Dynafit Beast Binding — Lou’s Video Take +


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

For exhaustive information about Dynafit Beast ski binding, check our FAQ.

First look in motion, Beast binding by Dynafit. Not for everyone, but for skiers running various binding combos on the beefy side of things this could easily make for the one-binding quiver — if it works. This rig is quite complex mechanically, so a good period of consumer testing is mandatory. Meanwhile, here is a bit of bench riding to introduce the animal. Anything I say in this video (or write) is my own opinion, nothing more. Please do not infer anything about Dynafit’s official claims for The Beast. For that, refer to press release materials in previous blog post.

Below, a few detail shots I caught at the Dynafit press event. Keep in mind that this is a pre-production binding. I got the impression it is pretty much what will be retailed, but I’d imagine we’ll see a few small changes by the time it’s in shops. Again, weight is 850 grams per binding; good in some comparisons, not so good in others. You be the judge.

Beast toe unit is a turntable to create lateral release.

Beast toe unit is a turntable to create lateral release. Click images to enlarge.

Beast heel. Word is this complex machinery allows the heel pins to move more before release.

Beast heel. Word is this complex machinery allows the heel pins to move more before release, for more vertical elasticity and energy absorption. Once we have a binding to play around with we'll evaluate that with enthusiasm. .

Beast heel pins are slightly larger and possibly spaced farther apart, the start to tech 2.0?

Beast heel pins are slightly larger and possibly spaced farther apart, the start to tech 2.0? Hmmm, note that a number of binding companies are working on freeride style tech binding versions. Tyrolia? Salomon? Marker? The future is going to be very very interesting, and I hope all these guys will keep innovating on the lighter end of things as well as attempting to be the first tech binding used to win a freeride comp.

Comments

55 Responses to “Dynafit Beast Binding — Lou’s Video Take +”

  1. Marc January 14th, 2013 7:30 am

    Nice video Lou. Although not for me, I understand Dynafit is looking to trump the DUKE market with this binding. One thing that stands out is the amount of boot height off the ski this binding has. Is it more than standard Radical or Vertical bindings? It appears to be more and without any ramp angle.
    Cheers

  2. Wookie1974 January 14th, 2013 7:37 am

    Lou –

    how do you think you’d move those risers around while skinning up? I recognize that the bottom one stays down, but does it have a two stage climbing aid like the other Dynafits? And – can you move em about easily with a pole?

    Seeing as how I weigh about 170 soaking wet, I can’t imagine needing anything near a (non)DIN 16. I think I meet one or two guys all season that might….but what people buy is not always what they need. ;-)

    Any talk about a true step-in binding from Dynafit? Even with the towers I still find getting into mine a bit fiddly. In fact – thats the reason I still use a frame binding for anything I ride when I am hitting chairlifts and gondolas a lot. Its just less hassle.

    Wookie

  3. Crazy Horse January 14th, 2013 8:03 am

    Thanks Lew,
    I haven’t had such a good laugh before breakfast for years. (while watching your introduction video of the Beast).

    Lets see, given the rate of unemployment where I live I can hire an unemployed carpenter who owns a sled to haul me to the top of several hundred thousand vertical feet of powder in the Snake River Range for an entire season for the cost of this “Beast.” And use alpine bindings that actually work.

  4. Brian January 14th, 2013 8:42 am

    True wookie. Most folks would be fine with a Dynafit Radical and not have issues. But there’s this prevailing mentality in the US that everyone is so “gnar,” they have to have the burliest gear or else they might die. They might not truly need this binding, but it could convince them to jump into the tech market.

  5. Harry January 14th, 2013 9:03 am

    Lou,

    Is the boot sole adjustment still set by pin insertion and gap, or does the binding now operate on a more traditional “forward pressure” style boot sole adjustment do to the elastic travel of the heel piece?

    That heel travel seems the huge difference to me as far as preventing pre release in a radical camber or de-camber situation. The other stuff (rotating toe, metal tabs interfacing with the top of the heel, ect.) would seem to be things that were necessary to allow that to happen and maintain consistent release while not relying on travel lengthwise along the pins.

    To me RV 16 is meh, but at the same time my height, weight, age, skier type and bootsole length in a short soled AT boot charts me to a 10. It is no detriment to have a higher availble RV that I won’t use, and the #16 isn’t the reason for the price, it is all the other things.

    $1000 is a lot, but it is likely the only thing of it type on the market, so its not over or under priced, it is just what it costs to have it.

  6. reukk January 14th, 2013 9:11 am

    Lou,

    Thanks for the review. Can you clarify about the heel tech fitting? Will you need a boot with the beefier fitting? Can you say how easy it will be to retrofit?

