as release in avalanche
    conditions), and putting yourself at risk of injury or death. Skiing the
    binding this way could void your warranty should you damage the
    binding in the event of a fall.”

  20. Greg Deem March 15th, 2010 12:37 pm

    I have been skiing Dynafits for 5-6 years and yes they do pre release. However I have only had this happen when turning with poor form i.e. with a twisting style turn initiation. Never has it happened with a carved or “buttered” turn. I am >200# with pack. I ski the comforts. I have 2 pairs with hundreds of days each on them. No problem.

    The only experience that I have to offer in addition to that above is that twice, I have gottent the lock lever lifted up by a low-lying branch as my ski passed under. This locked the binder, then stopped me. Man does that put a stretch on the knee and hip. Don’t know what to say, just something to consider while skiing tight trees or combat bushes down low.

    Also, if you get hurt by skiing with the toe locked and end up with a tib/fib tracture consider yourself lucky. It is a life-threatening injury to have in the BC, but if you survive, it will (likely) heal. A 4- ligament knee injury, possible nerve and artery injury or fracture in the joint will change your life. Please consider your risk/beneit when skiing with these suckers locked. And don’t get caught in an avalanche either skinning or skiing with these locked…

  21. jason March 15th, 2010 1:09 pm

    I have had some troubles in the past with my spirit 4 / ST combo. (i was able to replicate this on carpet too…) With cleaned out tech fittings, with the boot engaged in ski mode, i could get the binding toe to slightly open up by pressuring the forefoot of one of the boots. this would would result in “slop” in the toe which helped result in some pre-releases too.

    I am pretty sure this was due to a misalignment in the tech fittings in the boots (which have since been replaced on warranty, but still not perfect). Scarpa’s tech fittings seem to have some other issues, in that they are significantly recessed due to the width of the toe which causes a headache when stepping into any tech bindings (i think this would be even more difficult with the onyx) – even with a serious amount of permanent marker to help guide, it is still difficult to tell if the binding is engaged in the tech fittings or in plastic.

    another issue, which only happens with shorter heel pins (like on the TLT speed) is that the heel can pop out during significant ski flex. with the toe completely unlocked, it is likely that your entire ski will take off too, as opposed to being able to stop and re-enter the heel.

    I know that using the binding in a locked mode can pose a risk for knee injury, but sometimes i feel (from past results) that i am at greater risk to injury in general without any locking. Most people notice that with the tour lock, there are a series of clicks, and further it’s locked (more clicks), the more retention there is. What I usually do is use the tour lock only to a click or two during ski mode – this ensures no toe slop and no runaway skis, while posing a slightly less risk to my knee that locking them all the way down. That being said, I’d like to not have to lock them at all…

  22. Jonathan Shefftz March 15th, 2010 1:16 pm

    “And don’t get caught in an avalanche either skinning or skiing with these locked…”
    - Big difference between skinning with the toe lever in tour position vs skiing with the toe lever in tour position: With the toe lever in tour position, but just barely having the “geared” end of the toe lever engaging the bump on the plastic base plate, and the heel unit’s pins disengaged from the boot heel (i.e., toe in tour mode + heel in tour mode), I tested twisted out, and although this before I had my own torque tester, the necessary force felt similar to twisting out of my alpine downhill bindings when set at 7. This convinced me that it is possible to have sufficient retention stay in while skinning in winter snow yet still have safe release if caught in an avy. (For skinning in late spring & early summer snow with aggressive kick turns on steeper terrain in firmer conditions, I yank up on the toe lever more, but those are not the kind of conditions where getting caught in an avy on the ascent is a concern.)

  23. Jonathan Shefftz March 15th, 2010 1:22 pm

    The other confusing disconnect regarding G3’s marketing materials vs reality in the context of release/retention is that the range is almost always reported incorrectly. Yet as a quick glance at the binding will tell, and as the installation manual spells out, the range is effectively 6-10 (unless your vertical/forward setting is lower than your lateral). In other words, if you need a lateral setting of 5.0 or 5.5, then you can’t use the Onyx, and need to get the Vertical ST instead. At the other end of the range, if you need a forward/vertical setting greater than 10, you can’t use the Onyx, and need to get the Vertical FT12 instead.

  24. Dimitar March 15th, 2010 3:18 pm

    Strange, so many people claim they never seen Dynafit pre-releasing, and I actually do not know anybody using the Dynafit bindings and having his bindings not pre-released at least once (due to one of the many reasons). Doing so, it then turns to be more a psychological issue for many and this is a fact. At least here in Europe many many people ski them locked. If Dynafit bindings are not pre-releasing why do we have, so, long explanation material from Lou – when and why this can happen? :biggrin:

    Practically speaking from my personal point of view, being a small 67kg guy, all my Dynafit setups in the last 6-7 years were pre-realeasing. Now on Onyx for 1 year – this has happened zero times. Just stepped in and may be from the way it looks and feels never did any tests or had any issues. And yes, may be my technique is bad, but it seems to work with Onyx, and I can jump a back flip gainer from 10 meter rock with no issues and do not have to spend the previous night thinking about it and this is simply great.

    P.S. Jonathan – you seem frustrated with the Onyx on paper – did you try skiing it – it might and will probably feel much better :lol:

  25. Lou March 15th, 2010 3:19 pm

    Jonathan, one has to wonder, since those numbers are not TUV DIN certified on either binding, how do they even compare to each other? Also, at least at the high end of the scale, if the Onyx has better lateral retention then perhaps people simply don’t need DIN 12?

  26. Mark W March 15th, 2010 3:23 pm

    Changing modes without exiting the binding is really a non-issue for me because I remove my skins after first removing my skis.

  27. Jonathan Shefftz March 15th, 2010 3:23 pm

    Dimitar, my frustration is not with the actual binding (which although over a pound heavier than Dynafit, is still a way better binding that any other non-Dynafit options), but with the contradictory information that G3 has been providing. Based on my experimenting with the binding indoors, I’m confident it would perform perfectly fine for me, except for the extra pound that would be noticeable to me. (Yes, when I switch back and forth between different skis that differ by a pound, I notice it.)

  28. Anonymous March 15th, 2010 3:29 pm

    Jonathan, we all know you don’t like the Onyx. ( You have referred to this binding as the “G3 Meetu” on other web sites. ) Does your contempt for the Onyx mean that we should expect to find bias in your remarks and reviews?

    Perhaps readers should take your unprofessional comments and endless micro-parsing with a grain of salt? I don’t hear you refer to skis, boots, or transceivers as “me too” products, even though most of those products share very similar implementations.

    Sorry, but your remarks are becoming a bit tiresome. ( And no, I don’t work for G3. )

  29. Jonathan Shefftz March 15th, 2010 4:07 pm

    “Anonymous” – my main criticism of the Onyx has been that it weighs a pound more than the comparable Dynafit model. Aside from that, it seems like a fine binding that performs as advertised – this is based on the specs, my playing around with two regular production models indoors, and from feedback of two reliable and knowledgeable users (both long-time Dynafit users – one a professional & fully certified mtn guide, and the other a shop employee and rando racer who had the previously noted prelease problems with Vertical toes).
    My other criticisms are that:
    - The effective 6-10 release range is relatively small, and has not been accurately reported.
    - The “DIN Booster” featured has been both encouraged and discouraged by G3 (in print, and on the same website, at the same time).
    - Various promoted advantages don’t seem to me to offer much of an advantage (i.e., rotating heel elevators around a horizontal axis instead of a vertical axis, being able to switch from ski to tour without exiting the binding).
    My Meetu nickname is intended to signify that the Onyx represents only a slight variation on the Dynafit theme, and has far more in common with Dynafit than differences. Plus with Dynafit having now enjoyed the status for well over a decade of being the only binding with zero lifted weight, zero stride resistance, and calibrated release function, the Onyx is so clearly aimed at Dynafit’s previously exclusive market segment. Markets for other backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering products are far more broad and varied. The only other such narrow market is probably avalanche beacons, but such designs over the years have started to diverge noticeably from each other. (Note that this greatly complicates teaching beacon searching for avy courses.) The one exception is the Ortovox D3, which is definitely a Tracker Meetu. (Well, some ARVA models have a Meetu element to them, but given that they’re almost impossible to find in the North America, kind of a moot point.) Some commenters have criticized the D3 for that. I don’t think producing a variation on the Tracker is a drawback in of itself, but rather the question is how the original and the flattery-by-imitation models compare to each other.
    You accuse me of “endless micro-parsing” but such detailed analysis (whether in my beacon reviews, my print-published assessments – both quantitative and qualitative – of avalanche assessment, or in my comments on the Onyx) is exactly the kind of substantive information that is helpful for making gear choices. If you find “endless micro-parsing” “becoming a bit tiresome” then you have plenty of alternative options for all sorts of cursory overviews of all sorts of ski gear.
    By contrast, all you offer are ad hominem attacks. More specifically, how do you conclude from all of this that, “we all know you don’t like the Onyx” and “your contempt for the Onyx”? I just reviewed everything I have written about the Onyx, and I don’t see any of that there. (Contempt for the confusing and contradictory marketing materials from G3, yes.) Also note that above I described how I was performing a compare/contrast for a prospective “Tech” binding purchaser, and I specifically brought up a potential Dynafit drawback and even proceeded to demonstrate it.
    Looking through my files, here are some typical overview comments I have previously written:
    “At 18 ounces heavier, they’ve compromised on that point, but I certainly see how some skiers would be willing to take on that extra weight, as long as the zero lifted/pivoted weight factor is retained, yet some aspects are improved.”
    “However, I’m sure it will be appeal to many skiers with different sets of preferences. (And like I wrote earlier, it’s a no-brainer for demo/rental.) Plus even if it is heavier with no advantages, it will definitely be the second-best ski touring binding even made and far far better than all other options.”
    And finally, yes, my suspicion would be that you don’t work for G3 – anyone affiliated from G3 posting here would respond with substance, not anonymous ad hominem remarks.

  30. Christian March 15th, 2010 4:25 pm

    Thomas B: No, not all skiers that have experienced this are backseat skiers. For me backseat skiing actually helps, as I cannot put force on the front-binding if I ski in the back seat…. I have only had problems on blue ice and white ice when I do short tuns and really want to stop/prevent a skid. On these conditions I am not carving: I try to ski with my skis flat to the ground before doing a quick sharp edging of the ski. I am using the edges as little as possible (i.e. for short time) to change direction. I am not that heavy: 85 kg. The ski has 103mm waist. Dynafit zzero-4 boots. as little
    Click my name to see pictures of me skiing.

  31. Scott March 15th, 2010 5:59 pm

    Perhaps this was mentioned and I missed it. If so, sorry. To me, the biggest plus to the Onyx, which in my opinion is well worth the weight, is that the Onyx does not go into downhill mode while you’re touring. This is because of the way the heel piece works. I have logged many hours with many partners who all use Dynafit bindings (I don’t), and I’ve noticed that over the course of touring all day the Dynafit heel piece will rotate into downhill mode often (over five times a day). And I’m not talking about one partner. Many people complain about this. I’ve seen all manner of skiers, male, female, big and small have this problem over and over. That coupled with the fact that you cannot (despite claims to the contrary) go from downhill mode to touring mode without coming out of the Dynafit binding first. I wouldn’t get a Dynafit simply because I’ve seen all my friends frustration over and over again with this heel rotation problem. One last thing: I use Fritschis and I keep up with all my Dynafit friends just fine. It’s never been something that’s held me back. In fact, I seem to be the only one who never has to stop over and over readjusting my bindings…

  32. Randonnee March 15th, 2010 6:11 pm

    Always very interesting to hear the rebuttals of my experience. Again, the new ST and FT bindings do not open the toe wings on a firm snow surface as did my Tri Step and Comfort toes. There must be some engineering behind this improvement, cheers to Dynafit!

    It is a matter of my weight and strength likely over the design limit, but I make Dynafits work. No, not backseat skiing, I rarely touch the back of my boots (known for forgetting to lock cuffs for descents…and not noticing) and do not push hard on the front (as we did in the ’70s) I had to learn to ski Dynafits in a balanced fashion, I kept walking out of the heel in powder my first day on them. Again, I appreciate the newer bindings with more DIN. My skiing is intentionally smooth, I worked fullltime on skis for at least 1200 lift days doing avy control at one of the top areas, and have nearly that many backcountry days. My skiing is 10 days to 1 lift day in Cascades backcountry, around 80 bc days per season, we have challenging terrain and snow. And I think I am smart enough to consider ice, etc. The on the carpet demo was at one of the shops that leads in Dynafit sales, all done on a properly mounted new binding. The issue has occurred for me in five different Dynafit boots- TLT AT, Aero, TlLT4, Zzero3C, Zzero4C.

    Again, the great thing is that I make the Dynafit binding work for my 100kg very well, and I have confidence in the binding, especially the FT and ST.

  33. Art March 15th, 2010 7:27 pm

    Randonnee,

    Can you elaborate on your statement, “I kept walking out of the heel in powder my first day on them”?

    Cheers!

    Lou, as to this anti-spam question: Which is warmer, winter or summer? After this winter in Vancouver, I sure hope the correct answer is still summer. We’ll see…

  34. Colin in CA March 15th, 2010 9:34 pm

    “That coupled with the fact that you cannot (despite claims to the contrary) go from downhill mode to touring mode without coming out of the Dynafit binding first.”

    Scott, you’re wrong. I’ve seen people do this. In fact, there’s a Youtube showing somebody doing this exact thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqBaHPcgtAM And I think I’ve seen another video somewhere else.

    Lou, thanks for the info on this.

  35. Randonnee March 15th, 2010 10:10 pm

    Art,

    My first Dynafits probably just did not have enough DIN for my weight pressed forward. So I started skiing in a more balanced fashion, and I am glad… many advantages as I described.

    Again, I am very happy with the new ST and FT bindings- no issues, everything works great, more DIN, I do not lock the toes on the downhill. All I can assume is advancement in engineering, great!

  36. Mark W March 15th, 2010 10:26 pm

    Dynafits can slip into downhill mode while touring, but I have not observed this happen in any repetitive fashion.

  37. BigD March 15th, 2010 11:53 pm

    Mark W,

    Had this happen twice in about 20 minutes last weekend. Any idea why? Lou?

