Dynafit Radical — Epic Details


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

While in Austria and Germany this past month I had the much appreciated opportunity to meet with the Dynafit engineers and top managers, purpose being to clarify what’s going on with problems they’ve had with the recently released Radical ski binding models. Most importantly, I wanted to take a positive view wherever possible and report on how the solutions are progressing, as Dynafit does take pride in their customer service, and by most accounts it is generally top notch. Part One of my take follows. Part Two will present my opinion about efforts at TUV DIN certification of tech binding.

First, to be fair to Dynafit one must take the large view of all this. While the physical cause of the Radical binding problems are factors such as materials defects and design flubs, the ROOT cause of the problems is the noble effort by Dynafit to IMPROVE the tech binding. Yes, other tech bindings now exist on the market. Yes, some may be quite durable. But such bindings are for the most part staying with what is now the amazingly functional but ancient design (now mostly out of patent) that was invented by mechanical genius Fritz Barthel in Austria nearly 30 years ago! Time for a few improvements? I’d think so.

For example, how about an easier heel lifter and one less prone to damage to the binding or the ski pole from over-levering? Or elimination of problems with the heel unit rotating accidentally while touring? And what about boot retention (pre-release prevention) while in downhill mode. Any way to improve that? And consider how much newbies (and even veterans) fiddle when attempting to click their boots in. Couldn’t we be nicer to them? For better or worse, Dynafit Radical has features that attempt to address all that and more. Indeed, if you take the problems and solutions mentioned below into consideration, you should be very happy with a pair of Radicals on your feet. Perhaps happier than you’d be with any other tech binding.

But yes Virginia, Dynafit’s effort to improve the Tech binding has not been without problems. Following is intended to clarify the situation, and offer a bit of “blogination” style opinion from yours truly:

Anti Rotation Pin Debacle

Dynafit radical heel post pivot spindle.

The pest that caused the biggest problem for the Radical is this tiny spring-loaded pin which rests in a hole in the heel spindle post. This is the original style pin; newer styles are designed to break before the housing blows out. We recommend not using any pin whatsoever with an external anti-rotation solution. Dynafit Radical bindings sold for the 2012-13 season have the pin removed and an anti rotation stopper installed at the factory.

As we’ve detailed in several previous posts, Radical series bindings (prior to 2012/13 retail season) have a tiny internal “pin” in the heel unit that prevents it from rotation past a certain point in the counterclockwise direction. Problem was, Dynafit designed the pin into the housing without any discernible effort to reinforce the housing. Result: damage to the housing that is sometimes quite severe.

During the 2011/12 season, Dynafit’s first solution to this was twofold. First, they changed the pin to one that breaks under heavy force to ostensibly prevent binding housing damage. Alternatively, you could take the pin out and run without it, or install either a Dynafit anti-rotation fitting on the brake retractor plate (available from dealers) or an aftermarket solution from Maruelli. In my opinion these solutions are adequate, and we here at WildSnow recommend. For the 2012/13 season all Radical bindings come with the pin removed as well as the external anti-rotation factory installed.

Running original versions of the Radical binding with the thicker pin may continue to work for some skiers, especially those smaller in stature with gentle technique. Nonetheless we recommend the above changes for anyone — especially if you ski tour far from trailheads, or expeditionary style where a broken binding could be life changing.

Dynafit external anti-twist solution for Radical binding.

Dynafit external anti-twist solution for Radical binding. Click to enlarge.

Radical series binding with Antitwist aftermarket solution.

Maruelli aftermarket anti-twist solution for Dynafit Radical is also available in a version that doesn't require a brake for attachment, so it might be a good solution for the Radical Speed model.

Brake AFD Breakage.
Early AFDs on the Radical had the spring pop out, or the unit came apart entirely. Through several inline manufacturing changes Dynafit claims to have eliminated this problem. After a careful examination of the subtle changes Dynafit made to the AFD, I have no reason to doubt that. Consumer testing will of course have to prove it. This problem is a good example of doing something that was probably at least in part done for future attempts at TUV certification, yet created a binding that broke. (more in Part 2 on the TUV issue.)

Dynafit engineers in Munich were kind enough to lay a pair of AFD on me.

Dynafit engineers in Munich were kind enough to lay a pair of AFD on me. New version at bottom has a tiny rib (indicated by arrow) that helps keep the spring from popping out.

Brake AFD moving up-and-down and squeaking when touring with heel flat on ski
While this is mostly an aesthetic problem that perhaps most people don’t notice, after tens of thousands of strides something could wear out in the brake due to the movement. The situation is caused, again, by an attempt from Dynafit to improve on the design of existing Vertical model series bindings.

With the Vertical models, users would occasionally break off the tab (heel rest) on the heel unit housing your boot heel sits on when you are touring in the lowest heel position. This was caused by the tab simply not being strong enough, but also by the tab and brake parts having very little room for snow or ice when the user compressed everything together while switching to touring mode.

To allow room for ice and snow, Dynafit engineers added clearance to the brake retraction system, while also making the plastic heel rest slightly thicker. More, the new Radical brake with AFD is thicker than older models. Result is the brake sits higher when collapsed, and when you stride your boot heel hits the brake AFD just a few millimeters before your boot heel rests on the binding heel rest tab. In my view the Radical foot-flat-on-ski heel rest could have been strengthened without creating this situation, though I do agree a bit more clearance in the brake retraction system is probably a good thing. But again, did the solution create a problem? Jury is still out on this one, but pay attention to your Radical binding brakes if you do a lot of touring with heel flat on ski rather than up on any of the riser positions.

Heel Lifters Breaking Off
I’m told by Dynafit, and have this verified by independent sources, that this problem is actually a manufacturing defect (hydrogen embrittlement) that was simply one of those totally unpredictable occurrences that sometimes happen when you manufacture metal parts. (See official Dynafit take on this). I’m also told the actual number of defective heel units was very small, and that they’ve actually received many more broken Vertical model series heel units than those of the Radical.

All that is good, but the facts remain that 1.) Broken Verticals model heels are usually caused by human error: over leveraging with ski pole. 2.) Broken Radical heel is a manufacturing defect. 3.) Excuses about manufacturing defects aside, machinery we depend on for critical activities such as alpinism should, if possible, be engineered with redundancy for material defects such as hydrogen embrittlement, not to mention rigorous quality control. For example, why not make the whole Radical heel unit top plate as one monoblock machined or cast aluminum piece, such as competitors’ bindings? Instead, the actual metal part that holds the Radical heel lifter is incredibly minimal, and is asked to not only hold your weight, but your weight leveraged by how the heel lifter hangs forward from the heel unit. The forces this leverage creates are immense. Imagine your finger under the heel of a 200 lb human, stomping down from the height of say, 18 inches. Now add significant leverage to the force.

I don’t claim to be an engineer, but common sense sometimes seems to intrude. Yes, it could be said that building the Radical heel unit out of smaller and more elegant part is somehow progressive in comparison to competitors who use brute strength blocks of metal for strength. But then, sometimes the simplest solution is the best (though to be fair, those competitor bindings have been known to break as well).

How Do I know If My Radical Binding is the Latest?
The gorilla in the room with all this is how do you tell an upgraded binding from an older one, besides nearly microscopic examination or a consultation with the tech binding gurus at your local ski shop? The answer, according to Dynafit: From this date forward every binding that is purchased from your local shop or on-line has an upgraded pin, plus starting April 1st all Radical Bindings will be issued with the Dynafit designed Anti-Twist plate.

Whatever the case, mitigating factors exist. First, the rotation pin can easily be checked, removed, whatever (have a pro do this unless you know what you’re doing). Second, breakage of the heel unit lifter is/was actually quite rare, and most of the bindings out there are either upgraded or never had the problem in the first place. Third, if the AFD fails it’s not a deal breaker by any means, even if you’re on an expedition. Ditto for the brake movement.

