B & D Toe Shim for Tech Bindings

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

The B&D Ski Gear binding toe shim is designed to stack nearly any tech binding toe (with favor to Dynafit Radical or Vertical ST for best fit) up 1/4 inch. With average boot sole lengths, result is about 3 degrees less ramp. That still leaves some angle, but is a noticeable change.

Final result, Maestrale RS with a Dynafit Vertical ST, toe raised 1/4 inch.

Final result, Scarpa Maestrale RS with a Dynafit Vertical ST, toe raised 1/4 inch. Still a bit of ramp, but about 3 degrees less than with a stock binding.

I’m not going into detail about why you’d change your ramp angle. Those of you who need to do so usually know it. Suffice it to say that for some styles of skiing, and some folk’s knees, being jacked forward on your tiptoes is not necessary.

That said, ramp angle in ski touring bindings isn’t all bad. Some folks like to have gobs of it, and it provides a sort of “automatic” way of changing your boot angle depending on if you’re in ski mode or walk mode — without having to build the ramp angle into the boot. In other words, the boot can walk uphill nicely while you’re on or off your skis, you then receive enough ramp angle from the binding to perform on the down.

Plate to left, before install. It's actually two pieces.

Plate to left, before install. It's actually two pieces so it adapts to different tech binding base shapes. B&D will provide screws, but depending on applications you may have to shorten your screws.

The problem is what screws to use.

I didn't get screws from B&D. These 1-inch #12 wood screws were too short. Seemed that 1 1/4 screws were just about right, but for my final non-demo install I'll probably have to shorten some longer screws to get them just right. 'Farmer' style wood screw shortening is done by cutting the tip off, then simply grinding a sharp tip so the screw can get started in the hole. Not that tough, but takes a bit of time for a full set. Also, you'll have to make a 'trim head' screw for the front screw in 5-screw bindings. This is done by chucking the screw in a hand drill, then holding it against a disk grinder for a moment.

Measuring ramp angle of Dynafit binding.

Ramp angle before installation of shim. Remember that the boot has its own ramp due to the location of toe and heel fittings as well as the shape and thickness of plastic below your foot.

B&D plate installed.

B&D plate installed. Hardware store #12 wood screw heads are a bit high but don't seem to interfere with anything. Remember that the screw head for the front fifth screw has to be trimmed. Note the crampon mount is installed, but it's higher off the ski so you'll have less crampon penetration.

The units are in two pieces (see B&D website), in total they weigh 1.7 ounces (48 gr) each. They can be mounted in many situations without the extra smaller piece. With the smaller piece eliminated the weight is 1.3 ounces (36 gr).

Comments

34 Responses to “B & D Toe Shim for Tech Bindings”

  1. Richard September 14th, 2012 2:34 pm

    Lou,

    While we are at it, let’s change the design of ski boots—alpine boots included– to have squarer heels and wider soles now that skis are no longer skinny so we can get an effective resistance to lateral roll motion. That would make designing a 3.0 tech binding that really works a piece of cake. I remember throwing a brand new pair of Atomic downhill race bindings in the dumpster a few years ago because even at din 16 i still could roll the boot 10% with the leverage of the boot only. Trying to resist the amount of leverage a racer or good skier on wide skis can develop with a boot sole shaped to current norms is nuts, but we are still doing it.

    And, all boot soles should be removable and replaceable so those who need a dirt hiker or 2.0 tech binding compatible sole can bolt on an appropriate standard sole.

  2. Joe September 14th, 2012 8:33 pm

    @richard I think everyone is starting to realize the huge need for change.

    I know I’m ready!

  3. Terrance September 14th, 2012 10:27 pm

    Why couldn’t the SkiTrab TR-2 be modified to use a standard alpine type heel cup and then we could get rid of the pins and use the at toe and alpine heel with the two climbing mode arms?

  4. Mike McL September 14th, 2012 11:09 pm

    I’ve got 2 sets of these shims and they’ve worked very well for me.

    Finding the appropriate screws was a bit of a chore. I resorted to installing binding freedom inserts on 1 set of skis. The new radical ST toes just barely accommodate a 25 mm flat head M5 machine screw with the shim in place.

