New Plum Binding to Compete With Dynafit – Goes Beyond 11 Even!

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

French company Plum, previously known (or rather, not really known at all in North America) for its stripped-down fixed-release (or not?) rando race bindings (one of ten such European competitors), has released the specs on a new line of touring-oriented bindings. Plum had previously listed an entry for the “Touring 280″ which has now disappeared from their website, replaced by the “Guide” line of four models, all essentially identical except for release springs and heel unit top plate (and hence skinning elevator).

October 27 edit: if interested in the details of the summary preview that follows below, then also be sure to read the comments from Jayson of Escape Route (which is now confirmed as the first and so far the only Plum retailer in North America) and from Alexis of Plum (Business Unit Manager). I have now added bracketed follow-ups within my original review for corrections and clarifications, which although making for a somewhat cluttered presentation, preserves the integrity of any public comments on the original text.

Plum baseline binding model

The new Plum Guide binding weighs almost exactly the same (when an estimate of screw weight is included) as the venerable Dynafit TLT Speed (formerly Classic, formerly Tech, formerly IV, dating all the way back to the late 90s), which in turn is about six ounces per pair lighter than the Vertical ST/FT12 (excluding brakes from the comparison). The four different Plum Guide models vary a bit in weight, although the entire differential across all four models is only a couple ounces (per pair), and some of the detailed differentials seem to have internal contradictions [edit: the discrepancy I recall noticed at the time has been fixed], so I’ll omit those specs from any further detailed discussion. And like the Speed, brakes do not seem to be an option. [Edit: Brakes are in development.] The Guide also shares the same mounting pattern as all (non-race) Dynafit models.

Compared to the Dynafit Speed backcountry skiing binding, the Plum Guide has a lower stand height (stack) off the ski [edit: stand height measured at the heel actually almost exactly splits the 1cm difference between the Speed vs the Vertical], and probably also a lower “delta” (i.e., heel > toe angle), although hard to confirm that from the picture without an inserted boot. (Compared to the Speed, the Vertical ST/FT12 has both a higher stand height and a greater delta, i.e., the Vertical heel pedestal’s additional stand height more than offsets the toe plate’s additional thickness.) [Edit: Once again the Guide falls in between the Speed and Vertical, although closer to the Speed in this metric. Note that the difference between the Speed and the Vertical translates into about one degree for most bsl.] The Plum Guide heel pins seem to be the same length as the Speed (as opposed to the longer Vertical pins), although once again hard to tell from the picture [edit: stated at 12mm, which depending on how it's measured is either halfway in between the Speed and Vertical or slightly longer than the Vertical]. The “bump” below the Speed’s heel pins also appears to be absent on the Guide (as is the case for the Vertical), although ditto on the picture. [Edit: boot-binding gap is set at the Speed's 4mm, as opposed to the Vertical's current 5.5mm, previously 6mm.]

The Guide allows for a whopping 40mm fore/aft adjustment range (although puzzlingly enough the picture sure doesn’t seem to show a 40mm-long adjustment track [edit: the adjustment range is actually 30mm, and has been corrected on the website]), as compared to 6mm for the Speed and 26mm for the Vertical (as well as about 33mm for the G3 Onyx/Ruby, although G3′s total adjustment range combines both toe and heel repositioning, allowing for some boot recentering as well as just length accommodation).

As with all race models, the role of the ski seems to have been eliminated from the binding functionality. What, you mean you no longer needs skis to go skiing? No, what I mean is that a Dynafit binding does not work without the ski underneath it. Huh? Okay, imagine that a ski binding is supported perfectly rigidly in mid-air, not by drilling it into something, but instead by grasping the binding mounting plates from the side somehow. An alpine downhill binding would work as normal. However, a Dynafit binding depends upon the ski’s topskin in three different ways:

1. The flat base of the heel unit pedestal spindle does not mount up directly into the ski, but instead is pressed down against the ski topskin by the plastic baseplate, which is screwed into the ski.
2. The butt end of the touring lock lever presses up against a hump on the toe unit plastic baseplate, which in turn presses against the ski topskin. Note that the plastic baseplate is held in place by virtue of the binding > baseplate > topskin “sandwich” held together with the mounting screws.
3. The ski crampon slot is part of the plastic baseplate.

By contrast, the Plum Guide seems to eliminate any separate plastic mounting plates, so the “bump” to engage the toe unit tour lever is an extension of the binding frame (which seems to eliminate the fifth mounting screw), and ditto for the crampon slot.

