Rando Race Bindings: No Longer Just for Rando Racing

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Lightweight rando race gear, also used for backcountry skiing.

Rando race and MORE.

Feeling weighted down by your ~two-pound Dynafit or other “tech” bindings? Maybe the time has arrived to adopt a rando race binding for your longer spring or summer backcountry skiing adventures. Or even if that’s not the case, window shopping all this lightweight exotica is great fun!

Seriously, for the 2011-12 season many different brands of rando race bindings are finally available in North America. And they’re not just for rando racing. One of my most surprising ski touring moments this summer was topping out on Shasta’s Avalanche Gulch, grateful for my ultralight Trab Duo Sinto Aero + Dynafit Speed + Dynafit TLT5 setup, only to feel like a heavy laggard when I saw some Trab race skis and rando race bindings at Red Banks. (Reports from Europe tell of numerous skiers out touring on race gear, and we generally follow those sorts of trends, so look out!)

Recognizing this trend, two “near-race” bindings are also now available for this season, with weights just barely outside the high end of this chart, yet with adjustable release settings: ATK RT which is rebranded, distributed, and fully supported by La Sportiva in North America, and new for the 2011-12 season the Dynafit Speed Superlight which combines a full-on race toe with a three-hole heel yet with two different elevator levels.
The table below summarizes all the known options for “tech” race-intended bindings. Meaning those with fixed release values. Models with North American distribution include Dynafit (although only for the Low Tech Race, not the more econo-minded Low Tech Radical), Merelli (rebranded and fully supported by La Sportiva), Plum (via a small number of retailers, plus very U.S.-friendly company-direct web sales), and Trab (via Scarpa). The discussion that follows will focus on these models plus ATK, which is one of the more popular options in Europe.

(But if you’re wondering about the seemingly impossible weight and price of the Pierre Gignoux Pack Ultimate, after previously offering only a rather typical heel piece, the new model combines an amazingly diminutive heel with an even more amazing carbon fiber toe, compatible only with a special version of PG’s ~three-pound carbon fiber race boot, included in the price.)

Company Model – w/ website link gr. Oz. Price
ATK Race SL World Cup 220 7.8 €415
SL-R World Cup 226 8.0 €435
Colibri C.08 / C.09 260 9.2 €???
Dynafit Low Tech Race 234 8.3 $800
Low Tech Radical 370 13.1 €375
Haereo G1 240 8.5 €469
Kreuzspitze Snow Crab + Trofeo 266 9.4 €350
La Sportiva RSR 286 10.1 $800
Merelli R8 Evolution ??? ?.? €???
PHK Fly 260 9.2 €???
Pierre Gignoux Pack Ultimate 120 4.2 €1800
Plum Race 145 290 10.2 $715
Race 135 270 9.5 €504
Trab TR Race 282 9.9 $539

All of these models have fixed release values for both lateral and forward release, typically unspecified but typically unofficially somewhere in the high single digits. Plum is unique in offering a choice of forward release values via its 135 and 145 models, which differ in their metallic composition for the heel “fork” (i.e., the U-shaped piece that also forms the heel pins that insert into the boot interface).

Plum 145

Plum 145

All of these models also have a default mounting mode of a fixed fore-aft position. Merelli / La Sportiva and ATK offer add-on mounting plates with grooved tracks, so that the plate is first mounted to the ski, and then the binding can be secured anywhere along the track. Plum offers even more options for fore-aft adjustment: heel posts for the 135 and 145 are available with 2, 3 or 4mm offsets to avoid a remount when switching boots (or when incorrectly mounting a binding!), the 185 model (not shown in the chart) offers 40mm of adjustment with a lower heel post height to maintain the same total height as with its 135 and 145 models, and the new 165 (also not shown in the chart) offers 20mm of adjustment mountable only with a highly integrated adjustment track.

Dynafit Low Tech Race

Dynafit Low Tech Race

Heel units have either four or three holes, and mounting patterns vary widely. (I’ve had good luck though so far finding mounting jigs in my collection that randomly match up with different models.)

Changing between tour and ski modes is typically accomplished not via turning the heel unit, but instead by flipping a heel unit cover that either exposes the heel pins to engage them for skiing or converts them into a heel elevator for touring. This single heel elevator position is noticeably lower than the lower of the two elevator positions on a typical Dynafit or other “Tech” binding. Personally I’ve found the position on my Plum Race 135 bindings to be ideal for most skinning yet still reasonable for almost all too-flat skinning as well as for almost all too-steep skinning. (But don’t try to achieve a higher heel elevator position for the latter by rotating the heel 180 degrees then flipping the cover open all the way: although this will gain you a few more mm, these race bindings are not built to withstand the forces of such a configuration!)

For very long, extended, truly flat skinning, I’ve rotated the Plum heel unit 90 degrees for a slightly negative position (since the boot heel is resting on the ski topskin while the toe is slightly elevated). I know of at least one binding for the 2010-11 season that did not allow such a position (as any such detent was lacking for that position), but that could have changed for 2011-12, so I’ll omit the specifics. Bottom line is that if you really want such a flat/slightly-negative position, don’t just assume that any particular model can be toured without the heel elevator.