Positive outlook is this: If you know your Radical bindings are from the latest manufacturing run, and have rotation pin removed or perhaps changed to external solution, you can confidently enjoy the binding for day trips and such without fear since no matter what happens you’ll probably get home. But due to uncertainty with exactly what bindings out in the wild have what improvements, for expeditionary use or core extreme skiing we still recommend the Vertical FT model, purchased with 110 mm brake and installed with Power Blocks (buy additional narrower brakes if needed). Once things have settled out and we see the above problems fade into the distance like Shane riding away never to return, we’ll change our recommendation. Sorry about that, but I simply can’t see any other way we can approach this stuff. (If you don’t know what I mean by Shane, do some research and enjoy video clip below.)

More Shane Videos

Your comments oh esteemed readers?

Please see Part 2, The Move to TUV

Comments

113 Responses to “Dynafit Radical — Epic Details”

  1. John March 22nd, 2012 9:52 am

    Lou,
    Is the Radical in reality any better then the FT12, particularly given the extra weight?
    The only issue I have with the FT12 is landing 15-30 foot jumps and finding myself occasionally double ejecting out the front. I think this may simply be ski flex driving the boot forward out of the toe pins. Sometimes I find myself in tele mode indicating a heel release. I can feel the difference between the 2 release modes.

    All my FT12s have the heavy toe spring and Power Plates.

  2. Lou March 22nd, 2012 10:08 am

    Hi John,
    “Better” is of course open to interpretation. The Radical Power Towers can of course prevent certain types of pre-release, but that depends on exactly how close your boot toe plastic is to the Towers, the closer the better, farther away, less effect. In terms of release the Radical heel is no different. If they’d made the plate system more rigid it could have some effect in preventing release from ski flex, but the amount of stiffness added by the plate is nearly nothing compared to that which you get from your ski anyway. An engineer told me that the percentage difference means the plate does nearly nothing, though it does have psychological benefits in that it makes the binding look much stronger. The Radical heel lifters are quite nice and much more testosterone proof (when not defective) than the older style.

    In your case, it’s important to realize that tech bindings are not for everyone and every style of skiing. Tech 2.0 is necessary in some cases, or a Marker Duke.

    Lou

  3. John March 22nd, 2012 10:16 am

    I forgot to mention, the double ejection occurs during flat landings, and the skiis remain where I landed. When I land correctly, matching terrrain angle and speed, I don’t come out the front. I do however, have some funny GoPro footage where I am Tomahawking (after landing forward) and a ski is flying ovehead:)

  4. Lou March 22nd, 2012 10:25 am

    John, could simply be the limit of vertical release elasticity in the heel. Guys landing air and landing hard get to depend on the binding, boot, and ski to absorb huge forces and act as shock absorbers. A big spring like that in the Duke heel, compared to tech binding heel, is like the difference between the shocks on our Nissan Versa and a desert race truck. Really, no comparison.

  5. John March 22nd, 2012 10:29 am

    Lou,
    Good point,
    One of these days I will give alpine style bindings a try again.

  6. Paul March 22nd, 2012 11:18 am

    Lou, I find it interesting that you dismiss the other bindings on the market as copying ancient technology. I’ve been skiing the G3 Onyx binding and have been quite happy with it. In my opinion it addresses all the things that Dynafit tried to fix with the new Radical.

    1. Easy heel lifter? Check. One that I feel the new Radical copied to some degree.
    2. Preventing heel rotation? Check. Heel doesn’t rotate at all but rather moves forward and back.
    3. Boot retention? Check. I my opinion the toe pins biased closed on the Onyx helps with retention
    4. Easy in? check. After getting used to it I find the Onyx easier than Dynafit to get into.

    I’ll admit the Onyx hasn’t been trouble free and yes there is a weight penalty but I think they’ve done more to the tech binding that the new Radical has.

  7. Sam F March 22nd, 2012 11:20 am

    Im pretty sure the kind of ejection your talking about is from the lack of elasticity in vertical release. I’ve taken my bindings to a shop I trust and made sure the boots werent out of alinement, and I constantly check my heel gap. I never have this style of ejection when I don’t take air, but anything over say 10ft and perfect landing, and it’s a real possibility. I’ll still go off drops if it’s deep snow and a no consequence landing, just remember NOT to have your toes locked as it rather akward to tomahawk with your ski whiping around by you locked toe piece

  8. Sam F March 22nd, 2012 11:30 am

    One more thing. this “limitation” on the vertical release isn’t going to be addressed without a complete overhaul of the tech style heel piece.

    Not saying it should be addressed. but taking big air into deep snow is a lot of fun. And I can’t see it being anymore dangerous than skiing the no fall zone high alpine lines that people have skied on these bindings for years.

    So yeah an improved heel piece would be pretty cool.

  9. Lou March 22nd, 2012 11:37 am

    Paul, by “interesting” I assume you strongly disagree (grin)?

  10. Lou March 22nd, 2012 11:41 am

    Sam, when I suggest “Tech 2.0″ that includes an entirely different boot heel fitting and binding heel unit. Boot fitting wider, with deeper vertical slots. Heel unit with “pins” wider spaced, some parts a bit stronger. Whole thing would probably weight a few grams more, but I believe it could be done with minimal weight penalty. Along with that, Tech 1.0 would remain available for those of use for whom it works fantastic, like myself and just about everyone I know.

  11. Lou March 22nd, 2012 11:55 am

    And, yes, to be fair G3 should get some credit for trying to improve the tired old tech binding rather than just sticking to the basic design. Whether they, or the Radical for that matter, are really much of an improvement is I think an open question. My point in post is that Dynafit deserves credit for really trying, through multiple binding models, to improve things.

    Please note that in my post I stated “But such bindings are FOR THE MOST PART staying with what is now the amazingly functional but ancient design.” I needed to keep the post specific to Dynafit, otherwise I would have had to wander all over the tech binding market looking for efforts to improve things. Not just by G3.

    Lou

  12. cdubya March 22nd, 2012 1:13 pm

    radical ft12 user here…, limited touring this season (10 or so days?)…, no problems (knock on wood-core skis)…

    forgive my noob question, but why is the anti-rotation necessary? in what situations does the heel accidentally rotate? from the sound of it…, not when skiing (i hope).

    in other words…, i was considering just removing the pin and calling it good…, why would i not do that?

    Thanks!

  13. rod March 22nd, 2012 2:14 pm

    Is is correct that problem number 3 is not solved yet?

  14. Maki March 22nd, 2012 2:49 pm

    What’s fun is that Dynafit bought the patent on the new lifters from Meruelli, in 2008 I believe. It took them 4 years to make it look good and then the final solution is… going back to the original design. :-)

    Personally I think that the tech problems are three:
    1) ramp angle. A positive delta made sense 30 years ago, when skit tour boots where much more “tour” than “ski”, and it could really improve the down without affecting walkability. Nowadays it’a drag, as every model has a different delta and boot manufacturers need to chose a target binding and then users need to find DIY solutions to adjust lean angle.
    2) Moving from ski to walk mode without releasing and without forcing things with pole tricks. Last time I had to stairstep I wished being still on Diamirs! (yes, of course, you can build some bungee solution, but…)
    3) The bump. No need to explain why.

  15. ptor March 22nd, 2012 3:01 pm

    I don’t understand the movement towards complicating the original and that’s why I think Plum have nailed it. Otherwise MFD is the solution on the other end of the spectrum if you want to yump.

  16. Lou March 22nd, 2012 4:07 pm

    Rod, as far as I know the brake pad still gets hit first by your foot when in flat-on-ski mode. Every Radical binding I’ve looked at did that. For some folks it’s a non-issue. Others, how really tour a lot in that mode, would perhaps eventually do something to the brake. It also sometimes squeaks.

  17. Sam F March 22nd, 2012 4:20 pm

    I guess I should clarify I have no problem with original system, and frankly I’ve had less trouble with my 4yr old Verticals than my regular alpine binders. Probably, because I learned there limitations and for the most part I respect those limits and have a hoot skiin on them.
    . In fact I’m so satisfied with what I have that I could never justify spending so much extra money on “Basicly” the same binding with the number 12 on them.

    Something like a “Tech 2.0″ sounds awsome. It would be interesting to see if you could get a boot manufacture to make that leap of faith.

