Federico, You’re Not Allowed To Read This (Homebrew TLT5 Lean Lock Mod)


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Saga nutshell: While perfect for many folks, Dynafit TLT5 has too much forward lean for me. I thus had to change the lean angle because these are beautiful boots and I want to feel beautiful while I ski them.

At first, the idea of modifying the lean lock of the Dynafit TLT5 boot really turned me off. Mainly because of the time it would take (along with the possibility of messing up a thousand dollar pair of shoes). Instead, to reduce ramp and and thus reduce forward lean I was considering shimming up the toe unit of all my skis/bindings. Shimming would have been ideal in terms of ergonomics, but did I really want to be re-mounting everything I’m skiing on, and having to suffer while doing ski demos due to the “ever changing angle syndrome”? Nope. Instead, four hours of shop time yielded a set of modified lean-lock plates that reduced cuff angle 3 degrees (that may not sound like much, but as a percentage it is quite a bit and noticeable). The moment I’d finished this mod I uphilled about 2,000 vert then made a nice run down that included groom and chop in equal doses. Ahhhhhhh, perfect. Yes, get everything tuned and the TLT5-P boots truly do perform at around a pound less weight per boot than most other options.

TLT5 lean lock backcountry skiing.

Homebrew lean lock plate installed in TLT 5-P backcountry skiing boot. Click image to enlarge.

The project took me a while because I had to manufacture the correct size bar stock, using my table saw and a belt sander. With pre-sized aluminum bar stock I could do this project in a couple of hours. Locating the new lock hole in the plate was easy; I simply dropped it as low as possible while still using the stock rivet that going any lower would have to eliminate. I figured if I got rid of too much forward lean, I could always add some shim or a small spoiler — or simply thicken the liner by re-heating it (I aggressively compressed the liner cuff rear during my last mold, to reduce forward lean.) The hole was cut using a drill bit, a roto-cutter, and a hand file. It is ugly, but works.

TLT5 Dynafit lean lock plate, customized for backcountry skiing.

OEM plate below, bar stock to become custom plates shown above. Coin for scale, click image to enlarge.

Funny thing was, the most challenging part of the job was getting the rivets installed nicely. For starters, I lacked a rivet countersink bit in the correct size, so I did a sloppy job by countersinking with a regular twist drill. More, I couldn’t find long enough 5/32 rivets at the hardware store, the length I used tended to barely extend beyond the backing washers.

There we go. Instead of having a guy in Italy pick what forward cuff lean I’m using, I’ll pick it myself thank you very much. A variety of “lean plates” could of course be manufactured and sold for this boot — and apparently will be by Dynafit for the 2011/2012 season. It is said they’ll sell two types of plates, one that increases the lean, and one that decreases it. To install, I suspect a boot fitter would simply remove the stock plate and rivet in the new one. But perhaps Dynafit has made it even easier than that by simply providing a different version of the whole inner rear “spoiler” with the plate attached.

See previous post about TLT5

Shop for TLT5 Performance backcountry skiing boot.

Comments

54 Responses to “Federico, You’re Not Allowed To Read This (Homebrew TLT5 Lean Lock Mod)”

  1. wyomingowen February 21st, 2011 9:31 am

    Lou,
    I always read about your leg, ankle, foot anomalies, good for you to do whatever it takes. But, IMHO, after 30 days on these boots, nuskool or old stance, I’d have to say it’s the other aftermarket adjustments that made you feel too “leany”
    My old boots; too old dynafits to remember, matrix, radium, zzeus all felt (numbers aside) more aggressive in stance.
    Just want to let Fede know that besides the low tolerances of shell fit, this boot is ready to ski out of the box.

  2. Lou February 21st, 2011 9:35 am

    Any boot will ski out of the box. Sometimes, for some people, perfectly. Glad you’re one who finds it to be so!

    As for my adjustments, let me say it again, the boot felt too “leany” OUT OF THE BOX. Period.

    And yes, that’s just me. The blog post is about me making the boots ski well for myself.

    This is WildSnow.com. We mod stuff.

  3. Christian February 21st, 2011 10:00 am

    You should start selling these…with option og different angels. Good solution.

  4. JQ February 21st, 2011 10:05 am

    I also mess with the cuff lean angle, there just is a sweet spot. My old MegaRides and now Quadrants have 2 cuff positions. Forward is just too much lean to get my legs to push on the front of the boot, less tilt is OK for the front but not enough support in back. I use the more upright position and make a shim of dense foam (an old Garmont liner tongue is my choice) taped to the back of the liner. Gorilla tape to keep in the right spot. You may have to mess with the buckle bale or hook position to get them buckled up. You might feel added calf pressure when going uphill but the new boots have better mobility and it’s worth it for the downhill.

