Plum Guide Tech Binding: First Impressions


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Lightweight, reliable, a resistance-free touring pivot, and no lifted weight on each touring stride: yes, an AT binding breakthrough.

I’m talking of course about the original Dynafit bindings that came on the scene about two decades ago. Hard to improve upon the original, and even the late 90s TLT IV still lives on virtually unchanged in the form of the Dynafit Speed model. The Vertical ST (10) and FT12 offer some improvements, although for many skiers even the original Speed is still preferable. Note though that for the 2011-12 season Dynafit is introducing the new “Radical” variations of its Speed, ST, and FT12 models with what appear to be more significant modifications, although I suspect skier opinion will diverge on the utility of some of the modifications.

So, can Plum improve upon Dynafit’s fundamental design? My personal impression so far is that new Guide binding combines the best of all worlds, i.e., Speed, Vertical ST/FT, and even some of the upcoming features on the new Radical variations. But read on and decide for yourself, and also read Alex Wigley’s review, as personal preferences can certainly vary widely as to what features deserve the most weight (both on the scale and in the gear-selection process).

First off, the Guide is aimed straight at those users interested in the Speed and Vertical ST10/FT12. By contrast, the G3 Onyx/Ruby with its extra plastic, moving parts, and weight has always struck me as aimed more toward the Diamir set or other skiers reluctant to take the Dynafit conversion. And the new ATK RT is somewhat of a hybrid between the Speed and more race-oriented models. (Dynafit has offered four such hybrids over the years, but they are all now discontinued, although coming back for the 2011-12 season in the form of the Speed Ultralight.)

As summarized in my prior preview, the Guide essentially offers the weight of the Speed with a 30mm fore/aft adjustment range that is a bit longer than the Vertical and a 5.5-12 release value range that is similar to the FT12. (Note that the imprinted adjustment range for lateral and forward release values — respectively — measures out to approximately 5.1/5.7 for the ST, 5.6/5.8 for the FT12, and 6.2/7.4 for the Guide. The variations are very difficult to measure precisely, but bottomline is that FT12 has a slightly longer compression range than the ST, while the Guide is noticeably longer.) Plum also offers a version that has a much lower 3-7 release value range, plus a version of each release value range that eliminates the highest heel elevator position. A brake though will not be available until the following season, although a leash is included, weighing in at only half an ounce per pair.

And of all the new “Tech” competitors (with adjustable release values), the Guide is definitely closest in all aspects to Dynafit, so I’ll focus my review on a compare/contrast with different Dynafit models.

The very first impression is that although any new ski gear has its appeal, especially backcountry gear, and even more so any Dynafit or “Tech” binding, the Guide’s finish is of amazingly impressive quality. And if you put a high value on metal content in your ski bindings, then this is certainly the choice for you. Does that mean the Guide has enhanced durability? I can immediately identify some Dynafit failure modes that would seem to be addressed on the Guide, but only time will tell whether it has its own vulnerabilities, so at this point any speculation on durability is, yes, just speculation. (But since everyone is going to be asking about this recent failure, yes, the Guide base is fully supported laterally with no hanging extension, the metal is thicker in cross section, and the screws are set farther inside the metal base.)

Guide pedestal base has thicker cross section, although small surface area. Guide is secured directly to metal rail (which in turn is screwed into ski), as opposed to Dynafit method of plastic baseplate pressing down on heel pedestal base.

Dynafit pedestal has threaded hole for screw adjustment, whereas Guide is held down at the sides. Guide thimble bushing is a bit easier to remove (perhaps because of the larger hole in the center), although the heel piece has a noticeably tighter fit on the pedestal. But those end caps sure look similar!

Guide top plate is metal and partially extends over the sides of the binding. All four Guide screws are flush with the top plate (as opposed to just two out of four for Dynafit).


But enough of the subjective evaluation, onto the digital postal scale you go! At 1 pound 8.6 ounces (with mounting screws), the Guide is essentially tied with the Speed, so about six ounces of weight savings (per pair) over the Vertical brethren (or even far more compared to the upcoming Radical FT12 with its substantial toe-heel connector). For geometry, standheight off the ski and heel-toe “delta” is partway between the Speed and Vertical models (the latter having more of both) — whether this is good or bad all depends on your stance alignment needs. Heel elevator angles are virtually identical to the Speed, which is a bit less steep than the Vertical. And the heel elevator has a whopping four different ski pole insertion points.

The Dynafit Snow Leopard ready to pounce on one of the four pole insertion points on the heel riser!

Mounting follows the classic Dynafit pattern, but without the fifth toe hole (which the Dynafit “Radical” line will also jettison for the 2011-12 season, while moving the two front toe holes forward by 6mm).

Adjusting the heel’s fore/aft position requires a T-25 driver, which is included with the binding, and which oddly enough just happens to be the other driver on the little Avid brake tool that includes a T-10 that fits the top plate screws (for both Dynafit and Plum). The boot-binding gap at the heel is set at 4mm (and the T-25 driver does double duty as a spacer shim), which combined with the Vertical’s pin length required some very minor grinding on the TLT5 rubber slots, since they inaccurately extend past the boot plastic, creating a little lip. (The TLT5 toe area also has excess rubber: mine just barely fit initially into my Dynafit bindings when I first used them, and others have reported mandatory trimming before use.)

Plum provided me with a detailed diagram demonstrating heel pin movement within the boot interface as a function of ski flexion, so they certainly seem to have thought through this combination (of heel pin length and boot-binding gap) in great detail. (And the release values are calibrated based upon the combination of 4mm gap, Vertical-style pin length, and hence greater pin penetration into the boot heel interface. In other words, although mechanically you could set up a Vertical binding to the same specs, doing so would put you into unknown territory for release values. More, as Lou has brought up probably 300 times, this movement of the pins changing release value on the fly is one reason why tech bindings are not certified to any sort of DIN/ISO safety release binding standard.)

As I wrote in my preview, a Dynafit binding’s utilization of the ski topskin as part of the binding has been eliminated, since the flat base of the Guide’s heel pedestal is screwed down directly to the mounting track (as opposed to be pressed down against the topskin by a separate plastic mounting plate), the butt end of the touring lock lever presses up against a hump on the binding frame (as opposed to any separate plastic mounting plate), and the ski crampon slot is part of the binding frame (once again as opposed to any separate plastic mounting plate). The new Dynafit “Radical” line for the 2011-12 season will implement the latter two of these three changes.

Upon entry, the Plum toe lever is designed to flip automatically into tour ‘lock’ mode. I say “designed” because if the entry is a bit sloppy or gradual, then the toe lever doesn’t quite make it — this has happened about half the time on three separate outings with multiple transitions when I was entering the binding amidst two feet of fresh powder (which was nice compensation for having to reach down and pull up the lever). Indoors on a workshop mat, over several trials my success rate was 100%. And unlike race bindings with such automatic entry, the toe lever can then be pressed down for ski mode (rumor has it that all bindings will eventually have that feature, due to rando racing rule changes).

Toe lever is designed to go in tour mode automatically upon entry, but can be pushed back down for ski mode. That is of course a feature that many of our readers here want in their tech bindings.

So how does the Plum Guide perform for actually, well skiing? As far as I can tell in the field, just fine, but of course I had to devise some indoor tests in an attempt to quantify their performance. For the rigidity of the boot-ski coupling, I swung the lever arm of my ski binding torque tester out to the side and added a 12.7-pound weight, then measured the angle of the boot deflection. Similar to Lou’s deflection test, this fails to account for the downward vector of a skier on top of the bindings, and probably also had more ski movement than with Lou’s setup. Nevertheless, the measured angles for various Dynafit models vs. the Guide were almost identical. (The Plum race binding showed about another degree of deflection.) One difference I did note was that with the Dynafit models the heel unit was clearly deflecting to some extent, whereas with the Guide the heel unit was impressively unaffected, yet the boot then just moved more relative to the binding (given the tolerances of any “Tech” heel pins within the standard boot interface).

Okay, now perhaps the most important for last: Dynafit and its “Tech” competitors in touring bindings (i.e., with adjustable release values) attempt to use one-size-fits-all toe springs, which face a difficult task of retaining you when the heel pins are engaged yet releasing you once the heel pins are disengaged (whether because of a lateral or forward release at the heel). The new La Sportiva / ATK RT does have adjustable toe tension, but this appears to affect only the tour mode (i.e., when the toe lever is pulled up). The Merelli R8 Evolution race binding achieves adjustable tension via adding or subtracting washers, similar to an experiment that Lou conducted. G3 claims to use stiffer springs, and Dynafit quietly did the same to the 110mm-brake version of the FT12 this season.

Toe springs seem to be same thickness as Dynafit (with the exception of 2011 wide brake FT12), but are packed closer together.

So how does the Plum Guide compare in toe spring pressure? Well, first off, I suspect that retention characteristics are a function of not only spring pressure but also exact geometry of the toe wings along with the pincer span. For the latter, when closed (without a ski boot) the Guide is about half a millimeter wider as compared to current Dynafit models, although this could be my own measurement variance or just manufacturing variations. For measuring toe spring pressure, I don’t have an accurate measurement method yet, although the Guide springs seem packed together more closely as compared to a Dynafit, which has some small spacing between each coil. For the 2011-12 season, Dynafit debuts the “Power Towers” on its Radical bindings, which are claimed to help eliminate pre-release while also enhancing ease of entry. Innovative for sure, but efficacy is of course still entirely unknown. (That does bring up my one little quibble with the Guide: when the heel unit is rotated 90 degrees clockwise, and I put my boot heel flush up against the heel unit housing, I feel like the boot toe interface is about 1mm back from the ideal position for clicking into the binding toe pincers. But the alignment still enhances entry, although with the TLT5 quick step-in interface, pretty much any approach works well.)

Plum currently has only one North American retailer, Escape Route (for the Guide, Plum’s standard race model, and its race version with an adjustable mounting track), but given my impressions so far, I would be very surprised if availability continued to be so limited for next season.

(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

192 Responses to “Plum Guide Tech Binding: First Impressions”

  1. wyomingowen January 25th, 2011 12:09 pm

    Jonathon,
    It appears the Manaslu is your test ski. Have you installed inserts? If not how many times have you changed bindings on the factory plastic plugs?

  2. tony January 25th, 2011 12:32 pm

    Just to confirm, the Plum uses the same mounting pattern as Dyna bindings, but the La Sportiva/ATK binding doens not? Also, when mounted in holes previously drilled for Dyna bindings, will the plum be mounted for the same bsl (at the toe) and fit the same range of BSL at the heel? Hope that makes sense.

  3. Jon Moceri January 25th, 2011 1:14 pm

    Tony, I have the ATK RT bindings. The toe unit has the same mounting pattern as the Dynafit, but with only 4 and not the 5th binding tip mounting hole. The heel unit does not have the same mounting pattern. However, you can probably mount the heel on pre-drilled Dynafit skis with careful hand mounting.

  4. Greg Louie January 25th, 2011 2:16 pm

    Thanks, Jonathan. You’ve sold me, not that I wasn’t leaning strongly in that direction already . . .

    ” (Note that the imprinted adjustment range for lateral and forward release values — respectively — measures out to approximately 5.1/5.7 for the ST, 5.6/5.8 for the FT12, and 6.2/7.4 for the Guide. The variations are very difficult to measure precisely, but bottomline is that FT12 has a slightly longer compression range than the ST, while the Guide is noticeably longer.) ”

    Are you saying the length in mm of the screened-on scale on the side of the bindings is this long? So there is potential for finer/more accurate adjustment with the Plum? Is the housing itself longer?

