Ski Boot Binding Ramp and Delta Angles!

Post by blogger | December 7, 2016      

NOTE: We’ve found that many skiers think bindings have one ramp or delta angle that can be expressed in degrees. In other words, we hear people asking things like “what is the ramp angle of that binding, 12 degrees?” One of the most important concepts in ski binding ergonomics is this: If your boot and your foot inside the boot are not at a somewhat level position while in the binding, you do have a binding “ramp” or “delta” angle. ONLY… THIS ANGLE CHANGES AS YOUR BOOT GETS LONGER OR SHORTER.

Now, before we are excoriated by marketing people who like to spout off with binding ramp angles, we’d guess that when you do hear things like “that binding has an 8 degree ramp,” that’s probably measured with the standard industry size sample boot, generally a size 27.

Main takeaway, beyond basic like or dislike of steeper binding ramp angles, many touring bindings do have significant ramp and skiers with shorter feet may experience incredibly exaggerated forward (heel higher) ramp. Solution is to be aware of what you’re buying (use the chart below), but also know that it’s quite easy to shim up the toe of most tech bindings using various DIY or aftermarket parts. (That said, be aware that stacking the binding toe will result in a corresponding reduction of climbing heel lifter “height.”)

Spreadsheet below has angles calculated using different boot lengths. Note those angles were calculated after adding 2 millimeters to the boot heel height to compensate for the position of the tech fittings in most boots. (I also include a Fritschi Freeride frame binding for reference, with inserted “average” boot measured to the centers of the tech binding fittings plus 2 mm at heel. Likewise, I did a rough calculation of how an imaginary boot with a fairly flat ramp would look on the chart. Both those examples are at the bottom of the list.) To scroll the chart horizontally, if you can’t see the incredible disappearing Google horizontal scrollbar, place mouse pointer on chart, left click, drag mouse pointer to left and right border.

Spreadsheet above, ski binding delta (ramp) numbers. Note, we’re trying to adhere to a convention here in calling the binding angle “delta” and the angle created by the inside of the ski boot we will call the “ramp.” We are gradually editing past articles to that effect. If we’re talking about the combined delta and ramp angles, we’ll probably call it “combined ramp angle.”

Know that due to how tech bindings such as Dynafit function, the spreadsheet numbers are not the binding delta as you would measure with an alpine binding. Instead, they are the distance from ski top up to the center of tech binding pins. Thus, the numbers are for COMPARISON between different ski touring tech bindings. (We do have some angles calculated in the spreadsheet, for specific boot sole length and with a few mm added to the heel fitting height to make the results more reflective of real life.)

For real-world concept, know a couple of things: For most tech bindings to provide the somewhat “neutral” or “zero” delta angle of a zero angled alpine ski binding, you’d have to raise the boot toe up quite a bit, sometimes a centimeter or so. That’s a huge amount, and enough to cancel out much of your climbing lift. Instead we’re working with smaller increments, and tend to use the old TLT binding delta (or a bit less) as our baseline goal. My measurements are accurate to within a half mm or so, all to the centers of pins both toe and heel.

In my view, earlier TLT Dynafit binding model had the ideal delta. Measured in the way illustrated it's about 4 degrees. There is no industry standard for measuring binding ramp, but you can sure feel it!

In my view, earlier TLT Dynafit binding model had the ideal delta. Measured in the way illustrated it's about 4 degrees for a smaller to average length backcountry skiing boot. Bear in mind that talking about delta angle in degrees is confusing, as the longer the boot the less 'angle' though the stack height of the toe and heel remain the same. Thus, in this blog post I talk more about stack height differences between toe and heel than 'degrees.' There is no industry standard for measuring binding delta angle, but you can sure feel it!

Radical with Radical, shimmed with B&D plate for neutral to negative ramp.

Radical mod with a Radical binding, shimmed with B&D plate for neutral to negative ramp. If you have time time experiment, worth a go.

My favorite delta angle is equal to or a bit less than the original Dynafit TLT models: heel of boot is stacked about a centimeter higher than toe. What I like about this configuration is it gives some forward lean power to ski boots that are otherwise quite “flat” and may walk comfortably but need a bit more lean when latched in the binding and headed downhill.

All fine and dandy…but, you can have too much ramp and lean for today’s style of skiing. The ramp of the earlier TLT bindings could be considered excessive. Later Dynafit models such as Comfort, Vertical and Radical added even more height at the heel and in many people’s opinions most certainly have too much ramp. Other brands of tech bindings tend to have quite a bit of ramp as well, though you’ll find choices in toe shims that reduce ramp (such as with some configurations of Plum bindings.)

Personally, I like a more relaxed skiing stance; less tippy-toe 1970s herky jerk — more Stephen Drake. Furthermore, I’m sick of jumping from ski to ski and adjusting to different ramp angles, so I’m standardizing my quiver at the TLT angle or a bit less. That way my in-house skis will all feel familiar, and when I’m at demos I’ll still be used to some ramp and won’t get thrown forward when I step into an unshimmed pair of Dynafit Radicals or other ‘rampy’ tech bindings.

Lets go over the shim stack thickness requirements I got from a digital caliper session in the WildSnow shop (these could be a tiny bit different than previous blog posts, due to how measured, but such small variations make no practical difference for real world ramp-angle tuning). Below ARE DONE AS A COMPARISON TO TLT AS BASELINE. (Actually specifying the exact ramp angle of a binding involves how it interacts with a given boot length, see spreadsheet above.)

So, Dynafit older TLT models are my baseline. But they have an obvious ramp angle of boot heel higher than boot toe. If you want virtually neutral ramp add about 3 mm to the shim thicknesses I list below. Bear in mind that as you shim up the toe on tech bindings, you cause an equal reduction in the height of your climbing heel lifters. Along with their toe shim plates as shown in the photos here, B&D ski gear sells some solutions for that (see photo below).

Dynafit Vertical ST/FT, Comfort, shim toe up about 5 mm to equal same as TLT, or go thicker for neutral ramp.
— Recommendation: Use B&D shims.

Radical ST/FT, and Speed, shim toe up 3 mm to equal same as TLT, or go to virtually neutral ramp by adding thicker.
— Recommendations: Custom made 4 mm shim, or for virtually neutral ramp use 6.5 mm FT/ST toe plate with Speed model, or B&D shim plate with Radical FT/ST.

(Note, I measured difference in heel/toe heights as accurately as possible on Radical and early TLT, most accurate difference I could come up with is that Radical has 2.84 mm more heel height than TLT, so round that up to 3 mm)

B&D shim plate with front and rear tabs you add on to support various binding model toe-base shapes.

B&D shim plate with front and rear tabs you add on to support various binding model toe-base shapes. This 6.5 mm shim changes Dynafit Comfort and Vertical model ramp angles to equal that of older model TLT, which in my view is ideal. If used with Radical models, you'll end up with a virtually neutral ramp angle that might be too reduced. Note the variety of screw holes to accomodate nearly all tech binding brands and models.

Early Dynafit Comfort toe unit on B&D shim equals ramp of TLT . Without shim, ramp angle is excessive enough to damage knees.

Early Dynafit Comfort toe unit on B&D shim equals ramp of TLT . Without shim, ramp angle is excessive enough to damage knees.

Radical FT (left) and ST toe plates (OEM) appear to be different thicknesses. Would be proof God exists if  one was thicker than the other and could be used as a shim, but alas, in support of the agnostics amongst us they're both only  6.3 mm thick in support of the binding.

Radical FT (left) and ST toe plates (OEM) appear to be different thicknesses. Would be proof God exists if one was thicker than the other and could be used as a shim, but alas, in support of the agnostics amongst us they're both only 6.3 mm thick in support of the binding. To equal the old TLT form factor you'd need another 3 mm of toe lift. Or 4+ mm if you want to start getting into the 'no ramp' zone. To that end, I easily found a poly cutting board that's 4.85 mm and could be cut into shims.

Here is something interesting. You can use the base plate from a Radical ST toe to reduce ramp angle.

One of the easiest ramp shim mods is to use the base plate (and longer screws) from a Radical ST toe to produce nearly zero (flat) ramp angle for a Dynafit Speed, which uses the same toe unit as Radical ST/FT. A B&D plate works for this as well, but doesn't look as 'factory.' Dynafit and B&D plates are virtually the same dimension plus-minus 6.5 mm. This mod would definitly require B&D 'Nubbins' to raise the heel lift height.

B&D Ski Gear sells 'Nubbins' that raise Dynafit Radical heel climbing height  by 6 mm, easily compensating for most shim mods. Or use with stock binding for more climbing lift.

B&D Ski Gear sells 'Nubbins' that raise Dynafit Radical heel climbing height by 6 mm, easily compensating for most shim mods. Or use with stock binding for more climbing lift. B&D also has longer 'volcanoes' for the Comfort model bindings. Bear in mind that use of climbing lift extension places more leverage on the binding. I thus don't recommend them for larger skiers carrrying big loads such as during a Denali expedition.

