Crazy Light Tech Bindings — Maruelli Enters at 50 Grams

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  
M2 CNC backcountry skiing binding by Maurelli.

Maruelli M2 CNC tech binding is so minimal you think it'll disappear before your eyes. A total of 50 grams. That's the weight of 9 American quarter coins, or 6.5 one Euro coins! Click image to enlarge.

They’re like shrinking feathers. Decades ago, when Dynafit bindings first came on the scene, who knew they’d become so light as to be an almost non existant part of the backcountry skiing system? Truly, it’s simply amazing what people do with the tech binding concept that Fritz Barthel came up with more than two decades ago. Check out the latest from Stefano Maurelli, that crazy Italian metals expert and all-around backcountry skier. He’s not content with the status quo, that’s for sure!

M2 binding 50gr : possibly the lightest race binding (27gr Front+ 23gr rear – 4 screws)

M1-FR: 115gr CNC Binding (67gr front + 48gr rear – 7 screws)

Maruelli is the guy who’s bringing us the Natural Walking Plate, that funny but effective adapter for tech bindings that allows you to walk uphill with a natural gait. News from Maruelli: Dennis Brunod (top Italian skimo racer) will compete in 2012 World Cup races on the Natural Walking Plate, specifically the M1-M2 and NWP-VR models. Since a racer can actually run on these things, we suspect they’ll at least be an advantage in sprints. Whether they’ll really help win races is the question. Maruelli has completed a bunch of scientific studies that say yes to that. But real life is not a scientific study, so we wait for the podium results.

Meanwhile, I think the downright coolest thing coming from Maruelli are his superlight tech bindings. I mean, twenty years ago, who knew?

Check out Maurelli’s videos here.

And Stefano’s website.

And, check out more than you ever wanted to know about the biomechanics of ski touring and how the Natural Walking Plate works. There you go, WildSnnow.com just used up your whole morning!

Comments

37 Responses to “Crazy Light Tech Bindings — Maruelli Enters at 50 Grams”

  1. Scott Nelson October 25th, 2012 11:16 am

    So let’s see,

    La Sportiva RSR skis: 1390 g
    La Sportiva RSR race skins: 256 g
    Scarpa Alien 1.0 boots: 1360 g
    Maurelli M2 bindings: 100g

    Total: 3106 g ( or about 6 lbs 14 ounces) (taken from manufacturers specs)

    For comparison, my Brooks Cascadia trail runners (size 9.5) are around 692 g for the pair, or about 1 lb. 8 ounces. All the rando stuff above is only about 5.5 lbs heavier. That’s pretty amazing. But also amazing is the total price of about $ 3385.00 for just the above products. There goes my Whole Foods budget.

  2. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2012 11:43 am

    Sorry about Whole Foods, but one less pastry a day will do you good (grin).

  3. Stano October 25th, 2012 12:06 pm

    That is a significant news that Denis Brunod will use the walking plates! I am really interested to see how it performs under his engine. But I would imagine that for anything longer than a sprint race the weight of the plates would outweigh the benefits.

    And looks like the M2 binding is the lightest now because Pierre Gignoux Ultimate is listed at 60g. But his is all carbon, so 50g for alluminum? I will be adding the M2 into a lightest bindings comparison table I recently created with Jonathan Shefftz – http://www.skintrack.com/bindings-comparison/

    However, it remains to be seen whether any of these will be allowed for racing this or the next season due to ISMF safety regulations (toe needs to release).

    The stunning fact about the M2 is the price, if it’s gonna be true – 200 Euros?!

  4. Jay October 25th, 2012 12:48 pm

    Put this guy in charge of creating new tele binding.

  5. lc October 25th, 2012 3:29 pm

    I wonder how you get in and out of the toepiece?? I can’t imagine the metal bends to get the boot in.

    PG’s toepiece has a lever in the carbon that you can press on to widen the jaws to get in and out of the binding.

  6. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2012 3:40 pm

    When you sleep in your boots, that sort of thing doesn’t matter, though it does get a bit weird being in bed with your skis instead of your wife.

