Brass in your Dynafits?

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

As many of you have heard by now, Dynafit has issued a writ of much importance regarding a part of the Radical series bindings. The part is the small, brass pin that keeps the heelpiece from rotating counter-clockwise when in tour mode (which is rare but can happen on occasion as Dynafit binding users can attest).

Under purportedly rare conditions during use, the pin can be subjected to excessive forces that aren’t necessarily damaging to the binding or able to cause the binding to malfunction, but which nonetheless have inspired Dynafit to announce that all Radical bindings would benefit from a retrofit to a slightly modified heelpiece pin.

Original Dynafit Radical heelpiece pin on left, replacement pin on right (which is inserted into the aluminum heel spindle with small end first. Penny for scale.

I personally switched out ten pins today in the Radical FT, ST, and Speed. Done with care, all went smoothly and the procedure took very little time per pair of bindings. Owners of Radical series bindings can go to their local Dynafit dealers and have this procedure performed, or if needed, can contact Dynafit customer service directly for a return authorization when having a dealer perform the service isn’t possible for various reasons.

Having said all this, my impression is that retrofitting the brass pins isn’t ultimately essential, but a way for Dynafit to get ahead of the curve regarding that very rare incidence of the pin being compromised in some way. Put a different way, a set of bindings with the original pins would likely work flawlessly for millions of backcountry vertical feet. The engineers are simply being proactive.

If you do choose to do the swap yourself, know that the crux is actually not the swap, but removing and replacing the rear spring barrel (AKA cap) without stripping its plastic threads. A couple of tricks for that. First, make sure the thimble bushing and associated spring are completely inserted before you try and thread the cap. To test for this, while pressing spring in by hand and rotating binding housing, you should be able to feel the spring move in and out as the housing rotates over the binding spindle lobes (binding must be rotated in the alpine mode direction, pins forward, to feel this). Second, once you do have the barrel ready to screw in, check from different angles to be sure you’re starting it straight, and be gentle as if aligned it should be easy to make the first few turns before the barrel really starts compressing the spring.

In terms of the pin, main thing is to keep your fingers over it while you pull off the housing, so it doesn’t fly away. Pull the rest of the way out with your fingers or needle nose pliers, insert new pin per Dynafit’s instructions (it goes in small end first), then hold it in with your finger or a small tool as you slip the housing down over it. Before replacing housing, look at it from the bottom and remember where the small slot for the pin is, so you can orient it correctly as you slip it down over the spindle.

Dynafit radical heel post pivot spindle.

Internal spindle with old style pin.

So if you were wondering about the little brass pins in your Dynafit Radical bindings and the recommended technical upgrade which is not a re**** — well, this should get you up to speed.

Comments

41 Responses to “Brass in your Dynafits?”

  1. Greg Louie January 5th, 2012 10:12 am

    I assume the small diameter end faces out, and shears off with excess pressure, falling harmlessly to the ski deck rather than blowing up the heelpiece?

    Are these being offered in 12-packs?

  2. slave.to.turns January 5th, 2012 10:22 am

    How is anyone saying this is “rare”? Besides myself, I know of 2 other folks here in WA who have had the binding housing break.

    Wouldn’t pin free be the way to go?

  3. Bryce January 5th, 2012 10:31 am

    Pins go in skinny side first.

    http://www.randogear.com

  4. Maki January 5th, 2012 10:58 am

    Looks like the new pin will act as a fuse to prevent blown heel pieces like that one (not mine, so I can’t give more details)
    http://www.skitour.fr/photos/dynafit-pas-speed,36307-14.html
    Which may work, but isn’t that pretty, if you happen to “fuse” it often.

    If only they could update the old Speed (just about perfect) with more adjustment range… the new lifters are nice and all, but with modern boots you can put the mid lifter at the start and almost forget about it.

  5. Bryan January 5th, 2012 11:28 am

    “Are these being offered in 12 packs?” LOLZ!!!!!!!!

  6. Greg Louie January 5th, 2012 11:35 am

    My friend who’s gone “pinless” from day # 1 on his Speed Radicals has experienced several auto-rotations into ski mode in about 4 days of use – for some reason they do seem more prone to this than Speed/Comfort/ST heels, maybe smaller flat spot on the post?

  7. Lou January 5th, 2012 2:03 pm

    Greg, the spindle completely or at least mostly lacks the flat areas of all previous models which are designed to hold the heel unit in touring positions. I truly would not recommend running without the pin, I don’t see how it could work very well and not auto-rotate. Worse, if used without the pin it’s going to seek the alpine position, resulting in the user stepping down and accidentally locking their heels. If someone doesn’t like the pin or the new heel lifters, best to just go back to using a Vertical ST or FT. Lou

  8. Caleb January 5th, 2012 3:51 pm

    I think with all the info out there and that I really dig the standard dynafit rotate to raise and lower I would love to have the radical toe and the vertical heel. I hope dynafit keeps making the vertical design for more options in the future. That being said I know guys who love their radical heels so far…..