The heel elevator seems to be all-metal like the Dynafit Speed, but with a configuration more similar to the Dynafit Vertical (although with openings perhaps too small for a carbon fiber ski pole’s thicker composite tip? [edit: claimed to work with all ski pole tips]). All four screw heads sit flush with the heel unit’s top plate (unlike the protruding screw heads for all four of the Speed’s screws and two of the Vertical’s screws).

The baseline Guide model lists release settings of 5-12 lateral and 5-13 forward (/vertical). Plum claims rather vaguely and broadly, “The Guide bindings conform with all current safety standards. They will soon be certified.” [Edit: TUV testing in progress for ISO 13992]

The Guide S is identical but for a smooth heel unit top plate with a small slot for a ski pole tip, so no higher heel elevator position and fewer options for manipulating modes with a ski pole, in exchange for rather trivial weight savings. The Guide XS is identical to the baseline Guide but with a 3-7 release range (along with some trivial weight savings). The Guide XXS is identical to the Guide XS but with the smooth top plate of the Guide S.

Guide with the smooth top plate option

The retail price is 399 Euros, which is about $566 at today’s exchange rates, including a typical credit card foreign transaction fee but excluding shipping or any VAT reduction. (How that compares to Dynafit depends on whether you’re in the market for the $370 Speed, $400 Vertical ST, or the $580 Vertical FT12, which comes only with the removable brakes). Plum has a fairly sizable dealer network, but as expected for a small French company located near the Swiss border, all the dealers are in France and Switzerland. In North America, the Canadian rando racer Alex Wigley recently tweeted that he’ll compete on Plum this season, but I haven’t received any confirmation as to whether his employer Escape Route will carry the bindings (whether touring or race). [Edit: Confirmation received and now listed at the shop's website.]

Overall, if this works as described, the Plum Guide backcountry skiing binding’s differences will appeal to some brakeless Dynafit skiers [edit: with brakes in development], while still keeping the weight in the range of the Speed model. I wish I could say that I’m happy to answer any questions, but despite all of the above details, that pretty much exhausts anything I know about the binding. (Yes, that’s right, I wrote such an overly long review based on only two pictures and only several sentences of descriptive text — better set aside some quality reading time if I ever actually get to mount and ski these bindings!) [Edit: as previously noted, a company manager and the North American retailer have both provided additional details, as referenced throughout in these bracketed edits, and as available in the public comments below.]

And although someone is sure to ask about the new ATK RT touring binding, that has some more significant differences from the Speed which I can’t figure out from either the pictures or the rather cursory website text. Perhaps Lou can bring some ATK back from Europe this winter, or tear down a pair while he’s over there?

(WildSnow guest blogger Jonathan Shefftz lives with his wife and daughter in Western Massachusetts, where he is a member of the Northfield Mountain and Thunderbolt / Mt Greylock ski patrols. Formerly an NCAA alpine race coach, he has broken free from his prior dependence on mechanized ascension to become far more enamored of self-propelled forms of skiing. He is an AIARE-qualified instructor, NSP avalanche instructor, and contributor to the American Avalanche Association’s The Avalanche Review. When he is not searching out elusive freshies in Southern New England or promoting the NE Rando Race Series, he works as a financial economics consultant.)

Comments

48 Responses to “New Plum Binding to Compete With Dynafit – Goes Beyond 11 Even!”

  1. Gaybe October 26th, 2010 9:28 am

    Yet another carbon copy of Dynafit. How exciting (yawn).

  2. Tom October 26th, 2010 10:58 am

    I like how the heel riser is all metal. I’m curious how long my vertical STs will last before cracking a volcano. Also, the toe lever on the guide seems to be an improvement from the plastic tabbed toe lever that dynafit makes in its binding lineup.

    From a design perspective, the Plum race bindings are mighty fine looking and the guide version looks really beefy at a relatively low weight. Looks like they’ve ditched the 5th screw in the toe. I’m impressed. I’d like to try a pair.

  3. Jonathan Shefftz October 26th, 2010 12:16 pm

    “Yet another carbon copy of Dynafit.”
    – Actually, it’s the first.

  4. jayson October 26th, 2010 1:35 pm

    We are the first and only dealer in North America (www.escaperoute.ca) for the Plum line which we will have instock around end of November. They have some other very exciting product in the line that will be coming soon that will raise the performance bar of the tech system. Their stuff already is significantly stiffer than the Dynafit binding counterparts as well so for those really wanting something even beefier then it will be an interesting option to look at.