  18. John Mattson March 22nd, 2012 5:22 pm

    If it ain’t broke, Don’t fix it. I have an approximately 15 year old pair that I got at a garage sale for $5 including skis, and they work great

  19. Scott Davenport March 22nd, 2012 6:02 pm

    It is tough to put out $500 for a new binding that has multiple problems. It sounds like a new improved binding for next year?

  20. Kevin March 22nd, 2012 6:33 pm

    I still miss being able to transition to ski mode using my ski pole. The yoga move to roate the heelpiece by hand is kind of a pain. I do like the ease of the flipping the new heel lifters. The one way rotation is really just a pain in the neck. I currently run without the pins, so I only need a quarter turn to switch modes. I think the pin and the redesigned spindle were a poor solution to a problem that I never had. The toe piece looks awesome, now they need to rework the heel.

  21. ellen March 22nd, 2012 7:02 pm

    I agree with Kevin. Sticking with my Verticals. It isn’t that often that the verticals switch from walk to ski mode – it just isn’t that big a deal. Maybe twice a season? My question is: Are they going to continue making the Verticals?

    I didn’t like the lower rise of the Radical heel lifters either – the first lift is piddly, and the second lift is okay but when you need a high lift on steep, firm snow, you need it as high as the Vertical’a highest lift.

  22. John Gloor March 22nd, 2012 7:29 pm

    Lou, I am a little puzzled as to how the Dynafit brand anti rotation piece works. Do you remove the anti-rotation pin and then rotate the heel counter clockwise to set the binding for skin mode? On my previous vertical bindings, I had never noticed any rotation problem. Does it rotate all the way to ski mode?

    Did Dynafit look into a round headed pin? This might add some anti-rotation force, but if rotational forces got too large, the pin could be pushed back into the post, instead of shearing off or cracking the heel piece.

    I wish I had not sold my vertical FT12s, but I like the new toe piece of the Radical series.

  23. Lou March 22nd, 2012 8:34 pm

    John, I’m sure Dynafit explored all options with this. As for how to use the anti-rotation thingus, best to take out the pin. The thingus simply prevents rotation of the binding heel unit same as the Maruelli aftermarket one does, see video in that post. One advantage of Maruelli’s options is he makes one that works without a brake to mount it on. Lou

  24. stewspooner March 22nd, 2012 8:37 pm

    I now have over 100 days of hard skiing (touring, resort, and cat-skiing) on my Speed Radicals. I swapped out the anti-rotation pin (though I still can’t conceptualize how the original spec could have been a problem), but otherwise they’ve worked flawlessly – simple and lightweight, not one inadvertent release, and I find the heel risers easier to engage and adjust than on my old Vertical STs.

  25. Lou March 22nd, 2012 8:40 pm

    Good testimony Stew, thanks.

  26. XXX_er March 22nd, 2012 9:36 pm

    “It is tough to put out $500 for a new binding that has multiple problems. It sounds like a new improved binding for next year?”

    I have heard the rumor from a source who said “you didn’t hear it from me but next year Dynafit will have a binding with DIN certification “

  27. Tetonrick March 22nd, 2012 10:02 pm

    I have about 20 tours on radical st’s without the pins, rotation is easy with brakes ( easier than verticals and poles in my opinion) the risers have not broken under my 200 lbs, not sure if I have the old or new, but the pin thing was addressed when I bought the in jan. there is no doubt the lifts are way easier to use than verticals! I like the tow engagement alot more and the towers guide the toe in easily so I don’t have to carry a leather man to clear ice out and I find I can put them on in less than ideal angles such as side hills with frozen snow, practically a step in. My verticals were tedious. (This could be due to newer boost with tighter control for tow builds?). I feel the base is better for a wider ski too. I have not pre released skiing with a little air time, in bounds agro test sessions, or skiing fast backcountry pow. I have pre released skiing aggressively from verticals. Laslty, when I have broken Fritchi or Silveredo binding it resulted in cold dark tours out. If a riser breaks I think it would cause less trouble on a day tour.

  28. James Broder March 22nd, 2012 11:21 pm

    Lou,

    Did Dynafit say anything about an external anti-twist retrofit offer for 2012 Radicals? I have two pairs and am feeling somewhat gypped. If Dynafit doesn’t offer a free retrofit with their external anti-twist then I’ll buy a couple of Stefano’s on my next trip to Kitz.

    Or maybe I’ll do it the WildSnow Way: try the Dynafit solution on one pair, the Stefano solution on the other pair, and write a review comparing the two :=)

  29. travis March 22nd, 2012 11:37 pm

    So far I’ve been really happy with my Radicals – heel lifter adjustment is awesome compared to the old rotation style.

    I suffered a bunch from auto-rotate on older style Dynafits, and this was the big reason I upgraded. So removing the pin isn’t really an option for me, until I have Stefano’s anti-rotate (and that only works with brakes, which I rarely use).

  30. Tony March 23rd, 2012 6:30 am

    Lou,

    I have been touring and skiing with the Radical ST binding on my K2 Waybacks this entire season. 80% East Coast Vermont and 20% out West. Touring is primarily side country along with in bounds glades and non groomed terrain. Occasional groomer to get around.

    Lots of variable conditions, powder, ice, crud, hard pack , etc. This season ,East and West was really all over the map from a conditions perspective. Anyway, no pre- release or malfunction of any type. This is my first experience with Dynafit and it has been great. The Waybacks are awesome as well.

    Question Also – looking for another alternative setup . Would like to add another AT ski to my quiver with a bit more side cut as compared to the Waybacks . Looking to take advantage of some end of season pricing. Have my eye on BD Stigma. In that I really like the Radical, are there any mounting limitations / issues of mountain surface compatibility with the Stigma / Radical combo? Tony

  31. Lou March 23rd, 2012 6:54 am

    Xer, it’s known that Dynafit is working on getting a binding to the point where TUV will certify to the DIN touring binding standard. That’s one reason we’re seeing things like the “bump” on the heel unit and sliding AFDs. There is somewhat of a race in the tech binding world for this, one reason being that the first company to have a TUV/DIN certified binding will clean up with sales to retailers, who have never been comfortable selling ski bindings without certifications.

    The problem is that getting a tech binding through TUV doesn’t necessarily make it any better for the consumer, it just makes the TUV testing engineers happy with it and the retailers happy with it.

    I have an essay I wrote on that, may publish today if I can finish up the editing.

    Lou

  32. Lou March 23rd, 2012 6:57 am

    Broder, in the blog post above you’ll see the Dynafit external anti-twist. Lou

  33. XXX_er March 23rd, 2012 8:11 am

    Well I wanted to see if anyone else had heard that rumor as opposed to just starting a wild rumor but it might put my ” tri-step of the 201x ” comment in context … a binding with multiple problems that is replaced after only one season ??

    In any case I think it is better to drag all this out in the open than to leave a bad taste in the mouth of the loyal dynafit customer

  34. Lou March 23rd, 2012 9:30 am

    xer, see today’s blog post, it’s well known now that Salewa is probably working on making something that can be TUV certified. The timing is unknown so let’s not start rumors about which season such a binding would be released. Also, we don’t know if it would just involve a few changes to existing Radical models, or would be a whole new deal. Lou

  35. XXX_er March 23rd, 2012 9:51 am

    I heard that wild rumor about a month ago from a reliable enough source, whether or not its true is anyone’s guess but even if others haven’t heard the same story its not a stretch to put 2 & 2 together and come up with the idea on yer own …like Scott did

    In any case thanx for all the good info as always !

  36. Lou March 23rd, 2012 9:53 am

    xer, SEE TODAY on Wildsnow.com

  37. XXX_er March 23rd, 2012 10:04 am

    yup seen it , reading it now, thanx

  38. Rob Mullins March 23rd, 2012 10:15 am

    Waiting in anticipation of the next iteration Radical with the heel sorted…and for the TLT5 boot version without the metatarsal flex…

  39. Will March 23rd, 2012 11:00 am

    Lou – Thanks for all of this info. How does one go about getting this Dynafit version of the external anti-twist solution? I don’t see anything about it on their website. Is it something they will send the end users for free as they did with the replacement pins? Or something that would need to be purchased?

