Garmont Cosmos — More Details

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

UPDATE – OCTOBER 2013: “GARMONT POWERLITE” SKI BOOTS ARE NOW MADE BY SCOTT AS THEIR “SKI MOUNTAINEERING” LINE. AS OF OCTOBER 2013 ALL PROBLEMS WITH TECH FITTINGS AS DESCRIBED BELOW APPEAR TO BE ELIMINATED. WE THUS RECOMMEND ALL 2013-2014 AND LATER SCOTT BRANDED SKI TOURING BOOTS WITH TECH FITTINGS. 2013-2014 Scott boots with functional tech fittings can be easily identified by the toe fittings being coated with a black coloring as opposed to the common semi-shiny steel look of most tech fittings.

Official Garmont Response to our WildSnow video demonstration and take. Any typos are Lou’s due to having to extract text from an image PDF. Also, due to the hassle of keyboarding them we left the little “R” characters off the brand names such as “Dynafit.” Other than those incidentals and my note about the PDF signature, the text is as received. What you’ll see here is somewhat irrelavent at this point (fall/winter 2013) since eventually Scott DID change their fittings. As indicated by their missive below, apparently their first method of designing and testing the fittings was not quite up to the task and gave them a false idea of what was the “norm.” What is more, they make a bit of a deal out of me demonstrating the release without the boot heel locked down. I actually tested with the heel locked, and do it without in the video for an easier demonstration. I probably should have made video both ways. Moot now, as again, they’ve reworked the fittings and they test out nicely.:
****************************************************

To: Lou Dawson Wild Snow The Backcountry Skiing Blog
Volpago del Montello (TV), November 20th 2012

Dear Lou,
During the development of our GARMONT TECH INSERTS we carried out extensive tests of all models of GARMONT boots as well as important boot models from other manufacturers to identify and maintain consistent release values. Because there is no “norm” for reference, we relied on comparative testing with important boot models from other manufacturers. It is our experience with these tests that there is a significant variance in release values in all brands, one that depends not just on the type of insert, but primarily on the size of the “cutout” of the heel fitting, and the material of the boot— Pebax, PU, or Grilamid. During our development of the GARMONT TECH INSERTS, the heel cutout and boot material played as important a role in the release values as the TECH INSERTS themselves.

It is also very important that boot tests for downhill release and safety are made in downhill mode, with both the toe and heel attached to the boot. We have found in our testing that it is irrelevant to test boots for lateral release with only the toe attached, for several reasons: 1) as stated, the system is not in downhill mode which makes the test irrelevant to safety release 2) when the heel is raised it changes release values, and 3) it is well-known and recommended by Dynafit to lock the toe when walking because it is easy to lose the ski.

When testing our boots in walk mode, our inserts have a higher value when the boot is above 45° from the ski. This is due to added material on the top part of the cone, and is desirable to prevent pre-release, a common problem with this binding system. In downhill ski mode, however, the release values are comparable measured in kg., depending on the heel cutout, not the insert. We have proven this fact consistently with Dynamometer tests, as well as testing at the TUV. ln testing our newest models of boots at the TUV in Munich, we saw the same results, with the variance dependent on the genre of the heel cutouts and not the TECH INSERTS.

Again, our release tests are all in downhill ski mode, heels attached, with the binding toe in the free position, not partially locked using the first “click” position, or fully locked using the second click, as many athletes choose for better retention.

Also, although we like the Dynafit binding system for its easy walking, light weight, and skiability, it is our philosophy that all—round boots should be compatible with different binding systems, and accommodate the ISO Touring Norm 9523. For this reason, we chose not to use the Dynafit Quick-Step inserts as they are out of the ISO Norm 9523 because of the little tabs that extend beyond the sides of the boot. This norm requires a flush surface.

In addition to extensive testing both internally and at the TUV yielding comparable release values, we have been utilizing GARMONT TECH INSERTS in production since the beginning of 2011 and have not had any issues with failures or accidents ascribable to the same.

Best regards,
Achille Morlin (PDF has signature)
President, GARMONT Sri

Original November 15 2012 WildSnow blog post follows ********************************************

Cosmos might be one of the most brilliant AT boots ever produced. In short, if you’re looking for a super light but stiff boot to use in a frame/plate binding such as Fritschi or Marker, this is definitely a short lister. But we found some issues with the tech fittings that toned down our enthusiasm a bit. Video shows our impressions. Conclusions up to you. (Please note we evaluated one pre-production pair of boots and three retail version that included one pair of Celeste; all exhibited the tech fitting behavior shown in the video. We evaluated in multiple pairs and models of Dynafit bindings, as well as a Plum and a Sportiva. Though we’ve notified Garmont of our findings we’ve not had any substantive response. I’d imagine we’ll hear more shortly and we’ll do our best to communicate everything.)

To be fair, we occasionally see the issue of stiff release in other brands of boots due to manufacturing defects in tech fittings, but we’ve never had the impression it was consistent across the line or was likely to be retailed as such. Such seems like it might be the case here, so I feel obliged to communicate a bit more strongly about our take. Also, this is the first time I’ve seen fittings with the play as shown in the vid. The play issue added incentive to getting this whole thing out to our readers.

We are and always have been Garmont ski boot fans. While the brand is going through some transitions (the ski boot brand is gone, bought and rebranded by Scott) we’re still confident those responsible for this boot’s design and manufacture will be dealing with any tech fitting issues in an appropriate way. Again, when we hear their take we’ll publish here.

As we’ve stated in the past, no matter what binding system, you should always do careful release checks with a newly purchased boot or binding, and do such checks several times during the season.

Our original comprehensive review of a pre-production pair of Cosmos ski boots.

Comments

251 Responses to “Garmont Cosmos — More Details”

  1. XXX_er November 15th, 2012 10:31 am

    You know that I had been scoping the celeste, I already wear a garmont so it seemed like a good idea but in view of what you have discovered I am looking elsewhere

    Last week I tried on a dynfit boot (4 buckle no cuff cant?) which fit ok right out of the box so I started thinking of going for the mercury instead of the celeste if thats how dynafit boots fit?

    So the big question for me … is the mercury going to fit a is skinny foot/ankle that is wide up front ? I also like that it is a beefy unisex boot

    “I’m lucky because I’ve always fit the Garmont/Dynafit cross pollinated last very well”

    Dynait boots have never really been in the crosshairs but I did read this^^ yesturday and it got me thinking ???

  2. Lou Dawson November 15th, 2012 10:33 am

    XXX, at least give it a go. The older Dynafits and Garmonts used lasts that were essentially crafted by the same guys, some of the newer Dynafits are lower volume and probably more different, but it was still some of the same guys who’d formally worked on Garmont.

    Regarding the Cosmos and Celeste, no reason not to check them out in the shop. Just stick them in a binding and see if you get the play and the sticky release. If not, terrific, you’re good to go. If so, decision time.

    Lou

  3. XXX_er November 15th, 2012 10:47 am

    The local store isn’t doing the celeste this year SO I can’t try them easily BUT he has a woman’s ONE coming in my size …which should tell me something about Dynafit fit ?

    then maybe I can get him to order me in a small mercury

  4. Layne November 15th, 2012 11:28 am

    Lou, have you noticed this release issue with other Garmont boots with tech fittings? I have a pair of 09/10 Radiums and haven’t noticed this release issue with them, but I have never bench tested them either for releasability.

  5. Lou Dawson November 15th, 2012 11:35 am

    No, as far as I know it’s just the newer boots, it appears they might have changed who makes the fittings, or something to that effect…

    Everything is easy to test for, so don’t fret. Just check as you should with any boot/binding combo.

  6. Matt November 15th, 2012 11:37 am

    Had my cosmos pop twice while locked in tour mode on firm steep snow the other day. Skiing on Voile Drifters so thought it was just the wide platform but this is something to think about. I don’t want to go back to my Mobe. I’m enjoying the range of motion and light weight too much.

  7. Markus November 15th, 2012 11:48 am

    Hi Lou,

    first of all, let me thank for all your work. You’re putting a lot of effort in this website.

    I got myself a Garmont Cosmos last week because i was looking for something like that. The reason why i picked the Cosmos is, it did fit right out of the box and felt like it was made for my feet. Unfortunately we’re still waiting for some snow, so i didn’t have the chance to ski with them. After watching your video i tried the same with my boots and a Dynafit Radical. I noticed some same play and the stiff release as well. Although it did release a bit smoother after i gave it some tries, it’s still not as smooth as with my old pair of Scarpas.

    Right now i’m a little bit concerned about this but nevertheless, i would like to check if it’s a real issue on snow. Let’s see what Garmont has to tell us.

    Greetings from Austria, you do have some followers here as well ;-)

  8. Charlie November 15th, 2012 1:09 pm

    Thank you for publishing your observations.

    Got access to a torque-tester or a quality torque wrench? Making these tests quantitative may help Wildsnow readers assess the significance of this effect (it will matter more to people who use RV 4 than RV 10). Feel free to email if you’re interested in help assigning realistic uncertainties to measurements.

    Any tangible differences in fitting hardness? Looking at my Comforts and Speeds, the ice cutters are oriented horizontally, and could cut into soft fittings. Do you get similar effects from a Plum?

  9. Lou Dawson November 15th, 2012 1:10 pm

    Markus, all you Europeans ski with the binding locked anyway, so why worry about release or play? Or do you actually ski downhill with binding unlocked? Amazing (grin).

  10. Lou Dawson November 15th, 2012 1:45 pm

    Charlie, belive me, you don’t need a torque tester to feel the effect, nor to see the different in return-to-center action. When the boot is really locked in there, it even springs apart the binding rivets a bit on the Vertical and Comfort series bindings. And yes, I tried them in a Plum and same thing. I don’t know why a Plum would be any different, but one never knows… And yes, a torque test would be interesting but again is not essential in my opinion.

    As for fitting hardness, I’ve seen a lot of variation in that with all brands but it’s easy to spot when too soft, doesn’t affect things unless you let it go and wear, and is easy to get a warranty replacement as it’s pretty obvious.

  11. Markus November 15th, 2012 2:47 pm

    I know what you’re talking about ;-) Really, there are people telling me that my binding wouldn’t be locked properly when they see me going downhill. But i don’t ski with the binding locked all the time. There are exceptions of course, when i really don’t want to lose my skies. Generally speaking, i want it to release, if it has to.

  12. david November 15th, 2012 5:46 pm

    Bought a pair of Cosmos this month and eagerly awaiting the snow. Just did a similar comparison against a ZZeus. Huge difference in pressure required to reach release, and not very confidence inspiring. Will likely give up the great fit and features and return the boot to the shop if it means avoiding increased risk of injury. Thanks for bringing this to our attention Lou.

  13. david November 15th, 2012 6:05 pm

    Expect this issue will be found across the product line: “New to the Quasar this season are Garmont’s Proprietary TECH fittings for the maximum range of ski mountaineering binding compatibilty.” http://www.garmont.com/ski/eng/prodotti-dettaglio.php?categoria=8&prodotto=386

  14. Charlie November 15th, 2012 6:40 pm

    I’d suggested the Plum because they don’t have ice cutters (I think) and because they might have a slightly different-shaped binding toe-grabber cone/different material.

    A quantitative test isn’t required to show that the boot differs from an ensemble of others; the video showed that qualitatively, but it lets you say “how” different it really is. As the “tech” system has become a defacto standard, it’s important to know how different new products are from “standard”. If manufacturers have informal standards against which they can test, it would make it easier for them to make boots and bindings which play well together.

  15. John November 15th, 2012 6:44 pm

    My wife’s Garmont Novas do the same. Will check my Cosmos this weekend.
    Have not had a problem with previous Garmonts.

  16. Josh November 16th, 2012 12:14 am

    Plums have ice cutters.

  17. jmski November 16th, 2012 12:55 am

    I just purchased the Cosmos boots a couple of days ago and after seeing this report I spent some time with them on the bench with Plum Guides and was disappointed with the release or lack thereof. There was some play too, but the release issue was the show stopper.
    It looks like one could chamfer the edge of the hole and that might improve release but may worsen retention. I didn’t want to experiment with that kind of cash so I returned the boots. Anyone want to try a mod like that?

    Another item I’ve noticed was that the rear cuff bar had some slop where it is retained by the pin on the heel. They need a bushing there or a bigger pin or a tighter bend on the end of the bar. You can feel the shift/slop/movement in the cuff when flexing the boot.

    Otherwise a nice, light and comfortable boot. Maybe rev 2 will be better.

  18. Samo November 16th, 2012 6:49 am

    Hi, I am from Slovenia, Europe and I normaly ski downhill unlock, except when it is to steep or tehnical and I really don’t want to lose a ski. But here in Slovenia tech bindings are just coming in. People just haven’t trust them for ages and they have kept breaking the old Silvrettas and Fritchi … So last few years I follow wildsnow to be in AT present time ;-) .
    Marcus, I plan to go skiing in Austria for few days.
    I have BD Factor and Quatrant and now I’m interested how they behave in tech bindings. I think I didn’t have any problem on the snow I’ll make some tests in a workshop.

  19. Eric Steig November 16th, 2012 8:32 am

    I took at look at this with my Dalbello Virus (2009) model; no problem.
    I know there have been issues with the old Dalbellos though. I wonder about the new ones. Anyone heard anything?

  20. Lou Dawson November 16th, 2012 9:00 am

    I heard from former Garmont boot Product Manager Paul Parker. The operative word is “former” as due to the transition to the Scott ownership of Garmont he’s not working with them anymore. Paul told me that at this point he can’t really do much to answer questions about Garmont products, now that he’s not a spokesman for them in any capacity.

    Above info offered because some of you are no doubt thinking Paul might shed some light on what’s going on with this, since he’s chimed in here in the past.

  21. Lou Dawson November 16th, 2012 9:14 am

    Boot toe tech fittings are kind of a funny deal. If you always ski with your bindings locked, you can just drill two holes in the ends of a bar of steel and it’ll work fine. I’ve seen some skimo race boots that were made that way. But if you want a nice smooth safety release and good retention, making the fittings is a bit more subtle than that. More, the metallurgy is critical as if they’re too soft they gouge out and wear really fast due to the small amount of surface area.

  22. ShailCaesar! November 16th, 2012 12:10 pm

    Wow woke up yesterday, the day I was going to get fitted for either these or Maestrale RS and saw the vid! Might have dodged a bullet there, went with Scarpa, they feel and look awesome, no play in fittings, I checked :D Thanks Lou!

  23. david November 16th, 2012 12:27 pm

    Lou, is there a observable difference btwn the Garmont Tech fittings you reviewed a few years ago here: http://www.wildsnow.com/2971/garmont-heel-insert/ and the fittings on the new Cosmos?

  24. Lou Dawson November 16th, 2012 1:02 pm

    yes, just the toe, I spend nearly the whole video talking about the toe, clear?

  25. Lou Dawson November 16th, 2012 1:16 pm

    One thing that should be added to this conversation. If you ski both up and down with your tech binding toes locked, I’m pretty sure this is a non-issue, though I’d need to test on a bench to make sure the locked binding was still yielding RV lateral (side) values in the high ranges that a locked binding does.

    So, those of you with an eye on Cosmos or Celeste, if you ski with locked bindings the boot will probably perform like any other.

  26. jmski November 16th, 2012 1:39 pm

    It would be important to me to have the release values similar in both directions.
    I found that forcing a release in one direction was super easy and the other very, very difficult. This was just testing one boot with Plum Guide toe unlocked.

    I would buy the boot again immediately if Garmont could somehow fix this.
    Best lightweight larger volume boot for me. A 1/2 pound lighter per boot than MaestraleRS in a 30.5 size.

  27. Lou Dawson November 16th, 2012 2:30 pm

    Having it release the same in both directions would indeed be a start!

  28. david November 16th, 2012 7:06 pm

    Yup, watched the video and know you’re talking about the toe piece. When you reviewed the new Garmont proprietary Tech fittings in 2011 I was assuming you’d also looked at the toe. I was wondering if there was a difference. Guess I’m curious why they changed a good thing. Looks like a critical error.

  29. greg November 16th, 2012 8:16 pm

    “clear?”

    Lou, that was not really required, even if in jest. David’s question was straight forward and I suspect only you misread/misunderstood it. No one else. Clear?

  30. Tyler November 16th, 2012 11:28 pm

    At Mountain Shop we tested each pair of Cosmos and Celeste and found similar results to Lou’s video. We called Garmont and the official word is no word at all. The poor gentleman I spoke with has been hit by quite a few of our calls. All he could tell me was that Garmont has no authority on the matter because they are now owned by Scott, and Scott has no authority yet because they haven’t been given control of the company. The change over to Scott ownership will happen in about 2 weeks, which would be the earliest we’ll hear anything.

