Ellusive Plum Ski Binding Brake Visits WildSnow HQ

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 10, 2013      
Plum brake, deployed. The forward facing prongs appear rather problematic.

Plum brake, deployed. Beautifully made. The forward facing prongs appear rather problematic. Click all images to enlarge.

Apparently, in Europe Plum is now retailing a refined brake for their ski touring bindings. The lack of a Plum brake has been a major sticking point for skiers who otherwise dote on the confidence inspiring look of the Plum. We got a pair of brakes over here for a look yesterday. The distributor says they’re being evaluated for North American sales.

The engineering on these things is impressive. Plum’s retracted brake is held down when you lock the binding in touring mode via a series of small parts located under the binding wings. Less impressive is having a brake with prongs/arms facing forward. This is done to allow the use of ski crampons (“couteaux” if you’re French like Plum is). One can only imagine what might happen to a fast moving ski on hard snow when the prongs of the brake dig in. It’ll probably violently flip up in the air at best, bend the prongs on the brake at worst. I’m hoping they end up offering two brake versions: One version for use with ski crampons, and one facing rearward as all other ski brakes do.

Another view of Plum's binding brake solution for backcountry skiers.

Another view of Plum's binding brake solution for backcountry skiers.

Plum ski binding brake, retracted.

Meanwhile, it’s troubling that G3 or another innovative and energetic companies such as Voile never went after the need for an aftermarket tech binding brake. For example, the G3 Onyx solution can easily be adapted to work as a stand-along ski brake. Or, perhaps a stand-alone brake will be offered along with G3’s new Ion tech binding? Aha, the world of ski touring is never dull.

I’m embargoed from saying much more about this backcountry skiing equipment, but comments are open for our esteemed readers! You use ski crampons much? Want some for your Plums? Did you already get some Plum ski binding brakes in Europe and have them on snow?


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


66 Responses to “Ellusive Plum Ski Binding Brake Visits WildSnow HQ”

  1. Sam S December 10th, 2013 9:13 am

    The physics engine in my head tells me that forward-facing brakes will be much less of a problem than you’re making them out to be, Lou. If you were skiing straight down a groomed run and the brake deployed on a weighted ski, then yes, the forces would probably be strong enough to bend the prongs. However, this scenario is rather impossible, because the binding would never release under these conditions. Thinking back to all the times I’ve had a binding release, they all involved the ski moving rather obliquely with respect to the snow (as during a turn).

  2. XXX_er December 10th, 2013 9:18 am

    back in the day at least one model of cheap LOOK alpine turntable binding came with the brakes facings forward and I had a setup, I was a newbie skier so the brakes got lots of use and they seemed to work well, I would be more worried about snagging the pointy end on a willow

    Dynafit brakes don’t really stop a ski all that well IME … maybe these will?

  3. Lou Dawson December 10th, 2013 9:23 am

    Points taken you guys. But think it through. If you’re maching at 40 MPH down hardpack on a big ski, you fall and the brake deploys pointed forward like that, something has to give. It’s going to either flip the ski into a windmill, or bend, or both. Yes, theory on my part so I’ll be happy to be wrong as it’s a nicely made product. More real is the idea of brush getting caught in the brake. I can gurantee that’s going to be a real problem for some folks. Indeed, there is one place I tour where I can imagine that happening pretty regularly. In the end, I’d hope they just make a rearward facing brake as an option. Lou

  4. Adrien December 10th, 2013 9:23 am

    Not “coutou” but “couteaux” 😀

  5. Lou Dawson December 10th, 2013 9:34 am

    Shoot Adrien, I even looked it up on the web!

  6. Sam S December 10th, 2013 9:54 am

    I’ve seen a lot of people (gently) complaining about all these Dynafit clones, harping on how they’re ripping off Dynafit by mooching all the great engineering work that went into designing their tech binding. I think this is a good example of the market benefits that come with allowing patents to expire in a reasonable time frame. Now, there are so many companies making this style of binding that they have to come up with something innovative to differentiate themselves in the market. Win for consumers, win for the sport, win for bloggers with gear obsessions 🙂

  7. Lou Dawson December 10th, 2013 10:30 am

    Bloggers with gear obsessions? That’s the other guy. 🙂

  8. Charlie December 10th, 2013 10:32 am

    Forward-facing prongs sound like trouble in thick alder/willows, and perhaps enabling an enhanced version of “boot-out”.