  40. Lou March 23rd, 2012 11:04 am

    Rob, the ONE model to be sold next winter is pretty much a TLT 5 without the flex. Unfortunately they went back to a DIN sole instead of the cool shortened TLT5 sole that makes it lighter and more ergonomic. My suggestion is to stay with TLT 5 and rivet out the flex if you don’t like it. That’s what I do. I’ve been testing the ONE and it is indeed a fine boot, but once you’ve had the comfort of the TLT5 it is hard to switch back to the longer more clunky sole configuration of the DIN standard.

    And yes, another example of a case where “standards” don’t help, only hinder.

  41. Jordan March 23rd, 2012 4:04 pm

    I have my Radicals in the shop now for a couple warranty issues. Im a big dude, and lately have been setting steep skin tracks. I took out the original pins and have had many auto rotation problems. A real pain in the ass if you accidentally snap it into ski mode on a steep section.

    And then I was out yesterday and looked down and realized the top plate was cracked and lifting off. Made for a tiring rest of the day on the up hill not being able to use the lifters. Im hoping their new one is better.
    J

  42. Ryan March 24th, 2012 7:39 pm

    Lou enough with the glass half full on the dynafit radical. If it was any other product you would be taking a much more critical view.

    Cmon, we are talking about a 600$ binding. Any company that is willing to charge that much for a binding better be putting a perfect product on the market. This one is riddled with problems, dynafit should be absolutely embarrassed. It amazes me how the “cult of dynafit” fanboys somehow write this off as no big deal. For most skiers, this binding represents a huge investment into a dream setup that turned out to be not so dreamy. This is no small deal.

    Every backcountry retailer I know has dealt with a ton of problems from the pin to the lifters breaking. They also scoff at the poor customer support dynafit responds with. Dynafit should recall this product completely and go back to the drawing board. Yet they are happy to patchwork these problems that don’t belong on a top dollar product.

  43. shoveler March 25th, 2012 2:37 pm

    Ryan, it’s amazing that Lou was able to do the dance between pissing off Dynafit to the point where they don’t give him all the cool insider info we crave, and giving us the info. His posts communicate what we need to know and if they read like a “fanboy” wrote them, I suggest you go over to a Lady Gaga site or something to see how real “fanboy” stuff is written. Calling Wildsnow content “fanboy” is ridiculous. Sure, Lou tries to give Dynafit their due. If you knew the guys at that company you’d know the sleepless nights and the core values most of them hold when it comes to backcountry skiing. They don’t deserve to be reamed out, just presenting the facts is enough of a wakeup to everyone involved. Lou’s post presents the facts.

  44. Lou March 25th, 2012 3:03 pm

    Shoveler and all, I don’t mind being taken to task, keeps me honest. I view all feedback as a gift, and act on nearly all of it one way or another.

    But yeah, I make HUGE effort to do balanced reporting on Dynafit. Sure, I like their stuff. I’m also sensitive to both sides. They are not a big evil corporation that must be taken down by journalists and bloggers on a mission. They’re actually a bunch of pretty cool people trying their best to do a good job. They get pulled in a lot of different directions, and yeah, in the case of re-inventing the tech binding they don’t have the advantage of one creative mechanical genius working next to some of the best ski touring on the planet (which was how the tech binding was birthed), but despite the crippling nature of their situation in Munich (grin, just kidding), Dynafit comes up with some danged nice stuff. The Radical problems are nearly all corrected at this point, that’s the point, really….

    On the other hand, I’m watching like a hawk for the coolness of the tech binding to be ruined, especially by the bureaucratic engineers at TUV dictating the design of the binding — instead of our needs as ski alpinists dictating the design. If that happens, I’m sure we will all show far less mercy. Hence my Part 2 post about TUV… and so forth.

    Thing is, if they come up with a lamer TUV certified binding, I’m not so sure the accepetance of such by retailers will compensate for the excoriation such a binding receives on the net, and by people shopping elsewhere. If that happens, it’ll be interesting to watch… I do think of Marker, back when they had alpine bindings that didn’t work that well (or so I’m told by various core skiers), they still sold plenty of them… and yeah, they were TUV/DIN/ISO certified. Certified, schmertified… or something like that?

    My recommendation to Dynafit, or Plum, or anyone trying to make good ski touring bindings at this point: Create an advisory committee of top ski alpinists. Have them dictate design of the binding, and wow what a concept, beta test the heck out of it. Don’t bother with DIN and TUV. If you need PR and marketing, use your advisory committee to compensate for not giving the retailers the TUV certified binder…

    Lou

  45. XXX_er March 25th, 2012 6:50 pm

    “Cmon, we are talking about a 600$ binding. Any company that is willing to charge that much for a binding better be putting a perfect product on the market. This one is riddled with problems, dynafit should be absolutely embarrassed. It amazes me how the “cult of dynafit” fanboys somehow write this off as no big deal ”

    IMe the folks who bought a ski/bike/kayak product that had/has problems always seem to think the mfger did it on purpose SO with the help of that wonderful invention called the WWW they form a user group, organize, figure out what is wrong, know all about the problem and are making noose before the mfger has any idea there is a problem …seen it lots

    I doubt Dynafit or any of them mfgers who made a product with problems did it on purpose to screw up the pure and perfect lifestyle of the average outdoor junkie so at this point its how how Dynafit handles their problems that is more important than the fact they made a mistake because everyone makes mistakes

  46. Ryan March 25th, 2012 8:25 pm

    Maybe my post came across to harsh, I am certainly not trying to be rude to Lou. But frankly, the issue here really trumps how cool and well intentioned the folks at dynafit are.
    Mistakes are made, but we have to remember, this isn’t the average toy, this is a product that, if it fails, can potentially lead people hurt or stranded in the wilderness. IMO Dynafit’s response to the failings are lacking. The produc should have been recalled straight up. Additionally, the problem with these mistakes is that they would have been caught if appropriate field testing was performed. I have to think that the pin problem is prevalent enough that proper field testing should have uncovered it.
    Companies that make safety products like this need to take their field testing more seriously and put aside the pressure of going to market with a new flashy toy.
    Everytime I still see this binding listed at $599 in my local shop it just seems irresponsible of the company. They should slap a warning sticker on it like it is a pack of cigarettes. Dynafit is putting their retailers in just as bad a position as their customers.

  47. Barrows March 26th, 2012 4:48 pm

    It appears to me that posters who claim a failure of the nature which Lou describes here could leave one “stranded in the wilderness” do not really understand much at all? After all, the toe piece still works, seems to me any skier experienced enough to be that “isolated” is going to have the skills to not be stranded as long as they have a working a toe piece.
    All gear has problems, yes it is serious when it is a critical piece of gear like a binding, or crampon fails. But newly developed products usually have some issues at first, as the small companies which make them do not have enough profit margin to beta test for a couple of seasons with a few hundred skiers. The first season of a new design is going to reveal some problems, no new product is going to be perfect.
    My advice, for those going on extended expeditions for instance, is to not rely on brand new, untested designs. After something has been around a season or two, and the bugs have been worked out and the intracacies of use learned, then make the critical decisions on pieces of hardware which “cannot fail”, and have back ups as well for what you can.

  48. Lou March 26th, 2012 5:22 pm

    Exactly. Early adoption of technical products made by smaller companies can be unwise. If the product promises to have amazing improvements, that’s one thing, but when it’s just an upgrade to an existing product, I’d suggest waiting if your use is critical. Remember the iPhone antenna.

  49. JCoates March 27th, 2012 4:54 am

    Wait a second; I think Ryan has a really valid point…

    IMO, Dynafit has been around long enough and has a big enough engineering staff that its reasonable to assume that they can afford to do thorough testing before releasing a new product. Especially in this case (as Ryan pointed out), when it is $200-$250 more than the earlier generation binding. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it…but certainly don’t release an inferior product and then charge more money to cover the costs of the changes. I think this is the point Ryan is making, and believe that is the point Lou is making regarding the TUV certification as well.

