Ultimate Cuff Pivot TLT 5/6 — B&D Ski Gear

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 19, 2013      

Update, November 21, observations on fitup to different boots:
First, know that for the Ultimate Cuff Pivot (UCP) to work with a boot, the interior needs a flat indentation for the inside head of the cuff rivet, in the diameter (or larger) of the UCP T-nut. As observed, it appears most if not all Dynafit boots have this. So that’s the first step in evaluating. Diameter required would be 22.2 mm.

Beyond how the interior T-nut head seats, thicknesses of both cuff and lower shell need to be within a certain range.

The system as designed for TLT5/6 Performance models assumes a lower shell (shoe, scaffo) wall thickness at the rivet hole to be about 2.7 mm. That’s thin, and is such due to use of Grilamid and this being a boot designed to save weight. Carbon cuff thickness at the rivet hole on these boots is about 2.38 mm.

In my testing UCP appears to work with TLT Mountain, which has virtually same scaffo thickness but a thicker (Pebax) cuff at 2.9 mm. If I was installing UCP-TLT on my own or a boot fitting customer’s pair of TLT Mountain, I’d simply thin the Pebax cuff rivet area down about .4 mm by sanding the inside or perhaps hot seating/pressing the shoulder washer into the cuff a bit to make a land (which would actually be a quite nice way to do this).

I tried the system on a pair of Zzero Green Machines, with a 4.5 mm thick scaffo and 4.8 mm thick cuff. No workie. Both the shoulder washer as well as the T-nut need more depth for this application.

As for working with boots such as Vulcan, my guess is the UCP-TLT will work for that, but don’t force it. All, please remember tens of thousands of TLT5 boots are in play, along with a growing cadre of TLT6. Many of those boots receive incredibly huge amounts of use — a subset of those will be interested in Bill’s solution. Could be ten, or ten thousand. We’ll see what Bill has to say in a few months. If it’s 100,000 he’ll probably be answering that email from a well financed retirement in Belize, as next to snow skiing I heard snorkling is an option.

Original blog post:

The Tetons will eventually fall, seas will rise. Whatever. Until the day we recompress to singularity, the aftermarket WILL come through.

Enter B&D Ski Gear Ultimate Cuff Pivot for the Dynafit TLT Boot (for both the Performance carbon cuff model and the Mountain model, though the Mountain appears to be less needful of this mod).

Follow along oh ye owners of $1,000 boots with excessive cuff slop from one season of use. Or just do an upgrade for a stiffer shell and friction free pivot. For a small weight penalty, you can tighten up those cuffs, make them totally user serviceable — and reduce friction to the point of compensating for the extra mass of this mod. (Click all images to enlarge).

Final step, tighten the screws, with Loctite of course.

This how it looks after the install. Final step, tighten the screws, with Loctite of course. The tightening process is key, as the B&D Ultimate Cuff Pivot sandwiches the Grilamid of the TLT shoe. This sandwich is pure genius on the part of designer Bill Bollinger, yet too tight and you can damage the boot, too loose and the T-nut and washers may rotate and damage the boot. We recommend professional installation.

Parts for one corner, from left to right:

Parts for one corner of a boot from left to right: T-nut inserted from interior, requires moderate amount of force for press-fit. Shoulder washer ends up being compressed to sandwich the Grilamid shell in a beautifully solid way. Black Delrin shoulder bushing, is inserted into boot cuff pivot hole. Exterior Delrin plastic washer. Stainless exterior washer and socket head cap screw.

Boot prep for this system consists of removing OEM cuff rivets and trimming small boss (rim) off rivet hole in the boot shoe. See this post for details on that, as well as some of the ideas that led to B&D’s ultimate solution.

T-nut is inserted from the inside, OEM hole may be as large as needed but can be bored out to .375 inch if necessary.

T-nut is inserted from the inside, original OEM hole may be as large as needed but can be bored out to .375 inch if necessary. The idea here is the T-nut is press fit, but also incredibly stable due to it being strongly sandwiched once the whole system is tightened.

T-nut inserted looks like this.

T-nut inserted looks like this.

Shoulder washer fits over T-nut and created sandwich.

Shoulder washer fits over T-nut and created sandwich.

Illustration of the sandwich formed over white Grillamid of shell shoe. Cuff fits in the slot to right under the far right washer and screw.

Illustration of the sandwich formed over white Grilamid of shell shoe. Cuff fits in the slot to right under the far right washer and screw.

Exterior shoulder washer over the T-nut, this whole assembly doesn't move after everything is grinched down. Instead, the included Delrin bushing move on the stainless steel.

Exterior shoulder washer over the T-nut, this whole assembly doesn't move after everything is grinched down. Instead, the included Delrin bushing glides on the stainless steel.

Getting there.

Getting there.

Delrin shoulder bushing is pressed into cuff hole. With normal wear this will be a perfect fit but may require a small amount of enlarging with sandpaper wraped around a drill bit shaft. If the hole is destroyed, B&D may provide an oversized bushing.

Delrin plastic shoulder bushing is pressed into cuff hole. With normal wear this will be a perfect fit but may require a small amount of enlarging with sandpaper wrapped around a drill bit shaft. If the hole is destroyed, B&D may provide an oversized bushing.

Shoulder bushing installed in cuff.

Shoulder bushing installed in cuff.

Another view of T-nut in boot shoe, AKA scaffo.

Another view of T-nut in boot shoe, AKA scaffo.

After cuff is placed over shoulder washers, you drop on the included thin plastic washer.

After cuff is placed over shoulder washers, you drop on the included thin Delrin plastic washer.

Specially machined washer goes over the bushing, then you thread in the socket head cap screw.

Specially machined washer goes over the bushing, then you thread in the socket head cap screw.

B&D provides a nice little spanner wrench to hold the interior bushing from rotating, or use a modded circlip plier like this.

B&D provides a nice little spanner wrench to hold the interior bushing from rotating, or use a modded circlip plier like this. It's important to allow NO rotation of parts while tightening the cap screw. We may start recommending use of a small dab of plastic enabled epoxy on the interior, but not sure about that. Loctite on the screw threads is a must of course, and add parts to your repair kit in case things come apart while on a tour.