  31. Juergen November 17th, 2012 10:56 am

    What do you expect from Garmont ? Dump the fully produced 12/13 randonee boots production ?
    The transition period of Scotts acquisition will of course last as long as their stock is sold and next year they’ll proudly present the most innovative inserts of all known galaxies ;-)
    Other than Dynafit last winter they can’t invent a smart piece of plastic to overrun a misconstruction. Their bug is integrated part of an injection molding process and no screwdriver can be customized in this case in order to achieve replaceability.

  32. AVIATOR November 17th, 2012 11:54 am

    lou says “steep sides and sharper edge”
    looking at the close up they also look extremely DEEP

    pg boots for example also have inserts with steep sides and sharper edge but they are not very deep.

  33. Hum3 November 17th, 2012 12:14 pm

    Having bought a pair of Cosmos yesterday this is disappointing news to say the least! Not a deal breaker for me as I’m still on Fritschis, but am planning on getting into tech bindings next season.

    My question is, short of getting the boots replaced, what can be done to fix the problem? I’m interpreting Jurgen’s comment that the inserts can’t be replaced?

  34. jmski November 17th, 2012 12:20 pm

    The inserts are molded in. The amount of metal appears to be rather svelte, but I’d imagine that if the shape of the hole was modified it could help improve the release capability.
    And as Lou stated, you could just ski with the toes locked if that is your fancy.
    Lou in the video indicated that the release seemed to improve after multiple releases, maybe the sharp edge is rounding and that is all it needs.

  35. John November 17th, 2012 3:22 pm

    I tested my Cosmos in the following bindings with the same result as Lou.
    Plum Guide
    Plum Race
    Dynafit FT12 silver spring
    Dynafit FT12 grey spring

  36. AVIATOR November 17th, 2012 9:56 pm

    grinding down the edges will help for sure

  37. mike November 18th, 2012 6:57 am

    I have a pair of last year’s Radiums and can replicate Lou’s results in my Radical FTs (too much play, difficult release, etc.). The fittings look very similar to those in the Cosmos too. It seems this problem may not be limited to this year’s models. Does anyone else have this problem with last year’s Garmonts?

    I also find this pretty upsetting. There is a time and place for skiing locked. But it is something to have in your back pocket, not the standard.

  38. SCM Troy November 18th, 2012 12:01 pm

    Critical info, Lou. Good catch and thank you for posting. Obviously not all tech inserts are equal. Modifying toe inserts is a scary thought. You would have to have some sophisticated jigs to control the tolerances on an insert already molded into a boot and a way to accurately measure the results. That’s asking a lot for “in the field” service – basically just rolling the dice. One could easily end up with an even worse result. These are issues that need to be resolved in the manufacturing stage.

  39. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2012 1:45 pm

    Mike, we had a few pair of Garmont kicking around last year and they did not have these behaviors. As far as I can tell, the fittings significantly changed at some point, perhaps they changed manufacturers or someone at the factory that makes the fittings got lazy.

  40. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2012 1:46 pm

    Agree about modifying the fittings, that seems a bit much in terms of a solution. Lou

  41. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2012 1:51 pm

    John, thanks for trying the different bindings. That’s one area where my video fell short. I thought about doing that, but it was getting kind of long anyways. Lou

  42. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2012 4:35 pm

    Juergen, if they decide this is an issue, they can mold another run of lower shell “shoes” then offer to swap those by implementing a return system. It’s a total mystery how they’ll deal with this. They could just say it’s the way it is, works for us here in Italy, and might change, or they could do the swap. Total mystery.

    BTW, don’t ignore my suggestion that all you guys always check your tech boot/binding systems for sticky release — no matter what the brand. It even says in the binding instructions to do so, though this sort of thing is not the binding’s fault…

    Lou

  43. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2012 4:40 pm

    P.S., it just occurred to me: Why do the binding companies have to publish huge multi-page pamphlets, along with paying lawyers to write them, when the boot companies are manufacturing and selling what are essentially PART OF THE BINDING, yet don’t have to say anything about it? Wow, this is rather strange. It almost feels like someone has been getting away with something, in terms of all the boot makers essentially selling binding parts but not having any accountability when doing so… Weird. Your thoughts commenters?

  44. See November 18th, 2012 8:12 pm

    The boot is a part of the system, but it’s a part that is not ordinarily adjustable. Either it’s right or it aint (unless you consider keeping dirt out of the interface an adjustment, which I believe is usually mentioned in the manual).

    Also maybe a precedent has been set by alpine bindings and boots where incompatibility is not really an issue, to my knowledge. The alpine boot/binding specifications are pretty well defined and effective, in my opinion. The tech spec (as you have demonstrated) needs work.

  45. Greg Louie November 18th, 2012 10:11 pm

    Jeez, if they had to screw up the tech fittings in such a way as to result in elevated RV’s, I wish they’d done it to the heel plate . . .

  46. James November 19th, 2012 8:19 am

    Lou – Since there appears to be a very dramatic improvement in the release after a few cycles, is it possible to compare a new Cosmo with new Scarpa and Dynafit boots? Do you feel that you are getting an appropriate comparison by comparing the release values from a new boot and a used boot? I know that the ASTM procedure for testing alpine bindings is to cycle the boot through clock-wise and counter clock-wise cycles numerous times before measuring release values. – Thanks

  47. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2012 8:36 am

    James, it’s not only resistance that’s the problem, it also doesn’t have much if any of the return-to-center action that the smoother fittings have. Subtle stuff. As I say in the vid, perhaps the fittings will work for some consumers… it’s ultimately up to you. Sort of “we report, you decide,” (grin). For example, if you ski with your bindings locked then it’s probably a non-issue.

    More, even if the release does “improve” after a few cycles, what’s that mean? So a ski shop is going to have their employee tech sitting there releasing a customer’s boots out of a binding till they feel right? That seems a recipe for problems I don’t even want to put in writing. Lou

  48. Brian November 19th, 2012 9:25 am

    Thanks for reporting on this Lou. Got a screaming deal on Cosmos at a silent auction, plus my feet love Garmont so I was sad to read this. I can confirm that after multiple forced releases, the pressure required to release diminishes significantly. But there remains no return-to-center action as described above.
    I’m scared of trying to Dremel these things, so my current plan is to put in some quality time on the bench doing forced releases as a way to naturally round out the edge. Still worried the tech fittings may be too “steep and deep” for a true fix.

  49. See November 19th, 2012 9:40 am

    From the description, I wonder if the binding toepiece could be subjected to stresses it wasn’t designed to handle with repeated forced releases from an overly tight socket. If it’s wearing the socket significantly, it seems like it could also be wearing the binding.

    Sorry if my speculating about this is adding to the stresses to which Cosmos owners are being subjected.

  50. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2012 10:28 am

    See, that’s not speculation (grin). I think I alluded to that in the video, when I said I was concerned about binding damage. The testing actually did loosen the rivets that hold the toe unit together on a pair of Vertical series bindings I tested them on. That’s easy to fix with a hammer, punch and supportive steel surface, but it was noticeable. If a shop wants to use a binding to try and ream out the fittings to normalize the release, they’ll need a sacrificial pair of bindings specific for that purpose as those first few releases might take a lot of force and must be done at the heel height they’d occur at during downhill skiing. The method would be to put heel down into heel unit, set at low RV value, then use a large rubber mallet on the heel of the boot to eventually release it to the side. Might work, but then, so can a lot of things (grin).

  51. gringo November 19th, 2012 2:34 pm

    Lou,
    considering your piece here could well contribute to how this boot does in the market I think its only fair to EXPECT from you a side by side comparison with new boots from Dynafit, Scarpa, et al. and this using a torque wrench in order to convey some black and white numbers. If you really want to get scientific the bindings should be mounted in steel, not a pair of skis taped to a piece of cardboard, clamped to your kitchen counter….no offense, but your test is not really all that professional.

    I love your site and have been coming here for years….I really dig your field reviews and trip reports….but this ‘feeling’ you are showing in your vid and comparing new to old boots ( with worn fittings) is of no more useable worth than a couple of hillbillys arguing tastes great vs. less filling.

    Your blog now has global readership and if you are gonna slay a new product like this, regardless of the manufacturer, you are going to have to step up your game and test like you mean it, or leave that for someone else.

    cheers.
    Gringo

  52. Brian November 19th, 2012 3:06 pm

    Another comparison I’d like to see- negative reliefs of tech fit toe holes. Then we could get a side by side comparison of what these things really look like (hard to just peer into the hole and estimate). Maybe some type of epoxy could be cast in there, then removed after setting?

  53. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2012 3:13 pm

    Gringo, thanks for your take. In some cases I’d agree, but the difference between normal release and the force it was taking to release that boot was so obvious as to be totally fine as a test. If you were standing here doing it, I’m certain you’d agree. Ditto for the rattle play, I mean come on, it’s so obvious compared to other boots that it would be absurd to demand some kind of finer testing. What should I do, set up a DB meter and measure the audio levels as we rattle the boot in the binding?

    We could argue all day long about it but you were not here, I was, and it was all quite obvious.

    As for the ski, don’t make a straw man argument over that. It was clamped solid with big clamps, period. Tape, that was just to locate it while we were setting up the shot.

    Get yourself some Cosmos and try for yourself, anyone should be able to evaluate binding play, smoothness of release and return to center action without scientific instruments. Even the standard DIN test recommend for a shop involves a hammer, doesn’t it?

    As for me “gonna slay a new product” that’s not my intent at all. Lots of people can use Cosmos to total satisfaction, simply by locking bindings, ignoring my findings, or using in a frame binding. What I experienced was so far from normal tech binding behavior, and was so common across binding brands, models, and the 4 pairs of Garmont boots we tested, I ethically had to report on it. Keeping it private would have been ridiculous. Selfish and ridiculous.

    About the worn fittings. Obviously you missed the nice new Sportiva, so I’m a bit insulted by the hillbilly prejudice. I mean, a Sportiva Spitfire is not a hunting boot. Your point is exactly why that boot was in there. New. Also, I’ve tested _hundreds_ of boots in tech bindings and believe me I know how they should behave, new or used. Off the shelf or after some wear, they should release smooth, and have that nice bit of return-to-center action I spent too much time trying to show in the vid.

    As for leaving it for “someone else,” that implies I have some sort of control over this stuff. Far from it. If someone else wants to evaluate this, they’re welcome to it and when you do so I’ll be happy to get a guest blog from you.

    As it is, I think Garmont and Scott will have an adequate response. Per your desire, they might even throw an array of scientific equipment at the issue and prove that it’s a non issue. If they do, fine, that’s their take. Mine will stand as well. Meanwhile, any consumer can go to a shop, stick a variety of boots in tech bindings and do hand release checks as they should be doing periodically at home or in the field. If they see my results, then they do. If not, then they don’t. And so on.

    P.S., I should add that well designed tech fittings sometimes have different release retention characteristics depending on what angle the boot is at (how high the heel is). The idea being to make the binding/boot combo more resistant to releasing while touring. It could be said that a weakness in my evaluation was that I simply held the boot heel up at normal alpine height while testing, give or take millimeter or to. My answer to that is that a millimeter or two change in height doesn’t make enough difference to be a factor. More, I did test with the boot inserted in the binding heel and got the same strong resistance. If you want a video of that I could do it, but that would be excessive. And finally, what’s disconcerting is that during those first super-hard side releases the only way I could get the boot to come out of the binding with reasonable force was to actually raise the heel above alpine position! Odd.

    Gringo, you can attack the messenger all you want, but the root problem here is a total lack of standards for the manufacturers. Essentially, we have the WildSnow standard and what’s probably the Garmont standard. Perhaps you have your standard. Fine. According to Garmnt they’ll be right, and according to me I’m right. Sadly, rather than just fall back on a standard you guys who are buying boots may have do decide on one vs the other. Let’s hope that’s not the case, but it could happen.

    Lou

  54. Ron November 19th, 2012 4:40 pm

    Thankfully, I read this blog the same morning I was planning on purchasing the Cosmos. At the shop, I compared the play and release of a new Dynafit and Scarpa boot to the Cosmos. As Lou stated, the difference was quite obvious. The result = purchase postponed. Bummer, the fit was great.

  55. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2012 5:35 pm

    What makes me just sort of laugh and cry at the same time about Gringo’s take is that here I am, getting attacked recently for my supposed influence by advertisers, then I do something that obviously doesn’t make friends with an existing advertiser, and I get criticized for that. Classic. Danged if you do, danged if you don’t…. All my mentors over the years have told me in these situations just to follow your heart. That’s what I did…

    Lou

  56. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2012 6:24 pm

    I heard from Scott PR a while ago today. They didn’t have much to say yet about the tech fittings, but did want me to get clear on what exactly Scott “bought” in terms of Garmont. The party line is that Scott bought the whole Garmont ski boot division, molds and all, but left some sort of Garmont company intact to design/make/wholesale footwear such as hiking boots. I’m not sure how relevant this is, it could be just more B-to-B detail that most of you guys reading WildSnow could care less about. But to be fair I tried in the post above to reflect what the PR person told me. They also said that yes, Garmont North America (the distributing company) was also now owned entirely by Scott. So there you go, the official word. Of course I’m wondering if this is all just semantics. But yeah, probably a B-to-B issue that really has no bearing on the depth of snow at your local haunt, or even what decisions you make while shopping…. Lou

  57. See November 19th, 2012 9:21 pm

    I think Lou deserves a lot of credit for raising this issue clearly and demonstrably. I believe his motivation is a sincere concern for others, not some perverse desire to drive away advertisers.

    Not having a set of the boots in question to test myself, I’m withholding judgement. If it’s not a problem, that should be fairly easy for the manufacturer to prove by repeating Lou’s demonstration with instruments, or providing an alternative explanation. If it is a problem, I think Lou is doing Garmont a favor by identifying the defect before it causes great harm to their reputation or subjects them to liability.

    By the way, the video close up makes it look like the Garmont fitting is a sleeve, not a cup– the points of the pins contact plastic, not metal. I assume this is a trick of the light in the video.

  58. XXX_er November 19th, 2012 9:25 pm

    “you can attack the messenger all you want, but the root problem here is a total lack of standards for the manufacturers.”

    I would agree totally ^^ a couple of years ago Salomon got in poo over a weak toe fitting design that caused an injury, I don’t know who designed that one but i think almost any idiot could have seen the weak areas, they settled out of court for who knows how much $$$ SO altho nobody has been hurt yet in a Garmont that we know of … this is not the first time

    So why don’t boot makers just buy the fittings from Dynafit and pass the extra $ on to the customer , they probably want to make mo money but in any case I agree its not up to wild snow to enforce or set the standard but I do appreciate when you jump up and down and tell us when you think something is not right, your expose probably helped me dodge a bullet, I am not going near garmont this year … I just ordered mercurys

  59. See November 19th, 2012 9:47 pm

    “a sincere concern for others” and for the industry.

  60. Bar Barrique November 19th, 2012 10:10 pm

    Thanks Lou for doing the right thing, by reporting your findings. This post had me checking releases on some older (early season rock) skis, and, while the toe pieces worked fine, some of the heel pieces need to be lubed.

  61. SCM Troy November 19th, 2012 10:31 pm

    I have to add my support for Lou’s efforts here. He was under no obligation other than his own honor to share this info, and did so at conceivable detriment to his own interests. If anything, criticism should be directed toward the alleged faulty design/ execution of the “knock off ” inserts. Frankly, I can’t conceive why anyone would be willing to accept the clearly questionable performance of a product they paid a premium for when they can simply return or exchange it for another product that works correctly. The tech format is a proven interface, but it does rely on critical tolerances which have obviously not been maintained by all parties riding the train. Lou should be commended for raising our collective awareness.

  62. Verbier61 November 20th, 2012 3:38 am

    full support to Lou.
    You did and are doing a great job, all the ski community is grateful.

  63. Lou Dawson November 20th, 2012 4:40 am

    All, thanks for the support. Indeed, lack of a standard is really the root cause of all this. Quite a messy situation and I stepped into it with both feet. Could have ignored it… and yes, Garmont might very well have some sort of take that says everything is fine — by their standards or a test designed by them… and what could I say? As I mentioned above, I’d just have to say decide which take you like, and go with it… But I know what I like and what about 20 years of experience with tech fittings tells me.

    See, the Garmont tech toe fitting is a cup, but it has a different shape than the others. The sides are steeper and it appears to be slightly deeper. I don’t have the equipment to measure it.

    As for boot makers getting fittings from Dynafit, they are said to charge a premium that makes it difficult to keep boots at a competitive price point. More, Dynafit only has the Quick-Step-In fittings that have the problem of making the sole rubber too thin for extensive dirt and rock hiking. Lots of people like the old fitting style better. I actually favor it myself. The La Sportiva’s, for example, use the old style fitting and it works fine, as shown in the video.

    What’s really strange is that over on the La Sportiva Spitfire thread Colin Lantz says the Spitfire uses fittings made by the same metal fab company as Garmont. And the earlier Garmont fittings worked great. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that either, 1.)Someone at the factory got lazy or had too much wine during lunch, or 2.)The fitting manufacturing process was changed, perhaps to save money.