    Dynafit is still leading the way with development into better backcountry equipment (the TLT 5 boot has my vote for best outdoor product of the last 5 years), but there is something wrong when one of the US’s biggest proponents of the tech system (Lou) is recommending that you stick with the old vertical ST bindings before investing in a new—supposedly beefier—product.

    Maybe the problem is that Dynafit has too many super-stud testers like Herr Bohm, and they are in need of some fat, overweight American testers who like wide skis and can really stress a binding??? I fit that description well and will certainly volunteer for that job (I’m 110kg and work for free gear!!!).

    :)

  50. Lou March 27th, 2012 6:09 am

    J, good comment. I’d add that it’s a royal pain as a blogger semi-journalist to have to deal with this stuff, instead of being able to just sing praises and mention a few minor cons to an otherwise totally improved product. For example, skis have been a heck of a lot more fun to test and review than some of the recent tech bindings which simply rehash the old, or try but in many cases fail to improve on the old. What’s annoying is when products like this have all these issues, that’s where the blogging has to go, instead of us just amping up some cool ski reviews.

    I’d offer that the main reasons these products are offered before adequate testing are 1.) Development costs need to be recouped quickly. 2.) The competition is fierce when any shmo can basically make the same product.

    It’s not only Dynafit that’s had problems from what seems to be to quick a product release, or else some sort of disconnect in how their beta testing is executed, or how their actual production quality relates to beta test unit quality.

    The fact remains that the cost of a defect in a retail product is Ganormous in comparison to fixing a design or materials flaw at the alpha stage of product development. It’s thus surprising to me that we see things like the Dynafit rotation pin problem, or Onyx having trouble with their toe pins breaking. Or Plum’s heel pins breaking. And so on on and on and on.

    When I talk to the guys at the companies, they always have wonderful and sincere excuses on how and why this stuff happens. But all I can think of is my Silverado truck , which was bought off the lot and is virtually defect free several years later. It concerns me that something as simple in comparison as a ski binding could be so difficult to bring to retail without major flaws.

    Yeah yeah yeah, GM has a lot more money than a binding company. But still.

    Again, perhaps the tech system is being pushed too hard and we need tech 2.0. Perhaps one of the companies that makes both boots and bindings (is there really still only one!?) needs to take the leap and develop tech 2.0 from the ground up. Yeah yeah yeah, doing so will cost money. But so does bailing out Greece.

    There might be a flaw in the business model of all these tech binding companies as well. They’re basically competing in making a public domain product, then tweaking a few parts and pieces so they can have some patents. But overall the intellectual property is there for the taking. That’s not exactly an easy environment for improving a product.

    I just finishing reading Issacson’s Steve Jobs biography. One thing that struck me was what a mad dog Jobs was for filing patents and protecting his and Apple’s intellectual property. Whatever their challenges actually were, in most cases Apple didn’t have to compete with other companies in making virtually the same product.

    Whoever has the sack to actually develop Tech 2.0 will have the Apple advantage (provided their effort at Tech 2.0 actually works, of course).

    Sigh. We have been plugging away at the ski reviews so we’ll have something up here sooner rather than later. That’s been a lot more fun.

  51. shoveler March 27th, 2012 6:22 am

    Ryan, in my opinion you are right on. Your earlier post was a somewhat on the name calling side, so I was pointing that out. Good conversation overall.

  52. Lou March 27th, 2012 6:46 am

    Ryan’s fanboy comment was a bit harsh, but I’d agree his points are excellent and even the “fanboy” reference has a purpose. I know I appear sometimes to give to much attention to Dynafit. I struggle with that. Doing this blog dance is an imperfect art.

    Beyond all that, if I’m going to sit here and write endless copy about all the trouble a company is having with their product quality, I think it’s fair that I at least share what I know about their character. Yes, the people at Dynafit are well meaning, and many are core participants in ski mountaineering. That doesn’t excuse them and mentioning that fact doesn’t make me a fanboy (grin), but it most certainly is important info to know. Several reasons:

    1. If we know good people are behind a product, we can use that thought to temper our writing so we stay constructive rather than just doing a mass hate fest. In other words, we keep the humanity in there.

    2. We can be clear that problems will be fixed as quickly and effectively as possible. Not instantly. Not perfectly. But as well as is humanly possible.

    3. We can continue to have positive expectations that they’ll come up with good stuff. For example, the flip-up lifters on the Radical models really are a fine improvement overall. Curmudgeons like me don’t need them. But every day I watch people rotating their Dynafit heels and doing it all wrong. I’ll be glad to see that issue fade.

    4. If I didn’t mention that good people were behind a company, it could be inferred that just the opposite was the case, and thus a false impression would take root. Dynafit is not Enron. That’s my point.

  53. XXX_er March 27th, 2012 9:51 am

    “”Maybe the problem is that Dynafit has too many super-stud testers like Herr Bohm, and they are in need of some fat, overweight American testers who like wide skis and can really stress a binding??? “”

    It doesn’t matter how much you test a product something always gets missed, which is why I never buy bleeding edge products unless I can accept there might be problems, SO along with cheaper price I decided to go with verts

    I would agree good testers are more likely to use the product correctly what they need is some one who does it wrong and hopefully breaks the pre-production model

    In another life dealing with broken IT gear when you called the engineers they would often use words like “your doing what to it? we didn’t design it to do that ! Impossible! the product can’t fail like that ” but of course it did

    Hopefully this situation with Dynafit will be dealt with in a controlled manner instead of a poo fest

  54. win March 27th, 2012 1:43 pm

    Just have to say, with a smaller foot (mondo 23), the delta on the radicals is fine: there might even be times I use the highest lift (unlike with my old comforts). It could be flatter and I’d be happy. I hope future offerings do not increase the delta because it was challenging to find someone to shim the toepiece of my comforts.

    I never had auto-rotation issues with my comforts and have been skiing without the pin on the radicals.

  55. Lou March 27th, 2012 3:01 pm

    All, please know that B&D ski gear (see banner in left sidebar) has shims that go under Dynafit binding toe to reduce ramp angle. Super useful.

  56. Elliott March 27th, 2012 6:10 pm

    I have a Plum Guide heel and and Dynafit Speed Radical toe. I want to place a shim under the toe peice to reduce the ramp angle to zero. Any idea on the thickness the shim would need to be to create a zero ramp angle?

  57. Chris March 31st, 2012 9:01 pm

    Elliott, with Fritschi Freeride Pro’s I use a 6mm shim and with Dynafit Radicals I use a 9mm shim to get the bindings “flat”. I just trace out the toepiece on a piece of plastic and take it down to a supplier where they router a shim out of lexan. Works great, bindings now ski much better (for me). I could only find panhead screws (instead of flathead) in the right length but they have so far worked fine in the Radical toepiece (28mm length if I recall).

  58. Maki April 1st, 2012 1:15 pm

    Chris aren’t Fritschis supposed to be flat? Or did something change with the Pro?

  59. Chris April 1st, 2012 4:22 pm

    Maki, the Fritschi’s still have a forward ramp delta to them, but considerably less than other bindings. Both my Fritschi Freeride Pro’s and Freeride Plus both have a 6mm toe shim. It is interesting that it took a 6mm toe shim for them to match my alpine bindings (Tyrolia Mojo 15). The Dynafit Radical needs at least a 3mm to 4mm toe shim to match the Fritschi’s forward ramp for my boot sole length of 310mm. Dynafit’s finally ski great for me now!

  60. Nick April 9th, 2012 11:31 am

    Saturday had one of the new pins break on the first day of a two day tour. Not sure how, just noticed the heel had rotated back to ski position. Was a little annoying as after that had about half a dozen autorotations back from tour to ski (this seemed to happen less if I rotated the heel about 200 degrees clockwise so the lifter was next to the heel of the boot and stopped it rotating further that way).

    Had a spare pin, so replaced it today. A bit fiddly as the broken off top of the old pin was was jammed in the hole and took a bit of fiddling to get free – probably not a field repair.

    Will look into getting the external Dynafit anti-rotation modification.