La Sportiva RSR

La Sportiva RSR

Toe units all have four holes, and all adopt the traditional Dynafit pattern (i.e., not the new Radical pattern) without the fifth center hole, except for the Dynafit models, which both use the new Radical pattern (i.e., four holes, but the two forward holes are now farther forward). Most of these models have toe levers that immediately snap into tour mode upon entry (i.e., no reaching down to pull up on the lever before skinning). Exactly what then happens when in ski mode is in flux, as apparently some models have the option to ski with the toe lever in anything but tour mode, but the latest International Ski Mountaineering Federation (“ISMF”) rules require toe release capability for the 2012-13 season. So some models might be in the process of being modified, and others [Sep 22 edit: including Plum] might offer add-on kits to allow multi-position toe levers. (On the Plum models this can also be influenced by fine-tuning of the span on the adjustable toe “wing” pincers — my 135 pair automatically go into tour mode, yet I can still twist out in ski mode. [Sep 22 edit: starting for the 2011-12 season, the pincer span is now fixed, although adjustable pincers are still available upon special request.])

Trab TR Race

Trab TR Race

For ski crampon use, the Plum, Trab, and Dynafit Low Tech Race models have removable holders (“weighing” in at about three tenths of an ounce). The ATK SL-R and Dynafit Low Tech Radical have permanently integrated crampon attachments. (Note that the Low Tech Radical simply uses the same toe as the new Speed Radical, which in turn is simply the Radical FT/ST toe piece mounted without any shims.) The ATK SL and Merelli / La Sportiva appear to have no option of attaching a ski crampon.

Weights in the chart are all spec, although based on personal experience and other sources, screw weight is most likely excluded, so plan on another ounce or so. Either way, these are all ridiculously light, almost inconceivably so for some models!

And finally, two discontinued models (not in the chart) can still be found on closeout. The first-generation Dynafit Low Tech Race combined a toe that at first glance looks like the venerable Speed (but upon closer inspection has only four mounting screws, no mounting shim, and some slightly lighter components) and a fairly typical four-hole race heel. The 2010-11 Dynafit Low Tech Lite combined the venerable Speed toe with the first-generation Low Tech Race four-hole heel (but not the newer three-hole heel as incorrectly depicted by many etailers).

ATK SL

ATK SL

(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

88 Responses to “Rando Race Bindings: No Longer Just for Rando Racing”

  1. Tuck September 21st, 2011 10:36 am

    Drool…

  2. Cam September 21st, 2011 11:15 am

    lou, since the dynafit DYNAFIT TLT SPEED SUPERLIGHT BINDING has the race toe, yet it’s not auto locking…is there a way to convert the race toe to a non-auto locking toe?

  3. Greg Louie September 21st, 2011 11:16 am

    Gotta love that Pierre Gignoux outside-the-box thinking!

  4. Tim September 21st, 2011 12:00 pm

    I wonder if the Pierre bindings will be legal for rando racing, since it looks to me like there will be no toe release at all

  5. Jonathan Shefftz September 21st, 2011 12:25 pm

    PB might have it set up so that the toe has just enough pressure to keep you in while skinning yet still release (without any change in the toe piece) while skiing if the heel releases — that’s how my Plum race bindings are currently set up (though I can still pull up on the toe lever a little bit more for additional pressure, but I’ve hardly ever done that).

  6. Tim September 21st, 2011 2:13 pm

    Also, anyone know if any of these adjustment plates will work with the trab race binding? I’d like to be able to accommodate 2 mondo size difference while using the trab bindings

  7. Jonathan September 21st, 2011 2:23 pm

    My notes from the former distributor have the Trab LR hole spacing at 25mm, so that means it would *not* work with the Plum plates, since Plum LR is 20mm.
    But according to Jon Moceri’s very helpful comments last fall, the RT LR heel spacing is 25mm. So the Trab might very well work with the La Sportiva RT adjustment plate (which is a rebaded ATK R01):
    http://www.sportiva.com/products/ski/accessories/rt-binding-adjustment-plate
    (But I’m sure that Trab, ATK, and La Sportiva will all disavow any such combination.)

  8. Jonathan September 21st, 2011 2:23 pm

    Cam, interesting q, but I don’t know the answer.

  9. Harpo September 21st, 2011 3:36 pm

    My question is only tangentially related to this topic and may have been answered already, sorry if so:

    Can a ski previously mounted with the old dyna hole pattern be remounted with the new radical hole pattern? What if old pattern doesn’t include the 5th toe hole like on the Plum Guide? How would the use of QK or BF inserts effect the ability to remount with the new pattern?

  10. Colin Lantz September 21st, 2011 5:37 pm

    Heard something (unconfirmed) in EU about the PG binding only being allowed for use on Vertical Races, i.e., uphill only races. Now why anyone would race uphill only is another story…

  11. Lou September 21st, 2011 5:38 pm

    Harpo, no problem mounting the new Dynafit pattern over the old. You just drill two new holes.

