The PLUM Army (and a camp follower) Visit Wildsnow


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

The Plum army marches on to Wildsnow featuring: Race 165, Guide, Yak, and J'Envoie Du Gros.

If you think this looks good, you should have seen the game of toy soldiers we ended up playing. Race 165, Guide, Yak, and J'Envoie Du Gros.


In honor of the French boys slaving away at their CNC machines.

In honor of the French boys slaving away at their CNC machines.

Unpackaging these beauties was a treat! The CNC work on each binding is incredible. They would look just as good on a pair of skis as they would around your lady’s neck. Flavor Flav would approve.

- J’Envoie Du Gros for skis 105mm to 120mm

- Yak for skis 90mm to 105mm

- Guide for skis up to 90mm

- Race series for skis under 90mm.

Say what you will about plastic, there is something about machined aluminum that inspires confidence. Yeah, we know polymers can often do the same thing — sometimes stronger and with less weight. But still. Fun to see the venerable tech binding, hailing from 1982 and three decades later still showing it.

 

Plum Race 165 - One single wedge level, 2 different climbing positions.  The plate has an adjustability of 20mm. Wedge level remains 36mm in all positions. 168 grams by Wildsnow.com

Plum Race 165 - One single wedge level, 2 different climbing positions. The plate has an adjustability of 20mm. Wedge level remains 36mm in all positions. 168 grams by Wildsnow.com

Plum Guide: Release range: DIN 5.5 to 12, combination of steel, aluminum, and polyvinyl, 30mm adjustment = 4 to 5 boot sizes. Mounting pattern is 100% identical to Dynafit Speed and Vertical series. Wildsnow.com verfied 340 grams.

Plum Guide: Release range: DIN 5.5 to 12, combination of steel, aluminum, and polyvinyl, 30mm adjustment = 4 to 5 boot sizes. Mounting pattern is 100% identical to Dynafit Speed and Vertical series. Wildsnow.com verfied 340 grams.

Plum Yak: Numbered and limited to 300 pairs, DIN 5.5-12  Heel pad to reduce the boot rolling play and the stress on the pins. Wildsnow.com verified 476 grams.

Plum Yak: Numbered and limited to 300 pairs, DIN 5.5-12 Heel pad to reduce the boot rolling play and the stress on the pins. Wildsnow.com verified 476 grams.

Plum J'Envoie Du Gros: Tech bindings designed to be compatible with big mountain skis.  DIN 5.5-12  Heel pad to reduce the boot rolling play and the stress on the pins. The plates on these bindings are massive! aka bad ass according to Plum. Wildsnow.com verified 502 grams.

Plum J'Envoie Du Gros: Tech bindings designed to be compatible with big mountain skis. DIN 5.5-12 Heel pad to reduce the boot rolling play and the stress on the pins. The plates on these bindings are massive! aka bad ass according to Plum. Wildsnow.com verified 502 grams.

View the whole line at Plum website (google it, the site loads so slow we don’t prefer to link to it). We’re interested in watching how this whole tech binding situation hashes out in the future. On the one hand, you’ve got Plum and probably more than a dozen other binding makers who are essentially making reworked versions of the basic 20+ year old tech binding design, without any worry about TUV certifications and other such nonsense. Then you’ve got major players placing their cards in sometimes funky design features primarily designed to get those elusive acronym stamps that mean little to nothing but might be attractive to mainstream retailers and less informed consumers. Which will prevail? The PLUM patrol or the TUV special forces? A truce, perhaps?

(Note: Ensure to Loctite each machine screw when installing the Yak and J’Envoie Du Gros binding on their respective baseplates.)

Options to buy Plum in the US are fairly limited but our friends at Bentgate Mountaineering have a few pairs.

Comments

59 Responses to “The PLUM Army (and a camp follower) Visit Wildsnow”

  1. Adam February 5th, 2013 9:18 am

    I have the 2012/2013 guides and the minute improvements they’ve made over the previous years are amazing. I have a lot of confidence in these bindings and have them mounted on a pair of Praxis Backcountry skis, ~105 mm under waist.