    NOte that we are also a Dynafit Test Center…we love tech system bindings!

  5. jayson October 26th, 2010 1:39 pm

    The certification is that they are expecting TUV certification for their binding which will be first every tech system to be TUV certified. They are pretty excited about that.

  6. Lou October 26th, 2010 2:16 pm

    Jayson, thanks for the comment but I call B.S. on that. Show me proof. For starters, what ISO/DIN standard is TUV certifying to? You can pay TUV to test your stuff to your own specs, but beyond that to the best of my knowledge there is no way a tech binding can be certified to any ISO/DIN standard I know of.

    They look like beautiful bindings, BTW, but marketing BS is, sometimes BS?

  7. jayson October 26th, 2010 3:45 pm

    I don’t know any of the specifics at this time other than TUV testing. So I guess we will see. We will let you know when we know. I have not got the impression at any point that these guys are BS’ers…rather very serious uncompromising gentlemen about their product. I can’t imagine they would be seeking some certification for safety and performance without real value associated.

  8. Lou October 26th, 2010 3:54 pm

    Jayson, I have no doubt the Plum folks are great, and the bindings look beautiful, but marketing people tend to go off with this sort of thing once in a while. Happens on occasion with almost every company out there. I call the BS on the statement, not the people. One must separate one from the other when doing this sort of discussion.

    Perhaps they’ll chime in here and set the record straight. I’d love to be put in my place on this :-)

  9. Lou October 26th, 2010 4:00 pm

    P.S., one of the early Dynafit bindings had a TUV stamp/logo on the rear baseplate, implying it was “certified.” Word from my sources is that was actually just a logo that indicated TUV had tested the product, but not certified it to any sort of international standard. The logo disappeared soon after…

    Plum needs to back up their statement, that’s all I’m saying. It’s in their best interest to do so, otherwise they open themselves up to lots of criticism.

  10. Jonathan Shefftz October 26th, 2010 6:40 pm

    Setting aside all the certification discussion, sounds like Escape Route must be a really cool shop to be both a Dynafit Test Center and stock other Tech products too — thanks for chiming in Jayson!

  11. jayson October 26th, 2010 7:11 pm

    Thanks Jonathan. We try hard that’s for sure.
    We have a pretty uncompromising customer base that keeps things honest and real. And being a bricks and mortar shop (as well as internet), we get a lot of face to face conversations with core users which I think keeps you on your toes and ensures that you do your homework on product.

    Lou – I don’t know enough about the current TUV standards for bindings and whether it is or is not relevant. I do know that TUV testing is generally pretty highly regarded so we will see.

    Fact is we are convinced that the tech system WILL become a dominant standard for “all mountain” bindings as more companies get into the mix with new ideas and innovations to further evolve the system. In our part of the world we have had some very serious big mountain porn skiers that are now even filming on the system. The credibility of the system is gaining all the time. We also feel that when someone comes out with a “burly” tech system that has a wider platform, stiffer components (sure a little heavier ….just), there will be a new market and new customer that will realize “up” is good. And earning that big line is way cooler than showing up on a chairlift or in a heli. We’re just sayin’

    Our mantra –
    In the end, to ski is to travel fast and free – free over untouched snow country. To be bound to one slope, even one mountain, by a lift may be convenient but it robs us of the greatest pleasure that skiing can give, that is to travel through the wide wintery country; to follow the lure of peaks which tempt on the horizon and to be alone for a few days or even hours in clear, mysterious surroundings. (Hans Gmoser)

  12. Lou October 26th, 2010 9:37 pm

    I hope I didn’t sound mean, didn’t mean to :D — just trying to keep it real.

  13. Alexis October 27th, 2010 6:25 am

    Hi All,
    hope you all had a good night. The sun shines on our beautiful snow-covered mountains here in the French Alps.
    My name’s Alexis Maget, Business Unit Manager at PLUM.
    I’m glad to see that our bindings already got your attention.
    All your questions are welcome.

    Jonathan,
    thanks very much for your summary. And for your challenging questions as well.
    I would have been disappointed, would there be no questionning … ;-)

    Lou,
    don’t worry, you didn’t sound mean.
    Since I’ve been reading your articles, I know you focus on the customer’s interest and this is fine with me.
    So to answer you, no BS’ers at Plum, just a bunch a very serious guys, who have a passion for A/T & backcountry and are very much safety & innovation oriented.
    But no offense, we’re glad to receive such questions.
    I promise I’ll be vigilant and accurate about all technical & marketing descriptions.