Due to bushings and shoulder washer between scaffo and cuff, you get a small gap.

Due to bushings and shoulder washer between scaffo and cuff, you get a small gap. I found that by heating this area of the boot to 200 degrees F during tightening of screws, I could not only seat the T-nuts nicely but also slightly mold the shell to take up some of this gap. It's probably an aesthetic issue more than anything, and considering how the larger internal washer shoulder beefs the boot shell (as well as how buckling squeezes everything together), any loss in stability is tiny to nil.

Another view of how it works, this time showing where the boot cuff rides.

Another view of how it works, this time showing where the boot cuff rides.

Weights and cost: OEM cuff rivets weigh about 8 grams per boot. They’re quite light. Our beta tester Ultimate Cuff Pivots weigh 36 grams per boot. That a 28 grams (1 ounce) weight penalty per boot. Worth it? In my view, if installed properly the lack of friction and added stability of the Ultimate Cuff Rivet easily makes up for hauling mass that’s probably less significant than how much snow you have piled on your boots. But you be the judge. You don’t need these when your boots are new. When they wear out, will you throw away $1,000, or spend $110 to make them new again and an ounce heavier?

Yep, the Ultimate Cuff Pivot might be the coolest thing to happen to skiing since Fritz Barthel invented the tech binding. B&D will probably have a beta test period with limited availability of this product. For details contact B&D ski gear.

With demand, this product will also be made for boots with thicker shell wall dimensions. Ideal for boot fitters removing cuff rivets and wanting an upgrade instead of just re-riveting. More, if demanded by consumers B&D will make this product from titanium, at about $200 a set. That’s all WildSnow.com will use, but of course.

Assembly notes:
1. When tightening, be aware that extra torque will squeeze the sandwich together but make no difference in how the cuff is held under exterior washer. To hold cuff tighter, use optional external .040 bushing or stacked bushings. Be aware that if external bushings are too thick the sandwich effect will not work and the whole assembly may end up rotating on the boot shoe, eventually causing irreversible damage.

2. Effective installation of this system requires a certain amount of practice and ideally, training. Luckily you can practice without damage to boots if you’re careful. I’ve already been over at our local shop Cripple Creek Backcountry and got them up to speed on these, so contact them for installs if you’re in our area, or want to ship.

3. I recommend lightly (very lightly) lubing plastic surfaces intended to rotate and rub against the stainless, to encourage correct operation of the system. Use binding grease that won’t attack plastic.

4. I heated shell and steel to 200 degrees F before tightening, thinking that would help seat the knurled interior bushing nicely. Not sure that’s necessary. A better way to configure interior fitting (shoulder washer) to resist rotation is to use thin double-sided carpet tape on the side of the washer that presses against the interior of the boot. The tape combined with a firm tightening of the system should eliminate rotation. Nonetheless, observe you pivots now and then in real word use, seen from the exterior, the metal screw head should not rotate. If it does, immediately re-install with more care.

5. For heavy users, I’d recommend this product be installed on new TLT boots, both models 5 and 6. That’s better than egging out your cuff pivots and subsequently messing with oversized bushings and oblong holes. Moderate to light users should just wait till they notice obvious but not excessive wear.

6. The system can be configured to be a simple threaded T-nut to replace OEM boot rivets, as in the case when stock rivets are removed for boot fitting work. Much nicer than hacking together T-nuts from the hardware store.

7. When installing on TLT Mountain model I had to spin a 1/2 inch twist bit into the cuff holes so the shoulder bushings would pop in. When doing so, be gentile and quick or you’ll ream the holes out too large.

8. Carry a spare screw and washer in your repair kit so you can lash your boot together if the screw happens to rotate out due to defective thread lock.

9. Once you know everything is working, cover inside with Gorilla tape to prevent liner wear and for more resistance to rotation.

10. Shoppers, please be aware this system consists of custom machined parts that are not available in the fastener market, hence the price, which is reasonable considering Ultimate Cuff Pivot consists of 4 units, each of which have 6 components, for a total of 24 parts, not to mention various oversize bushings that Bill will have available for extra worn or out-of-spec boots.

11. Proper use of Loctite is essential. Clean threads with lacquer thinner before Loctite. Be sure cuff moves without resistance, and without forcing rotation of screw and washer.


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86 Responses to “Ultimate Cuff Pivot TLT 5/6 — B&D Ski Gear”

  1. jerimy November 19th, 2013 9:39 am

    Kudos to Bill for coming up with a solution to a problem that Dynafit should have fixed long ago. The price tag at $110 is pretty steep when you can send your boots to Dynafit N.A. and have them repress the rivets 4 times before breaking even. If the cost were more in the $40 ballpark I’d order two sets in a heartbeat.

  2. Pierce Oz November 19th, 2013 9:42 am

    Looks a lot nicer than the Home Depot cuff rivet repairs I’ve done over the years. The lack of durability of $800+ AT boots has always blown me away.

  3. jim knight November 19th, 2013 9:50 am

    Well done Bill. Bomber upgrade. Sign me up.

  4. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 9:58 am

    I think Bill might need some beta testers, so when you guys contact him see if you can work with him on that. I’m testing presently, but since I’ve got so many boots to work with I’m not putting a lot of time on the Ultimate Cuff Pivots I installed in my TLT5s.

    Jerimy, with all due respect, it should be mentioned that re-pressing the rivets is a bandaid solution that fakes repair by just adding more friction, the wear is still there and can eventually get so bad that the boots are ruined and the rivet re-presses will do nothing. Yes, Ultimate Cuff Pivot is expensive, but look at what you get: User serviceable and easy cuff removal for boot fitting work, virtually friction free, quantum leap in resistance to wear and 10 minutes to replace bushings if wear does happen, stiffer boot/cuff connection than stock, looks good at the gasthaus.