    I wish I had the equipment to measure the fittings. We could easily reverse mold them using epoxy and a release agent, but then what? I have some nice calipers but we’re talking a complex 3D shape. Not sure we have the time here to deal with that, too many jackets to review (grin). But you never know, I do like fooling around with this stuff out in the shop…

    Lou

  64. See November 20th, 2012 8:16 am

    Waiting for the water to boil, just did a quick measurement on a couple of boots in a Vertical toe piece with some digital calipers.

    On two different boots (a Scarpa and a BD) the distance measured at the front ice cutter groove between the boot toe fitting and the point on the pin where the thickness starts to increase is about 3.1 mm and 3.14 mm respectively. This looks to me to be almost exactly the length of the pin, not including the pointy part or the part that mates with binding arm.

    In other words, on the parts I examined, only the “points” of the pins are in the socket at the forward side.

    I’m curious what the same measurement done on the Cosmos would be.

    Disclaimer: measurements made before coffee was consumed.

  65. Andy L November 20th, 2012 8:23 am

    Well, what a huge lump of coal Garmont has just dumped in all our stockings. I received a brand-new pair of Cosmos yesterday. They absolutely demonstrate exactly the same behavior that Lou describes here.

    Looking at the Cosmos tech fittings, and comparing them to the Dynafit fittings in my Maestrale boots, I honestly felt a wave of disgust. The Cosmos tech fittings should have never, never passed Garmont’s QC department. It’s not even close.

    With Garmont USA currently headless pending Scott’s takeover, I guess that means it’s up to shop techs, store owners, and end users to decide whether or not riding the current Cosmos poses an unacceptable risk. For me personally, I have to say too much is riding on my bindings (me!) to play tech-fitting roulette.

    Lou, going public with this was a bold call, but you’ve done us all a huge service here. Good job!

    More of my own thoughts on the Cosmos’ fittings are here:

    http://www.sierradescents.com/gear/2012/11/19/the-cosmos-collapse.html

  66. See November 20th, 2012 8:43 am

    Note: if measuring to binding arm (aluminum part that holds the pin) add approx. .25mm to above.

  67. Lou Dawson November 20th, 2012 10:16 am

    I just installed Garmont’s offical response, as well as re-dating this post to today. Thanks Garmont.

    I’d like to let Garmont have their say without too much debate on my part, as we both have spoken.

    But at least part of their response deserves clarification from me as well as additional comment.

    I’d like to state to them and to our readers that I evaluated all our Cosmos boots with the heel latched in alpine mode and experienced the same resistance to side release. My demonstration video was done without the heel latched, but at the correct height other than purposefully varying it, for demonstration purposes. Just to verify, I went out to our workshop just now, stuck a Cosmos in a Dynafit Vertical FT binding with the heel latched and set to about RV 7, and yes, it has what is OBVIOUSLY excessive resistance to release (I actually could not release it to one side without using excessive force) as well as the action not being smooth, and having no smooth return to center action when using conventional evaluation methods. My evaluation rig also has the rattle/play, which the Garmont response appears to not address.

    To be fair, if you do take a pair of Cosmos and manage to release them a number of times to the side, the release appears to become easier due to the wear on the fittings but in my evaluation cycles was still sticky, not smooth, and still higher than a “normal” tech boot and binding.

    What I’m receiving from the Garmont statement is that yes, there is no norm, so whatever testing and results Garmont had are their norm, just as my own demonstration and evaluation is the WildSnow norm. So be it. You guys as consumers are now informed, and can make your own choices.

    Comments appreciated of course, and I’m sure Garmont is checking this out.

    Lou

  68. hans November 20th, 2012 11:20 am

    B.S. first the boot has to fit the binding and then you can talk release values. my 10yr old scarpa lasers fit much better than the cosmos…

    one reason why i like the dynafit bindings is the awesome power transmission from shoe to skis. with the cosmos this suffers a lot ..

  69. XXX_er November 20th, 2012 11:50 am

    Dynafit designed the whole lowtech system and to my knowledge there were not problems with Tech fittings until the patent expired which allowed any mfger’s to “roll their own” ?

    So REALLY I don’t think I would call it the wildsnow norm cuz IMO there is / there has always been the Dynafit standard and then there is everybody else, in a nut shell what I see you saying is that you are troubled cuz a Garmont fitting does not act like a Dynafit fitting?

    Its too bad cuz the celeste/cosmo was looking like a really good offering but personaly If I had just bought a pair of Garmonts that exhibited this kind of performance I would be returning them and IMO that is where this whole train wreck is going eh?

  70. Lou Dawson November 20th, 2012 12:00 pm

    Xer, saying there was a “WildSnow norm” was just a term of art meant to make a point. There is no norm. Even mentioning TUV in that respect is in my opinion meaningless, as all TUV can do when there is no norm is test to whatever standard you want to pay them to test to. And pay you do.

    In this case the informed consumer will have to decide.

  71. Brent November 20th, 2012 12:27 pm

    I checked out a pair that behaved similarly. They are sticking to their guns it appears. Well, that’s probably their only route at this point with a full production run of boots out there already. As you said Lou, they are right in that there is no official norm. Personally I think Garmont is underestimating the effect that this will have on consumer choices now that the information is making the blog-o-sphere rounds. However, I don’t know what else to suggest to them as far as a course of action. Recall all production Cosmos boots and replace the lower shells?? That seems financially infeasible. I want to say they should do more, but ‘should’ implies ‘can’ and I don’t know what more then can do besides own the fact that the release behavior is different. Maybe for really heavy people this release behavior will be a feature (crazy optimism?). If there was no change in elasticity I would feel better about it and simply adjust my RVs accordingly but there are so many other fine boot options on the market this year. Thanks for the update.

  72. Toby November 20th, 2012 12:41 pm

    What about Garmont Orbits? Obviously it has the same lower shell.

    Maybe you could make some close-up photos of (all of these) tech inserts?

    Main focus remains on RV, but where the heck is that free play coming from? What the odd combination: a lot of play, but hard to release. So, if you are reworking the inserts to gain smoother release, you can also get even more free play. And it will affect to downhill performance.

  73. jmski November 20th, 2012 12:50 pm

    Thank you Lou for bringing the Cosmos issue to light.

    To me Garmont’s response implies that there is no need to change the Tech fitting design in this boot model or others in the Garmont line.
    Consumers beware.

    The Cosmos would have been my first Garmont brand boot but after playing with a boot in my Plum bindings I was underwhelmed with the release/retention.

    I returned the Cosmos boots and ‘settled’ for the heavier MasestraleRS. After removing the toe buckle and powerstrap with spoiler I was able to drop 5 oz per boot getting it closer to the Cosmos in weight and it skis quite well with those mods.

    Good luck to Garmont, they have some promising boots but I think they need to reevaluate and redesign their tech fittings.

    Thanks again Lou!

  74. Jack November 20th, 2012 1:49 pm

    I don’t feel qualified to comment on the technicalities, but it seems to me that in a world where down fill has testing and certification, the boot and binding manufacturers could support independent testing of boot/binding interaction.
    Maybe this is part of the industry maturing. This type of cooperation could be part of the launching of a new tech binding standard. They are already selling a lot of radios and changing the broadcast standard is an awkward business.

  75. BG November 20th, 2012 2:59 pm

    I may take some heat for this, but I’m really impressed with this process. Consumers are becoming informed, and able to vote with their dollars. Early adoptors are always the guinea pigs, and we owe them a lot for taking on that role and the risk. Manufacturers will respond (or won’t) and live with the outcome. God bless the internet.

    While a standard might alleviate some concerns, even within any standard, mistakes can still be made. I think it would also stifle innovation. Who knows – it’s possible that Garmont *could* have come out with a toe-piece that left the rest in the dust, and in doing so *may* have been outside whatever norm was agreed on, and never made it to the market. In this case, obviously, they didn’t. But I’m a fan of innovation and if you’re gonna make an omelette…

  76. JCoates November 20th, 2012 4:38 pm

    Easyyyyy folks….has anyone here actually skied these boots??? I think it’s way too early to condemn these boots based on a “home test.”
    I could care less if they wiggle on the way up with my toes unlocked. Do they pre-release??? That is the big question and I think most are talking out there a$$ until someone tells me they actually had a problem in the field.

  77. See November 20th, 2012 6:30 pm

    Waiting for reports from the field may not be appropriate if bench tests strongly suggests there is a problem. A lot of people could get hurt before something gets done using that approach.

    If early adopters start to think that manufacturers are using them as guinea pigs, that’s not going to be good for innovation either. People will be reluctant to buy unproven products if they don’t have a reasonable expectation of basic functionality (especially in something critical like a ski binding).

    Also, if tests show a fairly rapid decrease in force required for release with repeated forced releases, I suspect that it’s the binding loosening up more than the toe fitting wearing in.

  78. shoveler November 20th, 2012 6:41 pm

    What these guys at Garmont seem to not get is that Lou was demonstrating in his video, not testing. It sounds like the testing happened off camera. Also, I have to wonder at the competence of the Garmont engineers when they don’t acknowledge that the way a tech binding works it that the toe has to twist release to the side, rather easily, and testing this without the heel unit engaged is totally legitimate. If Lou is grunting and groaning trying to push the boot heel to the side, while with other brands it moves smoothly and easily, something is so obviously amiss that it defies reality that Garmont missed this about their own fittings. Of course, one would expect them to design a test the supported their own pre conceived notions, human nature I guess.

  79. Lou Dawson November 20th, 2012 6:59 pm

    Have to say I probably used the word “test” when I should have used the word “evaluate.” With a nod to Gringo, “test” does imply the use of instrumentation other than the mind and arm muscles. That said, I’d like to again emphasize that it doesn’t take a scientific instrument to see the play in the fittings, nor to feel the heavy pressure required to effect a side release as compared to other boots/fittings, including those brand spanking new Sportivas that are indeed in the vid.

  80. mike November 20th, 2012 7:27 pm

    I think Garmont lost credibility with this PR. People that already have a boot with these issues get no consolation. And there is nothing to restore the confidence of someone thinking about buying a pair. Is anyone with these boots satisfied? Is anyone still considering buying these for use in tech bindings?

    (It has already been mentioned, but remember how Dyna fixed the Radical issue? That was how it is done.)

    There is play. There is no return-to-center. And there is the difficult release. Garmont’s position is to ignore the play, ignore the return-to-center, and to say that there is no norm for release values.

    Actually, there is the WildSnow/Dyna/etc. RV, which is normal. And the Garmont RV, which is [expletive deleted].

  81. mike November 20th, 2012 7:29 pm

    P.S. I can’t thank and support Lou enough for bringing this issue to light. Keep up the good work.

  82. Lou Dawson November 20th, 2012 7:44 pm

    One other thing, not a bad idea to do release evaluation for _any_ brand boot once you have your boot binding combo installed… pretty standard, really. Should I do a video on how to evaluate tech binding release?

  83. Dan November 20th, 2012 7:46 pm

    Tech Binding release video: PLEASE…I need all the help I can get. Thanks again Lou for your efforts/boldness on this issue.

  84. See November 20th, 2012 8:04 pm

    Okay, maybe putting the boot in the binding and measuring how much of the pin is exposed isn’t that interesting to anyone but me. Maybe the reason there is play in the toepiece is because the pins aren’t seating fully, so the measurement won’t be the same on both sides. But I really would like to know if the Garmont sockets are so deep that a significant portion of the pin beyond the “points” is within the socket on either side when lateral force is applied.

  85. Caleb from MT November 20th, 2012 8:26 pm

    JCoats, the rattling would happen on your way down, when going up you normally lock the toes. I would imagine that these boots would not pre-release but would possibly not release when you need them too (a much bigger concern). However I do fully agree with you regarding some real ski testing with them. Maybe a good fall or two and see if they perform appropriately. Any takers? lol

  86. XXX_er November 20th, 2012 10:04 pm

    “”Xer, saying there was a “WildSnow norm” was just a term of art meant to make a point. There is no norm”"

    It could be argued that when the patent was still in force bindings & fittings were only available from Dynafit SO they were the norm/standard but now we have open architecture, clones if you like …almost

  87. Tom November 20th, 2012 10:42 pm

    I have a pair of 2010/2011 Garmont Radium boots that I have been using with Marker Tour bindings. I was planning on upgrading this year to either the new Dynafit Radical series or Plum bindings for my newly purchased DPS Wailers. I am a little worried now that new boots may have to be added to my purchase list.

    Perhaps you already discussed this in an earlier post but is it only this years (2011/2012) Garmont tech fittings that appear to have noticeable irregularity with their release characteristics?

  88. Phil November 20th, 2012 11:32 pm

    I think someone may have suggested it earlier but it would be interesting to put a numerical value on the force required (using a torque wrench or something) between a few boots (with the heels in) and then a comparison with the same boots in a standard down hill binding set at the same release value. this would give a clear release comparison not only between inserts but tech bindings and stand standard bindings

  89. JCoates November 21st, 2012 4:44 am

    I’m just saying there seems to be some overreacting going on here. Reminds me of my crazy aunt sending me emails all campaign season because someone showed her a video on the blogosphere that was presented completely out of context. If the Radiums do the same thing, than to me it’s a non-issue. The Radiums have been field tested for several seasons without any serious issues that I know of. Why should these boots ski different if last years Radiums have the same inserts?

    Regarding pre-release vs. no-release: I ski a large part of the year on glaciated terrain. I can live with a ruptured ACL if I crash and don’t release. A fall into a crevasse or over a cliff-band because I pre-released could be fatal and is NOT an option, however.

  90. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 5:31 am

    Tom, the easiest thing to check is for the play and rattle. Just find some skis with tech bindings, insert a boot in a binding toe, and see if there is any mechanical play as I show in the vid. After that, do a lateral release check. Easiest way to do release check is to have bindings on ski that are adjusted for boot. Set binding heel to about RV 6 (low), then simply twist the heel unit with your hand while feeling and watching release behavior. It should be smooth, not sticky, and fairly easy. Compare to a few other boots if you need to get a feel for it. Lastly, put the boot in the tech fitting _without_ latching the heel. While holding the boot heel up to the approximate height it would be while inserted in heel pins, push heel to the side and release the boot from the binding. It should come out _very_ easily, and smooth. The idea of this last check is it isolates the front fittings and front binding unit, and evaluates only them. The test with boot fully in binding evaluates everything.

  91. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 5:51 am

    Phil, by the same token you can put a variety of boots in a tech binding set at the same release value (low is best), then do hand checks on a bench. You may feel no difference, or you may feel an easily describable difference. If it’s easy to feel the difference then that is a valid observation and does’t require insturmentation. It’s essentially what I did in the video.

    I think some of the folks here are not getting that. Let me repeat: We have a bunch of boots here at WildSnow HQ. We have about 15 pairs of skis mounted with Dynafit bindings. It is quite easy for me to do this sort of comparative testing. That’s what I did. I didn’t just stick a Cosmos in a binding and say, oh, that’s got too high release resistance. I compared it to a half dozen other pairs of boots including that brand new pair of Sportivas and some new Scarpas, as well as trying it in a number of bindings to see if the play was specific to one set of bindings. The play was present in other bindings, with a bit of variation, and only with the 4 pair of Garmonts we evaluated. Also, I’ve writting it before but it’s worth repeating that it’s possible to have a poorly made or defective tech fitting in any brand of boot and that all boots should be evaluated for this before being depended on for safety release. I’ve seen sticky and resistive release before, though not to this degree. I’ve never seen the play nor have I seen main-brand fittings that were visually this obviously different from others in terms of internal shape. I have seen some fittings on hand made race boots that were essentially a bar of steel with holes drilling into both ends. They had zero safety release. Lou

  92. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 6:25 am

    Just a clarification for you technical minded folks out there: The letter from Garmont accuses Dynafit Quick-Step-In fittings of violating ISO ski boot standard 9523. I heard from a product development person about this, and I have latest version of 9523 which defines an “interface” area on the boot toe where, yes, you can’t have any protrusions. BUT, the Dynafit fittings small protrusion are NOT in this interface area, they are below it. Thus, I have to think that in this respect the accusation made by Garmont is simply wrong. There are indeed issues with Quick-Step tech fittings, especially the lack of available space below them for sole rubber, but they do NOT cause the boot toe to be out of 9523 spec as far as I can tell from my own sources and research. If I’m right about this, it saddens me that such bogus information would make it into such an important document.

  93. Federico November 21st, 2012 6:58 am

    Ciao Lou, i confirm u that the statement from garmont is absolutely not correct, the 2 protrusions of the quick step in inserts are OUT of the restriction area of the iso9523. That norm has been written like that on purpose during the iso working groups as the front quick step inserts has absolutely no negative effect on release values while using the boots on traditional touring bindings like fritschi, silvretta, etc. as you noticed while reading the norm it is very clear.