  7. AVIATOR October 25th, 2012 5:18 pm

    I NEED these :$

    Looks like one pin is sticking out on one side, must be somewhat similar to the PG binding, you just lean on it a little to step out

  8. Tay October 25th, 2012 5:24 pm

    Lou,
    This looks exactly like the race binding made by Pierre Gignoux except it’s made of metal not carbon.
    A good video showing the binding up close. http://www.pierregignoux.fr/Videos/Kilian_FixUltimate.php

  9. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2012 5:58 pm

    Tay, agree.

  10. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2012 6:02 pm

    Looks like Killian could use a set of Natural Walking Plates for that uphill jogging…

  11. AVIATOR October 25th, 2012 6:59 pm

    I still think the Natural Walking Plates are a joke.
    I can see no situation were adding all that weight to can benefit anyone unless you have some kind of handicap.

    We don’t need to change how we go up, skiing is a natural enough motion as is, to speed up you just need to work on perfecting it.
    Kilian & Co never jog, they try to never lift the ski, never go too steep, but glide and extend the stride like xc skiers do. It’s just the ridiculously fast cadence that makes it look like running.

  12. Stano October 25th, 2012 8:19 pm

    Aviator, I agree almost 100%.
    However, during the sprint races last year at WC in Italy I was fortunate enough to film how they go. The best guy didn’t win that day due to a technical problem but this Swiss dude was literally jogging while lifting skis. Have to say “however” again because he wasn’t doing that because that’s his normal technique. I believe, he simply chose very grippy skins for a certain steep part of the course, thus, he couldn’t glide on the flats. But even then, I don’t really see how the plates would have helped him. Will see when Brunod uses them.
    Also, I would wonder how good the snow cleaning is when it’s warm but still deeper.

  13. Stefano October 26th, 2012 12:23 am

    Just some tech note:
    Differently from the others the front binding has a (patented) “moving” pin that allow an easy fit in-out.

    This can also be done by a third person (for example in case of accident of the skier-racer). Check if the other can do the same if that stuffs are into ISMF whitle list.
    Of course it has a safety relese.
    Same story for the back: it has relese load in 2 direction that is good till 75kg skiers. Heavy skiers can request a stronger version, or can use a combination M2 Front, M1 rear (90gr.) or M1-FR (115gr).

    Important safety note: M2 bindings (as all the other race bindings) has safety relese, but are not DIN relese. M2 was born for expert skimo and racers that, already knowing what before, will use them at their own risk and under well clearly written conditions, they will found in the Instruction page enclosed into the M2 package.

    Thanks again Lou,

    Ciao
    Stefano

  14. Lou Dawson October 26th, 2012 7:14 am

    Aviator, I tend to agree for the most part, but a lot of us have biomechanical problems. I for one would like to have a set of NWP on some skis to vary things a bit to prevent or help heal various overuse issues. I also have one fused ankle (with a tiny bit of flex) and the NWP helps with that. During on-snow testing last winter in Austria I didn’t like the NWP for rougher terrain, and I don’t like the weight, but again, I can see how it could be useful in certain situations. Stefano claims it saves an amazing amount of energy. I think the proof of that will come out in racing, as well as seeing how many backcountry skiers adopt the system over the coming couple of seasons.

    All that said, I think the _concept_ of the NWP would be better built into a binding, with perhaps a much more limited and subtle range. Sort of like what they tried to do with the Naxo binding only executed well instead of lame as the Naxo ended up being.

    Lou

  15. john nobil October 26th, 2012 12:00 pm

    where are the ti bolts for these things? those heavy dinosaur screws alone are just about doubling the weight…
    i say secure them with ti screws + some industrial glue!

  16. Stano October 26th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Stefano, I watched couple of your videos closely and even though I am still not totally convinced I would try the walking plates for sure. Perhaps as your PDF says many times: “you won’t believe until you try”. ;)
    I guess th e plates are more efficient with heavier skis (added weight is less noticeable) and with less flexible boots (since the plates compensate for that).
    Anyways, just have to try to see.

  17. Lou Dawson October 27th, 2012 6:08 am

    John, I’ve thought for years about just gluing a binding to a ski… could be done… with the correct interface for the glue it would be as strong as screws…but those tiles did come off the Space Shuttle back in the day — due to glue failure.

