Dynafit Mod — Easy Switch Between Tour and Alpine Mode


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

This modification adds a small homebrew device to a Dynafit backcountry skiing binding for easy switching between tour and downhill mode without taking your skis off. Unlike other methods of switching, it requires no contortion or gymnastics, and won’t break the red post off the binding. We’re in the process of figuring out how well it works with ski brakes installed, will report back on that soon. Caution, this is more an experimental mod than anything we suggest spending time on.

Dynafit backcountry skiing binding mod Dynafit binding modified.
Dynafit Backcountry Skiing Binding ejection mod.

This mod is made with a 1 1/4 inch paint scraper blade, a chunk of angle iron, a small section of steel tube, and a length of 5/8 inch aluminum plywood trim “C” channel. I got the idea from backcountry skiing publisher Brian Litz, who told me over the phone he’d seen a guy who’d made something that you “push down with a ski pole to change modes with a Dynafit.” It wasn’t tough to figure out what such a thing would be. A bit of trial and error, and here it is (this is an experimental version — we’ll build a cleaner one with nicer finish when we have time, as it works quite well). Check out the video (Windows media, broadband). I riveted all the essential parts together, and welded the small chunk of tube used for the “pole tip socket (see video).” When we refine the design we’ll post a how-to, but I thought this would be a fun pre-season idea release for all you Dynafit fans out there.

Comments

14 Responses to “Dynafit Mod — Easy Switch Between Tour and Alpine Mode”

  1. wanek November 5th, 2009 4:16 am

    hi!

    did you ‘refine the design’ with the dynafit switch mode?

  2. Lou November 5th, 2009 7:46 am

    Never figured out how it could work with ski brakes, and without brakes the rotation method works fine to get out of alpine mode into touring mode.

    The “rotation” method is easy. First, lock the toe. Then just lift boot and ski high enough to reach back and rotate the heel unit to the side till your boot pops up and out. I rotate by inserting my pole grip between the climbing post and boot heel.

  3. Bud December 9th, 2009 6:25 pm

    Hey Lou,
    How is the how-to coming along, very interested in doing this myself, we be great for touring with non-dynafit users.

  4. Lou December 9th, 2009 6:56 pm

    This thing is pretty tricky, so I’m not doing a how-to. Not sure I really could without a huge amount of work. As you probably know, there is a simpler way, so long as you’re not using brakes you can just pull your heel up as you rotate heel unit and your boot heel will pop up and out. Lock toe first. Some people do this by picking a ski up and letting the weight of the ski pull the binding off their boot heel, as they rotate. There are videos on the web… don’t have the link at the moment, ask Andrew over at straightchuter.com

  5. Pablo November 14th, 2010 8:35 pm

    Hi Lou!
    I’m a spanish skier so excuse me if i don’t write well in english.

    I found this solution pretty nice. I use brakes in my comforts so I’cant use the rotating method.
    I’m thinking about doing this sistem and I was thinking about if its possible that you can gave us some measures of the mod. espaciali about the wedge that opens the pins. Can you post the measures?
    Thanks.
    Keeps reading you!

  6. Lou November 15th, 2010 8:02 am

    Pablo, if you want to make one of these please be advised it was only an experiment on my part. Use the same angle as the opening of the fitting on the rear of the boot. In other words, use the boot fitting as a pattern for the width and angle of the wedge. That said, the angle is not that critical, just make it so the tip of the wedge fits between the pins, and when you press down it opens them easily.

  7. Steve November 15th, 2011 5:57 pm

    Hey Lou, I hear that the new dynafit bindings (TLT Radical ST) can change modes from downhill to tour and visa versa without stepping out of the bindings. Can this be true? It looks impossible to me. I have last year’s model with brakes and have to step out to change modes.

  8. Lou November 15th, 2011 6:27 pm

    To one degree or another, that’s always been possible with Dynafits. I am not aware of any feature of Radical, with brakes, that would be a game changer in that area. The problem, with brakes installed, is that once you pop your heel out the brake deploys, then you have to rotate the heel unit to stow the brake again, which without the assistance of squeezing the brake closed by hand puts a huge amount of stress on the system.

    If anyone knows anything different, I’m all ears. For some reason, I’m reviewing Hagans instead of Dynafits. Don’t accuse me of any bias, please. (grin)

  9. Lou November 15th, 2011 6:29 pm

    Sometimes, Google is amazing. Ten minutes later, and they’ve indexed Gecko very nicely.

  10. Steve November 16th, 2011 9:35 pm

    Lou, I don’t see how you can change from downhill mode in any Dynafit (where the heel is locked in) to tour mode without stepping out, even without brakes. So I don’t follow your comment about “To one degree or another, that’s always been possible with Dynafits”, since you have to take the toe out then the heel before rotating the post to go into tour mode.

    It seems like the G3 binding allows you to change modes without stepping out, since the post moves back. Do you agree?

  11. Pablo November 17th, 2011 2:55 am

    Lou I think the assitance needed to stow the brake once deployes will be provided by the ground. Just by stepping a little down on the toe, the brake begins to stow a little, enough to just turn the heel and completely stow the brake.

    Exception: the softest powder whrere the ground don’t offers a solid platform to step and cant assist the brake stowing

  12. Lou November 17th, 2011 6:16 am

    Steve, ah yes Grasshopper, the arcane and eternal mystery of Dynafit.

    With or without brakes, simply pull up your boot at heel while rotating binding, your boot will pop up and out, then continue to rotate heel unit to touring mode position of choice. The problem is that with brakes installed, while doing this your brake will deploy and in many cases block easy rotation of heel unit. More, with brakes installed, it’s difficult to get the binding back into alpine mode without exiting, due to the need for the binding to force the brake to retract as it’s rotated. Thus, I’m of the opinion that the method does not work well with brakes installed, and don’t recommend it with brakes installed. Without brakes, it’s quite slick, works well.

    We do this method by either rotating the binding heel with ski pole as designed, or else lifting heel of boot, with ski, up to where it can be reached with the hand, where we then insert a ski pole grip between the heel lifter and the rear of the boot. A quick tweak, and out pops the boot. Danger, especially when using ski pole, is applying too much leverage and damaging something. It’s an advanced technique that only clever and stunningly athletic people are capaple of, in fact, to do it you might have to be genetically gifted with certain DNA.

    You can find some video about this here and there on the web. I think Andrew McLean had something lurking somewhere….

    Pablo, in the conditions we’re in most of the time, it just doesn’t work all that well. I guess we have more pow than you do, ha ha ha (grin).

    And yes, Onyx has a slick method of doing this by the heel unit simply sliding for and aft on a track.

    And yes, some folks seem to obsess on this as a feature, while others really don’t care. I’m somewhat in the latter class, but I do understand how nice it is to easily switch modes if you do a lot of meadow skipping (grin).

  13. Steve November 17th, 2011 10:43 am

    Ah yes, it does work. Master, I see the true nature of Dynafit “enlightment”.
    Humble student has one more question – is this stressful on the binding? Seems like a lot of pressure via the ski pole.

    According to backcountry.com, the new dynafit models change modes more easily even with the brakes installed.

    Much appreciated.

    ~Grasshopper

  14. Lou November 17th, 2011 10:51 am

    Grasshopper, yes, unless done with a lot of finesse it is quite stressful on the binding. I recommend the ski pole grip method, rather than yarding on the binding with a three foot lever arm. As for backcountry.com, whatever. I tested the binding extensively last winter and didn’t experience any difference in that area. Would love to be wrong. Thing is, on backcountry.com, anything new is always better. Keep that in mind. Lou

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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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