    So the heel pins are 13mm long from the base of the heel piece?

  5. Jonathan Shefftz January 25th, 2011 2:40 pm

    Composing on phone so please excuse the typing.
    Good eye on the manaslu. I was so nervous on remounting that I almost put the guide on new skis but all went well. I have no plans to try another swap though on those inserts. For initial mounting with Dynafits inserts my helicoil rate has been something like 10x regular skis.
    Tony what Jon already said plus yes the guide is centered fore aft like Dynafits.
    Greg:
    1 yes
    2 could be interpreted that way
    3 I’m on business travel right now with only some old speeds but I recall the total housing length seemed comparable to Dynafits.
    4 depends exactly on how It’s measured but yes essentially the same pin length as vertical

  6. Mason January 25th, 2011 3:38 pm

    Do you know the pin length for Speed Radical? Will it be longer than old Speed, thus allowing 5.5mm spacing like Verticals?

  7. Maki January 25th, 2011 4:10 pm

    This binding is just beautiful for machining alone, but I’m confused: if the Plum has the same pin lenght of the Verticals, why is the boot gap different? I suppose it can cause problems with some boots.
    Also, do you feel the adjustment rails are a solid interface or is there a risk of the heel piece pushed back in extreme ski deflection?

  8. Lou January 25th, 2011 4:44 pm

    Maki, could be any number of reasons Plum specifies a different boot gap. It’s not a standard nor anything that only works at one dimension.

  9. Jonathan Shefftz January 25th, 2011 4:47 pm

    Speed radical pin length, I haven’t seen anything definitive.
    Guide boot gap, they believe the extra pin penetration essentially provides enhanced retention-release characteristics. I lack the professional background to evaluate such analysis but we have exchanged many wonderfully technical emails on this and related subjects,complete with mechanical drawings.
    Heel track security seems excellent although of course only time can tell for sure. Also requires a bit more care to set properly as opposed to just turning a screw. But on the wild snow DIY scale, if mounting their race bindings was a 9, then this is around a 2.

  10. John January 25th, 2011 5:03 pm

    FYI,
    The heel pin pocket depth on my race boots is 9mm.
    My Garmont, Dynafit, and BD boots are 12mm.
    Boots and bindings need to be matched for the proper gap.
    John

  11. Lou January 25th, 2011 5:15 pm

    A smaller gap between boot heel and binding will frequently result in the boot heel hitting the binding during hard compressed turns with soft skis. What the consequences of that are depend on multiple factors. The longer pin length of the Dynafit Comfort/ST/FT works much better than the shorter pin length, in my opinion, as it allows a larger gap. I’m pretty surprised, actually, that Plum uses shorter length pins and small gap.

    That said, tens of thousands of skiers use TLT bindings with the shorter pins and smaller gap, and it works for them, so shut my mouth.

  12. Jonathan Shefftz January 25th, 2011 6:34 pm

    Re pg race boots, yes they have a nonstandard interface depth and hence can run out of room even with shorter race pins, and the impact of the pins directly on the boot could explain some race binding failures. By contrast the standard Dynafit heel insert is 4.08 and the plastic cutout is 9 so a little over 13 total.
    Lou, the guide is essentially the speed gap but with the vertical pins thus adding up to more heel penetration. This should help to prevent the houdini effect that the Vermont safety research website discusses as well as perhaps increase vertical/forward elasticity.

  13. Greg Louie January 25th, 2011 6:34 pm

    Well, other things being equal, I’d just as soon have more (or at least not less than 5.5mm) gap AND more pin insertion depth. You can always dremel out the heel sockets if the fit is close.

    I’m in the process of setting up a friend’s skis with a Speed heel/ST toe baseplate to lessen ramp angle; I plan to grind the injection molding bump off the heelpiece, substitute Comfort heel pins and set the gap at 5.0 . . .

  14. KDog January 25th, 2011 8:03 pm

    As with all things from Europe, the price and availability here in the States makes most of this an exercise in semantics.

    $621 US plus shipping from Canada for the Plum Guide, (even though in France it’s only about $520 US in Euro’s) is pretty steep.

    I am interested in the Dynafit Guide XL and my wife wants some Scarpa T4 boots both of which are not available in North America.

    I’m not someone who thinks that the American marketplace should be the goal of every company out there, but it’s hard to see such great innovation and know that it will be a long time (if ever) for it to trickle down to me.

    Time to take a ski vacation to the Alps with an empty ski bag.

  15. Greg Louie January 25th, 2011 10:18 pm

    KDog, there’s nothing limiting you to purchasing from American purveyors as long as you have an Internet connection and a credit card. I’m willing to bet that at least half of the posters on this thread have purchased gear in this fashion (including the aforementioned Plum bindings).

    There are plenty of reliable online merchants in Europe who speak English and would be delighted to do business with you. Keep in mind that prices will often be cheaper than listed on websites when shipping to the US/Canada, as VAT taxes will not be charged. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the Guide XL, too . . .

  16. KDog January 25th, 2011 11:40 pm

    @ Greg Louie,

    I do purchase online all the time here in the states, but who has the Plum Guide? I have purchased from TP in europe before without problems, but sometimes it’s nice to fondle and try on things. Boots are a real gamble purchased from europe.

    I’ll bet that one of the reasons there are so many questions on this site about gear, is folks gather all the info they can on a product that can’t see in person at their local shops.

  17. Greg Louie January 25th, 2011 11:52 pm

    I would order them direct from Plum’s website:

    http://www.fixation-plum.com/detail-article-fixations.php?idproduit=30

    They also have a list of stores that carry the bindings in Europe (plus Escape Route and two places in Colorado) on the site.

    BTW, TP definitely shows the Guide XL and T4.

  18. KDog January 26th, 2011 9:32 am

    Greg,

    I had already checked the Colorado stores websites, no Plum bindiers. I had checked about 10 of the sites in Europe, no Plum. I know I can get them from Plum or Escape route. I checked all this before I wrote my first post.

    My point was, barring pictures and discussion on this site, there just isn’t a way to see, touch, smell or taste this gear before making a $600 – $1,300 purchase decision.

    Here in our mid-size mountain town , the local shops can’t afford to stock even the available Dynafit or Scarpa products, so “Exotics” are out of the question.

    BTW: TP has only 1 size of women’s T4′s and they are from 4 seasons ago. I’ve been looking for awhile.

  19. Dave Field January 26th, 2011 12:08 pm

    I like most of what I see about the plum except the heel adjustment. I like the dynafit adjustment screw as you can dial in a proper gap easily. Often after you click the boots in and out of the binding a couple times upon initial setup, the gap shifts a bit and you can easily readjust with the screw. I think this might make proper plum setup a bit annoying. I realize the dynafit screw could be a weak point as there was information regarding failure in this critical area of the heel post a while back. The plum solution seems solid and robust but perhaps not as precise in setting up and maintaining the proper gap.

  20. jayson January 26th, 2011 12:22 pm

    Note that the pricing for the PLUM bindings is simply our landed cost from PLUM and a normal margin, the same as retailers make on the Dynafit bindings. When we priced the bindings from Plum, they gave us the best price they could while still earning some money for them to stay in business and continue to operate. Being a small and very specialized company they don’t have the bigger margins that allow a distributor to get into the mix and add in their margin as well….this is not possible if the price is to stay anywhere close to Dynafits. Simple fact is that PLUM bindings cost a lot more to produce (ie. lack of economies of scale, materials, etc.). At the recent OR trade show ALL the new tech light bindings from RT, ATK, Trab etc will be distributed by companies and as a result more expensive than the Guide.
    We imported PLUMs directly because as a specialty retailer we want to have specialty products for our customers. We do this at the best prices we can muster (ie. we match MEC pricing in Canada and they are a $300M non-profit company which is brutal). So our landed price includes duties, shipping, brokerage etc. I doubt that anyone importing directly from EU for one pair will 399EUx 1.369 exchange = $546.23 US/CDN. Add in shipping, duties, and brokerage = $200+. Note the quote from UPS was over $200, TNT was 120 EU JUST for shipping. Duties are 7% on full value and then brokerage fees are normally between $25-$50 flat rate minimums.
    Point is…it is expensive to get single pairs across the ocean.
    We will be posting a full review on the skiing performance of the bindings once we get a number of big days on them. Jonathan has done a good technical overview. These bindings are not for everyone obviously but they have a number of features and components that are appealing to some.

  21. Jay January 26th, 2011 12:37 pm

    Is there a Plum binding with a releasable Toe?

  22. jayson January 26th, 2011 2:22 pm

    no there is not at this time. Note that the RT binding that Jonathan mentions has the adjustable “release” in touring mode only. It does not provide and adjustment for release in ski mode nor does any other tech system set up.
    G3 has said that their toe is set up to provide a release “function” when skiing. ie. it was designed to release under loads skiing, whether or not your heel is released.

  23. Greg Louie January 26th, 2011 9:46 pm

    “My point was, barring pictures and discussion on this site, there just isn’t a way to see, touch, smell or taste this gear before making a $600 – $1,300 purchase decision”.

    It’s a valid point, KDog, though I don’t think it’s likely to change any time in the near future. As other’s have pointed out, it’s an extremely rare commodity in an already niche market.

    FWIW, someone else I know locally has recently ordered directly from Plum with no complaints . . .

  24. Jonathan Shefftz January 26th, 2011 11:34 pm

    Dave, the Guide fore/aft adjustment is definitely precise. But adjustment did take me a bit longer, since I had to ensure the Left/Right symmetry and I had to ensure that the screws were tightened down securely. (Then again, this was also my first time adjusting the Guide, as opposed my umpteen-zillionth time adjusting various Dynafits.) However, for a very big adjustment, from one end of the adjustment track to the other, the Guide might be faster since you can just loosen the screws then slide the heel freely along the track, as opposed to a bunch of screw revolutions on a Dynafit. Either way, I can’t imagine this being a factor in favor of each binding.

    Jayson, are you sure the Onyx/Ruby is designed to ever release at the toe before the heel releases (whether laterally or forward)? I thought all Tech binding toes are designed to release only after the heel pins are no longer engaged. Anyway, given the diseconomies of scale, as well as Plum’s production process, I’m amazed (in a good way) that your shop is able to sell the Guide at a price comparable to the FT12 at MEC. Ultimately though I think a distributor will be good for Plum, since any additional margin for a distributor should be more than offset by greater volume and hopefully lower prices.

  25. Dave Field January 27th, 2011 11:40 am

    Thanks for the clarification Jonathan. One more question, can you access the adjustment secrews and adjust the heel piece location without removing the heel piece housing from the pedestal?

  26. Jonathan Shefftz January 27th, 2011 12:21 pm

    Yes, you can do so.
    (my disassembly was solely to take that picture and otherwise served no purpose)

  27. Maki January 27th, 2011 2:36 pm

    My doubt about the fore/aft adjustement is about the longtime reliability. Threaded aluminium makes me nervous (too many stripped threads in my life), the Dynafit system seems more durable. Still, it’s usually a “set and forget” thing, so probably not an issue at all.

  28. Greg Louie January 27th, 2011 5:11 pm

    I don’t necessarily consider the Dynafit length adjustment system an advantage. I’ve had very few Dynafit failures over the years, but two of them have involved the fore-aft heel adjustment mechanism.