    For anyone thinking about taking the plunge, I can say that the North American distributor, Ian, provides exceptional service and turnaround. I worked with Ian and Bent Gate to special order the heel pad and get an issue resolved. Those guys are extremely helpful.

  2. Pablo February 5th, 2013 9:56 am

    I used the Guides last year over a K2 wayback (waist 88) and an Atomic Access (waist 100mm) and they work pretty well on them.

    You can feel very confident when you see how well machined they are, and somehow that makes you ski better.

    I love the plums.
    (but still using verticals on the wayback!)

    Pablo

  3. David Aldous February 5th, 2013 9:59 am

    So do each of the wider spaced base plate bidlndings have their own jig or is there a plum specific jig that is set up for several widths or do you have to mount them with a template? The bindings look cool but I would imagine that for a smaller shop having a standard mounting patern would be a lot more cost effective.

  4. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2013 10:12 am

    A paper template came with the bindings. I have no idea what they provide in terms of a mechanical jig. Not really a big issue, using the paper is incredibly easy.

  5. Joe Risi February 5th, 2013 10:15 am

    David I just looked at our Dynafit jig and lined the toe pieces on the Guide binding with the slots for the TLT Speed/Vert and Vert Rental, minus the front screw. For the rear you must use the template.

    That being said the template is extremely easy to use and is transparent. It can be stuck and unstuck several times.

    I’m sure a shop could mod their jig if they see fit.

  6. Plum February 5th, 2013 10:17 am

    Joe – Nice post, thanks man.

  7. Buck February 5th, 2013 12:13 pm

    “Say what you will about plastic, there is something about machined alumunim that inspires confidence. ”

    the main body of the heel is still plastic, right?

  8. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2013 12:25 pm

    Nearly everything is alu, that’s the whole point. BUT, yes, the heel unit housing is plastic. Original comment here from me assumed it was aluminum, my bad. Lou

  9. Buck February 5th, 2013 1:24 pm

    from your caption to the plum guide photo “Plum Guide: Release range: DIN 5.5 to 12, combination of steel, aluminum, and polyvinyl,”

    which part of the binding is “polyvinyl” ?
    is it not the black part of the guide heel piece?
    The body, with all the release values printed on it?

  10. Joe Risi February 5th, 2013 1:32 pm

    Buck it is polyvinyl where the 4 springs meet in the toe piece.

    Edit by Lou: And the rear unit housing is plastic on all but Race.

  11. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2013 1:39 pm

    Edit by Lou: Below is wrong, the rear housings of all but Race model are a hard plastic that appears machined. Sorry about that.

    Wrong: The rear binding housings are, again, all alu aside from a few small parts that should be plastic and self lubricating. The Plum is basically an aluminum copy of earlier Dynafit bindings. End of Wrong.

    And, even some of the really early Dynafits had aluminum rear housings. Lou

  12. Dimitri February 5th, 2013 4:19 pm

    “- J’Envoie Du Gros for skis 105mm to 120mm
    - Yak for skis 90mm to 105mm
    - Guide for skis up to 90mm
    - Race series for skis under 90mm.”

    that is waayy off, ive used the guide on my rossi S7′s (117mm) for 2 seasons, skiing hard in the alps and Norway, no problemo :D

  13. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2013 4:36 pm

    Dimitri, I think it’s just a guideline.

  14. Joe Risi February 5th, 2013 4:56 pm

    Indeed Plum just suggests each binding width should get wider with every respective ski width. Plenty of people (you and me included) regularly ski in TLT Speed’s which have the same width as the Guide on 115mm+ skis. That being said the Du Gros are really really wide!

  15. Nick February 5th, 2013 5:29 pm

    Are J’Envoie Du Gros, Yak, and Guide all the essentially the same bindings just with different hole patterns (once you add the optional heel pads for the Guide)?

    I guess the toe of the blue ones is a bit higher as it looks like a guide screwed onto an adaptor plate.

  16. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2013 5:31 pm

    yes, essentially the same just as the Dynafit Radical FT and ST are the same.

  17. Tutuko February 5th, 2013 6:07 pm

    I don’t know if you have an updated version, but my recently purchased guides have a largely polymer lower heel housing, and I doubt this has changed sine then. Although I cannot speak for the free ride models, which I believe may be fully alu.
    Not much if an advantage here over guide and binding freedom plates for anyone who missed out on the freeride models.