  9. Patrick January 5th, 2012 5:28 pm

    Lou,

    “I truly would not recommend running without the pin”.

    This is the first time on wildsnow that I have read your opinion that Radicals should not be used without pins.

    I wish this point had been clearly made earlier as I just had my pins removed yesterday with an understanding that the prevailing wisdom was it’s better to take them out, until replacements are available, so they don’t do any damage to the housing.

    Thanks for addressing this area of confusion.

  10. jack January 5th, 2012 8:10 pm

    Thank you, finally some place on the internet that has useful information! I think im going to do the swap myself and have my uncle help me

  11. Lou January 6th, 2012 3:06 am

    Uncle Elmer, per chance?

  12. Lou January 6th, 2012 3:10 am

    Patrick, don’t panic. They’ll either work, or they won’t. I think it depends on the skier’s size, type of trail, even the shape of the boot sole lugs. If your pinless bindings don’t work (rotate too easily) , you can put the pins back in till you get the recommended discussed communicated and blogged technical upgrade (grin).

    Personally, I’ve used Radical bindings at least 50 days with the old pins, and never had a problem…

  13. jerimy January 6th, 2012 5:46 am

    With the new flippable heel elevators, I don’t understand why they didn’t cover the heel pins like on the Speed Superlite and all race bindings. The only time you rotate the binding is for no elevator. This would be the end-all solution as you could never go into ski mode with an auto-rotate. The worst that would happen is you go from your elevated setting to flat on the ski. (If Dynafit or other binding manufactures are listening, I may consider a career change!)

  14. Tim January 6th, 2012 4:49 pm

    I think we’re all missing the point here. How much lighter is the new pin?!

  15. Preston January 6th, 2012 10:55 pm

    This is very interesting how one small pin can affect so much. This seems like something that one who has these bindings must do for good measure.

  16. Tony S. January 12th, 2012 3:15 pm

    I did mine today, cool to see how serviceable and relatively easy to work on these things are. You can do it with one tool in a pinch, in ten, fifteen minutes no problem. You can take the thimble bushing out by sticking your middle finger in there and rotating the heel piece slightly. Just hand tightening gently on the main screw at the end will get it started, it was no big deal.

  17. Dave January 16th, 2012 11:24 pm

    I just got the new radical st. The shop had removed the large original pin to avoid any potential damage while waiting for replacement pins to arrive. I couldn’t resist skiing while waiting for the replacement pin, so went on a short tour w/o pins.
    Unfortunately, same heel auto-rotated 6 times (1/4 turn counterclockwise) from tour into ski mode. Occurred on flats and uphill, very annoying to say the least. Will put new pins in before I go out again.

    But is this indicative of a serious problem with that particular heel? Or a likely occurrence since pin was removed? If I put new replacement pins in, is there still risk of damage since this heel auto-rotates counterclockwise so easily now w/o pin?

  18. David Aldous January 16th, 2012 11:34 pm

    Dave,
    The non radical dynafit bindings had flats on the post that the heel piece rotates around that helped keep the binding in place when not in ski mode. With the radicals the only thing really keeping the binding lined up right for touring is the pin. Once you install the pins things should work fine.

  19. Lou January 17th, 2012 4:57 am

    Indeed, the Radical is not the same binding as earlier model Dynafits. Please everyone, let’s keep that in mind. Expecting to remove parts and have it perform the same is rather wishful thinking…

  20. Tony S. January 17th, 2012 12:10 pm

    Let me guess, I bet it’s always the left ski this always happens to? That is the one that is always being pushed hard to the outside when skinning. The right binding is not subject to near the amount of counter clockwise rotational forces because it’s always the “uphill” ski with those forces being applied.

    If you are skinning with the right ski downhill, the forces push the binding the opposite way of what causes the faillure. It must be happening mostly on the left side.

    Just a theoretical observation, I was wondering if this is the case in the real world.

    Not that it matters that much now with the new pins, just a curiosity.

  21. Phil M January 17th, 2012 12:36 pm

    My Speed Radicals do have a flat on the post, like earlier models. I don’t know if it is as pronounced as the earlier versions, but it holds the heel in place no problem. I’ve been pin-less for a couple tours without major issue.

    I have had two auto-rotations while touring in flat mode, and many instances of the heel risers flipping up on me. This seems to be due to the fact that I was floundering badly on a very rocky hiking trail at the time, as I’ve had no auto-rotation when actually skinning on traditional terrain.