    Also noticed that the vertical DIN adjustment on my other binding had backed itself most of the way out – surprisingly didn’t get a release despite a bumpy ski out on an icy trail! Will keep an eye out to see if that happens again. Don’t see that as a ‘Radical’ problem as that bit of the design hasn’t changed. Perhaps got a bit too much grease on the threads when replacing the original plain pins?

  61. Josh Maggard April 9th, 2012 1:52 pm

    Hey guys! My reason for writing is to add info to this comment list, and to get some feedback. I’ve got about 30 days (mixed backcountry and hard charging resort days) on a pair of 110 Radical FTs. They are on a set of 104 under foot 4FRNTs. I LOVE the setup! I have been using them with my trusty 2010-2011 Dynafit ZZeus boots. The other day I was at a nice Mach speed when my uphill heel released. No biggie, pull the snow outa my ears and nose, check to make sure no ice or debris is causing poor boot/binding connection… And proceed to rip. I released two more painful times on the descent. Same heel, while it was uphill. Long story short, I took the bindings to my certified Tech, he adjusted them and proceeded to test the release tolerances. The aforementioned binding performed correctly. My OTHER bindings heel piece separated when tested for forward release. The heel piece is under warranty, and will be replaced by the excellent Dynafit customer service. I’m just wondering if anyone has heard of anything like this from these new FTs? I have pictures I can send too (when not writing from my mobile). Thanks.

  62. win April 23rd, 2012 2:35 pm

    Thanks for that Lou. I was not aware that B&D had shims for the toe. The biggest problem I had were so-called ski shops being nervous nellies and not wanting to do the work. One place said it would cost $300 plus because he’d have to trim the screws and how it was a lot of work. Heh.

    I’ve ended up putting the fuse pins in. Started having rotation issues.

  63. Wes Morrison April 24th, 2012 12:40 pm

    I just had a friend make me a mini-KitKat thick toe shim for my new Speed Radicals. They are a bit thicker than the B&D at 8+mm. We were screwing around trying to figure out how much to lift the toe, and when I stuck the candy bar under the toe it looked great. Now I just need a real rando boot that has the 4 degree ramp of my Lange RS120 and I will be a very happy camper. I already have the sidecountry oriented XT100, but it’s not tech, and not light.

  64. Lou April 25th, 2012 5:49 am

    Wes, that sounds great. I’ll be interested in hearing how the turns feel with that sort of ramp angle. Good to remind everyone that changing binding ramp is not the same as changing cuff lean angle, but can have somewhat similar results. Thing to remember is that if you have lots of forward cuff lean in the boot, your ankle is always flexed forward no matter what ramp angle (toe below heel) you have. The ergonomics of all that are complex, but can be figured out by experimentation. Personally, I like a combination of less ramp angle (Dynafit TLT Speed vs Vertical/Radical) and a bit less cuff lean. My fused left ankle works _much_ better with less cuff lean, as it has a small amount of movement and I don’t like to use up all that movement just to achieve neutral position.

  65. Wes Morrison April 25th, 2012 8:18 pm

    The reduced ramp angle is pretty sweet. I want my AT set up to stand exactly the same as my alpine rigs, and I am getting pretty close. The big problem is that every AT boot out there seems to drop the forefoot about a mile. I have lifted under the foot bed as much as I can in my Radiums, but I would like to flatten it more. Unfortunately, the lack of zeppas makes this problematic. I have tried on plenty of AT boots, and it seems like they have a ways to go to catch up with alpine stances. The Lange XT is the best I have tried, but like I said it’s not really a tour boot. The Tecnica Bushwackers are not bad, but are also not really a tour boot. Now that alpine boot makers are into the sidecountry game, I think we will see some real improvements here. After all, every boot fitter knows how easy it is to add ramp/forward lean, and how hard it can be to get rid of it.

  66. Scott Pleva April 26th, 2012 3:53 am

    Hi Guys, new to this site and hoping for some info. I am looking to buy Radicals but I am very sensitive to delta angle and prefer zero on my alpine skis/bindings. i have dynafit titans mondo 29 and wanted to see if anyone knows if the toe shimming to get zero delta differs between boot types or would the 9mm shim as CHRIS mentions be correct. (9mm sounds like a lot)!!

  67. Lou April 26th, 2012 4:10 am

    Scott, the exact shim height needed for exactly zed delta would vary a bit with your boot model, but not a whole lot, and very little within the Dynafit brand models. If I were you, I’d just get the bindings and experiment. Since most AT boots don’t have a zeppa, it’s somewhat difficult to ascertain what delta you exactly have, so one has to do the final adjustment by feel and sight. Contact B&D (see advert to left) and see what his latest offering for binding shims is. He might have what you need and save you fabrication time.

    I’m going to experiment with zed ramp angle myself, but not sure when I’ll get to it. Might not be till next fall.

  68. Scott Pleva April 26th, 2012 4:22 am

    Thanks for such a swift reply Lou, just stumbled across your site and its wealth of information, fantastic!!… WIll have a play around with ramp but as I spend a lot of time in alpine race boots I really notice a huge difference and struggled with knee quad pain with my Titans last trip as like most old guys I have smashed up knees and hoping to get the shimming as close to right as i can in the first instance.

  69. Lou April 26th, 2012 4:47 am

    Scott and all, this is an INCREDIBLY important issue for a large number of skiers, both young and old. If you’re young and have ANY knee pain, it is imperative to tune your technique and gear to reduce the pain as much as possible, otherwise you risk permanent damage to your knees. If you’re older and already have damaged knees, it’s possible through ergonomic tuning to have many years of excellent and nearly pain-free backcountry skiing — but the gear has to be tunable. Kudos to Dynafit for trying to get this right. Like I said in the post above, they actually should have provided a wider adjustment range, but anything helps. And the ramp angle thing is big as well, thanks to B&D and you do-it-yourselfers out there, that’s being addressed as well.

  70. Geoff April 26th, 2012 10:20 am

    One issue regarding ramp angle that I’ve never seen discussed is its effect on making turns on very steep slopes. One of the problems in making smooth steep turns is getting the ski tails to clear the snow but without making a huge vertical jump. This can be done by pushing your upper body forward (down the slope) and/or retracting your heels toward your butt. It seems to me that a ramp angle that is different from zero makes this more difficult. For example, if you have a 5 degree ramp angle on a 45 degree slope, then you have to go forward as much as for a 0 degree ramp angle on a 50 degree slope in order to clear the ski tails (all other things being equal). That seems like quite a difference. Lou, do you have any thoughts on this?

  71. Lou April 26th, 2012 11:15 am

    Geoff, when I used to ski lots of steep stuff I did play around with all that. For the last few years I’ve been more inclined to tune my boots for moderate terrain. I do remember that when steep skiing in controlled fashion (as when truly extreme skiing) I liked having some angle in the boots, otherwise I felt like I was too much in the backseat when completing turns. But everything changes, and each person has their preference. Lou

  72. James Broder June 11th, 2012 8:53 pm

    I called Salewa last week for an update on the latest developments. I was told they have released a retrofit “fix kit” for this pin-shearing problem. They sent me two kits (I own 2 prs Radical FT12) at no charge. The kits look exactly like Lou’s photo above (“Dynafit external anti-twist solution”) except the material is nylon, not metal. The locks installed easily in about 2-3 minutes per ski, and seem to work just fine.

    No word in the instructions as to whether the notorious pins should be removed when the lock kit is installed. Unless instructed otherwise, I’m going to leave my pins in, because the lock kits feel pretty dinky. Only a season of touring will reveal whether the locks themselves will last.

  73. Rob S October 29th, 2012 2:17 pm

    James – I just spoke to Dynafit as well, and arranged to get a set of the anti-rotation devices for the brakes. (Big kudos for their customer service.) I asked about the pins, and was told to go ahead a remove them. I will, of course, defer to the High Priest of All Things Dynafit on that issue….Lou?

  74. Lou Dawson October 29th, 2012 3:05 pm

    Someone said the pins are lame. I never said that. But I do remove them (grin). Lou

  75. Dan October 30th, 2012 11:05 am

    Lou, Assuming the anti-rotation devices are installed, the “shear” pin won’t ever get “sheared”…why bother to remove the pins unless one is in there performing maintenance? They must weigh about a pico-gram. Precautionary measure? Or, you just can’t help yourself?