    Also, this post is a touch spammy feeling for wildsnow, sorry!

  18. Lou February 5th, 2013 6:33 pm

    Tutuko, it’s just a first look, what are we supposed to do, rip them a new one so it doesn’t count as spam?

    And I was indeed WRONG about the rear housings. They’re all plastic other than the race model. They look machine cut and metallic, hence my mistake. Sorry about that. I’ll correct above. That’s what I get for running around here playing toy soldiers instead of taking my time checking things (grin).

    Thanks for chiming in and getting me to check again.

    Lou

  19. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2013 6:41 pm

    Pretty funny I got fooled into thinking the plastic was alu. Really, with that housing being plastic these bindings are much less impressive than I originally thought. Although to be fair, I’ve been skiing plastic bindings for years with hardly a problem, so am I getting sucked into some kind of aluminum mythology?

    Anyway, the aluminum induced tingle in my leg has faded, though all I have to do is get on my DPS skis to get that going again (grin). Lou

  20. Buck February 5th, 2013 8:04 pm

    Lou: “Pretty funny I got fooled into thinking the plastic was alu. Really, with that housing being plastic these bindings are much less impressive than I originally thought. Although to be fair, I’ve been skiing plastic bindings for years with hardly a problem, so am I getting sucked into some kind of aluminum mythology?”

    I don’t want to attribute anything nefarious, but it has been quite difficult to get this question resolved. From their introduction the perception, including some of the initial PR, has always been that the Plum is a full metal CNC-ed version of the Dynafit. When I first heard about the bindings it grabbed my attention & I wanted a pair – it’s not that far fetched to think that all metal must be stronger/better than the plastic Dynafit. The original stories went to lengths to focus on the Swiss-watch quality of Plum’s metal machining skills. When I finally held one in my hand I felt duped.

    In my opinion, there has not been enough effort to clearly state that the binding is not all metal. Not false advertising per se, but a real failure via omission.

    Google it now and see if you can find clear info. There is similar disagreement on a few sites, with some still swearing up& down that the heel in question is all metal.

    A faint odor about it, for sure.

  21. kenbahn February 5th, 2013 9:09 pm

    Plum Guide veteran here… new in January 2011 on new Bluehouse Maestro skis (118 waist). I went through the heel, blowing the (plastic) housing apart on a ~3 foot drop to rock – unintentional. Then, a heel pin broke ~12 days of use later. So, i mounted up custom heel support posts (Glen Plake style) under the heel. Then, following season ~12 days use later, i blew a front toe “arm” side slipping off a wind lip onto some hard; maybe 2 foot drop, tops.
    My FT12s on BD Aspects have successfully pulled double duty on all those rest days for the Maestro.
    I still ski them and Plum has been okay about customer service -France is far, far away. Whoever i dealt with in 2012 was way slack compared to Alex in 2011.
    One of the toes, the one that broke i think i hope, often released when edging on hard stuff on the skin. I had less releases in 2012, but i’m also aware of and try to avoid skinning releases.
    I gave’m ~15 more days in 2012 and always felt a little insecure. Which was weird because the Dynafit plastic bases scare me – i’ve replaced at least 3 base plates on my FT12s.
    I still ski my Plum Guides and FT12s and will remain tech bound… and i bet i could destroy the new Dynafit! You hear me Dynafit?!

  22. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2013 9:23 pm

    Buck, we’re here to cut through the B.S., and I feel bad about perpetuating it for a moment there. It was a moment of weakness (grin). Better now. Lou

  23. Eric Steig February 5th, 2013 9:35 pm

    Help, please define your terms for those of us that don’t have out hands on these things.

    What does “two different climbing positions” means for the Plum race bindings.

    Is that two different positions on the red tab that folds out of the way for downhill?
    Or is that one position on the tab (is that what you are calling the “wedge”?), and then you rotate 90° for touring on the flats? Or are there actually three ositions — 90° rotated and then two positions on the tab?