Gorilla in the room is your screw lengths. For example, add a 3 mm shim and you need 3 mm longer screws. A couple of solutions.
1. B&D sells longer screws to go along with their 6.5 mm shim plates. If you shim to 3 mm, you can order these screws and cut the tips off (grind down and re-sharpen).
2. The longer B&D screws also work for stacking their plates with Radical bindings.
3. When shimming the Dynafit Speed model, simply use screws specified for Radical models.
4. If you’re a total DIY, you can use generic wood screws to mount bindings. Get best match at hardware store and cut to length. If necessary trim diameter of head by chucking the screw into a drill and running against a file or sanding block. Torque carefully and use epoxy.
5. With thinner skis, always check ski thickness vs screw length by using calipers. Trim screws that are even a hair too long to avoid risk of ski damage.

Ergonomics: Ski style, foot size and more will change your perception of binding ramp changes. If you are primarily doing muscle powered skiing, I recommend smaller changes in ramp angle. If you do a lot of mechanized laps and thus have ample time to experiment, try everything you can. Bear in mind that the Dynafit binding models with the most excessive ramp are the Vertical FT/ST and the Comfort. These bindings are what inspired B&D to make their shims, which drop the FT/ST/Comfort ramp back to that of the TLT. Along with that, know that the shorter the boot the more ramp angle for a given stack height difference between toe and heel — hence folks with small feet may experience the most detriment from rampy bindings. Lastly, skiers with multiple skis to choose from will benefit by standardizing their binding ramp angle.

Shop here for B&D products. The shim plates weigh 30 grams (1 ounce) without the front and rear tabs, which weigh 8 and 12 grams respectively.

Below is info for the Dynafit OEM Radical binding toe plates, available from dealers or direct from Salewa NA. Both plates are the same thickness, ST plate recommended for stack shimming.


FRONT BASE PLATE (SPACER) ST 48580 9999 $15.00 (30 grams, has reinforcing web underneath, recommended)
FRONT BASE PLATE (SPACER) FT 48581 9999 $20.00 (28 grams, hollow underneath for vibration damper)



145 Responses to “Ski Boot Binding Ramp and Delta Angles!”

  1. Charlie September 20th, 2013 11:17 am

    Ramp angle is dictated by both boot-sole-length and the toe/heel vertical difference.

    One degree over a 344 mm BSL is a 6.0 mm rise.

    One degree over a 264 mm BSL is a 4.6 mm rise.

    The only shim height for which everyone will get the same “angle” is the height for which all feet feel neutral. I imagine that this is quite boot-dependent.

    If there is an optimal ramp, then each boot size may want somewhat different shims.

    I agree with you that, with my 335 mm boots, I prefer the TLT classic/speed ramp to that of the Comforts and beyond.

  2. Gdreej September 20th, 2013 11:18 am

    Lou, this is a fantastic article. Nothing is more frustrating than hopping on bindings that have a radically different ramp angle than what one is used to. Though I’m most comfortable on my inbounds setup (Rossi FKS/Dalbello Krypton), I’m determined to enjoy my touring rig (Radical FT/Mercury) as much as the inbounds. There will definitely be differences in how the binding reacts due elastic travel limitations, but I’ll get there. Thanks for the advice on how to alter RA with Radicals.

  3. Lou Dawson September 20th, 2013 11:34 am

    Charlie, agreed, I was trying to simplify by comparing ramp to a standard, in this case being that of the TLT with an average length boot. I might have simplified too much….

    In the end, I think it’s not correct to refer to ramp angle as “angle.” Though it’s indeed an “angle,” it varies with the length of the boot. A better way to talk about it would be “stack height difference between toe and heel.” Or just use the word “ramp” without the word “angle.”

    I should probably make this more clear in the text.

    As for boot lengths, yes, the shorter the boot the more effect stacking will have. But again, if you work back to a “difference between toe and heel height” standard that eliminates some guesswork. Also, gals with short feet are the ones who really suffered with the Vertical/Comfort bindings and their extreme ramp angle.

    An easy way to illustrate your point is to hold a flat ruler on your desk and slide an object under it, simulating the heel unit of a binding under a boot sole. As you slide the object backwards and forwards under the ruler, the ruler will rise up and down thus creating different angles.

    Worth repeating that the best way to work all this is figure out a binding ramp you like by measuring bindings you’ve used in the past, then stack other bindings to equal.

    ‘best, Lou

  4. Lou Dawson September 20th, 2013 11:43 am

    P.S., part 2 will hopefully be hacking some 3 mm shims quickly. Lou

  5. powbanger September 20th, 2013 11:52 am

    Your ramp on the FKS is 0.5 degree if you have the 14 DIN, Flat (0) if you have the 18 DIN. FYI

  6. Lou Dawson September 20th, 2013 12:18 pm

    All, bear in mind that alpine boots have a ramped boot board. You still don’t get zero ramp even if the binding toe and heel are equal heights. But you do get a greatly reduced ramp!

  7. Scott September 20th, 2013 12:41 pm

    Great article Lou, I have had to add a whopping 15mm toe shims to my radical to get a zero delta angle when used with my Dynafit Titan boots. why they design such a wide range of delta into different boots and bindings is crazy. be great if they could standardise broadly. one way around the screw length problem is to use quiver killer inserts and standard stainless machine screws. also allows you to then play with different thickness of shims.

  8. Josh September 20th, 2013 2:01 pm

    While my friends heckle me for it, lessening my binding ramp angle several years ago made skiing much mor eenjoyable and less fatiguing for me. I’ve done it on both alpine and touring setups. Non-brake Dynafits with less ramp in the stock config are easier to work with. I’ve done something similar to what Scott suggests. I have a Binding Freedom Sollyfit swap plate for the toe of the binding and BF inserts for the rear giving me 7mm of toe rise. If it is too much, I put a small shim under the heel to increase the ramp.

  9. Lou Dawson September 20th, 2013 2:17 pm

    I just measured some more TLT bindings, tried to be extra accurate. See above but the recommended 3 mm more stack for Radical to = TLT has been verified here. Use a 4.5 mm cutting board to make shims for Radical, you end up with slightly less ramp than TLT, perfect compromise in my view and especially excellent for folks with shorter feet. The B&D screws with a millimeter or 2 cut off worked perfectly for recent install. More coming.

    Scott, good tip on the inserts, I like the idea of being able to experiment as well as not messing around with “making” screws.


  10. Lou Dawson September 20th, 2013 4:23 pm

    For grins, I put a TLT Dynafit boot in a TLT binding and shimmed the toe of the binding up until the INTERIOR boot board was level. I had to shim the binding toe up an additional 40.3 mm, 1.6 inches! Looked ridiculous, and would pretty much cancel out the climbing heel lift. But shows that you have still have a lot of ramp even if you make your binding somewhat “neutral.”

  11. David September 20th, 2013 8:26 pm

    Have you measured a Plum guide?

  12. Mike September 21st, 2013 8:44 am

    I wonder how the ramp angle will measure out with the Fritschi Diamir tech binding that is coming out. With the lateral release under the toe that will have to raise the toe higher than a Dynafit (or Plum) toe. From the photos online it looks like the toe could potentially be more level with the heel unit.

  13. Ullr Board September 21st, 2013 1:43 pm

    Great post, Lou! Thanks for the info 🙂

  14. Lou Dawson September 21st, 2013 3:34 pm

    In backcountry, will measure more bindings tomorrow, will perhaps do chart

  15. Lou Dawson September 23rd, 2013 10:50 am

    Someone asked about Plum, I measured some Guide models I have here, and added a spreadsheet to top of this post. Turns out the Plum Guides we have here have more ramp than any of our other bindings. To be fair, Plum sells various toe plate options that reduce ramp. We don’t have any of those here at this time so no measurements other than that back in my Plum review posts. Main thing to know is if you use the Guide model without a toe shim, you’re getting some pretty extreme ramp angle. Lou

  16. Ru September 24th, 2013 5:51 am

    Scott, I’m assuming these are yours?

    Guess you don’t use dynafit couteaux very often!

  17. Norqski September 24th, 2013 6:22 pm

    Hey Lou, jumping off topic now:

    Got me some new zZeros (11-12 version) and it’s time to do the boot fit dance. Here’s the question: as the stock liners are supposedly designed to be heated from the inside with hot air, it seems as though it would be relatively easy to rig up a contraption with cardboard tubes/whatever and a hair dryer or heat gun (if it had a low enough setting) and blow-heat the boots to the right temp, enabling fitting without having to remove liner from shell. Why can’t I find any anecdotal stories of this on the internet? It may be something obvious, but what am I missing?

    p.s. – snowed in Anchorage on Monday!!

  18. Lou Dawson September 24th, 2013 8:09 pm

    Nor, I tried to do that once and didn’t have much success. The problem was in regulating the temperature to be hot enough but not so hot as to damage the liners. It could probably be done, but I’ve moved on to other DIY projects (grin). Lou

  19. Norqski September 24th, 2013 9:24 pm

    Lou, I’ll cogitate on the matter a bit more and may try it on some old liners. I’ll let you know if discover something brilliant or if they come out like half-baked reheated lasagna! Thx.