  5. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 10:36 am

    Re the cost: when you hold 4 of these in your hand and examine, it’s pretty obvious you’re getting value. Just think of them as high-end bicycle parts and you’ll get a much more warm and fuzzy feeling (grin). Lou

  6. Dane November 19th, 2013 10:55 am

    “Yep, the Ultimate Cuff Pivot might be the coolest thing to happen to skiing since Fritz Barthel invented the tech binding” or a twist top bottle 🙂 Well done Bill!
    $110 barely covers shipping to and from Boulder or the day it would take sourcing all the make shift parts on your own. I’m in for a pair.

  7. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 11:13 am

    Shew, I was wondering if you guys were going to get a chuckle out of the hyperbole. (grin).

    Dane, I should have mentioned that the parts are mostly custom machined for this application, you couldn’t really duplicate from commercially available fastener options even if you did have three days as McGukins in Boulder to sort past the Christmas lighting options, and 4 people to scour the internet. Come to think of it, I should clarify in the blog post. Some folks might thing this is just a ziplock full of parts that Bill bought and is reselling as a kit.

  8. Scruppo November 19th, 2013 11:19 am

    Will these work / are they needed for Vulcans?

  9. Dane November 19th, 2013 11:32 am

    Lou, Worth mentioning the effort that went into this kit for sure. Hopefully it is obvious that this set isn’t just a home made fix of assorted washers, nuts and bolts for sure. Bill went to some real effort to do this right. Likely because he owns a pair of TLTs and wanted a real fix. Don’t know that for fact but guessing it is so. Knowing how all this works running my own metal shop I thought $110 cheap.

    Kinda funny that it was Bill’s EVO/PDG that needed a resole as well 🙂 Gotta appreciaet a guy who uses the gear and makes/mills some of the best replacement parts out there for Dynafit. Having BTDT with the resoles, I wonder if Bill has any interest in starting a cobbler shop on the side as a public service 🙂

  10. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 12:02 pm

    Scruppo, I’m pretty sure they will but thickness of the lower shoe plastic will be the deciding factor. Research is ongoing. If you want to beta test, I’m pretty sure Bill would be game. You could remove one cuff rivet and go from there. If it didn’t work a good boot fitter can pop another rivet in there. One of my projects going forward will be to try Ultimate Cuff Pivot in some different boots. This morning I tried it in the TLT5 Mountain just to be sure it worked. It did, though the cuff is slightly thicker and ideally you’d perhaps hit the inside of the cuff with some 60-grit and take 1/100 of an inch or so away so that delrin shoulder bushing came up through a bit higher. The problem with these sorts of aftermarket parts is the sales volume just isn’t big enough to support a bunch of variations, but I’m sure Bill will do the best he can. If I was a professional boot fitter, I’d be all over Bill to make a variety of these things and even a generic version that simply replaced normal alpine and AT rivets, most of which are exactly the same as each other as they come from about 3 factories in Montebelluna and Asolo, Italy. Lou

  11. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 12:04 pm

    Dane, perhaps Bill will makes some soles that have permanent titanium crampons so you guys can be 100% set up for mixed, all the time. (grin)

  12. cdubya November 19th, 2013 12:37 pm

    Any word on if this will work for the Titans?

  13. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 12:44 pm

    Titan is probably overall too thick for the TLT version of Ultimate Cuff Pivot, with demand Bill can make some that’ll work, but you might have to send him a boot to measure. Contact him. Lou

  14. SteveR November 19th, 2013 12:49 pm

    It looks fantastic. Maybe Bill could make a ‘one size fits all’ version that could be made to fit any AT boot? Maybe this could be done by adding or removing washers to accommodate different shell thicknesses?

  15. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 1:07 pm

    Steve, great minds think alike. Bill already has oversized exterior washers available and yes if you tune the washer thickness it’s possible to get this working for variations in shell thicknness. The crux it that the sandwich system has to work, and both the steel and the delrin shoulder bushings have to come up out of the cuff enough to function. What Bill could probably do is make an over-long “universal” set that could be tuned with washers, or even filed down to exact length for a given pair of boots. I’ve already bugged him about that, key would seem to be getting him a variety of junker boots to measure. Lou

  16. Jason D November 19th, 2013 1:09 pm

    Would this will work on 13/14 Vulcans as well? While the boots are nearly brand new, I’ve noticed a good amount of the black carbon dust around the cuff pivot that others have spoken about and it has me thinking about the future… It’s really too bad Dynafit didn’t go the route of an easily serviceable pivot, as other manufacturers have. It’s the only drawback to a truly amazing boot.

  17. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 1:43 pm

    If you’re willing, pull a rivet out of a Vulcan and send the boot to Bill. Okay Bill (grin)?

  18. RobinB November 19th, 2013 1:52 pm

    The Technica Cochise is a great boot with a known issue of cuff rivets that slacken off. I would love to be able to buy a set of these for my boots…

    Lou – could you give us some thickness measurements of the TLT cuff and shell thickness so we could see what other boots these might work for?

  19. Barrows November 19th, 2013 6:45 pm

    Hey, thanks for pointing this out Lou, and to B & D for coming up with this. Notable for me about this kit is that it is also the perfect solution for splitboarders using the TLT5/6 who might be interested in slightly slotting the medial boot cuff pivot point for a little more medial flex. The delrin bushings would make the whole set up much smoother and longer lasting.

  20. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 7:29 pm

    Barrows, that could indeed be done. Mod on!

  21. Dave J. November 19th, 2013 8:03 pm

    Man, is there any boot out there you don’t have to take a jackhammer to?

  22. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2013 8:47 pm

    Dave, nope. They’re rigid plastic designed for one person’s foot who probably lived 3 generations ago in a small village in Italy. So getting them to fit sometimes takes a bit of work. As for the cuff pivots, nearly all AT boots use nearly 75-year-old technology to rivet the cuff, in a way that worked fine for boots of yore that had limited cuff articulation and much fewer use cycles. TLT5 took the industry by surprise, no one know the carbon cuff, combined with the range of motion and huge amount of vertical people put on these things, would develop a wear problem in high mileage applications. Lou

  23. Mark November 19th, 2013 9:06 pm

    Really nicely designed. B&D does it again. I just got my TLT 6 boots, so don’t anticipate needing this for a long while.

