Guest Blog – Naxo NX01 (NX02) Backcountry Skiing Binding Review


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

[Editor's note: As of 2009, Naxo bindings are no longer produced. We leave this review published for the record.]

As an Aspen ski boy since he could walk, Luke Caudill knows his ski bindings. We got him on some Naxos a few years ago and our secret pow stashes were never the same. Luke is at college now. Our pow stashes are getting a rest but the those near his school are suffering — his Naxos are still getting tested. Here is Luke’s take on what used to be the NX01 model and is now the NX02:

Lou, here’s my long awaited (well it’s been long, maybe not awaited) review of the Naxo NX01 binding. I’ve been using this binding for three seasons now, beginning mid-winter in 2004 and have enjoyed every moment. So I guess this could be considered the endurance review for the Naxo.

Naxo backcountry skiing binding.
Naxo NX01 backcountry skiing binding (now grey in color with model name NX02.)

The first time I used a pair of NX01 bindings, we we’re somewhere in the mountains of Colorado touring up a snow packed road, and I just wouldn’t shut up about how good the dual pivot virtual rotation feature felt. The ingenious touring pivot provides a smoother, more natural feeling. Even with my not so light or flexible Atomic Zone 5.45 downhill boots on, my stride felt smooth and natural. During that backcountry skiing trip I was nicknamed the Naxo Strider due to my inability to stop talking about the binding.

Since that first day out, the pair of bindings that are now mounted on my bright orange Karhu Jaks (yes I’m touring on tele skis… but they were on sale) have been through quite a bit. When I first got these bindings I used them strictly for my backcountry skiing adventures, as I realized their downhill capabilities, I began to use them more and more at ski resorts, now they have become my only pair of bindings that I use every time I ski.

Dual Pivot: As I said above, the dual pivot feature is amazing and truly provides a natural feel. Although it may look flimsy, I have had no durability issues with the dual pivot system when hiking or skiing the downhill.

Backcountry skiing
Luke on his Naxos and Jaks.

I do have some difficulty with uphill kickturns during backcountry skiing with the Naxo. The trick is that doing uphill kick turns with this binding is usually not one smooth motion, but takes a few “mini steps” to get the second ski all the way around. It can be hard to lift the ski all the way out of the snow, it seems to hang a little lower because of the extra movement/length of the dual pivot point. Another thing I’ve noticed is that sidestepping up a hill can be difficult as well (while in touring mode.) This has to do with getting the tail of the ski to come out of the snow — there is no “resistance” in the dual pivot, so the tail will hang and drag in the snow when I lift my boot either for the kick turn or sidestep. Solution for sidestepping is either patience, or locking into alpine mode.

Weight: These bindings are obviously not the lightest on the market (One size medium 04/05 Naxo binding, with brake and screws: 39.8 ounces, 1123 grams), but by no means is the weight unbearable.

Tour Latch: First of all, to get the tour latch from the 0 degree position to the 6 degree position when hiking can be quite amusing. A few poles have been bent attempting to do this. Using common sense I found the best way to get it into position was to stop, reach down and use my hand. Still most of the time I resort to beating it with my pole until it pops into position. Although this may be annoying when climbing, I have never had the tour latch come out of downhill mode. So the lock that the tour latch has is greatly appreciated when enjoying a nice powder run! (I have seen my Dad do the occasional – and accidental – telemark turn when his older model Fritschis decide they want to come out of downhill mode, luckily he’s an ex telemarker so he can handle it). One more issue I had with the tour latch was that while climbing at the tallest heel lift position of 12 degrees, it would sometimes slide out of the 12 degree position and into the 6 degree position. This doesn’t happen often, so no big deal.

Cocking Lever: Only one minor issue with the cocking lever. When stepping into the binding most of the time I have to pull the lever into place using my hand.

Toe and Heel Release: Amazingly easy to adjust! One of my favorite features about this binding is that the DIN settings are adjustable without any tools. Large adjustment knobs are located on the toe and heel release that make it very easy and quick to adjust the release settings. The first time I used these bindings on Highlands Bowl, my dad and I dropped in from the top and on my first turn my boot popped out. (The DIN settings seem to be somewhat low, I had to tighten these up one number higher than my downhill bindings). Within five minutes the problem was fixed and we were headed down.

Back Pressure Adjustment: Quick and easy. The back pressure (and boot size) is adjustable by a small hand operated catch located just underneath the heal of the binding. Just flip the tab on the catch and slide the heel forward and backward.