    Now let me answer all the questions asked in the summary and the comments :
    - Weight of our bindings :
    Guide : 660g = 23.28 oz
    Guide S : 630g = 22.22 oz
    Guide XS : 640 = 22.58 oz
    Guide XXS : 610g = 21.52 oz

    - Brakes : not available yet, but innovative design in progress. I can’t wait either …
    - Stand height off the ski : 31.5mm (1.24in) between the ski and the center of the front pins (rotation point of your shoe)
    - Heel – toe angle : the angle varies depending on your shoe size. From 6.5° for a 304mm sole (11.97in) to 3.5° for a 361mm sole (14.21in).
    - Heel pins length : 12mm (0.47in)
    - Recommended distance between heel unit & shoe : 4mm (0.16in)
    - Adjustment range : 40mm fore/aft (I confirm the picture does show a 40mm-long adjustment track)
    - Toe lever : its larger size makes it easy to use, even with gloves on.
    - Frame of the toe unit : indeed does include the slot for crampons and the lever lock piece.
    - Heel elevator : it is definitely all metal, and can be used with any pole, even with thick tips.
    - Conformity with safety standards : safety of end users is key for us.
    Lou, you are right in saying that a manufacturer can have his bindings certified according to his own standards.
    This is not our case, nor our will, nor our philosophy.
    Our bindings conform to ISO 13992 : Alpine touring ski-bindings — Requirements and test methods, which is THE standard to conform to. Certification process is currently ongoing, but it’s a pretty long process … You’re right Jayson, we’re pretty excited about this !! So no marketing BS here, just facts.

    - Guide S & XXS : we designed a different heel unit top plate for professional and experienced users, who do not use the higher heel elevator.
    The absence of a high heel elevator saves 30g per pair, which might seem insignificant, but hey, who would refuse a lighter model when possible ??
    As for rotating the heel unit of the Guide S & XXS, do not be mistaken by the “simplicity” of the top plate, rotation is extraordinarilly easy from any to any other position, moreover with either hand. Still no BS’ing here Lou !! -;)

    As for a field test, it would be my pleasure to have our bindings tested by you guys. Just email to organize this.
    Lou, when’s your next trip to the old continent ?

    Again, don’t hesitate to ask me any additional question.

    Cheers
    Alexis

  14. Jonathan Shefftz October 27th, 2010 7:34 am

    Alexis, thank you very much for your participation here, as well as for your company’s innovation. (As much as I am a big fan of Dynafit bindings, and as perfectly as they have worked for me, always interesting to see a competitor come up with a variation on the original while still remaining true to Dynafit’s core design principles, i.e., zero lifted weight, zero-resistance pivot, light static weight of course, and minimum of moving parts.)
    Two relatively trivial questions:
    - What is the distance from the center of the end [sic] of the heel pins to the ski topskin? (In other words, the equivalent measure to the 31.5mm you provided for the toe pincers – I know that doesn’t allow for direct calculation of the boot angle, but I can compare that easily to my various Dynafit models.)
    - The fore/aft adjustment range looks like it must be impressive, but I still don’t see how 40mm is possible. Since the Guide uses the same Dynafit mounting pattern, the distance between the center of each screw is 52.5, and the interior distance between the screw heads is 43mm. After netting out some separation on each side between the mounting screws vs the bilateral adjustment tracks (for the bilateral hold-down screws), and also netting out the diameter of the bilateral hold-down screws, the fore/aft adjustment range is still definitely far more than the 6mm Speed, and almost certainly more than the 26mm Vertical (about the same as most alpine downhill bindings), but probably only in the low 30s – about the same as the Onyx. Still very impressive though for such a light binding.

  15. Lou October 27th, 2010 7:49 am

    Now that kind of info is what I’m talkin’ about! Thanks Alexis.

    Interesting about ISO 13992, I didn’t realize a tech binding could be certified to that, if so, my bad. But hence my take on it. Did you guys do something to make the release values stay more consistent at the heel gap varies in size? My understanding is that’s part of the reason tech bindings are tough or impossible to get certified by TUV to the ISO 13992. In any case, should be interesting and I hope you did indeed figure out how to get certified to 13992.