  24. Tom Gos November 20th, 2013 7:59 am

    Would love to see additional kits for other boots, specifically my Titans that have the wandering cuff alignment feature. Would also be really cool if B&D produced a bolt kit that included “cant” cuff alignment adjustability.

  25. Kjetil November 20th, 2013 8:42 am

    I would also like an option for the Titans. I’ve already made a homebrew fix after BOTH cant alignment nuts mysteriously disapeared on the same tour! Planning on buying new AT-boots, but would buy this fix so that I could use my Titans as an inbounds boot.

  26. Hank November 20th, 2013 9:15 am

    Is the One/Mercury/Vulcan series immune from this problem or are we waiting to see what happens this year as this boot series ages???

  27. Fede November 20th, 2013 10:42 am

    Pay attention then to the wear of the bushing on both the carbon hole and the plastic hole of the shell after a hundreed thousands meter more.

    The play on TLT Perf develops after quite an intense use.. so some play develops and you see it but the boots still skis pretty well clsoe to new (grilamid + carbon combo not softening like a full pebax or pu shell after the same amount of use). So in conclusion on TLT you see the play but the boot still ski damn good… in a standard boot … no play but the boots become much softer after the same amount of use and ski worse!…

    Perfection doesn’t exist … and guys it’s easy to criticise … but not so easy to make better.

    Ah lou, on this fit comments you always do refering to Montebelluna gnomes or fit of somebody living in tiny italian village 3 generations ago you should quit… somebody might get offended as without those “montebelluna gnomes” you would probably still Telemark in leather boots today!. 😉
    TLT5 were not tight on the forefoot, they are only for people with massive abnormal wide feet. The vast majority of TLT5 cusmers, which are not located in north america, are happy with that.
    TLT5 was tight on the mid foot and heel and thats where the TLT6 got wider.
    Moreover if you put inside a shell designed to be used with a liner with 7mm foam a intuition liner which has 10-11mm foam then you should not complain about the booots beeing tight. Even if you thermform them they will still fit appox 1 full size tighter than with the original liner.
    to use an intuition liner you should over size the shell!.

  28. jerimy November 20th, 2013 11:56 am

    Lou, care to share how many days/vertical you have on this pair of TLT5s? From the pictures there are no signs of wear or deformation at the cuff rivet. As you can see from the boot lower in one of the photos, the cuff wear and creation of the black “carbon dust” is concentrated in other areas. More space between the upper cuff and lower shell needed?

    I’m not disagreeing that B&D has provided an elegant solution for the heavier crowd and those that put a lot of days on these boots.

    As for the repressing “band-aid,” return shipping is covered so ship them ground during the summer and there is no rush to get them back. Cost would be more in the $25 range than Dane’s $110 shipping rate.

  29. Lou November 20th, 2013 6:13 pm

    Jerimy, not sure what you are asking about, but the boss that gets worn is removed in the photos above, and there is no photo of a cuff rivet. The black marks are just, marks, they’re not that worn. But, Ultimate Cuff Pivot does provide a small amount more space between cuff and lower shell, thus forcing the cuff to almost 100% ride on the delrin bushing system.

    I do show the worn boss in my photos in previous post with my DIY cuff pivot mod. My wear was what I’d call moderate but noticeable. I’ve seen quite a few boots with much worse.

    To be clear, what wears the most is the Grilamid boss that protrudes from the hole in the lower cuff. The full force of the carbon cuff rides on this tiny piece of plastic. As illustrated in the photos in this post:


    Whatever floats your boat. If you think that just squeezing the cuff rivet tighter solves the problem, perhaps it does, for you.

    Me, I found the wear to be obvious and in my opinion requiring a solution that involved basic principles of bushings, friction and wear that any engineer could count in their sleep.

    As for how much vert on my boots, I have no idea. Probably above average considering the whole market, but quite a bit less than guys who really charge.

  30. Lou Dawson November 20th, 2013 6:25 pm

    Fede, I don’t know if you recall but a financial writer some time ago coined the term “Gnomes of Zurich” for those guys who control (or did control) much of the world’s money. Thus “gnomes” could be a complement or not. Since Montebelluna controls most of the world’s ski boots, I was hoping someone would get the joke (grin). But yes, perhaps it’s too insulting. No need to anger those individuals we might be seeing in a few weeks! And more, they might lock us out of the Boot Museum!

    As for measuring boots, I mostly agree with you. Main point of my blog post was to clarify the fact that while TLT6 might be larger in certain areas, it does not appear, measure or feel larger at the metatarsal. Those of us without Venetian toes find this to be important (grin).

    FYI, I downsized to 27.5 in TLT6 to get a snug fit, but had to blow 4 or more mm in the toe area to compensate.

  31. Eric C November 20th, 2013 8:36 pm

    Any chance this would work with an DyNA Evo?

  32. Tomi November 21st, 2013 12:19 am

    Nice solution, but I can not understand why the all originals pivots are so weak .

  33. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2013 6:03 am

    Tomi, they’re not “weak.” What goes on is that the material of the carbon cuff is super abrasive — surprisingly so. At the cuff pivot, the carbon rides on a very small rim of Grilamid plastic as you tour or downhill ski. The surface area of this wear point is only a few square millimeters. Thus, at some point wear and play develop. A small amount of this play is immaterial, but when it gets to be excessive, we believe it affects how the boot skis and eventually could become an overall durability problem due to the cuff developing a lot of movement that affects the lean lock, etc.

    Also, TLT5 seems to otherwise be very durable. Ultimate Cuff Pivot is a way to make the boot last for many more days of touring. The other advisable mod for long-life and performance of the TLT5 is to rivet out the metatarsal flex. I actually like the met flex of the 5 for moderate, low angled touring as well as for a “work” boot that’s used for a lot of standing around, walking without skis, etc. But it reduces performance on the downhill, and uses up energy when doing steeper climbing (due to it sagging each step).