  20. Dane September 25th, 2013 2:02 am

    Great article!

    Any numbers to share on the Speed Superlight or Low tech race bindings? I am thinking less than the TLTs on both.

    Along those lines has anyone noticed the difference between boots and how one company “might” have a steeper ramp angle built in? Just guessing mind you.

    The comparison I noticed was the One (less) and the RS (more). Which in turn made me more aware of ramp angles and got me to start shimming my Speed Radical toes last season.

  21. gringo October 4th, 2013 2:48 am

    Why do you say the excessive ramp (on the old comforts for example) is dangerous to knees? I will agree its pretty uncomfortable, but have never considered it dangerous.

    can you explain Lou?

  22. Lou Dawson October 4th, 2013 4:13 am

    For folks prone to certain types of knee problems, years of skiing with too much ramp can cause undue stress on the knee cartilage, inflammation, subsequent wear, and permanent damage. Thus, danger. Lou

  23. Arnie October 4th, 2013 10:16 am

    I’m a convert to the “turkey bag” method having messed about with ovens and hot air guns, I’m sure I found details on line somewhere, there might even be a you tube vid but in essence: Buy a turkey roasting bag put this inside your boot, making sure you push it right to the toe. Fill with boiling water, leave for …well i did 5mins on a pair of palau ultra lights..thicker liners maybe longer..change water after 2 mins (pour out and refill carefully you don’t want boiling water in your boot..remove bag and water after time stuff foot in liner . There are various bits on here about getting a good fit. Personally I leave my footbeds in the boot while heating(superfeet green)wear a couple of cut down regular socks over the toes, held on with a thin lycra (ladies!)sock.

  24. Arnie October 4th, 2013 10:26 am

    Back on topic..
    Lou et al how does adding shims affect the use of ski crampons? Ok there will be 6mm less below the ski but do you need to add a shim to support the crampon? I’ve a pair of vertical st’s in the shed I got on sale never even thought the delta would be different..usually ski tlt speeds so thinking of shimming..unfortunately our cutting board is 1.5 in butchers block!

  25. Lou Dawson October 4th, 2013 11:31 am

    Arnie, jjgood thought. Shims have very little effect if configured with possible spacers on the crampon, or a shim below the crampon. Or both. In the case of the thinner shims, really nothing to be concerned about. With super thick shims and the crampon coming down on a shim, yeah, less penetration. Probably very personal whether it’s all acceptable or not. Personally, I’ve never had any trouble.

  26. HW November 16th, 2013 3:55 am

    Lou, from your table it appears a Marker Baron is much flatter than a Radical FT binding. I just measured boot angles to see how this plays out with my Titan ULs, and I get different results, maybe related to method of measurement. I measured everything relative to the boot placed flat on my workbench. Radical FT 2.28 degrees titled forward, Marker Baron 2.43 degrees, so slightly more tilted forward. I clamped skis flat to the workbench for accurate measurement, but my skis with Baron are stiff and reverse camber, so this might introduce some error. Overall, I don’t believe there’s any significant difference while skiing.

  27. Lou Dawson November 16th, 2013 6:54 am

    HW, you might not be understanding what I’m measuring here. I measured the height of tech binding heel and toe pins above ski. To compare, I think you’d need to put a boot with tech fittings in the frame binding, and still measure to the fittings in the boot from the ski topskin.

    On the other hand, it sounds like you have a good system for comparing between the bindings you have, so it’s odd that both Baron and Radical are so similar, when in my experience they’re more different than that. But that’s more subjective than your take. So I should do some more measuring.

    Meanwhile, again, note that I’m measuring from the ski top skin to the tech binding heel and toe pins, centers. Those are the dimensions in the chart. Due to the location of the heel and toe tech fittings in the boots, my measurements do not relate to the sole of a boot without tech fittings. And the resulting angle is different than if you put the same boot in a frame/plate. Ideally, I should compensate for the location of the fittings in the boot so that we can do a direct comparison to how boot ramps in frame binding.

  28. Bob December 3rd, 2013 9:50 pm

    Hey Lou (or anyone with some unmounted Radical FTs laying around) – does anyone have the exact measurement of the toe piece Torx screws in mm’s?

    Trying to back into the perfect screw length needed when using a B&D shim. Binding Freedom actually sells a bunch of smaller increment M5 pozi ski screws. Hoping I can hit the nail on the head without having to grind em myself.

  29. Lou December 4th, 2013 7:20 am

    Bob, if nobody gets to it, I can do that for you tomorrow. I might have even already posted that somewhere over the past few years (grin). Lou

  30. Daniel January 7th, 2014 2:40 am

    I’d like to share my latest observations on ramp angle here.

    I have had a K2 Backlash w/Vertical ST for 2 Years now. Big ramp here.
    New ski is a Dynafit Huascaran, TLT Speed. medium ramp.
    Boots are Zzero 4PX and Zzero 4C, both w/ Maestrale Liners (similar to Intuition pro tour)

    First of all, the difference in ramp is very noticeable. It requires some getting used to and changes in skiing posture every time i switched skis. I spent 10 days in the backcountry during the last trip, in very good snow for the most part, with some groomers here and there. Half lift served, half AT.

    I also switched between the two boots.

    My findings are:

    I like the flatter ramp best in combination with the softer boot (PX), allowing for smoother and easier forward flex.

    With the Vertical, I preferred the stiffer Zzero4C, which gave me less of a “tipping over” sensation that can occur with steep ramp.

    Both these preferred combinations work really well. The steeper setup has some perceived advantages on snow, the flatter is a bit better for maintaining a centered stance in highly 3d snow.

    I only used the more upright lean angle on the boots. the more forward setting is rubbish imho.

  31. Bob February 12th, 2014 3:48 pm

    Hey Lou- would you still have a chance to post the length of existing screws on the radical FTs if you have any spares laying around? Would really appreciate the info

  32. Daniel February 12th, 2014 3:54 pm

    Udate on the SPEED TURN binding. In terms or delta/ramp, it is not the legitimate new TLT. It has the old TLT front but speed radical rear with different climbing post. Therefore, it creates more delta that speed radical, as TLT toe is lower.

  33. Lou Dawson February 12th, 2014 5:08 pm

    Time for some B&D toe shims.

    But Dan, I’m not sure you’re correct. The heel unit is I believe a TLT pure and simple. Otherwise it would be a bit strange as it would have the heel post of the TLT but have the heel lift position of the Speed, in terms of the heel unit being rotated to only two positions instead of three… In any case, it does appear to need a to shim for modern skiing, but perhaps is same as early TLT and thus perhaps doesn’t need a shim. Am checking up on it. Lou

  34. Lou Dawson February 12th, 2014 5:23 pm
  35. Greg Louie February 12th, 2014 8:10 pm

    I’m pretty sure the Speed Turn uses the Radical base and body with a TLT Classic top plate/lifter – not sure how the two compare for height though.

  36. Dan February 13th, 2014 2:30 am

    I checked with Dynafit that the Turn heel is essentially a radical speed heel with different heel lifter plate.

    my home caliper measurements heel vs toe pins:
    vertical st 18mm
    radical speed 14.4mm
    TLT speed 12.3mm
    computed value for speed turn: 1.53mm

    so not exactly what you would expect from a speed. a no go for me. I will likely shim my speed radicals with 3mm B&D shims for my next/new touring ski.

  37. Lou Dawson February 14th, 2014 11:57 am

    Dan, when measuring height of toe pins off ski, make sure a boot is clipped in. I use a boot toe fitting without a boot so I’ve got lots of room for measuring tools. Lou

  38. Daniel February 14th, 2014 12:38 pm

    Good point! Will check.

  39. Lou Dawson February 14th, 2014 12:46 pm

    I also try to measure to middle of rear pins in terms of their length, since they tilt slightly down, but I don’t always remember to do so. Difference that makes is probably 1/2 mm or so, no big deal.

  40. barry o March 5th, 2014 1:00 pm

    Thanks for the article, I have the ft radicals mounted on coombacks, I do notice th ramp angle not so much for skiing but more for skinning on rolling or flat terrain and at Breaks. Its more than a uncomfortable feeling. Think I will play with the inserts to achievie a more neutral stance. I was wondering if you can remove the “Stabilizer Feature” when installing the shims as I really dont know what thats foor and it tends to ice up. Cheers

  41. Billy Balz July 20th, 2014 6:46 pm

    Lou or any wildsnow experts, question please: I ski powder in moment bibby with Lange RX 130/zipfits and also moment pbj. When I ski ski same terrain on my k2 backup/speed radicals/tlt6p setup I seem to get in the back seat on my tails much more often. Could this have anything to do with ramp angle? I have all bindings mounted mounted at factory line. I’m a pretty solid skier who doesn’t puke until it gets over 45+ degree angle. Thanks for any thoughts.