  5. Lou February 21st, 2011 10:09 am

    Christian, it looks like Dynafit will sell some lean change stuff next season. As for my mod, it’s really quite easy with the correct tools. Worst thing I did was not use a rivet countersink drill bit that makes a nice flat bottomed clean sided countersink (the one I have was for too small a rivet).

  6. Lou February 21st, 2011 10:10 am

    BTW, Fede mentioned that certain bloggers used to complain about boots have two cuff angles, and now with one angle I’m complaining anyway (grin). Be it known that the boots with two angles provided two of the wrong angles for many folks, and required modification anyway… just thought I’d clarify that.

  7. Erik February 21st, 2011 10:18 am

    It has taken me 3 days to go through and process the thread comments on the TLT5/modification opinions. Sometimes I wonder if this site should be called http://www.analretentivebackcountryski.com, but perhaps that name was already taken! :D In all seriousness, thanks for the detailed and helpful information on this topic. I like the TLT5 fit out of the box, but haven’t skied them yet. They are amazingly light. Currently I ski Garmont Megarides with Mustagh Atas (178cm)/Dynafit bindings. I’m 5’8″, 155#. My question is, are these boots burly enough for my skis? Or would the 7Summits be a better pairing with the TLT5 for spring 14er ski descents?

  8. Lou February 21st, 2011 10:25 am

    Erick, thanks, now some spammer is going to register that name (grin).

    Seriously, thanks for the laugh Erik. Jeez, all I do is mold some aftermarket liners, change a buckle location on one side, and tweak the forward lean. You’d think I just took a Prius and converted it to diesel or something! Oh the sin!

    ‘best, Lou

  9. Lou February 21st, 2011 10:31 am

    Erik, to answer your question about the boots being burly enough, as always I’d fall back to your style of skiing. If you tend to use a lot of forward leverage, you might find you want a boot with a more normal progressive but stiff forward flex. If you find you don’t need that as much, and take a more neutral stance in your turn, I don’t see why the stiff nylon lower and steel-like carbon cuff of the TLT5 Performance can’t provide enough “burl” for just about anything. Also, by skiing with the removable tounge in the TLT5 you do get what feels like a more normal forward action, but it’s still not what I’d call progressive due to the incredibly play-free and positive lean-lock and carbon cuff.

    Thing is and what we North Americans tend to deny, is that the boot/ski combo can require one to modify their technique a bit if they want the ultimate combo of performance and light weight. Otherwise, just ski Dukes, beef boot and huge skis, and don’t look back because some rando weenie might be gaining on you (grin).

  10. Plinko February 21st, 2011 12:53 pm

    Love it! Nicely done Lou!

  11. Jonathan Shefftz February 21st, 2011 1:00 pm

    “It is ugly, but works.”
    – Nay, not ugly, but beautiful! (Precisely b/c it works.)
    Just one thing to add though that boot upper cuff forward cant and ski+binding delta are not perfect substitutes for one another. Ditto for inside the boot heel>toe ramp angle. Ideally each angle should be dialed in just right. The suboptimal approach is that if one angle is way off yet infeasible to tweak, then the next-best option is to focus on the alterable angles.

  12. Dan Powers February 21st, 2011 1:10 pm

    Lou – I remember you talking about moving the lower buckle as well. How did that work out? I’m considering the same and would like any details you’d be willing to share.

    Thanks

  13. XXX_er February 21st, 2011 1:50 pm

    It looks like you used an aluminium pop rivet

    I once did boot repairs with aluminium rivets on the cuff of some old SX90′s and the aluminium pop-rivets didn’t hold

    I got some SS which did … keep an eye on those rivets

  14. Harry February 21st, 2011 2:17 pm

    Hmm, this could be further modded to provide cuff alignment adjustment also. It wouldn’t be a traditional adjustable set up, but if you remove the cuff rivets, set you cuff angle, then offsett your lean-lock hole to where the hole in the carbon cuff now is that should work. The corners of the buckle insert thingy might not be aligned in the same plane, and it would be a lot of test fitting.

    Bold move going that deep into a $1000 pair of boots Lou!

  15. Scott Nelson February 21st, 2011 7:09 pm

    One thing I’m learning about Lou, is that he a’int scared about tearing into a $1000 boot. Always glad to see your shopwork Lou. And glad you still have all your digits from ripping down that aluminum, or do you? Can you convert my F1′s into a TLT5?