    If you need a 5th hole you just drill it as well.

    I’m pretty sure you’d still have enough room for the new holes even with inserts. I’ll be able to evaluate that for certain in a few weeks, if you want to check back. Perhaps someone else can chime in in the meantime.

    Hope that helps, Lou

  12. Lou September 21st, 2011 5:39 pm

    Colin, and people want to know why the heck we’d skin up a ski resort…

  13. jerimy September 22nd, 2011 8:41 am

    From the ISMF rules, “For the season 2013-2014, the ski stoppers will be compulsory.” Too many skis flying uncontrolled down the race courses? Will leashes count as ski stoppers or does this mean brakes on race bindings?

  14. Lou September 22nd, 2011 9:02 am

    That one was easy to predict. Pretty ridiculous for a while there…

  15. Jonathan Shefftz September 22nd, 2011 9:35 am

    Except from draft 2013-14 ISMF rules:

    IV.A.3. Ski Stoppers
    IV.A.3.a For dental floss used as ski stoppers, the following will apply:
    IV.A.3.a.i So-called dental “tape” is herein included under the definition of dental floss.
    IV.A.3.a.ii Only commercially available dental floss sold in regular retail channels for dental hygiene may be used.
    IV.A.3.a.iii Both waxed and unwaxed varieties are allowed.
    IV.A.3.a.iv “Mint” or other flavored varieties are prohibited (on account of competitors’ potential allergic concerns).
    IV.A.3.a.v Dental floss used in ski stopper construction must not have been previously used for dental hygiene.
    IV.A.3.a.vi Competitors are advised against employing dental floss used as ski stopper for post-competition dental hygiene.

  16. aviator September 22nd, 2011 10:31 am

    @ cam, jonathan

    the speed superlight toe is the same as the low tech race toe.
    the video at dynafit.com talks about TWO DIFFERENT versions of the toe, one NON-AUTO locking:
    http://dynafit.com/product/bindings/low-tech-race-auto
    (1st video)

  17. Cam September 22nd, 2011 10:48 am

    @aviator
    in the description at the bottom of the speed superlight it says it’s the same toe, but no auto lock.
    http://www.dynafit.com/product/bindings/tlt-speed-superlite
    new torx screws
    Low Tech Race toe
    same height as the Low Tech Race
    no automatic lock
    a single adjusting screw for side and front release

    …I’m just wondering if theres a way to convert the race to to this non auto locking version…I’m a bit averse to skiing in avy terrain with the toes locked…

  18. John September 22nd, 2011 10:58 am

    @Johnatan,
    Which jig do you think is the best for mounting adjustable race bindings such as the Plum 165/185?
    Thanks,
    John

  19. aviator September 22nd, 2011 11:05 am

    listening to the low tech race video I get the impression you can choose which toe you want when buying the low tech race.

    which would make sense considering the upcoming ISMF rule changes

    if you already HAVE the auto-locking toe surely it MUST be possible.
    I’d say it must be easier converting an auto-lock version to non-auto locking than the other way around.

    anyway next year this subject will be HUGE, will people be allowed to race with their previously auto locking toes home modded to be non auto locking.
    or will they all have to buy new bindings? :P

  20. Jonathan Shefftz September 22nd, 2011 1:27 pm

    @aviator, although I’ve been able to mount race bindings using a combination of the supplied paper templates (printed on clear transparency material) and random binding jigs from my collection that happen to match the LeftRight spacing, the best approach is just to use the company-specific jig, like here:
    http://www.sportiva.com/products/ski/accessories/rt-binding-mounting-jig
    http://www.fixation-plum.com/detail-article-fixations.php?idproduit=117&lang=en
    http://www.atkrace.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=81:kit-molla-talloniera-nx-world-cup&lang=en

  21. Jonathan Shefftz September 22nd, 2011 1:51 pm

    Just an FYI that I’ve added two [clearly marked] edits within the original text:
    - for the 2011-12 season, Plum toe pincers now have a fixed span, although adjustable pincers are still available upon special request; and,
    - Plum will offer an add-on device to allow multiple positions of the toe lever.

  22. John September 22nd, 2011 1:55 pm

    Dynafit Jig
    I hear it now has pilots for all the Dynafit race bindings. I just don’t know the exact dimensions of the Dynafit race bindings. I have an old Dynafit jig.
    John

  23. John September 22nd, 2011 5:04 pm

    The Plum 165s and 185s rear mounting holes are 25mm wide.
    I’ll probably use my Dynafit jig to mount the toe pieces.
    Does anyone know of a jig with 25mm wide pilots?
    Thanks,
    John

  24. Jonathan Shefftz September 22nd, 2011 5:06 pm

    25mm = old Diamir (before Eagle & Pro), two front toe holes

  25. John September 22nd, 2011 5:09 pm

    Thanks Jonathan!