    Clarity would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks

  24. Jailhouse Hopkins February 5th, 2013 10:06 pm

    A couple of ideas,not just related to Plum. Double the diameter of the heel pins. This should all but eliminate pin failure and thus allow the stomp pad to be removed and thus getting back to a more true “flat” touring mode. Yes, boot fittings need to be redesigned and while at it, widened.
    Same with the toe arms. Increased beef outweighs any marginal weight increase.
    Plum has superior heel system while Dynafit wins the fore/aft .
    Dynafit’s brake system is vastly superior!
    This should do it.
    I think!

  25. Dimitri February 6th, 2013 3:34 am

    i think peoples perceptions on what they need is greatly different than reality. PLUM in my mind has hit it on the head with the new version of the guide binding, that being said they have also tried to satisfy peoples cosmetic desires with the yak..

    FYI, the new guide has thicker pins, a new internally thicker plastic heel shell and slightly smaller housing.

    I think if PLUM focused on developing the guide (brakes! Also toe piece could use some dev, I saw a guy snap a wing in la grave) they could be really successful.

  26. AndyC February 6th, 2013 4:14 am

    They look nice but I’m having bad flashbacks to early ’90′s mountain biking – every bloke with a CNC machine and box of billet stock was turning out brakes, gears, seat pins, skewers and the likes with no real clue about loadings, stress risers, fatigue, etc. – the breakage rate was phenomenal and generally bike bits take far less load than a pair of tech bindings do. There are reasons why the big boys use forgings and (oh, the horror) plastic and it’s not just cost – often they’re stronger and more suited to the loads being imposed on them.

  27. Pablo February 6th, 2013 5:50 am

    Guys, be serious, we can’t compare Plum with Dynafit.
    The resources and investment of the Salewa grop is far far above the little plum factory.
    Anyway, Plum makes the greater they can do with them resources and they do it really well. There is field to improve? sure, but this implies a lot of $$$$ and they are a little company, not like Dyanfit/Salewa

    To me Plum have a really nice precision in they CNC processes and they take all the bunch of internal tiny parts of a tlt speed and to reduce they to the housing, the pins and the cover. Less pieces and better made than Dynafit does.

    The polyvinyl housing I think is way stronger than dynafits radical plastic housing. Last year we see a lot of breakages made by a tiny little anti-rotation pin…

    Pablo

  28. Lou Dawson February 6th, 2013 7:44 am

    Pablo, we’ll compare what we feel like comparing. The finances of the manufacturers are not one of our review criteria, more, it wasn’t that long ago that Dynafit was nearly bankrupt.

    Fact is that the Plum bindings look nice but they are far far from a revolutionary innovation. In fact, they’re mostly a nicely decorated copy of older Dynafit binding models. I simply state that as reality, no negativity intended as they seem to be nice bindings.

    Lou

  29. Pablo February 6th, 2013 10:19 am

    I agree with you lou.
    I was trying to explain that to Plum as a little manufacturer is more dificult to make real innovation without all the resources, designers, etc that have a big company as Dynafit.
    Of course a great and innovating idea can come from just one mind, even in the smaller company, but is way easyer if you have a great team of ingenieers, designers, chemist and other resources.

    If any doubt, I love the two brands as well!! :)
    Pablo

  30. Ali E February 6th, 2013 1:58 pm

    I have been skiing the first generation Plum Guides for 3 seasons now. I chose them over my previous Dynafit (Comfort) bindings for the following reasons: 1) The front and rear baseplates are integral with each of those units, unlike the Dynafits, which are plastic. I cracked two baseplates and a toe lever on the Dynafits. This will never happen on the Plums.

    2) The Plums do not suffer from the unwanted heel rotation issue that the Comforts (and by all accounts early Radical models) did.

    3) They look cool ; )

    My only criticism is actually a serous one: In some condition (sastrugi. moguls etc, anything that causes lots of vibration), the tiny steel pins that hold the wings in tend to worm their way out! I noticed this with one set of pins after a fairly gnarly day in Verbier. The consequences of the pins coming out completely would have been catastrophic. I complained to Plum about this and they recommended deforming the hole with a punch, to hold the pins in. I did this, but it is clearly not the most elegant of solutions. This issue has apparently been resolved in later versions of the Guides by deforming the holes at the machining stage.