  7. Matt Kinney January 14th, 2013 9:13 am

    That toe piece looks like the BD O1 telemark binding as well as the color. Good luck with that. :lol:

    Seriously, that is some amazing engineering.

  8. XXX_er January 14th, 2013 9:18 am

    I think the beast adresses a problem of the Low tech binding, its been obvious for some time lowtech had reached a point where it could no longer handle BIG skiers on WIDE skis and the Beast looks to address this situation, the big question will be can Dynafit sell enough beast in europe to make $$$ because from my understanding NA is a pretty small market ?

    The people who need this binding (not me) know who they are and will pay 1000$ which is nothing compared to a nice bike habit or any toy with a motor …certainly <$ than owning a boat

  9. Charlie January 14th, 2013 9:57 am

    Any thoughts on how the toe-lockout flapper will work when touring through heavy slop/crust? Looks like it ought to catch on stuff.

    How many moving parts does the Beast have? ;).

    Thanks for the sweet video!

  10. Louie January 14th, 2013 10:19 am

    Wow! that thing is a beast.

    Is the tension on the turntable at the toe adjustable?

  11. Lou Dawson January 14th, 2013 10:38 am

    Hi Louie, the turntable has no damping or spring loading, it’s totally free. All resistance is in the heel unit rotation. Dad.

  12. palic January 14th, 2013 10:39 am

    Excellent video!!!

  13. Lou Dawson January 14th, 2013 10:40 am

    Reukk, yes, you’ll need a boot with the upgraded different heel fitting, and its not that easy to retrofit though it could be done. Lou

  14. Lou Dawson January 14th, 2013 10:47 am

    Charlie, the ‘flapper” action does remain to be seen. Thanks for bringing that up, it’s something to watch for… Lou

  15. Ansh January 14th, 2013 11:27 am

    The problem with a frame binding is that it creates a dead spot in the middle of the ski. When you’re arcing a turn, you flex your ski … until you hit the section where the frame is screwed into the ski, at which point you are pressuring the binding, which doesn’t allow the ski to flex underneath it. Furthermore, when you’re skinning uphill, the weight of a high DIN touring binding is strapped to your foot and you’re lifting it with every step, which is incredibly tiring.

  16. Woody January 14th, 2013 11:33 am

    I know all the caveats about not buying a newly released Dynafit binding, but these are really tempting me. I wouldn’t see them as a everyday touring binding or a everyday resort binding, but function in the land between. Ski the lifts all morning, resort gets tracked out around 11:30. Skin for near backcountry turns. Flat valley slogs and long distance travel not required. The vertical and speed series is more than functional for that type of activity. Like you have been saying, this is more of a Duke that is worthwhile for touring. Not picking up the binding as you’re skinning is huge. That said $1000 is a big chunk to justify…

    I’m really excited about the 6mm of ramp. This is basically the same as most high performance Alpine Bindings, and will allow for fine tuning of forward lean/ramp within the boot, versus trying to correct the extreme ramp that most of the current Dynafits have.

  17. Tom Gos January 14th, 2013 11:37 am

    Lou, have you learned whether the new heel fitting will be compatible with the low tech bindings? I’m wonding if a user would still need two boots, one for use with the Beast and one for use with the Vertical/Radical type bindings.

    Also, the heel seems really complex, and most of that complexity results from sticking with the pin type interface. I would suspect that the competitors are working on a product that uses the pin type tech interface at the toe and the alpine type interface at the heel. It seems that this might be a lot less complex and less costly to develop as you would basically use an existing alpine heel as the starting point. Any discussion from Dynafit on why they didnt go this route?

  18. Glenn Sliva January 14th, 2013 11:39 am

    Dynafit’s lawyers uh err engineers need to add a visual color or something that clearly shows the binding is in lock mode. Looks kind of neat but my solution to Resort Skiing is another set of boots and skis and skipping the touring altogether.

    I prefer the lower center of gravity weight below the knees to help take the “chatter” out of shushing.

    If Dynafit is going to design a Resort Binding it would be nice to just remove the touring aspect and let the boot ride right on top of the ski. I wonder if they could just modify this one and make it a resort binding. I guess you could just do that with the toe and heal din plates but just saying.

    Thanks and love your office.

    We lost another to an avalanche South of Marble near Strawberry Creek Drainage. :(

  19. Lee January 14th, 2013 12:22 pm

    hmmm another big heavy binding for big heavy people who don’t wanna haul there arses too far (there’s rather a lot of those bindings now)…I can’t believe they’ll sell many in Europe, is this what people want in the US? I wonder if Dynafit are being slightly outplayed by the likes of Plum now their patent is over? Do they still have the expertise to innovate where they’ve traditionally dominated – light and simple bindings for touring? I sense some disquiet/disappointment from you Lou…or are you just keeping your powder dry?