  29. jayson February 2nd, 2011 9:03 pm

    With product like this, it is such a specialty item in materials and design, it is very difficult to make it a large volume product. Although there would be significant economies of scale with much larger production volumes, I know that the tooling and manufacturing methods that Plum uses don’t allow for that kind of volume. Why does Dynafit have stamped steel baseplates? Because at their volumes you cannot do CnC work. It is why Dynafit or other metal part manufacturers use either forged or caste components as volumes dictate. So I hope that they keep it small and specialized since that is what makes it different and so competitive.
    Why we can be competitive with a Dynafit price is because there is no distributor margin. Direct to us as retailer. If you add a distributor in the mix it would add about 25-30% to the final price at a minimum.

  30. Jonathan Shefftz February 6th, 2011 7:34 pm

    Just wanted to clarify an issue that was raised at another website.
    In my original review, I wrote, “For measuring toe spring pressure, I don’t have an accurate measurement method yet [...]”
    I did try replicating Lou’s subjective test of just pressing on the boot in a certain manner. Unfortunately, I lack some combination of upper body strength and/or technique, since with either Dynafit or Plum I couldn’t get the toe pincers to open up in the manner that Lou did.
    (BTW, although Lou’s video seems to show the toe opening up under surprisingly little force, any alpine downhill binding toe set in the single digits can be twisted out with comparable force.)

  31. Mike at The BackCountry February 10th, 2011 12:40 pm

    We sell the Plum Guide binding at our shop in Truckee, CA and are drooling over it daily. We have a demo pair with a big guy skiing them, and will report any complaints.

    Now if they would just make me a tele binding.

  32. Mike at The BackCountry February 10th, 2011 12:41 pm

    We sell the Plum Guide binding at our shop in Truckee, CA and are drooling over it daily. We have a demo pair with a big guy skiing them, and will report any complaints.

    Now if they would just make me a tele binding.

  33. Lou February 10th, 2011 5:53 pm

    Mike, still stuck with telemarking? Get with the program!

  34. tony March 5th, 2011 9:56 pm

    Will dyna ski crampons from Dynafit and B&D work with Plums?

    Anyone have performance/prerelease or other issues due to the smaller gap between boot heel/binding heel piece with the plums relative to the comfort/verticals?

  35. Ali E March 6th, 2011 12:21 pm

    @tony

    The Plum Guide binding SHOULD work with Dyna ski crampons, but in practice you may need to tinker about a bit. I have the B&D Dyna compatible crampons, which I bought for a Manaslu – Comfort combo (before Dynafir brought out the wider crampon for the Manaslu.) I recently replaced the Comfort bindings with a pair of Plums. I didn’t bother to check that the crampons would fit and ended up in a bit of a nightmare situation trying – unsuccessfully – to get them to work in the field on a hard snow-ice day.

    I emailed Plum and the ever-helpful Alexis said this was a known issue with Dynafit ski crampons and that if I filed down the rivets on the crampon shaft slightly they would fit beautifully. I did this, and the the two ends of the shaft as well for good measure, and they now fit like a glove. I think the problem is that because the Plum crampon slight is precision-tooled aluminium, it is much less forgiving than Dynafit’s plastic/steel slot.

    Anyway, a bit of judicuous filing did the trick.

  36. Ali E March 6th, 2011 1:11 pm

    @tony

    Forgot to add: My understanding is that the heel spacing on the Plums is the same as the Comfort/Verticals = 4 mm

  37. tony March 6th, 2011 7:40 pm

    Thanks for that info, Ali. A couple of more questions about Dynafit compatible ski crampons.

    Ali talks about using B&D Dyna compatible cramps with the Plum and needing to file. Has anyone used Dynafit brand cramps with the Plums? Do you still have to file them to get them to work?

    Also, Dynafit brand ski crampons only come in 110mm and 92mm sizes. How much smaller can the waist of the ski be than the width of the ski crampon for the ski crampon to still work? I had heard you want the waist to be within 10mm of the ski crampon width or you will put too much torque on the crampon. If this was the case, there would be many skis for which the Dyna brand crampons would not work.

  38. Jonathan Shefftz March 6th, 2011 9:31 pm

    “Forgot to add: My understanding is that the heel spacing on the Plums is the same as the Comfort/Verticals = 4 mm”
    – Incorrect: I think what you also forgot was to read my review, as I have five sentences on this subject, and then between myself and others we have over a dozen sentences discussing the differences in this regard.

    “Has anyone used Dynafit brand cramps with the Plums? Do you still have to file them to get them to work?”
    – You think I would write a review of the Plum Guide yet not have tested Dynafit ski crampons with the bindings? Of course they fit fine as is (and that’s testing three different Dynafit models of ski crampons).

    “Also, Dynafit brand ski crampons only come in 110mm and 92mm sizes. How much smaller can the waist of the ski be than the width of the ski crampon for the ski crampon to still work?”
    – Enter “wide ski crampon” in the search box.

    Okay, back to drying out all my clothes and gear from teaching avalanche rescue practice in the rain…

  39. Ali E March 7th, 2011 3:45 am

    Sorry Jonathan, my mistake. I seem to have had it in my mind that the Comfort/Vertical gap was 4 mm.

    On the ski crampon fit, maybe it is just my pair,but I also tried a pair of Dynafit ones in a local shop and had the same problem as with the B&Ds, they just wouldn’t budge.

  40. Christian March 7th, 2011 6:29 am

    Jonathan: Regarding prerelease simulation. My problem with dynafit is not horisontal nor vertical prerelease, but a diagonal prerelease. It is easily simulated by kicking a ski diagonally into the carpet/or hard snow/ice (as if you land on the edge after a jump doing a 90 degree in-the-air turn.) Correctly done it only creates a torisional force on the ski, and not a horizontal force.
    I’ll buy the first tech binding that solves this….(praying for the power towers to work)…as this is the only issue I have with tech bindings, but sadly also something that causes me not to fully trust the system.
    Can you try that with the plum? :?: (I guess this is the same Lou’s test is showing…but without the technique requirements to the tester, and more like real world skiing)
    (BTW: Nice review:!:)

  41. Lou March 7th, 2011 6:42 am

    Christian, in my view Onyx pretty much solves the type of pre-release you mention, as does the Dynafit FT with the stronger springs in the toe. The Power Towers might solve it, but we need to test to be sure, and the performance of the Power Towers is dependent on the shape of the boot toe.

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

    By the way, after much observation of new and misinformed binding users, it has come to my attention that much of supposed Dynafit “pre release” problems are indeed caused by icing, either in the pocket under the toe wings or in the boot sockets. Just thought I’d bring that up here so newbies reading this know to check for that first if they’re having problems.

  42. Christian March 7th, 2011 8:38 am

    I have used dynafits for more than 10 years now. My prereleases are consistent: when I put a lot of force abruptly on an edged ski. Since I can prerelease in my living room during summer, I am quite sure it isn’t ice…but I agree most of the prerelease you hear about are due to ice. (I also see that other bindings also prerelease – but not in the same way)

    The FT isn’t an option for me, as I stopped touring on wide skis (was too heavy with dukes, and prereleased too much with dynafits). The Onyx could be an alternative…but would like to see a prerelease test before. I guess it is more of an option for next years freeride/tour purchase than for my current Mustagh Ata and tlt5ps. Would still love to see a test.

  43. Lou March 7th, 2011 8:44 am

    Christian, you can still use an FT with the stronger springs, just swap on a narrower brake. All the brakes interchange.

  44. Jonathan Shefftz March 7th, 2011 9:41 am

    Re crampons, since the three Dynafit pairs I tried are not just three different widths, but three different generations, I suspect any problem with inserting a pair of Dynafit crampons into the Plum Guide slot has to do with the angle of insertion.

    Re toe springs, when I’ve tried bashing a ski with Dynafit ST10 onto the carpet, I release the binding about half the time. By contrast, when I attempt to twist out laterally at the heel with my various Dynafit and Plum binding, I release the heel all the time. Ditto for my alpine race bindings at the toe. Yet I don’t prelease from any of them. So I don’t see what conducting the carpet bash test with the Plum Guide would demonstrate.

  45. Christian March 7th, 2011 11:52 am

    The carpet bashing I am talking about has nothing to with laterally kicking the edge in – as you would when testing horizontal release on dynafit or alpine bindings: then you should release. If you kick the ski in by extending your leg so that the ski hits the floor in a 45 degree angle: i.e. 90 degree different from what it seems you are doing…then there is no way you would release an alpine binding, but the dynafit binding does – in the front, not in the back.
    I might very well try Lou’s and your suggestion regarding the strong spring ft with the 92 stoppers…as just a tad more tention would keep me locked into the MASLs.
    Thanks

  46. Jonathan Shefftz March 7th, 2011 11:58 am

    Yes, we’re talking about the same test (from Jan W) — I was using the lateral reference only with regard to the Dynafit heel and with regard to an alpine downhill toe.

  47. Christian March 7th, 2011 1:45 pm

    If the carpet test requires more force with plum than with dynafit – then it will be less prone to prerelease. I see that this is probably not an issue to most, but to those that actually do prerelease, it is relevant…as you cannot adjust the din to fix it.

  48. Jonathan Shefftz March 7th, 2011 2:14 pm

    Since I “succeed” only about half the time with carpet test on Dynafits, I don’t think any reasonable calibration can be performed by me with a Dynafit vs Guide comparison.

  49. Lou March 7th, 2011 2:23 pm

    Indeed, it would be very difficult to test and quantify what we’re discussing. First we’d have to agree on an exact mechanism and direction of force, then on the type of testing (static, dynamic, etc.). When they test bindings at TUV for DIN cert, you wouldn’t believe the permutations…

  50. tony March 11th, 2011 10:13 pm

    I am now a proud new owner of a Plum Guide, thanks mike from the backcountry.

    How well do the two for/aft adustment scerws hold after your tighten them? Any need for blue locktight? Also, how carefull do you have to be to get the two adustement screws alighned identically vis a vis distance from the front and back of the adjustment track? Any tricks to doing this?

    Has anyone translated the instructions that come with the Guide? They seem pretty extensive, and maybe my questions are answered there?

  51. Lou March 12th, 2011 7:09 am

    Tony, we don’t have any Plums here to fool around with. Jonathan?

    And, um, didn’t MIke at The Backcountry get you up to speed on the bindings? Or do they just sell stuff then expect WildSnow.com to provide customer service (grin)?

  52. Jonathan Shefftz March 12th, 2011 9:29 am

    Just returned from some “training” on my Plum race bindings.
    As for the Guide, I just checked (which is always a good idea periodically with any fasteners), and all four screws for the fore/aft adjustment are still tight.
    Bilateral symmetry with the two screws on each binding is important, but very obvious because of the tick marks on the heel tracks.

  53. Rich March 27th, 2011 9:19 pm

    just wondering if there are any more updated reviews on the Plum Guide. I am ready to pull the trigger on either these or the Dynafits. I prefer the clean look, weight and the heel piece design on the Plums but am hoping on more field reports before dropping six hundy. Thx!

  54. Jonathan Shefftz March 28th, 2011 7:38 am

    I have nothing new to report — my pair has certainly been fine so far.
    A TGR poster has been selling a few, so might get some additional feedback over there soon.