  16. gtrantow February 21st, 2011 8:01 pm

    Lou:
    What is the ramp angle difference between Dynafit TLT Speed classic bindings and the FT/STs? My Speeds feel good with TLT 5 Mtn, but I plan to buy another pair of bindings and I don’t want to change my ramp angle. I assume the safe thing to do is just stick with TLT Speed bindings, especially since prices on TLT Speeds are dropping with the upcoming Radical line debut. What do you recommend?

  17. Jonathan Shefftz February 21st, 2011 8:08 pm

    G, details on that (and many other specs) are in our tech binding summary chart:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/3822/tech-binding-summary-chart/

  18. Lou February 21st, 2011 9:11 pm

    The aluminum rivets are not ideal, that is for sure. Easy upgrade, and the boot would still get me down the hill if they failed, so ever onward. Realized during this project that I need to upgrade my rivet situation a bit, so that’s getting done.

  19. Bar Barrique February 21st, 2011 10:11 pm

    Nice work; now I am looking forward to your Maestrale mod (in your spare time) :lol: . One forward lean setting is not enough , and, the other is too much. Hopefully we will get some boots with a single position adjustable forward lean setting. AT boots are well suited to this feature.

  20. Pablo February 22nd, 2011 7:00 am

    Nice Work Lou!
    But sincerely, I know that Federico has been yet there…
    Two weeks ago, at ISPO, they told me that the TLT5′s for 2012 will have a little change: The metal piece is going to be amovible and we’ll have the posibility of change the forward lean on two diferent angles just by switching upside down that metal piece.

    (excuse me for my bad english)
    Pablo, from Spain

  21. Lou February 22nd, 2011 7:25 am

    Better late than never (grin).

  22. Ray February 22nd, 2011 7:39 am

    Hi Lou
    Here is a link showing the avalanche and crown of the slide that killed the sledders near Golden ,BC
    http://www.bclocalnews.com/kootenay_rockies/revelstoketimesreview/news/116556778.html

  23. pal February 22nd, 2011 11:13 am

    Anybody try to modify the Maestrale forward lean? I’m am having a hard time getting used to the additional forward lean compared to my Spirit 3. I suppose I could remove the metal walk strap and drill a new hole below the existing pin holes?

  24. Ed February 22nd, 2011 8:56 pm

    To: Erik February 21st, 2011 10:18 am
    I ski the TLT5 Perf’s on 178 Mustagh Ata’s and I’ve used them on 182 Stokes (the latter skis with care now). On the MA’s, the rig performs like X-country skis on the up and there’s lots of boot there for the down – no problem. On the Stokes I’d take it easy on the down . . . at speed they feel, well, a handful sometimes, at least for me in anything except real nice powder/ no windslab.

  25. Geoff February 22nd, 2011 9:52 pm

    @pal: I had the same issue on my Maestrales (my previous boot was a Garmont Megalite), as did my wife on her Geas (her previous boot was a Scarpa Magic). We both found that removing the spoilers reduced the forward lean enough to make the boots ski well for us. We kept the power straps and added some washers to the attachment screws on the outside of the cuff so that the screws wouldn’t dig into the liners. We also contacted Scarpa customer service, and they said that the only further option would be to drill an extra hole in the lean/lock bar. If you drill a new hole as close as possible to the existing holes, that would probably decrease the lean by at least 4 degrees, which is quite a lot in terms of the way that the boot skis. Maybe it would be possible to get a lean/lock bar with no holes drilled in it from Scarpa.

  26. pal February 22nd, 2011 10:21 pm

    @Geoff, did not notice that the spoiler was a removable, took it out and will try it tomorrow, thanks!

  27. Marc February 23rd, 2011 7:25 am

    Get out of the backseat Lou! ;)

  28. Xav February 23rd, 2011 10:02 am

    Inspiring thread. I’ll be modding my BD Factors, or rather ‘spoling’ them. I just don’t get enough lean even in the most forward position. I guess it’s just too much time on hardpack and my GS skis.

    Cheers

  29. Erik February 23rd, 2011 2:04 pm

    Ed and Lou-
    Thanks for your input on the Mustagh Ata/TLT5 combo. According to his site, Greg Hill (who has done a bit of skiing in his spare time) likes pairing the TLT5 up with either the 7 Summits or the Manaslu and that seems to have worked out pretty well for him.