  34. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2013 6:09 am

    Eric, I’d give it two 9s as to it likely working with Evo. The way Bill designed the “sandwich” component of the Ultimate Cuff Pivot is very adaptive. It can be tuned with spacer washers, or either the shoulder washer or T-nut can be shortened slightly by hitting with a file. Hopefully today I’ll fit this up in some other boots and see what it takes. Fun stuff, and yes, I’m skiing as well as fooling around with boot pivots (grin). Lou

  35. Tomi November 21st, 2013 6:11 am

    Lou thanks for explanation. On this boots I have broken pivots:
    – scarpa matrix
    – rossignol race 3
    – garmont endorphin

  36. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2013 6:17 am

    By the way everyone, including Fede, the operative design philosophy (did I just write that gobbledygook?) of Bill’s cuff pivot is that all movement occurs with delrin bushings moving on stainless steell — AND, with a simple twist of a hex wrench the cuff comes off the boot and you can replace the bushings. With the added benefit of easy cuff removal for boot fitting/punching.

    In other words, a user might still eventually wear out the bushings, but they can be replaced forever. Oh, and come to think of it, once the boot really does wear out it’s likely that Ultimate Cuff Pivot (UCP) can be moved up the line to your newer boots!

  37. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2013 6:23 am

    Tomi, I’m going to emphasize to Bill that his system might be very popular for skiers who break pivots, as his system is very strong. I’m going to shift priorities today to doing research on how/what boots his TLT5 system will fit, and what mods to the UCP or boot might be required.

    Meanwhile, I’d encourage all of you guys to contact B&D and see if you can beta test, or even send a boot to Bill for him to evaluate and possible make a version of his pivot that includes different thickness washers, or a different length shoulders on the washers.

    I’d also emphasize that it’s very important with UCP that it strongly sandwiches the plastic of the boot shoe, and this requires the T-nut and shoulder washer to interact correctly. If you try and use UCP on a different boot, you need to be aware of this and be sure the sandwich effect is still tight and strong. The way to evaluate this is to install the system in the boot shoe _without_ the cuff, and see how the dimensions look.


  38. Thomas November 22nd, 2013 11:30 am

    I like! One feature I’d like to see is the possibility to attach a buckle at the cuff pivot replacing the instep buckle. This would greatly increase heel hold. Guess it would limit ROM if used while skinning though.

  39. XXX_er November 22nd, 2013 11:43 am

    “””Lou thanks for explanation. On this boots I have broken pivots:
    – scarpa matrix
    – rossignol race 3
    – garmont endorphin “”

    I was told a standard chainring bolt works pretty good for the endorphin, which broke on a lot of that model


    Wonder how many other boots chainring bolts would work on, they are high quality and come in different lengths

  40. Herb Jones November 25th, 2013 4:29 pm

    Anything on the horizon for a CANTing cuff rivet replacement for the TLT-5 Mountain/Performance? Or, possible adaptations from other boot makers?

  41. Lou Dawson November 25th, 2013 5:23 pm

    Herb, you could easily adapt the UCP by egging out the hole in scaffo and making an oblong bushing, only remember that canting cuff on AT boots can make the lean lock not work. Can’t you cant by just padding one side or the other of your liner cuff?

    I’ll talk to Bill about making a bushing that UCP would fit through. It would be easy. The hard part would be sculpting the oblong hole in the scaffo.


  42. Nexus6 December 2nd, 2013 1:22 pm

    Looks pretty solid and pretty sure a pair will be in my future. However I’d love to see a protective flange around the outside of the machine screw. That screw is in a pretty vulnerable place on the inside cuff, not to mention how is can gouge up the plastic on the opposite boot.

  43. Herb Jones December 7th, 2013 8:49 pm

    I’m looking at the Scarpa canting unit for my TLT5-M. Do you see any problem with sinking just the knurled shoulder of the t-nut into the shell not the square flange. then I would use some glue under the flange to secure it. The cam would become the bearing surface for the cuff and pinch the shell with its inner grooved surface, and,possibly, the t-nut simultaneously. The cuff may need thickness adjustment with a washer under the cam {judging by the dimensions given in this blog} and the screw would need Loctite or Vibra-tite on the threads.
    Mods to the lean lock depend on how far off it is so either minor filing or a Chris Marrone style realignment would be needed.
    I’m just not too crazy about cutting into the scaffo hole. With all the cant adjusters out there it seems adapting while preserving recover-ability {with the B&D rivet} is a more comfortable option for me.
    I would greatly appreciate your opinion on this mod.

  44. Scruppo December 18th, 2013 9:06 am

    I am currently using 1st gen Vulcans. In the update you say “As for working with boots such as Vulcan, my guess is the UCP-TLT will work for that, but don’t force it.” I’m not sure you’re saying they work or not. Is there a definitive answer yet on Vulcan compatibility?

  45. Josh A January 14th, 2014 10:47 pm

    I’m starting to notice play in my alien 1.0’s anybody had the balls to try this in boots that are twice the price of tlt’s?

  46. byates1 February 20th, 2014 7:49 am

    so i have the ucp’s installed on some tlt5p’s. great solution, but a quick question.

    the boots had see a re-rivet from dynafit, and have seen a few hundred days over 3/4 seasons. a lot of use and i’m no lightweight. shortly after the install there is some movement on both sides of both boots.

    is it possible because of the heavy use the carbon has oval-ed out? is there supposed to be no movement whatsoever? would the best course of action in the future be to buy a new boot, and install the ucp’s right away so there is no time to wear or bore out the holes in the 2 sections of the boots?


  47. Lou Dawson February 20th, 2014 11:00 am

    Byates, most certainly the best use of UCP is to install on new boots. Due to basic engineering principles it would be impossible to make a bushing system such as this that has 0 play, but if the system is installed in correct sized holes it should have just a tiny amount of play that may never increase over time, or if it does would simply require new bushings. The type of minimal play in a newly installed UCP is the minimal amount that has absolutely no influence on your skiing and is imperceptible while skiing.

    For example, installed in my TLT5 that had quite a bit of cuff wear, UCP has barely any play when manipulated by hand on workbench. But it does have a very tiny amount. I could tighten the bolts and squeeze everything together to make it “seem” like the play was eliminated, but that just increases friction and wear, the the tiny amount of play would still happen under downhill skiing forces.