    On the new speed radicals I’ve found that the toe piece screws from the radical STs work well on the speeds with the shim in place. The base plate on the ST is about the same thickness as the shim. But the heel pins on the speeds are lower, which ends up reducing the ramp angle nicely.

  5. tony s September 14th, 2012 11:55 pm

    I notice that since I went from Dukes to Radicals I feel like I am tipped forward more and that skiing powder feels different on the same skis. In powder and variable conditions my foot arches ache faster. They are very precise and confident in firm conditions, but I think I a zero ramp or close is the way to go for most “bouyant” situations. I thought it was weird that the Dukes have zero ramp, but at this point I can see that maybe less is more for all around situations. I think it would be interesting to mess with considering I need all the help I can get!

  6. Ben September 15th, 2012 11:01 am

    Lou,
    I guess I don’t understand why the manufacturer would not include screws with the purchase of the shims. I understand there are many possible screw length needs, but they could at least hit a few of the big ones like Speed Radicals, Verticals, etc.
    I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but do you have any insight?

    Thanks,
    Ben

  7. Bill September 15th, 2012 11:49 am

    B & D does carry screws for the toe shims .
    As you mentioned there are numerous different setups that require different screws. You can order them with the shims. They may not be the perfect length for your applicatiion and need some shortening. There is a limited number of screws on the market with the needed head size , screw profile and pitch. To get custom screws made one is looking at an order minimum of 25,000 to 100,000 pcs and a lot of $.

  8. Caleb from MT September 15th, 2012 4:48 pm

    I ordered the shim from B&D for my ST’s that I use Dynafit tlt5′s with. B&D did a great job finding me some screws that would work well for my setup. They even ground the head of the 5th screw smaller for me like Lou was talking about. I do wish they would make a specific shim for the ST’s as there is a bit of space that collects small branches in the early season, but it works fine and so far no problems.

  9. Scott September 15th, 2012 10:14 pm

    Hi Lou

    Do notice any issues with the raised toe during climbing, now that the heal is lower in relationship to the toe (in walk mode)?

  10. Wes Morrison September 16th, 2012 11:54 am

    I have 9mm toe lifts on my speed radicals, and I definitely can feel the negative delta when I am skinning on flat terrain. Certainly, I engage the fist heel lifter sooner than I would like. This season I will have to shim it so that it does not ever sit heel low.

    The other big problem is how much ramp AT boots have. Most of them seem to have a huge drop off under the forefoot. This is much harder to correct; when you shim up the forefoot, you start running out of volume very quickly. My Lange XTs are great, but of course I cannot use them with my tech skis, and they are not really true AT boots anyway. Any boot fitter knows how easy it is to add ramp/forward lean, and how hard it is to take away, I wish AT companies had a clue.

  11. Lou Dawson September 16th, 2012 3:52 pm

    Ben and all, apologies, I guess Bill and I miss-communicated about the screws being available from him. No worries, I’ll edit and thanks Caleb for sticking with it. Lou

  12. Chris September 16th, 2012 10:06 pm

    I used a 9mm shim under the toe of my Radical ST’s all last season. I used the 28mm long screws out of Sun Valley’s screw set, and even though they were not pan head they worked great. I plan to buy a set of 1/4″ toe shims from B&D Ski Gear to try on some EHP’s and will just cut the 28mm screws down to 25mm with a dremel. If you find the Dynafits don’t ski like to your liking, try a toe shim. You’ll know right away as your stance will no longer look like your butt is too far out. It took about four runs at a ski resort to get used to the more neutral stance a toe shim provided.

  13. Tom Gos September 17th, 2012 9:44 am

    Lou, you’re slipping – where is the all important Wildsnow HQ official weight for these?

  14. Lou Dawson September 17th, 2012 9:47 am

    Tom, you are correct, I totally blew it! Weight coming in a moment. Lou

  15. Lou Dawson September 17th, 2012 9:52 am

    The units are in two pieces (see B&D website), in total they weigh 1.7 ounces (48 gr) each. They can be mounted in many situations without the extra smaller piece. With the smaller piece eliminated the weight is 1.3 ounces (36 gr).

  16. John Gloor September 17th, 2012 10:31 pm

    The threads on those woods screws look shallow compared to the knife threads on a binding screw. Are you sure they will hold up?