    Plum’s willing to stake their claim here, so perhaps they’ve tried it out and it’s not so big a deal. I can’t help but think that there are a bunch of Snoqualmie trees that would love to grab those prongs.

    Looking forward to seeing them in person. Plum’s attention to design and fabrication is usually top-notch.

  9. Charlie December 10th, 2013 10:37 am

    (and yes, ski crampons are awesome. We use them all the time, especially in early Spring. Had them in my pack Sunday; found myself wishing they were on my feet midway up a firm slope. Accommodating crampons is a worthy goal.)

  10. Drew Tabke December 10th, 2013 10:43 am

    I would never ski with that attached to my foot.

  11. Joe Risi December 10th, 2013 12:01 pm

    Really seams to be reverse thinking at its best. I’ll pass on the brake bling.

    Now if they were plated gold to compliment my platinum Plums…

  12. Abe December 10th, 2013 1:06 pm

    It looks like the brake makes for a pretty thick riser plate for the toepeice? I guess that could be good or bad, depending on wether you like the current ramp angle or not. I think that the forward facing brake indeed «might» result in the free ski getting flipped into the air, but I’ve got the scars to prove that a leash «does» flip a free ski into the air, so it seem like it might be better than no brake at all.

  13. Brian December 10th, 2013 1:07 pm

    My brakes always seem to end up slightly bent. If that were to happen to one of these and caused it to stick out from the ski, it could spell disaster.

  14. Joe K December 10th, 2013 1:46 pm

    “I would never ski with that attached to my foot.”

    Same here.

  15. Skian December 10th, 2013 2:05 pm

    @ Joe? Why

  16. jwolfski@gmail.com December 10th, 2013 2:36 pm

    I remember back when twin tips first came out. I took a lot of spills trying to learn how to ski switch. Over the course of year I broke both brakes because they bent the wrong direction

  17. Hendrickson December 10th, 2013 2:44 pm

    Not real keen on hooking a small brake skiing the trees.

  18. Greg December 10th, 2013 2:44 pm

    Forward facing brakes seem like a big problem for east coast tree skiers. I hook my boot buckles on enough small tree branches without worrying about a backward ski brake. I would rather see a ski brake (with the normal orientation) mounted in front of the toepiece if there is interference with the crampon.

  19. Lou Dawson December 10th, 2013 2:44 pm

    There you go. Real world experience.

  20. Brian December 10th, 2013 3:10 pm

    Wonder if they are trying to avoid an IP issue with NTN.

  21. Ali E December 10th, 2013 3:21 pm

    I have recently taken delivery of a pair of new skis with Plum bindings and the new brake fitted. I haven’t skied them yet, as conditions are still very lean (read non-existent) in this neck of the woods (Scotland), but some quick observations on the brakes:

    1. When you step into the toepiece, pushing on the pressure pad for the brake, the prongs retract upwards and sit on the deck of the ski under tension. They are locked in place when you step into the heel for the downhill or when you lock the lever for skinning uphill. Unfortunately with my pair, the prongs on one of the skis does not release when stepping out in a carpet test. The decoupling of boot and binding in a real life scenario is likely to be a lot more violent, so perhaps it will deploy properly, but I am not sure it is a risk worth taking! This lack of confidence in deployment means I would be inclined to use a leash as well as the brakes, but that kind of defeats the purpose of the brakes, no?

    2. It might be possible to bend the prongs out slightly to get them to not stick on the deck, or to file away some of the plastic on the prong tip, but I am worried I might deform the whole set-up. The shop I bought them from is currently negotiating with Plum to see what can be done.

    3. Using ski crampons with these brakes appears to be highly problematical. Firstly, the brake sits under the toepiece, adding 1 cm to the height, effectively acting as a shim. This of course reduces the bite on the ski crampons as well. But worse, the crampons sit on top of the pressure pad, so that when you have the heelpiece in the flat (no riser) mode, you end up putting enormous pressure on the whole toepiece mechanism every time you step down. The only way to avoid this is to only use the crampons in the first heel riser position, which may not always be ideal, and which reduces the bite even further.