    Randonee,

    Can you elaborate a little more on your skiing prowess and all-around awesomeness?

  38. Dave g March 15th, 2010 11:56 pm

    What are the weights of the onyx vs the dynafits?

  39. Lenka K. March 16th, 2010 3:44 am

    Re. heel rotation

    I’ve had this problem on my old TLT Comforts from 04. After about 180km vertical, the heels started rotating (only when using heel lift) on steep, hard traverses. It was a real pain, as it would happen every 100m or so. Ditto on my partner’s set-up (same ski, same binding, same shop, same day). I think the reason is some sort of wear & resulting play on the pin on which the heel pivots. Perhaps it was just a Monday series from Dynafit? Oh, and the rotation occurred with different boots, so it wasn’t a boot problem.

    I’ve now logged about 230km vertical on my current set-up w/first generation Vertical ST (07) and have had no problems whatsoever. Perhaps the heel axle has been modified (different material?) to prevent excessive wear?

    Lenka K.

  40. Jonathan Shefftz March 16th, 2010 6:35 am

    “I’ve had this problem on my old TLT Comforts from 04. After about 180km vertical, the heels started rotating (only when using heel lift) on steep, hard traverses.”
    Sounds like the little thimble bushing needs to be replaced. Salewa in Boulder can get you the part. Takes just a couple minutes to replace (see instructions elsewhere on this website), although have to be very careful when reinserting the the cap over the lateral release springs (so as not to cross thread).

  41. bc_skier March 16th, 2010 6:56 am

    Has anyone ever done a binding check comparison with a Vermont tester between the Dynafit and the Onyx?

    (Vermont tester being the devise ski shops use to test binding release)

  42. Jonathan Shefftz March 16th, 2010 6:57 am

    “Had this happen twice in about 20 minutes last weekend. Any idea why?”
    – If the problem has been getting progressively worse, replace the thimble bushing (see above).
    – If this happens only on days with very (very) moist clumpy snow (i.e., great snowball packing snow), then spray the bindings, ski topsheets (be careful not to let overspray get onto ski bases), and boot soles (especially the heel area) with silicon spray. I do this only because I don’t want to be dragging up all the extra snow on each skinning stride, but it also prevents the one or two instances of “auto-rotate” I used to get each season.
    – If this happens all the time, consider removing one of the two return springs on the brakes (especially on the older Comfort brakes).
    – Next, ditch the brakes and go w/ leashes.
    – If this still happens, then get the Onyx.

  43. Lou March 16th, 2010 6:57 am
  44. Locotiki March 16th, 2010 6:58 am

    I’m in the market for new bindings and on paper the Onyx is the hands down winner for me. Love the idea of being able to swap bindings from ski to ski and the (seemingly) simple mode changes. Yeah, they are heavier than the Dynafits but for me that’s splitting hairs because even the Onyx is lighter than what I’m coming off. What has me not jumping into the Onyx are the multiple reviews I’ve read online about them being unreliable or at least that they don’t seem to have the bugs worked out on them. Dynafits look nice to me too, and I’m not even all that put off by the mode change on them, for me it’s just they are too much $$$. The Fritschi Eagles are what I’m leaning towards for now. From what I can tell and from talking to people I see using them they seem to be the best balance of reliability, performance and cost.

  45. Jonathan Shefftz March 16th, 2010 7:00 am

    “Has anyone ever done a binding check comparison with a Vermont tester between the Dynafit and the Onyx?”
    – I’ve done one half of it: my Dynafit setups test out spot on according to the standard protocol laid out in alpine downhill binding tech manuals. Given that G3 is precise enough to specify different release ranges for lateral vs forward, I expect that they too have calibrated their release values with DIN specs (even though like Dynafit they are apparently not TUV certified).

  46. Randonnee March 16th, 2010 7:09 am

    Big D, : )} funny! Actually I do not ski, I just pretend online (joke). Good job, funny! Just trying to argue the point, probably deserved that : )} : )] !!

  47. Mark March 16th, 2010 7:49 am

    One of the things that appealed about the Onyx right away is the plate that allows swapping between skis. Having looked around, there seem to be a variety of aftermarket plate products that would allow you to do this with Dynafit and still come in lighter than the Onyx. I wonder if anyone cares to do some kind of “review” of these products in this thread or in a separate blog?

  48. Bill B March 16th, 2010 7:54 am

    “Had this happen twice in about 20 minutes last weekend. Any idea why?”

    If this is only happening when using the high lift ( volcanoes) you may take a look at the interface between your boot and the volcanoe. Due to the pattern on the bottom of the boot there can be a side force put on the volcanoe when your weight is on it. Touching up the top of the volcanoe with a file in a way that counters this can help alleviate this side force. Takes a little analysis though.

  49. Lou March 16th, 2010 8:52 am

    Mark, I’ve found most swap plate “swapology” to be way too fiddly for my taste, and I don’t like the weight penalty nor the added height off the ski, but I can certainly see the appeal. I’ll see what we can do for reviews.

  50. Mark March 16th, 2010 9:23 am

    Thanks, Lou. It would be nice to know what the options and issues are for those of us who might be willing to pay a small weight penalty to save some money.

  51. BigD March 16th, 2010 9:43 am

    “Slipping into downhill mode”

    Thanks to all for the input. However, the binders are nearly new, so there can’t be much bushing wear. This was the scenario at the time -

    Vert ST with brakes – about 20 days use.
    F3 boots.
    Flat terrain, so not using heel lift.
    Light, dry snow.
    Different ski each time.

    Randonee – Just funnin’ with ya – I do appreciate your insight.

  52. Scott March 16th, 2010 9:56 am

    Any problem with a product that has to be solved by after market consumer ingenuity, in my mind, means poor engineering/design of said product. Dynafits might have the capacity to somehow be manipulated into going from downhill to touring mode by practicing some technique (I’ve yet to see anyone who skis Dynafits do this this in real life, so it can’t be that easy to do), but this is certainly not something built into the binding, nor advertised as doing so. So I say again, Dynafits can not go from downhill to touring mode, despite the fact that you can force them into doing it, the bindings themselves can not. Onyx can. They are designed to.

    As for auto rotation, again, if this is something that needs after market poking and prodding to remedy, it’s a design failure. The Onyx does not auto-rotate. It is designed as such to be impossible.

    I think people might delude themselves into thinking a product is awesome because they want something light. In my 30 years of skiing, and 10 years working in ski shops, I’ve never seen any kind of ski binding that has been around for this many years continuously be so finicky and have so many issues.

    There is no question in my mind that the Onyx is a far better design and execution than the Dynafits. Sure the Onyx had a brake hiccup, let’s also keep in mind this is their first season. Dynafits still have hiccups and how long have they been around using what is essentially the same design all these years? The only place the Onyx looses out to the Dynafit is in weight. If it takes 550 grams to get me into a superior binding that I don’t have to stop and play with every 20 minutes, it’s worth it. Besides, I can always buy a lighter pack or clothing to make up the difference. Or for that matter go for a 40 minute run!

    People need to be a bit more practical and look beyond this self-imposed logic shield held firmly in place by an allegiance to whatever product is lightest. Lightest is not fastest if it doesn’t work as well.

  53. KDog March 16th, 2010 11:00 am

    It’s interesting to me that people keep downplaying the convenience of changing from ski mode to tour mode on the fly. Other folks seem to be confusing this with transitioning from touring/skinning to ski mode, i.e. “I just take my skis off when I remove my skins”.

    It is the ability to quickly release the boot heel from the binding after skiing downslope and start “walking” across a flat section like a logging road or frozen lake.

    No, it is not the most important of features or a dealbreaker, but I find it very useful on a regular basis.

    I ski both Fritschis and Dynafits and really appreciate the Fritschis ability to quickly and smoothly transition to walk mode.

    Perhaps it is the type of terrain that we tour in frequently. If you do long, max elevation gain peak climbs with huge descents ala Rogers Pass or the Alps you may never need this feature. If you don’t have that kind of vertical available, have long flat-ish access roads or do tours where you cover a lot of horizontal miles, there are many times when you will NOT want to put your skins back on just to shuffle a few hundred yards.

    At the pass we tour regularly this happens all day. One area’s runs dump you on a lake under numerous avy paths which you want to quickly shuffle out from under. Messing around with the Dynafits and removing my skis isn’t fun there. My wife, on her Tele’s just scoots away (which is good because they don’t release anyway :ermm: )

    You can do the “pole handle trick” if you don’t use brakes, but I do (like Lou). I won’t give up my Dynafits because the weight and ski control is superior and the G3 just had too many issues for me to purchase it this season. But, I DO like a quick change to tour mode!

  54. Pierce March 16th, 2010 11:13 am

    Dang, don’t want to get left out of this one!

    I weigh in at probably around 250# with all my gear on. I’ve never pre-released in several years of skiing the newer FTs and the older yellow STs. They’ve only come off a few times, and when they should have, thankfully.

    I can see having snow under the wings or ice in the sockets being a problem, but haven’t run into either way.

  55. Bobby Miller March 16th, 2010 11:19 am

    I’ve been watching the Onyx vs Dynafit debate for almost a year now. I previously had a Shukskan/Freeride/G-ride setup. I split time IB/BC for 5 years on only my AT setup and loved them. This year, I decided it was time to upgrade and I knew that I wanted to go to a tech fitting, so of course the first thing I looked into was the Dynafit. After doing research, I found the Onyx and even against many recommendations to let them get through a production run or two I jumped onboard. The largest selling point to me was that swappable mounting plate, and regardless my new setup is MUCH lighter than my old, and much easier going uphill! So far this season in 2 months I have 23 days on them, half BC/half inbounds (I live in San Diego, so I’m pretty happy with those numbers, even had a 4000′ continuous descent in boot deep powder in SoCal Mtns this season!). I am 6′ 190lbs and am not very nice on gear. My new setup is the Onyx/Mansula/ZZero-4-U and I have a second set of plates mounted on an old pair of Salomon 1080s. I run the DIN at 7 1/2, and with 4-5 footers cratering into flats, 10 footers landing on soft snow, pushing hard in the trees, running bumps, the Mansulas have been wonderful (although the topsheet is scratched to hell). I finally tried out the 1080s in UT the other weekend, and it was the first time in 5 years I’ve been able to lay down a carve without chattering and it was in my soft and light Onyx/ZZero setup, an unbelievable feeling. The bindings have never come close to hurting a knee, have always released as they should (even with high speed carving/chattering), if I start twisting funny, they are off and my knees and shins are safe, no question asked. I have had 1 “pre-release”, on a pretty flat section, inbounds on the 1080s, I go to do a jump 180 just to play and it came off. I may have caught an edge in the process, not really sure how or why it came off. My only complaint with the binding is when I’m trying to put them back on and its steep hard snow (gotta love early morning BC runs in SoCal before everything has softened…), you have to have the ski almost perfectly flat, there is small margin for error with the tech binding to get the pins lined up. This may be the case for Dynafit as well, just never tried. I have been told by several LONG time Dynafit skiers that the learning curve for getting into the Onyx is quicker, since its not “popping” into place (I don’t even look at the dots on top of my boots).

    Bottom Line: I ski steep narrow chutes, let them open up on big bowls, chop crud at high speed, drop some smaller stuff (skis don’t bother me, its lack of cahones…), carve hardpack, and of course go uphill much lighter and faster than any binding besides Dynafit (nobody can compare to the weight), all on the Onyx without locking the toe on the downhill, but really what has me sold is I HAVE 2 SOLID PAIRS OF SKIS FOR A TOTAL OF $450 IN BINDINGS! Cheers to G3!

  56. slave.to.turns March 16th, 2010 11:23 am

    Came out of my heels (ST’s set at 9) skiing groomers after a tour this weekend, I don’t normally ski Dynafits inbounds. I know that if you drive a ski hard, from the heels, with a stiffer boot, you CAN come out. Yes, I was skiing fast through uneven terrain.

    Yes, my toes were locked. I went to insta-tele mode and traversed off to the side safely. Do I expect more from the binding? No. I know what it excels at and what it doesn’t.

    As for the Onyx, it seems to be the MS Zune to Dynafit’s iPod. As well, if Dynafit had come out with swappable plates, I think we would most likely dismiss them. It does not add that much value, IMO.

  57. David March 16th, 2010 11:29 am

    I have been skiing the Onyx since January, I love the bindings, they feel very secure on the down and for me wonderfully efficient on the up and changing from climb to down mode. I have had issues and the binding has a learning curve. I have had to deal with the brake issue and a broken mode change lever. First year production issues? G3 has said they have no plans to change the lever design or materials and the brake repair left me wondering why an owner or shop is left to repair a defective $69.00 brake instead of having it replaced. The Onyx like the Dynafit require some care to operate, slight misalignment with the Onyx in the heel of the boot or leaving a lifter in climbing position can lead to very easy breakage of the mode lever, swapping bindings requires careful setting of the heel gap at the pins, the lifters can pop off, you have to check them often. Both systems have slight issues, it seems to be a personal preference.

    Locotiki, regarding the Fritschi Eagles vs the Onyx, no comparison, G3 hands down.

  58. gonzoskijohnny March 16th, 2010 11:44 am

    ” I have logged many hours with many partners who all use Dynafit bindings (I don’t), and I’ve noticed that over the course of touring all day the Dynafit heel piece will rotate into downhill mode often (over five times a day). And I’m not talking about one partner. Many people complain about this.”

    This has only happend to me twice in 7 years of touring use-
    -my own skis when the plastic release spring cap was worn into a rounded shreaded numb, easlily reparied/replaced the next day (and should be part of normal yearly maint);
    -when i demo-ed a ski/dynafit that had been roof mounted on I-70 a few times too many- the CDOT brown MgCl slush gunk residue had clogged the heelpiece springs, so that not only would the heel flip around too easily in tour mode, it also locked Fwd release. While aggressively trail breaking deep snow that day it rotated and locked, thus leaving me in hyperexted lock-knee big stride without release that resulted in a louldly crunched menisucs and surgery.
    Both were poor maintenance and care issues- not a properly working dynafit issue. I generally downhill ski with toe at 1 click up (170 lb- DIN 5.5), which allows me to carpet test (and real world) twist and up release, but maybe 1/ season do I “pre(?)” release while skiing pow, crust, gunk, bumps, groomers in the Dynafit. Maybe flexy boards and hyperactive skiiers press the toepiece into “more than designed for” up/out forces?