    More about heel gap and 13992 may be found here:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/2599/dynafit-tech-heel-space-shim-gauge/

    I’ll be in EU the first two weeks of January, may do some traveling and could stop by your company if so. Generally basing out of Bad Haering Austria.

  16. 2wheeler October 27th, 2010 10:52 am

    Is there a difference in the “DIN” between the dynafit and the plum? The thread that I got the news of the plum stated a din 13. Thanks for any responses.

    http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3028984

  17. Jonathan Shefftz October 27th, 2010 10:54 am

    Yes, the Plum Guide has release settings up to 13 for forward and 12 lateral.
    By contrast, Dynafit is max 12 for both on FT12, then max 10 for all other models.

  18. Lou October 27th, 2010 11:06 am

    Jonathan, go ahead and accurize your take based on the comments. Nothing wrong with doing that if it doesn’t change the gist of your post, which it would not in most cases.

  19. Lou October 27th, 2010 11:08 am

    BTW, the release values on any tech binding are not DIN, though some binding makers make an effort to get their release values to approximate those of a DIN certified alpine or AT binding.

  20. jerimy October 27th, 2010 11:19 am

    Alexis,

    Did you guys do anything to reduce the possibility of cross-threading the adjustment barrel that holds the spring for lateral release? In other words, is there still a metal cap screwed into plastic threads?

  21. Lou October 27th, 2010 11:33 am

    Jerimy, that is an EXCELLENT question. Alexis?

  22. Jonathan Shefftz October 27th, 2010 11:49 am

    Cross-threading, Jerimy, what were you in college, an English major at a liberal arts school who can’t use a screwdriver?!? (Okay, I’ll admit, had I not already been aware of that potential problem, I might not have been sufficiently careful and hence could have committed that mistake.)
    Anyway, I’ve updated the thread now with bracketed edits to reflect all the additional information that has been presented by Jayson and Alexis. (A bit messy now, but better than writing an entirely new blog post at this point, or instead just referring everyone to the comments to see which ones confirm and which ones correct my original post.)

  23. Mike Bromberg October 27th, 2010 7:52 pm

    Nice post!
    Very well thought out and practical features. A functional and weight saving lack of heel post on the GuideS is very attractive. I have often spared the post on older TLT speed/classics only for its functionality as a turning mechanism and seldom use the highest riser.

    Another really attractive feature that hasn’t yet been discussed is the
    “Slot for crampons built in the front binding. You can put your crampons on without releasing your bindings.”! I can’t seem to see how that would work from the images provided, nor do they offer any images of the binding with crampon attached on the website. I see a standard (dynafit style) mount on the rear of the toe piece, but can’t piece together an alternate mount.

    I’m really curious about the brake system in development, especially given the lack of “shelves” or “donuts” that keep the brakes up while in touring mode on dynafits. Those shelves have been an issue for some (myself included) as a weakness on dynafit bindings.

    @Jonathan re: the fore/aft. I was thinking that the size of the post/spindle and post/spindle-baseplate configuration would be a huge consideration in determining the range of the heel unit. It seems difficult to predict the adjustment range without knowing the size/configuration of the spindle?

    I’d love to get my hands on a pair, any American distributors in the works?

  24. Jonathan Shefftz October 27th, 2010 7:57 pm

    The Guide’s ability to affix/remove ski crampons w/o exiting the binding is the same as with Dynafits. (Although I have to confess that sometimes the precision required to do so means that exiting & reentering the binding is just as quick.)
    Escape Route in Whistler plans to carry them. In British Columbia. That counts as America, right? (Didn’t we win the War of 1812?)

  25. Mark October 27th, 2010 11:23 pm

    Nice to see more tech binders out there. Competition is good.

  26. jayson October 28th, 2010 12:13 am

    Jonathan
    We have to correct you that the War of 1812 was won by the Canucks. We then sent down some terrorists who torched the Whitehouse…all in good fun of course.
    But I digress.
    We will be able to ship to the US of course. Final pricing is not completed but we expect them to be competitive with what else is out there.

    Appreciate all the comments and thoughts.

  27. Alexis October 28th, 2010 5:48 am

    Hi Jonathan,
    you’re absolutely right, the size of the track is 40mm, and the adjustment range is exactly 30mm.
    I’ve amended our technical datasheet, as this was confusing.

    The distance from the center of the end of the heel pins to the ski topskin is 45.5mm (1.79in).