  55. jayson March 28th, 2011 9:12 am

    We have had several months of reports and a number of customers who have got many days. I have about 7 days on mine and everything A OK. They seem to be stiffer than a Dynafit with a slightly more positive feel underfoot, but that is difficult to quantify. They are light, and the heel adjustment plate works well and seems really solid. The toe throw lever is quite a bit larger than on Dynafits and while it is easy to use, it offers something else that is interesting. When in locked out mode, if you get a forward heel release, the toe of your boot will most likely make contact with the lever and release it from lock out. So if that is what the common outcome would be, does that mean that they have a fail safe which means that if caught in a slide or fall, IF you get a heel release you will still get out of your locked out toe.
    Without the brake plate resistance the heels flip very easily to the different climbing heights, much easier than my Dynafits. The pole volcano also is interesting in that it fits the tip of my BD poles perfectly, so well (not a mm of play), in fact that this is part of why they spin so amazingly well, your pole is now a precise tool. Plus they have 3 points of access in the heel volcano which works very well too. However, we have had some customers with fatter pole tips that have had a more difficult time fitting their pole in the various positions.
    Quality seems very good, finish is excellent. The included safety straps are pretty basic so the intention would seem to be that you are not expected to likely use them.
    Lastly, we have stock for anyone needing/wanting a pair.

  56. jayson March 28th, 2011 9:30 am

    One more note…apparently Glen Plake is now a Plum binding guy. I know many on this board are big fans!!!

  57. Mike at The BackCountry March 28th, 2011 9:43 am

    ha ha. like i don’t spend half my day teaching people about gear so they can buy it on the internet!

    Jayson, thanks so much for all this feedback. We have now sold about 10 pairs, and everyone is really happy with them. Including a few employees who have owned dynafit. Which shop are you? You rock.

    okay lou, I’m ATing today. TXpro + plum. After so many years of parallelamarking, it’s hard to parallel without just a little vertical heel movement though. I think they should tune that into these tech bindings.

  58. jayson March 28th, 2011 10:00 am

    We are the Escape Route here in Whistler and Squamish. We also have a guiding operation here for the last 20 years, Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau. We started importing Plum back in November of this year and we have sold quite a few pairs and have had pretty much universal positive response. We also sell the 145s and the 185s, those have gone mostly to National Team racers , club racers and guides. But they are a great product as well.
    And yes, we too seem to spend way too much time educating people about products who then turn around and buy online because they can save 10$. Ahh…the life of a specialty retailer.

  59. Lou March 28th, 2011 11:34 am

    Mike, sorry to hear about your pain. Latched heel skiing with tech bindings is a crutch. For wimps. The parallel turn is also not much fun. I’m truly upset you have succumbed to the crutch, and will be having less fun.

  60. Mike at The BackCountry March 28th, 2011 11:54 am

    Actually the reason why I still tele (half parallelamark), is because I pretty much only ski smooth snow with no tracks, and the bindings beneath the snow makes no difference on the way down. I like chucking a few tele turns in there once in awhile of course, but parallelamarking in powder is pretty sweet. And with the 700″ of snow we got so far this year…..

    I’ll admit touring in tech bindings feels pretty nice. The only way to get max powder and feel fresh during the descent, is to have both really lightweight AND supportive gear.

    Plus I can patiently wait for the Dostinator bindings. I like rooting for the underdog.

  61. Justin April 3rd, 2011 2:51 pm

    Anyone news on brakes for the Plums? I wonder if they will require taking off the heel piece to install (like on Dynafits where you have to put that retainer clip in place)?

  62. Alexis April 20th, 2011 1:11 am

    Hi guys,
    user manual in English is now available here :
    http://www.fixation-plum.com/Guide_Instructions_Manual_FR_ENG.pdf

    ETA for the brakes still is Oct.11.
    As well as other innovations / accessories.
    I’ll let you know more asap.

  63. Lou April 20th, 2011 6:25 am

    Thanks Alexis!

  64. Jonathan Shefftz April 26th, 2011 8:24 am

    Just a quick heads-up for any Plum Guide users to check the toe wing where the pincer is inserted. One documented failure in this area. Whether this is just a freak occurrence and/or whether any warning signs are detectable, I have no idea, but worth a quick check.

  65. Ali E April 26th, 2011 10:42 am

    Any further info on what sort of failure here Jonathan? I’ve not skied my Plum Guides long enough for anything to have gone wrong, but would be good to know what I should be looking out for in the future.

  66. Jonathan Shefftz April 26th, 2011 8:16 pm

    Essentially the end of the toe wing chipped off, so what had previously been the hole into which the toe pincer was inserted now just became a half-circle.
    Prevalence and early-warning signs (if any) are entirely unknown.
    (Happened to a skier who weighs 230-240 lb, and on fairly wide skis, and after 50+ days touring, so might be a non-issue for others…)

  67. Simon June 9th, 2011 3:13 am

    Lou – I’ve heard that Plum’s gonna widen the hole pattern for next years guide, do you know anything about that?

  68. Lou June 9th, 2011 6:22 am

    Simon, I wouldn’t be surprised. Whether or not physical reality requires that with tech bindings, the common perception is that it a wider hole pattern is better, so these companies have to respond to the market if nothing else. Also, you can SEE the screws in a tech binding, and they’re hidden in an alpine binding, so how they look in terms of marketing is more important.

    If they do it, I’ll be interested to see how much wider it really ends up, as opposed to how much wider it is perceived as.

    If you look at http://www.wildsnow.com/3999/at-backcountry-binding-widths/ you’ll see that even the difference between a standard tech binding hole pattern and a common alpine binding is just a few millimeters.

  69. Tonio June 21st, 2011 2:44 am

    Hello there,
    In skitour french forum, quite a few early testeurs have mentioned that the original toe lever had a tendency to unwillingly go from ski position to walk position while skiing down heavy. From the above pictures, you seem to have tested the newly designed lever (could you please confirm this Alexis?) did you or anyone else experienced this tendency?

  70. Jonathan Shefftz June 21st, 2011 7:06 am

    Yes, I did notice that a different lever design (maybe more of a “beta” version?) seemed to predate the version I purchased. I never had any problems with deep unconsolidated snow pushing the lever up into tour position — always stayed in ski position while skiing, and in tour position when skinning (although I didn’t have the chance to perform any aggressive kick turns).

  71. Tonio June 21st, 2011 8:14 am

    Thanks for your quick answer Jonathan, may I also ask what you refer to when you say “Pincer” and broken “Wing”… I think I understand both words but can’t figure out exatly what part of the toe unit they refer to… Where it broke?
    Excuse my french ;)

  72. Jonathan Shefftz June 21st, 2011 8:28 am

    So the “pincer” is the part that goes into the ski boot toe.
    The “wing” is what it’s attached to.
    On the pair in question, the wing broke in the area where the pincer is attached to it, i.e., where the wing has a hole in it to accommodate the pincer, and hence where the wing is thinner.

  73. Tonio June 22nd, 2011 12:36 pm

    very clear, thank you.
    Would be interresting to know about Plum’s replacement policy on this…

  74. Chris Kipfer September 1st, 2011 11:33 pm

    Plumb etc. link
    http://tinyurl.com/3vraufv

    Au Vieux Campeur in Paris has many iterations of the Plumb at the above link; but the Dynafit Speed or TLT is still the best buy in my estimation. If it’s not broke why fix it, and the Plum is over priced.

    The 3 versions of the Plumb for non racers are the Guide,670g and 3 heel levels,din 6.5-12; Guide XS the same with din 3.5-7; and Guide S,630g and 2 heel levels,din 6.5-12. I suppose that if you can afford multiple boots then the fore aft heel adjust has a value.

  75. Lou September 2nd, 2011 6:11 am

    Hey Chris, thanks for the good comments. You live in France?

  76. Rich October 3rd, 2011 7:57 am

    Just found this thread. I swapped Plum Guides onto my K2 Mt. Baker Superlights (they went straight into the Dynafit holes) and skied them from March through early July, hitting them hard, skiing everything from powder, BS super-steeps, Colorado 14ers, and inbounds steeps and even bumps. I was a bit skeptical at first, as they give the optical illusion of setting the boot high off the ski, but actually the height is the same as my previously-beloved Dynafits. I had absolutely no problems with the Plum. My sense is that, being mostly metal, they may be more durable than Dynafits, but that most of the weight savings is the shedding of brakes. And that brings up the only problem I found. The supplied runaway strap is ridiculous, being totally fiddly and impossible to manage with gloves on. Those need to be thrown away in favor of almost any other strap.

  77. Rich October 3rd, 2011 7:59 am

    Ooops. ‘BC’; not ‘BS’. Well, maybe.

  78. Lou October 3rd, 2011 10:47 am

    LOL

    And seriously, thanks for chiming in with more Plum user feedback!

  79. Greg Louie October 3rd, 2011 10:56 am

    Good point about the Plum leashes, Rich. My first thought when I took them out was that they had stolen the buttons off one of my mom’s Chinese dresses . . . then after playing around with them for a while and never really figuring out how they were supposed to work, I decided to just keep using the stretchy red Dynafit ones, which are really nice. If you have the old-style long Plum toe levers they just clip right in (they’ll clip into the heel climbing post as well).

  80. Dimitri October 11th, 2011 2:22 pm

    simple one; would these be a better option than the Dynafit TLT Radical FT for a relatively wide freeride setup, kidof aggressive lines, kidof :roll:

    I have read through the whole article, as well as the linked pages plus all the comments. so, the plum appears to be a stiffer platform and better made parts in general (CNC versus molded or pressed steel, less plastic to simulate bulk).

    so i guess what im really asking, what are people’s thoughts on this? an ideal general purpose & powder freeriders fitting? or am i still better off going with something from the Radical range.. I’m really leaning towards this PLUM as i love it :D

    what questions should i be asking myself here?

  81. harpo October 11th, 2011 2:28 pm

    The plums are better than the Dynafit offerings in everything except price.

  82. Dimitri October 11th, 2011 2:29 pm

    BTW, i currently use the F12, bit of a touring nightmare. snow turns into ice under pivot after only about 40 mins of stepping

  83. Christian October 11th, 2011 2:44 pm

    Harpo, why do you say that? Any reason….?
    How does the plum perform in the toe-retention test?

  84. Jayson Faulkner October 11th, 2011 4:10 pm

    I have skied both FTs for years and the Plum for a full season. I cannot say that the Plum is a much better option as an all around freeride set up vs the Radical. No question they feel very stiff under foot and the materials are very high quality. However, without brakes, they are very limited for in bounds work (brakes are not yet available but we expect soon).
    The Radical is designed to be very convenient as well which certainly is appreciated if they are your daily set up. My Guides have been excellent and I have no complaints. My FTs have also been great (mind you I have had no issues with freezing up…very minor here and there, but never Dimitri suggests).
    I honestly don’t think there will be much difference in feel between Guides and Radicals. I will bet they ski very much the same. For me though, my Guides are not my daily set up…they are my touring set up only (ie limited in bounds work) since w/o a brake set up….

  85. Brent November 8th, 2011 1:00 pm

    There’s some talk on the interwebz (always reliable) that the brakes will be ready in November. Can anyone confirm this and offer some more details? Alexis? Thanks in advance.

  86. Justin Wilcox November 8th, 2011 1:15 pm

    Plum is now saying January, and apparently the brakes are going to be attached to the toe piece, not the heel piece (kind of like the Sportiva system?)

  87. Jack November 8th, 2011 1:47 pm

    Coincidence. I just got an answer about this subject from Albert at Felisaz, the Plum manufacturers: Par contre nous aurons des stoppers seulement pour les saisons 2012-13, et par forcément jusqu a 120 mm. In English: However, we will have brakes only for the 2012-2013 seasons and limited tot 120 mm.

  88. Rich November 8th, 2011 1:56 pm

    On Sunday I stripped off the Plum leashes and put on Dynafit leashes. I’m not sure the weight of brakes is worthwhile.