  94. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 7:25 am

    Perfect straw man on the part of Garmont. Caused this discussion to take a full left turn away from the gist. Classic. And I fell for it. But it would have worked a lot better if Garmont had been accurate instead of what appears to be wrong in bringing up this 9523 issue…

    At any rate, I’ll keep the straw man from ruining this discussion by going off topic, but a bit of talk about the boot fittings and standard 9523 is fine. After all, when misinformation is spread like that, we need to keep it from getting out of hand.

  95. anon November 21st, 2012 7:30 am

    If this is true, if Garmont slagged Dynafit with false information, then WOW does that make Garmont look bad. Garmont should clarify this or issue an apology to Dynafit.

  96. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 7:47 am

    I’ve got a snip of the ISO standard 9523 boot toe “Interface” area. It’s shaded grey, I added red dot to show location of approx where Quick Step fitting has a protrusion. It is obviously out of the “Interface” area where protrusions are not allowed.

    ISO 9523

  97. Zeb November 21st, 2012 8:08 am

    I just read Garmont’s response. It says that Lou’s test is invalid becuase the heel was not attached. I don’t know why this would be, but it’s certainly possible. And I am–as I assume Lou is–open to hearing why it should make a difference. But Garmont’s explanation is not just unpersuasive, it’s bogus. Here are its reasons:

    (1) “as stated, the system is not in downhill mode which makes the test irrelevant to safety release.” This is circular: testing outside of full downhill mode is invalid because its not in full downhill mode? Common.

    (2) “when the heel is raised it changes release values.” This may be true, but that’s not an argument for locking the heel. Lou attempted to put the heel at the correct hight.

    (3) “it is well-known and recommended by Dynafit to lock the toe when walking because it is easy to lose the ski.” This has nothing to do with the issue you raised.

  98. Andy L November 21st, 2012 8:13 am

    I’m struck by Garmont President Mr. Morlan’s assertion that tech binding release values depend primarily on heel construction and shell material–with toe insert construction playing a lesser role.

    If that’s true, we might reasonably infer that Garmont deliberately altered the traditional Dynafit cup geometry in order to fine tune the boot’s release characteristics specific to the Comos’ unusually rigid shell material.

    In other words, this redesign was not haphazard or accidental or due to manufacturing issues–quite the opposite.

    Looking very carefully at the Cosmos insert’s cup, I see odd, angular shapes in the circumference–sort of like a mashed octagon, rather than a smooth circle or oval. It would be remarkable indeed if these micro-angles were actually built-in by Garmont to calibrate retention/release to the boot shell material.

    Perhaps the obvious play in the toe fitting was part of that fine-tuning as well, or else an unintended but otherwise inconsequential side effect.

    In any case, the deliberate introduction of micro-angles into the cup design would seem to demand extremely fine manufacturing tolerances–extremely so. It would also require extensive testing, since Garmont would in effect be redesigning the binding system on its own, without notifying anyone else.

    Although–putting all that effort into the toe insert would utterly contradict Morlin’s assertion that the toe piece has little effect on release value, wouldn’t it?

  99. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 8:33 am

    I can put it simply. Over about 20 years, there has been a certain way that boot toe tech fittings behaved unless they were out of “spec”. In that light, in my opinion the best way to evaluate them is without the boot heel latched into the binding but with the boot heel supported at downhill skiing height. When doing so, you should experience release at very light pressure, smooth, and with a smooth albeit short return-to-center action if you don’t effect a full release.

    That being said the best way to evaluate binding safety release in general is of course to have the boot heel inserted in the binding. In the case of tech bindings, you can evaluate side release by using your hand to twist the heel unit while pushing to the side on the boot heel. The results can be interesting, especially with brakes involved (grin). But again, while you’ll feel a lot more resistance then when you evaluate toe fittings, the release should be smooth and comparable to other binding systems set at same release values.

    When using method 2 above with Cosmos, I still experienced what I felt was excessive release force. I just didn’t show this method on camera as I was attempting to isolate the problem, did so, and concluded it was the boot toe fittings that were strange.

    Lou

  100. Greg November 21st, 2012 8:50 am

    What about this part of Garmont’s statement : “not partially locked using the first “click” position, or fully locked using the second click, ”

    Am I the only one being puzzled? I have always read the contrary and especially here at Wildsnow that the lock is binary, i.e. locked or unlocked…

  101. Zeb November 21st, 2012 8:52 am

    Greg: my dynafits toes seem to have three positions. I never quite know if the middle one is semi-locked or what. Lou, can you help?

  102. skimole November 21st, 2012 10:55 am

    First, I think Lou did the right thing, and let everyone know what he found on the bench.

    Second, I think everyone is massively over-reacting to a bench test.

    And third, and my point, the bench rarely represents what happens in the real world. I’m not a mechanical engineer, but I am an engineer with an R&D background and I know enough about testing to know that an improperly designed test yields inaccurate results.

    I think the ‘feel’ of the binding that Lou has found is important but bench tests are very different than real life. Just try clicking in the heal of an alpine or tech binding by hand — its almost impossible, but super easy with your foot in the boot on snow.

    Also the boot and binding act as a complete _system_. You can’t isolate one component and expect its behaviour to define how the system works. In my alpine bindings (Rossi and Solly) there is play in the heel units on their own, but when the boot is in place, the system is tight and bomber. You can’t feel any movement on the bench or when skiing. Same thing with my G3 bindings — you can feel play in the binding (not the fittings) when just the toe of my Scarpa boot is in the toe of the binding and not locked, but when the boot is fully installed in ski mode there is no perceivable play.

    And lastly, the loads we can do on the bench are not like skiing loads. You don’t slowly twist out of a binding over a time periods of seconds. If you are having this kind of crash, this tends to be when you blow an ACL or something. Skiing forces are short and quick impulses. Large loads in fractions of a second. That’s why shops use a hammer as previously stated. See at 1:01 of this vid from G3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQLqSIPSSyE)

    Again, I appreciate Lou’s orginal post. It brought up some important points, and got me into the garage to play with my gear:) But people should not take this one analysis (or any other single source/test) as gospel.

  103. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 11:02 am

    Ok, just to get ever more detailed, I got my hands on a pair of last season Garmont Masterlight. The fittings _look_ slightly different, but more importantly, they do not exhibit _any_ of the behavior I demonstrate in the video. I tried to do some measurements with my digital calipers, but due to all the curves the only thing I could get that seemed consistent was overall width at the front of the fitting, from left to right looking down, measured where the caliper intersects the socket at outer rim. The Garmont Cosmos fitting measures 63.23 mm, and the Masterlight fitting measures 63.56. The Sportiva fitting measures 63.53, virtually the same as the Masterlight. That doesn’t seem like much, but obviously something is different between these two fittings, because one has play and stiff release and one does not, and they measure slightly different. (note, I was in a hurry and forgot to zero the caliper for this, so these measurements are consistent to each other but might be about a tenth of a mm larger than actual. For the following, I did zero the caliper.)

    AND THEN HERE IS THE CLINCHER: An engineer suggested that the way to measure _depth_ of the fittings was simply to latch a boot in tight in a tech binding and measure the distance across the outside of the binding wings. Here are the numbers and I hope Garmont is reading this. The Sportiva measured 88.08, and the Cosmos measured 86.53. Even while latching the binding the difference was noticeable, with the binding latch pulling up much easier and almost going over-center (which could actually be another problem if these fittings go into consumer field use).

    So there you go, measurable difference with a scientific instrument.

    In all seriousness, these are NOT the same fittings.

    I have to guess that either Garmont changed the way they make tech fittings, or changed who makes them, or both.

    Lou

  104. Greg Louie November 21st, 2012 11:24 am

    @Zeb and Greg: The official Dynafit line is that locked is locked, whether you have one click or four. IME, though, less than 3 clicks = sharply increased danger of skis falling off when uphill kickturning and skinning in challenging snow. I’ve always assumed a parallel effect for “locked mode” skiing; e.g. one of two clicks adds a little resistance to lateral release.

  105. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 11:44 am

    Greg is exactly correct. Mentioning the number of “clicks” a person locks the binding with displays a disturbing lack of knowledge about the tech system. The “clicks” mythology arose from internet chatter about how to use the binding, with the assumption that somehow the satisfying “clicks” where in some way calibrated for various increases in lateral release value. This was simply total mythology and rumor. Sort of an urban legend sort of thing.

    The clicks are ONLY THERE TO TAKE UP VARIATIONS IN MANUFACTURING TOLERANCES. They sound nice, they work for taking up slack, but they are not “settings.” Even if you find that “one” click has some sort of effect you want on release values, it’s not even going to be the same between your left and right ski…

    Lou

  106. Kurt November 21st, 2012 11:51 am

    All, stumbled across your blog while doing a final review on the cosmos online (planned on buying them today). Thank you for sharing your findings, Lou. And thanks to all for the great discussion. So, guess my hunt for a light yet sturdy boot goes into the next round…too bad the TLT5s are too narrow for my broad foot.
    Really enjoy following the developments rg. Garmont’s new babies!

  107. Seth November 21st, 2012 8:49 pm

    Great discussion. Thank you for reporting on your observations, Lou.

    As tech users we are used to (or “familiar”) with the manner in which much of this gear is supposed to work… how it feels, what’s tweaky and what’s not, etc. And your demonstration does (obviously, look at the # of comments) raise some eyebrows, mine included.

    I would urge you to find a Vermont tester or Wintersteiger machine and perform enough standardized tests (yes, mimicking the DIN standards for release, even though we all know that’s not how these bindings work) to veer away from the n=1 situation you have right now, and plant yourself more firmly in the land of statistically significant. All it will do is strengthen your argument.

    Regards, SG

  108. Drew Tabke November 21st, 2012 10:09 pm

    Dear Garmont/Scott,
    I just heard that an exciting job at your company writing public relations documents and press releases has recently become available. I’d like to be considered for the position considering my extensive background in sports marketing, retail, and writing.
    I look forward to your response,
    D. Tabke

  109. George November 22nd, 2012 2:56 am

    I was able to recreate these same issues in three different models of binding, the Dynafit vertical ST, vertical FT, and TLT speed.

    I observed much more play/rattle with the Cosmos than two different pairs of Black Diamond boots and one pair of Dynafits, as well as the need to apply a significant amount of force to the Cosmos in order for it to release, whereas all three other boots released smoothly and easily by comparison. This problem was especially evident in the TLT speed binding. While the owner looked on and cringed, it was necessary to apply a great deal of force in order to remove the Cosmos, while all three other boots available released with relatively little effort.

    Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention.

  110. Lou Dawson November 22nd, 2012 7:01 am

    Thanks George, we’ve been getting a lot of confirmation on this, both about the play and the spike in release force.

    It is not only consumers that are unhappy with this. I’ve now spoken with some folks involved in tech binding manufacture, and they’re pretty upset since the binding is what the consumer usually blames when there is a problem in the boot/binding system — even if the behavior is caused by the boot.

    The lack of an ISO standard for the tech fitting in the boot used to be kind of a chuckle and grin (like “who needs the ISO money and time pit?”), but this demonstrates the consequences of there being no standard. The Garmont response published above has some odd stuff in it, but their comments about there being no ISO standard were valid, though in my opinion the lack of standard does not in any way excuse trying to sell fittings that behave differently in significant ways than the vast majority of tech fittings that have been installed in boots for several decades.

    In other words, we do have a defacto standard, and even Garmont in the past has sold boots with fittings that were up to that standard.

    Of course, the tech binding and boot industry — including Garmont– has only themselves to blame for there being no ISO standard. Now we all see the consequences.

    Biggest disappointment here is we had a few WildSnow Girls set up to review Garmont Celeste (woman ver of Cosmos). The smaller and lighter the person, the more serious that release force spike could be, so we nixed that project right away.

    It is possible that by sitting there and doing hand releases of the boot over and over again one could smooth out and lower the release force, but that’s in the realm of “hand crafting” what is supposed to be a relatively precise mechanical safety system. Likewise, I’ll bet I could take a small rotary abrasive burr and hand tune the fittings so they released smoother and better, but likewise, ridiculous.

  111. Pablo November 22nd, 2012 10:20 am

    Great discussion an great findings Lou.

    Y was thinking about how to measure de fittings…One way could be to fill them with melted P-tex unsing the fittinngs as a mold.
    Later you can measure the P-Tex sculptures easily.
    The P-Tex will not grip to the fittings and can be easily extracted from them as the p-tex does’t grip well to metal stuff.

  112. Luis Alonso November 22nd, 2012 1:41 pm

    Hello Lou, many thanks for your info.

    I’ve recently bougth a pair of Garmont Cosmos and a radical ST binding. I could reproduce everything you described in your video. After a couple of forced lateral releases I stepped into the boot and forced a release with my legs, not without exerting a lot of force. The issue with the play is still there.

    Now, I still would like to keep the boots, if they pass the standard release test here in Germany. I’m curious to see whether the bindings release as expected…

    I was considering to smothen the edges so that they look like dynafit’s ones, but you never know in advance whether things will improve or get worse, so I hesitate in this respect.

    In any case I don’t feel happy about Garmont selling boots with play and diverging from a de facto standard for no obvious reason.

    Congratulations for your web site!

  113. Lou Dawson November 22nd, 2012 2:37 pm

    Hi Luis, thanks for sharing your findings. If you release the boots quite a few times, doing so could smooth out and normalize the release. If so, it is what it is, but you can’t expect all shops and consumers to be sitting there releasing their boots over and over again to try and get them working correctly. Lou

  114. Charlie November 22nd, 2012 11:45 pm

    The binding measurements are interesting, though they conflate the distance between the cups with the seating depth within the cups. TUV/DIN folks will know best, but the measurements most relevant to knee safety ought to be something like the peak release torque and the total impulse required to actuate release.

    Characterizing things like retention, rattle, and return-to-center will be much more challenging, as the optimal arrangement is somewhat subjective.

  115. Kurt November 23rd, 2012 12:23 am

    One other thought: Do you see the rattling and movement between pin and fitting when the heal is fixed? If, so, wouldn’t you expect tear and wear to damage the fitting over time, even without releases, forced or accidental?
    I would expect such an expensive boot to last more than one season. Kurt

  116. nils November 23rd, 2012 2:37 am

    Hello.

    I also bought the Cosmos boot and I have the same problems. After a few releases it was smoother.
    The play/rattle is also there if the heel is fixed in the downhill modus.

  117. Dave November 23rd, 2012 5:45 am

    Bummer. Just bought a pair of Cosmos to use in Dynafit bindings after 15+ years of happy skiing in Fritschi’s

  118. Michael Johns November 23rd, 2012 1:00 pm

    Lou

    Didn’t read all the comments but I have had some issues with Dynafit Radical toe pieces. The Cosmos, Delirium and the Black Diamond Quadrant boots all require some grinding to make them both enter and exit the binding properly. My shop’s protocol with Dynafit installations is having both boots and ensuring both enter and exit the system properly, this as well will spot any difference with boot length (have seen 1.5mm difference before, in which case you get a left and right marked set up.

    Mike Johns
    Butch Boutry Ski Shop
    Rossland BC

  119. Lou Dawson November 23rd, 2012 1:23 pm

    Hello Michael, thanks for sharing your experience. Are you referring to grinding the trigger zone on the sole of the boot in the toe area, or to actually grinding on the steel tech fittings in the boot.

    Good catch on the length differences. Not sure what the ISO spec is on that, I do know the recommended left/right variance for the tech heel fitting is 1 mm, though less than that is preferred.

  120. Michael Johns November 23rd, 2012 1:47 pm

    Lou

    The sole of the boot is a little thick on those models. You notice they are difficult to get into the binding initially and bind on release. I grind the sole lightly on a belt grinder and in some cases the notch must be dremmeled slightly to clear the center of the bindings toe piece (extends from toe lever). I have had this issue only with certain boots mostly BD and Garmont , only on the radical toe pieces. Check the boot on an old 5 hole toe and you’ll notice no issue.
    Try a light grind on your cosmos or celeste and check the clearance in the notch (view from front). You should find the boot goes in and out way more easily (ie. proper retention/release) and is good to go.

    Mike

  121. Lou Dawson November 23rd, 2012 2:11 pm

    Been doing that for years, would rather the sole was too thick than too thin as it’s thus easy to tune and I agree that could have an effect on sticky release… but regarding the effect I was demonstrating in vid, nothing to do with sole on the 4 pair of test boots though I’ll keep testing. Lou

  122. Michael Johns November 23rd, 2012 7:18 pm

    Lou

    I went through our inventory of boots, size runs of Cosmos, Radiums, Deliriums, Lusters, and Celestes. All exhibit the lack of release (spike) you describe. This was tested on a radical toe piece. All exhibited the play you describe. Putting the caliper on them they are all a little deeper (even over my Megaride) which is why they bind on release. I checked them in a G3 onyx and all the boots fit tight (no play at all) but still need a little more effort to release.
    I also checked all our BD, Dalbello, Technica, and older Garmont tech inserted boots. Every one was bang on and worked fine.
    This is disconcerting. I will talk to our Garmont rep and see what other folks are seeing. I’ve installed about 20 Dynafits this year and have had issue with just the one Cosmos/Radical set up which was a thickness issue, the binding functioned fine on the bench.
    I will post any info I get if you feel it would be helpful. I realize my input is merely anecdotal but if you can compile more peoples experience (ie. La sportiv a, Plum interfaces with the new Garmont boots) might help in assessing what might be a potential problem.
    Appreciate your vigilance and thanks for pointing this issue out.