    For these reasons, my current thinking is to remove the brakes and see if I can get a refund, as I think the risks of losing a ski and/or damaging the toepiece when using crampons is unacceptable. Sorry Plum, nice try, but no cigar.

  22. Skian (Plum NA Distributor) December 10th, 2013 3:21 pm

    All are great responses, but let’s look at where these tools come from. I would call this a touring brake. It has several benefits that in certain situations would prove beneficial.

    I’ll preface this with the fact that, I just like Lou, hope for a rearward facing brake sans crampon ability. I use crampons quite regularly sometimes in lieu of skins. I guarantee you someone will have an aftermarket option that does not affect the heel tower adjustability and will be relatively inexpensive for this category in the future.

    One of the biggest safety tools I bring when in europe and around the world during touring season is the touring crampon, essential on ice and the ability to use the brake, crampon and climbing post clear of a brake obstruction is ten times better than not.

    I am not a fan of brakes in the backcountry, but I also hate having to bend down gingerly to take my ski off on steep verglas, when its hard enough not to drop my ski down the slope when going from ski to walking, besides brakes don’t stop when they are stuck up on you touring mode..

    I also have seen rear facing brakes just scrape a hot wheel track down a ski slope or worse when I lost one on a volcano to only watch that hot wheel track disapear into a cloud a 1000 down.

    A design outside of our NA norm is not necessarily bad but designed around the products intended use and local conditions and needs. This unit is made in the Alps. It’s designed as a touring brake. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of rock stars ski this binding and look forward to this product being to market here in NA.

    Pro’s to this unit are

    1) It works off the toe and not the heel. If you don’t see the benefit to this don’t keep reading.

    2) It works with both flat BSL and AT soles with with different configurations.

    3) It’s light and hand made with precision tooling.

    4) You can remove the brake relatively easy for sans brake BC touring.

    5) Oh, did I say it was made in France paying a living wage to ski bum’s?

    I welcome other educated observations?

  23. RobinB December 10th, 2013 5:45 pm

    We were just talking about old school bindings today and the patrollers I hang with were laughing about how annoying the old forward pointing brakes were, and how often they caught alders etc and threw you off balance, or caused you to lose a ski…

  24. Charlie December 10th, 2013 6:24 pm

    If a ski slides backward instead of forward down a slope, doesn’t the importance of prong orientation become irrelevant? Either way, there’s a danger of the “hot-wheel track” effect (unless prongs open in both directions (<– prior art, if needed)).

  25. Dan December 10th, 2013 7:51 pm

    I frequently depend somewhat on my brakes to help keep the ski in place while I “step” into the Dynafit binding, which is helpful when yo-yoing. If it were not for that, I would likely loose the brakes in favor of a leash, which I do for ski mountaineering trips anyway (only one run on those outings). I do not see the Plum brake to be of any use in that regard. Note that I do not use my AT setup for lift skiing, other than passing through a lift area. The “cowcatcher” look of the Plum brakes is not inspiring…I look forward to hearing how they perform.

  26. Jeremy December 10th, 2013 8:00 pm

    I have the brakes and used them on snow. I bought the brakes as I was fed up with using leashes (even the excellent B&D).

    I had them fitted on DPS Wailer 112RP. I say had, because I have now taken them off.

    The Wailer’s are 112mm waist, but where the brakes mount at plus 1cm, the skis are 115mm wide. To get even basic operation with the 115mm brake, I had the file off the hooked point, and file a 45 degree bevel on the sides. A slight bend of the legs is also required. The arms were also sticking on the contoured section which fold the arms in when the brakes are raised. A little filing resolved this.

    When carpet testing everything seemed to be ok. But when skiing at Whistler at about -12C, something strange was happening with the brakes, once exposed to, snow and ice. The effect I was experiencing was as follows:

    1. Step into the toe piece.
    2. The brakes partially retract, and the plate is not fully compressed by the boot sole.
    3. Press down to engage the heel, and the toe flips open.