  89. Dimitri November 8th, 2011 1:56 pm

    weird, i just got a apir of guides 2 weeks ago. in an email they said “by he end of the year”

    if anyone from Felisaz is reading, please can we confirm the details of the delivery and the design?

  90. mike at The Back Country November 8th, 2011 1:57 pm

    …and about the brakes, they just told me you will NOT be able to add a brake to the existing toe piece. Although maybe we’ll get lucky in their design and it that will change. I’ll swap out toe pieces for anyone I sold the Guide to when I can get the new toe pieces.

    I’d also echo Jayson’s comments. Your not going to feel any real difference between these bindings compared to the new radical in performance, but you may perceive it! Happens every day in the mountain bike biz when totally awesome looking hand made parts come out. Buy the Plum if you ride an Ellsworth, Yeti, Intense, or Ibis with /Thomson accessories or comparable upgraded gucci parts on your bike. You probably do if your on this website.
    If you ride a stock high end Specialized and respect everything they’ve done to get there, get Dynafit. If you crush it on a lightweight racer hardtailish bike then get La Sportiva. Ok, now I need more analogies, I’ll get outta here

  91. Dimitri November 8th, 2011 3:06 pm

    what do i buy if i ride a stock rocky mountain slayer :?:

  92. Mike November 8th, 2011 3:45 pm

    Mount up some Dukes (grin)

  93. doug November 8th, 2011 4:26 pm

    Thought I’d mention the Trail Head in Missoula, MT has picked up some Plum bindings from Alexis as well. Really impressive piece of machining upon first inspection. Looking forward to more folks getting out on the Plum and providing feedback & durability reports. While not a “game-changer” – it feels as though the Guide may offer increased boot retention without weight-penalizing ‘features’ or flex-lock-out plates, etc. Jonathan – great input and detailed review — thanks much.

  94. Lou November 8th, 2011 4:47 pm

    LOL

  95. Dimitri November 9th, 2011 1:55 am

    The machining is indeed very impressive and Lou pictures of them are the only reason i bought them, i often mill parts form 7005 for my Beemer /7 bike. but quality of their CNC and finishing is amazing. for parts made like that I would expect to pay more than the 370 euro that they charged me, but i am very glad they are competitively priced (at least in the EU, they are cheaper than the dynafit options).

    mmmmm, shinny metal :lol:

  96. Jonathan Shefftz November 9th, 2011 8:33 am

    Some of these recent comments summarize my overall impressions. That is, setting aside the max RV of the Dynafit FT12 at the weight of the Speed, the main difference is that the Plum Guide sure does seem wonderfully designed and crafted. But does that translate into any discernible advantages on snow? Hard to say, and also depends on exactly what perceived shortcomings of which Dynafit model(s) you’re trying to address.
    Interesting though to have used the my Plum Guide setup for five tours in late October and early November this year after having used Dynafit Speed setups exclusively starting in early April and continuing in May, June, July, August.
    The main differences I noticed after such a long hiatus were:
    1. If you line up your boot heel with the curved portion of the binding heel and then attempt to step straight down into the toe pincers, you’re a wee bit back. So you need to scoot your boot forward ever so slightly. The additional time this cost me over all five tours was probably about how long it took me to type this paragraph.
    2. Although the toe lever typically doesn’t pop all the way up on entry, very easy to give it a slight whack with your ski pole to get it all the way up, thereby eliminating the need to bend down to pull up on the toe lever for skinning. (I understand that the toe lever shape and length has been revised for this season.) The time this saved me over all five tours was probably about how long it took me to type this paragraph.
    3. The binding is so finely crafted that it’s almost a work of art.
    4. I still can’t believe I was skiing face-shot powder in October, in Massachusetts.
    5. I still can’t believe we lost electricity for six entire days and nights, but the lack of power was worth it for the abundance of powder!

  97. Rich November 9th, 2011 9:01 am

    It seems to me that, aside from the ‘cool factor’ of the Plum Guide in owning some expensive Eurogadget that your friends don’t have (the importance of which should not to be underestimated), and its possible greater durability than Dynafit bindings (which remains to be seen) there is one other real advantage of the Plum Guide over Dynafits. Namely, the Plum heel is far easier to engage with the pole and rotate between climbing modes than the Dynafit heel, which I have always felt is unnecessarily fiddly and stiff.

  98. Dimitri November 9th, 2011 9:06 am

    the cool factor is very important :D

    Also, the construction is very detailed, no sharp edges anywhere (contributes to greatly reduce metal fatigue). I had to do a double take on the plastic, i really thought it was metal at first, very solid stuff.

    the heel riser is a no brainer, just look at the construction differences between them and the radical, no one can say the Plum will not be more durable in that department i think.. or maybe they can :idea:

  99. Jack November 9th, 2011 9:18 am

    While talking* by phone to Felisaz, I was informed Alexis left the company about one month ago. No further details were given.

    *it helps to speak French ;-)

  100. Tony November 10th, 2011 8:24 am

    D, I didn’t notice the plastic. Where is it?

    Also, I heard they were revising the crampon mount. Anyone know if this revision will be included in the new brake compatible toe piece? You can make the current crampon mount work, but it is not as smooth as the one on the Dynafit brand bindings.

  101. Dave November 10th, 2011 8:57 am

    I just mounted my Plums last night looking forward to skiing them this weekend. What sold me on the Plums was the lack of plastic. My analogy is the difference between the Salomon 914 to 916, comparing Dynafit to Plum.

  102. Dimi November 10th, 2011 10:46 am

    the black parts are made of some kind of aircraft plastic, really doesn’t feel like it. certainly not a worry construction wise.

  103. Michael November 10th, 2011 6:50 pm

    “In English: However, we will have brakes only for the 2012-2013 seasons and limited tot 120 mm.”

    Does this mean no Plum brakes for a year until fall 2012?

  104. Jack November 11th, 2011 12:52 am

    Yep, they will be (most likely because Europe may be gone by next week) available before next (northern hemisphere) winter season. Word has it, the brakes are a complete new design and part of the delay is caused by waiting for the patents…..

  105. Dimi November 11th, 2011 3:42 am

    “most likely because Europe may be gone by next week”

    Your getting a little carried away over there Jack, especially since this is a world economic crisis. The US was only a few days from defaulting on the Chinese loans in August, try turning off fox news network.

    But i must admit something, most of my outdoor gear (fishing rods, tents etc, general outdoor cloths and even bike parts) is purchases from the US and UK as a second option, i ship it over to the continent. The level of service in the states from retail companies is far far superior.

  106. Jack November 11th, 2011 3:57 am

    Dimi, my mistake. Forgot to put a :-) in the text. On the other hand, living in a country that has to bail out countries where people work 30 hours per week, have 40 days holidays per year and retire at age 50, I have some right to be pessimistic……

  107. Dimi November 11th, 2011 4:22 am

    No hard feeling harbored in any way :D

    I can assure you the Greeks in non-government jobs work longer than 30 hours a week, my father has never had a holiday in his life and works most weekends. and is given 200 euros a month pension. He is lucky he does not need it to survive as many others do.

    needless to say generalization is dangerous, as all Americans are not fat, all Greeks are not lazy. Of course, some are both ;)

    I’m not sure about the Italians ;)

    Moral of the story, a few have spoiled it for the many and next generations to boot.

    Going back to the Plum, I have heard that the screws supplied are shorter than the dynafit ones, do think it worthwhile to use the dynafit ones instead? or is that a null point…?

    Hi5′s are on order (only thanks to Colin) and I cannot wait to get out on this setup, I have a feeling we’ll have lots of more data regarding this binding this time next year. If Europe is still here that is :evil:

    I plan on using it as my primary setup for my jaunts to cham and la grave this season as well as weekend Norway tours.

  108. Lou November 11th, 2011 5:05 am

    Nice to see you guys injecting some humor. Tough to do on blog comments sometimes, but worth the risk.

  109. Jack November 11th, 2011 6:46 am

    Lou, dangerous indeed. Forgot to inject ‘some’ in front of ‘people’. On topic: I took the following decisions: Bought a pair of Plum Guide toe bindings to go with my Vertical FT12 heel bindings, to be used on Kastles BMX’s. Also bought a pair of Onyx bindings to be mounted on Armada JJ’s. Dynafit didn’t have Radical toe bindings for sale (sold out). I still have a ‘complete’ pair of Verticals mounted on Manaslus. I hope to figure out coming season which toe binding prereleases easier (for me/my type of skiing). To do the tests, I must avoid to ski like an elf, right ?

  110. Michael November 11th, 2011 10:46 am

    Here is the email I got back yesterday from Plum:

    Hi there,

    thank you for your email,

    So far I can’t tell you an exact date of release as a patent is on the go for the brake system.
    The width will be
    below 85
    85 to 100
    100 to 115.

    It might not be available straight away stopper for skis wider than 115mm underfoot as the AT market for such width is quite restricted.

    Cheers
    L’Equipe PLUM / The PLUM Staff

  111. Jack November 11th, 2011 11:12 am

    Micheal, thanks for trusting me :wink: Only difference between yr email from Plum and mine, is the language. And it appears they are reluctant to say ‘next year’ in English….

  112. Michael November 11th, 2011 12:13 pm

    Jack, Actually I had emailed them before I saw your post. But when I read your post I truly didn’t want to believe the next year part. Was confused then they didn’t tell me next year. Hey, maybe they just won’t sell them to YOU till next year! :wink:

  113. Harpo November 11th, 2011 12:17 pm

    Will the brakes be removable?

    Also I heard that plum was coming out with a new ski crampon mount design. Will that be part of the new brake compatible toe, or will it be avaiable earlier?

  114. Jack November 11th, 2011 1:56 pm

    Michael, excusez-moi, but I should have translated ‘saison’ in ‘season’. So Plum will have brakes available for the 2012-2013 season. Which starts (your choice) Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec of 2012. D’accord ?
    Bummer indeed, but a patented brake is something I’d wait for….

  115. Michael November 12th, 2011 2:16 pm

    Thanks Jack for the clarification.

    Not sure if I should get the Plums and just use a strap for this season until the brakes arrive next fall or try the new RTs which have brakes available now. I want to use the set up in bounds and out of bounds. Being an intermediate skier I expect I will occasionally release. Is there much danger of injury from falling with skis tethered to you? I am not a wild skier but learning powder and steeps. Advice?

    Does anyone know if the Plum brakes will be easy to add…will they simply go under the toe piece? Or will it require buying a whole toe piece again, which would probably be more expensive.

    We had our first snow in town here in Sandpoint which made everyone extra juiced at the ski swap this morning.

  116. Jack November 12th, 2011 2:37 pm

    Michael, I’ll ask them if the 2012-2013 brakes will fit on the 2011-2012 Plum Guides and post their answer here. According to many skiers, the Plum leashes are not that good, try to get some Dynafit leashes. I had a pretty bad injury many years ago because of leashes and – problem between my ears – don’t like them. That’s why I bought Plum toes to go with Vertical FT heels+brakes. If Plum has brakes available next year I’ll probably ditch the Vertical FT heels. Apart from the workmanship, I really like the Plum service which is less ‘corporate’ than their counterparts at Dynafit.

  117. Michael November 13th, 2011 12:32 am

    Thanks Jack that would be great. Wow you are creative with the mix & match.

  118. Arne November 13th, 2011 2:24 am

    Plum has told me:
    “Brakes will be retro-fittable, but not on a DIY basis. The upgrade will have to be handled by a specialized store.”