  17. Lou Dawson September 18th, 2012 5:51 am

    Gloor, provided the length is carefully considered and epoxy is used liberally, I’m confident they’re ok for me and most other skiers. Getting enough length is critical, as is doing the work so some epoxy ends up in the holes in the plate, to prevent micro-movement of the screws back and forth. B&D probably has better screws.

    Myself, I’ve mounted bindings for years with all sorts of funky screws, during testing when I’ve lost or ruined screws during binding swaps. Never had a problem, last binding I pulled out of skis was on a pair of wooden nordic race skis in the 1970s (grin). But as you know, I’m just average size and don’t use huge skis and boots.

  18. Lorne September 18th, 2012 1:32 pm

    I’ve been using Sollyfit toe plates (www.bindingfreedom.com) with my Plum Guides to negate some of the ramp, since I ski them with Tecnica Bodacious which already have more ramp that a true touring boot themselves. The toe plates are 7mm thick, and this setup gives me marginally less ramp than the same boots in a Salomon alpine binding. Plus the plate gives a wider mounting pattern into the ski, which I figure will hold stronger. I almost always skin in the lowest climbing mode, except on dead flat, but will be making a heel support in time for next winter which will make the “flat” position the same as the “ski” position.

  19. Fred September 25th, 2012 12:13 pm

    How will using toe lifts affect skiing compared to reducing forward lean of the boot? I’m on speed radicals with TLT5 boots and feel like i’m standing on my toes to much.

    Any reason the toe lifts wouldn’t be compatible with Dynafit pre-drilled inserts?

    Thanks!

  20. Lou Dawson September 25th, 2012 1:22 pm

    Fred, if you reduce cuff angle, you open up the forward flex range of your foot in the instep. If you raise the toe, you reduce that range. That’s the basic difference. More, raising the toe of the binding affects your climbing angles _and_ your skiing angles, changing cuff angle only affects you in downhill skiing mode. In terms of more subtle skiing ergonomics, changing boot delta is different than changing cuff angle, but that stuff is really hard to put in just a few words. Prior to newer style of skiing as well boots such as TLT-5 with difficult cuff angle mod, I never thought about stacking up my binding toes, now I seem to keep wanting it though I’m not sure how much trouble I’m going to go through to end up with raised toes on all my skis. In fact, it’s more something I’m just playing around with at this point.

    Only thing about inserts is you’d still have to be very careful with screw length, as well as bedding everything in epoxy so you don’t get any micro-movement.

    Lou

  21. Dan September 25th, 2012 5:58 pm

    Speaking of “cuff angle”. Anybody know when we can expect to see the after market “cuff angle” plate (with two forward lean positions) for the TLT5s from Dynafit?

  22. Lou Dawson September 25th, 2012 6:05 pm

    Hi Dan, I’m pretty sure that is available now, and is included in all the newer boots. Too late today to find out for sure, perhaps someone from Salewa/Dynafit can chime in?

    BTW, it’s not “after market” since it’s made by Dynafit.

    http://www.wildsnow.com/7174/dynafit-tlt-5-cuff-lean-adjust/

  23. Graham September 25th, 2012 6:29 pm

    Lou, in speaking with someone at Dynafit recently, I was told that the new cuff pieces with two lean positions will not provide a reduced lean option. Apparently the two positions will have a 15 & 18 degree settings, while the “old” TLT5 boots were just the 15 degree. I’ve heard many more people wishing for less angle than more, but apparently that info was straight out of the Dynafit tech manual.

  24. Lou Dawson September 25th, 2012 6:32 pm

    Well, the ones I had most certainly reduced the TLT 5 angle and they were retail ready. We’d better get straight on this, sounds like the usual confusion.

    http://www.wildsnow.com/7174/dynafit-tlt-5-cuff-lean-adjust/

  25. Lou Dawson September 26th, 2012 9:50 am

    Graham and all, this kind of confusion chaps my hide, not sure who this “someone at Dynafit” is, but they are wrong wrong wrong and should apologize.

    I just heard from customer support at Salewa NA, and yes, the new spoilers have a setting with LESS forward lean than the original ones that didn’t adjust.