  42. Lou Dawson July 21st, 2014 7:15 am

    Billy, when questions like this come up I strongly suggest you tune all your ski setups so you have the same ramp as well as the same boot cuff angles. For most of us, this makes life much easier. For modern skiing, I’d suggest using your most relaxed angle setup as your baseline and tune everything else to go with it.

    Once you’ve done that, then you’ve eliminated a major variable and can look at factors such as differences in height of boot cuff spoiler, type of skis, amount of tail rocker in ski, etc.


  43. zukboy August 30th, 2014 4:48 pm

    Does your calculations for the RA of the Dynafit Radical ST account for the 6 mm front plate shown on Dynafit website or was that measurement gained from just resting the binding on the top sheet of the ski? That’d make the RA around 9 according to your chart if 6mm plate was utilized.

  44. Lou Dawson 2 August 30th, 2014 7:47 pm

    Hi Zuk, all the measurements in the spread sheet are for standard mounts using provided parts for a given model. If something looks off to you let me know as I made a mistake once many years ago, but could happen again (grin). Remember that the chart is comparative, with the early TLT as the baseline. Lou

  45. David Newstead August 31st, 2014 11:52 pm

    Hey all. If my main use of skis is the up not the down (accessing climbs) should I worry about ramp delta and install a shim in my speed radicals or save the extra weight?

  46. Dan October 8th, 2014 10:53 pm

    Lou or anyone,

    I can’t find any info on the heights of the TLT Speed Superlite or the new TLT Expedition. They look to be more even than the other Dynafit bindings but it’s hard to say for sure. Any info would be great.

    The TLT Expeditions in particular look quite appealing at close to half the weight of the TLT Speed Radical yet supposedly more beefy than the Speed Superlite’s.

  47. Greg Louie October 9th, 2014 12:17 am


    The last time I had a Speed Superlight in my hands, I got 29mm at the toe pins and 32mm at the heel pins, for a differential of 3mm. Pretty flat compared to most other Dynafits.

    As I understand it, the Expedition heel is the same one I had years ago which didn’t release laterally at all – if that’s your idea of beefy. Super light, though, and very little chance of inadvertent lateral release!

  48. Lou Dawson 2 October 9th, 2014 5:05 am

    Thanks Greg, sounds right on to me. Expedition definitely has not side (lateral, twisting) release and the vertical (forward) release is not adjustable, I’d guess around RV value 8, catalog weight 197 grams without crampon mount, catalog weight of Speed Superlight is 200 grams.

    A few other specs are here:

  49. Dan October 9th, 2014 9:54 am

    Thanks Greg and Lou. That’s very helpful.

    Regarding the Expedition’s lack of rear lateral release, is this understanding (below) correct?

    The toe piece functions normally as its basically the TLT Speed Radical toe although DIN is now non-adjustable. The rear binding will only release “up” (vertical), such as when one lands a drop into sticky snow and they’re thrown forward. For lateral (side) release, the toe piece still has lateral release, so in a situation where lateral release is needed hopefully the toe would release, and then the heal would slide forward off the pins after that.

    I wish Dynafit made a version of the TLT Speed Radical where they nixed the adjustable boot length plate. That would drop weight and the boot ramp.

  50. Lou Dawson 2 October 9th, 2014 10:14 am

    Dan, no, the binding has no twisting/lateral safety release. If the toe piece provided for the release you are talking about, you wouldn’t be able to stay in it while skiing. The binding has NO lateral safety release in any practical or modern sense of the concept. Lou

  51. Dan October 9th, 2014 10:23 am

    Thanks for clearing that up Lou. Much appreciated.

  52. Ben November 18th, 2014 2:07 pm

    Are the measurements for the ION still accurate for the production version?

    I’d like to shim my Radical STs to match my new IONs. This chart makes me think I need a 3mm shim(or slightly less) but doing some very crude measurements on my skis it looks like the difference is more like 5mm.

    I don’t have calipers so I’m trying to find some confirmations.

  53. Lou Dawson 2 November 18th, 2014 2:21 pm

    Ben, I’ve got production ION here, it looks exactly the same as the tester I measured… If there is any difference it would be miniscule, but I’ll check when I have a chance. Lou

  54. Alex Corey January 24th, 2015 12:46 pm

    quick question–I’ve got the tri-step heel/old-school comfort toe (mounted on the plastic crampon plate) arrangement (that elsewhere you don’t recommend, but it’s still working so I’m trying to modify what I’ve got). They’re on Fischer Big Stix 10.6 skis, and reading this post I am thinking that the ramp angle is way too steep, which means I get put too far front seat or back seat depending on the conditions. What thickness B&D shims would you suggest for the toe to try to smooth that out? I’m guessing the 3.2 mm ones, but that’s based on the numbers for the complete Comfort rather than the comfort/tri-step combo.


  55. Lou Dawson 2 January 24th, 2015 12:48 pm

    Alex, yes, I’d recommend the thinner 3.2 mm, it’s much less problematic to install and probably all you need. Remember you’ll need screws. Lou

  56. Alex Corey January 24th, 2015 4:38 pm

    brilliant, thanks!

  57. Jeff January 26th, 2015 1:10 am

    Hey Lou:

    Phenomenal job here, as always.

    When you measured and got a ramp angle of about 15 for the radical st, did that include the factory 6mm shim under the toe that it is normally mounted with, or is the real ramp angle 9? Just trying to think about how I want to go with my radical st, does the plate from b&d work with the included 6mm plate from DYNAFIT or does it replace it?

  58. Lou Dawson 2 January 26th, 2015 1:21 am

    Jeff, all measurements in the chart are for the binding installed as intended out of the box. As for plates, you use them in any combo you want, provided screws are long enough, but using only one plate/shim is better than sandwiching. If you do sandwich be sure to put some kind of adhesive between the two plates, I rough mine up and just smear some epoxy on there, which doesn’t really bond to the plastic but works in shear if the surfaces are rough and the screws are tight. In our case, I’ve found that moderate changes to the ramp angle are all that’s required — we’re not trying to shave off hundreths in a World Cup race, just going for more comfortable skiing.

  59. Jeff February 15th, 2015 1:17 am

    Thanks again Lou:

    Curious about your numbers. I just added b&d 6.4 shim to my dynafit RADICAL ST toes, by the chart that should bring the toes up to abot 41 ish and with the heels at 50 ish mm, that’s still positive 9 difference in height, but in a couple posts and blurbs near photos you say that shimming the radical st wih 6 mm shims brings you to a neutral ramp, does 50-41, 9mm difference equate to neutral ramp, for instance I’ve heard the difference in Solomon sth/916 is about 3mm from heel to toe, and these aren’t considered neutral, could you translate some of your numbers, I have a superficial but decent grasp on trig if that’s needed

  60. Lou Dawson 2 February 15th, 2015 9:24 am


    Apologies for any confusion my attempt at technical writing might have caused. I’ll go back through and see if I can clarify my numbers and change the wording for more clarity.

    Remember what I’m doing here in the chart is measuring the distance of the boot’s tech fittings above the ski (center of toe and heel pins), so different bindings can be compared. Due to differences in boot construction, shape, and built-in boot delta there is no exact binding ramp that’s going to result in an exactly neutral boot across the board. This is especially true of touring boots, but even alpine boots have various boot boards with various heel posting, some are even adjustable.

    I suppose an alpine or frame binding could be considered to have “neutral ramp” when the heel and toe AFDs are of equal height above the ski, but even then if you’re using a touring boot, thickness of the sole, rocker, and boot board inside the boot will result in changing the angle.

    I did experiment with certain boots to find what seemed like a true neutral ramp, as mentioned in the blog post doing so with a Dynafit Radical required a centimeter or more of toe shim.

    I’d suggest you decide what you want in ramp and simply work backwards from that, perhaps by doing simply physical experiment of setting your boot and binding on ski and shimming up the binding toe with spacers until the boot is where you want it, then buy spacers based on your experiment.

    If you have some theory about what ramp you want, then you’re going to have to incorporate the delta of your foot inside the boot and work backwards from that. Might be wiser to just shim the toe a bit, as you have, and go skiing.


  61. Fred Robinson February 20th, 2015 9:20 am

    Well to show my ignorance I have to start at the beginning before I go with shims. I am having knee problems, but I need to understand why less ramp is easier on the knees and how less ramp would affect my skiing–I have comforts, verticals, and speed radicals and it seems like my knee problems didn’t start until the speed radicals. So many variables…… But I just need to understand the basic premise that less ramp is easier on the knees.