  59. Lou March 16th, 2010 11:48 am

    Nice comments from the WildSnow brain trust. You guys are the best.

  60. Thomas B March 16th, 2010 12:35 pm

    In hundreds and hundreds of big days in mainly deep snow I have had the dynafit heel rotate by it self once. Back in the day my Fritschis self locked more than that.
    I have never ever had a pre release.
    Bindings have released well in a few severe falls.
    Kdog :in about 10 seconds I can transition from ski mode to tour mode, my partners who have brakes do it in about 15 seconds…
    Bobby: dig the tail into the firm snow and you can create a level base that way.
    Also if you have a light colored boot making markings on the sky facing surface above the pin holes can make lining up easier while oxygen depleted.

    I don’t know anything about the G3 binding, but I don’t need to the dynafits do everything exceptionally well at a better weight.
    Ok if there is one area I’d like improvement.. a little more adjustability would be nice because my new boots are 3mm shorter and it looks like I need to redrill……

  61. Randonnee March 16th, 2010 1:14 pm

    Big D,

    Cool. One time I was discussing skis’ performance on line, then found out that the ‘expert’ skier in the discussion stated in his bio that he had been skiing two years! So when I debate or make points, I try to giive some background to put my words in perspective. Sorry if it seems blowhard at all, not intended. I have skied a while, I love to randonnee ski and I am fortunate to have the opportunity!

    Cheers all!

  62. KDog March 16th, 2010 3:08 pm

    Thomas B,

    Are you talking about a method I am not familiar with or just removing the ski, rotating the heel and clicking in the toe?

    I can do it fairly fast that way and it requires bending over with a pack, but it’s not like I said a “deal breaker” for the Dynafit.

    I was mainly stating that a lot of people talk as if this transition is NOT something that occurs frequently. I find that it does in the course of my touring day.

    Cheers!

  63. Thomas B March 16th, 2010 4:20 pm

    KDog, I mean you ski down with heel locked, stop for some flat rolling terrain, pull the toe lever to locked, put a ski pole between highest binding step ( works for TLT and Comfort, don’t know about verticals) and boot twist heel piece around and voila!
    You never remove the ski. My partners with brakes just push the brake down a little and then do it.
    Obviously to put skins back on you need to remove the ski( a few Yogis manage to keep them on but that is rare), the technique I am referring to is to just free the heel quickly for flat land shuffle.

    PS my previous post refers to some of what Randonnee is saying.

  64. Colin in CA March 16th, 2010 7:22 pm

    ^^^ See my earlier post for a video of that.

  65. Lee Lau March 16th, 2010 7:53 pm

    Thomas and Kdog.

    Dynafits from ski to tour mode while keeping skis on without using the pole. This is with Comforts – DIN 10. Has brakes. Yes, I’m flexible. Toes were locked out.

    http://www.vimeo.com/8925420

    See video for description

  66. Eric Steig March 16th, 2010 10:06 pm

    Lou,

    The problem of pre-release is one thing, but do the Onyx bindings release properly? Does the heel rotate as in Dynafit? And if not, then how does the toe know to release (indeed, how does it release, it if it kind of like locked-in Dynafit?)?

    Expliquez s’il vous plait!

  67. Mark W March 16th, 2010 10:38 pm

    I have skied my Dynafit ST’s on DIN 8, toes NOT locked, at Copper Mountain as follows with no performance problems: high speed cruisers with blind headwalls, fall line bumps, blasting open bowls, etc. Even hit slopestyle jumps with AT skis and Dynafit Comforts repeatedly at another resort and never released. The only times I have released in Dynafits were on one occasion at Camelbak in PA, though it was not unexpected or any pre-release, and on my first day in Rocky Mountain National Park when I had forgotten that my DIN settings–all four– had effectively been reduced to 0 because I had dialed them down completely at the end of the previous season (and subsequently forgotten to bring the DIN back to my normal 8). I clicked out of both bindings almost immediately upon beginning my descent on wicked sastrugi. Other than that, the Dynafits have held me in.

  68. Jonathan Shefftz March 17th, 2010 7:15 am

    “People need to be a bit more practical and look beyond this self-imposed logic shield held firmly in place by an allegiance to whatever product is lightest.”
    - I don’t see how that explains Dynafit’s increasing marketplace success over recent years. The TLT IV debuted in the late 90s, and is essentially the same model that was later renamed the Classic and Speed. Over the years, the mainstream model has become heavier, not lighter. If anything, Dynafit’s lightness held back its popularity for years: just seemed too small and light to actually work. The other problem was the extremely poor user documentation (at least in English) and lack of peer support (at least in the U.S.).
    - For example, even last year, I came across a user who was having problems only because he had completely messed up the settings for all three adjustment screws in the heel unit. (To be fair to the user documentation, he could have read the ESL-esque manual carefully and figured it out, but with no nearby Dynafit retailers, and no peers with Dynafits, he had nobody to give him a quick in-person tutorial.) I suspect this explains many of the problems claimed in these comments (e.g., five to six auto rotates, not per season, but per tour).
    - Instead of long-term allegiance, Dynafit bindings are winning new converts because the word is finally out that the bindings work so well for so many people. Contrary to all these baffling horror stories, my partners and I have no problems and no modifications with our bindings. The only exception I can think of is that one partner added a bit of duct tape under his old Comfort brakes to ensure they deploy reliably. And a few times a year, his heel will auto rotate in the presence of very clumpy snow and/or long sidehill traverses. Sets back our tour several seconds. (But hey, even I like to occasionally actually stop to eat a Gu, instead of eating it while continuing to skin.)
    - And look at the strong resale price for used bindings. If so many newcomers to Dynafits were having problems, I don’t see how the resale price would stay so high.
    - As for switching into tour mode when not affixing skins, I toured once with someone who could do this making it look so easy as if it were an intentional design. But it’s not, so I abstain from doing it. I also abstain from doing it because I have almost no need for it. If I encounter flats or slightly uphills too short to merit skins, I skate. If the snow is not amenable to skating, then pressing the toe lever, letting the boot hover above the binding, rotating the heel unit, clicking the boot toe back in, and yanking up on the toe lever, takes about the same several seconds per foot that typing this sentence just did.
    - If some people find the Onyx’s release/retention characteristics and its other differences to be worth dragging around an extra pound of weight all day, then nice to have that alternative. But I’d be very surprised if the typical newcomer with the opportunity to demo them both, and with knowledgeable peer support, plus at comparable prices, would chose the Onyx over Dynafit. (Plus anyone needing a release setting under 6 or over 10 can’t consider the Onyx, at least for this season.)

  69. Lou March 17th, 2010 7:30 am

    To us boys, Dynafits are like a smart and good looking woman. We might need more more intelligence and athletic ability to enjoy her company, but the results are worth it. :angel:

  70. Ben W March 17th, 2010 8:07 am

    I’ve used Comforts and currently use Speeds and FT’s. I’ve had three problems:

    1) Worn thimble bushing after 50 days on Speeds led to some pre-releasing (fixed for about $6). Really, this is not a problem at all if you are aware of the possibility, which I wasn’t.

    2) Pre-releasing (twice) and unwanted heel rotation (twice) with Speeds mounted on skis that were too soft for me. Didn’t like the skis anyway so they were gone after a few days and so was the problem.

    3) Comfort heel post developed play after 40 days. I couldn’t detect any change in performance, but it made me nervous, so I sold them (yes, I made the issue clear to the new owner). I see this as the biggest problem of all, as it is more difficult and expensive to fix and could conceivably result in a more serious failure.

    Is all that worth an extra lb? Hell yeah. I can use a 7.5 lb pair of skis which are fun for me, as opposed to a 6.5 lb pair of noodles, and end up hauling the same weight uphill. I suspect the Onyx bindings will have their own issues.

    If I were having toe release issues with the FT’s I would switch over to Speeds. For me, however FT’s have been perfect. I have skied them at resorts in bumps, jumped off stuff, jammed on the breaks on steep ice, and all with mediocre technique, and don’t have a single complaint.

    I absolutely understand why repeated problems with what is, among other things, a piece of safety equipment, would cause someone to ditch Dynafits for G3′s, but if you’ve never problems with the Dynafits, or never used either, it is hard not to assume the Dynafits, which have been put through a couple decades of user testing, are a safer bet.

  71. Jonathan March 17th, 2010 8:12 am

    “Does the [Onyx] heel rotate as in Dynafit?”
    - yes

  72. Lou March 17th, 2010 8:16 am

    “Does the [Onyx] heel rotate as in Dynafit?”
    - yes, but only to effect lateral release, not to change modes between tour/downhill.

  73. bryan March 17th, 2010 8:28 am

    http://14erskiers.com/blog/2010/03/gothic-east-face-13-mar-2010/

    somewhat off topic, but it’d be nice to find out what the deal was with the dynafit toe piece that ripped out of his ski while skiing the east face of gothic.

  74. Dan Powers March 17th, 2010 8:33 am

    “To us boys, Dynafits are like a smart and good looking woman. We might need more more intelligence and athletic ability to enjoy her company, but the results are worth it.”

    Classic!

  75. Lou March 17th, 2010 8:37 am

    A binding ripped out of a ski. Bindings rip from skis for a lot of reasons, mostly because they were either mounted incorrectly or the screws were not checked periodically for tightness. Sometimes bindings rip from skis because the ski is not strong enough. Etc. Etc.

    All randonee bindings can get damaged in a “knee fall” while touring, meaning you drop a knee down to a ski and give the binding extreme torque. Knee falls can also partially or completely pull the front screws out of the ski. If someone partially pulls out their front binding screws and doesn’t notice, they could then fail while skiing.

    I really doubt this binding pulled out because it was a Dynafit, any more than a binding would pull out because it was a Fritschi, or Marker, or anything else…

  76. bryan March 17th, 2010 9:01 am

    Whoa easy does it…there’s a chance for a first hand account from someone who’s probably pretty easy to track down.

    Was he skiing with the toe piece locked out? would that have mattered, if hypothetically, dynafits do have a properly functioning pre-release mechanism? what’s his weight, what din and binding model was he on? what ski was he on and how old are they?

    I’m happily skiing dynafits, so there’s no love lost from me, but I would like to hear some real “from the feild” evidence rather than knee-jerk reaction hearsay.

  77. Walt March 17th, 2010 9:13 am

    From my experience, any STRONG SKIER (somebody who can squat at least double bodywieght and has at least a 30″ vertical leap … otherwise, you are weak and not even a factor) will blow right out of Dynafits. I will admit that the FT 12′s are better and work a lot of the time. But I just can’t trust them because they have pre-realeased when they shouldn’t have … even though the bindings were set at 11 DIN. I had the FT 10′s before and what a piece of garbage! I blew out all the time! I had to ski them locked and still blew out. So for you, Lou, to be, dissing the onyx just because it weighs a little more is stupid. 328 grams is nothing…. tha’s only like 3/4 of a pound. You are the same guy that told me to get the thermo liners for my Dynafit ZZeros over the really nice aline type liners just because they weigh a few grams less. Boy, I’m glad I didn’t listen to you. These other liners have been just great and way more support. We have a term in the mountain biking world for people like you…weight weenies! … which are people who care about shaving weight over everthing else to make up for their own lack of strength. Just as many great riders would rather be riding a bike that can actually do something as opposed to a flimsy, little xc bike that’s going to fold in half on the first dropoff. A lot of skier’s want a binding that they can trust. The onyx still has the same front pivot point when climbing and that’s what’s important. The wieght difference is like have an extra pint of water in your pack… big deal! So the onyx would be worth it to me if it can deliver piece of mind and trust that the dynafit fails to do. I can’t wait to try it!

  78. Cory March 17th, 2010 9:26 am

    I wouldn’t call Lou’s response a “knee-jerk reaction to heresay”. To me it is more like years of experience. Of all the bindings I’ve ever ripped out, I’ve never attributed it to the binding (even with teles where I’m putting all the force into only 3 screws). My latest binding rip-out was caused by water seeping into the screw holes and damaging the core. I’m with you on this one Lou.

    p.s.- I’m wondering about a write up on the Canadian slide that killed 2 snowmobilers and caught 30 others. Also, the snowmobiler that was killed in a slide on Antora in an area where he had dug someone else out the week before. Both have obvious errors in judgment. Just wondering if it was going to be thrown out to be discussed.

  79. Dimitar March 17th, 2010 9:46 am

    Funny, the whole story starts to look like Nikon vs. Canon thread and so are many of the arguments – never expected this to happen with the Tech System someday. :biggrin:

    Jonathan, your approach to ski/tour mode is OK for some short tour, but I would like to see that on Haute Route kind of tour for 5-6 days. Or even on 1 day of more interesting terrain. Then, I think we can discuss who is “dragging” what on the slopes and what is the effect of wieght vs. features. For the dirty approach without removing the skis, I personally prefer to keep my wrists in good condition for some nice rocks, rather then trying to twist Dynafit bindings in way they are not designed to be twisted.

    For the weight discussion, I start to wonder why you don’t ski ATKRace or similar, or may be there is some other aspect of the discussion I am missing. :angel:

  80. Lou March 17th, 2010 9:55 am

    Walt, I didn’t intend to “diss” the Onyx, just to point out that in my opinion the weight penalty means the binding better have some high points to compensate. I then tried to point out what I thought might be the strongest features of the binding. Perhaps the word “penalty” was too strong. But to myself and many other people that amount of weight increase is very noticeable and taken very seriously.

  81. KDog March 17th, 2010 10:02 am

    Cory,

    Here is the Preliminary Report from the CAA on the Boulder Mountain avalanche incident. http://tinyurl.com/yetnqfv

    The details are still being filtered, but there are some good pictures of the slide. An unfortunate situation to be sure, but it makes me wonder about the evolutionary process.

    To Thomas B and Lee Lau,

    I have the new Vert ST’s and the brakes are so much stiffer than those on my old Comforts that I am scared to torque the heel piece hard enough to retract them, even with a little help from the boot heel. Jonathan, I have been using the technique you describe, but as to skating, not when there’s 50cm’s of fresh on either side of the track!