    As usual, great site, thanks in advance.

  76. Rob S October 30th, 2012 11:20 am

    Well, in Lou’s defense, those pico-grams add up. :-)

  77. Lou Dawson October 30th, 2012 11:53 am

    Rob is correct (grin), but also, the housing around the pins is weak. I don’t like the thought of that pin even being in there. But whatever. The new ones are shipped without the pins anyhow…. Lou

  78. Wes Morrison October 30th, 2012 12:48 pm

    Lou,

    I have Speed Radicals, and the shop swapped the original pins out for a replacement pair before I bought them. Should I take the new pins out?

    I had Dynafit send me the anti-rotation kit, but then realized it only works on bindings with brakes, and of course the Speed has none. Is there an after market anti rotation device for the Speed?

    Thank you!

  79. Dan October 30th, 2012 2:42 pm

    Do the “Radicals” w/o brakes have the anti-rotation problem also? Ancient history, but I sort of recall having minimal rotation problems with the Comforts w/o brakes.

    RE: pin weight: Yup, a pico-gram here, a pico-gram there and pretty soon you are talking about micro-grams. (grin).

  80. Jasper November 3rd, 2012 7:08 pm

    Hey,

    Just picked up a pair of carbon megawatts to replace my previous megawatts (mounted with vertical FT bindings). Im not sure what I will mount the new boards with. I want as light weight as possible, DIN to 12 (though I usually ski them at 10 or so), and as low and flat to the ski as possible, I also like the idea of the power towers. I am wondering what your opinion on power towers is, as well as if a pair of radical FT can be stripped from its silly plate and mounted direct to the ski. I suppose I am up in the air and considering plum guides, with now power tower, or modifying some radical FT’s. Any thoughts?

  81. Chris November 4th, 2012 10:36 pm

    So to quote you correctly Lou, all the new bindings shipped for this season come without the pins? So do they come with the new anti-rotation device attached mentioned earlier?
    Cheers

  82. Lou Dawson November 5th, 2012 5:20 am

    Chris, all the new _Radical_ bindings come without the pin, with anti-rotation installed as well as the non removable brake.

    The other Dynafit bindings such as Speed have other anti rotation solutions. We just got a pair of Speed to detail in a blog post. Working on it.

    Lou

  83. Chris November 6th, 2012 3:37 am

    Thanks Lou. Been skiing a long time but this will be the first season on tech bindings. Was keen on plum but feel wary and decided i need a brake. These bindings look great and excited to try them with my new maestrale rs and DPS wailer 112′s. Thanks for your advice. Lets hope for some good pow this year! Have a good season!

  84. Mark W November 21st, 2012 10:35 am

    Unfortunately, had an AFD spring failure on a Radical upon maiden voyage. This isn’t the most confidence inspiring.

  85. Oliver January 5th, 2013 3:19 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I have a new radical st 2012/13 model with the “rotation lock” plate…..BUT….it does not reliably prevent the heel from rotating back into the downhill mode (in the counterclockwise direction) while ascending.

    I experienced that under difficult conditions while the problem did not occur on easy tours so far. But pretty annoying though that Dynafit obviously not has solved the “rotating back” problem. I don’t really want to experience that in a very steep and icy flank…..

  86. Lou Dawson January 5th, 2013 3:28 pm

    Hi Oliver, I’m not sure what to say… I’ve had the binding rotate very occasionally, much less then the Vertical models, so it’s not immune. It’s never concerned me because for me in only happened when I got a ton of ice and snow packed so my boot was pressing down at a weird angle. The binding that seems the most resistant to rotation is the Speed model.

  87. Chris January 6th, 2013 11:19 am

    So an update from a few months on these bindings skiing about 5-6 days a week on them this season- I love them! Far superior to any other binding i have tried. They have rotated back once on the up hill in crappy conditions but apart from that perfect. I’m so impressed. They feel so solid- ive hucked stuff on them and not a hint of release or anything. They perform better than any other binding i have used both on the uphill and downhill. These combined with my Wailer 112′s seem the perfect ski for me. The only issue ive had is having 190cm skis on kick turns……..not quite flexible enough to stop the tails crossing resulting in a lot of falls, think i need to start yoga! Thanks Lou for the great review on these bindings.

  88. Oliver January 6th, 2013 12:39 pm

    Hi Lou, hi Chris,
    thanks for the interesting updates. I actually did not know so far that the vertical also has the rotation problem, that is really new to me!

    And good to hear Lou and Chris that you are obviously happy with the radical st (now). I was just a little disappointed as the roating back occurred right on my 2nd tour with the new binding (under difficult conditions as I mentioned)……on other 4 easy tours it did not happen. I think I have to come to a conclusion at the end of the season how reliable the binding works all in all.

    Thanks again Lou for the great and informative reviews!

  89. Lou Dawson January 6th, 2013 3:52 pm

    Oliver, thanks for dropping by!

  90. Doug January 7th, 2013 10:49 am

    Lou,
    I’m a touring novice. For the past two seasons I have done about 5 out of area hikes of only about 800-1200 vertical using Marker Duke bindings on my 174 K2 side stash, with my regular ski boots. I would like to lighten the load and do more touring. I’m a moderately aggressive skier and don’t jump off stuff-5’8, 165#. It sounds like the Dynafit bindings would be best but which ones would you recommend for me.
    I also plan to to get lighter boots.

  91. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 11:16 am

    Doug, if you’re getting boots I’d advise getting those first since you already have touring bindings. After that, yeah, the tech binding I’d recommend would be the Dynafit Radical ST with the correct width brake for your skis. Lou

  92. Doug January 7th, 2013 12:13 pm

    Lou,
    Thanks for your advice

  93. Scott Pleva January 18th, 2013 6:22 am

    Delta Angle – I have Dynafit Titans and Vertical ST bindings and have found that I need a HUGE 15mm toe shim to get the binding boot combination to have Zero delta angle. This varies depending on boot binding combination…. Information from the UK Dynafit distributor is as follows

    just heard back from Dynafit via Anatom the UK distributors re the delta angles on the Dynafit bindings which they have advised are as follows:

    With Dynafit Zero boot:
    TLT Radical ST/FT + 8mm
    TLT Vertical ST/FT + 8mm
    TLT Speed + 8mm
    TLT Speed Radical + 8mm
    TLT Speed Superlight 0mm
    Low Tech Radical – 3mm
    Low Tech Race – 3mm

    With Dynafit TLT5 boot:
    TLT Radical ST/FT + 13mm
    TLT Vertical ST/FT + 13mm
    TLT Speed + 13mm
    TLT Speed Radical + 13mm
    TLT Speed Superlight + 5mm
    Low Tech Radical + 2mm
    Low Tech Race + 2mm

  94. Scott Pleva January 18th, 2013 6:23 am

    sorry should have added that the Boots are on 15 degree lean and I am a 29.5 mondo

  95. Nick January 20th, 2013 9:41 pm

    Today I had a problem with my Dynafit Radical FT12 bindings. I was skinning up and the heel piece of one of my bindings came off. When I looked at it the silver torsion release setting barrel was missing as were the two springs it holds in. I was even more surprised when I looked at my other binding and saw that the same thing had almost happened to it – the torsion release setting barrel had almost completely unscrewed itself.

    Looking at both heel pieces the threads look in good condition. I have used the bindings for the whole of last year and this was the 8th day of use this year. I checked the release setting was at 8 at the start of this season. Weird for this to suddenly happen on both bindings like this.

    Didn’t stop me skiing with the toe in tour mode and a strap to hold the heel of the boot down.

