Dynaduke Binding Swap Plates – Review

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Whatever you might have against snowboards, you have to admit, their standardized insert system for binding mounting is pretty slick. A rider can have one pair of bindings, and swap them out to any one of his boards in minutes. While this probably will never happen to skis, with the range of hole patterns on the market, we can pretend, at least, with DynaDuke plates.

Made by a company called Binding Freedom, Dynaduke plates screw onto your skis and allow you to attach Dynafit and various Marker bindings to your ski quickly (they also make a version for Dynafit and Salomon bindings). To my knowledge they work for Marker Dukes and all their derivatives, such as the Tour, and all Dynafit Bindings. I recently picked up a pair of Marker Tours, and I never seem to have enough Dynafits for my quiver of skis, so DynaDukes looked like the perfect solution.

Dyna

T he Megadynaduke -- Dynaduke plates.

Dynadukes are machined out of aircraft aluminum, and weigh 4.0 oz per ski. They have 36 tapped holes in them. The bases are machined out to save weight and the edges are tapered to allow the ski to flex naturally. They are anodized orange, and look very well made. Mounting them is fairly easy by simply using the supplied template. There are four widely spaced holes in the front and back of each plate. The holes are almost too wide to fit on the mounting area of my Megawatts, as they have two grooves that run along the edges. The edge of the plate overhangs slightly, but the screw is solidly in the wood core of the ski, so I’m not worried about it. The Dynadukes were originally made for Dukes, however I am using Marker Tours on them, which have the same hole pattern, but the binding is slightly different. The heel lifter bar rests on a plastic section that overhangs the back of the plate, so I glued a small piece of UHMW under that section to hold it up.

The edge of the Dynaduke plate ends up really close to the edge of the mounting area on my Megawatts. It doesn't seem to be a problem, but on narrower skis it might be an issue.

Small block of UHMW I glued to the ski to support the Marker Tour heel lifter.

My current quiver comprises K2 Coomback and Wayback skis, both 175, and 188 Black Diamond Megawatts. For boots I run a new pair of Scarpa Maestrales for most touring, and a Pair of Scarpa Hurricances for inbounds, slackcountry and a bit of touring with the Markers. For bindings I have one pair of Dynafit FT-12s (the 110 version with the slightly stiffer toe springs), and a pair of Marker Tours. With inserts for Dynafits in my K2 skis, and the Dynaduke plates on my Megawatts, I can basically combine this equipment any way I want.

The combo of Dynafits and Marker Tours pretty much covers any sort of skiing I might want to do. While the Tour isn’t quite as strong as the Duke, It seems beefy enough for me, especially since I’m fairly light and ski with a fairly low DIN (9). After maching down some crowded, icy groomers at Whistler the past few weekends, they’ve fulfilled my expectations well.

I’ve only done about five binding swaps so far using the Dynaduke plates, but it is already an easy process, taking about twenty minutes to fully swap. I’ve done it a few times in parking lots, and minutes before I had to leave to go skiing. I lost a few of the screws within the first couple binding swaps. I had to go to a few different hardware stores around town to find some extra ones, and the ones I found rust a little, so I’d recommend getting some extra stainless screws from Binding Freedom.

I used the plates mounted with Dynafits for about twenty days of backcountry powder skiing over winter vacation. I didn’t notice the extra weight or stack height, or any differences from touring with a normal mount. The plates did cause more snow to stick to the binding area of my skis than normal. Also, a few small pieces of the plastic baseplate on the Dynafit snapped off where they were not supported. This isn’t really an issue, since most of this stuff is superfluous material for aesthetics only. I’ve skied the plates mounted with Tours for about five days at the ski area over the past few weeks. The plates performed well for the Tours as well. More photos below:

Dynaduke plates for backcountry skiing.

As with mounting most bindings using a well designed paper template, key is scribing the perfect center line on your skis, then matching up the template. Sharp center punch and sharp drill bit are keys as well.

Dynaduke plates for backcountry skiing.

Once we got the paper templates on the skis, we noticed the screws were close to going off the support area. Luckily they still worked. Grooves like this in skis are kind of a joke. They fill with ice, make bindings hard to mount, etc. Can you say gimmick?'