Overall, the Naxo NX01 bindings have been a terrific. I have had no durability issues. No broken parts. Can’t wait to get out of my dorm room and on to the slopes… only a couple more days and the NX01 bindings will be back in their element :)

Comments

28 Responses to “Guest Blog – Naxo NX01 (NX02) Backcountry Skiing Binding Review”

  1. Pierce November 30th, 2006 10:10 am

    Nice write-up Luke! I am on my third pair of naxo 01s and have also had a pair of freerides to compare them to over the last season. I agree with you on your pros and cons. Here are few more observations:

    *Dual Pivot Weight Savings? In my opinion, having the dual pivot almost amounts to a weight savings. I’ve noticed that my skis spend a lot more time flat on the snow while skinning, compared to the freerides, where you are often totally picking your skis up due to the single forward pivot. Even with big powder skis, I don’t notice the weight as much. As you mentioned, I feel like I can haul butt on flatter tracks on the naxos.

    *Durability: Big skiers (6′, 200#s) on wide skis can wear out the pivot bushings. This is the reason I am on my third pair. All of my naxos have been mounted to Seth Pistol/Vicious skis (96-98mm under foot), and after 60 days or so pivot bushing have “ovaled out,” giving some side-to-side slop in the binding while in touring mode. I never noticed any degradation of downhill performance, but it was easier to fall off the climbing posts traversing or kick-turning, and the slop worried me about further stress on the pivot bars. BCA replaced all, no-questions-asked, so I have kept using the bindings. This year’s replacements have a new pivot pin design, so we’ll see if that helps. I assume it’s from me flexing the bindings heavily while touring. Aside from that, I have had zero durability problems, even with lots of hard skiing, jumps, cliffs, etc..

    *Binding Flex: One of the trade-offs of the dual pivot is more lateral flex in the binding. As mentioned above, you can fall off your climbing posts sometimes if you are fat kid like me. It also turns a ski with mediocre hard-snow edge-hold into a ski with terrible edge hold. The freerides are quite a bit stiffer.

    *Ski stance and flex: I like the naxo’s stance and ski flex better than the freeride. The naxos have a more neutral ski stance, or less forward lean than the freerides. I guess that’s a preference thing, but I like it better for b/c skiing in softer boots in soft snow. There is also less of dead spot underfoot with the naxos, due to their tour-lock mechanism allowing the ski to flex freely along its entire length. With naxos, there is virtually no dead-spot.

    Hope this helps some folks out there on their next AT binding purchase!

  2. Joel November 30th, 2006 1:14 pm

    I’ve been riding naxo 01′s for 2 seasons now, and I’ve got to give them kudos for durability – no replacement parts needed yet. I’ve got an inbounds and snowboard set up as well, so I’d say I’ve put 60 days on the naxos thus far. I’ve swapped with a friend’s Freerides on the way up more than a few times and I definitely agree with Luke that the virtual pivot point glides better on the flats, but is cumbersome during kick-turns and side stepping. Also of note is the number of climbing settings – only 0, 6 and 12 degrees on the naxos, while the freerides have lots (something like 5 or 6).

  3. Mike Marolt November 30th, 2006 5:49 pm

    Nice Luke:

    I am a fan of the Naxo for the past year. It is a great product.

    On the kick turn, i have found it actually much easier. The problem most people make with the system is to lift the toe like you do on a free ride or all other systems. If you look at the pivot of the Naxo, this movement will actually make the tip fall down. But if you can lift your heel towards your butt, a much more natural movement anyway, it makes it the tip go up. Play with that and i am sure you will find you can eliminate the steps you refer to.

    Thanks and keep up the guest blogs. M

  4. Mark Worley November 30th, 2006 6:13 pm

    Couloir uses Naxos for their ski tests because they adjust for boot length so quickly without tools. I like the way they tour and ski downhill, but now that I’ve got Dynafits, I’ll have to give them their due also.

  5. Darek Smorczewski December 1st, 2006 8:39 am

    Luke,
    When I first installed my Naxos I also needed to pull the cocking lever up by hand to get the binding to latch. I realized that my boots had replaceable walking pads which were worn down and didn’t have enough meat to engage the mechanism. New heal pads solved the problem.

  6. Steve December 2nd, 2006 4:58 pm

    The “Dietro Front Inverso” is the most effective method of kick-turning with your Naxos (and Dyanfit bindings):

    1. Lift your uphill leg so your quad is at roughly a 45 degree angle.

    2. Pivot that leg in the direction you want to kick turn and place ski in that direction.

    3. Bring downhill ski around parallel to what was the uphill ski.

    This technique takes advantage of the lack of weight near the front of the binding when the tail of the ski drops toward the ground.

    Much easier done than described but I tried…

  7. Lou December 2nd, 2006 6:01 pm

    Steve, how about a technique video?

  8. MarcinPL December 6th, 2006 5:24 am

    I own and love to pieces a pair of Naxo NX21′s. While this is supposedly a “freeride” binding, it is essentially an NX01/2 on ‘roids. I have to agree that the Die-Fro-Inv turn is the easiest thing to do.