  96. Mason January 23rd, 2013 9:51 pm

    I bought the Radical FT in Dec 2011. Skied only 5 weekends (bad snow year in CA) and 1 day heli. Brought in the bindings to the local shop who is a dealer for a tune and to replace this pin. (Dec 12). They found the housing cracked on one heel. Great, skis are down for a week or so, or so I thought…. RMA with the rep in CO and ship them off then once they arrive in CO they would ship a new heel housing and mod for the brake. The bindings came back in almost 4 weeks (holidays, right, but 4 weeks!), low and behold it was the ST. Wow, screw up as the rep had the old heel piece (the FT) in hand. Wonderful…. No problem supposedly, they would immediately ship (on Jan 14), but in reality they didn’t ship until the 17th. Guess what, still haven’t arrived by the 23rd. This is shocking to have such bad customer/warranty service for something that I paid top dollar for! Yeah, the engineering team and QA screwed up initially with the design and manufacturing (I’m in R&D&P), but customer service; get real. I am marking Dynafit off of my X-mas wish list. With such new offerings (LaSportiva, Diamir, Plum, etc.) and possibly next gen stuff (such as the Diamir Zenith), don’t they care about reputation.

  97. Shawn February 3rd, 2013 3:12 pm

    Can the AFD on the brake plate be replaced or need a whole new brake…which now means a whole new housing including uninstalling and reinstallation. Hoping there is a way to replace on the current brake plate…my afd broke on the first day of use.

  98. Lou Dawson February 3rd, 2013 4:49 pm

    Shawn, I don’t know if they’ll have a SKU for that part, if so, you could indeed swap it in. Know that some of the earlier production run Radicals had defective AFDs that would come out. Lou

  99. Shawn February 3rd, 2013 8:17 pm

    I have another brake I can steal it from. Any tricks for getting it out and for replacing it. Is the little spring what is keeping it in place. Tks again Lou for sharing your knowledge.

  100. Jon February 4th, 2013 2:44 pm

    Lou (or anyone) The following has happened twice now and I’d like to know if anyone else has experienced this. It has happened once in Dynafit vertical’s and just the other day in Dynafit radicals. Yesterday was solid hard spring like (it is February) snow surface. I clip into the toe piece, step into the heal piece. Stomp on the snow surface to create a level spot under the ski and toe releases. The stomp on the slight incline creates a similar (or exact) force like Lou’s video ( http://youtu.be/K6cETQwh6V8 ). My partner suggested I must be entering the binding wrong leaving it susceptible to release but I now believe it to be a problem systemic to all Dynafit models. I was hoping the side towers in the Radicals would prevent the prerelease but it did not. I came close to watching my ski slide down the mountain both times. Guess that makes a good case for leashes instead of brakes in hard snow conditions. If anyone has experianced this I’d like to hear about. If not then I might have defective product.

  101. Jon February 4th, 2013 2:45 pm

    Lou (or anyone) The following has happened twice now and I’d like to know if anyone else has experienced this. It has happened once in Dynafit vertical’s and just the other day in Dynafit radicals. Yesterday was solid hard spring like (it is February) snow surface. I clip into the toe piece, step into the heal piece. Stomp on the snow surface to create a level spot under the ski and toe releases. The stomp on the slight incline creates a similar (or exact) force like Lou’s video ( http://youtu.be/K6cETQwh6V8 ). My partner suggested I must be entering the binding wrong leaving it susceptible to release but I now believe it to be a problem systemic to all Dynafit models. I was hoping the side towers in the Radicals would prevent the prerelease but it did not. I came close to watching my ski slide down the mountain both times. Guess that makes a good case for leashes instead of brakes in hard snow conditions. If anyone has experianced this I’d like to hear about. If not then I might have defective product.

  102. Dan February 4th, 2013 3:35 pm

    @Jon: I have been on Dynafits since 1996 or 97. The problem you describe has only happened to me when the toe fittings in the boots were iced. I am frequently stomping snow down, etc. Possible caveat…I am only 140 pounds.

  103. Shawn February 4th, 2013 6:57 pm

    Talked to dynafit today…fellow I spoke with indicated the AFD cannot be replaced and the whole brake (and now housing) must be swapped out. Wow…a remount for a broken AFD. He also indicated that the release was not affected by the missing AFD in that they didn’t have them for years and it was only now brought in to satisfy their TUV cert. Said it wouldn’t affect din release values.

  104. Lou Dawson February 4th, 2013 7:03 pm

    Shawn, he’s right about not really needing it. More TUV B.S., very disappointing. Only thing it will do is possibly attract more snow buildup due to uneven surface. If the binding has the fixed brake, yes, basically the WHOLE heel unit has to be swapped out just to fix the AFD. Absurd, I agree.

    Let us just pray fervently that the misguided quest for favor from TUV doesn’t influence companies such as Plum.

    Lou

  105. Charlie February 5th, 2013 4:04 pm

    Amen.

  106. primoz February 11th, 2013 12:18 am

    I bought Radical bindings on 2012-01-03. I faced almost all described problems above. Few months ago my top plate broke. Right at the screw hole. And last week my whole binding broke because of this breaking pin and half of plastic around binding broke. I hope I will get new parts and I’m looking after this new anti-twist solutions.

  107. jeremy April 6th, 2013 3:28 pm

    One more question, I just got some Scarpa RS boots, they don’t really like to come out of my now broken Radical FT’s after a few days of use. The rear bindings rock back and forth. Dynafit is replacing them which is good.

    Anyway, do I need to cut out some of the Vibram sole to get them to come out of the back easier or is this due to the ski brakes (I have never used ski brakes with Dynafits until now). Or will this ease up over time? I don’t want to ruin the new boots or new bindings.

  108. Stefano September 18th, 2013 2:26 am

    Season is coming, it’s time to check your stuf .

    …and install a good antitwist on your bindings to avoid damage and unlikely self-locking.

    Also check all screws and plastic parts (wear / damage).

    We always use glue in the holes to preserve wood/carbon/kevlar from water…

    Ciao
    Stefano

  109. Andrew January 9th, 2014 1:29 pm

    Elliott above mentioned having the Speed Radical toe w/ Plum Guide heel. I currently have the Speed Radical set and am interested in going to Plum heel pieces. Do the heels have the same drill pattern? Will I be able to get my boot clearance to work using the slider apparatus on the Plum heel?

    Thanks!!!

  110. Nick January 25th, 2014 10:02 pm

    Just had the AFD spring come loose on one of my Radicals. Bummed to read that it means a complete heel unit re-installation to fix. Is this something Dynafit will warranty (inclucing the cost of re-installation)?

  111. Alexander January 29th, 2014 2:13 am

    Hi Lou and everyone,

    Thanks for really great post and very informative comments!

    After I broke my Speed’s rear block a couple of years ago, I obtained Radical rear units, made autumn 2013. I was really used to Speeds, I like Radicals better (the heel lift is great as well as longer adjustment), but what I _really_ didn’t like in the Radicals was that I have to rotate clockwise.
    I was so used to quickly change to ski mode with a flick of the pole! We have very small mountains here, so changing modes is something I do dozens of time a day.
    But then I disassembled them – no pin there, only a remnant hole for a pin; anti-rotation is made with plastic “teeth” on the base plate and the rotating unit.
    On the other hand, they still have the arrow on top!

    So, the question is, is the arrow on top just an atavism? It seems that without the pin I could rotate the binding either way and absolutely nothing bad will happen.
    Is it true or are there any additional reasons why I have to rotate is only clockwise?

    Thanks a lot for reply and thanks again for one of the coolest sites on the Internet :)

  112. Alexander January 29th, 2014 2:18 am

    Hi again,

    Sorry Lou, I missed your new Radicals review… “…that’s obviously a legacy thing. Rotate any way you want.”

    Hooray!!!

    Thanks again for the content :)

  113. Stefano January 29th, 2014 2:28 am

    HI SPEED RADICAL friends,

    Is long time we produce a NEW base that stop indesiderate rotation,

    Pls see here

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

    This require to remove the all base (save weight) and re-drill. 6mm play front-back for adjustement.

    We have also a new “SPEED adapter” to re-screw in the same holes and hold a big play of 20mm.

    All CNC made, cost will be approx 60 euros for the two base, 90 for the base + adapter + shipping (25 Euro USA-Canada)

    If you are interested to this new solution, pls contatc me at:

    robotec (at) netsurf.it

    Ciao
    S.

    p.s. Nice to hear that click-clack heel solution is always confortable !

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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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