  119. aviator November 13th, 2011 4:24 am

    @jack
    Could you tell us more about your actual experience?
    I understand and agree on all the theory on leashes and pretty bad injuries, it’s been discussed quite alot here and other places. I just never came across any IRL.

  120. Jack November 13th, 2011 4:36 am

    Arne, November 9th Felisaz mentioned to me the brakes could not be attached to the current Plum Guides and the design of the brakes was not final yet. I’l try to give them a call tomorrow and find out more. If your information is more up to date, let me know please.

    Aviator, about my bad experience with leashes, I fell many years ago about 1000 feet on a steep run in Vermont, one leash broke but the other leash and ski (it was a head over heel tumble) did lots of damage to about every part of my body. The scars have healed, but like I said, the trauma between the ears is still there.

  121. Dimi November 13th, 2011 5:36 am

    are the leases designed to break under high pressure?

    I’m now thinking the “bad” plum leashes might be the ticket in that they certainly don’t look very strong, as for the G3 and DB steel leashes, well, they look they they could tow my boat.

    Goes the same situation when i’m kiteboarding, i would never attach my board to myself.

  122. Jack November 13th, 2011 5:50 am

    Dimi, can’t help you here, after my accident I didn’t use leashes anymore. Anyway, intended breaking (or not) of leashes is somewhat like the discussion on prerelease and locking toe bindings. There are skiers who are apprehensive about this and others don’t care (for whatever reason). The only thing that comes to my mind is you want the leash to break in case of a ‘bad’ fall (but there are no rules for bad falls) but you don’t want to break the leash in case of a clean fall (again, what is a clean fall ?) And what about avalanches ? I rather enter one (if unavoidable) without my skis or poles…….

  123. gentle sasquatch November 13th, 2011 6:00 am

    The guide leashes attach with a ‘loopyhrough olive button’ it looks like they will disengage under great leverage

  124. gentle sasquatch November 13th, 2011 6:08 am

    Sheesh I write like a sasquatch. Excuse me while I turn this phone off, get in a kayak and paddle in some freezing water.

  125. Rich November 13th, 2011 7:09 am

    The Plum leashes certainly cannot be assumed to release or break. If you are skiing the kind of must-not-fall terrain where the consequences of losing a ski would be more serious than the unlikely event of being injured by a leashed ski, then you need leashes. If you are skiing less serious terrain, then brakes might be more suitable. And we have a nice weather window here this morning, so pardon me while I go skiing.

  126. Michael November 13th, 2011 2:39 pm

    Does anyone know if the brakes sold for the La Sportiva RT will work with the Plum Guides? Both work with the toe piece, is my understanding. I would love this as a stop gap fix to use with Plums.

  127. Jack November 13th, 2011 3:01 pm

    Michael, do you mean this brake:

    http://www.sportiva.com/products/ski/accessories/rt-binding-brake

    Looks like you have to put it under the heel binding.

  128. Michael November 13th, 2011 3:21 pm

    Yes that’s the one Jack. I had heard that they go under the toe but I could have heard wrong. But if they went under the heel that could work too and I could remove them if the Plum brakes where preferred in a year when they are released.

    Also I would have to get the 107mm and bend them out alittle more if I end up with wailer 112s. I assume that is such a small distance it would still work?

  129. Dimitri November 13th, 2011 3:24 pm

    you can see by the picture that they are rear mounted.

    hole pattern match with the plum? could be an option!!

  130. Dimitri November 13th, 2011 3:29 pm

    or it could be forward mounted on the toe piece. my bad, does anyone actually “know” how these are mounted?

  131. Jack November 13th, 2011 3:40 pm

    If it’s mounted in front of the toe, how does it release ?

    About bending, looks like a skinny wire, but be aware your brake ‘depth’ will decrease and may not be enough to stop the ski….

  132. Dimitri November 13th, 2011 3:43 pm

    if you look at the pictures, there is a lever with a notch. it also says it is the first binding to release in uphill mode so it cal only do that if it is mounted to the toe.

    time to send up the bat signal and call for Colin Lantz to clime in, since he probably designed it..

  133. Dimitri November 13th, 2011 3:59 pm

    from telemark-pyrenees.co:-

    “Ski brakes are available in 91 mm & 107 mm widths for the ATK RT bindings. Mounted in front of the binding toe piece, the ski brakes can be locked in the “up” position when climbing, or if not required, thanks to the patented mechanism.”

  134. Jonathan Shefftz November 13th, 2011 4:17 pm

    Yes, although as confirmed by multiple sources (including t-p among many others) the ATK/LaS brake mounts at the toe (with the four-hole mounting pattern shared by the Plum Guide, as well as every other Tech binding except for the new Radical series), but no, I doubt the retraction/deployment will be compatible with the Plum Guide. (I do have both the Plum Guide and ATK/LaS RT bindings, but I don’t have the ATK/LaS brakes.)
    The brake mechanism very cleverly depends on some aspect of the binding position to sense whether or not the boot is in the binding. Admittedly, I don’t know how, and not a single picture is publicly available to demonstrate this (as the ATK website pictures don’t include a boot). But given the differences in the toe lever and engagement platform between the two bindings, I’m skeptical that the ATK/LaS brake would deploy/retract reliably on the Plum Guide.

  135. Michael November 14th, 2011 10:17 am

    Regarding the Plum Brakes, is this unusual to withhold a product while waiting for a patent? I am more familiar with companies applying for patents (patent pending) and then getting their patents and trademarks out into the market asap to demonstrate use in commerce which boosts their case of original ownership and invention.

  136. Brent November 17th, 2011 12:33 pm

    Thanks for the brake updates everyone. Re: leashes… there’s a lot of good thought about break-away leashes on this blog already. I want my skis to go the F%^& away if I ever get caught in an avalanche (knock on wood).

    http://www.wildsnow.com/1446/dynafit-binding-safety-leash-strap/

    http://www.wildsnow.com/1494/ski-leash-safety-strap/

    http://www.wildsnow.com/1467/dynafit-binding-leash-system/

  137. Jonathan Shefftz November 21st, 2011 3:44 pm

    Ah, now I get it: the RT brake must depend upon the toe lever pin’s little lateral extension. (I was wondering why it sticks out like that…) So based on that, the brake would not work on other Tech bindings.

  138. doug November 22nd, 2011 12:13 pm

    Lou, Jonathan, others —
    I’m curious – what are your thoughts about mixing toe/heel units between tech bindings. Isn’t the R.V. calculated as a complete binding, rather than just the heel units? If so, wouldn’t the differences in toe springs and toe-jaw flex versus brand D, vs. brand P, vs. brand G3, coupled with the corresponding heel unit be different than say a brand D toe unit with G3 heel, or plum, etc.? Perhaps its less significant than matters -and ‘hybrid’ setups are ok. Just something I was wondering -but, without an engineering degree, or lab to test release values between tech bindings, and hybrid setups – I thought the interwebs, of course, would hold the answers …….. Thanks all.

  139. Jonathan Shefftz November 22nd, 2011 12:18 pm

    Doug, yes, the lateral RV is affected to some extent by the toe retention. But to what extent, I don’t know.
    So any hybrid binding will have its lateral RV affected to some extent, but I suspect that the effect will be rather small (especially given that the official alpine downhill spec allows for a pretty wide range).

  140. harpo November 24th, 2011 5:58 am

    I just got an email from Felisaz, the Plums will have a new ski cramp attachement for next season, presumably with the new brake compatible toe piece.

  141. Michael December 17th, 2011 10:47 pm

    My local ski tech is helping adjust my plum guides. He says the forward backward adjust on the heel piece moves in increments of about 3 mm. This makes it hard to adjust the boot heel spacing to exactly 4mm as recommended. Anyone else have this problem or solve it?

    Also there is no chart of height/weight/skier type to show the adjustment. He says different Dynafit bindings have different charts. There is no chart in the Plum Guide instructions. Is it the standard Salomon chart he should use?

  142. Lou December 18th, 2011 12:15 am

    Chart is here:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/naxo-mount/naxo_mount_5.html

    No tech binding is certified to use the chart, for a tech binding the chart is just a guideline. That’s probably why Plum didn’t bother with the “DIN” charade.

    Know that with tech bindings, the bigger the heel gap the lower the actual release values (RV). As they recommend in most tech binding manuals, if you’re concerned have the binding tested on a release check machine to yield actual release values.

    Lou

  143. Jonathan S. December 18th, 2011 3:34 am

    The only problem here is your ski tech, as he’s wrong on both counts. (I’m serious.)

  144. Jack December 18th, 2011 5:17 am

    Jonathan, I’ll second that.

    Here’s another one: if you must choose between doing it yourself with the help of all the info (templates, mounting instructions, etc) here on wildsnow.com and a local tech with no knowledge about tech bindings, do it yourself.

  145. Lou December 18th, 2011 7:37 am

    I’m curious about what qualifications these “ski techs” have. In a lot of the comments here, “ski techs” are referred to like they’re a doctor or something. Curious if any of you guys have ways as a consumer of sussing out how much of a “tech” that “tech” really is?

    Also, I have this constant dream that I’m a fly on the wall of a ski shop, and there is the tech confronted with a Dynafit or other tech binding mount that’s off-center at the heel. The customer is in the other room, waiting. Making sure the door to the shop is closed, the tech whips out his smartphone, brings up WildSnow mobile, and tries to find the solution in our mount instructions. Only the trick is buried in there, and he’d have to read all 7,000 words to find it, so he blows off WildSnow and just tells the customer “yeah, the heel of the boot can be a bit off center and it’s ok…”

    Perhaps I should make that information a bit easier to find (grin).

    Lou

  146. Jack December 18th, 2011 7:55 am

    Was in Cham last weekend. Happened to be in the Grand Montets eggs with a young woman with Plum Guides. She said they were prereleasing all the time. After getting out, I surveyed her when she stepped in her bindings. I guess there was about 1 or 2 mm space between her booth and the heel binding. So every time the ski flexed, it would push the boot out of the toe binding. Upon asking, she mentioned the bindings were mounted by a good ‘technician’. Then again, most French techs don’t visit Wildsnow, so he had an excuse for a bad mount ;-)

  147. Lou December 18th, 2011 8:06 am

    Ha!

  148. Michael December 18th, 2011 8:03 pm

    Thanks guys. Yes I did find some great additional reading here rather than leave it to the tech. I did the heel adjustment myself today and it was quite easy to fine the 4mm spot.

    It was set a tiny bit less than that yesterday and one binding released on a steep section coming back down in the ski area and I went for a long slide. The snow coming in my clothes cooled me off from the climb. :-) The button came undone off my ski leash. I guess that is why there are two holes to double button.

    So the 4mm is set and I may need to bump my release setting up just a tad.

  149. Dimi December 19th, 2011 2:11 am

    i had the plums and the hi5s out at the weekend for the first time. I setup the plums at home to the 4mm spec and put the release values to 10 (87kgs, 194cm, hard skier). I had a blast on this setup.

    Had one release, but it was a fall after a landing. Most of my buddies were on full out freeride rigs, i had no issues dropping the stuff they were and skied just as aggressive on these. overall. could not be happier. I hope to write a full review on this gear soon as i get more time on it, stoke value is high! I had a blast!

  150. Lou December 19th, 2011 5:48 am

    Michael, know that the most common cause of inadvertent binding release is when you let snow or ice accumulate either under the binding to wings or in the boot fittings. Clear those spots before you click in for downhill. Beyond that, yes, fine tuning the release values is the way to go. If you can identify which way you pre-released (vertical or side), just dial that setting up a bit but leave the other as is. Many skiers find they need the vertical release setting a bit higher than the lateral, due to lack of elasticity in the vertical release of tech bindings.