    Jerimy’s question :
    Quote : Is there still a metal cap screwed into plastic threads ?
    The answer is yes, the cap holding the lateral release springs is made of aluminium.
    However, the polymer body of the heel unit is manufactured by chip removal on our CNC machines, and this manufacturing process gives a much very high quality thread compared to molded threads.
    The risk of cross-threading is therefore minor.
    It actually never happened on any of our protoypes, though we’ve dis/assembled them many times everyday.

    Mike’s questions :
    Quote : Another really attractive feature that hasn’t yet been discussed is the “Slot for crampons built in the front binding. You can put your crampons on without releasing your bindings.”
    Yes you can insert your crampons in the slots without releasing the toe piece.
    You just need to kneel on your ski (telemark style …) and your shoe being vertical, you can simply introduce the crampon in the slot.
    Once done, switch to your other ski.
    Not easy on the first try, but just a matter of practice. Saves a lot of time & energy.
    If not clear enough, just let me know, I’ll shoot a couple pictures and email them to Jonathan.

    Quote : “I’m really curious about the brake system in development”
    Mike, you’re not the only one !! :wink:
    Sorry I would love to tell you more about it, but I’m afraid I’ll have to keep this to ourselves for the moment.
    As soon as I can reveal any detail, I’ll let you know.

    Jayson,
    thanks for being here as well.

    Guys,
    have a look at French Louisiana in 1700 :
    http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/amnord/images/Louisiana-map18.gif
    Some of you guys could have ended up being … French. And eat snails, baguettes, and speak poor English. :lol:

    Lou,
    come & give us a visit in Jan. (we’re just a few clicks from Chamonix !!! :D
    Plum + Chamonix = >:o >:o >:o

    Alexis

  28. jerimy October 28th, 2010 7:38 am

    In college they don’t teach you things that you can use in the real world, let alone actually getting your hands dirty by turning a screw driver. Lou has made it very clear in his mounting instructions and other posts that cross-threading can happen, so I have always been extra careful and have not had it happen to me.

    Fundamentally, it seems like a design flaw or oversight to have the plastic/metal interface. This is especially true when you have the opportunity to improve upon an existing design and the flaws are well known.

    Or just heed Lou’s advice and be extra careful.

    Jonathan, from your verbiage it looks like you must have been an English major as well!!

  29. Alexis October 28th, 2010 8:23 am

    Hi Jerimy,
    you don’t have to worry, we were well aware of that cross-threading issue, and we have taken all aspects into account when designing our binding.
    There was no need for us to design an aluminium body where a plastic/polymer interface is perfectly functional and lighter.

    Alexis

  30. Gaybe October 29th, 2010 10:28 am

    No, it isn’t.

  31. Jonathan Shefftz October 29th, 2010 10:34 am

    Gaybe, if you really do know of “Yet another carbon copy of Dynafit” then please pass along the info.
    If you mean the Onyx, then that’s either a grievous insult to carbon copying or to Dynafit.
    And if you mean the ATK RT, that has some interesting differences, with no available explanations or documentation (e.g., what does the toe adjustment do, and how?), so if you have any info on that, please do share.
    (Yes, many of the rando race bindings seem to carbon copies of each other, but those are vastly stripped down versions of Dynafit touring bindings and hence not carbon copies of the original.)
    Bottomline is that the Guide is the first-ever binding that could be called a carbon copy of a Dynafit touring binding. (And even then it does have enough differences that “carbon copy” isn’t accurate.)

  32. Jon Moceri November 8th, 2010 1:14 pm

    I just ordered the ATK RT from http://www.verticalworld.it

    I like the idea of an adjustable toe. The ATK system takes the ski topsheet out of the release equation and should make for more reliability and consistency. I’ve torn both ACL’s and anything that makes for a safer binding is a good thing. Also, I like the idea of being able to adjust the toe release settings.

    I just turned 52, I don’t race. I’m slow uphill, but I make up for it going down. I’m now using Dynafit gear for all my skiing needs and probably put 1 million vertical feet of skiing on Dynafit bindings last season (lift served).

    No VAT was added to my order. After registering, discounted prices were shown.

    ATK RT: €383.33
    ATK Alzatacco RT (heel lifter): €16.67
    ATK Binding adjustment plate: €35
    Shipping: €47 (Table rate. Whatever that is)

    Total: €482

    Easy payment via Pay Pal. Maybe too easy.