    As for your system, yes, if the hole in the carbon cuff was egged out and the Delrin shoulder bushing fits loosely, you will most certainly have extra play due to that. Key during install is that the Delrin bushing takes some pressure to press into the carbon cuff hole. It is slightly oversized for a new boot, I had to enlarge my cuff hole a tiny bit by wrapping sandpaper around a drill bit and lightly sanding away the carbon until the bushing still fit tightly but didn’t require tons of pressure.

    Also, you could have play due to the system not “sandwiching” down far enough, which is why the thicker ring bushings are included. I’m not sure how to describe how tight to “torque” the system, I just do it by feel, but it’s fairly tight while not binding.

    In general, I would call the UCP installation to be quite technical and best performed by someone who has done several, including a first-time training session on dumpster boots. But a careful DIY job is possible as well. Again, main things to check are that the bushings and shoulder (T) nut are tight in the boot shoe and cuff holes, and that the sandwich is tight enough. If you’ve done all that, any play is part of the design.

  48. byates1 February 20th, 2014 4:55 pm

    thx for the detailed response lou, appreciate it. mine are probably just beat. installed by a pro. take care and ski on!

  49. Lou Dawson February 20th, 2014 5:05 pm

    I want this to work for everyone, as it’s a terrific solution to a very old problem (decades old, actually). So I don’t mind sitting here and writing about it at length. In fact. look for another blog post about UCP-UL! Perhaps tomorrow. Lou

  50. Erik Erikson March 14th, 2014 4:07 am

    I´m about to order the UCPs to Europe /Austria, but I´m really afraid to ruin my TLT 5 Ps while installing them or even more while removing the original cuff pivots. I have no experience in doing such kind of work on ski boots.
    I am not aware of any bootfitter here in Austria, so I´d ilke to ask especially the Euro / Austrian wildsnow-readers if anyone has an idea where to go to have the work done ? A sports shop? A regular shoemaker?
    And to those who allready installed the UCP by themselves: How hard and risky for the boot is it really to do it yourself?

  51. Lou Dawson March 14th, 2014 5:16 am

    Eric, the hardest part is removal of OEM rivets, once those are out the rest is fairly easy. Nonetheless, I don’t recommend this project for do-it-yourself unless you are used to working on boots. If you do decide to proceed, get an old pair of ski boots and practice on them first. Key when working on plastic with aluminum parts is to use water spray to cool things off as you work. Best rivet removal is done with a carbide burr on a rotary grinder, usually working from the inside.

    I fail to believe it would be very hard to find a boot fitter in Austria who could do this project. So, readers, who can steer Eric to a boot worker in the country where modern skiing was invented? Or are Austrians such amazing skiers they never need any boot fitting or mods (grin)?

  52. Erik Erikson March 15th, 2014 12:02 pm

    Lou, thanks for the reply. As for bootfitters/bootfitting in Austria: Believe it or not, they are very hard to find, i have just searched the internet again and asked many of the backcountry-skiers I know (and I know plenty) – no one has ever been to a bootfitter. Seems to be quite different than in the US. Where I live, “mods” are only done in shops where you buy the shoes, and they are normally limited to heating thermoformable liners and selling thicker socks…
    For me, a good bootfitter would be a real gift: Even in my TLT 5s (which I buy a number smaller) I have to use a Zzero liner and two pairs of thick socks to get a heelfit thats reasonably ok. My toes go numb therefore, as you can imagine 😉

  53. JCoates March 17th, 2014 6:31 am

    Lou, believe it or not, Erik has a pretty good point about boot fitters in Austria. I’m sure there are a few, but I don’t know of any super good shops right off the top of my head that I would trust in Austria. Although the terrain in Austria is probably the best in Europe (IMO) for touring, the vast money being spent in Austria is from tourists from other countries there for ski holiday. Therefore you find lots of shops geared for people that ski once or twice a year, but not a lot of shops for “real skiers” or touring. It’s ironic actually, you can by a $1500 Bogner one-piece ski suit, but good luck finding a decent selection of ski boots.

    Erik, if you are in the St Anton area I know one of the shops there actually is geared quite well for free-ride and touring and they carry Dynafit, Scarpa, etc. I am 95% sure it’s: “Jennewein Pure Sports.” If their tech said he was comfortable with the inserts, then I would trust them. Otherwise “Conrad’s” in Garmisch is good and of course “Snell Sports” in Chamonix. However, I imagine Innsbruck has to have at least one really good shop somewhere, I just haven’t spent any time there as I usually just drive by it on my way to the mountains.

  54. Erik Erikson March 17th, 2014 6:57 am

    JCoates, thanx for your help! It´s kind of funny that “bootfitting” is really almost not done here in Austria, given the numbers of Ski-tourers which are increasing from year to year. I myself learned first here on wildsnow about a year ago what a good bootfitter obviously could do – and me and my very skinny problem-feet go to the backcountry for almost 30 years now.
    Most shops send boots to the manufacturer if repair or other work has to be done, and I guess Dynafit would not drill out their own rivets and install those of a competitor. I know “Sport Conrad” in Garmisch, they are really ok. Hope they will do the work though I did not buy the shoes there.
    / And I am with you, that Austria has really ouring terrain (though sometimes not enough snow 🙁 ) And inside Austria, the region of Salzburg is quite underestimated (only known for being Mozarts birthplace), everyone is heading for Tirol… same is true for rockclimbing, by the way.

  55. Louis Dawson March 17th, 2014 7:34 am

    Dang Americans, always expecting everything to be technically perfect!

    Interesting that boot customization services are that hard to find in Austria, I certainly never imagined it would be that way. With the amazing number of people skiing there and in the other alpine countries, what do people with really outsized feet do, just suffer in silence? Or do Europeans all have perfectly average European feet? I’m not understanding this…


  56. Erik Erikson March 17th, 2014 7:51 am

    Lou, me I certainly suffer in silence 😉 (see the last sentence of my post from March 15th).
    I think an experienced American bootfitter could probably make lots of money overhere once he is well known enough for his services. And besides, do a lot of great touring when not working…

  57. Ben March 17th, 2014 8:17 am

    Jennewein in Skt Anton definitely worth a look, ask for Jeff. Also Strolz in Lech are boot makers so may be able to help as well, their hand-made leather liners, same/next day service are something to behold. If you are in Skt Anton Sport Alber represent Strolz.