Dynaduke for backcountry skiing.

Tightening the Dynaduke plate screws is easy in a Black Diamond ski with their incredibly strong top layers. Care would have to be taken with brands that have less material in the top area.

Swap plates for backcountry skiing.

Dynafit binding hangs over at the toe a bit, but works fine. I'd rather have that than more weight in the plate to make it extend.

Comments

55 Responses to “Dynaduke Binding Swap Plates – Review”

  1. KDog January 27th, 2011 10:37 am

    Louie,

    Any issues with Dynafit toe piece to heel alignment? I assume it can’t really be tweaked much.

  2. Louie January 27th, 2011 10:49 am

    You can tweak it a little bit, since the screws are smaller than the hole for them in the binding base plate. Every time I’ve put them on they’ve required minimal or no tweaking to get the toe and heel to line up, seems they index themselves pretty well.

  3. Jason January 27th, 2011 11:10 am

    I think I’ll stick with a pair of skis for the backcountry, a pair for powder days, a pair for almost powder days, a pair for corn and a pair for everything in between rather than going with a setup like this. Looks good for a 1 or 2 ski quiver though, but who’s got that? I’m a ski hoarder.

  4. El Jefe January 27th, 2011 11:27 am

    i put some on coombacks. do you think it strenghs the dynafit toe piece at all? with all the toe piece talk going on out there.

  5. Tom Gos January 27th, 2011 11:42 am

    Louie, how much stack height does the plate add (how thick is the plate?)?

  6. Louie January 27th, 2011 11:56 am

    El Jefe, I don’t think It would increase the strength at all.

    Tom, the stack height is about 7 mm.

  7. Lee January 27th, 2011 11:58 am

    I went back and forth about using DynaDukes vs. Quiver Killers. In the end I liked the flush, clean mount of the quiver killers. Works great for sharing a few Dynafits between many skis. Re: Jason, it does lower your total cost, you end up saving a few sets of dynafits. the $ savings add up!

  8. Jesse Ballard January 27th, 2011 12:21 pm

    Awesome article!!!

    Jesse

  9. Mike January 27th, 2011 12:21 pm

    “These plates add about 130grams per ski, and 7mm of stack height to your bindings.”

    http://bindingfreedom.com/DynaDuke-Swap-Plates-1001.htm

  10. Matt January 27th, 2011 1:03 pm

    Louie, how do the Megawatts compare to the Coombacks? I’m thinking mostly in terms of flex and skiing bumped out in-bounds runs.

    I have a pair of Coombacks for touring, and I want something that feels similar for resort / slackcountry. Though maybe I should just buy a pair of these plates.

  11. TreeDodger January 27th, 2011 1:58 pm

    Louie, great post, thanks!

    As a minimalist, I’ve always been curious about the ability to swap bindings (Alpine, AT and even Telemark) securely on a single pair of skis. Years ago I had even contacted Line about this possibility as the company had designed a set of “plate” bindings which mounted cleanly on a set of four pre-installed inserts. As the plate was mounted instead of the bindings, the system offered the potential to swap bindings easily. Unfortunately this binding system resulted in failures and was discontinued. The DynaDukes appear similar as they are a plate, but the plate itself is permanently fixed to the ski allowing only a very limited selection for adaptability; is this correct? Additionally, it seems they would add height and weight to the ski they are mounted on.

    Just yesterday I came across Blizzard’s new adaptable mount, the IQ Slider; a plate that mounts flush with the top of the ski, can receive virtually any binding and be moved incrementally fore and aft. Unfortunately the skis marketed with the IQ Slider system are not designated as touring planks (i.e. are likely heavy), but they do seem offer the ultimate in adjustability.

    Has any one any experience with the IQ Slider mount? Can it truly accommodate most bindings available on the market? Is it secure?

    Truly hoping more manufactures adopt a mounting system similar to the IQ Slider.

  12. TreeDodger January 27th, 2011 2:05 pm

    I may not have been clear in my previous post: The IQ Slider is a removable/replaceable plate. You can thus purchase additional plates to mount any number of bindings. Very clever.