  31. Ray February 6th, 2013 3:18 pm

    Plum and others wouldn’t even be in business if they didn’t copycat, I’ve used Dynafit binding since 1998 and I’ve never had an issue with them.

  32. Lou Dawson February 6th, 2013 3:46 pm

    Pablo, what you’re forgetting is that the Tech binding design came from exactly that sort of small shop innovation, not from a big well funded company. What that says to me is that companies copying existing tech designs, however well they are doing so, are simply opportunistic, not innovative to any great degree. Sure, they can make improvements, but what they do is nothing to get all worked up over. Specifically regarding Plum, I see them as making something nice that’s essentially a copy of other stuff.

  33. Jailhouse Hopkins February 6th, 2013 4:14 pm

    I’d agree with that but Plum seems to be refining a great Dynafit design. Dynafit just kept piling on more useless crap.
    Unless I break something, I’m done buying tech bindings until 2.0. I figure that’s at least three years out.

  34. Lou Dawson February 6th, 2013 4:18 pm

    Jailhouse, I tend to agree.

  35. Lou Dawson February 6th, 2013 4:34 pm

    Re Plum PINS vs Dynafit. The visible part of the heel pins in both brands are exactly the same diameter (excluding the race binding). After 2011, Plum added about 1/2 millimeter to the diameter of their pins just behind where they disappear into the heel housing. They are thus thicker in that area than Dynafit Vertical and Radical series bindings, which is a good thing if you’re a big agro skier, but probably a non issue if you’re an average user.

    What is indeed beefier with the Plum is the rear binding spindle/post, which is the mostly hidden aluminum tower that the heel unit rotates on. This is a nice improvement and a need I’ve seen with Dynafit bindings for a long time.

    Someone asked about the Race binding. Yes, the heel unit rotates and thus allows heel flat on ski mode. When I rotate, it feels like RV 9 or so, very stiff.

    I hope that helps. Will continue evaluating, actually getting kind of fun. We even took some Plums out skiing today. It was amazing how much better Joe skied on them then he did on Dynafits (grin).

    Lou

  36. Jay February 6th, 2013 7:52 pm

    Brakes would be nice.

  37. Jason D February 6th, 2013 9:39 pm

    A few observations on the Yak:

    As stated above, it is really important to put loctite on the toepiece-baseplate screws. I also put loctite on the length adjustment screws and the four screws on the top of the heelpiece while I was at it.

    Snow likes to pack on top of the screw in the heelpad. To remedy this, put some liquid polyurethane (seamgrip or equivalent) on top of the screw. I put enough to make it level with the rest of the heelpad.

    A major difference between the Guide and the Yak / Fat Sender (my translation) Is that the toe piece is elevated on the baseplate, while the heel pins remain the same height as the normal guide, creating a flatter ramp angle. This of course could be accomplished with shims or dynaduke toe plates as well. However, the baseplate is perfectly machined (forgive me) to match the footprint of the toe piece with very little excess material. This leaves a sizable pocket between the springs and the ski topsheet. My experience so far is that this pocket also eliminates the issue of snow packing under the toe springs.

    I’m glad to hear that the heel pins are the same as dynafit heel pins. Is it possible to buy those pins somewhere? It would be a nice addition to the field repair kit.

  38. Mark W February 6th, 2013 11:42 pm

    Big fan of Dynafit, but am getting frustrated at too many breakages. Robust is how the Plum machined aluminum appears. Nice for sure.

  39. Boll February 7th, 2013 4:10 am

    Mark – In what way would the be more robust than Dynafit??

  40. Lou Dawson February 7th, 2013 6:51 am

    Since I’ve got the bindings here, I can tell you that in terms of robust-ness, some of what you see with Plum is indeed just visual. On the other hand, they have a stronger heel lifter than either Vertical or Radical series Dynafit, and a stronger post inside the heel unit. Most people do fine with Dynafit bindings, so I don’t feel the stronger Plum parts are something every shopper needs to panic over, but they exist and for some skiers could be important. I especially like the stronger spindle/post in the rear, and the mongo heel lifter is good for noobs who never learn how to twist the Vertical series bindings without breaking them. Lou

  41. Dimitri February 7th, 2013 7:22 am

    Lou, don’t forget, the springs on the toe unit are stronger too, even compared to the Radical FT they offer better retention.