  62. Lou Dawson 2 February 20th, 2015 9:31 am

    Fred, your knees are not designed to be in the somewhat static flexed position that ski bindings and boots sometimes force you into. The idea is that the healthiest thing is to be able to easily vary your knee flexion from almost non-flexed to as flexed as you want. It seems that less ramp helps achieve this better than more angle. Caveat is that less ramp is not some kind of panacea for knee problems, in my experience the main effect is that if you have worn cartilage, changing your basic angles can put pressure on healthier cartledge. Conversely, not enough ramp or climbing lift can put a lot of stress on your meniscus when you do too much “straight legging.” It’s very individual and I may have given a false impression about how desirable it is to fool with ramp angles. Main point is if you have knee pain, experiment. Don’t settle for what some binding designer in Germany came up with. Those angles are sometimes simply the result of manufacturing or design convenience, not real-life ergonomics.Tech binding inventor Fritz jokes about coming up with the original tech binding angles simply because that’s where the angle stops were on his drawing table protractor.

    In terms of how less ramp affects skiing downhill, you get less tip pressure and less “old style” power, and need to depend more on the ski sidecut and design to initiate turns. It can be more of a “flow” technique but can also be tough in steeper terrain when you want to make tight controlled turns. Personally, I like less ramp than most tech bindings, but I don’t like having too little.

    Each generation has the right to invent skiing. The more flowing style is the current generation’s stab at that, and having less boot and binding ramp is sometimes desirable to achieve a less choppy technique. Those of in the previous generation already had our chance to invent skiing as well, only when we invented it we used more ramp and forward boot lean. I’ve done ok with inventing my skiing twice, but I’m not totally dialed on the latest invention and probably never will be, but it does make sense. Luckily I was never a very good telemarker, so I didn’t have to invent skiing three times (grin).

    P.S., someone may chime in and mention that less binding ramp results in a sort of “gas peddle” effect in that you might find more response when you do decide to apply forward boot pressure. I don’t doubt that’s true, but for ski touring that’s not in my opinion a big factor in why one would change ramp.


  63. See February 20th, 2015 6:47 pm

    Fred and Lou, your comments speak to my condition. I’m still amused by the memory of a patroller (who I don’t think appreciated me and a friend observing some unusual control work) doing a parody of my old school wiggle turns.

    This may be obvious (or wrong), but I find soft boots are a lot easier on my knees. Lou, are you mostly skiing in the light but stiff/non-progressive flexing boots that seem all the rage these days? Are they knee friendly? Am I mistaken about how these boots feel on the snow (I’ve only tried on a few samples in the shop)? Would they be your first choice if they weren’t currently such a hot commodity?

    I use moderately soft boots even on pretty big (not stiff) skis or firm snow. They sometimes overflex forward, but only when I screw up.

  64. swissiphic February 20th, 2015 8:08 pm

    Lou and all: I found an easier quick and dirty method of experimenting with different ramp angles in the field with existing mounted bindings is very simple. for ‘less’ ramp lock the toe and downhill ski with ski boot heel shelf stuck under the pins. for more ramp double sided carpet tape stick on a plastic heel block to desired height under heel of boot or on ski and turn binding into flat on ski tour mode. Of course you might wreck your binding and have totally skewered release or no release capabilities and may land on your face with no heel retention but it’s super quick and provides immediate feedback. I do it all the time while tinkering on either easy skiing smooth pow or buffed moderate angle groomers.

  65. ph February 21st, 2015 12:53 am

    Does anyone have pin heights for Marker Kingpin?

  66. Herb Jones March 20th, 2015 9:21 pm

    I just got done putting a 3mm shim plate under my Speed Radical toe piece in addition to the 8mm riser plates I installed last week, toe and heel. You were so right about the sliding action between the plates which can be detected by locking in the boot toe and twisting back and forth laterally at the heel. While gluing the plates together may help, I believe that the real issue is the fit of the screws in the plate holes under the binding. If you have a snug fit all along the screw between ski surface and binding it can’t move. Of course that would require precision drilling of the plates to match the holes or inserts, for those that have ’em. The BD plates look like they have snug holes which would be an added advantage to using their product. Drilling holes with a binding jig may be an option worth trying. Drill the holes in your material (cutting board, etc…) first, then trace out the binding and cut with a jig saw.
    As a temporary “fix” I filled the plate holes with “weak” 5 minute epoxy and reinstalled the screws. That may prove to be the most serious screw up of this project – when I attempt to disassemble it.
    Lou, have you ever discussed alignment with Harald Harb? He and Warren Whitherell before him are good sources for alignment information. They did not agree on everything but, seem to be in general agreement regarding ramp angle.

  67. Lou Dawson 2 March 21st, 2015 5:44 am

    Herb, sounds good, agree that for solid mount the holes in the shim plates need to have epoxy worked into them. Lou

  68. SteveR April 29th, 2015 10:32 am

    Hi Lou,

    I was looking at a Radical 2.0 toe this afternoon. The toe unit seems to be identical to a Beast 14 toe. In the chart on this page the Beast 14 is shown as having a 2mm higher pin height than the Radical 2.0. Is there a mistake on the chart? Or am I missing something?

  69. Lou Dawson 2 April 29th, 2015 12:46 pm

    Hi Steve, I can check this when I return to U.S. in a few weeks. Sorry for the discrepancy. I do measure this stuff pretty carefully so the 2mm might very well be accurate. I’m in Europe so I have to wait till I’m somewhere where I can check the bindings. Lou

  70. SteveR August 29th, 2015 11:33 am

    I think I may have figured it out. There has been an inline change to the design of the plate under the toe of the Beast 14. If your measurements were taken from the original Beast 14, then maybe that explains why you have different measurements on the chart for the Beast 14 and Radical 2.0 toes?

    Alternatively I could be wrong and maybe the 2016 Beast 14 toe isn’t identical to the Radical 2.0 toe?

    Hmm, some days I even find myself boring!

  71. Lou Dawson 2 August 29th, 2015 1:01 pm

    Hmmm, sounds like I still need to play around with this.

  72. Lou Dawson 2 November 11th, 2015 10:59 am

    Added Marker Kingpin. 2.5 mm less ramp than classic Dynafit TLT, 5.3 mm less ramp than Dynafit Radical 2.0, bear in mind that unlike most other tech type bindings, the type of measurement I’m doing (ski top to center of pins), the Marker has the boot heel resting on brake AFD, so if the boot heel section is thinner or thicker it’s going to change this measurement by a few millimeters. Lou

  73. GB November 13th, 2015 12:30 pm

    Thanks for adding this info Lou.
    So with the Kingpin, you are measuring ski top to top of heel “ledge?”

  74. Lou Dawson 2 November 13th, 2015 1:44 pm


    As with all other bindings in the chart, I measure from the top of the ski to the center of the tech binding pins. In the case of Kingpin, I measured to a phantom pin, easily ascertained by where the sockets are in the boot.

    You can thus compare Kingpin ramp to what you’d get with another touring binding that was a tech binding.

    The point of this chart is to COMPARE different tech bindings, it is thus normalized by measuring to the pins, not the boot. If I measured to the boot, I’d have to measure every boot in creation as I’m sure they vary a bit. What is more, all boots have various angles in the footboard, thus changing virtual ramp even more.

    Is that clear as mud (grin)?

    If all boots were exactly the same I suppose I could measure to the top ledge on the heel, but they’re not. More accurate to just measure the bindings, though in the case of Kingpin I had to use a “phantom” set of rear pins.

  75. jasper December 31st, 2015 8:04 pm

    A few thoughts. How do people feel about the added height? I like to be as close to the ski as possible, maybe as rebellion from my race days, but also want a neutral position. Pick your battle. How will the increased height effect the vertical release particularly in a nonadjustable race binding? The lever arm (boot) will be more parallel with binding and might lower release value. Maybe it’s not so important since race bindings tend to be close to, or below, wildsnow’s standard. For the hotest binding of the season this could be a point for superlite 2.0.

  76. jasper January 1st, 2016 7:00 pm

    Why not measure to the top (or the bottom) of the pins? It’s more accurate than trying to find center and you will ultimately end up with a normalized difference.

  77. Lou 2 January 1st, 2016 7:09 pm

    Jasper, good point, I think I was measuring to center because of the toe pins having different diameters on the outside. Also bear in mind that some of the heel pins slant so one has to estimate where to measure to. I think there was some other reason I went to center, but I can’t remember it… I was pretty careful, deviation is small enough so that the comparos are solid information.

  78. Bob February 23rd, 2016 6:51 pm

    I’m curious what the pin heights are on the latest Speed Turn binding (with the four hole toe piece; so different than the one shown above). Anyone have one to measure? Also, if the Speed Turn uses the rear housing from the Speed Radical is it actually more durable?

  79. Lou Dawson 2 February 23rd, 2016 6:58 pm

    Speed Turn 2 is indeed different, I should get it in there. I’ll work on it. Thanks for the reminder. Lou

  80. Michael February 23rd, 2016 7:27 pm

    Bob I think the speed turn is more durable because it has a metal top plate and the volcano style risers aren’t subject to the same stresses as the flip down risers of the Radicals. Lou details it here somewhere.

    It’s a simpler and seemingly more reliable design, although the risers are harder to switch between than the Radicals.