  13. jondrums January 27th, 2011 2:21 pm

    @Jason
    a lot of people are buying several sets of dynaduke plates for their quiver, so they can save on binding cost. Two sets of plates is cheaper than one set of bindings. You just have to be willing to take the few minutes to do the swap ahead of time.

    For those interested, there’s a binding swap tutorial for dynadukes on youtube. user:dynaduke

  14. Ryan January 27th, 2011 4:40 pm

    Great article, I need to do something similar. Do you have any issues/annoyances using the wide 110 brakes on the 88 under foot waybacks?

  15. Eli January 27th, 2011 5:11 pm

    Do you have any pros/cons as opposed to quiver killer inserts?

  16. Lou January 27th, 2011 6:00 pm

    Eli, main thing is that the plates put a lot fewer holes in the ski, and are much quicker to install than doing a bunch of inserts.

  17. Ryan January 27th, 2011 6:12 pm

    I’m interested in the difference between these plates and the Quiverkiller inserts. I talked to a guy at Ute Mountaineer in Aspen this week about the Quiverkillers. They’re charging $100 for the mount (or in my case, re-mount: I want to be able to swap Dukes and Dynafits between 2 existing rigs) plus $2.50 per insert. It adds up to around $150 if you want to have two pairs of skis with two different drill patterns. The cost premium over a standard mount is the importance, i.e. tech time, of ensuring the inserts are epoxied in upright accurately.

    Ute Mountaineer said they’re doing Quiverkiller inserts for all their rentals. Interesting.

    The bonus of the Quiverkillers is that the bindings are flush. On the flip side, a plate can be re-used and are likely much easier to install.

  18. Jed Ullrich January 27th, 2011 6:15 pm

    I’ve installed quiver killers in a couple pairs of my skis. But I wanted to be able to ride my new skis with heavy metal salomon clamps inbounds but also to tour on. Sollyfit plates are like magic I can blast crud and pow in alpine gear and then switch to dynafits and skin and ski the backcountry on the same ski. The quiver killers I thought would be too many big holes too close together on one ski. Super happy with both but different purposes for each. I’ve got Karhu storms with quiver killers for dynafits, Bluehouse mavens with inserts for salomons, legend pro’s with inserts for FKS and 192 Bro’s with sollyfit plates. Great to see the new stuff changing the way I buy gear.

  19. Ryan January 27th, 2011 6:39 pm

    Couldn’t you combine the two? Drill the holes for the plate using the Quiverkiller inerts and then use the plate(s) for multiple skis?

  20. Mark January 27th, 2011 8:23 pm

    I think Jed’s approach is much like my vision. Inserts for Dynas on touring powder or lightweight spring corn skis, and Sollyfit plates on all mountain charging skis or anything else you see using hard inbounds.

  21. jondrums January 27th, 2011 8:31 pm

    I posted some pros and cons about inserts vs. plates in this post:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/3810/ski-binding-swapping/

  22. Ben R January 27th, 2011 10:10 pm

    Great review of a great product.

    A few things to add/comment on. FWIW…

    The plates were easy to install given the paper templates; however, the
    templates were not perfect, or I wasn’t perfect, so I employed the use of digital calipers. Neither the Dukes or the Dynafit FT12s have required any tweaking when I mount them on the plates, i.e.interchange the bindings. I have had zero issues with thread stripping and the screws always thread very easily every time I
    interchange the bindings (more than eight times now.)

    Switching bindings takes me just under 20 minutes using a T-handle 3mm hex and blue loctite on the screws; the manufactured supplied small 3mm L shaped hex is too small for fast interchanges. I think with a power screwdriver and sans loctite I could get the switch time down to less than 10 minutes. My friends say I’m slow doing anything other then skiing so other people might be faster.

    The ramp angle of the Dynafit is greater than that of the Duke which is noticeable to me on hardpack, but not as much of an issue on soft snow. I suppose one could shim the toepiece of the Dynafit. The problem with this is that I like the Dynafit ramp angle and haven’t yet put the effort into figuring out how to shim the rear of the Duke.

    The recent post by Colin about Dynafit breakage may raise some concern with
    the Dynaduke plates. It looks to me that the Dynaduke plate increases the
    lever arm on the toepiece?

    The plates were shipped on time as promised.