  26. Mark W September 22nd, 2011 9:14 pm

    Though I am totally a tech binding guy (I have three pairs of Dynafits), looking at these race models is really something. Think of it this way, I drive a VW Golf and love it, but this stuff is Aston Martins and Ferraris.

  27. Mark W September 22nd, 2011 10:47 pm

    Jonathan, I’ve also done template mounts and musical mounting jigs several times. Makes me a little nervous, but sometimes it beats spending $150 bucks for a jig that will be used maybe once every two years. Deep down, I do want those jigs!

  28. Tom Macfarlane September 24th, 2011 9:40 am

    Wow. I want some. It should be noted that the Gignoux stratospheric binder price includes a pretty sexy pair of carbon boots.

  29. ewa September 25th, 2011 1:53 pm

    @Jonathan
    Are these regulations on the use of dental floss serious?

  30. Bill Graf September 26th, 2011 8:11 pm

    Jonathan the Kreuzspitz bindings are 350 euros plus shipping and can be ordered directly from company. You can order with several different adjustment plates for heel with up to 18mm of travel. I’ve ordered a pair of PG 444 but not sure about the physics of the toe piece. Not sure this toe piece is suitable for heavier skier like over 190 lbs. Definitely a very race specific piece of kit. Thanks for putting together a great look at this years race binding.

    http://www.kreuzspitze.com/

  31. Jonathan September 26th, 2011 8:25 pm

    Bill, thanks for the info. And looking forward to seeing your PG cf boots at one of our races! (I’ll probably wait until once the ski season starts to post our schedule, but the three-event series will be similar to last year. And MRV is already set for Feb 5, and with Bretton Woods planning to revive is race for late March.)

  32. Derek Weiss October 7th, 2011 12:20 pm

    Tom Mac,

    S or get off the pot! Buy some, there’s a six month waiting list.

  33. Brian October 9th, 2011 10:15 pm

    Lou,

    I spent last spring skiing everything in the Tetons on Broad Peaks and Plum Race 145s. This set up was bomber. Plenty of the lines had huge consequences for a pre-release or other such non-sense. Fantastic performance and undeniable reliability.

  34. John October 12th, 2011 10:56 am

    Curiosity lead me to check out some differences between the Plum Race and Guide and the Dynafit FT 12s I normally use.

    I made a comparison of toe release torque of 4 toe pieces, Dynafit FT 12 with silver (light) springs, FT 12 with gray (heavy) springs, 2012 Plum Race and Guide. The tests were done with a torque wrench attached to a “tech” toe piece with the toe pieces mounted to a board before mounting to skis.

    Dynafit FT12 silver spring released at 40-45ft.lbs.
    Dynafit FT12 gray spring released at 45-50, and 1 click into tour mode at 60-65 ft.lbs.
    Note: The Dynafit release was not crisp, that is why there is a release range.

    Plum Race 60ft.lbs., lever automatically goes into tour mode. (can be pulled tighter)
    Plum Guide 25ft.lbs in ski mode, 1 click into tour mode 70ft.lbs. Tour/Ski Lever mates to machined base, so there is no variability in gap.

    I initially mounted the bindings on pine, but the Plum supplied screws pulled out. Then I used a harder piece of lumber and the longer Dynafit Speed/FT12heel screws.

    Plum supplied screws are 12mm/ 6mm penetration 4 threads.
    Dynafit Speed/FT12 heel 15mm/ 9mm penetration 6 threads.
    Screws 5.5mm x 0.8mm pitch

    I’d recommend 15mm for Plum Race and 16mm for Plum Guide (1mm thicker then the Race) since most piloted ski drill bits make a 9mm deep hole.
    All of my skis are thick enough to accommodate 9mm screw penetration. Of course a ski with a metal top sheet can use a short screw.

    Conclusions: The Plum race seems to gain most of it’s retention from the toe piece, where the Guide’s retention comes from the toe and heel. I need to do more elaborate testing, possibly with heels.

    I have been using FT12s since their introduction, and am quite comfortable with them in all terrain. I no fall situations, I lock the toe. The only unexplained releases I’ve had have been in summer corn.

    I have personally witnessed toe pieces pull out of wood skis, so I would recommend using as long of screw the ski will properly take for safety.
    John

  35. Lou October 12th, 2011 11:40 am

    Thanks John, good info! Please note that the toe release of tech bindings was originally designed to not be “crisp” but rather to be smooth. If you boot is just sitting there as you torque, then suddenly pops out, that means you’ve got much less elasticity than if the binding toe pins ride up out of the socket smoothly. I’ve done a ton of experimenting with that, and it’s very common for bindings other than Dynafit, combined with certain boots, to have a “pop” sort of toe release instead of a smooth one. Something to keep in mind.

    You should still be able to measure max force of the “smooth” type release by using a torque wrench, but it would need either a recording function, or else you’d have to gradually change settings on a click type of torque wrench till you were able to release the binding.

  36. John October 12th, 2011 12:33 pm

    Lou,
    “Crisp” may have been a bit subjective.)
    I agree bindings should have release elasticity, allowing recentering after a spike in force.