  18. See October 27th, 2012 8:18 am

    One could probably mold carbon plugs with an extra large head (most likely point of failure, in my estimation) and just bond them into holes in the ski, or try these

    http://www.schmolke-carbon.de/carbon/carbon_uk/schraub.php#

  19. AVIATOR October 27th, 2012 10:29 am

    I would say the problem is not gluing the binding to the topskin.
    Assuming you really know how to prepare the surfaces, pick and use the epoxy of course

    I would be scared of ski delamination.
    On older heavier skis it would probably work.
    On modern light carbon skis not so much.

  20. AVIATOR October 27th, 2012 10:35 am

    @lou
    those tiles take 2300 degrees on the outside and 350 on the inside…
    but I guess with all the volcano skiing on this blog…?

  21. john nobil October 27th, 2012 3:52 pm

    SEE thanks for the carbon bolt link. something else to empty out my bank account for my specialized sworks race bikes! but really, aircraft grade ti bolts (combined w some sort of adhesion) seem like a no brainer for weight obsessed rando racers. but are they even available in ski style thread patterns and bolt heads? If not anyone enterprising (and crazy) enough to custom order 10k of these from overseas for the b.c./rando industry?

  22. AVIATOR October 27th, 2012 4:23 pm

    ti screws are standard for race bindings
    most bindings come with them and you can buy them extra too

    for example:
    Dynafit Low Tech Race Titan Screw Kit
    15.6 gr, as opposed to 27.3 g for steel screws

  23. See October 27th, 2012 6:16 pm

    John, as I expect you know, those carbon screws are only for non-critical applications like water bottle cage mounts; not for stem, seat post, etc. (or bindings, for that matter). I just thought that link might be interesting to carbon fiber fetishists like myself.

    I do, however, think it would be possible to mount bindings with some sort of carbon pieces that extend into the core (as opposed to gluing binding onto the top skin).

    Re. titanium fasteners: I’m guessing the thread is not necessarily critical. As you imply above, I bet a titanium machine screw would work for binding mount if it was installed right– deck tapped, slightly enlarged hole in the core, thickened epoxy.

  24. Stefano October 28th, 2012 10:41 am

    to Stano: yes for sure, fat skis, hard boots take 100% advantage for less weight lifted up, but flexible boots and soft-lite skis take 100% benefit too, due to 30% longer straid and natural walking or running, so muscless under natural loads. You make the oscillation of the legs, so ski goes ahead not loaded, so suck “0″ energy.
    We are in, we will see.
    Today here snow from 300m A.S.L. (but is nothing…)

    Ciao
    Stefano

  25. Lou Dawson October 28th, 2012 2:31 pm

    Let’s just say, if you’re a telemarker you might not want to even read this thread. This is disruptive thought!

  26. Stefano October 29th, 2012 12:04 am

    Hi Lou,

    Just question of little numbers and bad past experience (And Tele-stuff-maker !)!

    Ciao
    Stefano

  27. AVIATOR October 29th, 2012 10:40 pm
  28. Stano September 18th, 2013 1:17 am

    So at the end no one was racing world cups on these plates this past season. And Denis Brunod barely raced any (significant) races. And those I noticed him did he wasn’t on plates. But let’s see this winter, maybe things will change.

  29. Stefano September 18th, 2013 2:37 am

    …Brunod won, or arrive 2th, all the Vertical Race in the last season !

    Unfortunately he broke his rib at the beginning of the season so cannot be at WC, (and in other “big” international race).

    1th (Daily) Courchevel Dynafit Race (France) (6th absolute chrono)
    1th (Absolute) Thion Vertical Race (Switzerland)
    1th (Absolute) Diablered 3D (Switzerland)
    1th (Absolute) Champorcher vertical Race Italy
    2th (Absolute) Gressoney Vertical Race Italy 1000m+ Italy
    2th (Absolute) SanSicario Vertical Race Italy 1000m+ Italy
    etc…

    If this is nothing for a fully new system, for a little company as mine, for a little team as our…

    Ciao
    Stefano

    I won’t spend more time to bore/convince web-user of this: pls just try it !

  30. Stano September 18th, 2013 11:06 am

    Stefano, I didn’t intended to piss you off. But Dennis is an amazing athlete so racing on less than World Cup level makes it hard to compare.

    I checked some of the results you mentioned above and there were few WC racers in those races (Lenzi, Eydallin) and he arrived with them as he used to without the plates. So hard to say whether they helped. Other races had no competition for his abilities.

    Also, you are saying “please just try it”. Well, according to your PDF the price for the NWP-VR including the M2 bindings is 1499 Euros! That’s probably 800 Euros just for plates!