  81. Lou Dawson 2 February 23rd, 2016 8:01 pm

    I’ve never seen the top break off of a binding such as Speed Turn (formerly TLT or Low-Tech). We still have TLT bindings in play, never have such problems. The lines of force are different, probably quite a bit more going on as well. Lou

  82. Tom July 7th, 2016 5:52 pm


    Any thought on adding Plum or ATK to the list? I’m thinking of adding a pair of Raider 12s to my quiver.


  83. Lou Dawson 2 July 8th, 2016 8:03 am

    Hi Tom, there is a Plum Guide on the list. I’m getting to know ATK pretty well due to visits at ISPO, and could probably get the pin heights for a few of their bindings, I’ll work on it. A bit of a language barrier. That said, I wouldn’t worry too much about ramp, you can always shim up the toe. Lou

  84. Lou Dawson 2 July 8th, 2016 8:09 am
  85. Tom July 8th, 2016 10:29 am

    I missed the Plum Guide, sorry. I shim my Dynafits now, so I know the drill, but the ski would look so much cleaner…

  86. Daniel July 8th, 2016 12:30 pm

    If a volcano or Speed type riser is too difficult to operate for somebody, then everything in ski touring certainly is. Come on.

    Speed Turn, they put together a binding to replace the old Speed and again ignored the ramp issue, that binding has significantly more ramp than the venerable TLT Speed.

  87. Lou Dawson 2 July 8th, 2016 1:47 pm

    Shim time in the mountains. That is all… Thing is, the increased ramp can actually work in your favor when using boots that are optimized for hiking/climbing, as you can have a boot with less foot delta, and compensate for it with the binding ramp. It gets technical and perhaps too nerdish, but for an alpinist this can be a consideration. Yet, I do think building the binding with a bit less stock ramp is good. Just remember it’s a lot easier usually to shim the toe up to decrease ramp rather than having to shim up the heel to increase, due to the length of the shims, brakes, etc.

  88. Daniel July 8th, 2016 2:42 pm

    Do you have any data on foot delta in boots, say within the dynafit range or dyna vs scarpa?

  89. Daniel July 8th, 2016 2:45 pm

    Not to forget forward lean. Ramp increases forward lean, all other being equal. Foot delta alone less so.

  90. Bill B December 7th, 2016 12:31 pm

    Hey Lou
    Thanks for trying to explain all this.
    We get a lot of people wanting flat.
    That’s kind of like asking for the best tasting beer.

  91. John Baldwin December 8th, 2016 5:27 pm

    Thanks for discussing this confusing topic Lou. Its the most confusing part of tech bindings.

    In playing around with different boot binding combos I’ve experienced sore knees from both too much lean (pre-adjustable TLT5 18deg lean with vertical ST) to not enough lean (TLT6 on 15 deg lean with a speed superlite 2). Its not that simple to put shims in after the fact but I have found great success with adjusting the boot cuff lean to basically correct for the difference in binding delta. For example I find setting the lean on my TLT6 to 15 deg in a vertical ST binding is close to setting an 18 deg lean with the TLT6 in a speed superlite 2 binding. The effective lean angle of the boot cuff comes out about the same. There is of course a difference in the angle of the foot bed but I haven’t found this to be bothersome if you get the lean to where you like it.

  92. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2016 6:22 pm

    John, indeed, the boot fitter race technicians will tell you that binding ramp is a lot different than cuff lean angle. But for ski touring, adjusting whatever is easiest seems to work fine so long as you get your ankle into the mid range of mobility. Lou

  93. MT Big Blue December 8th, 2016 6:35 pm

    Apologies for thread hijacking. My question is at least binding related. Lou & WSers, does anyone know a source for older dynafit vertical parts? I have 2prs of toes missing the ski/walk levers (excenter lever) is I believe the tech name. Dyna NA no longer stocks parts for those bindings and I can’t find any shops or websites showing inv. of those older parts.
    Kind of a bummer that $20 of missing plastic has rendered these toes unusable even as emerg. spares for extended hut trips as driving pins etc in the BC to make a complete toe would be difficult at best.
    Thoughts? Sources?
    WS have any interest hosting a “spare parts” resource page?

  94. John Baldwin December 8th, 2016 6:42 pm

    MT – check

  95. See December 8th, 2016 7:54 pm

    To expand a bit on earlier comments: I wish more boots had easily adjustable forward lean. When I’m setting up new boots and/or bindings, I often want a little more or less lean, and being able to quickly dial it in, try it for a lap or two and readjust if it’s not quite right, is really useful. Boots with only one or two fixed lean angles rarely feel just right to me, and I end up adapting to my equipment, when I would rather adapt my equipment to me. I know I could shim the binding toe or pad the liner or whatever, but the convenience of the infinitely adjustable lean lock just seems like a much better solution. I’ve worn out two pairs of Scarpas with infinitely adjustable lean and (apart from having to put some Locktite on the adjuster screws once I had the angle dialed) they worked pretty much flawlessly until the soles wore out or the shells cracked.

  96. Garrett December 9th, 2016 12:16 pm

    Lou, thanks for doing all that measuring and sharing the data, it has proven very helpful! A 6.4mm shim under the toes of my Vertical STs feels MUCH better.

    I skied to hell and back on several pair of the old 404s. Besides the loosey-goosey nature of those binders, I loved the the stance (stack height/delta) of the 404s. I felt so sure-footed on them. I know you’ve got them in the museum, any chance you can add those numbers to the chart for comparo purposes?

    Thanks, -G

  97. Lou Dawson 2 December 9th, 2016 3:57 pm

    Ha, good idea on the 404, I’ll add it in there as another example. It’ll be the same, measured to where the centers of the boot fittings end up, so it’ll be a direct comparison. Lou

  98. MT Big Blue December 9th, 2016 4:06 pm

    John B — thanks. I’ve looked at Skimo already. Those parts not listed as avail. I have reached out to them.
    Thanks for chiming in.

    If anyone’s got used etc. parts floating around ….. and Lou is cool with passing on contact info – I’d happily make a deal for those parts.

    Sorry if this post violates any WS policy. Remove if so. Apologies in advance.

  99. See December 9th, 2016 7:32 pm

    I’m curious about how your verticals came to be missing the ski/walk levers. Did they break, wear out? Maybe the toe pieces are just shot.

  100. Adam December 10th, 2016 7:33 am

    Hey Lou. First off, thanks for all the great work you do with this site. On this topic, I have a quick question on the Comforts I have mounted on my wife’s skis. If I wanted to add a shim, can I pull off the binding and then just reuse the same holes? The bindings were mounted by a good shop here in Maine so I don’t think they would have been over torqued. And should I still use the standard plastic baseplate with the shim?



  101. Lou Dawson 2 December 10th, 2016 9:00 am

    Hi Adam, yeah, you use the same holes and the same OEM binding baseplate. But you need longer screws. It’s a bit technical as the new screws need to protrude at very close to the same as the original, and certainly no shorter. If longer, it’s a good idea to very carefully nip the bottom of the screw holes with a drill bit so the screw has room to descend without pressure on the ski core material and base laminations. I also advise placing double sided carpet tape between shim and ski, and shim and OEM binding plate, to prevent micro movement. You also need to know what kind of glue the shop used. If epoxy, you need to heat the screws before backing out, if standard “wood glue” was used, you can just break the bond with careful application of torque.

    On the 10 wrench DIY scale, I’d actually rate doing this as an 8, unless you’ve done a lot of DIY binding work and are fairly well tooled, then I’d probably rate it a 5.

    As for tooling, a digital caliper is pretty much mandatory, doesn’t have to be an expensive one.

    ‘best, Lou

  102. VT skier December 11th, 2016 6:31 pm

    Speaking of shims, I have the same Speed Turn binding you pictured in these comments on Feb 12 2014.
    With my new rockered La Sportiva Spectre boots, with binding in walk mode, and boot heel flat on rear shim, there was a lot of upward pressure on the toe piece.
    I swapped out the stock toe shim for an extra set of thicker Vertical St nylon toe shims, and this raised the toe piece enough so now there is minimal upward pressure on the toe.
    Also used the longer Vertical ST mounting screws on this re-mount.

    I may carve a little out of one lug in the boot sole, where it slightly presses down a bit on nylon Vertical toe shim in walk mode.

  103. VT skier December 11th, 2016 6:56 pm

    MT Big Blue wrote
    ” Lou & WSers, does anyone know a source for older dynafit vertical parts? I have 2prs of toes missing the ski/walk levers (excenter lever) is I believe the tech name.”

    Noodling around on the Interweb, I just did a search for Dynafit 48739. I found this site in the SudTirol ( I think) with new Speed Turns in stock. With the Euro almost at par with the US dollar, 199 Euros isn’t a bad price. This toe is same as the Vertical toe, at least the metal components (not nylon base) .
    Good luck !

  104. MT Big Blue December 12th, 2016 10:15 pm

    Thanks VT. Will take a look.

    See- all toe pieces in great shape. Parted out fixing other binders of customers for shop I work at.
    I’m running old Plum toes on a touring rig and want to swap for the steel toes instead hence looking to resurrect these old Vert toes.