  151. Michael December 19th, 2011 9:26 am

    Thanks Lou. I can not hear this reminder enough since I am new to tech bindings. That may have been the problem. I like what Michael Bromberg suggested (that I think you may have quoted elsewhere) from his Plum Guide review on his website:

    “I regularly will lock my toe pieces a few clicks to insure that the pins are properly seated in the tech fittings. Once I’m confident that they are properly engaged/ice free, I push the lever back down to ski mode. I’m confident that nearly 100% of pre-release issues involving tech bindings are related to inattention during this step, and this is a simple way to verify proper attachment. This process has been much easier with the PLUM guide’s and I’m finding that I rarely have to bend down to help facilitate this process.”

    Read that before but hadn’t remembered to do it. Being an intermediate skier, 220#, 5’9″ my release value is set to 6. I think it was a side release as I was mostly in a traverse at that time, having just completed a turn.

  152. Lou December 19th, 2011 9:42 am

    One doesn’t really need that step if they make sure everything is cleared before hand, and it won’t help if you have an ice plug under the toe wings. You saw my how-to vids on using the bindings?

    http://youtu.be/_DysqbyjyRc

    Part two has content about ice clearing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeS9pJz5Mgg

    I know these vids look a bit lame, but the information is good (other than that rotating the older style heel lift is best done both with the right hand ski pole.)

  153. Jack December 19th, 2011 9:45 am

    Another solution is to ‘wiggle’ your skis about 3-5 times after you stepped in the toe binding and before you step in the heel binding. This will clear most of the ice between the contacts points of your boot and toe binding.

  154. Jonathan Shefftz December 19th, 2011 9:46 am

    A 220-lb skier at a 6 RV has pretty much zero chance of avoiding prerelease in variable ungroomed conditions (using any releasable binding, Tech, hybrid/plate AT, or alpine downhill).
    BTW, one amusing aspect I just noticed is that given the rather “lumpy” nature of the chart, if you simultaneously decrease your bsl by a mere 1mm and increase your weight by a single pound, your recommended RV can go up by a full two settings.

  155. Lou December 19th, 2011 10:06 am

    The chart is indeed pretty lame, best method as always is to start at low end of chart settings then gradually dial things up till no more pre-release. Bummer with that is you might end up falling a few times during the process, but I’ve found that over the years I pretty much know what to set a binding at, and don’t have to experiment. This process also depends on what kind of skier you are. If you fall much, better be much more careful to set the bindings perfectly. If you only fall a few times a season, the situation is obviously a lot more forgiving. Long ago I spiraled my left tib/fib with a pair of Ramer bindings that had lateral release set too high (they had to be set that way, or you wouldn’t stay in that particular model) so ever since then I’ve been pretty careful, to say the least. Broken legs are a drag…

  156. Michael December 19th, 2011 10:09 am

    I did see those video’s Lou and they were great. Especially the part about jumping out of bed. I’ll look at the ice clearing part again.

    Thanks for the tip Jack. Jonathan, sounds like I should bump my RV up…

  157. harpo December 21st, 2011 7:18 pm

    I just got some brand new Plum Guides from the Backcountry in Truckee. This version has a much improved crampon mount system compared to the ones I got last spring. It is still a tight fit but both B&D and Dyna ski crampons went in with a little wiggling back and forth. It became easier after a few tries and with the application of bike lube. The crampon insertion is still not as smooth as on a Dyna binding. I will see how easy it is after I mount the bindings.

    NB, the B&D (classic Dynafit binding version) cramp inserts ino the new Plum cramp mount fine, but there is a little extra material, either on the binding or the crampon, and it doens’t lie quite flat on the ski. I will need to remove a tiny bit of material either from the crampon or the binding. Any suggestions on which I should remove the material from? I would rather not modify a beautifully machined binding, but I think removing material from the binding has less chance of weakening the binding than removing material from the crampon has of weakening the cramp?

  158. pete December 23rd, 2011 2:05 pm

    Hi,

    I recently received some dynafit crampons to use with my plum guides, in the hope it actually snows again in Scotland!

    I found that the pins holding the blade to the ‘axle’ were a little proud, and when I first tried to slide them in with a bit of a ‘wiggle’ it deformed / shaved off a little of the finely milled alu from the binding (doesn’t seem to make any difference, but a bit irritating nevertheless).

    Once I worked out the problem it was easy to dremel the pins flush with the axle and everything fit smoothly thereafter. Now I just need a chance to use them.

    Anyone heard any more about brake availability? I bought my Guides after confirmation, direct from plum, that brakes were coming, would be retrofittable and an indication of cost (about 60 Euro I think). So I bought, drilled, mounted and sold my fritschis. A few weeks later I get an email saying they’re delayed, then later again that they’re not going to be retrofittable.

    After a few terse emails we agreed that as I’d purchased after specific mis-informtion that an agreement would be reached when a brake model was available. Tentatively looking forward to learning to use leashes! Doesn’t seem to be an issue in the alps.

    Happy Christmas all.

    Pete

  159. Michael December 24th, 2011 5:06 pm

    Pete,

    I also purchased when I thought brakes would be available for retrofit and am nervous about leashes. But so far all is well, the included leashes need to have the button slipped through both loop. I had only one fall (when I think snow in my binding prevented it from staying closed) and one leash stayed the other did not hold. I had put the button through only one loop.

    I have not tried crampons. I have found after skiing the boot heel gap increased to 5mm from the 4mm installed setting. I am not sure if this will repeat itself and wonder if it is caused by settling into the ridges along the adjustment path.

  160. Jonathan Shefftz December 24th, 2011 7:00 pm

    Although my bindings have only 40,000′ vertical on them, so this might not mean all that much, the fore/aft setting adjustment screws have remained just as tight as when I originally set them (and hence the gap is still at 4mm), and ditto for the heel top plate screws.

  161. Rich December 24th, 2011 7:52 pm

    I have well over 500,000′ vert on mine, and they are absolutely rock solid. The skis are toast, however.

  162. Mattias December 28th, 2011 5:45 pm

    Hi!

    I have bought a pair of Plum Guide and I wonder if the space between your boot-sole and the skiis (at the heel-piece) can cause some problems? Like breaking the heelpiece, the boot, etc? It looks very strange when the boot is hanging on the heel-piece and you don´t have anything under the boot to offload… When you have brakes you dont have that gap. Please share your opinions and experiences.

    Happy New Year!

    Mattias from Sweden

  163. Rich December 28th, 2011 5:55 pm

    I also worried about that at first. In fact, it is basically an optical illusion due to the absence of a base plate. When you weight the boot, the boot aligns exactly as it does for a Dynafit binding. While at first I was skeptical, at this point I have ~45 ski days on the Plums, with a lot of really hairball terrain under my belt, and I have had no problems whatsoever.

  164. Lou December 28th, 2011 6:57 pm

    Yeah, with any tech bindings the boot is suspended between toe and heel. That’s why the fittings in the boot need to be super strong. The brake is NOT a conventional AFD or support, it just looks that way… Lou

  165. Pete December 29th, 2011 1:34 am

    Hi again. I’ve been reading a thread over on TGR where some concerns over a few heel pin breakages on the guides were aired. Quite a few folk seemed to have loose top plate screws potentially as the cause. I went and checked mine, and 7/8 were pretty tight – a small turn and felt snug. One however just kept spinning freely with minimal resistance. I presume the thread was stripped during factory assembly, as I’ve never tightened them before and have still to get out and ski them. Any suggestions on what I should do?

    I’m anticipation of the usual helpful wildsnow response!

    Pete

  166. Dimi December 29th, 2011 1:52 am

    Mattias, where are you based?

    I have only skied the Plums 2 days, but that with my “freerider” buddies at Røldal in Norway, if you know the terrain it is steep and loads of drops and pillow runs. no problems. I skied them the same as Alpine bindings, felt totally solid!

  167. Mattias December 29th, 2011 4:29 am

    Hi again!

    Thank You for Your answers! Sounds great. Now I am calm again =) I ski mostly in Sarek but planning to go to Norway in spring 2012. I don´t jump a lot. Mostly big turns and fast.
    Is it possible to mount them at home or is it to difficult? I dont know if there is a shop where I live that accept mounting it…

    /M

  168. Pete December 29th, 2011 5:02 am

    Hi Mattias – I mounted mine at home having never before mounted AT bindings (done one tele mount). It seemed to go fine. I got a jig emailed from plum and then roughly followed the instructions on mounting dynafit’s elsewhere on this site. The hardest bit was getting a true centre line – I adapted the paper strip technique and used a paper ruler. I have a ski drill bit and did a practice mount on a bit of mdf which was well worth the effort.

    It’s nerve wracking but taking my time, measuring and checking many times before drilling and it worked fine.

    Still to test them though, but seem sound an well aligned! Go for it – good luck!

  169. Dimi December 29th, 2011 5:15 am

    Mattias; I would mount them at a dynafit shop unless you have done this before or are using an old set of skis, they use the same jig. talk to the guys, if they have never heard of the binding then go elsewhere.

  170. Lou December 29th, 2011 5:52 am

    Pete, it sounds like you need a new housing as yes the screw hole is stripped.

  171. Lou December 29th, 2011 5:57 am

    Doing a practice mount on old skis is key to a successful ‘real’ binding mount if you’re not experienced.

  172. Mattias December 29th, 2011 6:18 am

    Thank You for all help! Fantastic response =)
    I´ll try to mount them on a old pair of skis and depending on the outcome of that I will decide what to do.

  173. Carol December 31st, 2011 3:22 pm

    I bought the Plum Guide XS mid last winter, attracted by the low DIN setting. I like them, but so far I have 3 problems with them, one of which has not been noted in any of the previous posts.
    1) The toepiece.. after half a day of skiing earlier this week the pin that holds the spring/pincher piece to the base plate worked its way out about 4 or 5 mm. I noticed it when we stopped for lunch and we pushed it back in with a pole handle, but by the end of the day it was working its way out again. Brought it to Escape Route, where the ski tech banged it back in totally, but after another day of skiing its coming out again. So, watch those pins!
    2) I’ve had the toe piece throw pop-up into the locked position when skiing. This has happened several times.
    3) The brakes! I’m disappointed with the situation. No need to repeat what others have written, but I am impressed that Mike from The Back Country is willing to swap out the toe pieces to those he has sold bindings to!!

  174. skiman January 6th, 2012 3:00 pm

    I have plum guides and have skies them Approx 3 times, hand I have some issues with the fore-aft adjustement on the rear bindings. They seem to wiggle loose with use. Iit does not seem that the simple screw holding the rear binding together is enough for log tern use… How much torque do you place on the screw? is it possuble to get replacement screws as mine seem to “bend” a little in the head with use.

  175. Jonathan January 6th, 2012 3:08 pm

    I just hand-tightened the two hold-down screws them until they seemed as tight as they could be (and I’m not very strong), and they’ve stayed tight ever since.

  176. R Larsen January 31st, 2012 11:28 am

    I picked up a pair of Plum Guides on the expectation (confirmed by Plum at the time) that brakes would be forthcoming. This has proven to be false – brakes are still under development with no known release date. Seems like a fantastic binding, but I’d prefer to have brakes.

    If anyone is interested in picking up a pair, please contact me at rslarsen at hotmail dot com.

    Moderators – my apologies if this spam is unwelcome here, please delete as needed.