    The in the field ”fix’ , was to lock the toe in touring mode, them manually pull up on the brake arms, and engage the heel. With the brake fully up, put the toe in ski mode.

    The issue for me appeared to be ice under the toe piece effecting the locking mechanism of the brake. Stepping of the lift for the first run of the day, with clean dry binding and brakes, the brakes operated perfectly.

    Fortunately I have the skis drilled with Quiver Killers, so I could remove the brakes, go back to a B&D toe plate and leashes.

  27. Jeremy December 10th, 2013 8:09 pm

    I should have mentioned that my boots are Atomic Waymaker 110 Tours, which are new this season, and have only been used for two days. So sole wear was not the issue.

  28. ATP December 10th, 2013 8:24 pm

    Is this a joke? Front pointing brakes hahaha.

  29. Skian December 10th, 2013 9:48 pm

    @Jeremy interesting? Where you using the din sole?

  30. Jeremy December 10th, 2013 10:25 pm

    @Skian, why would I be using DIN sole pads with a Tech binding?

  31. GeorgeT December 10th, 2013 10:33 pm

    Old School leashes are under-rated.

  32. Skian December 10th, 2013 10:45 pm

    That sounds like what would happen if you didn’t remove the flat BS plate. I have not skied the way maker but it has a slight rocker to the sole.

  33. Paul December 11th, 2013 2:46 am

    So happy not having to deal with brakes or leashes at all. I love my LoTechs!

  34. Thomas December 11th, 2013 4:36 am

    The elegant solution: http://www.atkrace.it/eng/raider-12.html. Truth be told I haven’t fondled them nor read any reviews but 12RV, 330g per binding and backwards facing breaks looks promising.

  35. Mark W December 11th, 2013 6:13 am

    Skied some bindings many years ago that had front facing brakes, and they got bent, causing dragging arms and such. Yes, it was a true problem that begged for a solution.

  36. Mike December 11th, 2013 6:27 am

    I was hoping this meant we would finally have a Kastle TX97 review. Did Davenport bring them over for a look?

  37. Jeremy December 11th, 2013 7:39 am

    @Skian, as mentioned the brake mechanism operated perfectly once initially setup and tested indoors.

    Without the BS plate there is not enough pressure applied by the boot sole to fully retract the brake arms. Like a normal alpine brake, when you apply light pressure to the plate the brake arms lift off the snow, but to fully complete the retraction proportionally much higher pressure must be applied. The issue that I experienced, was that the pressure to retract the brakes was higher than the toe piece upward release pressure.

    The locking mechanism relies on the interaction of three parts to work.

    1. When you step into the toe, the centre black section between the toe arms depresses. This is the ‘trigger’ for want of a better word, that controls the locking of the brake in the raised position.

    2. Directly below this black section on the toe piece, on the fixed part of the brake, is a spring steel piece. When the toe piece closes, the centre section presses down on the sprung section reducing the clearance below it, and catching the third part of the mechanism.

    3. The third part is connected to the brake arms. As the brake arms retract, they pull a sliding shaped sprung steel piece under the first piece, which then lifts and catches on it. So in this state the brakes are ‘cocked’. It is not the pressure on the plate under the boot sole, which now keeps them retracted, but the interaction of these three parts. Only opening the toe piece, either as the result of a fall, or by manually releasing the toe, will release the brakes.

    I think that ice between the toe piece and the fixed sprung steel piece reduced to clearance, which meant that excessive pressure was required to allow the sliding section to pass underneath it. This happened on both brakes multiple times.

    @ Lou, I’m not sure if your embargo prevents you, but if you are able to publish a picture of the bare brake from the top, it makes it much easier to see the interaction of the two sprung parts. Alternatively, I could send you a picture.

  38. John December 11th, 2013 8:35 am

    skian, bravo Plum! Reinvention can be cool….what’s with all the haters? Whenever I find myself skiing verglas, especially when it’s steep, I too like to stomp around in a carefree manner and despise being reduced to moving gingerly. Unbelievable! I toast the ability to keep French ski bums employed, such are the measures that make the world a better place. Keep working on it, you guys will get it sooner than north Marseille gets cleaned up, Huge grin!