    Mike J.

  123. Kurt November 24th, 2012 12:36 am

    Mike,
    Please Talk to your Garmont rep. I would love to hear their official take. It seems Garmont went radio silent over this issue. I wouldn’t be surprised if their marketing is busy spanking product development right now. At least that’s what would happen at my company :-)

  124. Lou Dawson November 24th, 2012 5:19 am

    I just did some more testing, trying to observe what is causing the release spike. What made it easy to observe is I actually have some Cosmos here and when I put and untested one in a Radical binding, I actually could not release it laterally to one side (with the heel inserted in heel unit, RV 6). I observed that the binding toe pins are inserted so deep in the boot toe sockets the release appears to be blocked. Lou

  125. leif November 24th, 2012 11:05 am

    With this last test you did and your earlier measurment of the length over the toe binding, do you think it would be possible to fill some material into the bottom of the sockets to make the release easier?

  126. Lou Dawson November 24th, 2012 11:13 am

    Possibly, but anything but a spot weld would wear out too quickly to be anything but an experiment. I’ve had a bit of trouble believing that these things could be so hard to release and that Garmont did not see it, so that’s why I’ve been doing more tests when people bring up things like sole rubber thickness, binding models, and such. But I’m done, am totally convinced the boot toe tech fittings are not made the way they should be, most likely they are too deep. Confirmation came from commenters here, as well as folks who did not comment but got in touch with me by phone and email. As for Garmont’s tests, I think they are honest and tried hard to devise good tests, but somehow they did not test in a way that picked up on these issues. Most likely because of the psychological barrier that occurs when someone designs their own test to disprove something they do not prefer to have occur.

  127. Seth November 24th, 2012 11:24 am

    re: Garmont radio silence: you might remind yourself that this is a long holiday weekend. I would not be surprised if Garmont NA (Scott?) has something in the pipe on Tuesday at the earliest.

    Maybe they could spin their PR as follows: you won’t pre-release with new GARMONT boots!

  128. Lou Dawson November 24th, 2012 11:47 am

    I just ordered a dynamometer to set up my own binding release check. Should be fun.

  129. Lou Dawson November 24th, 2012 11:48 am

    Seth, so they celebrate Thankgiving in Italy and Switzerland?

  130. nils November 24th, 2012 12:00 pm

    Hello

    We don’ celebrate thanksgiving in europe.

  131. Matt November 24th, 2012 4:26 pm

    Lou I’ve been skiing on the Cosmos about 7 or 8 days now and have the same issues. I did pop out of one ski when I glanced off a stump. But still even though I’ve used the boots and they already have my funk in the liners I’m sending them back. MEC in Canada is giving me my money back because of your website. Thanks! I certainly enjoyed the Cosmos though. What comfort for the up and down. Skied very nice.
    Shelling out an extra few hundred dollars for some Mercury’s. A little heavier, but seems like a better walk and ski. And heck they even fit my foot better than the TLT5 which I just couldn’t do.

    Matt

  132. Doug November 25th, 2012 6:59 pm

    Lou reviewed the garmont propietary tech inserts on April 30, 2010. No mention is made in that review that the inserts did not fit properly or didn’t release properly in the dynafit binding. How so? Has something changed since then? Also the 2011 garmont radium apparently had this rather obvious defect but I can’t find anything indicating it was identified as a problem last year. Can’t you shed any light on the unusual timing at this time on finding the defect

  133. See November 25th, 2012 8:03 pm

    The April 30 2010 post appears to be a straight regurgitation of a Garmont press release. The accompanying pictures have captions (presumably written by Lou) that use phrases like “said to be improved” and “perhaps an improvement.” I wouldn’t call it a review.

    The piece seems mostly focused on promoting Garmonts strength and durability testing in light of the infamous Salomon Quest tech fitting failure.

    I don’t have the time or inclination right now to search Wildsnow for tests of other Garmont models, but if the fittings are the same on boots that have been around for a while, l also wonder why this issue wasn’t identified sooner if they were reviewed here.

    Regarding reports from the field: I sprained my knee many years ago on a binding that failed to release. I chalked it up to the imperfect nature of the technology, but I didn’t ever use those bindings again. Were the bindings/boots incompatible or defective? Who knows.

    (From Lou: See is exactly right, I was reporting on what sounded like an effort Garmont was making to be extra sure their fittings were durable. Since they’d worked fine up to that point I was not paying attention to function. The fittings are durable, no doubt about it in my mind.)

  134. Lou Dawson November 25th, 2012 8:04 pm

    Doug, I don’t understand your question. I think you’re asking if the inserts had any issues back in 2010? They didn’t as far as I can tell, and I used boots with them such as the Masterlite (which I just checked again and they did not have any issues, see comments above.) The only guess I have is that somewhere somehow since then the inserts are being made with different dimensions. They measure differently, so that’s probably a good guess… In terms of when we reported what we felt was a problem, I did it when I received production retail boots that showed what I felt was an issue and felt obligated to go public with. If the Radiums all had the problem, I didn’t see it. I’m not psychic, just reporting what I observe.

    I’d add that it is entirly possible that myself or some of our testers could very well have used production boots with fittings that behaved this way, and simply failed to notice it. As Gringo pointed out in the comments above, we are not a scientific testing lab.

    Lastly, all I did was report on what I felt was an issue. Whether it is, or not, is up to you. Since there is no legal ISO standard for the fittings, double that emotion.

    Lou

  135. Michael Johns November 25th, 2012 11:12 pm

    Lou

    I can attest to the Radiums (mated with a dynafit Ft12 5 hole toe) having the “wobble” as well. The Deliriums have it too as well as the thickness issue I described above (radical only). I had three different customers notice it while riding the chairlift. If they rocked their foot they could feel the play in the fittings. That said, the binding functioned fine in releasing and retention and the play was not noticeable skiing or walking.
    When I ran through our inventory of Garmont boots all of the boots that had the play released from the system when tested (a radical speed toe), they required more force, but all did release. We put the boots on and twisted them out with someone holding the ski. Take that qualitative information as you will. I could test them with our calibration equipment but because it is designed for ISO5355 which pivots around the heel, the Dynafit twist release is off which ever pin is on the side opposite the heel goes out thus the reading off the torque wrench would be meaningless. I place more confidence in the practical “wearing the boot test”.
    I’ve probably installed over 400 or so Dynafits over the last 15 years or so, much of my clientele are patrollers, ski guides, avalanche techs, as well as serious recreational enthusiasts. I do have access to feed back from many of these folks
    and see a lot of different combinations of boot/bindings. The tech bindings have just started gaining popularity here, I still do way more Fritcshi and Marker’s, but that is slowly changing. You can contact me via e-mail if you would like any more info or feedback, if that would be any help to your blog.

    Again, thanks for alerting folks to potential compatibility issues, in this case I think this one has existed for a couple years. Perhaps more folks will weigh in with pertinent info. ie. non-release issues if they are occurring in real world use.
    The poster above who was skiing in the Cosmos and said they released when he clipped the stump would as well count as anecdotal evidence that the binding does release. Maybe he can shed a little more light on that. My prime concern as a professional is that the binding releases the boot when necessary and to alert customers of potential compatibility issues.

    Mike Johns

  136. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2012 6:56 am

    Thanks for the help Mike! Sounds like you can look at a _lot_ more boots than we can. Since I’ve seen fittings that had these issues, and ones that did not, I can only conclude that at some point they change how they were made, and the newer ones gradually worked their way into the retail boots. Hence, we caught it when we caught it…

    A few points:

    1. In much of my testing as well as other people I’ve been communicating with, during release testing many of our test boots simply will not release without extreme force. In fact, “release” is the wrong word. To put it more accurately, the binding appears to stress and deform to the point where the boot finally pops out violently. In other words, in our case I would not say they “will release.” That’s the main reason I reported on this. Even the DIN alpine standard allows for a range of release force for a given DIN setting, but this is way out of that range in terms of variation.

    2. I had several pairs of Garmont review boots here over the past few years, and I distinctly recall doing release checks on some of them and NOT seeing these issues. As mentioned above, I borrowed a pair of Garmonts from a nearby source, and they did NOT have the issue as well as allowing me to do some comparative measurement.

    3. A properly designed tech fitting (toe) allows a small amount of smooth return-to-center action as I show in my video, and is obvious on the bench. This is important to being able to set reasonable release settings, and none of our Cosmos test boots have any of this, whatever the required release force. This lack of smooth return-to-center might actually be the bigger issue.

    4. The play in the binding in alpine mode is obvious, easily checked, and in my view totally unacceptable since we’ve had tech fittings for several decades that did NOT have it.

    5. If an informed consumer and knowledgeable shop person such as yourself deems these issues to be acceptable, I have no wish to debate that take. I’m just attempting to clarify my views of all this.

    Lou

  137. Doug November 26th, 2012 11:56 am

    Lou I just want to thank you for bringing this issue to light. I think it does represent a significant deviation from the norm and may well prove to be injurious to those with these garmont tech inserts. We’ll see.

  138. Luis Alonso November 26th, 2012 12:12 pm

    Lou,

    do you think there is any reasonable measure we consumers can adopt to correct the play issue? I am still doubting whether to bring my Cosmos back to the shop.

    The issue with the binding/boot system not releasing was already known here in europe at least since March 2012. There is even a lady complaining that she is not able at all to release the radical binding inwards with her Garmont Sugar. See

    http://www.gipfeltreffen.at/showthread.php?62495-Garmont-Schuh-Dynafit-Bindung

    or

    http://www.gipfeltreffen.at/showthread.php?66780-Garmont-Inserts-f%FCr-Dynafit

    I hope Garmont addresses this issues honestly and in a short time. The money I paid for the shoes was perfect and had no issues whatsoever.

    Cheers

  139. Frorider November 26th, 2012 12:15 pm

    Lou — long-time reader here. Thanks for reporting your observations. I know I’m not alone in respecting your data-oriented objectiveness.

    However, I would gently suggest… please re-consider the arguments for quantifying these observations (w/ different binding / boot combos for reference): a) You’ll save yourself a lot of time — look at how many of your comments above (and in the future) would not have been necessary if you had provided a table listing the release values b) You would have not provided an easy target for Garmont’s counter-argument (i.e. a table of RVs would not allow Garmont to bring up the ‘heel isn’t even in the binding’ counter-argument) c) Most importantly, quantifying the RV’s and slop issue as early as possible would have greatly increased the influence and credibility of the report with people (e.g. the employees of my local shop) who never read wildsnow.com and have no opinion on your personal credibility.

    There’s a reason your tables of actual product weights have an impact on the customer and market. If over the years you had no weight tables, and instead asked us to believe that one product was lighter than another, plenty of us would still have trusted your qualitative conclusion…but I’m sure you can understand why actual data from a credible source like you has so much more impact.

    Thanks again & keep up the excellent work.

  140. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2012 12:32 pm

    Frorider, you make good points. And yes, I’ll quantify where possible and time efficient. In the case of boot release forces, I simply do not have the equipment. I may rig something with a dynamometer eventually, but don’t hold your breath.

    Meanwhile, the idea with what I and others have observed is this is incredibly easy for a shop employee or consumer to check by hand, with no instruments. And if they don’t see it, then great for them and Garmont!

    As for Garmont’s take, that’s their right. I respond to it, but I’m not in some kind of war with them in trying to prove or disprove things. I’m still simply into emphasizing basic human observation. If Garmont doesn’t see something, and you do, then what? Are you going to believe Garmont, or me, or yourself?

    Lou

  141. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2012 12:36 pm

    Luis, wow, that is serious stuff and I wish someone had pointed it out to me long ago! Oh well… we do the best we can. Language barriers are always a problem with this international stuff.

    As for the release issue, with smaller folks, women, that’s where I think this will be very obvious. Especially for skiers trained on how to test bindings by twisting out of them or at least doing a partial twist while a helper strikes the boot heel to the side.

    Lou

  142. Doug November 26th, 2012 2:14 pm

    Lou et. al.
    Two hours ago I took a 3/16 inch diamond drill and rounded off the edges to the Garmont tech inserts. Obviously I did this very carefully and removed as little metal as possible. I compared the inserts to my original garmont radium boots which have presumably Dynafit inserts and they now look remarkably the same. The bench testing similarly to what Lou performed shows two things: number 1 the jiggle with the boot not in uphill or downhill mode still exists. Number 2 the release pressure now is normalized to a great extent and almost identical to the release pressure needed for my Garmont radium boots. Prior to beveling the edges, it was almost impossible for me to release my new garmont cosmos boots. I am not recommending that anyone pursue this course however certainly ski shops and individuals inclined to noalize the release pressures may consider this. I would add that Considering the small amount of material removed it could be easy to over correct these inserts resulting in prerelease or unintended release. I hope this information is helpful

  143. Doug November 26th, 2012 2:26 pm

    I forgot to add that the return to center mechanism was also restored to some extent and although not as smooth as my Garmont radiums now there is a return to center action albeit a bit clunky but it does exist. Prior to beveling on the binding, release was so Immediate and sudden under great pressure that there was obviously no indication of return to center.

  144. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2012 4:31 pm

    Doug, thanks for giving that a try! I was tempted.

  145. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2012 4:49 pm

    I’m hearing back from some users who are saying that some boots do have better release after being “released” a few times, but that doesn’t alter the play issue, and some boots appear to have more of a problem than others, which is making this whole thing rather confusing. Again, it’s sounding like if Garmont is gong to just keep selling boots, it’s up to the consumer to decide. More coming I’m sure. Lou

  146. Seth November 26th, 2012 4:57 pm

    I’m going to second Frorider.

    Lou, although the purchase of a Dynamometer might indeed be wicked cool and you can use it on all sorts of funky projects, for issues such as the one at hand you really need access to a Vermont tester of a Wintersteiger machine or something similar.

    I mean, we ALL know it’s going to come up again.

    ASTM standards here, FWIW: http://www.astm.org/Standards/F1061.htm

  147. See November 26th, 2012 6:01 pm

    If I had a pair of Cosmos and I observed a marked improvement in release after a few forced releases with one of the boots, I’d take that boot and try it in the other ski to make sure it was the boot toe fitting wearing in, not the binding. If the first forced release on the second ski is as bad as the first forced release on the first ski, then it’s probably the binding loosening up, not the socket.

  148. SCM Troy November 26th, 2012 6:18 pm

    I may be stating the obvious here, but it seems to me if you want to produce scientific RV results per the numerous requests, the solution is to enlist the aid of a local alpine ski shop that has the necessary testing equipment.

  149. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2012 6:34 pm

    Not sure any of the conventional testers really work on tech bindings…

    As for “scientific” results, please define. For example, how many pairs of boots would have to be tested, at what temperature, and how many different models and brands of bindings?

    I think the best test would be to indeed have a nice random sample of Garmont boots, say about 30 pair. Then have an independent lab such as TUV do a test that was designed to compare lateral release pressure compared to another 30 pairs of tech fitting equipped boots from several other brands. This would have to of course be done with what I guess would be about a dozen brands/models of bindings, some of which the retailers I know can’t even seem to obtain for their stores. Even Wildsnow.com, with our state of art testing facility, and nearly unlimited budget, might have trouble putting it all together.

    On the other hand, I might just lash up something to compare a few pairs of boots (grin).

  150. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2012 6:41 pm

    See, in one of my informal evaluations I did observe that the binding loosened up due to the extreme force I had to put on the boot to get it to come out. I could watch it happen. The binding is now loose, though it can be fixed by peening the rivets (it’s an ST Vertical). It’s also pretty obvious that if a person did want to modify the fitting by grinding on it or perhaps releasing the boot out of a binding numerous times, the release could be made normal. Of this I’d say to the ski shops, have at it! Sounds like something a boot customer would be very keen on watching, as well as their lawyers (grin). Lou

  151. Seth November 26th, 2012 6:57 pm

    “Not sure any of the conventional testers really work on tech bindings…”

    They don’t, exactly, due to the release mechanism being based exclusively in the heel, but the “conventional” release testers can provide a baseline from which to test others. I would submit that a Dynafit boot in a Dynafit binding would release as close to acceptable (TUV, ASTM, etc) as possible, given that they are designed to work together. Thus, a new Dynafit boot (we know you have those) in a new Dynafit binding (same): twist and pull to your heart’s content. Grab a boot in a similar BSL (these ranges are on your handy dandy chart) and test again.

    (You have one pair of feet, right? We all know you have beaucoup pair of boots in your nominal size… start testing.)