  20. Lou Dawson January 14th, 2013 1:17 pm

    Lee, of course I’m disappointed from a selfish standpoint, since what I personally want is a tech binding that is essentially an improved version (not a copy) of what’s already out there, especially regarding less mass but more function.

    On the other hand, I wish anyone the best in any honest business endeavor. Dynafit is a core company with some really cool people working for them, they deserve whatever success they can get. The engineering on the Beast is impressive and an example of what we’re going to be seeing more of real soon from some major players. All fascinating and good.

    As for how all this works economically, there are millions of alpine skiers. A significant percentage will buy a DIN certified binding that works for everything, up and down. The first company to sell that binding will make some money. Business 101.

    Lou

  21. Lou Dawson January 14th, 2013 1:20 pm

    Tom, I’ve been thinking the same things for a while. Have not had time to discuss with engineers, but will do so. Lou

  22. Craig January 14th, 2013 1:44 pm

    When I saw these bindings and the heel fitting my first question was if you had to have a new boot to use the bindings. It appeared that the new heel fitting could replace the standard fitting with the addition of two more screws. From appearances it seems like you could go back to your less beastly bindings at any time. An elegant solution. Probably would never ski these bindings myself. But the beauty is we are glimpsing the start of the next generation of tech bindings – one can imagine seeing these concepts slimmed down, lightened up and on a “standard” Dynafit backcountry tech binding in the future.

  23. Jay January 14th, 2013 1:59 pm

    Is the vertical release better on this one? Had a bad experience on the Dynafit TLT Vertical a few weeks ago when it didnt release during a fall.

  24. Glenn Sliva January 14th, 2013 3:58 pm

    On the TLT’s- I heard Lou loud and clear. Don’t fall if on Tech bindings. Good advice. It’s all about the uphill.

    Great to see Dynafit thinking outside the box. The guy that invents a light weight tech binding for touring and resort use will make billions.

    For now springs are the solution but what about magnetics? You need a progressive type resistance that a spring provides. I wonder if magnetics combined with exotic geometry might work. Thinking outside the box.

    Great to see such innovation. Thanks Lou and stay away from the strudel.

    Glenn

  25. Glenn Sliva January 14th, 2013 4:00 pm

    Followup. How about mixing a standard TLT heal with this Dynafit Beast Binding?

    Just saying……

  26. Harry January 14th, 2013 5:37 pm

    Tom, could it be that a benefit to using pins in the back with the add on heel plate is a consistent and very hard surface interface, instead of a heel interface with the top of the DIN shelf and a soft sole material of varying height from manufacturer to manufacturer and from wear within a given boot?

    One of the biggest problems for me with a plate style binding with an AT boot is the slop from the soft rubber sole. I think that is why some people find the BD boots to be more responsive than other AT boots with a plate binding, given that their sole design is both pretty hard and has a more rigid block pattern where it interfaces. It is a trade off for walking and climbing though. IIRC the pre production Vulcan had a more rigid block in the toe where the AFD would interface.

  27. Colin Lantz January 14th, 2013 5:45 pm

    Bye bye Onyx.

  28. Louie Dawson January 14th, 2013 8:54 pm

    It’s been my experience that the most common release issue with dynafits is the toe pre-releasing, especially on hard snow, with wide skis. This problem is somewhat solved by the power towers on new dynafits, but it still happens. It becomes even more of a problem when you have snow stuck in the toepiece, or in your toe fittings. This kind of pre-release is basically the only reason I lock out my toe pieces when I’m skiing hard, steep snow. This release from hard “rolling” or edging forces is one of the major differences between alpine bindings and tech bindings. There is simply no way an alpine binding will release from that type of force, since it is clamped on top of the boot sole.

    The Beast doesn’t appear to solve that problem, does it? It still has basically the same toe piece, and it appears you could release by “rolling” the boot out of it, e.g. by edging hard on hard snow.

    Also, in my experience 90% of Dynafit pre-releases are caused by people not cleaning snow out of their bindings, and compromising the release. Unfortunately Dynafits can snap in fine, but have ice under the toe wings, and release very easily. I am always super meticulous with keeping the toe snow free. The beast might even make this issue worse, more complex mechanisms = more places for ice to collect. The beast might have repeatable release values when it’s on a bench, but what about when it’s full of ice and snow? I suppose there’s nothing but real-world skiing to test that.