    I’ve got all necessary parts but plastic levers. Was hoping to ‘reduce/reuse’ before full replacement. VT website for orig speed turns might be best option.

    I’ve quiver killered all my setups for old vert & plum hole pattern so I’m forced to keep trying to maintain older bindings and hoping to add some more parts/pieces to my kit as I picked up new ZG95 and would like to get it mounted asap.

    Thanks VT et all for thoughts & suggestions.

  105. Bill H January 14th, 2017 5:27 pm

    Okay so just a clarification question Lou:

    We have a set of Radical ST 2.0’s going on The Lady’s new Christmas skis. I did the B&D small toe shim on my previous TLT Speed Radicals and thought it was noticeably preferred positioning over my other other skis with TLT Radical FTs, so we’d like to set hers up similar.

    B&D does not currently make a pre-fab toe shim with holes for the FT/ST 2.0s, but I can get a 3mm generic shim material at our local shop, which I can cut down to size and grind nice and pretty to match the toe piece base shape on the 2.0.

    Then I need to trade out her screws for some longer screws, which may need trimming and re-sharpening on the grinder; then I can take all that into the shop here and have them mount with the 3mm toe shim and longer screws. Do we also need to put a thin layer of epoxy between the top sheet-shim and shim-2.0 base, to seal out moisture and grime from the interface? Anything else I’m missing?

    Thanks for recommendations and for this thread discussion.

  106. Lou Dawson 2 January 19th, 2017 9:45 am

    Added Salomon Mountain binding with brake to delta chart, is uses base plate that’s same thickness as binding without brake, so no change.

  107. daniel May 21st, 2017 1:29 pm

    For the record:

    Zzero4 boots size 27

    Marker Tour/Dynafit original Speed: same resulting shaft angle.
    Kingpin: approx. 1deg more upright shaft angle.

  108. GOB October 19th, 2017 3:16 pm

    I think something is amiss with the Salomon MTN “difference from TLT” calculation.

  109. Lou Dawson 2 October 19th, 2017 4:17 pm

    Thanks for calling that out GOB, sometimes when I’m messing with the spreadsheet I end up causing one of the calcs to grab wrong numbers, that’s probably what happened. I’ll check ASAP. Lou

  110. Lou Dawson 2 October 19th, 2017 4:25 pm

    Fixed now, sheet was grabbing wrong number from a different row.

  111. Carl October 23rd, 2017 11:50 am

    Lou (et al)

    This is a great article thank you. I not sure I understand all here but it seems to explain a lot. I wonder if you could check my reasoning on an issue I have been having for years relating to this and forward lean of boots (or please tell me I am barking up the wrong tree, if I am!).

    So I have always liked a more relaxed style of boot with not so much forward lean. Unfortunately, this seems to vary by manufacturers of boots and very few have ones you can adjust these days. I have little choice of boots especially because I have high arches, but recently found for more freerando/freeride style of skiing a pair of atomic waymakers that were comfortable. The trend to really high levels of forward lean seems to have reversed however with freeride boots and jumping between these on top of some marker barons and my other main set-up of scarpe maestrale RS (in the more upright of two positions) on dynafit FTs seems huge. The Scarpes are a bit too far forward for comfort, but I adjust to them okay after a bit. The waymakers however are too upright for me mounted on the barons, even after a few days to adjust.

    I am buying new skis and thought to put dynafit bindings on them (with the dynafit soles they offer). Will the delta you are talking about here serve to increase the the forward lean and solve my issue?

    I am guessing I am asking how do these topics relate? And is it possible to calculate?

    If so will I still need spacers? or will the effect be too much. Do you always recommend them? Did you have a measurement for marker barons for comparison?

    I look at my TLTs and FTs now and they seem to have been mounted directly to the ski, infact until I read your excellent article I have never even heard people or shops discuss this! So reading your article you can see it is a bit of a revelation to me on something that has always nagged me. So thank you once again.

  112. Lou Dawson 2 October 23rd, 2017 1:22 pm

    Hi Carl, the procedure is to start with a setup you like the feel of, measure everything, then duplicate those measurements with new setup. A specialized ski shop such as Cripple Creek or Skimo is the place to go for this sort of thing.

    You don’t have to perfectly duplicate, just close. Also, nothing wrong with trying a new set of angles, if you can give yourself a few days of skiing to try getting used to it.

    Another article about it:


  113. GOB November 16th, 2017 7:51 pm

    Hi Lou –
    Are you sure the Ion LT’s have the same large ramp as the regular Ions? And as much as the Dynafits? I was under the impression that they were much flatter.
    Just confirming because I’m considering a pair of LT’s now, and I see that B and D is making shims for them, but I would have to go big (6+ mm) to bring down the delta. Thanks!

  114. Lou Dawson 2 November 17th, 2017 7:41 am

    Hi GOB, I don’t have an LT here at the moment but I did measure for blog post chart

    I’m 999 sure my measurements are correct but I can check later today if you like.

    The ramp is about the same as an original Dynafit TLT.

    Remember that big changes to delta by using toe shim result in less climbing heel lift.


  115. Chris L December 11th, 2017 10:34 am

    According to and my own measurements, I think the Salomon MTN binding without brakes is closer to 8-8.5mm. Also, you can remove the rear plastic heel piece shim to reduce the delta by 2mm (close to 6mm delta without it) . The shim appears to be 4mm thick from the side while mounted, but the heel piece is recessed and the actual thickness is 2mm. I used the same screws and the screw length was fine, at least for the skis I was mounting.

  116. Lou Dawson 2 December 11th, 2017 12:36 pm

    Hi Chris, I have bindings here, both the brake base plate and the one without brake are 2 mm thick. Yes the binding heel can be mounted without the plate, to drop it 2 mm. Height from ski top surface to center of pins, MTN/Backland binding on plate (not the LT version) is 39 mm. I’ll check the spreadsheet. Lou

  117. Konsta April 24th, 2018 12:59 pm

    Bug report: G3 Zed diff references Plum Guide, not TLT (4.05 = 17.86 – 13.81). Off by one…

  118. Lou Dawson 2 April 24th, 2018 2:10 pm

    Thanks Konsta, if you’re referring to the spreadsheet formula being off, my fault, sometimes when I’m dragging items I’m too faithful as to the formula following along… I’ll fix.

    Update: Fixed


  119. Maki May 21st, 2018 1:41 pm

    Hi Lou, I think you should check the table for errors. The TR2 toe looks way too low. I don’t have one handy to measure but I recall it being noticeably higher than a “regular” Dynafit toe, to the point that you have to shim ski crampons in order to have them really bite the snow.

  120. Lou Dawson 2 May 21st, 2018 1:56 pm

    Sure Maki, thanks, I’ll look at it. I do make mistakes, often because things get jiggered around when I’m adding to the sheets.

    I have the TR2 here at hand, but who knows what version. These measure 36.21 mm toe pin height, and 45.12 mm to where heel pins would be, for comparison purposes. I’ll change chart to reflect that.

    Anything other than that would be due to changes Trab made in various iterations.


  121. Lou Dawson 2 May 21st, 2018 2:24 pm

    If you’d like to measure your for us that would be appreciated. Determine where on the boot heel the center of tech pins would be and measure up to that from the ski top surface. With toe, measure up to center of pins from ski top surface. Do both with boot in binding. Thanks for any help. ‘best, Lou

  122. Maki May 22nd, 2018 5:45 am

    I’d like to, but I don’t own that binding. I don’t think Trab ever changed the TR2 dimensions, not in a significant amount anyway. Your measures look credible and in line with other websites. On my side I can confirm the Plum Guide (unfortunately, since I have it and suffer from excessive delta).

  123. Lou Dawson 2 May 22nd, 2018 8:25 am

    Ok, thanks Maki, I’m fairly careful with these measurements but of course do make mistakes, I suspect my TR2 numbers were from a pre-retail sample or something like that.

    Regarding excessive delta, there is a season for stacking (smile).


  124. GB September 27th, 2018 2:56 pm

    Hi Lou,
    I see you added Salomon shift – thanks for that.
    One question – did you measure to the actual pins or the theoretical location where pins would be in downhill mode?
    I was under the impression that in downhill mode (i.e. pins not engaged) that the binding would have similar delta to the Warden, which I think is something like 2.5 to 3 mm.

  125. GB September 27th, 2018 9:48 pm

    Ah, I think I have found my answer – it depends on if you are using an alpine boot or touring boot:

    stack height front/rear in mm:
    shift with vulcan: 17/24
    shift with alpine boot: 25/26

    Kind of annoying that using an AT boot changes the delta. I wish they could have gone with a height adjustable top of toe piece (like the warden and other solly’s) instead of changing the bottom part (ala marker)

  126. Lou Dawson 2 September 28th, 2018 9:16 am

    GB, anything we do here at WildSnow is specific to ski touring, and my delta-ramp measurements are all comparative, they are height of ski boot tech fittings above ski top surface, measured from where the binding pin centers would be, in downhill mode, imaginary or real. In other words, with the Shift I inserted a ski touring boot with binding in DOWNHILL mode (not using the actual binding toe touring pins), then measured the height of the fittings and imaginary pins (centers) above the ski. Again, the idea is to get an exact comparison between different touring bindings.