    Seriously, this will give you a BASELINE to compare future developments in boots n’ bindings. This will give considerable cachet to your Wildsnow “brand.” I’m just trying to help you out here, man.

  152. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2012 7:05 pm

    Seth, I hear you. Thanks for trying to help. Like I said, I’ll consider doing something, but ANYTHING I can do will be subject to criticism for not being scientific enough, or thorough enough. Even so, onward through the fog.

    What I want to emphasize, however, is that anyone can grab a couple of boots and do a hand check, and feel the difference, or not. Seriously. Don’t depend on me for a take, do it yourself as many of the commenters have obviously done. Also, it is becoming aparant that there is some variation in the fittings, some seem to “wear in” quickly, while others stay quite stiff in terms of release. This could be the chosen binding having influence, but it is something those of us involved in evaluating this are observing.

    Lou

  153. Doug November 26th, 2012 8:54 pm

    Lou has done as much as he needs to do to elucidate the problem. It’s time for Garmont and Dynafit to start talking to resolve this problem. In the meantime each individual needs to decide to either avoid the Cosmos or accept the reality of the obvious incompatibility between the Garmont tech insert and the Dynafit front binding and deal with it. End of story.

  154. See November 26th, 2012 9:24 pm

    I don’t know much about conventional release testers, but if they involve pushing the toe of the boot sideways on a tech binding they will be mostly worthless. I’d be interested in tests that push at the heel.

  155. Lou Dawson November 26th, 2012 9:34 pm

    Thanks Doug, that’s pretty much where I’m at though I might play around a bit more. Compared to a shop with a wall full of Garmonts, we’re pretty limited in terms of test stock. We have access to three pair for testing at this time. Lou

  156. christian November 29th, 2012 2:06 pm

    Since nobody else is linking this, here you go:

    Some more “scientific” test from a TGR user
    http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/254334-Garmont-Cosmos-tech-fittings?p=3826014#post3826014

    I also consulted my local sports shop (a major player here in the German Alps aka Dynafit country) today, because I was considering the Cosmos as replacement/upgrade for my old Megaride. They got a official response from Garmont today. Could quickly read through the one page text.
    Summed up, as far as I remember: There is no Tech-Insert-Standard and Garmont has conducted all the test where release forces were comparable to competitor boots. They also stressed (and I think this is a valid point), that the inserts where already in many boots in 2011 and there are no known issues.

    Anyway, this does not make the Cosmos more attractive…

  157. christian November 29th, 2012 3:31 pm

    after rereading the response Lou got from Garmont, I am quite sure, that the one i read today was very very similar (if not the same), just in german

  158. Doug November 29th, 2012 3:48 pm

    Update 11/28 I took my Cosmos up the service road at the Whitefish Mountain resort was able to skin about 1000 feet and then ski back down the road. When the boot was either locked into the uphill mode or the heel locked into the downhill mode there was virtually no play between the Dynafit binding and the Garmont tech inserts. In addition as you remember I ground down or beveled the Garmont cosmos tech inserts so that the release pressure as per Lou’s test method was similar to my older Garmont Radiums that have the Dynafit tech insert. The ski down was a bit gnarly on crusty snow and there was no pre-release Or indication of impending premature release pending.

  159. Lou Dawson November 29th, 2012 5:09 pm

    Doug, thanks for the update. Sounds like it would be trivial for Garmont to produce fittings that worked as your modified ones do. As for the play, each person will probably have a different take. Where I thought it was most obvious during actual use was in rolling motion of boot. To me, it’s not acceptable. But again, to each his own. Lou

  160. Doug November 29th, 2012 5:52 pm

    Agree, Lou. Those local ski shops selling this years Garmont cosmos certainly need to be aware of the issues and educate their clients. A new standard must be established that creates total compatibility Regardless of the current situations potential for causing further problems. Thanks again.

  161. Luis Alonso November 30th, 2012 2:52 am

    Hi Doug,

    I will risk it and try to bevel the edges of the toe inserts the way you have done it, so I would like to ask something:

    Did you bevel the edges along the complete perimeter or only at some parts of it? If I understood correctly it should be enough to remove a very small amount of metal from the edges. Is it possible to see the difference easily, e.g. in a picture?

    Cheers,

    Luis

  162. Doug November 30th, 2012 8:53 am

    Hi Luis,

    Let me answer your question then add my technique:
    I did not bevel the entire circumference but concentrated on the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock front and back areas which are the areas where the binding pins would contact to release. Take a good look at the Garmont tech inserts before beveling so that you can judge just how much metal to remove. All you want is a very slight curve as opposed to the relatively square Configuration that exists prior to beveling.
    The 3/16 inch diamond drill looks more like a burring tool than a traditional drillbit. In addition I used a drillpress so that both of my hands could hold the boot. I would not suggest Using a Try one of the boots in your binding and see if it’s acceptable. I would also suggest that you get a hold of a boot that has the original Dina Fitz tech inserts and compare the release pressures and make sure that the cosmos boot has normalized. handheld drill. That would not enable you to control the boot with two hands. You need to just barely touch The tech insert at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions to the drill watching carefully to make sure that your featherlight motions do not remove excessive metal. After removing a small amount Of filings from the metal of the insert place the boot in your binding and see if the pressures have normalized. In addition I would suggest you get a hold of a Dynafit tech insert boot and compare those pressures. If I can I will try to post pictures of the drillbit that I used in the drillpress set up an actual pictures of my cosmos boot compared to my three-year-old radians that have the benefit concert. There is no rush to do this Louis so take your time and make sure you’re ready to go. You’ll only get one shot at this. Then again you might practice on boots that are dispensable.
    I hope this information is helpful. Let us know how things work out.
    Doug

  163. Doug November 30th, 2012 8:56 am

    Louis,
    Obviously my dictation above has some mistakes. I would not suggest using a handheld drill for this procedure. I guess you could make out the other typos/incorrect dictation above.
    Doug

  164. Doug November 30th, 2012 8:59 am

    And no I do not plan on sponsoring a benefit concert to help Garmont to raise money to resolve this problem. LOL.
    Doug

  165. Luis Alonso November 30th, 2012 10:17 am

    Hi Doug,

    many many thanks for your instructions. I am planning to use a dremel with an aluminiumoxid drill. The dremel has only limited power and is very light, so it can be easily held with the hands. The boots can be fixed into a frame binding so they do not move. I could also fix the dremel and held the boot with two hands. Before trying with the boots I’ll experiment a bit with some steel screw…

    I have an old Garmont Megaride with good working tech inserts to compare with, so I’ll try to remove a minimum of metal each time and compare the release pressure before removing any more. I’ll try to replicate the edge shape of the Megaride as good as I can.

    Again, MANY THANKS.

    Luis

  166. Lou Dawson November 30th, 2012 10:24 am

    This has to be the most radical mod ever published on WildSnow.com!

    Here is how I would do it. As Doug says, use a small tool and do minimal material removal. More, if you can get the boot to release without damaging the binding, do so a number of times FIRST which will score your work area, as well as possibly smoothing out the release a bit before you start with the mod.

    ABOVE ALL note that tech fittings that are properly shaped are intended to block release at angles above the normal angle the boot is held at when the heel is latched for downhill. So be super careful not to ease off the edge of the fitting in any area that’s not used during safety release. If you do, you’ll possibly create a fitting you’ll pop out of too easily on the uphill — and at the same time you will have an orphaned off-warranty pair of boots.

    It’s been verified now by dozens of people that some Garmont fittings indeed have unacceptably high release values, especially when first used. I’d suggest waiting and seeing if Garmont eats some crow and acknowledges this. It defies reason if they don’t. After that, they can implement a solution to take the release resistant fittings out of the retail stream. At this point, the excuse of there being no standard is ridiculous. Lots of manufactured goods are made without ISO standards and are still expected to perform properly.

    Lou

  167. Doug November 30th, 2012 11:05 am

    Luis,

    Sounds like a good plan. Actually the metal is pretty hard and if you go slowly there shouldn’t be any problems. It’s not going to take much. Lou’s suggestions and critique of Garmont are on point. Good luck.

    Doug

  168. Doug November 30th, 2012 1:04 pm

    Go to this you tube link to see pictures of beveled Cosmos Tech Inserts:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFAHQyKO-8A
    Enjoy
    Doug

  169. Alex November 30th, 2012 2:29 pm

    Bought them today. Because they’re just perfect for my feet :)
    When asking the retailer about the problem he said that garmont had told them, that they will exchange the inserts. It’s one of the biggest mountain stores here in Switzerland, so that’s good enough for me.
    cheers

  170. gr December 1st, 2012 4:23 am

    @Alex :
    Does that mean Garmont will replace the bootshell of customers as soon as a new batch of Cosmos are available, or will they just update the boot for the next season?
    - I wouldn’t bet on the comment of the retailer. I got my Garmont statement yesterday (same as posted before on this page): no word of a replacement.

    I tried just about every modern AT boot on the market. The Cosmos is probably the only acceptable one to me in terms of toebox width, so i hope your retailer was serious. (i’m cursed with duckfeet ;-) )

    As suggested in the comments earlier, i did a few forced releases with my new Radical ST.
    The release of the boot in downhill mode is now almost comparable to a Dynafit ZZero4 and Vertical ST setup.
    I simply twisted the heel-tower on both setups. The boots pop out at nearly the same angle from the toe pice. (not very realistic test – i know)
    To be fair, i should note, that there is no smooth release on the Dynafit boot either when twisting the heel tower.
    Maybe someone should try to catch that with a highspeed camera ;-)

    Still: Dynafit Quickstep Inserts would make that boot just about perfect.

  171. Lou Dawson December 1st, 2012 6:23 pm

    GR, why are you concerned? Are your boots not working correctly after the forced releases? Also, what’s your opinion on the play in the fittings?

  172. GR December 1st, 2012 11:35 pm

    First: thank you Lou for all your work on this topic! I’m a big fan of your page.
    Back to topic:
    My main concern is the quality of the insterts. When just 5 forced releases changed the characteristics of the inserts, how will they perform in 3 years? The play in the unlocked binding just adds to that concern.

    I’m just a bit annoyed by the lack of quality control on such a premium product.
    Greetings from Austria :-)

  173. Luis Alonso December 2nd, 2012 2:33 am

    Hi, Doug and Lou,

    I beveled the edges of my Cosmos yesterday. In the end I decided to fix the boot and held the dremel with my hands. Since the dremel has only a limited amount of power it was easy not to remove too much metal.

    Release pressure is now comparable to an old Megaride when the heel of the boots is placed on the brake plate of my Radical ST. Even some return-to-center movement is there now. I´m not certain how much of this change is due to the beveling of the edges and how much to the repeated releases.

    After modifying the toe inserts I stepped into the boots to relase the bnding in downhill mode. In my opinion it works fine. Now I only need an on-snow test to make sure there is still enough retention. But most of retention should be provided by the heel piece if I´m right.

    Due to all the forced releases, the toe piece of the binding got a bit loose and I had to fasten the torx screws. What is immediately apparent to me is that releasing the Megarides or my adapted boots does not exert the torsional stress needed to loosen the toe piece of the binding: you can release the toe piece many times without the toe piece suffering.

    The binding play is of course still there. Measurement of the toe insert width of both boots reveals no difference between the Cosmos and the Megaride. They are almost identical. When fixing the boots in the toe pieces, the toe pins get just 1 mm closer with the Cosmos. In my humble opinion the cones are too different.

    I cannot believe that Garmont did not notice this huge difference. Especially with the inserts beeing used in all their models. As Lou said above, it is what it is…

    Lou and Doug, It goes without saying that I really appreciate your work and your instructions. At least, I´m not going out there with a boot that would probably not release at low speeds.

    Luis

  174. Christian December 2nd, 2012 4:18 am

    How is this boot regarding the dreaded tech-pre-release? I

  175. Lou Dawson December 2nd, 2012 6:25 am

    Christian, hard to know. Evaluating that would take a huge sample and a few seasons of use. Meanwhile, one guess is that the play could cause more vibration, but on the other hand the binding toe pins/cones insert at least .5 mil more per side and the boot is “stiff” in terms of side release, especially if not modified, so perhaps it resists pre-release by simply being harder to release… Lou

  176. jriph December 2nd, 2012 7:28 am

    Would it be an idea to use some machinist blue/magic marker on the inserts to see where the actual contact patches are and how ( and if) they change with repeated release.

  177. Lou Dawson December 2nd, 2012 8:36 am

    Jriph, it’s easy to see where the insert gets scored by the binding toe unit pins riding out of it during release. But some kind of indicator marking would be useful. Just blacking out the surface of the steel with a black sharpie would work fine. Lou

  178. Nick Lyle December 3rd, 2012 8:37 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I have observed the same issues you describe with my new Cosmos boots in new Dynafit TLT Speed Radical bindings. It is a shame; I love these boots.

    Just for fun I compared the Cosmos tech inserts with my 6 year old Mega Ride inserts under a 10 power dissecting microscope. The old (Mega Ride) toe inserts display a larger radius on the rounded edges of the holes that accept the binding pins.

    Under the microscope, when I scratched the metal of the insert on the Cosmos (apparently a die cast steel piece made for Garmont) with a needle it felt softer and the needle left a deeper groove in the metal than when I tried to scratch the older Mega Ride inserts with the same needle. I am not sure this means much. It is possible that the surface of the older inserts is work-hardened (it is burnished from wear). It makes sense for the inserts to be a bit softer than the binding pins; in my experience the binding should last much longer than the boots will anyway. In designing machines with metal-on-metal friction of this sort it is important to combine metals which will interact well over time. This is often accomplished by combining parts made of metals which are not of the same hardness.

    Under the microscope I could easily see several grooves left in the Cosmos insert metal by the binding pins when I forced them to release in “tests”. These grooves run from the forward edge of the insert socket toward the toe of the boot, across the metal and on into the boot shell material. The radius of the socket edge was visibly more rounded at the forward edge of the socket, which seems to confirm observations that repeated releases smooths out the action by wearing the insert.

    When I look at the spread of the binding toe piece “wings” the measurement is the same for both Cosmos and Mega Ride (about 85 mm), however the pins appear to go all the way into the Cosmos inserts such that the wider base supporting the pins is in contact with the back edges of the insert on both sides of the boot. This contact may be preventing the cone shaped pin-ends from mating with the cone shaped sockets. The Mega Ride insert shows a small but visible clearance between the ends of the insert and the metal at the base of the binding pins (implying that the pins are all the way into the sockets). When the toe piece is locked with no boot in place the toe piece wings are a closer together (about 83mm) than with either boot in place. I found the same measurements and conditions when I tried both boots in a much older Dynafit binding.

    It looks to me like sanding a bit of metal off the ends of the insert (at each side of the boot toe) would effectively make the insert sockets slightly less deep and might allow the pins to seat better in their sockets. This might reduce the play in the bindings (once the cone shaped pin settles into the cone shaped socket) as well as allowing a bit more clearance for the release to progress more smoothly. Farther back in this thread one or two other folks have tried increasing the radius at the edge of the insert socket holes to make the binding release more smoothly. Instead, or perhaps in addition, I am suggesting sanding a bit off the flat ends of the inserts, flush with the sides of the boot. If removing 0.5mm or so from each side of the insert allowed the pins to seat properly, so that a bit of clearance showed on both sides of the boot toe this might help a lot. The clearance showing when the mega Rides are locked in is barely 0.5mm or so on each side of the boot (between the end of the insert and the wider metal at the base of the binding pin). I would not want to remove much more than this if no clearance developed since there is only 2 mm to work with before the pins are as close together as they can get. This fix is worth a try; if the cone shaped pins are failing to seat by even a hair’s breadth quite a bit of wobble would develop, and the contact between the pin-bases and the ends of the inserts might be what is blocking the initiation of the binding’s smooth release motion. At the same time, taking a bit of metal off the ends of the inserts would make the sockets shallower, making it easier for the pin to rotate out of the socket as the boot rotates relative to the ski and binding. Sanding the ends of the inserts will also require removing a bit of the boot shell and sole around the metal insert.

    After skiing a few miles (both up and down hill) in the Cosmos I looked at the toe insert sockets under the 10 power microscope and saw crescent shaped wear grooves where the binding pin bases rubbed against the sides of the inserts just behind the sockets. Inside the sockets the cast steel was worn (burnished) only around the edges of the socket opening and at the very bottom of the cone shaped socket. This seems to indicate that the very tips of the pins are making contact with the bottom of the sockets, but the cone shaped ends of the pins are not seating well in the sockets. It remains to be seen if they would seat and/or release better with a little bit of clearance between the pin bases and the toe piece inserts.