  29. Frank K January 14th, 2013 10:14 pm

    Louie, I think one of the reasons Dynafits release in hard snow as you describe is the almost complete lack of elasticity in them. I think the Beast would solve this problem- in hard snow they will actually return to center instead of releasing. In fact, I would suspect that the Beast could be run with lower RV values than current models because there would be fewer prereleases at any given RV value. But maybe I’m off base with that.

  30. Lou Dawson January 14th, 2013 11:12 pm

    Frank, yeah, that’s the point for sure. Where one has to still wonder is about rolling forces that Louie writes about above, as when edging. In that sense your boot is still held in the same way as any other tech binding, though presumably with more force and pressure.

    What Louie says about ice in the system is exactly correct. In my experience as well, nearly all accidental releases are caused by improper binding use, not by aggressive skiing.

  31. Lou Dawson January 14th, 2013 11:17 pm

    Harry, in my view you are exactly correct. The steel-on-steel perfectly consistent interface of the tech binding is one of it’s major strengths. Keeping that as the foundation for the system is awesome. Sure, there are advantages to going to a regular type of heel unit while still keeping the binding frame-less by using the tech style toe, but as you say, you end up with the tired old issues of the rubber sole, boot shape variations, etc. Lou

  32. rich January 14th, 2013 11:30 pm

    Din 16? Is that for the 375 pound freeride pro skiers???

    As long as they keep selling bindings like the radical for a reasonable price I truly hope dynafit makes a killing with this new binding!!! They deserve to be rewarded for their innovation.

  33. Lou Dawson January 15th, 2013 12:12 am

    Rich, the main thing is that it goes to ELEVEN. See http://www.wildsnow.com/3485/g3-onyx-release-12/

  34. skimole January 15th, 2013 2:01 am

    @Louie

    The Beast may also pre-release less at the toes from rolling forces because the jaws move in the horizontal plane (vs vertical on traditional Dynafits). Thus where you would roll the binding open taking the same path the jaws naturally move on a traditional Dynafit, the Beast’s jaws are hinged to move forward, not out and down.

    Think of the rolling way to get into the binding….

  35. AVIATOR January 15th, 2013 8:55 am

    Seems like a formidable ice and snow collector to me.

    Lou, enough of this tomfoolery, time to cover the opposite end of the spectrum.

    Put that strudel down and go visit Maruelli in Torino, lots of news on his 48g M2 binding in the new price list:
    http://www.maruelli.com/NaturalWalkingPlate/PRICE-LIST/MARUELLI-PRICELIST.pdf

  36. AVIATOR January 15th, 2013 8:57 am

    Also make a short detour to Pierre Gignoux in Grenoble, France. We need the beta on the new 400g Morpho boot and the new Ultimate2 carbon binding:
    You can see both here:
    http://news.pierregignoux.fr/

  37. Dan January 15th, 2013 10:47 am

    Hey Lou, at 4:45 in this video the binding mysteriously jumps from tour mode to ski mode (It appears unintentional). What will prevent this from happening while skinning? How is the binding designed to change from tour to ski mode? Thanks!

  38. Jake January 15th, 2013 2:13 pm

    How many degree’s of elasticity do the current crop of Dynafit bindings have? How about the Onyx?…what about a regular alpine FR binding?

    I ask because I absolutely could not use my Vert ST’s at the resort. I blamed it on a lack of elasticity. I sold those and got the Onyx and have not had any issues using one binding for touring and lift served.

    I actually like the idea of a true resort/tour binding, but with a similar weight and twice the price it would be very difficult to justify trading in my Onyxs unless the Beast offered a huge advantage.

  39. See January 15th, 2013 7:03 pm

    As Lou points out, putting the toe piece on a turntable enables “more force and pressure” in the toe pincers which should reduce “rolling” prerelease. It also would seem to separate lateral release into two stages– first the boot rotates out at the heel with the toe still fully engaged, then the boot toe pulls out of the toe piece.

    The improvement that occurs to me would be if the toe piece were designed so that the pincer is locked when the boot is centered on the ski, but opens when the boot twists far enough to disengage at the heel. Given the daunting complexity of this beast already, some sort of cam arrangement in the toe turntable that keeps the toe locked at zero degrees rotation, but opens at, say, 5 degrees seems doable.

  40. Scott P January 15th, 2013 9:53 pm

    I got a pair of radicals last year and had a few nasty pre release will skiing hard on groomed runs back to the lift while doing laps. Made me lose confidence in them. Found out that I had to be real careful not to have any ice build up in the holes of the toe tech fittings. Ran G3 ONXY before with less pre release but didn’t like the weight. Was thinking of getting a pair of Markers for any time I will be on groomers and keep the radicals for straight touring. But know I might wait till I see how these turn out.