  42. Lou Dawson February 7th, 2013 7:25 am

    Dimitri, on what do you base that, where is the dynamometer test? We might be able to verify here, as I have a dynamometer now.

  43. Dimitri February 7th, 2013 7:32 am

    i believe it is partly based on your observations in a previous post and reinforced in my mind by skiing them the last 2 seasons :)

  44. Boll February 7th, 2013 8:20 am

    I don’t want to be a douche and assuming you’re biased – Dimitri. But we obviously have different opinions about Plums alleged sovereignty

  45. Lou Dawson February 7th, 2013 8:44 am

    Touche Dimitri, but there is no way I ever measured the retention force of a Plum toe. I’ll see if I can do that today.

    I have indeed blogged about the retention force at the toe of all tech bindings, with focus on Dynafit including that video from a while back.

    Lou

  46. Mark W February 7th, 2013 9:20 am

    Guess my observations on perceived robustness of Plum versus Dynafit are somewhat one sided as all the failures I have seen personally–brake AFD, flat-on-ski touring tab (2), heel lifters/top plate, heel lift post, toe tour lever–are all Dynafit. I have yet to see or hear of any Plum breakage. This is perhaps because there are likely very few Plum bindings in usage in North America when compared to the vast numbers of Dynafit bindings out there, and I have yet to personally see the Plums in use in any comparable number. Any and all bindings can fail, and as time goes on. we may well see Plum breakages as well. As I mentioned, I support Dynafit, and also Plum and others who have ventured into the tech binding realm.

  47. Lou Dawson February 7th, 2013 3:22 pm

    I’ve been working all day on getting this stuff accurate. Apologies for my seeming confusion — I’ve got a lot of binding parts around here, different years, different models, and on and on.

    Regarding the Plum vs Dynafit heel pins, the _visible_ portion of the pins is the same diameter. Behind there, hidden inside the heel housing, the Plum pin (for models after 2011) is about 1/2 mm larger in diameter. I’d say that’s a good thing, as I have seen pins break in that area, both earlier Plum and earlier Dynafit.

    Thing is, the size of all tech binding heel pins is marginal in terms of making them strong enough for skiing forces. If the metallurgy gets messed up in the slightest, they can break. A bit larger and there is more room for error.

    So the favor goes to Plum in this case. I’ll keep reporting. Look for a comparo to be published soon, with complete tear down of both binding heels (whew).

  48. Rich February 7th, 2013 3:42 pm

    I’m coming late to this party, but I have another relevant experience to add. I’ve skied Plum Guides since mid-spring, 2011, with maybe 80+ days on a pair. I hauled out the skis one day in December, 2012 to find one heelpiece cracked almost completely through horizontally, I don’t remember anything in particular to cause it, and the crack was not obviously related to the heel pins. Plum replaced it, but there is no doubt that the plastic can and does fail. It would definitely suck to have it happen while skiing no-falls terrain.

    Rich

  49. Charlie February 7th, 2013 3:44 pm

    Is the diameter transition smooth or sharp? If there’s a ‘stress riser’ in the pin, a pin of constant diameter may have some superior properties.

    Can you add a Speed Classic to your teardown comparo? (Looked through the Binding Museum, but it looks like all the early Low Techs used U-shaped pins instead of two independent ones). Are the guts unchanged from the Speed to the Radical?

  50. Lou Dawson February 7th, 2013 4:00 pm

    No Speed Classic, just a Speed Radical. Sorry, I had trouble cloning myself today.

    The diameter transition on the Plum pins happens behind the “rim” or “collar” that’s visible nested up against the heel unit. No real stress riser as far as I can tell, at least no more than any other model or brand.

    More later, let me get to work on the real comparo.

  51. Dimitri February 7th, 2013 4:18 pm

    ive seen a toe wing snap on a earlier plum guide first hand, and have had to have my 2011 model heel units replaced because of the plastic body wear issues after skiing hard (pins showing signs of vertical play).

    so I’m not unbiased, but convinced on the bindings’ evolution to get to it’s current state.