    Nick Lyle

  179. Nick Lyle December 3rd, 2012 10:39 pm

    Lou,

    I attempted to compare the depth of the sockets in the Cosmos boot-toe tech inserts with those in the Mega Rides by using an exacto knife and an engineer’s scale as a depth gauge under the 10 power scope (not very scientific; crude, but it gave me a rough idea of what is going on). It looked to me like the sockets in the Cosmos were roughly between .5mm and 0.2mm deeper than the Mega Ride sockets. It would be a good idea to have a more accurate measurement of the correct socket depth than this, so as to avoid making the socket shallower than it should be while sanding down the insert. One would want to make a more careful measurement of the specific boot and then remove only a small amount at a time, checking to see if clearance began to show. I don’t want to suggest that it would be a good idea for anyone to try these modifications. I am a blacksmith, not a ski equipment designer. I just want to add my observations to the mix in the hope that Garmont, or somebody, will be able to solve this problem so that we can all use these excellent boots safely.

    Nick Lyle

  180. Lou Dawson December 4th, 2012 7:21 am

    Hi Nick, thanks for all your attention to this matter!

    It’s fun to fool around with actually modifying the tech fittings, but you have to admit that this is somewhat theater of the absurd, if we’re fiddling around with sanding fractions of a millimeter off a tiny piece of metal in a new $700 ski boot that’s otherwise nearly perfect.

    As I mentioned somewhere above, the easiest way to compare depth of the tech fittings is to simply place various boots in the same binding toe, then measure width of binding to wings with boot latched in binding and touring lock pulled up (to make sure the binding is totally closed on the boot).

    The Garmont fittings are definitely deeper, which is what causes the play and at least partially what causes the sticky release. The softer metal is a concern as well, as is the overall shape of the fitting socket, as you observed so well.

    A microscope. Hillarious! Is that scientific enough?

    Lou

  181. Doug December 4th, 2012 8:15 am

    Hilarious! Didn’t anybody watch my video? Laurel and Hardy must work @ Garmont. I will definitely not have Garmont techies move my piano. Apologies to you young pow people and Europeans who have no idea what I’m talking about. Lou gets it.
    By the way yesterday I skinned 1500 ft up and skied wind blown firm powder and the Cosmos were flawless functionally. My buddy was cursing his new G3 onyx bindings, which take some getting use to and are a good 1/2 inch lower then the dynafits in steep uphill mode.

    So can we all just relax and ski now?

    Doug

  182. Lou Dawson December 4th, 2012 8:24 am

    Doug, but, you’re always going to know that play is there in alpine mode. Doesn’t it just niggle at your mind just a little bit (grin)?

  183. Nick Lyle December 4th, 2012 9:48 am

    Lou,

    Yeah, I may just return the boots, but the urge to tinker is strong and the boots are really nice otherwise. I did measure across the binding wings, but since the pin bases are touching the sides of the boot (insert) on the Cosmos this measurement does not indicate the socket depth. My guess is that the pins are almost seated and it is the extra hole depth that is the biggest problem.

    Nick

  184. Doug December 4th, 2012 11:25 am

    Lou,

    My Fritschi’s jiggle too. I guess I’m not so niggle prone. But I hear you.
    Stop playing with my mind, Lou. :) I’m too old to be niggled with.

    Doug

  185. Lou Dawson December 4th, 2012 4:39 pm

    Seriously, the lack of rolling deflection and play is one of the beautiful things about tech bindings. To go backwards and introduce such play on a new product is disappointing, to say the least. My take, anyhow…

  186. Doug December 4th, 2012 6:29 pm

    Agree. The sheer number of posts is testimony to that. Garmont needs to step back in and acknowledge the issue and tell us what they’re going to do about it. They have a great AT boot but it (they) need(s) some tweaking.
    Doug

  187. Nick Lyle December 8th, 2012 9:36 pm

    Well I went ahead and sanded a teensy bit off the sides of the tech inserts in the toes of my Cosmos boots and also added a small amount of radius to the forward edges of the tech insert sockets. I used a sanding disc and a variable speed die grinder with a pointy conical bit to make these subtle changes to the tech inserts. I would not want to try this unless you are experienced with these metal working tools. Hand files and sandpaper would be slower and safer. Also, I have no idea if these modifications are a really a good idea. However the Cosmos boot loves the shape of my feet, so I took a chance and tweaked the inserts. The alterations I made greatly improved the smoothness of the release action when I popped the boots in and out of two different models of Dynafit binding. It also seemed to slightly reduce the wiggle to the point that there is virtually no wiggle when the boot is in downhill mode, and no wiggle at all when locked into uphill mode. I think the binding points sit better in the sockets now.

    Today I took the modified Cosmos boots and a new pair of Volkl Nanuqs mounted with new Dynafit TLT Speed radical bindings to the Mount Baker Ski area for a day of lift skiing and a short side country run in heavy Cascades powder. Baker had 80 inches fall in the past 7 days, so the snow was pretty nice! I skied powder, chopped up crud, groomed runs and an occasional patch of icy crust all day. The boots performed flawlessly. I had only one binding release, an appropriate one, when I slammed into some mashed potato “powder” at an awkward angle.

    I have no way of knowing if I “fixed” these boots, but at least I didn’t ruin them. I am comfortable with how they release now and I absolutely love the way the Cosmos fits and the way it drives a lively ski like the Nanuqs. These boots are very light, very comfortable, climb really well and ski beautifully. To give you some idea where I am coming from, I have been skiing with Mega Rides and Shuksans for the past 7 years or so, almost always in the backcountry. I will still use the Shuksans, but the Mega Rides are history now.

  188. Lou Dawson December 9th, 2012 5:48 am

    Nick, since this is WildSnow.com where modding is king and queen, that sounds fantastic! Nice job! On the other hand, not exactly a viable solution for Garmont as the vast majority of customers are not going to be modifying their boot’s tech fittings, and I fail to see how a shop could even touch this for fear of liability issues.

  189. Doug December 9th, 2012 9:30 am

    Agree with Lou and concur with Nick. Whitefish is getting the same weather systems as Seattle area. I skied the my “doctored” Cosmos on Voile Busters yesterday in 2 Ft of light powder. Buried my right ski tip and released cleanly in a forward fall. No indications of inappropriate release on packed, chopped up, or untracked.

    Doug

  190. Lou Dawson December 9th, 2012 10:12 am

    Doug, just an FYI, the issue with Cosmos boot toe tech fittings has nothing to do with forward release. But good to hear your modified toe fittings are not causing any trouble with side release, which is what they enable. Lou

  191. Doug December 9th, 2012 3:20 pm

    Right. But it is nice to know that they release correctly with a forward fall as well.
    Doug

  192. Lou Dawson December 9th, 2012 4:33 pm

    true

  193. Tyler December 11th, 2012 7:49 pm

    Hey Lou,

    Tyler again from Mountain Shop in Portland. One of the guys at the shop tested the Cosmos versus the Scarpa Pegasus on our ASTM machine under a variety of situations (old/new dynafit bindings, tour/ski mode, and multiple releases). The write up is on our blog – which is linked to my name – but the general finding was that the ASTM values were about 10-20 points higher for the Cosmos in any and all situations, which roughly equates to 1.5-2 DIN values higher for the Cosmos.

  194. Brian December 13th, 2012 10:18 am

    I did a similar mod as Nick above. Basically grinded the inside front of the insert with a Dremel. It now works against the springs instead of the entire toe piece. Search on vimeo for video of the results.
    IMHO the problem with the release is due to the insert being cylindrical near the opening, and conical at the bottom. My BD Factors appear to be entirely conical, so that during release only the angled part of the pin is sliding against the insert. With the Cosmos, a small section of the cylindrical part of the pin is in contact with the insert, making it very hard to release.

  195. Brian A December 13th, 2012 3:00 pm

    I modded my Cosmos to be a bit stiffer in forward flex. It worked better than expected. Details here:

    http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/254334-Garmont-Cosmos-tech-fittings?p=3842610&posted=1#post3842610

  196. Charlie December 19th, 2012 2:15 pm

    Very cool, Tyler. Thank you!

  197. See December 19th, 2012 7:31 pm

    Thanks Tyler et al. for taking the time to do those tests and share your findings. I’m curious about how the machine you used works. A name or general description that I could use to search for further info would be much appreciated.

  198. Eric Despain December 20th, 2012 5:14 pm

    Hi Lou,
    Thanks for the heads up on the release issue.
    This fall I purchased new cosmos to replace my old endorphins which failed at the end of last spring.
    The cosmos fit and performance are excellent.
    Up to now I have used the cosmos with my old skis and fritschi bindings due to the early snow pack. My friend Craig told me about your findings. After reading your article, I decided to test with my new skis (dps wailers and plums). I have never skied with a dynafit style binding before, but am switching to them this year.
    I have replicated your findings exactly. I am very glad I did not do this while falling with my leg attached to the ski!
    I don’t have a din tester, or any other dynafit bindings to compare to, but here is what I observed:
    The dps/plum combo did not appear to deform during the testing. Perhaps this is a beefier setup? Or, perhaps I didn’t notice it due to lack of experience.
    The first lateral release with the first boot was severe, but eventually released.
    I released twice, once in each direction, with each ski. After the first release, the effort to laterally release was significantly reduced and seemed to stay the same with subsequent releases.
    The second boot behaved identically using the same procedure.
    Hopefully the break in process has done the trick. I am glad I did this before skiing/falling/releasing.
    I may try to stop by a dealer to have a professional din test performed. I noticed the plum manual recommends this testing.
    FYI,
    Eric

  199. See December 20th, 2012 7:08 pm

    I meant “What DIN test is meaningful with tech bindings?”

  200. Lou Dawson December 20th, 2012 8:27 pm

    Any test that’s repeatable and has measurable results has meaning. But yeah, tech bindings are not “DIN” calibrated, the numbers just sort of match those of a “DIN” certified binding.

  201. See December 20th, 2012 9:05 pm

    To elaborate a bit, the only testing machine I’m familiar with is for alpine bindings and applies sideways force at the toe of the boot ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORvpLjlx8Uk ). This resembles the mode of release demonstrated in the wildsnow prerelease video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6cETQwh6V8 ). Forcing the toe piece open by applying a force perpendicular to the length of the ski near the toe piece does not reproduce the camming action between pin and socket that occurs when a twisting force is applied. Sideways force should be applied at the heel of the boot to simulate the mode of release intended by the designers of the tech binding ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-tW-GY5cKA ). IMO

  202. See December 21st, 2012 2:58 am

    Maybe best would be a tester that applied a twisting force to the boot like this http://www.vermontskisafety.com/files/VERMONT-RELEASE-CALIBRATER.pdf .

  203. See December 21st, 2012 3:17 am

    … but with the torque wrench rotated 180 degrees from the picture– handle pointing forward.

  204. gringo December 21st, 2012 5:33 am

    Hey Lou,

    Tylers’ test makes so much more sense than any of the highly variable ‘tests’ that have been published so far on this boot . I think if you can say a DIN +2 effect is the result of this tolerance issue, it’s a workable / skiable ‘flaw’ and not a huuuuge deal , as long as it is imporved on by Garmont ASAP.

    Or am I way off base?

    Cheers,
    Gringo

  205. Lou Dawson December 21st, 2012 6:28 am

    See, the Dynafit engineer inventor told me years ago that the numbers printed on the binding are intended to match as closely as possible the release forces indicated by the “DIN” numbers on an alpine binding. Nonetheless, yes, you can’t just stick a tech binding in a testing machine and expect the resulting numbers to have any meaning in terms of them being “DIN” numbers, since the tech binding side release happens mostly at the heel. The other thing to remember about even “DIN” bindings is that the DIN/ISO standard allows substantial variation in the amount of force for a given number, my recollection is that it’s at least one above and one below. In other words setting an alpine binding to DIN 10 could mean it’s either 9,10 or 11. This is perhaps why Garmont does not appear too concerned about their boots have stiffer release when compared with others (though some of the stiffer releases I experienced in my evauations were way beyond one number different, and again, not smooth.)

    In my opinion, the main things with testing tech binding systems and evaluating is simply to compare different boot/binding systems and to realize that problems with release may not be the binding’s fault. I think a lot of problem people have had with tech bindings over the years have been caused by faulty fittings, and with no way to evaluate this, it was “lock the binding, fix the problem,” or just dial it up to such high release values injury was almost certain in a bad fall. More, very few people want to release check their boots and tech bindings to the point where force appears to be stressing the binding toe.

  206. Lou Dawson December 21st, 2012 7:17 am

    Gringo, it gets down to whatever floats your boat. But my opinion is that the way the vast majority of tech fittings behave, off the shelf, when release tested, is the way all fittings should behave. The Garmont fittings are way outside that cultural norm, in my opinion too far out. I know my experience and opinion carry some weight, so I don’t make such criticism without a lot of consideration. What causses my continued concern is the fact is that you can’t expect every person who acquires boots with the Garmont fittings to either do a series of break-in release checks and even modify the fittings to get them to work smoothly. More, no matter what you do the play will still be there unless the binding is locked, and fittings we have in our possession still don’t exhibit good return-to-center even after being released multiple times. It seems like you’re playing devil’s advocate here, or are perhaps somehow associated with Garmont or Scott? Face it, the fittings myself and many others have evaluated behave way outside of normal behavior and no amount of rationalization can make that go away. As for your thing about how we’re all testing this, all sorts of things in life can be evaluated many different ways. For example, you don’t need a measurement device to know your shoes fit, or that your seat belt in a car is secured, or your cowboy hat is on sideways (grin)… grab tech equipped boots and run them through normal hand release checks, compare to each other, do the same with Garmont, the differences are so easy to feel and see that any worry about methodology is simply a straw man in this discussion. Lou

  207. Lou Dawson December 21st, 2012 7:23 am

    I’d add that Tyler’s guys found an approximation of 1.5-2 DIN values higher for the Cosmos — after break-in. Considering the fact that the DIN standard ALREADY allows for at least a 1 number variation in the binding, now we add tech fittings to that! In other words, you could be thinking your binding is set to 6 and it’s actually a 9. Again, Gringo and all, can you see why one would have at least a modicum of concern about this?

    One other thing, as with many other issues we’ve pointed out over the years, whatever the criticism of our take on the Garmont tech fittings, what to watch for is if the company chooses to fix it or leave it the same. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve pointed something out, and the official word was “that’s not a problem and it works,” only to see the product redesigned or changed, sometimes even during the same season. It’s actually quite humorous sometimes.

    Lou

  208. See December 21st, 2012 9:10 am

    Thanks Lou for the thoughtful responses. I think this is an interesting and useful topic.

    My question regarding DIN testing was mostly rhetorical. My point is that it is not enough simply to do a test, even if it is quantitative and reproducible. If the test measures force at the toe, it seems to me that there might not be much variation in the results among different boots (and tech bindings) because the machine would mostly be measuring toe piece spring tension. In other words, the machine would simply be pushing the jaws of the binding open with very little rotation of the boot occurring (rotation or twisting being the force against which the boot/binding toe is designed to protect).

    Actually, without some sort of “rolling force” to pop the boot out of the test rig once the jaws have opened, the measurements could vary wildly and a sufficiently powerful test machine could conceivably damage the binding.

  209. Joshua December 21st, 2012 10:58 pm

    I just switched from the Cosmos to the Mercury. It was a great decision and I am really happy with this boot. The fit is much closer to the Cosmos than to the Maestrale, wich was too narrow for my foot.
    For those who like to know, Scott announced their 13/14 boot-line and the future-Cosmos will get a new tech insert! No one knows what will happen to the actual model – probably just nothing.

  210. Greg December 24th, 2012 11:42 am

    Hello Lou,

    What do you mean by “Considering the fact that the DIN standard ALREADY allows for at least a 1 number variation in the binding”?

    Does it mean that when a DIN certified binding is set on 6 it actually means a range of 5-7?

    By the way, I saw your findings being talked about on the most followed French ski touring site, so this is def of interest for many people.

    Happy holidays season!

  211. Greg December 24th, 2012 1:54 pm

    I am like kids, I start reading the latest posts first :-D DDD

    So I now see that my question was answered earlier by yourself

    “my recollection is that it’s at least one above and one below. In other words setting an alpine binding to DIN 10 could mean it’s either 9,10 or 11.”

    Cheers

  212. Lou Dawson December 24th, 2012 5:51 pm

    Guys, my recollection is that the fudge factor on DIN standards was a deviation of 1 number, but I could be wrong. What I’m certain of is that there is quite a bit of deviation allowed in the standard. No standard is perfect, most have some sort of grain.

    I’ll get the facts on this, sorry to just throw that out there. But yeah, if the deviation is 1, that means your binding set at 6 could be 5, 6, or 7

    Lou

  213. Seth December 24th, 2012 6:06 pm

    The “deviation” you’re recalling is the range of acceptable values, in nm, when testing a binding for release.

    If, for example, you’re like me (5’11″, 185#, 307mm BSL, type III skier), your “skier code” is M.

