So, I head up to WildSnow Field HQ for the night, come back, and what’s happening to the binding world, a total meltdown or something? Shew, not quite. Sounds like the new Radical bindings from Dynafit have a problem with the tiny “stop pin” that prevents the binding from rotating counter clockwise. It’s not a safety issue and makes no difference in downhill mode, but something I’d recommend all you Radicalized Wildsnowers take care of at some point. Following is the basic info from Dynafit. I’ll fire up more details after I get tomorrow’s “real” blog post done. (Please note, this is not the dread word “rec**” but is recommended if not required).
Dear Dynafit community,
We are writing to inform you about an issue related to our new Radical bindings. We have discovered a quite specific and unlikely circumstance that can lead to the heel unit being damaged. Since identifying this issue, our international team has been working hard on understanding the issue and finding a solution.
After intensive testing, we are confident this identified damage DOES NOT present a safety risk. But at the same time, we aim to take a proactive leadership approach and as a result are communicating a “required technical upgrade of the Radical series”. This includes all bindings in the RADICAL series, including RADICAL ST, RADICAL FT, and SPEED RADICAL.
Details on the issue and the solution:
Issue: The damage can happen when the heel unit is subjected to forces in a particular way. This particular arrangement of forces is pretty rare. In the ascent mode (when the heel unit is in “lock” or “tour” position) the housing may be damaged if the unit is strongly impacted in a counter-clockwise direction (back towards “ski mode”) causing the internal PIN to strongly impact against the internal housing wall. Damage can only occur in ascent mode, not in the descent (or “ski” mode).
(Editor’s note from Lou: This is simply the pin that’s supposed to allow you to only rotate the heel unit in the clockwise direction, as indicated on top of the binding in red.)
Even if the housing is damaged, the binding should still release perfectly in any mode, and there is little danger of the heel unit detaching. Therefore this does not constitute an acute danger or risk for the skier. Essentially after the damage, the binding functions similar to a TLT Vertical binding which doesn’t have a PIN in the back unit (this “lock position” was introduced to prevent the inconvenient – and fairly rare – rotation of the heel unit back into ski mode, while touring).
Solution: The good news is we can eliminate the risk of damage. This is achieved by a quick and easy exchange of the small PIN which is within the heel housing. For bindings in the market, this exchange can be completed without having to return the bindings. Please see the attached visual and written description of the solution.
Details on next steps:
Dynafit inventory – We will hold additional sales of Radical bindings until our existing inventory has received this technical upgrade. We expect this will be complete by the second week of January (week of January 9). In the meantime, we have availability in Vertical ST and Vertical FT bindings.
Dealer inventory – We are requesting dealers also hold sales of current Radical bindings until they have completed the required technical upgrade. This upgrade can be completed after we ship the replacement PINS to dealers, with a target ship date of the second week of January (week of January 9).
In the meantime, dealers have the ability to sell the Vertical series of bindings. In addition to any dealer inventory, we have Vertical FT’s and ST’s in stock, as well as Speed Superlights.
Consumers – We are also requesting consumers with Radical bindings to undertake the required technical upgrade. This can happen in one of three ways:
We can send PINS to the consumers to replace themselves.
The consumer can bring the bindings to a retailer for the upgrade.
The consumer can call us for a return authorization, and then return the binding directly to Dynafit in Boulder, Colorado for the upgrade.
In the meantime and into the future, of course, we will continue to honor any valid warranty claims for bindings that incur damage to the heel unit.
THANK YOU for your understanding and your partnership in working through this matter together. We appreciate your support, and we are at your service.
– Your team at Dynafit North America
Okay, that’s what Dynafit has to say. They’re also publishing instructions on how to swap in the new pin. Ours are probably just as good. Really quite simple. To get clear on what we’re talking about, first see our blog post showing Radical backcountry skiing binding internals. Note the problematic “pin.” Then use this post to take the heel unit apart, with addition of keeping your fingers wrapped around base of heel unit housing so the tiny pin doesn’t shoot out (it’s got a spring behind it). For the upgrade, simply remove the original pin (use needle nose pliers if necessary) and replace with the swap pin, curved/beveled end facing out. Be sure the tiny spring remains installed behind the pin.
One word to the wise: It is extremely difficult to prevent cross-threading of the spring barrel when you re-assemble the binding. Thus, unless you’re good with tools and/or have experience with this exact procedure, you’d be best to take the bindings to a dealer for the upgrade.
If needed, we’ll publish the Dynafit instructions, but I’m sure they’ll be included with the upgrade for those of you who do it yourself. Otherwise, the dealers and distributors will be ready to help.