  30. tony February 23rd, 2011 9:47 pm

    For those of you who want to change the foward lean angle of AT boots with a metal bar with a hole as part of the foward lean mechanism, you can weld the hole shut and then drill a new hole where ever you want, without worrying about how close it is to the old hole.

  31. Federico February 24th, 2011 3:38 am

    Lou … our mod will be much better than that ;-)

  32. Christian February 24th, 2011 8:52 am

    Erik: I am 89kg, 184 and ski the 189 Mustagh Ata SL tlt5p. Good combo.

  33. Geoff February 24th, 2011 7:43 pm

    @Tony, That’s a good suggestion, but I wonder if the welding might affect the temper of the lean/lock bar. Don’t know how important that would be, but there’s quite a high load around the hole in the bar.

  34. pal February 27th, 2011 12:20 pm

    went ahead and disassembled my maestrales walk mechanism and drilled an additional hole in the walk bar, turned out to be a fairly easy job. The lean now matches what I had on my spirit 3. The mechanism also needed cleaning and lubing even though I have only have about 10 days on them.

  35. Lou February 28th, 2011 8:58 am

    Quite a few times, I’ve welded holes shut in lean lock bars and re-drilled. I agree that doing so could cause the bar to break, but never had that problem. I was pretty careful about the welding, didn’t just blast it. My take is that this is a last resort solution.

    A long time ago I actually welded an extension to a guy’s lean lock bar, and added a new hole for extreme forward lean. Amazingly, it worked. Was a pair of Scarpa Laser.

  36. AndyC March 14th, 2011 7:08 pm

    another approach to the forward lean: I like the forward lean for steep descents, but not for traverses and mild descents, such as when I do BC ski patrol with Karhu XCD Guides. So I tried a new mod today after Big Steve gave us something to think about with using credit cards to block the hole for the clasp. I took the skin-save plastic mesh from my 55 mm Glidelite skins and cut it to a length 2 inches loner than the boot cuff. When I want to ski with the uppers buckled firmly but lightly and [i][b]without[/b][/i] and forward lean, I just slip the plastic mesh down between the outer upper cuff and the inner cuff with the catch for the clasp. Worked well. If the upper buckle is tightened too much it will eventually wear out the web; but keeping the upper just lightly/firmly buckled has little impact on the web. YMMV, just tried it for the 1st time today.

  37. Geoff March 22nd, 2011 7:59 pm

    @pal, Did you just tap out the pin that the bar pivots on to disassemble the lean/lock mechanism? Any problems getting the pin out or putting it back?

  38. Lou March 22nd, 2011 8:03 pm

    Geoff, those pins are usually just a press fit but one end is bigger then the other so it should only be tapped out in the direction of the larger end so you don’t drive it all the way through and enlarge the bore it fits in.. I’ve taken many out and put them back in, never had a problem.

  39. pal March 23rd, 2011 12:32 pm

    Geoff, I used a center punch to pound it out from the smaller dia end as Lou says. It helps to put the boot on a firm surface, I had to hammer pretty hard to get it going but it came out and went back in no problem. I did have issues with loosening the 4, 3 mm hex bolts that hold the assembly on the boot, the hex would start to strip; the loctite on these screws was hard to overcome. I ended up drilling the heads off of two of them. The local hardware store had exact replacement screws (the were either M4x12 or M5x12 I forget which). The walk mode assembly comes off and the thin plate on the inner side can be pryed off with a flat screwdriver blade to remove the walk bar, it snaps back on easily afterwards. I then drilled the new hole with a drill press. By carefully measuring with a pair of calipers the length of bar from pivot to lock pin with the boot in the desired lean position I determined that the new hole would have to be about 6mm from the existing one which was about the same spacing as the holes already in the bar The new hole turned out slightly small with the drill I used so I used a rattail file to bring it up to size, make sure all burrs are removed or it will not work smoothly. Once out on the snow it was still easy to select any of the now 3 holes for forward lean. Much happier with the boots now..

  40. Geoff March 23rd, 2011 10:23 pm

    Lou and pal, thanks for the tips.

  41. cseilern March 24th, 2011 1:31 pm

    @Lou: can TLT5s be used with Diamir Eagles or Freerides? I have some skookums right now and they work fine. I am assuming TLT5s are ok too, or am i dreaming?

  42. Lou March 24th, 2011 4:28 pm

    CS, no, they don’t really fit frame/plate bindings, though doing so can be faked. Skookums have a DIN/ISO standard touring boot sole, so they fit fine. TLT5 does not have a DIN/ISO sole shape, though it looks similar. The fact that they’re making tons of boots now that don’t really fit frame bindings, but fit tech bindings, is a very important and under-sung development in the industry.