  82. Lou March 17th, 2010 10:11 am

    Cory, yeah, I couldn’t help but think back through all those years, and associating a particular binding with pull-out just doesn’t compute except in the case of tele, or some early touring bindings that had strange leverage on the ski (we’re talking decades ago). If Dynafit was prone to that, we’d certainly know it by now! Instead, the toe is held by FIVE screws, many alpine bindings only have three and they usually do fine, though when poorly mounted or damaged they can most certainly pull out of the ski.

    Thus, whatever reason a person’s Dynafit binding pulled out of the ski is not of that much interest to me, other than I’d be happy to help make sure their bindings get mounted well the next time.

    Frank K. of 14er Skier visits here on occasion. Frank? What say you? Any back story to the binding pullout on Gothic?

  83. Cory March 17th, 2010 10:12 am

    Wow Walt…you need a vacation! To imply that the guy who skied all the 14ers in CO and who is gearing up for Denali is buying light gear because he lacks strength is BOLD! He’s no spring chicken…but c’mon! Then, (much like my significant other) you bring up an old disagreement out of left field?

    2 questions:
    -If you don’t care about weight why did you buy Zzeros?
    -How do you know that your liners provide more support than the liners you don’t have?

  84. Lou March 17th, 2010 10:14 am

    Regarding the Revelstoke avy, I was so stunned by the sheer stupidity of that whole deal that I’ve been speechless. Now that there is some fallout, it might be time for a post. But what do you say to the fact that 200 people would gather and hang out at the bottom of an avalanche slope? Of course, knowing my blogging head, I’ll think of something to say.

  85. Jonathan Shefftz March 17th, 2010 10:24 am

    “Jonathan, your approach to ski/tour mode is OK for some short tour, but I would like to see that on Haute Route kind of tour for 5-6 days.”
    - My idea of a short tour is 6,000 vertical, and such tours almost never involve the need to go straight into skinless kick & glide mode from skiing. Although the closest I have gotten to the Haute Route is just several days of touring around Chamonix, I never realized that the full Haute Route entails lots of transitions from ski descents into skinless kick & glide nordic touring over rolling terrain — in that case, I’m glad we didn’t do the Haute Route.
    “Then, I think we can discuss who is “dragging” what on the slopes and what is the effect of weight vs. features.”
    - And even if a full-day tour does involve multiple transitions straight from ski descents into skinless kick & glide skiing, I don’t see how the additional several seconds per ski per transition would slow me down more than would dragging along an extra pound of weight on top of my skis during the entire tour.
    “For the weight discussion, I start to wonder why you don’t ski ATKRace or similar, or maybe there is some other aspect of the discussion I am missing.”
    - Yes, you must have missed my comprehensive overview of stripped-down race bindings:
    - http://www.wildsnow.com/2275/dynafit-tech-bindings-review/
    - By switching my race skis over from regular TLT Speed bindings w/ B&D custom top plates to the current Dynafit race model, I would save a little over 11 ounces per pair. In return, I would lose adjustable fore/aft heel position, adjustable vertical/forward release, and adjustable lateral release.
    - By contrast, by switching over my touring setups from Dynafit Comfort and Vertical ST to the Onyx, I would be saddled with over an extra pound per pair. In return, the only possible advantage for me would be saving about a cumulative minute over the course of an entire season (i.e., for switching directly from skiing into skinless kick & glide.)

  86. Lou March 17th, 2010 10:28 am

    Yes, it’s like Canon vs Nikon. :angel:

  87. SB March 17th, 2010 11:05 am

    Go Walt.

    Obviously any truly STRONG skier can’t be on dynafits, especially if you’ve been working out daily with the thigh master. I alternate between that and Jane Fonda style leg raises with cement blocks duct taped to my ankles. I’m so strong I don’t evey try to weight my skis independently. Instead I just point the tips where I want to go. Steering is way better than any of crappy technique most people use. Problem is wimpy binding can lateral release.

    At first I had to abandon my dynafits, but later I got too strong for my Fritschis, so I started using some Dukes. They are OK, but the DIN 16 is a little weak. I’m thinking about filling the binding with crazy glue to toally lock out the lateral release. Lou, when I do that, what boot would you recommend to match?

  88. Lou March 17th, 2010 12:16 pm

    Some of Bode’s used plug boots for starters :angel:

  89. Bobby Miller March 17th, 2010 12:33 pm

    Ok, so some of us on here are not “power” users of our AT gear, we get in 30 days a year and are super excited about that (and living in San Diego!!), I would guess that is probably the majority of the population out there. For those of you who get in 100,000+ ft a year, a single pound might matter, but for those of us who are moving up from a Fritschi setup to anything that is a “tech” style, the difference is IMMEDIATELY noticeable, regardless whether its the Dynafits or the Onyx. The ability to free pivot without the binding weight is where the real savings is, if it wasnt, you would be touring in Rocky Mtn champagne powder on skinny Ski Trab race skis because that would save well more than a pound. But for those of us who are “weekend warriors,” the fact that my entire setup ways around 15 lbs including boots, bindings and powder skis, AND I can take the same setup and put it on a heavy pair of resort skis without spending another $1500 on boots and bindings means that using the Onyx is well worth that “MASSIVE” weight penalty. The Onyx provides very comparable performance characteristics, there isn’t anything out there that shows anything different, and hey, its their FIRST production model, how many has Dynafit had to get through to get to where they are actually trusty?! Even on this thread, you are still having debates about if the retention is what it should be!!

    Just a regular guy’s thoughts on the matter. Cheers

  90. Colin in CA March 17th, 2010 12:52 pm

    If “strong” skiers can’t use Dynafits, then I must be imagining things when I was reading about Eric Hjorleifson touring on them regularly.

  91. ScottP March 17th, 2010 2:47 pm

    Just want to point out that Walt’s “weight weenies” mountain bike argument is also completely false. Lightweight XC bikes do not fold on drops and hucks if ridden properly. In fact, when racing against DHers, pro XC weight weenies like Adam Craig and Geoff Kabush regularly beat the pro DHers down the hill, despite riding 20lb bikes. If you’re folding up XC bikes on the downhill it’s because you have terrible riding technique. Once upon a time DHers use to ride hardtails with 3″ forks because that’s all there was, and they still managed to do all the hucks and drops they do today.

  92. Lou March 17th, 2010 4:00 pm

    Bobby, so what sold you was the ability to swap between different skis?

  93. Bobby Miller March 17th, 2010 6:07 pm

    Lou,
    Being able to swap between different skis was the largest selling point for me. I knew that to somebody that was moving from a heavier Fritschi setup, it would be worlds lighter, just because I wasnt lifting the binding, so the weight penalty between the Dynafit and Onyx wasn’t an issue. Plus I knew that I would be in the mid DIN range, even with a full pack, I probably wont go higher than a 9ish, so a 6-10 was just fine. In under 20 min, while having a beer in the lodge, at home when the snow is coming down, or even in the back of the car, I can switch to as many pairs of skis as I want, without having to spend the money to remount or on multiple bindings. Plus I can get my old beater skis and 2 new skis mounted for the Onyx binding in 1 large ski bag, traveling anybody?!

    So bottom line: like it does in so much of this world, money talked and it told me the Onyx was my choice.

    Couple other thoughts: When switching the bindings, you do need to ensure you get the proper spacing between your heel and the binding, I didn’t the other day and thankfully had a screw driver (the entire process requires a large and small posidrive, thats it) and was able to tighten it up, it looked like if I flexed my binding the pins would pop out!

    The other thing that sold me was the ability to move the binding around on the ski so much. One day I might want to move to a beefy boot, such as a ZZues or Titan, but that would mean I would most likely have to remount the bindings, and the chance that multiple pairs of boots would fit the same binding ski setup may be slim. This is conjecture, but somebody above did mention that as a fault to the Dynafit.

    I am still trying to figure out why somebody would spend the extra $100 for the ST12, is it because they are worried about the toe pre releasing, or are there people actually doing such extreme skiing on Dynafits that they need to crank them down that tight?

    Thanks,
    Bobby

  94. Lou March 17th, 2010 6:38 pm

    Bobby, thanks for the true consumer review!

  95. TreeDodger March 17th, 2010 7:11 pm

    Though I have never used Tech System bindings, or Fritschs for that matter, and have little concept of all the discussion, advice and chatter mentioned above (though I’m grateful to you all), I have been very curious about G3′s Onyx.

    Why? Well, though I’m sure that the Dynafit’s are an engineering marvel and have been conceptualized, designed, wrought and perfected with an enormous expenditure of, as I believe Lou commented in a blog of last year, “blood, sweat and Schillings”, the Onyx represents what appears to be the first competing Tech binding available geared for more typical North American tastes (i.e. strength over speed).

    Make no mistake: there is clearly a reason that the Vertical 12 retails for $570.00; not rocket ship materials or technology, but a rather unhealthy lack of competition.

    Yes, the Onyx, for all I have read, is only in its maiden flight and might not be quite worthy of its predecessor’s prowess or pedigree and might be disparaged for shamelessly copying many points of design. But it should be celebrated by all those who “earn their turns” as it will hopefully give Dynafit “game” inducing greater innovations in performance and safety, and drive price reduction.

    Truly, like or not, the Onyx’s arrival ushers in a new era in BC skiing. If anything it demonstrates the ascendency (pun intended) of the Tech System for BC Freeriding and will likely drive it to becoming the AT standard.

    I have a tremendous admiration for Dynafit’s engineers and those who had faith in them. They have brought so much to the AT world. However, it has now been 20 years (I’m guessing from what was claimed previously) and it is time to let the benefits of competition in the Tech System space take their rightful place.

    Kudos G3.

    P.S. BD I’m sure you have one up your sleeve.

  96. Lee Lau March 17th, 2010 8:01 pm

    This thread, like Canon vs Nikon, is fascinating.

    I’ve learned

    Walt has way too much testosterone.

    Randonee is so finesse and has such a balanced technique he doesn’t impact snow – he levitates. In fact he doesn’t need boots (JOKING in case no-one got it)

    Jonathan is an authority on Dynafits and their behaviour in powder snow even though he weighs as much as most people’s toenail clipplings and skis in the NE. (but wait — the resume and Suunto logs will be trotted out in due course to rebut this statement)

    and Scott makes outrageously inaccurate statements about mountainbiking when analogizing to a ski equipment thread.

    oh and, yet again, Lou’s technical articles are really quite good.

    Did I miss anything?

  97. Randonnee March 17th, 2010 8:18 pm

    Yep, funny Lee Lau! :smile: – “Randonee is so finesse and has such a balanced technique he doesn’t impact snow – he levitates. In fact he doesn’t need boots (JOKING in case no-one got it)” I deserve that. On my part it is probably overcompensation for being tagged as using “gorilla technique” in the early 1980s! Online discussions can be interesting and entertaining and annoying in close succession…humor is good!

  98. Lou March 17th, 2010 8:23 pm

    LOL

  99. ScottP March 17th, 2010 8:57 pm

    Pish. I stand by my statements’ accuracy, no matter how off topic they may be. :biggrin:

    It is wonderful to finally see more direct comparison between the Dynafits and G3s. It’s been confusing for consumers not yet tied to either tribe and it’s nice to hear all the arguments for and against. Hopefully more of these comparisons will be coming?

  100. Brittany Walker March 17th, 2010 9:54 pm

    “Frank K. of 14er Skier visits here on occasion. Frank? What say you? Any back story to the binding pullout on Gothic?”

    Neither Dave, Frank, or I believe the issue was surrounding the Dynafits themselves. At the very least it could be that the ski was just not strong enough for the binding. However, in this case, Dave suggests it was more likely “user error”. In his own words, “Earlier in the season I had swapped out my bindings early one morning before a trip and spaced on screwing them back in with epoxy/glue/heli coils. Over the course of the winter the screws must have loosened up and on this day decided to rip out. Something that could have been prevented.”

    Hope that helps straighten out the story :) Of course, these new Onyx bindings with the swap plates would be another easy solution :)

  101. Walt March 17th, 2010 10:25 pm

    Wrong, Scott P. I was comparing dh bikes to xc bikes. But more like trail/ all mountain bikes to xc bikes. By the way, Adam craig won the Downyville all mountain champion ships on a Giant trance which is a strong trail bike that weighs 5 lbs more than an xc race bike. Why, did he win it? Because he’s a strong enough rider to ride a BETTER bike… that’s why. It’s like comparing shitty, weak old style Dynafits (only DIN 10) to the FT 12′s was the better analogy.

  102. BigD March 17th, 2010 10:35 pm

    Lee,
    Well said. This whole discussion is a blast and Lou has to be lovin’ the traffic.
    To the outside world, we’re ALL a bunch of fanatical geeks.

  103. BigD March 17th, 2010 10:40 pm

    Lou,
    My “… comment is being held in moderation.”? What’s up? Did I cross the line somewhere?

    I just want to play with rest of the kids.

  104. Walt March 17th, 2010 10:46 pm

    Yes, Lou… weight “penalty” is too strong of a word. We are talking a pound here. These aren’t marker dukes or even Fritschis. And the reason I use dynafits, by the way, (the only reason) is because they climb so much better than any other AT or tele binding out there. It’s not so much the weight that makes them great, but the design of the pivot, The whole system is ingenous. But their patent has run out, so why not let other people has a fair chance at making bindings based on their design? That’s how inovation works. I just feel from reading your review that you a little bitter about other companies making dyanfit style bindings…. probably because you are sponsered by dynafit. But in any case, people looking at the onyx , are now going to see your review which, in my opinion was not too favorable … and all over a pound of extra wieght? I feel this weight would be worth it, if the onyx has more downhill performance and more importantly… reliability than the dynafit. Because the weight difference really isn’t that much. We aren’t talking 3+ pounds like the marker duke. Yes, every gram makes a difference when you are going to ski a 8000 meter peak. But to 99% of people who just backcountry tour, it doesn’t. Plus, the onyx, has the exact same pivot system for climbing, so there is no difference in my opinion.