  23. Ben R January 27th, 2011 10:12 pm

    Oh…. I think the Dynaduke plates probably significantly decrease the chances of pulling the mount screws out of the ski when compared to Dynafit or Duke alone. The plates are wider than the Dynafits and cover more surface area in general.

  24. Louie January 28th, 2011 1:35 am

    Matt, the Coombacks and Megawatts are pretty different skis, the Megawatts are much wider and have more rocker, as well as more of a pin tail. They are a lot more surfy on powder, and more slarvy on hardpack. They also don’t edge as well as the Coombacks. I’d say the Coombacks are better for non powder conditions. There is also a big weight difference.

    Ryan– I have a few different sizes of dynafit brakes that I use. The 110 brakes work well on the Coombacks, but I’d imagine they would scrape the snow too much on the Waybacks.

    Combining inserts with the plates seems like it would defeat the purpose of the plates in the first place.

  25. yuri January 28th, 2011 7:45 am

    I’ve been using ‘Dobish Plates’ ( http://dobishsolutions.com/Products.html ) on my skis to switch back and forth between telemark and Dynafit. The plates work really well and, I think, provide a much stronger attachment of binding to ski as well as the ability to swap bindings around.

    Also, I find you can easily get perfect alignment with Dynafit by loosely fastening the bindings to the plate, putting the boot in and locking it, and then final tightening the screws.

    I didn’t notice the small amount of lift affecting the performance of the Dynafit or the feel of the ski in any way.

  26. Lou January 28th, 2011 7:51 am

    Everyone, without fail, every time we post something about binding inserts or swap plates, someone tries to resurrect a tiresome business dispute between the companies making these things. (I just redacted parts of a comment of this sort). I’d suggest to those involved that many of us are simply interested in good, well supported product and really don’t care about your business soap opera. More, as we are not privy to the internal workings and minds of those involved in these cat fights, we don’t know who is right or wrong, and again, frankly , many of us don’t care.

    Sure, I could probably get a lot of traffic if I let the debate flourish here. But that kind of pissy stuff is not what we’re about. Everyone, if you’re so inclined, enjoy the endless rant over at TGR (I’ll not grace it with a link, but it’s easy to find), but please keep it there.

    All manufacturers: If you want to promote your products, just tell us why they are good, not why the other guy is bad.

    Lou

  27. Ryan January 28th, 2011 8:37 am

    I just bought a pair of Dynafit plates. I also bought some inserts, aka Quiverkillers, from the same guy at bindingfreedom.com. I have my Dynafits mounted on a pair of Rossi S3s. I’d like to be able to use Dynafits on my Gotamas and, gasp, K2 Hellbents. I figured I won’t be using my Dukes on the S3s, so need some inserts to facilitate taking my Dynafits off and on.

    It’ll be my first home-mount. Should be interesting. This high-pressure system in Colorado will allow me to take my time since it’s looking like we won’t have snow for a good bit.

    Thanks for the info, Louie.

  28. eric January 28th, 2011 9:07 am

    Thanks for the binding articles, Dawsons. I have a really stiff, beefy boot, binding, ski combo for the resort, and a soft, light boot/binding/ski combo for touring. It is really helpful to know what is out there and how well it holds up to abuse. Keep up the good work!

  29. Samuel Fairleigh January 28th, 2011 9:23 am

    Hey thanx for the review. I’ve been wanting to put the sollyfit plates on my S3′s, I have already had them mounted with sth 16′s. I know they are not light but I trust those skis far more than some well regarded touring skiis that I have either owned or rented.
    I think with this review I’m willing to pull the trigger.
    By the way as you guys are already skiing megawatts, you should go ahead and review some lighter “all mountain”(or whatever they are called ) skiis and see what you think. Supposedly a Seth with a docked tail is were the coombs ski comes from.

  30. Lou January 28th, 2011 10:21 am

    Eric, key for using hard boots at resort and soft in backcountry is to at least keep ramp angle and cuff lean pretty much the same on both. If you have any issues switching back and forth, try working on that stuff first.