  22. Lou January 17th, 2012 12:45 pm

    The earlier bindings have more than one flat, and the Radical has two flats on the spindle/post, one for alpine position and one for touring position — so you still get some holding power without the pin to try and prevent auto-rotation, indeed, the pin is really only there to keep it from rotating past a certain point, it can still auto-rotate up to a certain point. Like I said before, I’ve used the bindings a bunch and in my case nothing ever broke, but remembering back I did get a couple of autorotates, but less than with Vertical or Comfort.

  23. Phil M January 17th, 2012 1:22 pm

    Lou, that’s what I mean – my Speed Radicals have a smaller, secondary flat, for holding the heel in Tour mode. This is in addition to (and 90º from) the large flat spot on the rear of the post which holds the binding in downhill mode and provides the release function.

    Looking at the photo above, I cannot tell if the ST have it or not (it’s on the other side of the post). If they are missing it, this would explain why some people (those with ST/FT Radicals) are having auto-rotate issues, while some (on Speeds) are not.

    My buddy has some Radical STs. I’ll have to take a peek inside his to see if they are missing the flat spot.

  24. Philip Maynard January 17th, 2012 4:33 pm

    Obviously, there is only one extra flat, not 3 like the older bindings. But there is a feature to hold the heel in touring mode without pin, which I don’t think everyone gets.

  25. Juergen January 19th, 2012 12:06 pm

    As my vertical ST never ever showed a tendency to auto-rotate in any direction in any mode of the lifter, I wonder if Dynafits new lovely looking lifters are constructed kind of effecting asymmetrical forces finally causing the auto rotation ? Maybe I missed the respective posting, but I’m still lost when trying to understand why the Radical needs whatever pin at all when decades before this part was not needed in Dynafits models ?!

  26. Dan January 22nd, 2012 8:40 am

    Yesterday, my 6th day using new Radical bindings, the heel on the right ski rotated back to the alpine mode whilst skinning. All 6 ski days have been moderate outings (3500 to 4500 feet of vert) in decent snow. Only a minor amount of hard edging on a steepish slope while skinning up for another lap. This morning I took a closer look and found the plastic housing had cracked (significantly). I am 66 years old, weigh 140 pounds and ski…like an old man. I only do day tours. Thus, a binding problem is not a catastrophe. However, I can’t imagine anyone contemplating a multi-day tour, knowing the problem with the Radical heel design, would risk screwing up his/her trip by heading out with Radical bindings. This would be esp. true during a spring/early summer ski mountaineering trip when one is likely to be carrying a heavy pack for an overnighter, which is very common here in the Cascades and BC coast range. While I love the little flip levers for the heel posts and I am getting used to bending over to rotate the heels into the alpine mode (I rip skins with skis on), I plan to return my setup to the local shop today and have the dealer replace the radical heels with vertical heels, which never gave me a problem…except that my vision is poor and it can be a challenge at times lining up the pole tip with the volcano. When Dynafit is done having the customers beta-testing the Radicals, and when they have fixed it, if indeed they can, I might try the next version only because I really like the heel levers, which, by the way, may be the source of the problem. Using the radical heels, for me anyway, was such that I would rather not return to the “volcano” method. Sort of like skiing the TLT5, once I spent a little time in those boots, the functionality was such that It bugs me to have to mess with my “other” boots during an exchange, knowing how slick the TLT5s are in that regard. I hope Dynafit can fix the Radical…really.

  27. Mason January 22nd, 2012 10:09 am

    Dan, did you have the replacement pin? Does anyone have input on the new pins?

  28. Dan January 22nd, 2012 11:20 am

    Mason: I did not have the replacement pins. I am still waiting for them. However, the replacements are supposed to shear before cracking the housing, but the skier is still stuck with the problem of the heel unit rotating back to the alpine mode while skinning…this happened to me several times after the heel rotated the first time. Possibly, the cracked housing contributes to the ease of the rotation problem back to alpine mode from skin mode, but I do not think that is the case, based on remarks by Lou D. and others. I prefer to just go back to the Vertical heels, but if the shop has an extra Radical heel, I may try the new pins anyway…but only on a local day outing. I would not chance it on a multi-day trip (like a Selkirk Hut, or Europe, and certainly not on a winter “back-pack” outing).

  29. Patrick January 22nd, 2012 11:37 am

    Is auto-rotation occurring in the flat touring position or only when the heel lifters are employed?

    Mountain Equipment Coop staff told me yesterday they have received new pins at their distribution center and will be mailing a pair to members who purchased Radical bindings. I had my original pins removed by them on their recommendation but after reading comments here I have not yet used the new skis they are mounted on (waiting, waiting, waiting).

    If I experience new pin shearing I’ll be returning these Radical bindings.