  105. Walt March 17th, 2010 10:58 pm

    By the way, there must be a lot of lightweight skier’s on here if everyone thinks DIN over 10 is high. I’ve been skiing for over 30 years and have never blown a knee and I always ski on DIN 10 or 11 on all my skis. World cup bindings go up to DIN 18 and as you saw in the Olympics in the many spectacular crashes … everyone released just fine. Lot’s of bruises, but no knee injuries.

  106. Lee Lau March 17th, 2010 11:03 pm

    No Walt – it’s because you’re rad. Radder then everyone. Possible radder even then Jonathan if that’s possible.

    Here’s something to geek out on Lou. How much force is required to depress the toe lever of the Onyx to open the toe jaws comparing the production version vs the beta version.

    That would be useability issue especially on steeper slopes or sidehills right?

  107. Craig R.Grattan March 18th, 2010 5:18 am

    Hi,

    Great discussion, but let us not forget that whole raison d’etre of the Dynafit is lightness and this shedding of weight was attained by making many concessions against performance. What the G3 amply demonstrates is that if this design is to be implement so as to deliver performance comparable to that of the better AT bindings, both current and past, then the weight must inevitably and substantially increase.

    I have used the Dynafit since the 90s and value it low weight, especially if I have to portage my skis a lot. But when I am carrying a full 20Kg pack whilst side slipping down an icy 30 degree slope with the skis violently chattering and hungry crevasses waiting, I much prefer other bindings.

    I have tested extensively the Dynafit against other bindings, mounted on identical skis, side by side, a different ski&binding on each foot, and found it inferior in many respects. Its shortcomings are too numerous to list here, but its much touted weight advantage, IME did not translate into more effortless skiing under actual touring conditions, too often the contrary was found to be the case because of the binding’s quircks.

    Something not mentioned in this thread is that the metallic inserts in Dynafit compatible boots deteriorate very rapidly under rough usage, especially when negotiating moraines and this severely limits their usefulness in many regions, unless one is prepared to carry an additional pair of boots, wiping out any weight advantage of the binding.

    Cheers
    Craig

  108. Jonathan Shefftz March 18th, 2010 6:56 am

    “But it [Onyx] should be celebrated by all those who “earn their turns” as it will hopefully give Dynafit “game” inducing greater innovations in performance and safety, and drive price reduction.”
    - Yes, it really was the economist part of me that was truly excited and interested by the G3. However, Dynafit prices – whether MSRP, the elusive sales, or used – seem to be just as high as last year. And the only Dynafit changes for next years are apparently trimming the Vertical weight a bit by eliminating the fifth toe screw, and making stripped-down race binding even lighter?
    - Then again, maybe the effect just needs more time. Also interesting to see what will happen with the Trab TR2 and ATK Race RT.

    “I’ve learned [...] Jonathan is an authority on Dynafits and their behaviour in powder snow even though he weighs as much as most people’s toenail clipplings and skis in the NE. (but wait — the resume and Suunto logs will be trotted out in due course to rebut this statement)”
    - At 145 pounds, I definitely can *not* speak with personal experience on heavyweight use of Dynafit bindings. However, you’d be surprised at the frequency with which untracked backcountry powder can be skied in the NE if you have a flexible schedule and know where to go (and never invite more than one or two skiers along, and afterwards never posts TRs). Consistency of skiing untracked backcountry powder? No – often *weeks* can go by of having to do rando race training on groomers, xc skate skiing, and sometimes even taking out the alpine downhill race gear and riding chairlifts. But then a storm comes, and timing is everything. (Often after only a few days, even the secret stashes are ruined by rain, thaw/refreeze, sun crust, etc.)
    - Also, *living* exclusively in the NE does not necessarily entail *skiing* exclusively in the NE. Admittedly, of my four western ski trips last year, only two were for winter powder, and at only about 37,000′ vertical, those two western trips accounted for less than 10% of my total earned vertical for the season, but I think that still constitutes some basis for powder experience with Dynafit bindings in different climates. (In what file format do you want the logs and resume? [where’s the emoticon thingie button?])

    “Possible radder even then Jonathan if that’s possible.”
    - Maybe we have different definitions of “rad” but I don’t think any of my posts can be construed as attributing “radness” to myself. I mean, I don’t stress skiing extremely steep pitches or skiing very exposed terrain or getting big air . . . because, well, I have no interest in that kind of skiing and that kind of terrain. Hence my “radness” factor is exceedingly low. (Well, unless you count wearing lycra in public?)

    “But their patent has run out, so why not let other people has a fair chance at making bindings based on their design? That’s how inovation works.”
    - Agree, and another important aspect of facilitating such innovation is publicity, and G3 has received lots of free publicity here. Lou has published seven Onyx posts – a mix of initial previews, G3 press announcements, detailed comparisons, mounting steps, and even one totally fluffy guest review. Even if you somehow assert bias in what Lou writes, he opens up all the posts to comments, and although moderated, anything other than spam is allowed, even the amazingly biased and unsubstantiated anti-Dynafit claims (e.g., “shortcomings are too numerous to list”and “inserts in [...] boots deteriorate very rapidly under rough usage”), which if anything would lead to the conclusion that this entire website is a very clever anti-Dynafit effort by G3.

    “It is wonderful to finally see more direct comparison between the Dynafits and G3s. It’s been confusing for consumers not yet tied to either tribe and it’s nice to hear all the arguments for and against.”
    - Agreed, and also see this review: http://offpistemag.com/blog/UserFiles/File/op_43_AT_Binders.pdf
    (Better yet, subscribe and support the magazine! Sure print is old-fashioned, but lots of good material, and pretty cheap too.)

    “World cup bindings go up to DIN 18 and as you saw in the Olympics in the many spectacular crashes … everyone released just fine. Lot’s of bruises, but no knee injuries.”
    - Actually, some models go far beyond that. And ski racers at all levels – from USSA to FIS-B to World Cup – suffer horrible rates of knee injuries. (However, this is not just b/c of high release settings, but also b/c modern bindings still offer only very minimal protection against certain types of knee injuries.)

    “My “… comment is being held in moderation.”? What’s up? Did I cross the line somewhere?”
    - Might have been the double post. (Or was that double post a second attempt after the first got caught up in moderation?) Either way, I approved one and deleted the duplicate. (For the record, I don’t consider myself a moderator here – I checked to see if I could approve that comment only because its status was brought up in another subsequent comment.)

  109. tOM March 18th, 2010 7:09 am

    WOW!!!!! It’s amazing to me how worked up some of these posters are over someone else’s choices, reasonings and/or experiences. Let me clearly point out, I’m a mere mortal; 7000′+ on a day of touring is pretty hugh for me, I’ve really only been on skis five years or so,(previous ski exp. is what I call “walking on sticks”), skied more this year than any other,(more than 20, less than 40-no, I don’t even keep track); furthermore, there is probably less reason for any of you to care what I think, than for me to care what y’all think. Truth is, I check out as much info as possible from what I can discern as reasonably honest sources, factor in my own opinions, desires and spend my dollars accordingly. The Onyx has some clear advantages for some of us. Swapability, adjustability, (perhaps) less finicky-fiddly, (resulting in a faster learing curve), (perhaps) better retention, (could be) a better release, able to tour with toe unlocked,(and will release in a knee fall even when lightly locked- have tested this myself), and last it is and does look more substantial. The Onyx has some clear disadvantages as well; it is more “substantial”, even after the beta program it is showing some quirks of it’s own, it is in it’s first year of production, limited din setting choices and unknown long term reliability. I bought into the Onyx during the beta program and am not sorry for the choice. I will in short order be the proud new owner of a used pair of tlt speed bindings and hope I don’t regret that either. Some jerk with the same first name as mine has an ongoing review of the Onyx on the telemarktips.com gear review. Further reviews of the Onyx can be found on the G3 website, both flattering and critical,(kudos to G3 for this transparency). As is the case with others, I do get frustrated with “slick marketing”, and particularly with what is now known as “toyota syndrome”,(the glossing over of problems without addressing them). I firmly believe G3 is working as quickly as they can to resolve issues with the Onyx, though I wish they would be more forthright and leave the marketing dept. out of it,(it’s a modern world). I also believe that many gear related problems stem from misuse or unfamiliarity and like many of you am suspicious when others are having problems I’m not; that being said, it’s frustrating when you’re the one having issues that no one else is seeming to have. In the long run, just because someone doesn’t understand why another would make a certain choice, it doesn’t make it a bad choice or condem choices that differ. So unlax!

  110. ete March 18th, 2010 7:24 am

    So the bottom line is? 1) There’s lots of room for improvement in AT bindings; 2) Competition is good and welcome; 3) Skiers will always find something to debate/argue about; 4) Are vendors/manufacturers listening? 5) Prices are too high and the market may be too small to encourage and spur on newer/better inventions in ski bindings that cost less.
    Did I miss anything? Oh yea, go read threads on NTN bindings if you think this thread is a winner! :wink:

  111. Lou March 18th, 2010 7:27 am

    Walt, you’ve got plenty of good points and I appreciate your contributions, but let me just say that reading unsubstantiated bias into this post is truly a reach, and demonstrates some pre-conceptions about me and my writing that just are not true. Sure, I like Dynafit and this blog wouldn’t exist without their’s and my other advertiser’s support. BUT, I’ve had many conversations with them and my other advertisers over the years about how important it is for Wild Snow to be authentic and for me to not shy from presenting other products in a good light, as well as telling the true story about Dynafit bindings.

    Bottom line is that what I’m presenting is is opinion and facts based on observation, research and experience. Walt, if you don’t agree with my opinions or if you call me on mistakes with my facts that’s great and your comments are appreciated, but I sure don’t appreciate the insinuation of egregious bias that you seem to have made. In fact, after the 15 years or so of incredibly hard work building this website and working with the resulting community, I’d regard that as a personal insult.

    Just because a person sells advertising and uses and likes something from their advertisers doesn’t automatically make them part of some evil PR conspiracy. :angel:

  112. Lou March 18th, 2010 7:39 am

    Ete, NTN? Isn’t that something from the Pleistocene era? (grin)

    Also, I trust in this discussion that you guys have a good sense of just how many Dynafit bindings are being successfully used? And how many are sold each year? According to a number of industry sources, Dynafit sells more than 50,000 sets of bindings a year, and the number of people using them is in the hundreds of thousands. In other words, we are splitting hairs when it comes to arguing the fine points. Fun, but good to keep it in perspective.

    The Dynafit binding is NOT PERFECT. There, is that unbiased enough? But it works pretty danged well and any new AT binding that’s in its first year of retail sales needs to undergo serious scrutiny if it’s going up against the a market that’s dominated by Fritschi and Dynafit. Directing the light of that scrutiny is our mission here, among others. So, today, another Onyx post I’ve been working on for a few days.

  113. Craig R.Grattan March 18th, 2010 8:04 am

    Hi,

    I really should have added that I consider the Dynafit an engineering marvel and a wonderful development, but like Lou just conceded, perfect it ain’t, though I use mine quite a lot and like it for wht it is.

    Jonathan, if you are going to quote me, please do so that the meaning of what I said is not distorted; I said “Its shortcomings are too numerous to list here…”, meaning this thread. There is nothing unsubstantiated about the bindings quirks (code for shortcomings) and a cursory read of the many excellent articles that Lou himself posted on this website over the years will prove them to anyone who cares to read, though I could add quite a few more, never mind the user reports on other sites.

    My comments are nor not an anti Dynafit tirade, nor a G3 plug (don’t have one, no will I buy one as it stands now), merely a reality check. Put another way, the Dynafit IMHO is in the same category as aluminium ice axes and crampons – More than adequate in many settings, but by no stretch of the imagination the universal answer. Sure some will argue that it will do everything that one could ask for and more, but I am old enough to remember the same nonsense about telemarking on skinny skis decades ago. Oh, and I still ski on skinny skis too…

    Now onto the G3: My intuition tells me that it is overdesigned and could shed quite a bit of weight. I am sure that if the aftermarket manufacturers would go over it, as they have done with the Dynafit, they could bring its weight down close to a pound each, maybe a bit over. But the price would rise substantially.

    Cheers
    Craig

  114. Lou March 18th, 2010 8:23 am

    Craig, good point about the content here. For crying out loud, for anyone to say I’m some kind of Dynafit patsy flies in the face of the nearly encylopedic volume of stuff here that addresses the binding’s shortcomings. And in all honesty, over the years I’ve heard from the powers that be more than a few times about their dislike of some of that content, since it points out flaws or gives consumers information they didn’t want promulgated.

    All, I’d also add that it has indeed been disappointing at times to see how long it took Dynafit to fix a known flaw, such as the sticking brakes. But that’s not just Dynafit. I remember the same thing with some Fritschi issues over the years. It takes huge amounts of time for a design change to work its way into the retail version of any product. On top of that, earlier products always exist in the pipeline and confuse the issue. And the clincher is that, yes, corporate culture sometimes causes excessive coolaid drinking and product designers refuse to acknowledge flaws they should be fixing as quickly as possible. From my experience, there is NO company immune from that, so be it.

    That being said, yes, the Dynafit basic mechanicals design is amazingly old now, and has achieved a sort of immortality now that it’s public domain and being used for literally dozens of other bindings, including Onyx. But to say the Dynafit binding is static and not being improved is just not true. I can walk into my binding collection room in about 5 steps from here, and look at a whole raft of Dynafit models, each showing improvement over the previous.

  115. Lou March 18th, 2010 8:26 am

    Jeez, the guest bloggers here really have to take the heat!

    Those guys work hard to bring us some pretty decent content, so everyone, please be nice!

  116. Lou March 18th, 2010 8:41 am

    BigD, any more problems with our comment system? We’ve got a lot of automatic holds, but do very little beyond that. Not seeing anything at this time being held.

    For everyone’s info, things that cause comment to be moderated or even blocked:
    - Comment comes from IP number on various spam block lists (this happens rarely to legit users, but it does happen).
    - Comment has more than one or sometimes two links in the text.
    - Comment has one or more of various stop words, such as most profanity and common spam words such as the V word or other drugs.
    - You have been set to have all your comments moderated (we’ve only done this twice in the history of WildSnow)
    -Some glitch in the system (happens)

  117. Rob March 18th, 2010 9:13 am

    That brake catch looks like it was inspired by the tour/ski mode switch on Voile’s Switchback binding.