  31. jondrums January 28th, 2011 11:23 am

    Lou, and Louie, thanks for taking the time to put up this review. Sorry for the taboo comments – I didn’t realize that it was off limits here. I’m really glad that the DynaDuke plates are working out well for you. -Jon

  32. Lou January 28th, 2011 11:26 am

    Jon, no worries, taboo might be a bit strong of a word, but yeah, we do have a certain tone here that we try to stick with… many other options for other tones (grin). Lou

  33. skis_the_trees January 28th, 2011 2:49 pm

    I love the idea of swap plates. These are a fantastic solution for maximum versatility out of a quiver. I am so enamored of the idea I made my own set of swap plates that accommodate Look PX alpine bindings and a comparatively more fragile Fritschi Freeride Plus binding that I didn’t want to abuse inbounds. I have plates on 3 full sets of skis (have skins for each) which gives me a maximum potential for choosing the right ski for the day. Since I’m on the east coast, that often means that choosing a ski that can be attacked by rocks, or choosing my old Lange race boots to charge at the resort, etc. While I don’t personally own the Binding Freedom swap plates, I think they are a fantastic product with great design, finish, and what appears to be a polished package for installation by people who aren’t mechanical engineers.
    Pics in this TGR thread:http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208315

    One of the big advantages to swap plates are that they are very easy to reuse on subsequent sets of skis, which is not feasible or economical with inserts. If you have a proven binding platform that you like and will be using for the foreseeable future (i.e. Look PX, or DynaFit) then plates can really make sense to reuse bindings over multiple sets of skis as your quiver undergoes evolution, while still allowing you to swap for desired bindings on a single set of skis and between skis.

  34. stephen January 29th, 2011 12:46 am

    ^ But inserts are cheap enough that not re-using them wouldn’t be the end of the world. Also, I recall someone (IIIRC either jondrums, or Nick from QK) saying that they were reusable, but cannot remember where it was. Given the low price per insert, getting them out could perhaps be more trouble than it’s worth.

  35. scottyb January 30th, 2011 10:35 am

    I just received and mounted my Sollyfit plates, very nice construction and execution. They look great too. Shipping was fast and BF is great to deal with. The best plates I have used. Probably gonna need another set for future skis.

  36. Vincent January 30th, 2011 1:07 pm

    Hi Lou and Louie,

    I’m currently considering switching to all dynafit on my skis. However, there’s one thing which holds me back from doing this, and considering an option like this to switch bindings, which is safety. I have the feeling that dynafits are less gentle to the knees then normal bindings. I believe that the sideway release on a dynafit is (a lot?) less efficient by switching the release to the back of the boot and placing it so close to the leg.

    Could you comment on this?

    thanks,
    Vincent

  37. Lou January 30th, 2011 4:47 pm

    Vincent, in my opinion the safety release of Dynafit is just as good as any other ski binding other than perhaps those Knee Savers or whatever they’re called. But, you should use a binding you feel confident in. Dynafits are not for everyone.

  38. Jonathan Shefftz January 30th, 2011 7:36 pm

    I’ve never seen anything definitive — or even vague — on the relative safety of locating the lateral release at the heel (i.e., Dynafit and other Tech bindings) instead of at the toe (i.e., alpine downhill bindings). The Line binding was supposed to have lateral release at both, but was a total disaster for other reasons apparently. The KneeBinding adds lateral release at the heel (medial only) but has been a disappointment to the designer (or so he said before a court order silenced him) and has even had its teflon AFD strips falling off on a regular basis (at least during its first season).

  39. Jon Moceri January 30th, 2011 8:52 pm

    Vincent, I do over 90% of my skiing on Dynafit bindings for lift and backcountry skiing, and I’ve never had an injury with them. And I know injuries. I’ve torn both ACL’s with traditional bindings. If traditional bindings were medical devices, the FDA would never approve them.

    The Dynafit is the only binding with lateral release at the heel in both directions. I have the Knee Binding on my Head IM88′s. Never liked the binding as it seemed that I always pre-released at the worse times.

    My favorite binding of all time was the Spademan. An interesting binding in that it was used by Bill Briggs during the first ski descent of the Grand Teton.