    To anyone who has ever been on a airliner, there is a reason why your seat tray hinge is made the same way as the plum, engineering tolerances that are just unacceptable in molded or forged metals or plastics, i suppose i need some kind of F1 engineered to chime in now and explain the details about the stress fractures in billet aluminum when exposed to machining temperatures:)

    p.s. if people are interested, i can post some pictures of my old heel units with the damaged plastic.. the Plum dealer in Norway was super cool about replacing them on the spot with the current model! great service!

  52. Lou Dawson February 7th, 2013 5:56 pm

    In comparo, alu toe wings of Plum compared to beefy steel of Dynafit is definitively noted. The alu toe wings seem very out of character. But then, it’s not like Plum is getting stuff steel drop forged or cast, and CNC steel is a whole different ball game compared to aluminum (do they even do it?). They’re doing what they can do, obviously. Lou

  53. Charlie February 7th, 2013 7:50 pm

    It’s definitely possible to CNC steel – no problem.

  54. Lou Dawson February 7th, 2013 8:18 pm

    Possible, but practical for small time manufacturing?

  55. Charlie February 7th, 2013 10:08 pm

    Should be – it’s less forgiving, and cuts more slowly (a roughing mill can do a speedy job in even stainless though), but when we need to cut steel in our shop, we do.

    I can believe that the economics don’t work as well for Plum – Dynafit’s burned a lot of R&D and experience on getting the steel toe fabrication just right. Dynafit has a steel binding that’s competitive with the weight of Plum’s aluminum bindings.

    Is there steel in the toes of the early Low-Techs? If so, that may be proof that small shops can make steel bindings at competitive weights to modern bindings.

    Is the Plum toe significantly lighter than the steel Dynafit toe? Plum should be paying a weight penalty with their aluminum heel baseplate when compared with the plastic plate on the Speeds ( I’m hardly familiar with the Radicals – it’s plastic too, right?)

    Given that the Speed Superlight is all-aluminum, it looks like Dynafit thinks they can make aluminum work too… it should.

  56. Dimitri February 8th, 2013 8:51 am

    Charlie & Lou: i don’t think we can just assume the plum toes are weaker just comparing steel to aluminium. there are of course 1000′s of different types of the materials and forged vs machined manufacturing. i suppose a number of toes units from each would have to be tested to to breaking point to proves this wither way, moot..

  57. Lou Dawson February 8th, 2013 9:01 am

    Dim, true, but tech binding toe wings do break so thick steel is probably a good thing. That’s my opinion, but yeah, an opinion based on assumption. Main thing is if we’re not going to make assumptions, let’s apply that in both directions.

  58. Dimitri February 8th, 2013 9:08 am

    touche back at you :) but.. we are discussing our assumptions, Im simply saying to don’t agree with your Charlie’s ones or your regarding “its steel, steel = must be stronger”

    i should have said, WE shouldn’t just automatically assume, not “you should never ever assume without data” :D

  59. Matt February 10th, 2013 11:30 am

    Hey guys, first time poster here, been checking out the site for a while, good stuff and great info. Couldn’t resist chiming in as I’ve been riding on the Plum Yaks this season. I’ve put a good number of days on them and would like to share a couple comments.

    1. As mentioned, definitely put loctite on the toe piece screws. I did not and one toe piece started to loosen up after 5 days or so on the ski.

    2. One of my heel pins has come loose (i.e. it has some play in it). It is definitely noticeable with the boot locked in, I can feel it jiggle within the boot. This has only happened on one binding and have an inquiry in to Plum about it. Definitely still ski able and don’t notice it too much while going down hill, but it’s got to be affecting stability to a certain degree.

    3. If you’re thinking about getting a Yak or the wider model, pay close attention to the width of the mounting plate for the ski you’re putting it on. I’ve got my Yaks on a DPS wailer which fit fine. The J’Envoie Du Gros would have been too wide for it’s mounting plate.

    4. Brakes would be nice

    I’ll keep posting about how they make it through the season. Cheers.

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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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Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

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