    I’m planning on mounting them on DPS Wailer 112RP. When and if they ever arrive. I’ll mount them using binding inserts so I can shift them to other skis easily.

    Jon

  33. Lou November 8th, 2010 1:30 pm

    Wow Jon, let us know how it goes. Gust blog?

  34. Jon Moceri November 8th, 2010 2:19 pm

    Lou, I’ll let you all know how it all goes.

    If your son, Louie, wants to check out the ATK RT bindings, I’d be happy to loan them to him. I’m in Seattle and it’s a quick drive to Bellingham.

    Jon

  35. Lou November 8th, 2010 2:28 pm

    Jon, that might be cool. Just stay in touch and let us know when you get the stuff. Lou

  36. Jon Moceri November 8th, 2010 3:17 pm

    Lou, will do.

    Jon

  37. Jonathan Shefftz November 9th, 2010 7:57 am

    Hail to our brave ATK RT early adopter!
    Seriously though, does look like a highly innovative design, and interested to hear the details.
    Before you mount them, would be great to get a weight reality check, with mounting screws, and both with and w/o the two add-ons (higher heel elevator and adjustable mounting track).

  38. Jared November 9th, 2010 2:05 pm

    Vertical World is very reliable and a great place to order euro gear. One tip, however: you will get a customs charge for most ski gear (which will result in a delay while some clearing house in Florida collects the fee), unless it is “XC Ski Gear.” I consider Dynafits and the like XC Ski Gear!

  39. Jon Moceri November 9th, 2010 3:06 pm

    Jonathan, I’ll weigh each part and let you know the results.

    Jared, thanks for the info on Vertical World and the customs charge. Looks like they’ll ship them UPS.

    It’s started to snow again in the Cascade Mountains. I’m repairing the bottoms of my skis and edges from all the damage inflicted during my Las Leñas trip.

  40. Jonathan Shefftz November 16th, 2010 7:34 pm

    New overview chart for all “Tech” competitors:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/3822/tech-binding-summary-chart/

  41. Jon Moceri November 17th, 2010 1:29 am

    My ATK Race RT bindings arrived from Italia! Only took 8 days, and there was a $24.55 Customs charge that the UPS man was kind enough to collect from me.

    May I say, they are beautiful. Very well machined with smooth edges. Not a sharp edge anywhere. The toe unit is about 7/8th’s the size of my Dynafits, while the heel unit looks to be less than half the size. But this is what everyone want to know…. real life weight measurements.

    For one ski.

    Toe: 86 grams
    Heel: 89 grams
    R01 Long Heel adjustment Plate (30 mm of adjustment): 22 grams
    Plastic Heel lifter: 6 grams

    Combined heel unit (binding, adjustment plate, plastic heel lifter with mounting screws to adjustment plate (4 with nuts), and to ski (4): 129 grams

    Combined Heel: 129 grams

    Toe: 86 grams + 5 grams (4 mounting screws) = 91 grams

    Grand Total Installed = 220 grams (one ski) ( Ok, so no brakes or leashes)

    Other Measurements
    Heel length adjustment plate: 5 mm thick with 30 mm of adjustment
    Ski top to middle of rear binding pin: 31 mm off ski top skin (no adjustment plate)
    Heel pin length: 11 mm (manual says 4 mm clearance between heel unit and boot)
    Plastic Heel Lifter: 27 mm tall (unmounted and not a very relevant measure)

    Heel Lift
    Lowest lift: 0 mm boot on ski top skin
    Middle lift: 38 mm
    Maximum lift: 63 mm (plastic heel lifter installed)
    ( Add 5 mm to each measurement if using binding adjustment plate)

    Toe unit:
    Ski top skin to middle of toe pin: 29 mm

    Not all the numbers will add up right as the surfaces slope and I took measurements from where my boots hit the tops of the lifters. Your measurements may vary.

    Also, I have a new found appreciation to those folks who take equipment measurements.

    Other remarks.
    The instruction manual has very small font. Reading glasses or a teenager is necessary to read. It would be better if ATK had it in a PDF file online. A small metal template for mounting is included. The instructions on installing the binding are fair, while there is no real instructions on using the adjustable toe piece. While it is easy to change the settings, it is unclear as the what position the hinged lever needs to be placed in for skinning up or skiing down. To me, it isn’t intuitively obvious. It says to get the binding adjusted by a shop to DIN/ISO 11088 settings (DIN/ISO 5-10 binding capability). The screw that mounts the plastic heel lifter is also the DIN adjusting screw for the heel pins.