    Look carefully in the picture with Bill carrying his ski’s A-frame style. Those are Spademan bindings.

    http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/bill-briggs/bill-briggs-william-biography.html

    Anyway, I have dreamed of a backcountry Frankenstein binding with a Dynafit toe with a Spademan binding. The problem is that all AT boots now have a cutout sole and you can’t mount the Spademan plate. Although, there was the Spademen rental plate that you could weld a Dynafit insert to….. and with carbon fiber….. you could….. Mmmmmmmmm…….

  40. Mark W January 30th, 2011 11:39 pm

    Holy Frankenbinding, Jon!!

  41. Vincent February 2nd, 2011 3:54 pm

    Thanks for the comments. Seems like I don’t need to worry so much. Now it’s just a matter of finding the right boots. Let’s hope the Titans will work fine!

    Vincent

  42. TripleT February 3rd, 2011 8:38 am

    Thanks for the review Louie. Especially interested in your mount on the megawatts in particular. I got dynadukes mounted on some BD zealots and had some issues similar to your overhang. The plate seems to fit a bit better on the zealots, but i did have a small gap between the plate and topsheet. Check out these photos to see what I mean:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/116165049090042552819/Random?authkey=Gv1sRgCMOF_9XB2vmqCQ#

    This gap is super minimal, like 1-2mm, but it exists. I’m wondering if you have a similar issue on your megawatts, or perhaps I botched the mount.
    Thanks!

  43. Louie February 3rd, 2011 11:23 am

    I don’t have a gap under my plates, the sit flush with the ski. The front and rear of the plate have small gaps under them too allow the ski to flex, maybe that is what your seeing? Another possibility is that there is some grit or something trapped under the plate that is holding it up.

  44. mtb March 23rd, 2011 4:04 pm

    I have new STs that I’m planning to put on my DynaDukes. Do you see any issue with trimming the plastic baseplates so that they don’t hang over the edge of the plates?

  45. Lou March 23rd, 2011 5:20 pm

    MTB, exactly what part of the binding are you talking about? Toe or heel, sides or front, or back?

  46. mtb March 24th, 2011 9:36 am

    I haven’t taken the dukes off yet to try the Dynafit mount, but based on eyeballing and Louie’s photos, I would say in front of both the heel and toe pieces.

  47. Lou March 24th, 2011 9:51 am

    MTB, the heel unit plastic can be trimmed in front, just make sure you don’t trim so far back that you mess up where the brake rests. The front plastic should probably be left as-is, like Louie did, but it could probably be trimmed a bit. Issue with FT will be the trimmed edges of the fiberglass, perhaps sand and seal edges with a smear of epoxy. ST binding is much more elegant and easier to trim base, I’ve never been impressed by the fiberglass (so called ‘white carbon fiber’) on the FT…

  48. mtb March 24th, 2011 5:14 pm

    Thanks Lou! Do you know why the ST has the extended plastic in front of heel/toe in the first place? It doesn’t seem particularly functional.

  49. Lou March 24th, 2011 5:32 pm

    So it looks cool.

  50. bert holmes September 21st, 2011 12:22 pm

    new question. Has anyone tried to add ski crampons yet with the dynaduke/ with dynafits. going to do the haute route in march and very curious.

  51. Lou September 21st, 2011 12:55 pm

    I never thought that would be a problem, they’ll just be higher by the thickness of the plate…

    Louie?

  52. Dobish April 4th, 2012 4:45 pm

    I have used dynafit crampons with my plates, and it has not been an issue. I have not tried them on the ones for the axl pattern, but it really shouldn’t be an issue there as well.

    As far as durability goes, I have been beating mine up for a couple of years now, and the biggest issue i found is that you are going to want to put some thread locker on the screws to keep them from backing off. The Dynadukes are a great product, glad to see the review up here!
    ~ Dobish

  53. Dobish April 4th, 2012 4:46 pm

    link in name was wrong, i forgot an s… sorry :)

  54. Phil April 9th, 2012 9:53 pm

    Is it pssoble to use quiver killers to mount both radicals and dukes on the same ski or are the hole parterns to close?

  55. Louie April 9th, 2012 11:32 pm

    It’s possible, and I’ve done it. It might depend on what size boot you have, and what size duke you have. Also, one binding or the other probably won’t be lined up with the center mark on the ski..

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