  118. Randonnee March 18th, 2010 9:29 am

    My newer FT and ST Dynafit bindings and brakes work perfectly, no pre-release, no need to lock the toes on the downhill. It would be interesting to hear of the engineering behind the improvement.

    Just wanted to restate this in case my positive message was lost in all of this quixotic mix of ego, legend, male tool/toy fascination and other flatulence…:smile:

    Gotta agree about past flaws with Dynafit skis, boots and bindings. Conversely the improvement is impressive although not perfect. However, it seems the Dynafit bindings have become closer to perfect!

  119. Frank K March 18th, 2010 9:40 am

    ete- “So the bottom line is? 1) There’s lots of room for improvement in AT bindings; 2) Competition is good and welcome; ”

    Well said, I couldn’t agree more.

    Dynafits are light, and they’re OK, but they could be so much better.

    No DIN in the toepiece, at the very least it’s quite difficult to go tour-ski-tour on the fly, change the bsl just a little and you might need to re-drill, opposite of ergonomic in every way, the brakes are so bad many people choose to go with leashes, the list of improvements that could be made goes on and on…

    ONYX tries to solve some of these flaws, which is great. Hopefully skitrab’s binding effort will do some of the same, and maybe some other players will get in the game, like BD. Dynafit is in the best position of all- they’ve got a working binding that just needs some tweaks to make it so much better than it currently is.

  120. Lou March 18th, 2010 9:48 am

    Rando, they did change some things with the toe jaws back in when the ST first came out. Very small changes, but they made a difference. I

  121. Bobby Miller March 18th, 2010 10:11 am

    IRT To holding open the Onyx binding while on side hill: the pressure required to hold the binding open is small enough that it doesn’t seem to matter to me, plus it makes it easy to open back up if you miss the alignment on the first go. I have even been able to put in one side of the boot and use it to rotate the ski up to proper alignment then let go of the opening lever. It seems the alignment on a hard crusty side hill is the big downfall of the tech system in general, everyday is a new experience, still learning how big of a platform I need to knock into all the different types of snow, and am looking forward to trying just the tail in the snow! Fristchi may have a heck of a “weight” penalty, but getting in and out of them is worlds easier! If they could only come up with a way to make a system for us regular joes that easy to get in and out of but would also be the free pivot!

  122. SB March 18th, 2010 10:15 am

    “From my experience, any STRONG SKIER (somebody who can squat at least double bodywieght and has at least a 30? vertical leap … otherwise, you are weak and not even a factor) will blow right out of Dynafits.” — WALT

    “And the reason I use dynafits, by the way, (the only reason) is because they climb so much better than any other AT or tele binding out there.” — WALT

    I’m confused, Walt. So you aren’t a STRONG SKIER? Seriously, 30 years? Still, you’ve greatly upped the entertainment factor of this thread, so kudos to you.

    Anyway, the weight of dynafit makes a difference. Hip flexors aren’t the biggest muscles in most people’s legs.

    The pivot on a tech binding is great for touring and is especially nice on lower angle terrain. I find the pivot makes much less of a difference for steep skinning and if that were all I am doing, I prefer my Fritschis. As it gets even steeper and the skis go on the pack, the pivot (and the weight) makes even less of a difference.

    I think everyone is happy to see more competition in the tech binding market and comparing the main two consumer oriented products makes perfect sense. Weight isn’t the only consideration, but it is very near the top of the list, so asking the question “What do I get for my 1 lb penalty?” makes perfect sense to me.

  123. Lou March 18th, 2010 12:17 pm

    I rue the day I ever used the word “penalty.” :biggrin:

  124. Jonathan Shefftz March 18th, 2010 1:49 pm

    “change the [Dynafit] bsl just a little and you might need to re-drill”
    - The Comfort and Vertical fore/aft adjustment range is ~26mm, about the same as most alpine downhill bindings.
    - Onyx fore/aft adjustment range according to the manual is 30mm.

    “Fristchi may have a heck of a “weight” penalty, but getting in and out of them is worlds easier!”
    - Now granted any Dynafit newcomer is going to have more difficulty entering the binding as compared to a Diamir, but how is exit any different? With a Diamir, you exit by pressing down on a lever at the heel. With Dynafit, you exit by pressing down on a lever at the toe.

  125. Bobby Miller March 18th, 2010 2:39 pm

    Jonathan
    I appoligize for speaking out of line, you are 100% correct, getting OUT is no harder…well that is unless you are one of the heavier guys who has to worry about locking down the toe, cause if he doesnt he can pop out whenever he wants to! That is most definetly easier then even the Diamir! :biggrin:

    PS: Joke, please dont hate mail me!

  126. KDog March 18th, 2010 2:46 pm

    I’ve been visiting this site for few years now and one of the things I love about it is the honesty and civility of the discourse.

    That said, I think that the posters here have been lured into a sense of security such that we no longer recognize a troll when we read one. :unsure: I’ll name no names, but spend some time at Telemark Tips or the flame wars of TGR to re-build your suspicious nature.

    Back to Dynafit v. G3 Oynx,

    How about mounting a FT12 toe with a G3 heel? Why buy one binding when you could buy two at twice the price?

    Also, I need some help on pronunciation. I’m american living in Canada and down there I hear people say Dynafit, “DEAN A FIT”, but up here they say “DINAH FIT”. Potato, Potahtoe? Porsche, Porsch Ah?

  127. rod georgiu March 18th, 2010 2:59 pm

    Is it just my impression, or you guys have too much time on your hands? Of course, here I sit in front of my computer, holding my 8 month old and trying to get him to sleep, so I have time to kill.

    All these pre-release comments are gettin gme worried. Should I be? I switched to FT-12s this year, and they performed flawlessly. Even in crusty, icy stuff. It’s true that I lock the toes when I am in a no-fall couloir, but anywehere else I don’t. They are set at 11, same as my alpine setup.

    So far so good. Even getting in them seems a non-issue, even though I was worried after reading comments on this blog. If it’s steeper than 45 degrees and have to put my skis on, Fritschis or Dynafits, I dig a small platform anyway.:ninja:

  128. rod georgiu March 18th, 2010 3:01 pm

    And I forgot to say that I weigh 180+, and pretty strong, stronger than Walt’s criteria. :cheerful:

  129. Art March 18th, 2010 5:10 pm

    No joke, rod. …the skiing must not be any good anywhere. Nitpicking and parsing of words is getting quite involved here. Now were talking about getting OUT of “Deeenafits” vs Diamir. Life must be pretty good when these are such contentious issues, eh?

    Maybe the weight “penalty” of the Onyx could be used to help justify sled approaches? …only up to legal wilderness boundaries, of course. :whistle:

  130. Lou March 18th, 2010 6:02 pm

    Pot calling the kettle black?

  131. Joe March 18th, 2010 7:18 pm

    So I have the onyx mounted with the brakes and was wondering what was happening before the fix was made. The problem I’m having with the brakes is that they stay up after a toe release when in downhill mode, making the brake totally ineffective. So I’m trying to figure out if this is a design issue or a faulty brake and if the fix solves this issue. If the heel releases the brakes come down but if only the toe releases they do not. I never thought brakes were that useful until I watched my ski accelerate away and out of sight from me without brakes!

  132. Lou March 18th, 2010 8:24 pm

    Joe, I didn’t get clear on what the fix was, but you should be able to contact G3 and get things straight. Or perhaps some of the other Onyx users here have a take?

  133. KevinD March 18th, 2010 8:37 pm

    “Pot calling the Kettle Black” Fo Sho!

    Here is our local Avy Forecast:

    Primary Concerns

    Persistent Slab
    There are 5 buried surface hoar layers in the upper snowpack, with the deepest being at around 120 cm.  Any one of these layers can produce large, destructive avalanches.

    Wind Slab
    Moderate to strong southwest winds have lee and cross loaded alpine and open treeline features.

    Loose Wet Snow
    Be aware of a quickly de-stabilizing upper snowpack when the sun is at its most intense in the afternoons.

    Think I’ll read blogs till about noon then head out. :shocked:

  134. tOM March 18th, 2010 8:47 pm

    :blink: Joe, I’m confused. Just my understanding, but if you’re in DH mode both toes and heels must release to come completely out of the binding. Maybe you’re comparing vertical release to horizontal? Either way, I’d suggest contacting either your vendor or G3 customer service to get the brakes checked out and squared away. My brakes have been flawless for about 20 days since the upgrade.

  135. Joe March 18th, 2010 9:33 pm

    Lou, I have contacted G3 and am awaiting their response to my issues. I am also taking my equipment back to the shop to have it checked out.

    tOM, vertical or horizontal aside after releasing from the binding while in DH mode, upon recovery of my runaway equipment, the heel has been in the DH engaged position with the brake firmly stowed in the upright position. This has happened multiple times.

    The feature of the brake stowing up while in touring mode is really slick. I believe they should never be held up by anything other than body weight while in the DH mode though. My bindings definitely do not work this way however. So my question is whether this is faulty hardware or mounting, or faulty design. Is this an isolated event or a major liability?

  136. Bobby Miller March 18th, 2010 10:38 pm

    Joe, G3 recognized that the brake didn’t work well and have issued the upgrades free of charge. If I remember correctly, it was something to do with the spring in the brake not being strong enough, which may be why your’s aren’t releasing. Anything that shipped from G3 to distributors before sometime in January (I think), had the “bad” brakes. The leash, although a pain sometimes, can be a real savior in situations where a brake isn’t working (and IMHO is better then brakes in powder anyway!)

  137. Bobby Miller March 18th, 2010 11:08 pm

    And Joe, regardless of the answer, you mind posting on here so we know what the problem was! Thanks!

  138. Walt March 20th, 2010 1:11 am

    Your test, Lou, where you bench tested the a boot in the front jaws of both the dyanafit and the onyx shows to me that there is promise that the onyx actually could solve the problem with the dynafit style system where the toe pre-releases. I think a real ski test is in order to settle this once and for all. You could get several big, strong skiers and have them each ski a day on identical setups (except the bindings) and see which one pre-releases more. If I had the money I would go out and just buy the onyxs and see for myself. I already have the FT12s. And for the record, I do like them for backcountry powder skiing. I just wish I could trust them more is all I was saying. Right now I am skiing on DIN 11 and I suppose I could go ahead and max them out on 12. But I heard that you aren’t supposed to do that on a binding. Is that true? I never had a problem with the heel pre-releasing… only the toe. But it doesn’t happen that much… not like the FT10s – which were absolute garbage and I had to sell them for a loss on ebay.

    Also, why do ignorant fools like SB ridicule me when they know nothing about me? I do have a fritschi set that I use for the side country. But for long approaches, nothing compares to dynafits. Who wants big, clunky bindings for that? And what’s so hard to understand about that? Also, anyone who uses dynafits in a ski area is a fool. After all according to Craig, your inserts are going to wear out very quickly any way, so why push it?

    “Something not mentioned in this thread is that the metallic inserts in Dynafit compatible boots deteriorate very rapidly under rough usage, especially when negotiating moraines and this severely limits their usefulness in many regions, unless one is prepared to carry an additional pair of boots, wiping out any weight advantage of the binding.”- Craig

    I haven’t noticed it myself with over 100 days on my boots. (There’s no lateral motion when skinning.) But if that does happen, is there anything you can do about it? Or are the boots just retired from dynafit/onyx use and you have to use Fritschis anyway?

  139. Craig R.Grattan March 20th, 2010 2:31 am

    Hi Walt,

    I did not say that the inserts will wear out if used for area skiing. By rough usage I meant plodding through glaciers covered in rubble or scrambling up or down scree slopes.

    I know people who use it for area skiing, but I consider the bindings a bit delicate for the abuse meted out at lift queues and the release characteristics are way down on what I look for in a DH binding.

    Cheers
    Craig

  140. Lou March 20th, 2010 7:13 am

    Walt, I’ve got a nice Onyx test setup here that’s available for selected WildSnowers…

  141. Lou March 20th, 2010 7:24 am

    Craig and Walt, what will wear out in ski resort use of tech bindings is the heel pins. The boot heel fitting rides on a very small patch of surface area, and with enough repetitive pounding will wear divots in the pins. I’ve done it. This wear might also happen to the boot heel fitting, but I’ve never observed that with any of my boots. I don’t ski much resort vertical anymore, and swap boots and bindings pretty often because that’s my job, so I’ve not been able to observe this kind of wear in recent years, but I remember it well. The boot heel fitting is very easy to replace, as are the binding pins, so I never regarded this as an issue worthy of much concern.

    The Dynafit toe unit is most certainly as durable as most if not all alpine bindings, but the heel unit can get pretty beat up if used for aggressive and constant lift skiing. But then, when I used to use alpine bindings they got pretty beat up as well, and occasionally broke…

  142. Lou March 20th, 2010 7:26 am

    Walt, one other thing, I’d never ask or expect anyone to intentionally ski a binding to the point where it pre-released. Those can be brutal falls and a good way to get seriously injured.

  143. Mark W March 20th, 2010 7:31 am

    Walt, be aware that when you say “…anyone who uses Dynafits in a ski area is a fool,” you’re slandering a significant number of skiers. Think about that.

  144. Jonathan Shefftz March 20th, 2010 8:02 am

    “Right now I am skiing on DIN 11 and I suppose I could go ahead and max them out on 12. But I heard that you aren’t supposed to do that on a binding. Is that true?”
    – The old adage was that alpine downhill ski bindings have optimal return-to-center and other characteristics when set at around the middle to a bit over that on the adjustment range, and that maxing it out leads to less-then-optimal performance. Maybe something about compressing the spring all the way?
    – I’ve never seen any verification of that. And even if true for some bindings, then not necessarily true for all bindings (especially since some bindings even when cranked all the way might not be compressing the spring internally to the max).
    – Might be a good q for both epicski.com and TGR.