    Elasticity is such a difficult term to describe or test, I decided to stay away from it. I’ll just have to ski the Plums to see if there is a discernable difference. I did use a “click type” torque wrench working the numbers up as the force increased. What I found was the Plum release value was very predictable. The Dynafit value would change, requiring more test releases, resulting in the range.

    I really like the FT12s, particularly the rotating heel riser. So I am sticking with them as well as that style of binding.
    John

  37. Jonathan Shefftz October 22nd, 2011 12:03 pm

    Updated the chart for the Euro prices on the new ATK models and the Dynafit econo model.

  38. Tony October 27th, 2011 5:54 pm

    Lou, any update on the old and new mounting patterns and the inserts?

  39. Lou October 27th, 2011 6:18 pm

    Hi Tony, not sure exactly what you’re after. Of course all the Dynafit skis for this season with inserts will be in pattern for latest bindings. We’ve updated our mounting template for skis without inserts, it has both old and new pattern on it. Anything else? Let me know. Lou

  40. Tony October 27th, 2011 9:35 pm

    Lou, I was wondering if u could fit either the puder luder or binding freedom inserts into the new/old mounting pattern, so u could use either the radical or older dyna bindings on the same ski.

  41. Lou October 28th, 2011 6:28 am

    Sure Tony, I used an aftermarket insert last winter to repair one of the factory inserts in a Manaslu. Since you’re threading into plastic, use a plastic rated epoxy and be super careful when inserting the inserts not to strip, as they go in super easy due to the slick plastic of the factory insert combined with lube from glue. Use a tiny bit of blue Loctite on the binding screws, don’t overdo, since when you back out the binding screws you don’t want to end up backing out an insert, as even the plastic epoxy doesn’t bond all that well to the nylon of the factory inserts.

  42. Tony October 28th, 2011 11:41 am

    Lou, I guess I am not being clear enough. I have a pair of Dps skis previously mounted with puder luder inserts in the old dyna mounting pattern. Will I be able to mount additional PL inserts for the radical pattern on top of that? You had confirmed u can mount a radical pattern on top of the old pattern when using standard mounting screws, but I was wondering about the PL inserts as they require more clearance between holes than standard mounting screws. Sorry for the confusion.

  43. Lou October 28th, 2011 11:52 am

    Tony, I’m 99% sure there will be enough room for another set of inserts. Download and print our paper mounting template and use that to visualize the situation. Lou

  44. Derik December 12th, 2011 9:55 am

    Old thread, but I need help/info.

    I am looking at this binding for light/speedy traverses and some recreational rando racing.
    http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/en/dynafitlowtechradical1112-p-48678.html

    It is basically the speed toe piece with the race heel. Pretty light and cheaper/ more durable than the race versions.

    So, my question is, does anyone know the release setting of the heelpiece? I’ve read alot about the race heel on the internet, but I still don’t understand. Do I need to lock the toe (lever in touring mode) while skiing down, or does the binding offer some kind of release when skiing normally?

    I am interested in some release, always left my other dynafits on about an “8″ setting and I’ve never pre-released.

    I’ve heard everything from DIN approx. 7 to 17 with the race bindings. I’m assuming that means the heel? Seems to me that a piece of u-shaped Ti could only be one value, and that would depend on skier weight, etc.

    Yes, I do realize that there is a new “releaseable” race heel, but the price is fairly prohibitive for me. Thanks for any help.

    DG

  45. Jonathan Shefftz December 12th, 2011 10:07 am

    The old four-hole Dynafit race heel was actually pretty low laterally, although unknown (at least to me) forward.
    The new three-hole Dynafit race heel is unknown (at least to me) in both lateral and forward.
    Certainly a great bargain though combining the nicely redesigned Radical toe (in shimless version) with the super-light race heel — unfortunately not available in North America.
    Also remember that you can’t put the heel in “flat” position — not a problem for racing, although a small drawback if you use if for touring with extended really really flat skinning.

  46. Lou December 12th, 2011 10:24 am

    Pretty sure they told me a while ago that those early race bindings were around RV 7, but were almost always skied with toe locks do thus making lateral RV irrelevant. The soft race boots, diminutive size, and wide turn style of most rando racers made the vertical RV of 7 work fine.

  47. Derik December 12th, 2011 2:35 pm

    So I assume there is “some” lateral release value to the race heel? I guess I mean, dynafit doesn’t really intend for you to ski around with the toe locked out, or do they?

    As far as that binding only being available in Europe, I’ve bought many things over the years from Tele Pyrenees and have had nothing but good deals. Fast shipping, and usually much cheaper than what the same gear goes for the states. FWIW.

  48. Lou December 12th, 2011 3:04 pm

    As stated, the race heel is probably around RV 7. Lou

  49. Jonathan Shefftz December 12th, 2011 3:27 pm

    Derik, all current and recent rando race bindings have both lateral and forward release. Exactly what those values are though generally goes unstated. (And the old Dynafit four-hole race heel had to be less than a 7 lateral RV — just manipulating it by hand the resistance seemed less than that.) There is absolutely no reason to believe though the the lateral and forward release values are equal to each other, as the resistance mechanisms are entirely separate. And the lateral release value can be significantly affected by toe units that automatically go into touring mode and have no separate ski mode.