  58. Dustin Lemke March 17th, 2014 2:18 pm

    TLT5P modification:

    In regards to drilling out the stock dynafit rivet I found it useful to drill a “detent” with a small bit towards the outer radius of the rivet in order to use a scribe or similar pointed tool to prevent the rivet from rotating while drilling (just be careful not to go through as this will damage the carbon cuff where the delrin washer sits). It also seems that the largest drill required was a 5/16″ (assuming your pilot hole is in the center) as this proved to only remove rivet material and nothing else. Then, with the use of a small flat head screwdriver, the outer side of the rivet could easily be pryed off and the cuff removed. This was the most challenging part of the job, but if you are confident with a drill and locating the center, the installation is pretty straight forward. That is, if you are will to assume the potential risk involved in making a mistake.

    I have only been out a few times with these pivots, but I certainly believe that the quality of the upgrade is very high. I inquired with Bill B. about the UPCUL which are substantially lighter, but they are appartently still in testing. It’d be nice to get a set of these for the next three months of skiing that remain here in the Tetons.

  59. Dan Powers October 1st, 2014 12:54 pm

    Any more updates from those who’ve used these? Thinking of pulling the trigger for my 3 yr old TLT5p’s.

  60. Erik Erikson January 21st, 2015 9:44 pm

    I´d also be interested in how long-term experiences of using the UCPs are? Still did not install those on my TLT 5Ps, but it is about time to do so now

  61. Lou Dawson 2 January 21st, 2015 10:53 pm

    Guys, I’ve had them in my TLT6-P for easily 100 days, working fine. I’ve got them in my TLT5-P as well but I don’t do a lot of days on those. I’m not sure I mentioned it in the blog post, but it’s better to put the UCP in before you do a lot of damage to the cuff pivots, as once the hole in the carbon cuff gets worn bigger the pivots won’t work as well unless you somehow get an oversized diameter bushing, perhaps from Bill. Lou

  62. Erik Erikson January 21st, 2015 11:06 pm

    Thanks Lou for the update. So I´ll have those getting shipped to Austria. Still searching for some place in Austria, ideally close to Salzburg where the work of removing of the OEM-pivots and installing of the UCP could be done. In case of need I´d do this myself, but I am a little afraid to ruin my TLT.
    So if any (Austrian) has an Idea where to go I´d really appreciate that input.

    / Lou, still in Europe and up early? Will there be any more Euro-Tour-reports? Always like to read those written from an American point of view

  63. Wookie February 22nd, 2015 10:05 am

    Anybody gotten these to work on a technica cochise? I’m about to try.

  64. Alex P March 10th, 2015 12:31 am

    @Erik Erikson
    if you find someone in your area, will you please post here? I’m in Aschau (Chiemgau), so very close. Would be great to have the info once the need arises.

    how do I diagnose the pivot wear/ slop?


  65. Wookie March 10th, 2015 2:32 am

    Hi Alex and Erik –

    there is a shop in Schwaz, Tirol that can probably help you out with bootfitting, at least with respect to Dynafit gear. I can’t say I enjoy the owner’s company, but he has a claim to being the guy who originally hacked together a prototype of the TLT5….don’t know if that’s entirely true – but it is what it is.

    Pele Sport: A-6130 SCHWAZ, Hirschenkreuz 8 an der Husslstrasse 38.

    Aleternatively, you can go to Boot Performance in Partenkirchen. These guys are very good, and probably provide the best bootfitting services I have seen in the region….with only one caveat – they have big doubts about certain plastic types, and will only punch Pebax and Grillamid with a lot off encouragement.

    All in all – the process is such a hassle here that I am slowly building out my toolkit and skillset to include bootfitting. So far – I have not ruined any boots, and it seems to me that with patience and attension to detail I do a better job myself than most shops. I would encourage you to give it a try.

  66. Tom Jerram October 16th, 2015 6:18 pm

    Has anyone tried to put a Vulcan cuff onto a pair of tlt6 lowers using this system?
    I have a pair of TLT 6 mountains & a pair of vulcans, & would love the cuff height of the vulcan upper with the tlt lower (which walks way better)

  67. stevenjo January 22nd, 2016 3:53 pm

    Lou and others,
    Sorry if this has been answered already but I’m finally at the point of replacing my cuff pivots given how loose things have got on both boots. However, after bench test wiggling, I’ve finding that in addition to loose pivots as discussed above, I’ve got a lot of movement at the buckle ski/walk mode lock, because the carbon has worn on the top and bottom contacts points of the buckle pin. Anyone else dealing with this, and if so, come up with any good solutions?


  68. Lou Dawson 2 January 22nd, 2016 11:38 pm

    Hi Steve, once the cuff is buckled that movement/play gets damped by everything frictioning together, I’ve never felt it was any problem and actually adds some progressive flex to the situation. All I can think of is if you really wanted to fix this you’d have to add some thickness to the buckle pin or somehow tighten up the hole in the carbon cuff. Lou

  69. Mike Mullen January 31st, 2016 10:45 pm

    I have Stevenjo’s issue with wear at the ski/walk mode lock. What is the locking pin made of? The powder coat has worn off the locking pin an it doesn’t look like aluminum because it’s dark and rough. It’s dark grey/black and has the texture of the fine side of a finger nail file. Once the powder coat is gone this rough pin abrades the square hole in the carbon cuff.

    I agree some play is not too problematic once buckled tight but I’m concerned with accelerated wear of both the locking pin and carbon hole now that the smooth powder coat is worn away. There is a shocking amount of wear on both parts and carbon dust is making a mess of my boots. It was all good until the powder coat wore off the pin.

    What do you think of periodically painting the pin with fingernail polish. Or maybe something more exotic like epoxy thickened with graphite powder. Any thoughts?