  30. Dan January 22nd, 2012 9:38 pm

    Patrick: The initial auto-rotation occurred in the mid heel-lifter position. The subsequent auto-rotations (3 in about 30 minutes) happened with and w/o the heel lifters. The snow was deep, high water content and about as close as it can get to mashed potatoes w/o actually being mashed potatoes. I have skied a lot of similar or worse snow conditions (the kind that kids love for building forts and snowballs) using the Verticals with very little problem as long as I pay attention to limiting the snow build-up under the heels. BTW: I use ski brakes, which may contribute to the auto-rotation problem, but the brakes are worth the little bit of extra attention; ie periodically removing the snow from the heel area with the tip of my ski pole.

  31. Lou January 25th, 2012 4:14 pm

    Actually pretty common to get auto-rotates when the snow is super sticky and builds up in weird shapes that then allow your boot heel to push the binding unit and make it rotate. Solution for that is to periodically knock the buildup of snow off the lifter and boot heel with a ski pole grip.

  32. James Broder January 31st, 2012 2:39 pm

    I just installed my replacement pins. Was easy, took a few minutes per ski.

    The instructions aren’t the greatest. In step 10, they don’t tell you if the new pins are to be inserted pointy end first or flat end first. I called Dynafit / Salewa “Customer Support”, nobody answered and nobody called me back when I left a message. Was pretty angry until I noticed the caption on Lou’s photo on top of this blog post: “small end first”.

    Thanks for that, Lou.

    I found the whole process can be made a little easier if you lock the brake in the “up” position using a sturdy rubber band. That will enable you to carefully raise the outer casing to expose the old pin, which keeps the old pin and spring from squirting out across the room if the outer casing is lifted too abruptly.

    In Step 12, the instructions read “while putting in the yellow plastic spring sleeve in the CORRECT POSITION”. Unclear as to what the “correct position” is. There’s a notch in the spring sleeve, I wasn’t sure if “correct position” has anything to do with that notch’s position, or if they simply mean the sleeve should fit onto your pinkie like a sewing thimble as you push it into the heel unit.

    Due to the helpful comments of some other posters, I took extra time and extra care re-threading the dime-sized adjustment screw and tightening it down onto the spring assembly, so as not to cross-thread.

  33. stefano February 13th, 2012 7:37 am

    I post my opinion here too, but there is a Lou Topinc on that too:

    http://www.maruelli.com/RADICAL%20UPGRADE/DYANAFIT%20RADICAL%20UPGRADE.htm

    Ciao
    Stefano

  34. Juergen February 18th, 2012 1:03 pm

    Did Dynafit present any redesign of the Radical @ ISPO trade show ?
    The first brass pins were reported to brake, so something more serious – like Stefanos external stopper ? – has to appear in order to avoid (hundred)thousands of frustrated clients.

  35. john werner March 1st, 2012 6:58 pm

    installed the radicals a few days ago & have 3 bc & 1 alta day on ‘em. echo the idea of being really careful not to cross thread the plastic housing on reassembly. crossed the first one but caught it quickly- so no apparent harm. not too happy w/ the idea of cracked housing (i paid how much?). any idea if dynafit have a warranty in place should that happen….?

  36. Ewen March 5th, 2012 8:23 am

    I got the new Radical Speed from MEC in Canada. Skied a few days with the original pins before receiving the new pins from Dynafit. Went into MEC and they installed the new pins.

    Around 10 ski days later….I have a severely cracked heel piece WITH THE NEW PINS. I can’t believe this happened before the new pins were installed as surely the ski tech (and me) would have noticed.

    Has this happened to anyone else? If the new pins also crack heel pieces….what on earth is the solution?

  37. Bill March 5th, 2012 9:48 am

    I can see where the broken off piece of the new pin could lodge
    and cause the housing to break.
    Does not seem like a very sound solution to the issue.

  38. Lou March 5th, 2012 10:21 am

    If you’re going to the trouble of doing the pin swap, I’d tend to advise nearly anyone to just run pin-less and see how it goes. The worst that can happen is an auto rotation while you’re climbing. Lou

  39. Boris April 10th, 2012 11:44 am

    Just broke a Speed Radical hill with a new pin.

  40. Greg Louie April 11th, 2012 9:22 am

    “If the new pins also crack heel pieces….what on earth is the solution?”

    Beefed up plastic heel housing, no pins and a larger diameter pivot post with a bigger flat spot?

    TLT Speed/Classic?

  41. Mark W April 11th, 2012 1:21 pm

    Dynafit offers an external anti-rotation piece that is now available, though perhaps only for bindings using brakes. I don’t have a price as yet. I’m currently inquiring as to whether Dynafit has a similar item available, or in the works, for brakes-free binding models like the Speed.

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