  50. Derik December 12th, 2011 4:55 pm

    Thanks Lou and Jonathan for the replies. I always appreciate the accurate, timely responses.

    I think the RV of 7 will work for what I do, but I guess we’ll find out.

    Again, I appreciate your time and knowledge. Thanks-

    DG

  51. Lou December 12th, 2011 5:35 pm

    And as Jonathan says, some might be lighter. That understandable since race bindings are normally skied with the toe locked (though I don’t advise doing so unless you’re willing to accept the consequences of basically running a non-release ski binding.

  52. Derik December 12th, 2011 7:24 pm

    In no way am I willing to accept a non-releasable binding. Simple physics tells me that in a twisting fall, something is going to give, and if ain’t the binding, it’ll be the knee. No thanks. An injury like that would put me out of work for a long time, and that wouldn’t please the “kitchen colonel”.

    With that being said, I did order these bindings. I’ll try them and if the release isn’t stiff enough for my 165 lbs, long touring, easy skiing style, then they’ll be on ebay quite fast!

    Thanks guys.

    DG

  53. Derik December 17th, 2011 9:38 am

    Well, it took an astounding 4 days and a few dollars but the Low Tech Speed Radicals (whatever you call them) arrived yesterday. Thought I would post a pic with weights for anyone who cares:

    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t23/george7117/Lowtechradicltoe.jpg
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t23/george7117/Lowtechradicalheel.jpg
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t23/george7117/lowtechradical.jpg

    I really think that the heel piece has a steel “u bar” instead of Ti, at least it looks that way. And it responds like steel when I put a magnet up against it. (Whereas Ti is paramagnetic, and only reacts to a very strong field)

    So, steel is better for me, lasts longer and still doesn’t weigh that much more.

    One more thing of note, the heelpiece does not turn at all, which I assume means the lateral release only comes from the toe? So you must vertically release from the heel, and then laterally from the toe in a twisting fall? A friend had the old yellow race bindings and they did twist 90 degrees. Hmmmm.

    Coming from a background of complex machinery (airplanes that break constantly), the straight simplicity and functionality of this binding is really cool.

    DG

  54. Lou December 17th, 2011 3:35 pm

    Good photos Derik. If it doesn’t twist to the side at the heel, you have no lateral release, period. Be careful. Lou

  55. Jonathan Shefftz December 17th, 2011 3:49 pm

    Derik, thanks for the pics. But yes, the heel piece does rotate laterally. I suspect the difficultly is the combination of a relatively high RV with a very small (and triangular-shaped) base to grasp the binding. Try a test mount on a piece of wood, and I’m sure you’ll then be able to rotate the heel.

  56. Lou December 17th, 2011 4:09 pm

    That’s what I thought! But you never know, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

  57. Derik December 17th, 2011 4:54 pm

    I had that thought as well, but maybe I should get my (stronger than me) 3 year old to give it a twist?! :-) I actually figure that it has to twist, but I certainly can’t do it bare handed. Maybe I need to get into the gym more?! I’ll mount them into wood tomorrow and try a boot in there.

    Regardless, I thought some folks would be interested to know that they are coming shipped with a steel “U” spring. Seems to make sense for a more training/durability rated binding. I’ll report back on the skiing and such after it gets mounted up, probably be a week or two. Thanks again for the info.

    DG

    PS- My wife said “Wow, those look cooler than my old Comforts!” So, I may have already lost them …………

  58. Mark December 17th, 2011 8:37 pm

    What I don’t get about that heel style is whether there is a total of one or two heel levels. Do you always tour on the little lit, or is there a “flat” setting, which I guess would be right on the ski? If there isn’t it might be a bummer skiing across a frozen lake or flat road with the heel always slightly elevated.

    What am I missing?

  59. Brian December 17th, 2011 8:53 pm

    I’ve been skiing Plum 145 Race for everything and anything. Having the heel elevated in race mode on the flats is no big deal. You stop noticing after a minute or two of skinning. The extra articulation of the TLTs allow for more than enough motion to allow this.

  60. Mark December 17th, 2011 9:30 pm

    Maybe that’s the key: with a race oriented boot you have enough rear motion it doesn’t matter. But for a light-tour with a more standard AT boot (I know my boot is sort of lousy rearward) could irritate.

  61. Jonathan Shefftz December 18th, 2011 6:03 am

    Mark, this is addressed in the text of the review:
    “Do you always tour on the little lift, or is there a “flat” setting, which I guess would be right on the ski?”

  62. Mark December 18th, 2011 7:07 am

    Thanks, missed that. Seems useful to me, and seems like for another gram or two you could set a little counter on the topsheet to eliminate the “negative”, if it even bothered you enough.