    Acceptable test range is between the L and N “skier codes.” So in this case for a twist, between 67 and 91 nm, and for forward release between 271 and 280 nm.

    http://www.dinsetting.com/dinchart.htm

  214. Lou Dawson December 24th, 2012 6:21 pm

    I just heard from an engineer. The DIN binding standard allows a 10% to 20% variation, I take that as meaning if your settings are around 10 then yeah the deviation would be about 1 to either side. In real life, that means don’t make a god out of the numbers printed on the plastic binding housing. Lou

  215. Lou Dawson December 24th, 2012 6:42 pm

    It gets confusing, main thing to remember is that release values indicated on a binding are not highly precise.

  216. Aaron Anderson December 24th, 2012 8:00 pm

    Lou,
    I was sent your way by a 14er.com member. I have a question for you. I have a pair of Alpina xcountry ski’s. They are back country ski’s with a fat profile and edges. I would like to start trekking into some base camps with these. However, I am not willing to pack my mountaineering boots. What I’d like to do is retrofit my ski with a binding capable of accommodating my Scarpa Phantom Guides. These ski’s will be used to access back country. I will not be using them for the climb itself. I could not find a place on the website to post a new question. I hope this is the right move. Thanks for your time.

    Aaron Anderson

  217. Lou Dawson December 25th, 2012 8:45 am

    Hello Aaron, I think your question is what binding to use? If so, any of the Silvretta models with a toe wire type toe, such as model 404.

    We do have an article on this subject, perhaps it needs some updating.

    http://www.wildsnow.com/3671/ski-gear-climbing-boots/

    Lou

  218. Denis January 3rd, 2013 12:07 pm

    I am considering the garmont cosmos as well as the dynafit Titans. I am coming from radiums- which I could never get to fit comfortable- although may have been too small on the shell size. I am interested in a comfortable boot that can also drive a bigger ski (gotamas with salomon bindings) for both lift serve and backcountry and would greatly appreciate any comparisons and opinions on these two boots aside from the obvious weight differences.

  219. Ken Scissors January 3rd, 2013 4:06 pm

    Slightly off topic, but anyone skied the Garmont Orbit? I’m 145lbs, short radius turner, gear weight conscious guy. Skiing on DPS 112 carbons with dynafit binding, looking for a boot for longer tours that is really light but sturdy enough to ski steeps safely. Dynafit TLT5 too narrow. Thoughts, suggestions? Thx.

  220. Aaron Stanford January 4th, 2013 4:16 pm

    Hi Lou, I got some new 2012 Dalbello Sherpa 5/5 a few days ago. The first day took them out was on a brand new pair of dynafit radical st. When I clicked in for the uphill climb, the dynafit uphill toe lock would not click up. First I thought I must have some snow or fruitcake in the dynafit inserts so I double checked by cleaning them out. still no dice…the toe lock would not click up and I could go no more than a few feet without releasing becasue I was basicly trying to climb in unlocked downhill toe mode. When I looked closely it looked like the toe wings would just not close all the way, like the tech fitting was just a little too wide. I did walk and limp a couple hundred feet up (I got lots of practice clicking in) and they seemed to stay on fine in downhill mode. (as expected) So when I got home and got them on the bench for closer inspection I was able to force the toe lock up to the first click, semi lock position, just barely, but not even close to a full lock where the plasitic toe lock is all the way up in the solid vertical position for climbing.

    When I look at the inserts, they look shallow and like if the holes were deeper the pins would go in further and allow the binding pins to close more fully and thus allow the lock to go up. They may be out of spec? Another observation is that the inserts are super shiny, but the shine chips off quick, like they got coated in some cheezy fake chrome. I wonder if this coating could have casued the otherwise good insert to come out of spec.

    They have good return to center action, but they do seem to release very easily side to side in downhill mode….like the holes are shallow.

    This whole thing makes me nervuse because I dont want to ski uphill only partialy locked where I could loose a ski in a bad spot and becuase it makes me wonder if the inserts are to shallow it could make the downhill prone to prerelease.

    Have you ever seen this? or tested any sherpas?

    Thanks – Aaron

  221. Lou Dawson January 4th, 2013 5:22 pm

    Aaron, simple tests. Try the boots in another binding, and try the same binding with another brand of boot, preferably Dynafit or Scarpa. It’s probably the fittings. You may need to warranty the boots or return them for a refund, but don’t go off the handle on that until you do some testing. One of the big problems with tech bindings is that people frequently blame the binding for problems created by the boot fittings — BUT, sometimes the boot fittings DO create the problem, and that might very well be the case in your situation…

    Lou

  222. Scott Dillman January 6th, 2013 2:35 pm

    Lou,

    I found your blog after learning of this issue while trying on Garmont Cosmos at REI, where they will sell them but only with a warning since they found basically the same thing as you did when using tech bindings, that they could not get prove a satisfactory release in their tests. They will only sell them with manager approval and if you are going to use them in non-tech bindings. The sales person told me this based on a memo, so it is good to get a more thorough understanding of this issue from your site. It is sad to see that Garmont is turning a blind eye to this.

    Thanks,

    Scott

  223. Aaron January 6th, 2013 3:34 pm

    Thanks Lou, I did these tests. The other boots I tried in my binding (scarpa and dynafit) fit into the binding fine and allowed me to easily lock the toe lever into fully locked climbing mode. However my pair of Dalbello Sherpa 5/5 does not allow me to fully lock the toe piece because the dynafit tech fittings in the boots are very slightly too shallow, so the toe wings of the binding cannot close all the way prevent the toe from being able to lock into climbing mode. I am wondering if I have a defective pair of boots or if others are having this issue with Sherpas as well.

    I love these boots and if it is just my pair having issues I could return them for some new ones…but if everyone is having the same issue it wont do me any good to get a new pair.

    Thanks – Aaron

  224. Lou Dawson January 6th, 2013 4:40 pm

    Nice job on the testing Aaron! Too bad about Dalbello, I guess it’s back to the drawing board for them… have to admit I’m getting a bit tired of all this, I mean, isn’t there anyone at these companies that knows how a tech fitting is supposed to work? Lou

  225. geo bullock January 6th, 2013 8:19 pm

    Is it possible to retro fit tec fittings? my kid has a 21.5 boot the other problem is i’ll have to jigger with binding to try and get a little lower release value.so far my approach .is to use light weight uphill only skis with a dynafit toe piece, with a block of wood to hold the heel up a little . the tricky part is to shut the toe piece on the boot just so,and make dimples in the plastic of the sole. lock it out all 4clicks and he would stay in pretty well for the first few years. now he’s bigger and comes out occasionly. not to mention i am carrying his regular alpine skis on the uphill which are 155′s not the 93′s for his first season touring. geo

  226. Bar Barrique January 6th, 2013 10:08 pm

    Your son is very close to some women”s boots (dynafit), and, Plum makes bindings with lower release settings.

  227. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 5:44 am

    Hi Geo, your kids feet will grow fast, just get the smallest Dynafit boot with tech fittings, fit the best you can, and let the kid grow into them. Reducing release values is easy. Take center spring out of heel unit sideways release mech. For vertical release, just set to lowest setting possible and widen the heel gap a bit, then test, it’ll probably be low enough.

    I’m not sure about what Bar says about release values of Plum being lower. I’ve got plenty of Dynafit bindings kicking around here that have the number 5 on the RV scale, and the Speed Radical is marked with a 4. While the Plum bindings I’ve got sitting here are marked as 5.5.

    Values are probably quite approximate at the extreme ends of the scale, but an approximate 4 or 5, tweaked with more heel gap, should be good enough to get the kid out for an uphill or short tour.

    I have good recollection of doing this with Louie and it all worked fine.

    Lou

  228. Bar Barrique January 7th, 2013 10:38 am

    On the Plum website; they show a Guide XS with a setting of 3.5 – 7. They also list a Guide XXS, but strangely the listed settings are 5.5 – 12 (might be an error).

  229. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 11:10 am

    It’s 5.5. Plum is known to not have a perfect website, but neither are we (grin). They also call them “DIN”settings on the product box, which is misleading. The binding is NOT certified to DIN/ISO standard, as no tech binding is at this time (though I suspect we may see one soon that’ll get DIN/ISO 13992 and perhaps 8364. The Plum product literature even states the binding is NOT certified to those standards. Lou

  230. Douglas Island February 22nd, 2013 10:45 pm

    Lou
    Did you find the same with the Delirium/Radium Tech inserts? Are all the tech inserts that Garmont now make (instead of Dfit) an issue? I read a lot of the above info but so many comments sorry if I missed it.

  231. Andrzej March 12th, 2013 7:48 pm

    I just tested my Cosmos with brand new Dynafit TLT Radical ST 130mm Binding, and the problems you demonstrate did not exist. Right after I purchased my boots I read your forum and I was ready to return them. Thanks god I did not.

    This is the best boot ever produced, not to mention I use that boot in the terrain park, and it’s the best thing I have ever bought in a long time.

    The boot itself has tons of other bugs that are not mentioned here on the forum, but even with those bugs it’s the numero uno if you ask me. Not to mention it is a 103 boot, so your feet are super happy.

  232. Lou Dawson March 12th, 2013 8:39 pm

    Good news Andresej, thanks for sharing. Lou

  233. Andrzej March 12th, 2013 8:47 pm

    I have a feeling your test was incorrect even though you could have been correct. When you lock the boot in, both of the issues are not there.

    My feeling is your post scared people away from a perfect boot, and that’s why I was able to pick it up for about $400.

  234. Nick March 12th, 2013 9:22 pm

    My Cosmos boots definitely had the release problems until I modified the toe inserts. Now they are great boots and I have skied all season in all sorts of conditions, Back country and inbounds. The only fault I find is that the high cuff puts some pressure on my shin in walk mode, but even so the walk mode is superb, skiing and walking and kicking steps with boot crampons.

  235. Mark March 26th, 2013 9:27 am

    I decided to use my Cosmos in a Marker Baron binding setup. I am unable lower the toe setup (AFD height) enough to get ANY space between the boot and the AFD. I think I am supposed to get a folder piece of paper in there.

    Any ideas? They don’t seem to release very smoothly on my DIY testing bench, and I am a little worried the bindings won’t do their job.

  236. Lou Dawson March 26th, 2013 9:44 am

    Mark, yeah, you need to be able to slide a folded piece of printer paper out from under without it tearing. Belt sand a small amount of rubber off the sole of the boot, it probably has too much rocker for the binding to handle. Not the fault of the boot, BTW. Lou

  237. Mark March 26th, 2013 9:48 am

    Thanks Lou. I was kind of thinking of that solution, but it means a whole lot more coming from you!

  238. Nick July 10th, 2013 12:08 am

    Still in love with the Cosmos boot, in combination with Dynafit Bindings and Nanuq skis. Just took them to the top of Glacier Peak in Washington State. No blisters all season, not even a hot spot. I did replace the stock foot beds with super feet for better performance. These boots have a great balance between stiffness and flex.

  239. David Neame December 26th, 2013 11:02 am

    Lou, and anyone you has attempt a mod on the Tech Inserts,
    Thanks for all your work on this issue Lou. I have the Garmont Cosmos boots and Dynafit TLT Classics. I have used the boots a number of times(without ever falling). After seeing your video and reading most of this blog, I’ve decided to attempt a MOD on the Tech Inserts, to try and fix the release problem. I only paid $50 for these boots in April 2013, as they are used rental boots from the MEC in Canada. They are in great shape, and I love the comfort and performance of the boots, and want to continue using them, but am very concerned about release-ability.
    I plan to use a DREMEL tool to round out the inside, outside edge of the cylindrical part of the insert, in order to make it more conical in shape. I’ll try and match it to my Laser Boot inserts.
    Lou, do you have any recommendations or contacts I can use before I attempt this MOD? Any recommendations on which DREMEL attachment to use? Any tips or suggestions would be much appreciated.

  240. David Neame December 26th, 2013 11:24 am

    Just some clarification on the above. I tested my Cosmos Boots using the same method Lou did in the video, and found the same results. The force needed to release is extreme. But my Laser Boots release very smoothly as they should.

    The MOD that I will attempt is to use a DREMEL tool, to change the shape of the insert hole, from cylindrical to conical. I believe I just need to lightly touch up the inside surface of the hole, only along the front facing edge. Clear as mud?

  241. Nick Lyle December 26th, 2013 12:10 pm

    read farther back on this post to see detailed descriptions of my tech insert mods for the last year’s Garmont version of the Cosmos boot. In a nutshell I slightly rounded just the edges of the toe tech insert sockets on the boots, and l also filed a bit off the face of the toe tech inserts, effectively making the tech insert holes slightly less deep. I did this second mod because the toe pins on my new Dynafit bindings were not bottoming out in the Cosmos tech insert holes; instead the binding jaws were resting on the face of the tech inserts. Whatever you do; you should study how your old boots (that release properly) fit the binding and copy that fit with any mods to the the Cosmos inserts. I spent some time with a 10 power lens and measuring tools before I made any changes, then I proceeded slowly with very small adjustments until the boots released right. This worked great for me. Make any mods based on your own observations, and at your own risk!

  242. Nick Lyle December 26th, 2013 12:17 pm

    I would not make the tech insert sockets cone-shaped, just radius the edge of the hole. My mods DID NOT solve the issue of a slight loose-ness, or rattle, to the boot-toe/binding interface when in downhill mode. However the boots skied great for me, skiing fairly aggressively in all sorts of snow conditions; I felt that I had great control and responsiveness with this setup. My bindings locked in tight (no rattle) with the bindings in uphill mode.

  243. Nick Lyle December 26th, 2013 12:21 pm

    Use a needle to measure the depth of the tech insert holes, as well as a scale to measure the width of the boot toe at the tech inserts. Compare your old (good) boots to the Cosmos. Tiny changes have a large effect. good luck.

  244. Lou Dawson December 26th, 2013 12:29 pm

    Hi Nick and all, one other tip. One way or another get the boots to release while inserted into the heel fitting so you have them at _exact_ heel height as real-world use, and that’ll make a score mark on the fitting, this mark is where the radius needs the most change. In fact, it’ll work better if you leave much of the other areas as-is as the boot will have better retention during touring mode. You can also fix some boots by releasing them multiple times, but doing so is pretty hard on the binding as the force required can be quite extreme.

    Do note that this year’s Cosmos works perfectly. I’m stunned you guys can’t return the non-releasing boots to your respective dealers. Truly weird.

    Lou

  245. Nick Lyle December 26th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Thanks Lou, My dealer told me he would take my boots back even if I modified them, but I loved the boots and had no desire to return them.

  246. Lou Dawson December 26th, 2013 12:55 pm

    Hi Nick, terrific dealer! Tell them thanks from me for standing up.

    The release is easy to check. It either works at normal values and “feel” or it doesn’t. And it should be smooth, not just POP out after large amount of force. There is actually some lateral (heel side-to-side) elasticity in a normal operating tech system.

    Lou

  247. David Neame December 27th, 2013 4:35 pm

    Lou and Nick,
    Thanks for all your help and tips. I modified my Garmont Cosmos boots today mostly using Nicks instructions and Lou’s testing methods.

    For MOD-1, I used a DREMEL with a #430 sanding wheel. I sanded just enough that the binding wing was no longer pressing on the rear face of the Tech Insert, using a paper test. I believe the pressure of the binding pin should be on the inside of the cup, not pressing on the outside surface of the Tech Insert. You should be able to slide a piece of paper between them. Need a photo of this.

    For MOD-2, I used a #952 grinding cone, but I think the smaller #953 would be better. I ground the forward edge, concentrating on the scoreline. Thanks for that tip Lou.

    Test Results:
    1. Very slight wiggle in downhill mode, but much less than before
    2. No wiggle in touring mode now
    3. Force needed to release with and without heal locked is almost the same as my Lasers now. I’m comfortable that they will release when needed.
    4. Retention (elasticity, return to center), is almost as good as my Lasers. I’ll have to ski them to see if there are any pre-release problems. Actually this elasticity is different between the new and old Dynafit TLT Classics that I have, using the same boot. Different spring tension I assume.

    After ski testing I posted a quick note to let you know if there are any problems.
    Thanks again
    -Dave

  248. louis dawson December 27th, 2013 5:02 pm

    Awesome! That is some DIY!

  249. Nick December 27th, 2013 7:33 pm

    Good job. Sanding the faces of the tech inserts down to get the overall width right, make the holes a tiny bit shallower, and allow the binding pins to seat properly in the sockets is probably the most important fix for these older garmont Cosmos boots. I took it down a bit more, allowing room for a few sheets of paper. You may end up taking a bit more off as the sockets wear in, but you are right to test them first. I skied hard on my modified boots and they never released except in a couple of crashes, when I wanted them to do so.

  250. David Neame December 27th, 2013 9:06 pm

    I plan on doing regular testing on the release on these Boots, just to ensure they continue releasing properly as they wear. I’ll use the paper test and may have to sand the faces of the tech inserts a little more if needed. Cheers.

  251. Nick Lyle December 27th, 2013 9:15 pm

    another brilliant pair of boots saved from the landfill!

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