    A step-by-step (hem, hem!) schematic may be found in the English language Naxo booklet at http://www.naxo.ch/downloads/prodInfo/Naxo_Booklet_0.pdf

    Best regards from sadly snowless Poland.

  9. Scott February 1st, 2007 2:43 pm

    I have the same problem with the cocking lever on one of my NX01s (I have to reach down and pop it after stepping in), but the other one works just fine. The tech who mounted them was a little worried about it, but he ran them through the full release tests and they passed with flying colors. As my previous experience was with old Silvretta bindings, I find this only a minor annoyance.

  10. Lou February 1st, 2007 5:48 pm

    I’m not impressed by that action of the cocking lever, but I don’t think it has any effect whatsoever on performance or safety.

  11. Paddy Maher May 7th, 2009 5:46 am

    Hi Guys,

    HELP REQUIRED!

    I have heard that Naxo have gone out of business? I have a broken toe jaw from January in BC. Wanting to continue my skiing I pulled out the back up pair and could not find any Naxo stockists in the interior. Now I’m back in Australia trying to get a Toe Jaw piece for the binding.

    Noone stocks Naxo in Australia, and from my research through BCA, Sierra Snowboards (who I purchased through) and a number of other sites the Naxo n21 has dropped off the face of the earth.

    Is the anywhere I can get a toe jaw piece, or have the binding in some way repaired. The bindings have been fantastic for 30 odd days I have skied them over the last 2 years. I want them to have a long life, but need parts.

    Any help with getting parts or repairs for them would be great. I need advise, and am happy to post the binding from Australia if needs be. I have a number of friends on the west coast of the USA as well as Canada, so local shipping of any parts is also no problem.

    I hope someone can help? as winter is fast approaching and I would like to get in some touring this season (southern hemisphere) if possible, rather than relying on my second string setup.

    Cheers,

    Paddy

  12. Lou May 7th, 2009 7:11 am

    I’ll ask around Paddy, anyone else?

  13. Andrew November 1st, 2009 10:59 am

    Lou, others,

    I picked up a pair of nx02′s off craiglsist but come to find out none of my local shops have a jig or template. Anyone have a pdf version?

    sunsurfh2o at the yahoo domain

    email if you have it, thanks!

  14. Lou November 1st, 2009 11:54 am

    The binding is orphaned. I’ll try to get around to making an accurate template, but have to do Eagle first. I’m working on that later today!

  15. Mark November 1st, 2009 3:55 pm

    Lou, the Naxo binding line is featured in the Alpina 2010 catalog. I almost couldn’t believe it. Sales rep didn’t mention them. Perhaps I’ll have to give him a call.

  16. Mark November 1st, 2009 4:03 pm

    No Naxo on the Alpina website.

  17. Lou November 1st, 2009 4:55 pm

    Perhaps some leftover stock. Or?

  18. Andrew November 1st, 2009 10:47 pm

    thanks, Lou, standing by…

  19. richie c March 12th, 2010 6:58 am

    I wore out the pivot bushings. I was getting lateral movement of almost 2″ on both bindings. Very annoying while in skinning mode. Could not find anyone who knew how to fix this problem. Replaced with the Eagle. Only problem appears to be that when the installer put the Eagles on my Crossbows, the bindings appear to be set too far back, creating an unbalanced ski. Tips dive while breaking trail and skiing on flatter surfaces is a real adventure. will look for a new pair of skis.

  20. Andy Jensen October 15th, 2011 12:32 pm

    Does anyone know which Naxo model is equivalent to the binding they made for Dynastar called Legend?

  21. Alex December 19th, 2012 10:21 pm

    I need help! I like the broken binding Paddy NAXO. taw joe. Tell me where to find parts for Naxo? Alex

  22. Hudson January 24th, 2013 5:52 pm

    I picked up a pair of the naxo NX01′s and I need a template I saw that Lou was making a PDF version if I could get that it would be great!

  23. Lou Dawson January 24th, 2013 8:22 pm

    Hudson, I’m pretty sure that got nixed when the binding turned out to be a chunk of junk and was eventually orphaned. Lou

  24. Hudson January 24th, 2013 8:26 pm

    So you don’t like the binding at all? I found a papper copy template, its my first AT binding and I got them for $100. Did I waste my money?

  25. Lou Dawson January 24th, 2013 8:44 pm

    Hudson, nope, I don’t like them. But they do work. Mount ‘em and see what you think. Lou

  26. Michi September 3rd, 2013 7:20 pm

    Hey does anyone know if replacement toe jaws for the Naxo 21 can be bought from somewhere or have they disappeared like the dinosaurs?

    Cheers

  27. lou September 3rd, 2013 9:38 pm

    Michi, I don’t know of a real supplier but ask around.

  28. Steve November 11th, 2013 3:35 pm

    For spare NAXO parts try Mountain Bike City in Calgary:

    403 686 2453

    http://www.mountainbikecity.com

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

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