    They’re pretty much the same thing as detailed in this blog post:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/7174/dynafit-tlt-5-cuff-lean-adjust/

    This issue is incredibly important, as the extreme forward lean of last season’s TLT 5 and so forth did cause knee problems for some folks, and the reduced lean is part of the cure for that.

    Lou

  26. Graham September 26th, 2012 1:01 pm

    Update for this morning, Lou had it right all along. There was a misprint in some tech information, but the replacement spoiler will have an option of ~3 degrees less than the existing angle. Sorry for the confusion, and looking forward to getting a set of those myself to decrease the forward lean.

  27. John January 11th, 2013 7:37 am

    I have always felt that my Freeride +’s put me in the back seat so I removed the front plastic toepiece, reinstalled the binding and immediately felt that I had more control over my ski’s. The problem at the end of the day was that there are now four bulges corresponding to the binding screws on the base of my Mt. Bakers. Should I have drilled the screw holes a little bit to account for the loss of the plastic piece or used a shorter screw? I want to remount the Freerides on my Verdicts (already mounted once so already drilled) but would like to avoid the screw bulges on my Baker’s. Is there a better way equally easier way to get a litle more ramp angle. This quick mod really did make a huge difference in controlling my ski’s. Thank for any help.

  28. Rob October 22nd, 2013 9:42 am

    Hey Lou, I’ve been thinking about adding these shims to my Vertical FT’s (with the plasti-fiber center connector) and I was wondering if you have any experience with combining these shims and the Power Plate support add-on for those bindings. Are the shims wide enough to support the Power Plates? Also, where do you recommend cutting the center connector?

  29. Jason Downs November 15th, 2013 1:47 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Really appreciate all the information around the ramp deltas on the dynafit bindings. I know it takes a bit of time to do that work.

    Heres my question for ya: Have you experimented with a way to cant the dynafit bindings? I currently use duct tape on my Marker Tours to decrease a naturally inside heavy stance. Would love to use dynafits but in the past they have caused me nothing but trouble due the the inability to cant the binding.

    Any insight on the possible issues (engineering wise or fabrication wise) with doing some sort of cant would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks for your help!

  30. Ben2 November 23rd, 2013 4:18 pm

    re: substitute binding screws for DIYers, I think one should use #12 sheet metal screws, not #12 wood screws. The sheet metal screws have a deeper thread profile. I can’t tell which type of screw Lou has used from the pic. If you get some #12 sheet metal screws and compare them to alpine binding ski screws the thread profiles are very similar, although the hardware store screws don’t have a pozidrive head of course. The threads are something close to 5.5mm x 1.8mm pitch. There is a thread on TGR if you feel like nerding out about screws: http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/245493

  31. Eric Rentschler December 10th, 2013 11:23 am

    I was also wondering about the compatibility of a toe shim with a Radical FT (with the plasti-fiber center connector(.

    Not sure I saw a response to the comment from “Rob” (October 22nd, 2013 9:42 am).

    Is there any drawback or special consideration to worry about?

    I’m still deciding between an ST and an FT binding and it would be good to take anything here into account.

  32. Rob December 10th, 2013 11:33 am

    @Eric Rentschler- I ended up getting the 4.5mm (I think, don’t remember the exact measurement) shims for my Vertical FT’s (not Radicals) and the shim doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on the plasti-fiber connector. It simply bends upward and sits off the ski about 0.5cm. That being said, it hasn’t fully corrected what I feel is a pretty weird and wonky skiing position on these bindings and boots (Dalbello Sherpa 5/5′s). I’m almost ready to hang up the touring-specific gear entirely and switch to a Duke/Alpine-boot-with-walk-mode setup, just to get my downhill back where I want it to be. We’ll see.

  33. Judith February 14th, 2014 11:41 am

    Hi Lou,
    I currently have the Dynafit Vertical ST (with a toe shim) and am considering switching to the Radical ST. Is there a difference in ramp angle with the Radical ST bindings that would necessitate recalculating the toe shim height?
    Thanks!
    Judith

  34. Lou Dawson February 14th, 2014 11:48 am

    Judith, I think you could just stick with the same shims.

    http://www.wildsnow.com/10733/get-up-rise-up-stand-up-for-your-ramp/

    Thanks for asking. I just grabbed some Vertical ST and measured, and added to the chart.

    Lou

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