  177. Lou January 31st, 2012 11:46 am

    Sounds fine by me since this is an individual’s sale, best wishes on selling them.

  178. James February 8th, 2012 9:20 pm

    Bicycle lube works great for a sticky toe lever! I was having trouble with pulling up, to lock for touring. The lever stopped working consistantly after a couple months of reguIar use, but it’s locking into tour mode with ease now!

  179. teleAK February 11th, 2012 1:15 am

    I bought my PLUM guides after heavy research at Alaska Mountaineering and Hiiking. First impressions after 2 outings: fanatastic: light, strong, easy to use. I’ve got a volkl nanuq + dynafit boots setup and I love it so far. The PLUM appeal: all metal, great design makes sense. We’ll see this spring as AK’s long spring season plays out.

  180. Mex February 14th, 2012 8:55 pm

    Hey Guys,
    There seems to be some concern of heel pins breaking on the PLUMs. I haven’t had this happen yet but am heading out on a week long hut trip. I’ve got an old set of dynafits mounted on some old skis. Will the pins from the dynafit fit in the heel piece of the PLUMs? I understand the dynafit pins are longer but outside of that will they fit in the PLUm. I’m just thinking of some spare parts to bring in case things go sideways on this weeklong hut trip. I read through a bunch of the comments section and didn’t see this covered. Hopefully it’s not a repeat.

  181. Lou February 15th, 2012 8:49 am

    Mex, I doubt you can directly swap Dynafit heel pins to Plum, but I could easily be wrong. Jonathan has both… Johnathan?

    Mex, another approach is just grab a complete Dynafit heel unit off one of the other skis, and carry that. Much easier to swap that on in the field, than do the watchmaker type work required to replace pins…

    Lou

  182. harpo February 15th, 2012 10:20 am

    Tech bindings are so light, I usually carry a spare toe and heel piece in my pack for trips far from the TH, which lets you carry a smaller repair kit.

    If I don’t have a both a toe and heel piece in my pack, I usually just carry a toe piece so I know I will at least be able to attach my boot to my skis, I can do kick turns and traverses to get down many slopes if necessary.

    To make it really easy to replace your bindings in the field, install bindingfreedom or quiverkiler inserts in your skis. Plum and (non Radical) Dynafit bindings are pretty much interchangeable regarding BSL and mounting screw holes, although the Plum has greater fore/aft adjustablity in the heel, which could be an issue if your boots have a very different BSL from the one the bindings were mounted fore. If you install the inserts and carry a spare binding, make sure you carry the right machine screws and a tool to drive them so you can install the spare. bindingfreedom also sells a tiny plastic pack of blue loctite that I sometimes carry, though I think for a short ski out you could just tighten the machine screws and be OK.

  183. Lou February 15th, 2012 10:38 am

    Nice take Harpo, thanks!

  184. doug February 15th, 2012 10:51 am

    The Plum heel pins are about 1/2-1 mm shorter than Dyna Vert series heel pins. (Not sure how they compare to older speed series pins ….) In a pinch – yes – Dyna pins will work — but – definitely not ideal – as it does affect pin depth in boots, forward pressure, etc. settings.
    Given the chances of springs and parts flying out of th heel unit in the field for a pin repair – Harpo’s idea of taking a spare binding – or at least a toe and heel unit for longer trips/tours (esp. with Q.Killers/Bind. Freedom inserts in skis) makes the most sense if truly trying to earn the boy scout “always prepared” badge while touring ……

  185. Mex February 15th, 2012 5:57 pm

    Thanks fellas,
    Good to know. I don’t really want to peel my dynaftis off my other skis but we’ll see what I decide before heading to the hut. Thanks for the info.

  186. Jonathan Shefftz February 16th, 2012 4:38 pm

    I placed a spare Dynafit Comfort/Vertical heel pin up against the Plum Guide. Sure seemed to be exactly the same, although to know for sure I would need to disassemble the Guide heel piece.

  187. Maki March 22nd, 2012 3:50 pm

    Just got a pair of Guides mounted on a pair of Zag Ubac.

    I confirm the new lever doesn’t change mode spontaneously, and it does not go automagically in lock mode upon entry. Which IMHO is good (well, safer), unless you are used to race bindings.

    I think the toe retention is better than the Dynafit Speed. The snap is definitely more positive, and I can gently walk in ski mode while with the Speeds I’m out in one step. I find step-in easier than Dynafit without heel lifters but more difficult with.

    I like the bumpless heel (gonna grind it out of the Speeds someday), and I also like the bigger clearance with the boot when walking on flats. I get less jams than with Speed, despite the ski being more flexy.

    As I wrote before I was worried about the durability of the thread in the pedestal, but Felisaz told me that it’s actually steel and they use the same part on rental versions without problems. He stressed that the bolts have to be done TIGHT.

    I just wish they had the same delta of the Dynafits, or less. But other than that they are just about perfect.

  188. Elliott March 27th, 2012 3:50 pm

    Here are some details regarding the issue I experienced with the Plum bindings while in the field in the middle of my tour.

    The setup I was using was as follows:
    • DPS Wailer 99s Pures
    • Scarpa Maestrale
    • Plum Guide tech bindings

    The issue I had was regarding the lever mechanism on the Plum toe pieces. Specifically, the lever would not switch between Ski and Walk mode correctly. In fact, when I first tried to engage the lever from Ski to Walk mode, the lever snapped in half. It appears the metal material used in the lever may be defective, perhaps some form of metal embrittlement.

    Additionally, I had the same problem on the second toe piece regarding the lever mechanism. I tried to engage the toe piece into Walk mode. It would not go. I clicked in and out of the binding and checked to make sure there was no ice under the toe piece. I confirmed that there was no ice. However, I still could not get it into Walk mode. It appears the engineering behind this lever mechanism may be faulty as switching between modes was non-existent while I was in the field.

    Post tour, I took the bindings to Pro Ski Seattle, an authorized Plum dealer, where their shop employee, examined my toe pieces before removing them. They confirmed that there was indeed an issue with the mechanism and that the binding was defective.

    From this experience, it is very obvious that this binding has a serious issue with the construction of the toe piece lever both structurally and materially; which is potentially dangerous for the skier. I can only imagine that this has occurred to others in the field as well. I would not recommend this binding until this issue is examined in greater detail and resolved by the manufacturer.

  189. David March 20th, 2013 9:39 am

    I just spent the last week Alpine Touring the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies with my Plum Guide Tech Bindings under-boot and wanted to share my experience.

    The Bad News: on day 5, at 12,300 feet, in limited viability, on a ridge above Second Creek drainage, my toe tower and pin broke off. My best friend and I were following a route described by John Meyer in his Denver Post column. In fact John had been gracious enough to return my emailed query for additional information about the route he had taken. The climb started off Route 40, included a stop at the new Broome Hut near Berthoud Pass and ended with a free ski to the base of Winter Park where we planned to hit the Cheeky Monk for Après Ski. We were making our way to Vasquez Cirque when that trip came to a sad end. Now, no backcountry skier wants to experience this sort of gear failure, especially far up and away… But such failures do occur every day in this sport. It just sucks when it finally happens to you (and sorry all, but it will eventually happen to you too if you are pushing the limits, regardless of which gear you use). I know that now. Does it seem as though I’m taking this whole mishap well? Believe me, that was not my immediate reaction. Not even close; and in retrospect feel I should apologize to the French folks I cursed from my mountaintop perch at the hight of my frustration. Sorry French folks… But I had chosen this “off brand”, this newcomer, this much-talked-about work of art born in the French Alps because it was touted to be superior to all others. It was a choice made based on sound research, dealer input and a bit of gut instinct, yet at that moment I felt betrayed by it all. So yes I cursed. Then my friend reminded me we still needed to get down the mountain, he said I should save my energy for the important matters.

    The Good News: I’m writing this report so I made it down without harm. In fact I skied the bottom half fairly elegantly with the assistance of duck tape provided by the friendly staff at Broome Hut. I descended with my climbing skins on–finally a cure for gravity–to keep my speed at a manageable velocity.

    So I’d made it down and my temperament had reached an easy cadence; the emergency was over. And now I had a cool story to tell. Which I did tell, to anyone who would listen. Sorry for that too.

    The story does not end there, there is more good news: by the afternoon of the very next day I was climbing another 12,000 footer with brand new 2013 Plum toes firmly attaching my ZZeros to my Mustaghs. By happenstance (Id Est: google searches) I’d found Ian Reid of Apex Mountain Equipment in Boulder CO. Ian is the the new North American distributor of Plum products. He insisted that I meet him at his favorite coffee shop in Boulder so he could fix my problem. Well of course, you are saying to yourself right now, he’s the distributor, that’s what he’s suppose to do. But it was Sunday; and not just any Sunday. It was St Patrick’s day. Well outside normal business hours. And Ian is Irish!

    Meet him I did. After assuring me I was not ruining his day off, Ian rode in to town on his Motocross bike proving he knew the City’s parking situation well. Inside ten minutes he gave me a firm handshake, two new Plum toes–since he loves esthetics and could not have me in mismatching gear–and told me to get back out to the backcountry and have fun! I thanked him to the point of silliness then did as he had suggested. Back to the mountains we drove.

    …still more to the story: Ian was not the only one to offer me assistance in my time of Gear-Need. He just had the best / fastest solution and seemed to have no concerns for long established work vs. play rules. In my search for help, Bent Gate Mountaineering of Golden CO, without hesitation, offered to contact Felisaz SAS Plum in France to speed up the warranty process for me, they actually offered to simply take care of the whole return; even though I had not purchased my bindings from them. Scott, the rather talented and extremely knowledgeable salesmen that had helped me over the hump in my Dynafit vs. Plum decision making process, quickly located a full pair of Plum Guides, which he offered to sell me at a greatly reduced rate if I could find no better solution. I felt the calvary was circling me. It was then that I realized I had not just purchased four pieces of French metal, I’d purchased a community. A community of fans, reps and retailers that don’t waste time just standing behind their product–”standing behind” a product has always conjured the image of manufactures simply making great excuses and lofty promises in my mind–this community instead proactively stands in front of its product. And if needed they will even stand at the curb of Pearl Street on a Sunday afternoon in downtown Boulder, on St Patrick’s Day, braving the green clad and highly-saturated masses to help a dude with bad luck get back on his skis and up another mountain.

    I bought the right gear. Gear will sometimes fail, it’s how that failure is managed that proves a company’s worthiness. Plum had my back. Now they have my feet too!

  190. Lou Dawson March 20th, 2013 9:48 am

    Super report David!

    I’d add that the aluminum toe wings have always looked like the weak link to me. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that in a more recent take. You are correct in that everything can break, and that part has been known to break on nearly any tech binding. My gripe is I would have expected Plum to have made that part stronger from the start.

    At any rate, Ian is a good man and it’s terrific to hear he helped you out.

    Lou

  191. David March 20th, 2013 10:23 am

    Lou, Plum has changed the toes. The new toes have much thicker wings and they are easily recognized since the new wings are Black not Silver. This is why Ian gave me two new toes: a matching set of much stronger toes.

    Additionally I have to mention, these buildings are great. Yes I had my problem with them, but the feel of the boot to ski connection is outstanding. Even with one pin broken off, it only required a bit of tape to hold my boot to ski; that’s the proof!

    Cheers…

  192. Lou Dawson March 20th, 2013 10:46 am

    David, I have the bindings with the black wings. So far, no problems. But I’d rather they were steel not aluminum. Lou

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