  41. Lou Dawson January 16th, 2013 2:33 am

    Ice in the tech fittings is #1 cause of accidental release. As we’re always saying, the use of tech bindings requires a higher level of athletic skill and user smarts than other binding systems. If those things are not applied to the situation, disaster can result. Such can be blamed on the binding system or the user, depending on your point of view (grin). Lou

  42. Carl January 16th, 2013 7:49 pm

    I agree with Aviator. Lou, I would much rather read about the new technology that is getting lighter, not heavier. The M2 looks like interesting, if fringe, new technology. Let’s see some more reviews of technological advances that are more backcountry, not side country, focused.
    Thanks, Carl

  43. Karl January 16th, 2013 11:01 pm

    Ouch! My knees hurt simply at the thought of not having a “flat” tour mode. Just what kind of fantasy world do those engineers live in? Here I was ready to start saving… aaaah, just stick with my G3′s.

  44. Frame January 17th, 2013 6:24 am

    I like reading about a range of options and Wildsnow is a go to site for information across all bindings used for touring. If Lou stuck to stuff that only get’s lighter, we may not have much to read for much of the year.

  45. AVIATOR January 17th, 2013 7:36 am

    Of course everything should be covered, even stuff that is ridiculously heavy.

    I just tried to push a little in the Gignoux/Maruelli direction now that they have cool stuff coming but we have no hands on or in depth reports yet and Lou’s in Europe and everything.

    In a friendly and humorous tone of course :D

    BTW, where is the regular ultralight crew anyways?
    where is Jonathan Shefftz and Michael Silitch for example?
    Isn’t Michael supposed to ALWAYS bring us the early Gignoux gossip?

  46. Lou Dawson January 17th, 2013 7:41 pm

    Aviatior, Jonathan is blogging elsewhere now, and I think we’ll probably see more of Silitch when he wears out his current Gignoux stuff (grin). Maruelli is not being very forthcoming with getting us stuff., but perhaps that’ll change. Lou

  47. AVIATOR January 17th, 2013 9:03 pm

    Then the mountain must go to Mohammed :D
    Torino and Grenoble, next trip to Europe Lou!
    the shops of all shops :D

  48. See January 17th, 2013 9:53 pm

    Light bindings with meaningful release function will sacrifice adjustability– weight will be saved by having non-adjustable toe and heel pieces selected according to skier weight and style.

  49. Trevor Hunt January 20th, 2013 9:40 am

    Just spent 2 weeks touring with Hoji, who was using the beasts. He put them through the ringer in every way possible. Stomping massive airs, spines, pillows and high speed straight-lines. He also put in 10,000 feet of vert the other day . . .

  50. Lou Dawson January 20th, 2013 10:06 am

    See, excellent point. Trevor,. that begs the question, could Hoji have done 12,000 in a day if he’d had something lighter?

  51. Trevor Hunt January 20th, 2013 10:27 am

    Sort of a pointless question . . .
    Hoji could have done way more vert on a pinner rando set-up, but then all the joy of hauling down waist deep powder and taking big air would have been robbed from him. Backcountry skiing is about fun not just vert.

  52. Jailhouse Hopkins January 20th, 2013 11:55 am

    Hole comparison to the Vert ST?

  53. Dan January 21st, 2013 7:07 pm

    Hey Lou, at 4:45 in this video the binding mysteriously jumps from tour mode to ski mode (It appears unintentional). What will prevent this from happening while skinning? How is the binding designed to change from tour to ski mode? Thanks!

  54. Jrvoodoo January 23rd, 2013 8:41 am

    Lou, after converting to touring mode can you simply flip the low riser back up to have a flat touring mode since the pins have slid back with the heel piece, or is there still interference? I see some inadvertent toe turntabling tele turns with a locked toe and a released heel in some people’s futures. Quite a bit of cash though after adding some proprietary boots to work with them. Could add a couple more ski/binding sets instead. As a patroller running toboggans the high release sounds good but I need a poleless step in/step out solution. The combination of an alpine heel and a tech toe sounds like a good lightweight option that would work well, any non frankenstein options out there yet?

  55. Kjetil March 20th, 2014 4:29 pm

    Maybe you’ve already answered this somewhere on your blog; but is there any problem mounting a Beast on a ski already mounted with quiver killers for a Rad12? I saw the mounting templates on the FAQ page, and if those holes where for the same BSL there wouldn’t be much conflict?

    Breaking bindings like crazy these days. And thinking of having the Beasts for everyday use and having Speeds for longer missions where I won’t huck anything and ski more mellow. Bummed about adding weight, but the breakage got to stop…

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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