  145. Lou March 20th, 2010 9:07 am

    With Dynafit, I don’t see any reason why setting to number 12 release would reduce the elasticity, as the elasticity is required for the binding to release and if either spring was bottomed out the binding would not release. That being said, don’t yard on the adjustment screws when setting to number 12, you can strip the threads on either one. BTW, I’m trying not to use the term “DIN” since these are not certified DIN settings of which we speak. Lou

  146. Walt March 20th, 2010 4:55 pm

    Yep, going to crank them up to 12 as it happened again today. This time a double front realease. (both skis coming off at the same time. Thank god, it happened right at the beginning before I turned down the face (about 45 degrees) or the skis would have gone forever and over a small cliffband as well. So, I locked them down again and had no more problems. And yes, I did clean out my pin holes. I even made a special tool that I carry just for that. I ran into another skier on dynafits and he also had his toe pieces locked. He said he couldn’t trust his either in the current conditions which were basically coral reef… a little corn in the middle but it was too cold to corn up. I know how the fritschis would have performed (and I’m wondering why I didn’t bring those skis) , but I can’t help but wonder how the G3′s would have done? Because isn’t the “lock” on the onyx just a “DIN boost” and not really a lock like the dynafit? That just seems like a good idea. Because there are times when your want a ski to come off (just not easily). Like in an avalanche…. It has happened to people on the skin up. Suppose you are ascending with dynafits and a slide breaks loose? Will you come out? (Obviously you have chosen a poor approach, but that’s besides the point. One could still come down from you from way above.) How about the onyx? … it sounds like you might release.

    I still stand by what I said about using these type bindings in a ski area. Using a ski area to access the backcountry is one thing. But to spend a day recreation skiing in a ski area… why would you do that? You are not going to be locking the toe. (if you want to keep your knees) So suppose one of these bindings pre-leased out of the blue like they do and your ski flew down and hurt or killed somebody? How would you feel then? …. hell of a price to pay just to be the “cool” AT boy on dynafits.

  147. Lou March 20th, 2010 5:01 pm

    Walt, the Onyx “DIN boost” is in my opinion nothing different than what the Dynafit has. Both essentially lock the binding lateral release at a very high release value.

    You really should try some Onyx.

    As for people’s motivations on why they ski their AT gear at a resort, please speak for yourself.

    Also, some of those folks on AT gear at the resort might be girls, not boys.

  148. Jonathan Shefftz March 20th, 2010 5:23 pm

    “Because isn’t the “lock” on the onyx just a “DIN boost” and not really a lock like the dynafit? That just seems like a good idea.”
    – Not a good idea according to the Onyx manual: “WARNING: The G3 Onyx binding is only recommended to be skied with the toe tour lock lever unlocked in ‘ski’ mode. If the product is skied with the tour mode lock in place you are effectively removing the safety release features of the binding (as well as release in avalanche conditions), and putting yourself at risk of injury or death. Skiing the binding this way could void your warranty should you damage the binding in the event of a fall.”

    “Suppose you are ascending with dynafits and a slide breaks loose? Will you come out?”
    - I have testing putting the Dynafit toe lever in the third “click” so that the ribbed end of the toe lever is fully engaging the bump on the toe’s base plate. The resistance while twisting out seemed comparable to twisting out of my alpine downhill race bindings that are set at 7 for the toes. (Note that this is with the heel unit in tour mode, NOT ski mode, which is a whole ‘nother story. Also, I’d caution against trying this tour-mode twist-out test too often: seems to put lots of stress on the binding, the toe unit pincer might even scratch the boot’s toe fitting a bit.)

  149. Lou March 20th, 2010 5:30 pm

    I’ll repeat this again (probably the sixth or seventh time): The lateral release value you get with the Dynafit toe locked is dependent on the flex of the ski top skin and the binding toe parts. It varies with how strong the ski is and with manufacturing variations in the binding and boot fittings. It also has very little elasticity. Thus, calling this in any way shape or form a “DIN” value is a total misnomer. It’s a release value that could in some ways be compared to a “DIN” setting, but again, it’s going to vary and has little “give.” And yes, testing to release with toe locked can damage the binding or the toe fittings. This information comes directly from the source in Austria.

    I’m getting the feeling that Wildsnow.com could exist for the sole purpose of discussing to lock or not to lock (grin).

  150. Bryan March 20th, 2010 6:46 pm

    Walt may have a point (at least inadvertantly) about not skiing Dynafits at ski areas. I’ve had them on while taking lifts with footrests. If somebody put the safety bar down and I dangled my feet below the bar (which I usually do) it looked like it would be awfully easy to bump the top of the toepiece against the bottom of the bar and release them. God forbid it happened with someone skiing below the lift.

  151. John March 20th, 2010 6:52 pm

    I am glad I have NEVER had a pre-release :cool: issue with with my first and second generation FT-12s as I have them on every ski except my Volkl AC 50s. I ski Dynafit bindings and boots almost exclusively. This topic is getting boring.

    I have had to increase the forward release to 9 to prevent instant tele-mode and still no front release.

  152. Lou March 20th, 2010 7:15 pm

    Bryan, I’ll admit I lost a ski on a chairlift once, Dynafit that time. But it happens with alpine bindings as well. Pretty funny as I didn’t even realize I’d lost the ski ’till we were near the unloading station. Thus, I had to one-ski down the whole lift line because I didn’t know where exactly my lost ski was. Pretty funny, but yeah, it would have been a drag to drop it on someone!

  153. James March 20th, 2010 8:46 pm

    I think its safe to say that we all agree that Dynafits are pretty damned good and that we are all happy to see a new offering on the tech market.

    Now…..new topic…..sheesh….

  154. Craig R.Grattan March 20th, 2010 9:13 pm

    Lou,

    Good point about the pins wearing divots – Never pushed mine that far. I gave up after a couple of chair lift incidents and sundry other “occurrences”.

    Back to the G3: Do you think that it offers enough performance advantages over the Tech bindings to make the changeover worthwhile, if its weight could be reduced to around 480gm each?

    I am rather surprised that Dynafit or some other aftermarket manufacturer has not come out with a light weight heel unit that would allow changeovers from FH to DH and back without having to exit the binding.

    Cheers
    Craig

  155. Tom March 20th, 2010 11:10 pm

    Just wanted to thank Lou for all the good info on Dynfit binders and how to mount them. After 15 yrs of telemarking I am now skiing Dynafits, which I mounted myself per Lou instructions. Took my time, measured 3 times, drilled once. They came out perfect with no trial runson 2×4′s or dumpster skiis required. Thanks again for a superb source of info for the backcountry skiing community.

  156. Craig R.Grattan March 20th, 2010 11:31 pm

    Tom,

    +1!

    We should all be grateful for Lous invaluable contributions, I particularly admire and value his zeal re avalanche burial prevention.

    Cheers
    Craig

  157. Lou March 21st, 2010 7:16 am

    Thread burnout, I love it!

    Thanks for the kind words you guys, we do try…

    More posts starting Monday of course! Never a dull moment around here!

  158. Lou March 21st, 2010 7:45 am

    Craig, if a given person is using Dynafits and has no problem, I really don’t see any reason they’d necessarily switch to Onyx. On the other hand, if you are a larger aggressive skier and find you must ski with the Dynafit toe locked, I’d by all means try the Onyx. As for weight being a factor, sure, if the Onyx was lighter it would be even more attractive, but the latest generation of Dynafit is pretty danged nice and it would be hard for Onyx to match that weight unless the whole Onyx design was re-worked.

    One other thing is I think some people will definitely prefer one binding entry method over the other, and that will dictate choice between Onyx and Dynafit. In my view this is a very important aspect of this discussion — for 99 percent of us, much more important than pre-release.

    Funny part of all this is that if Onyx becomes known as the binding for larger aggressive skiers, some folks will probably buy it because they _want_ to be a larger aggressive skier. Just like people buy Marker Dukes because they want to be a skier that needs DIN 16, or at least look that way in the lift line. Human nature. Guys always want to be bigger, or at least for people to think they are (grin).

  159. Walt March 21st, 2010 12:25 pm

    That’s really good to know that the “lock” on the dynafit isn’t really a lock. I feel a lot better now about skiing and skinning with the toe peices “locked”.

    So, there is a 2cd generation FT12? What year did that come out? Maybe that’s what I need… after all, a lot of big name mountaineering skiers use dynafit so they can’t be that unrelieable. I never had an issue with getting in and out of them like some people are talking about. They’re different, but they are what they are. After a bit of practice, it’s easy. Yeah, maybe I just have a bad pair of bindings, but maybe not. After all, a lot of other people have to lock the toe peice too in certain conditions.

    So, first, I think I’ll crank mine all the way up to 12 and see if that helps. But if not I’ll sell mine and get the 2cd generation. I would get the Onyx, but the skis I would use them on would be the dynafit manaslus. And as you know, they have all these inserts for dynafit bindings. Does the onyx use the same hole pattern? If so, I’m in luck, but I’m guessing not. So, it’s not going to work. Isn’t the connection to inserts the strongest kind of connection? What would I do? …drill new holes all around the existing inserts to mount the onyx? I don’t think so. The top sheet probably isn’t even strong enough to hold them anyway. I already have more beefy skis with fritschis for more aggressive skiing and of course many pairs with real bindings for the ski area. So, I don’t really need something bulky, just something reliable for “normal” backcountry skiing.

  160. Jonathan Shefftz March 21st, 2010 12:27 pm

    “Does the onyx use the same hole pattern? If so, I’m in luck [...]”
    – Yes, it is indeed your lucky day, i.e., same hole pattern.

  161. Jonathan Shefftz March 21st, 2010 12:31 pm

    “That’s really good to know that the “lock” on the dynafit isn’t really a lock. I feel a lot better now about skiing and skinning with the toe peices “locked”.”
    – I wouldn’t feel good about *skiing* with the toe piece lever in tour position. I know of someone who attempted to torque test a Dynafit with the toe piece lever in tour position and heel unit in ski position (i.e., pins engaged in boot) and the results were pretty scary. (Hence I use such a configuration only when I’m in a place where I don’t want to release no matter what, which happens only a couple times each year, and preferably zero times.)

  162. Lou March 21st, 2010 12:33 pm

    Walt, the “second gen” of the FT12 just has some cosmetic changes that are very subtle. No difference in performance that I’m aware of.

    If you’re throwing shoes left and right, I’d advise two things:
    - Try different boots to see if it’s the fittings.
    - Cut bait and try another binding system, Fritschi, Onyx, or whatever.

    Lou

  163. John March 21st, 2010 1:28 pm

    The 1st gen FT-12 does not have the reinforced toe-wings. I use this particular binding on my Atomic RT-86s for skiing in firm snow conditions. This includes bump skiing. I push this ski really hard and fast since it has a lot of sidecut. One peculiarity of the ski is how much it will chatter while hard edging. I have never had a toe pre-release, but have had a vertical release jumping a small rock ledge, in which case I was able to slam my heel back down and keep on going.

    I don’t ski with the toe in touring mode.

  164. Lou March 21st, 2010 2:01 pm

    John, to the best of my knowledge the toe wings on both bindings are the same strength, and the changes were cosmetic. This might not be the party line. Main thing is if you ever broke a toe wing perhaps this is a concern, otherwise it’s just a talking point.

  165. John March 21st, 2010 2:42 pm

    Lou,
    That is my point as well, perhaps not as clearly worded. I use the 1st gen binding under the harshest skiing. No worries.
    John

  166. Lou March 21st, 2010 3:44 pm

    Oh! I get it John, thanks for clarifying.

  167. Craig R.Grattan March 21st, 2010 5:51 pm

    Lou,

    “On the other hand, if you are a larger aggressive skier ……..”

    So how are we to think of a 90Kg touring skier loaded with 20Kg, maybe more – A large skier?

    Cheers
    Craig

  168. Lou March 21st, 2010 7:21 pm

    You’ll not get any specific weight numbers out of me on this. Just place skier weights on a scale of one to ten, I’d say 9 and 10 would be the larger skiers. In terms of aggression, again, just put it on a scale of one to ten. And hey, this is NOT A RULE, just an idea/suggestion!!!!

  169. Cory March 21st, 2010 8:34 pm

    “to spend a day recreation skiing in a ski area… why would you do that? You are not going to be locking the toe. (if you want to keep your knees) So suppose one of these bindings pre-leased out of the blue like they do and your ski flew down and hurt or killed somebody? How would you feel then? …. hell of a price to pay just to be the “cool” AT boy on dynafits.”

    You would do it because you’re not sponsored and you do not have a silver spoon in your mouth. One pair of skis is a pretty fortunate thing to have.

    If it releases, the brakes or leashes catch it. Lacking either at a ski area (in CO) is illegal for a reason.

    More than anything, take your buckets of money and buy some AT bindings you like. You can still get that “cool AT boy” thing your going for, it just won’t be on Dynafits.

  170. Craig R.Grattan March 22nd, 2010 12:23 am

    Lou,

    I wasn’t trying to ambush you with my question.

    I am just confused when people talk about “larger” or “smaller” skiers in an AT context. The distinction between smaller and larger makes good sense for recreational DH skiing as they carry very little or no added load, but makes much less in an AT setting where donning a full pack changes the equation instantly and dramatically.

    Are we to assume that if carrying heavy packs, we ought to consider the G3 in preference to the Tech?

    Cheers
    Craig

  171. Walt March 22nd, 2010 12:48 am

    Thanks for the info. Since, the hole pattern is the same, I will try the onyx.

    John, Why is a ski with a lot of side cut good for bimps? Mogul skis have very little side cut.

    Cory,
    Your ramblings make no sense. You don’t need a trust fund to have more than one pair of skis. You just need a job. Besides, there’s never a need to pay for retail.
    I bet by selling the FT12′s on Ebay, I will have enough money for new onyx bindings since they cost way less anyway

  172. Cory March 22nd, 2010 7:07 am

    “Your ramblings make no sense. You don’t need a trust fund to have more than one pair of skis. You just need a job. Besides, there’s never a need to pay for retail.”

    Was it the part about skis being expensive, or the part about Colorado law requiring brakes or leashes at the ski area? Let me know and I’ll attempt to clarify for you.

  173. Lou March 22nd, 2010 7:17 am

    RE pack weight, all backcountry skiers carry packs, so I’d say any evaluation of skier weight includes the weight of an average day pack. If you’re carrying larger loads then it should be taken on a case-by-case basis. For example, on Denali one might carry 80 lbs, but then, they’re not going to be cranking rail carves with an 80 pound pack (or at least most of us are not…). Or, say a skier is already on the heavy side and is doing overnights with a 40 lb pack, that might put them in that upper 10 or 20 percent weight class.