  43. cseilern March 24th, 2011 4:33 pm

    thanks for that. Do you know if the Aliens fit Diamirs? I am looking to get some light boots, but would rather they fit all my skis rather than just some of them.

  44. Lou March 24th, 2011 5:31 pm

    doubtful, again, these newer lightweight boots have trimmed down sole profiles that are not intended for a standard touring frame binding, only for tech bindings.

  45. John September 27th, 2011 4:26 pm

    Lou, Any word if aftermarket lean lock plates will be available this year. I put nearly 50 days on the 5-P’s last year and couldn’t adjust to the lean to my satisfaction. Looking for that “Ahhhhh” feeling to return.

  46. Lou September 27th, 2011 5:05 pm

    Dynafit themselves have something cooking. If that doesn’t work, I know some folks who are planning on making plates you rivet in. We’ll see.

  47. Will October 9th, 2011 8:52 pm

    I am 6’4″ with 18.5″ femurs and flat narrow feet. I have spent some time in F1s, but they are too wide. The Titan 30, w/ Intuition Pro tours 31s is the most comfortable boot I have. My titans are also modified for more forward lean, 24 degrees, otherwise my CG is too far back.

    My question is, how much more forward lean can be added to the TLT 5P?
    Thanks,
    Will

  48. Lou October 10th, 2011 4:59 am

    Will, I’d say that using my mod you could easily add three degrees or so. If I were you I’d try them on and see how the lean feels. They have quite a bit of forward lean, and if feels like even more because they are so stiff rearward.

    BTW, a common phenomenon with Intuition liners is that while molding you end up with less material behind your calf then with the stock liner. This sometimes causes the boot to have significantly less forward cuff lean. Solution for this is to add some material behind the calf. I usually do so by gluing and taping some dense foam to the boot cuff “spoiler.”

    I think it’s also fair to mention, regarding these sorts of questions, that it’s beneficial in so many ways to learn to ski with a more upright stance, so you might look at that issue as well. Though I do know and agree that a person needs what works for them, in terms of boot ergonomics.

  49. Will October 10th, 2011 9:10 am

    Thanks Lou,
    I think I will give them a try. I can also adjust ramp angle some as well.
    Will

  50. John November 17th, 2011 6:03 pm

    Lou, Any updates on Dynafit or aftermarket fixes? Three days so far on them this year and still they have me too far forward. Thanks.

  51. Lou November 17th, 2011 7:55 pm

    I’m trying to get answers from Dynafit. They told me last summer they had a mod for the boot, then all I’ve heard is silence….

  52. harpo February 22nd, 2012 5:40 pm

    I just heard from Dyna usa the dyna lean modification fix won’t be available till next season. Does anyone know of any where I can get a hold of lock plate that will reduce the foward lean of my TLT5s this season?

  53. John Woeste February 22nd, 2012 7:05 pm

    Harpo, if you can’t find one and can’t wait until next year, you might try the mod I’ve successfully done. Remove the liner and file the hole a bit. A little filing goes a long way in terms of reduction in forward lean. I filed and checked the lean several times until the yellow tang was slightly recessed into the hole viewed from inside. I’m not concerned about breaking the tang as it’s only slightly less inserted than factory. I can stand more upright as desired or lean into them for full ski tip loading. I don’t notice the slight movement in an irritating way. Of course, ski tip loading is reduced when standing more upright. This doesn’t bother me in the least, as coming from years of parallel skiing with telemark bindings, it was all about “the dance” of finding the right balance. The movement might be detectable to some connoisseurs and they may find it unacceptable. It can still ski very aggressively in the more upright position and it’s nice to lean into the factory lean for hard charging. I’ve got about 20 days on the mod with no negative aspects. YMMV.

  54. BigBlue November 13th, 2012 11:41 am

    Lou,
    Wondering how this mod has held up? Given the delay still on getting the new plastic spine with adjust forward lean for older TLT5′s into this country as a fix — are you happy with this mod, and durability thus far, to continue ‘recommending’ this as a potential option?
    Any ideas about using machine screws and tapping the holes in the new alum. bar for fixes, mods later?
    Biggest concern is cutting into the plastic molded rivet seats — seems like that could cause some cracking, weakness, etc. Thoughts?
    Thoughts about gaining more than 3 degrees? Or would that compromise strength too much?
    Thank you.

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