  63. Derik December 18th, 2011 1:27 pm

    After mounting the heelpiece in wood today, yes, they do rotate. Fairly easily, my calibrated hand says its a DIN of 7. :-)

  64. Jonathan Shefftz December 20th, 2011 6:46 pm

    I just realized a nice budget-oriented rando race binding setup: buy a pair of Dynafit Speed Radical toe pieces from Spark R&D, then buy a pair of Plum 135 or 145 heel pieces from Plum. Looks like around $365 or so depending on shipping. (This deal is possible because with regular Tech bindings, the heel unit is the most expensive part, but with race bindings, the relationship is reversed, so a separately purchased regular Tech toe plus a race heel is actually the cheapest possible combination at regular retail prices. I have a similar setup on my Trab Duo Sint Aero now, and so far so good.)

  65. Mark December 21st, 2011 7:35 am

    I had no idea you could buy separate toe pieces.

  66. Jonathan Shefftz December 21st, 2011 7:37 am

    The separate toe piece purchase is intended for splitboarders, and the separate race heel purchase is intended for upgrades of existing full toe & heel setups. But running the numbers, assembling an econo race setup that way from scratch is pretty attractive.

  67. Tim February 13th, 2012 9:12 am

    Does anyone know if anyone makes an adjustment plate for the dynafit 3 screw heel?

    I’d like to buy the tlt speed superlight and be able to adjust it for boot sizes 24.0 to 26.0. Yet also be able to mount it without the adjustment on skis where I want it to be lighter.

    Also, anyone know if you can rotate the superlight heel for flat skinning?

  68. Jonathan Shefftz February 13th, 2012 11:57 am

    No, the Superlight heel (as well as the three-hole race heel) has no detent at any position other than straight ahead. But based on my experience with the Plum 135, and assuming you have some sort of boot with massive rearward cuff movement, this isn’t a problem (unless you’re planning on lots of nordic touring).
    Here’s a plate:
    http://www.riapsport.de/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=736&Itemid=122

  69. Tim February 13th, 2012 12:49 pm

    Thanks Jonathan. I’d be using it with the tlt5 mountain.

    I’m considering trying them out with these skis(I currently use them plus SNS pilot skate boots for loaded touring, but it seems that slightly more weight gets me 50x the downhill control) http://madshus.com/skis/glittertind . Am I crazy?!? It seems something like that could kick butt on something like the Grand Traverse.

  70. Jonathan Shefftz February 13th, 2012 1:41 pm

    The Grand Traverse race is completely dominated now by standard rando race gear.
    I’ve previously used skate boots + nordic bindings + narrow nordic touring skis for nordic skiing, although that was before I had … well, whatever it all is that I have now. Combining near-race/spring-touring gear (i.e., TLT5 + stripped-down Tech binding) with nordic skis, sure, that will work, although the ski is over a pound heavier than rando race skis. But still might be better on the flats. However, for lots of flat touring, I think a binding with a flat position (like the ATK/Sportiva RT or Plum race bindings) might be better.

  71. Josh March 13th, 2012 3:29 pm

    I realize this is an old thread, but does anybody know if the Plum Race bindings allow you to rotate the heel 90 degrees so you can tour in “flat” mode? I am interested in putting together a really lightweight setup and was looking at the Dynafit Speed Superlight but am concerned I won’t be happy with being forced to tour with my heel lifted since I’m often on tours that begin and end with stretches of relatively flat, snow-covered forest road.

  72. Al Olby May 5th, 2012 4:07 am

    Josh, I don’t know the answer to your question about the Plum Race bindings, but I’ve been using Dynafit Speed Superlights all season and had the same concerns as you before using them. All I can say is I barely notice that the heel’s raised when on flat sections. I’ve even had to ski short downhill sections of races with skins on and the heel lift’s been fine. This may be due to lots of rearward boot articulation in my boots (Scarpa Aliens), something to consider, but my initial fears have been proven wrong. I’ve found the Speed Superlights to be superb both for training and racing so I’d thoroughly recommend them.

  73. Brian May 5th, 2012 9:45 am

    Yep. The Plums have a flat-to-the-ski option.

  74. Tyler B July 31st, 2012 2:50 pm

    Hey Jonathan,

    What is your strategy for managing multiple boots and skis? I have a pair of TLT 5′s that i have raced in and loved them. I am now looking at adding a Scarpa Alien to the mix. I would like to do most of my skiing in the tlt5 and race/train/ski some in the Alien but the Alien is 10 mm smaller in the bsl. So now it seems as though I need to commit to one or the other with my training/powder setup or get something like the vertical with lots of adjustment. My race ski i will just set it up for the Alien.

    Any thoughts?