    And again, PLEASE, I’m just saying that skiers in that upper weight class can consider options, IF they have trouble staying in a given binding. Indeed, I’m just stating the obvious.

  174. Craig R.Grattan March 22nd, 2010 5:48 pm

    Lou,

    We have just arrived at the crux of release issues, as it pertains to ALL touring bindings and why I rate their freedom from pre-release way above “safety” (as in a DH binding). When we put on a pack, and in this neck of the woods they tend to be on the heavy side, we instantly transform ourselves into “larger” skiers with the attendant need for higher release settings, yet our legs bones do not become any stronger. Add to this bad snow and even the safest DH binding would not prevent injury from awkward falls – Hence the need for safe skiing techniques and a different mindset when in the wilderness.

    Keep up the good work and

    Cheers
    Craig

  175. daveG March 22nd, 2010 8:52 pm

    elevators, they could use a bit of beefing up. this weekend while skiing around crater lake, i managed to accidentaly flick the inner elevator first, putting my weight on it before realizing i needed to flick the outer elevator up first. I managed to push the inner elevator to one side before I put it back. the next day i was using the proper outer elevator first when the inner one just fell off cuz i must have torqued it enough the day before that it popped off its pins. no big deal, i put i in my pocket until later in the day when i had my ski off and i could put it back on…

  176. Ed March 24th, 2010 6:38 pm

    I picked up some new Eagles today. They are sitting in their box staring at me wondering why I haven’t mounted them up yet. I know it would break their poor plastic hearts if they knew I was still on the fence about the Onyx. I keep asking myself if the current “production” version is on par reliability wise with the Eagle or if I should stick with what I have. I REALLY dig the Onyx but still the stories scare me.

  177. Bobby March 28th, 2010 8:59 pm

    Ed,
    Not sure if you have mounted up the Eagles yet, but I’ve got 15 BC days and 12 inbounds days on the Onyx since early January, with no issues. I did have a heel lifter start to pop off this weekend, but with a quick hit from the pole, it popped back into place (it was not while it was in use, so who knows what I did with my other ski to make it come loose). I had an old pair of Freerides (the original yellow ones), and the difference in lift weight between the Freeride and Onyx was instantly noticeable. The Eagle, even though a 1st year binding, is more the tried and true, but the Onyx is on its way!

  178. Frank K March 30th, 2010 8:27 am

    Lou quote- “Cory, yeah, I couldn’t help but think back through all those years, and associating a particular binding with pull-out just doesn’t compute except in the case of tele, or some early touring bindings that had strange leverage on the ski (we’re talking decades ago). If Dynafit was prone to that, we’d certainly know it by now! Instead, the toe is held by FIVE screws, many alpine bindings only have three and they usually do fine, though when poorly mounted or damaged they can most certainly pull out of the ski.”

    This subject came up again last night with a friend who has had repeated Dynafit pull-outs. His contention is that because the Dynafit screw pattern is so close together, they’re more prone to pull-out. Dynafit screws are certainly much closer to each other than the other bindings in my closet (dukes, fritchis, salomons). In construction, you generally don’t drop screws in right on top of each other, and I don’t see this as being any different. This probably isn’t a concern for most skis and most skiers, but combine an aggressive skier with a ski that doesn’t hold screws well (i.e. foam core with just a thin metal topsheet), and perhaps it is an issue.

  179. Lou March 30th, 2010 8:38 am

    Frank, it’s probably more about how good the mount craftsmanship is. I’ve just simply not seen a problem with this in all these years, unless the mount was done casually without attention to details such as epoxy, tapping screw holes, not over-tightening screws and so forth.

    That said, any binding can get yanked out of the ski if you do certain things.

    As for theory about screws being close together, interesting, but the literally millions of Dynafit users out there are simply not having a common problem with this, so…

    It should also be said that with ANY touring binding, you can take knee falls while in touring mode that will tend to pull the screws partially out. Sometimes people don’t notice this and the screws then gradually loosen and eventually pull out in normal use. Also, there are indeed some skis that might have a weak mounting plate, and one would need to know what those skis were and not be expecting them to do what a stronger ski does. Reality strikes.

  180. Frank K March 30th, 2010 9:42 am

    Meh, I wrote a long response, but in the end, dynafits are perfect and only subject to operator error. Everyone get on the bandwagon!

  181. Lou March 30th, 2010 9:55 am

    Frank, I didn’t mean to appear too defensive, sorry about that. It’s just that there are SO many factors to a binding pulling out of a ski, that in the case of a binding such as Dynafit that generally does NOT pull out of skis, one really does need to look at all other factors first rather than last. It’s easy to blame the binding, a lot harder to figure out how it was mounted, what kind of damage might have occurred prior to the pullout and that sort of thing. In other words, one must apply some intellectual rigor to these sorts of things so everyone benefits from it…

    So, in the case of a specific person who has experienced repeated Dynafit pullouts or those with any other binding model/brand for that matter, here is what I’d want to know before I even suspected it had something to do with the binding design:

    1. Was it the same model ski each time?
    2. Was the binding inspected for prior damage before the pullout?
    3. Was the binding mounted by an experienced craftsman, with epoxy, careful screw torque, etc?
    4. Was the binding being skied with the touring latch locked (in this case, a fall can exert extreme forces on the binding, either damaging the binding or breaking bones, or both.)

  182. Francois Brunelle August 1st, 2010 11:55 am

    Looking for a reputable ski shop in the North East (CT, NY, NJ, VT, NH, MA, ME) with G3 Onyx binding knowledge to mount them properly on my skis. I went to G3s website and found a list. The first two places I’ve been to, one had never touched nor been trained on mounting the Onyx; the other had never heard of G3!! If you can recommend someone, I would be grateful.

  183. Lou August 1st, 2010 7:12 pm

    That sounds pretty bad. Anyone from G3 care to chime in?

  184. Jonathan Shefftz August 2nd, 2010 8:31 am

    Re G3, where is the list on their website of recommended mounting shops? Or is that just a list of everyone selling any G3 products? For the Northeast, I know that Jan at The Mountaineer in Keene Valley has mounted (and used) the Onyx. He also posts here occasionally. (Plus he holds the course record at the longest rando race in New England, as well as the record for some sort of crazy hiking odyssey in northern NY that I would Google right now but just thinking about it hurts my knees.) Mountain Travelers (nr Killington) also had the Onyx this fall, but I don’t know how many they actually sold and/or mounted. The shops with substantial Dynafit experience but unknown Onyx experience are Outdoor Gear Exchange (Burlington) and Ragged Mtn (the shop nr Mt Washington, not the ski area in southern NH). The North Conway EMS had both Dynafit and Onyx this past season. (I personally mount about a dozen Dynafit bindings each year and have both my own jig & torque tester – my understanding from the G3 pdf is that Onyx is fine with either its own jig or Dynafit’s jig, but I’ve never mounted the Onyx.)

  185. Lee Lau August 2nd, 2010 8:50 am

    I think John is right.

    When Francois said “I went to G3s website and found a list.” it looks like he found a list of shops that sold G3 products. Not a list of shops that had been trained to mount Onyx

  186. Francois Brunelle August 2nd, 2010 9:36 am

    Yes I believe you’re right. My mistake. I assumed that if one sells the binding, they’ve also been trained and equipped to mount them. I’ll try to get in touch with Jan.
    I appreciate the follow ups guys.
    Thanks

    Francois

  187. Jonathan Shefftz August 2nd, 2010 9:41 am

    I’m pretty sure that if a retailer stocks the Onyx, then they’d be willing to mount it — how good they’d be at it though is another question…
    But the big problem with those automated dealer lookups for companies with broad product ranges is that they turn up shops that don’t even carry the product you’re interested in. With G3, pretty much every backcountry ski shop in the Northeast carries *something* from G3: skins, tele bindings, skis, etc. How many of those shop carry the Onyx though is probably a much smaller subset.

  188. Pete August 4th, 2010 12:31 pm

    I think telemarkdown.com is selling and mounting the Onyx this year too. They helped me mount a pair last year and did a nice job.

  189. Francois Brunelle August 7th, 2010 6:39 am

    Lou & All, thank you for the information.

    I contacted The Mountaineer shop last Wednesday and drove to Keene Valley, yesterday. I met with Jan Wellford who helped me with the mounting of the bindings and the fitting of my F1 boots. The service was excellent, courteous, professional and Jan’s obsession to details and perfection made me feel really good about the 4-hour drive to get there.

    Keene Valley is an exceptional little town. What a beautiful country we live in!
    Thank you all again,
    Francois

    .

  190. Kelley November 16th, 2010 10:15 pm

    Going to the dark side of touring…I’m tired of trying to catch up to my friends with my slow tele turns and trying to decide on a binding. I used a friend’s Onyx this past weekend and found them still very awkward to get into if on a slope. Holding the toes open with the pole is very frustrating. But at the end of the day switching back & forth into tour mode was very nice to get through the flats at the bottom a little easier.

    Do we have update 3 ready yet? Have you tested the production ones? I’m really tempted to go with Dynafit for the weight and to avoid the frustration of the Onyx toe clips but I like the on-the-fly change. Any opinions out there to help me decide??

  191. Moose March 9th, 2012 12:11 pm

    i realize it’s an old thread, but I just wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed my Onyx for the year or so I have been using them. I’ve had the toe piece ice up open, but it was addressed easily by using a pole tip to clean it. The other thing that was different was that my Scarpa Spirit 3s wouldn’t release from the toe piece ever, which obviously was way dangerous, whereas when we tried with a bunch of different dynafit and garmont boots they released fine. So I am assuming this was a scarpa issue, and scarpa gave me different boots under warranty (maestrale, which I love) with different toe fittings and they work fine with the G3s. The toe pieces can be a little tough to get into, but after awhile you figure it out – the only problem I’ve had recently was doing it in the dark, but had I used a headlamp rather than moonlight it wouldn’t have mattered, so that’s not reflective on the binding I don’t think.

    Generally, I am in favor of competition making everything better – the more tech binding companies that come on the market the better we as consumers will be. I know i would have bought dynafit, but the g3s were just so inexpensive comparatively when I bought them (circa $250) that I couldn’t pass them up. Plus I do like the swapability – it allows me to make my irrational decision to purchase additional skis seem at least marginally more justifiable.

  192. Jason September 2nd, 2012 10:13 am

    I wanted to share my experience with Dynafit and the G3 Onyx. I work as a backcountry ski guide, I would describe my skiing as relatively fast and dynamic. I weigh 180 and am 6’2″. I had someissues with the Dynafit binding wearing out the toe inserts on the G Megaride. This was from hammering them at the resort when I used to ski patrol (hardpack, bumps, cliffs etc.). The cure was to put a heel shim from a tele binding under the sole of my boot to support downward pressure. That probably hinders toe release but I don’t want to pop out unexpectedly or ruin any other boots. I have used them like this for many seasons and have not had any problems and trust them on steep, no fall, slide for life terrain. I have never locked the toe and have not pre released before or after this modification.

    The G3 Onyx was tried last season. It worked well in soft snow. When the season dried up and I got it out on hard snow. I experienced the toe jaws opening on the outside ski while turning causing the ski to nearly release. Upon transitioning to the new turn they would pop back in. This ruined the toe inserts on my G Radiums. G3 claimed they had never heard of this and could not reproduce it in the lab. They told me that my skis were too wide for their binding and put too much leverage on it (obsethed 117 waist). It also occured on my narrower skis (coomback 102 waist) which they also told me were too wide! Why do they make a wide brake then?They claimed it was operator error and would not help replace my boot. I suggested the boot shim for bellowed boots, esentially this is what D at Wasatch Touring came up with for my Dynafit issue 8 yrs ago. G3 has the same stance on this as they do with skiing with the toe locked, not recommended. Despite that they suggested that I ski with the toe locked in. I am not a fan of hat plan and may try the shim this season. I am really glad I discovered this issue on benign terrain before I tried them on a big descent with consequences.

    Luckily, I had already broken my Radiums when I hit a hidden stump and was launched out of my skis which caused the heel bar retaining t-nut to rip out of the boot heel leaving a gaping hole. So even though the G3 Onyx ruined my toe inserts leaving 1 mm deep grooves above them making them even more prone to release Garmont stands behind their product and will warranty my boots. When my replacement Cosmos come in they will not go anywhere near a G3 Onyx binding. I will stick with Dynafit. I may try the G3 again with a boot that has a replaceable sole such as the Delerium.

    So I was initially excited about this binding and I am now diapointed and would not trust it in a serious situation. That was my experience.

  193. Lou Dawson September 2nd, 2012 3:58 pm

    Jason, thanks for sharing your experience. My one comment would be that when boot fittings show excessive wear, it is frequently the fault of the fitting, not the binding. Lou

  194. Jason September 2nd, 2012 9:08 pm

    Hi Lou,

    That is the case sometimes. My boots had under 20 days on them when I had this issue, more than half of those days on FFR. Go figure, if they make it I can break it.

    I’ll stick with Dynafit.
    Cheers,
    Jason

  195. christian September 3rd, 2012 6:10 am

    Jason, your experience with G3 Onyx sounds exactly like mine – on my second run with the Onyx the toe opened and realesed (but still hanging on). That was also on a wide ski (115). I also had the same problem with radical ft on wide skis – but there everything happens faster and the ski just go off….but I did not try with a shim. I now ski with the radical ft (130mm version) on a 84mm ski, and it works fine. For wider skis I use non-tech bindings.
    This only happens on ice. I am 184cm,85kg.

  196. Lou Dawson September 3rd, 2012 6:22 am

    Don’t know if you guys saw this post, but it’s worth a look regarding this subject:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/3976/dynafit-ft12-ftz12-toe-pincer-springs/

    Lou

  197. Bogdan January 21st, 2013 3:38 am

    Hi,

    A question for G3 Onyx owners – how reliable are the binding plates?
    Are they strong enough to change the bindings between skis often, like once in 2-3 week?

    Thanks!

  198. D. January 21st, 2013 8:08 am

    Bogdan, no issue with plates at all….

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

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

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

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