Mod it baby! The cry went out over the neighborhood at WildSnow HQ the other evening, when I ran across a set of G3 Onyx brakes and noticed they have a slick little latching system that allows them to be stowed in their non-actuated position. Actually quite a beautiful gadget, kudos to those product developers at G3!
G3 Onyx brake used with early Dynafit tech binding, would work with lots of different tech bindings. Brake is shown in stowed position, it's held that way by a tiny metal latch visible near the center over the shiny cross bar. Click all images to enlarge.
I wish I had a nickle for every person who’s asked me if there are _any_ ski brakes that would be easy to install as aftermarket on earlier Dynafit bindings. So, I’ve always got that issue on my radar. I saw the Onxy brake, and, aha. You modders out there will have to decide if this is a viable mod or just a lark on my part. Meanwhile, this is a not so subtle hint to G3 that they could perhaps easily develop and retail an aftermarket “bolt on” ski brake for tech bindings. All they’d have to do is take their existing Onyx brake, make it slightly thinner with provision for running screws through it, and the brake could be installed as a “stomp block” under the boot heel with nearly any tech binding. They’d sell thousands! Check it out:
To enable the brake for downhill skiing, you push on the tiny catch and release the arms. A finger works, or a ski pole tip. To be clear, the idea here is that you have a brake you manually stow for the uphill, then manually deploy for the down. That said, and automatic deployment system could probably be cobbled up pretty easily.
I made three new holes in the brake to attach to ski. The rear holes go through a beefy steel plate but could do with some support underneath. The modder could install 'crush sleeves' as supports for the screws, meaning small lengths of steel tubing that the screws ran through, thus providing plenty of strength. A custom sized block of plastic or aluminum would work as well.
Looking at the G3 brake from underneath, red indicates the three holes I drilled as well as where I cut the back off the plastic housing. WARNING: If you cut the back part off, just cut to the front of the screw holes and not farther, as indicated in the photo by the RIGHT side of my rather thick red line.
With boot heel latched in binding, brake unlatched and ready to work. A couple of issues: First, if you press the brake down a tiny bit too far it'll latch into locked mode and won't deploy during a binding release. That's not a problem if you place the brake at just the right location under the boot (as pictured), but if you got snow or ice between the boot and brake you could end up pressing it down too far anyway. The other issue is friction in a side release. I tested, and with the brake in the pictured location I didn't see any significant problem with this, but it's worth testing for and at least keep the brake plate waxed. A production model of this idea could have an AFD such as Dynafit Radical FT/ST.
Again, what would be incredibly good with this is to have the brake just the right height to act as a stomp plate under the boot heel. The brake could be made at one standard height, with shims for different binding brands and models. G3!
Get yer Onyx ski brakes here, and mod on!