    By using the fittings/pin height in my chart, that allows you to see the actual differences between each _binding_ as if you used the same boot for each different binding.

    In terms of Shift having different ramp for touring vs alpine boots, it certainly does, though the actual numbers would change depending on the exact boots measured, though they’d probably be similar. The thing you have to watch out for is that where the ramp-delta actually interacts with your body is from the inside of the boot and the boot board, or even more specifically, your foot sitting on the footbed inside the liner. Thus, if you really want good numbers comparing alpine to touring, you’d need to first decide on exactly which boots to measure, and do so from the inside of the boot…

    The above concept sounds esoteric but it is valuable. Reason being, if you want a binding such as Shift to have similar ramp between your touring and alpine boots, what you’d do is work on the boots, installing heel lifts or dropping heels, shimming under metatarsals, tweaking cuff angles and so on. It’s not that tough to do, but does take some time and the right tools.


  127. GB September 28th, 2018 10:14 am

    Thanks for the reply Lou.
    One thing that really had appealed to me with the shift was that I could use the same beefy AT boot in both my warden alpine bindings and also in the shift, and have no difference in angles. This was something I had been looking for for a long time!

    Now I see that actually that won’t work, it takes a lot of the appeal of the shift away for me. I have shimmed other pin bindings in the past to try to match my alpine setup, but it never feels exactly right. Maybe I am overly sensitive to the changes, but I was really hoping for a seamless transition!

  128. Lou Dawson 2 September 28th, 2018 10:40 am

    For an EXACT comparison of Shift ramp, alpine boot vs touring, I configured my Scarpa Freedom with swap soles, to both touring and alpine configuration.

    In this case, the Scarpa Freedom boot TOE ends up 5 mm higher above ski with alpine soles, than it does with the touring soles, all else being equal. All measured as closely as possible to what happens INSIDE the boot. In other words, the boot with alpine soles has 5 mm less ramp, in regards to Shift binding configured for alpine/downhill skiing (not touring).

    In other words, as implied by what you found elsewhere on the ‘net, Scarpa Freedom with alpine sole is indeed flatter when configured with alpine sole, and actually quite flat, though I hesitate to print actual ramp/stack numbers because again, they should be measured from the inside of the boot. Instead, again, I’m all about comparisons.

    Conclusion: Let’s say you did want to use both alpine and touring boots in Shift, and get an ergonomic match in terms of boot ramp. Assuming you had a 5 mm difference, and the alpine boot had the lesser ramp, simply posting your heel a few mm higher inside the alpine boot, and dropping it a few mm in the touring boot (along with a bit of work on cuff angle) would result in a stack and delta match perceptually identical for anyone but Marcel Hirscher.

    Along with the above, you could also belt sand 1 or 2 mm off the alpine boot sole AFD contact area, so long as it was intended only for the Shift, and you didn’t mind adding a bit of ramp.

    Oh, and folks with lower volume feet can also raise the boot board under the metatarsal, thus decreasing delta.

    Lots of solutions.

    Don’t get annoyed. Get even. Even out the ramp.

  129. Lou Dawson 2 September 28th, 2018 10:48 am

    GB, aha, you’re talking about using the same beefy touring boot both a touring and an alpine binding, that’s getting even farther out there in terms of the Wild Snow world (smile). BUT, I do have experience with even that far fetched type of thing, though it pains me to admit it (smile). What I’d look at is shimming both bindings so your touring boots have the same angle in both bindings. How much difference do you need to make up for?

    Don’d get annoyed. Get some shims. Sounds like a cool project.

  130. GB September 28th, 2018 10:49 am

    Thanks for doing all those measurements and testing Lou!
    I guess my point is using the *same* boot, with the same soles (hawx xtd with non-swappable soles) in different bindings (alpine: warden, AT: shift), the ramp will be different, and I would have to shim one of the bindings permanently or change something in the boot every time I changed to one of the other bindings.

  131. GB September 28th, 2018 10:52 am

    Haha, simul-post!
    I would have to measure exactly, but it’s probably about 5mm raise of the shift toe to equalize.

  132. Lou Dawson 2 September 28th, 2018 10:56 am

    If the difference is 5 mm, shim both bindings, 2 mm each, and leave one mm for your body to adjust to. Easily done, and if you did use other boots, the 2 mm shouldn’t be a big deal.

    In terms of ramp being different among three or four or more bindings, what do you expect (smile) ?! That’s the whole point of the spreadsheet in this blog post, and a known component of the entire ski gear industry. I’m glad it’s that way, as an ISO/DIN standard that dictated binding delta and/or stack would be deadly to innovation. Instead, shim shim shim.


  133. GB September 28th, 2018 11:18 am

    Sounds like a good plan, just frustrating in that I would have to remount the alpine bindings and craft a shim for the shifts. Salomon really pushes this binding as having same angles as their alpine bindings, but I guess they had to decide if that was for alpine boots or AT boots. I’m a little disappointed with their decision to match it for alpine boots being that it’s an AT binding. I am sure it would have been a challenge to design the toepiece to move up and down like their alpine bindings rather than the afd move up and down.

  134. Lou Dawson 2 September 28th, 2018 3:55 pm

    Don’t believe everything you read, even if it’s about the latest and greatest thing (smile). And who knows if it’ll break or not. I give it 50/50 based on the overall history of the ski touring binding industry. Lou

  135. Lou Dawson 2 September 29th, 2018 7:06 am

    I’ve used the slightly lighter HDPE for binding stack shims as the full weight HDPE is quite heavy, I think this is it, or an example anyhow.

    Regarding the Shift binding specifically, it might be necessary to mess around with how the toe unit boss that’s screwed to the ski, is supported. It might be necessary to bore an oversized hole in the plastic shim and support the boss with metal washers.

    Overall, it might be better to just mod the easiest binding, leave the other model alone, and get used to the slight difference in binding ramp.

  136. GB September 29th, 2018 11:39 am

    On a related note, does marker alpinist delta change with brakes vs no brakes?

  137. Nico September 30th, 2018 4:03 am

    Thanks for updating this Lou.
    Really surprised by the difference between the alpinist and the zed. Both marketing was highlighting how flat they skied down.

  138. Lou Dawson 2 September 30th, 2018 8:14 am

    Hi GB, I don’t think the Alpinist delta changes with brake installed. If it does, then minimal change. Remember it’s a classic tech binding, so your boot heel height is a function of the heel pins, thus the brake would need to raise or lower the entire heel unit to make a difference in delta. The brake appears to simply take the place of a “pad” that extends from under the heel unit. Lou

  139. Lou Dawson 2 September 30th, 2018 8:26 am

    Hi Nico, they’re both quite flat in terms of delta, the Marker toe pins are virtually the same height as the heel pins. We have the Alpinist bindings here. Zed info I got pre-retail while visiting G3, I’ll be double checking but at this juncture I’m assuming it is correct.

    I’m not sure a binding any flatter than the TLT we use as our “zero point” is really that important, and as I allude to above, it’s actually beneficial in ski touring to have the binding add some angle when in downhill mode so that the touring boot cuff angles can be ergonomic for walking. On the other hand, anything more than the TLT delta is getting to be too much, so it’s good to see the trend.


  140. hoser December 3rd, 2018 1:11 am

    Hey Lou and all.
    Super interesting article on concerning ramp and delta angle on touring bindings, although really only relevant whilst uphilling.
    Not a spammer or affiliated with skimo whatsoever!
    Sorry if this is already linked somewhere.

  141. Nate Porter December 28th, 2018 1:04 pm

    Hi Lou,
    I’ve kept up on this thread and the comments. Thanks to you for the chart, and to all the commenters. Would you care to give me your opinion on how binding delta relates to ankle range of motion? I did learn a few things from the comments, just wondering if you have any more specific info. Thanks, Nate

  142. Lou Dawson 2 December 28th, 2018 4:07 pm

    Hi Nate, the way it works is you want a delta that doesn’t force your ankle to the extreme limits of dorsaflexion or the reverse. It’s no more complicated than that. Lou

  143. Nate Porter December 29th, 2018 1:51 pm

    Thanks Lou.

  144. Eric February 5th, 2019 3:13 pm

    What is the difference between the Backland and Backland LT bindings?

  145. Lou Dawson 2 February 6th, 2019 8:09 am

    Good question Eric. First, it doesn’t appear they’re selling the LT, as it’s not on the Atomic website. But perhaps it’s available? The toes of those bindings are the same height, the LT heel is ~3 mm lower, so you can factor that in. The LT has no boot length adjustment, difficult to mount. I hope that helps. Lou

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring 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 ski touring news and information here.

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