    I don’t think I am or people are going to pay that much to try them. On top of that you state the NWP-VR plate is not for hard downhill skiing, so the use is limited, thus, further limiting a desire to buy.

    Stefano, I am not trying to criticize your invention, I am having legitimate questions that may help you make the plates a bigger hit.

    I would try them but not for 800 Euros ;)

  31. stefano September 18th, 2013 11:18 pm

    In Sansicario 1000m+ Dennis arrive 2th just behind Lenzi and ahead of Eydallin…

    and that was our first race… His commet at the top was: “Wow I’m tired, but I have no aching back” so tomorrow I can ski again !

    Price will include a fully custom made set-up, and is made to stop non racers or non convinced user. Racers normally keep money back from us for good performance. As normal.

    But as told no way to write what any tester can immediately check himself in 5 step.

    Your back, once damaged by the Race, or several 1000m+/year, will cost you several dozen years of painkillers, and finally surgery… for knee or ankle, or back, or all one by one…

    Probably Lou can write here somethink on his experience ( back and joint problems). Where, unfortunately, we all are direct to (withour the NWP).

    I do that because I do lot of skimo and I won’t destroy my joint or back, as much as I did running. I won’t stop myself. This is much more that “performance” for few years and bed, or car, for life.
    And it works.

    So NWP VR was made to prove that weight is not “the” point (enter reasonable orders), probably once we will have money and time enought we will prove that NWP-VR will make the difference for who always use them in race and for training.

    So another aspect is: you can do 1-2 more training session per weeks without destroying your back and joint.

    Now we focus on the NWP-LR, the new standard lite & rental version for all skiers. Finally we found a distribution chain that after test them, really understand that it can work and will offer Sky Test Set for free day with a teacher.

    NWP School is for so born.

    Good think sometimes need time to enter in the market, also because big-co are trying to kill us in any way…

    We are little so we can move faster and we are still developeing new products in other fields.

    You remember Click-Clack ?
    It “doesen’t work”, for all you (except few nice friends W.W. !)… but once “Radical” it arrive, in 3 years more than 200.000 pcs sold out…
    Unfortunately they bought just one of my patents and what happen after is another history (and a legal fighting).

    Ciao
    Stefano

  32. Stano September 19th, 2013 9:55 am

    Stefano, good luck! I hope to try the plates one day.

    And a question for Lou: Do you use the walking plates now regularly?

  33. stefano September 19th, 2013 11:31 am

    Where are you located ?

    I’m thinking to be in Salt Lake City Winter Fair next year… but not sure at the moment.

    Thanks
    ciao
    Stefano

    p.s. Lou has not jet received his own NWP pair. A bit to ship.

  34. Stano September 19th, 2013 11:46 am

    I usually move around in BC, Canada, currently in Vancouver.

    I might make it down to SLC outdoor show this year but not sure at the moment as well :)

  35. stefano September 19th, 2013 11:40 pm

    Wonderfull country (except for crazy gold miners)!

    Ask to your local dealer, may be he can be interested also in all our products.

    Thanks
    Ciao
    Stefano

  36. Lou Dawson September 20th, 2013 11:06 am

    Stano, in my current opinion my best use for the walking plates will be for repetitive workouts that otherwise can cause overuse injury. They are much easier on the lower back, for example. I don’t have any of my own at this time, but look forward to sporting a pair this winter. For regular backcountry laps I’m pretty sure I’ll be comfortable continuing use of my usual binding setups, but you never know. I’ve always got an open mind when it comes to new gear. Lou

  37. STEFANO September 22nd, 2013 12:48 am

    Thanks Lou, and that’s the reason why I’m preparing for you (and not for others your collegue !) the Natural Walking Plate on TRAB MAESTRO skis.

    I’m personally using the NWP from 7 years and I’m still learning new tricks for better use.

    You’ve to do the same since you will not receive new gears: you will have a new climbing device that require a fully new technique (for what we spend several year to self learn and now we found the Natural Walking Plate School)

    First lesson is: keep calm, forgot the old technique, forgot you’ve skis at feet, just walk.

    Since we walk from 40.000years all will becomes easy…

    Also make 180° turns in very steep, iced, conditions. (last lesson)

    Thanks,
    Ciao
    Stefano

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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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