  75. Silas Wild August 4th, 2012 2:49 pm

    Now that I’ve had a chance to use both the Sportiva (ATK?) RT binding (20 days) and the Dynafit Speed Superlite (7 days), maybe my experience is useful. Both are pricy ($800 for the RT and $700 for the Superlite,) and both have RV setting ability. By my measurement the RT with screws weighs 14 ounces and the Superlite with screws weighs 16 ounces, and in walk mode the RT can be set at 0mm, 38mm, and 64mm while the Superlite at 38mm and 54mm. After getting used to them both heights can be adusted with a ski pole, no need to reach down to change them. At 170lbs, I’ve had a chance to test both for RV7 in action with my TLT5P boots and near 5lb skis (one 171cm pair of KWilds from skilab dot com and a pair of 167cm Movement Rando(m)s,) and they release when they should and don’t when they should not. I prefer the RT over the Superlite because of its weight, more height adjustability, and four heel screws instead of three.

    I’d like to hear others’ experience with the bindings. Thanks.

  76. Lou Dawson August 4th, 2012 7:23 pm

    Thanks Silas, good take.We used the RT as well last winter in the Ultimate Quiver on the La Sportiva skis, and they worked fine. Indeed, choosing between those two bindings would be difficult at times, perhaps what a person can get for a good price would be the main criteria.

  77. John December 18th, 2012 5:35 pm

    I have several Plum race bindings that I am upgrading the toe lock with Plum’s new spring plate which prevents lock on entry (ISMF). The first set I tried does not work well, the spring plate or spring curve is too low to engage the lever.

    Has anyone else done this mod?

  78. Dan Vardamis January 19th, 2013 8:57 am

    Does anybody know of a retro-fit for a Ski Trab TR Race binding that adds a high heel lift to it? Currently it has ski mode, flat/neutral mode by rotating it and the minor lift mode with the flip-down lever. I would like to have a higher mode for certain steeper situations.

    Thanks!

  79. Jared January 31st, 2013 9:27 pm

    Dan,

    Here is my Home Depot / garage mod that has worked on low tech bindings (like the TR Race.

    http://slc-samurai.blogspot.com/2010/04/wurlos-gear.html

    Jared

  80. jaume February 15th, 2013 12:51 pm

    Hi! very interesting comments!
    they´re very helpful for me!
    I have a pair of trab tr race bindings to mount and i don’t know how much space must I leave when mounting the heel piec. In old tlt speed was 4 mm, and they provide you with a gap sapcer, made in plastic, but tr race bindings have not anything, neither any instructions on this purpose….
    I remember I read about this in one of your posts but I haven+t been capable to find it…Perhaps 5.5 mm???
    thanks you very much and kind regards from Catalonia!!!

  81. Lou Dawson February 15th, 2013 1:14 pm

    Perhaps. That’s ridiculous if they really don’t provide that information. Are you sure that’s the case?

  82. jaume February 15th, 2013 1:23 pm

    yes lou,
    they say in the instructions,”the mounting of the bindings has to be performed by ana authorised retailer provided with instructions supplied by SKI TRAB”
    I would ask some ski shops in Italy….
    Thanks Lou!!

  83. jaume February 18th, 2013 11:39 am

    Hi!
    I have talked with a trab spain agent , an expirienced skiman, who has told me to put the boot at a maximus of 3 mm. Trab says that these bindings are not safety bindings, and so, what you want is not to release… this gap is only for the elasticity of the ski, and not for a safety release. ISMF rules specify a minimus of 4 mm in order to prevent injuries.
    Well, as TLT pins and trab pins are both 11mm long, in TLT with DIN 7 and a 4 mm gap they release well with my weight (57 kg) and my way of downhill skiing, I suppose Trab bindings would release in the same way with a 5.5 mm gap, as with only 4mm they appear to be a DIN 8 or more…
    As you see, there’s a different point of view…DYnafit TLT are designed to release and racing bindings to the opposite. Can we find a middle point? I think so…do you?

  84. Andy February 26th, 2013 1:42 pm

    I’ve just mounted up a pair of Ski Trab TR Race heels on a La Sportiva Adjustment plate. It worked just fine, but the screws holding the binding to the plate are a regular phillips head instead of the pozi drive.

  85. Dane March 20th, 2013 1:24 am

    A question for the Trab users? Will the adjustable Trab race heel fit the same hole pattern as the Trab Race heel piece? My local shop mounted my Trab race bindings too short and the boots won’t go in. I am hoping to change to the adjustable heel piece and avoid having to change out to another model of bindings and more holes in the ski. I appreciate the help. Thanks!

  86. Jared March 20th, 2013 7:48 am

    Dane,

    The hole patterns are not even close. This is good in that there will be room to mount the adjustable heel. Too many holes in skis? If there are an extra 4-8 I wouldn’t worry about it. Never been a problem for me. Jared

  87. Andy March 20th, 2013 11:18 am

    Dane,

    The length is obviously far different, but I believe the width is the same. You could potentially use two of the same holes if that would work for your desired range of heel adjustment.

  88. kate Brown May 10th, 2013 12:37 am

    I’ve skied 56 000 vertical metres on my dynafit low tech race bindings this season and have just replaced the metal loopy part of the heel pieces as I’d worn significant indentations into the metal. Apparently it’s a common problem (soft metal = lightweightness?) but still annoying and at a cost of 65euros not insignificant expense.

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