    Compared to my Dynafit Speeds, the heel unit doesn’t rotate smoothly (feels like it need lubrication) and doesn’t have the rotational elasticity of the Dynafits.

    The heel has a very narrow mounting screw pattern. Only 25 mm wide. While the toe piece mounting pattern appears to be the same as the Dynafit Speeds, without the 5th screw on the front of the toe. I used the Wildsnow Portmann template to compare.

    I’ll try to get them mounted up ASAP. I’ll put them on my K2 Anti-Piste (Coombacks) since my DPS Wailer 112RP’s are at least a month away. A lot of snow is headed for the Cascades!!!

  42. Jonathan Shefftz November 17th, 2010 11:50 am

    Jon, many thanks for the details — those weights are amazing! Sure hope though that it doesn’t come at the cost of release/retention reliability.
    I’ve updated the Tech binding summary chart to include your info.

  43. Heather Glyde October 11th, 2011 1:00 pm

    Hello all,

    Just wanting to let folks know that we just got in our first shipment of PLUM Guides here at the shop in Leadville. I’ve been enjoying reading everyone’s feedback and am excited to try them myself. We’ll have some demos once the season gets rolling too so come try them for yourselves!

  44. Sturgeon December 14th, 2011 1:06 pm

    Hello all,

    Plum has come to the Yukon! One binding at least.
    Before mounting these for my customer I came here to see what the experts say. I’ve dissasembled these Guides and I am comparing the internals against a Dynafit Radical ST.
    A few things I’ve noted:
    The plastic cup that rides against the heel tower seems to be exacly the same diameter (internal and external) as the dynafit. The hole at the flat bace of the cup is larger and there is no lateral groove as the dynafit has. Also, there didn’t seem to be any lubricant on the plastic. I’m wondering if this means, in a pinch, that the cups are interchangable between brands?
    The metal to metal interface between threads on the lateral releace (mz) adjusment barrel looks a lot cleaner and hopefully reduces the cross-threading issue. As there is no dampening between the material, I wonder if this interface may benefit from a thin locktight treatment to reduce any in-field vibrational loosening?
    Spring legnth and diameter seems to mirror Dynatit as well, though there was a small metal washer between the spring and barrel cap. Is this for additional spring compresion or is it to reduce friction?
    Overall I’m impressed with the clean manufactuing and the solid feel of this binding. If I note anything else (or have more questions) after or durring the mount, I’ll post here again

  45. Jonathan Shefftz December 14th, 2011 1:45 pm

    I recall from my more detailed review that the interface between threads on the lateral releace (mz) adjusment barrel is metal on plastic (same as with Dynafit). Remember, the black housing is plastic, not metal.

  46. Sturgeon December 14th, 2011 2:29 pm

    Thanks for the correction, Jonathan. By looking at the CNC lines I was fooled into thinking it was metalic. Still, it seems to have sharp, crisp threads to reduce any cross threading issues… and no call for locktight, good.

    Alexis: I’m sure you’ve heard this, but… English language instructions would be great. My high-school french is just not up to the task of translating the included pamphlet. :)

  47. Jonathan Shefftz December 14th, 2011 2:39 pm

    Agreed — something about that plastic also had me thinking it was metal at first. In general, the fit & finish of everything about the binding is very impressive, although as a couple TGR-documented failures indicate, anything can break.
    BTW though, Alexis has left the company.

  48. teleAK February 10th, 2012 8:34 pm

    Good to see the review of the PLUM binding. I researched AT bindings heavily (as I do for outdoor stuff), and in particular having been an alpine racer once and tele skier for last 25 years. I came to the conclusion that PLUM is the best out there in terms of design, quality, and the company as well (although that is from afar). I had PLUM guides mounted on Volkl Nanuq skis, using dynafit boots. After 2 test ski outings, I am totally impressed. Alaska Mountaineering & Hiking here is the dealer and they themselves are a quality outfit and heartily recommended the binding. Although I could have gotten the Dynafit binding cheaper–about $300–I got sense and realized it is worth the extra to get the PLUM (despite my wife’s total lack of support). What impresses me is a) the design, b) the all metal construction, c) the thought that went into this binding. Yeah, it’s a clone of sorts of dynafit….but why not? Anyway, I will post to this site if I find in this upcoming spring season (which in AK promises to be fantastic) any problems.

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