  70. Lou Dawson 2 February 1st, 2016 5:58 am

    Mike, have you tried simply wrapping one wrap of electrical tape around the pin? That would make a sacrificial wear layer, and also jam into the hole to snug things up. BTW, what are you guys doing, lift skiing with your boots or something? The kind of wear you’re getting sounds pretty major for a part of the boot that’s literally used for only minutes during the average ski tour. I see wear in mine, but nothing that concerns me, but my vertical for a whole season is probably not huge by today’s standards… Lou

  71. Mike Mullen February 1st, 2016 10:26 am

    Haven’t tried electrical tape (or anything else at this point).

    To be fair, I got one of the first pair when they hit retail so they have six years on them, no complaints. I really like them and would like to extend their life. I have two other pair of boots that are a lot better for lift skiing but I’ve been known to skip the trip to the parking lot and just jump on the lift with what I’m wearing. I also skate in them with the cuff locked which probably adds considerable wear. I had two rubber donuts I used to keep the cuff buckled (but not locked) but after I lost one of them I never replaced them. Is the paint still intact on your locking pin? Because, once that was gone, the wear accelerated. I estimate 6 times as much wear with the paint gone.

    Just looking for ideas for coatings at least as durable as the original paint. I’ll probably epoxy the edges carbon hole to cover the abrasive fibers and reduce carbon dust. I’m looking for an epoxy thickener/hardener that is non-abrasive.

  72. Lou Dawson 2 February 1st, 2016 10:34 am

    Hah, 6 years on a ski boot… like I always say, if you can get that many years out of a car tire then go ahead and fret about your boots (grin). Lou

  73. stevenjo February 1st, 2016 10:43 am

    Mike – glad to hear someone else feels my pain! Even when buckled I get ~1″ of for/aft play at the top of the buckle.

    Lou, In the three years I’ve used these boots I put two-three resort days in p/ year but these are usually days spent poking around on groomers with Mom or others who don’t ski much. I will admit that I love them so much that they get purposed for my skiing, mountaineering, and mt. rescue stuff. So they have seen abuse and probably been asked to ski harder than may be fair for a 2 buckle boot.

    The electrical tape is a great idea and will hopefully extend me out another season (or two?). I’ll give it a shot and report back. Thanks for the suggestion.

    -John S.

  74. Lou Dawson 2 February 1st, 2016 10:53 am

    Steven, the tape will probably only last a run or two, but it’ll jam in there and take up the slack, I’m pretty sure… Lou

  75. swissiphic February 1st, 2016 3:36 pm

    the alu knob of my mercuries had a pretty big groove of wear so i coated the surface in j.b. weld and filed it down so it fit factory fresh snug. Lasted about 20 days of skiing before groove re emerged and chucks cracked off. prit near 400 days on the boots; completely trashed, soft as a stiff leather hiking boot now. satisfied customer.

  76. Lou Dawson 2 February 1st, 2016 3:48 pm

    Swissiphic, heroic j.b.!

  77. Dave March 31st, 2016 1:01 pm

    Lou,do you know whether this grom would work on a Scarpa Maestrale?? I need to replace both on my boots.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

  78. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2016 1:28 pm

    Probably not, but if you want to go ahead an remove a pivot and measure I can help you out with verification. Or contact Bill. Lou

  79. swissiphic March 31st, 2016 4:33 pm

    @Dave; fellow maestrale owner; the mango ones. I performed a ‘temporary’ fix to mitigate the cuff slop that affected mostly the lateral pivot but also the medial as well. Going by memory; for the lateral pivot, I removed the bolt/inner nut, noticed the lower shell plastic was oval instead of round and snipped off a small piece of plastic zip tie to fit the oval portion to result in a round hole, trimmed width to match shell plastic, and reinserted the hardware. Factory tight. For the medial pivot, I simply inserted a length of zip tie in the mating surface of the fixed cuff pivot i think grey plastic and the exterior housing where the play occurred. Eliminated the issue nicely. What was meant as a temporary stop gap measure has lasted a while now with no noticable deterioration…I suspect spring/summer skiing will really test the mod for endurance though. Might simply have to routinely perform the duty for the life of the boots unless a more durable mod is out there in the world of ski touring.

  80. Dave April 5th, 2016 8:33 am

    Thanks for the suggestions here Lou and Swiss, I will get to work on the boots and get back in touch. I am going to fully replace both rivets and can get the OEM from Scarpa anyhow.

  81. Kit April 24th, 2016 2:30 pm

    Has anyone tried this cuff pivot on Scarpa Maestrale yet? I just ordered factory replacement from Scarpa but would love a longer-term fix if one was available. I’ve been through two sets now; fortunately I’ve repaired them early enough to avoid any ovaling of the shell plastic. I’d definitely fork over the $ for some of Bill’s high-quality craftsmanship if I knew they would fit.

  82. Lou Dawson 2 April 24th, 2016 2:41 pm

    Kit, I looked at some Scarpa boots we have here, and I’m 999 that the UPC would NOT fit, the holes in the cuff and scaffo are too big. DIY bushing could be made, if you’re so inclined, but thickness of the cuff and saffo would be factors as well. Lou

  83. Kit April 24th, 2016 4:50 pm

    Thanks Lou! Factory replacements for the Maestrale are only $15 a pop, and keeping an extra set on hand will do the trick. Along with Would like to keep these fit-like-a-slipper shells in service as long as possible.

  84. Kit April 24th, 2016 4:55 pm

    Deleted part of my post there somehow…

    I’ll keep spare cuff pivots in my kit along with spare tongue hinges, spare midstrap and midbuckle, and spare lower buckle catches.

    I should probably just move on to new boots but I just can’t seem to do it. Replacement and up-gradable parts seem very worthy.

  85. Kristian April 24th, 2016 6:37 pm

    I loved the Maestrale RS so much, that I had 3 pair for several years. Skied them hard. And… I would show my appreciation by bringing good beer to Scarpa Boulder and strangely enough they never charged for repairs.

  86. Skafti April 26th, 2017 9:45 pm

    Any update on if this will work with the Dynafit Mercury?

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