  39. Lou Dawson December 11th, 2013 8:54 am

    Really, criticizing Plum is like criticizing DPS! Blasphemy! I’ll go ahead and censor everything!

  40. Skian December 11th, 2013 10:07 am

    @ Mike, I have a quiver of Kastle mounted up with Plum bindings. 177 Tx97 is mounted with Guides and also 187 mounted with 165 race for Speedtouring.

    Both these skis are great performers. Slight tip rocker and straight tail perform awesome in the field. Very solid feel on snow and predictable. Ski like a scalpel when loaded into a turn. I really like the turn radius, not too much, not too straight. Not as playful as some skis but very solid, handle chatter and speed well, as well as variable snow.

    That’s just 10 days and 100 words. Sure Lou and crew will have a detailed soon. Good exorcist ion IMHO for Kastle and Chris.

  41. Skian December 11th, 2013 10:09 am

    Sorry, rapping out on IPhone, meant to type execution??

  42. mike December 11th, 2013 2:11 pm

    I’d buy the Exorcist Ion. When is it coming out?

  43. JAH December 11th, 2013 2:36 pm

    $159 ouch!

  44. Skian December 11th, 2013 6:30 pm

    You pay to buy quality. If you can play buy a yugo…

  45. Lou Dawson December 11th, 2013 8:38 pm

    Or just use safety straps… even Yugos have seat belts.

  46. Jailhouse Hopkins December 12th, 2013 9:25 am

    Sub alpine skin tracks in western Canada with a forward facing brake? I don’t think so!
    Having to depress a brake pad AND engage the toe pins in challenging terrain might prompt me to start packing a hacksaw.
    $160? I wouldn’t put them on if I was given a pair.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of my Guides but after a long wait for the brakes to appear… I could not be more disappointed.
    North American sales are going to be a disaster, I’ll eat my words if I’m wrong.

  47. Lou Dawson December 12th, 2013 10:30 am

    Jailhouse, one thing I’m certain of about most European gear designers, they have no idea whatsoever of the kind of brush and vegetation we commonly ski through in North America. Due to western European forestry and farming, even their low altitude approaches tend to be much less choked up. It does happen that you get into some brush over there, but much less often. And if you ride cable in Cham to access your ski tours, excessive cellulose is rarely an issue. There _is_ a difference in how European designers think and create as opposed to North Americans. This ski brake is probably evidence of that.

    And yes, there have been forward facing ski brakes before. For some reason they went out of favor.


  48. Skian December 12th, 2013 10:42 am

    ???? Lou

  49. Skian December 12th, 2013 10:47 am

    That’s crazy, that was a thumbs up ,Lou
    Spam police I guess.

  50. Stano December 15th, 2013 3:27 pm

    To Skian and Lou:

    I don’t like this solution much for logical reasons stated above. However, I do appreciate their thoughtful approach by taking ski crampons into consideration as well.

    But here’s and idea:

    Make removable ski brakes that attach into where ski crampons do! On the way up you use crampons (also as brakes) and for the down you put in the brakes. Obviously, the brakes attachment mechanism would need to be more secure than crampons but I think it can work, even as aftermarket 3rd party solution.
    And I wouldn’t worry about carrying an “unused” piece of gear in your pack on the way up as for 90-99% of skiing you wouldn’t need crampons anyways.

    PS: I pray for royalties if someone makes this 😉

  51. Tracy December 17th, 2013 5:08 am

    @Jeremy, took delivery of the Guides mounted on new pair of skis yesterday.
    Checking the fit I discovered the same issue you mentioned: when my Garmont Shoguns are in downhill mode, there is not enough pressure on the shim of the brake retraction lever to fully retract the brakes. I noticed the user manual and read through it and there it said:


    And that did the trick for my situation. Will have the new set-up on the mountain Saturday and hope for no icing issues.

    The brakes, when retracted fully, seem to lie close enough to the ski that I’m not as concerned as I was about catching them in the undergrowth.

    A very sexy rig!

  52. Rickard December 20th, 2013 9:34 am

    Hello there, ok, i installed a pair if plum brakes and have more or less the same experience as the others: har do make a nice and neat entry in toe binding and at the same time have the brakes “lifted” properly.

    However, my main concern is the momentum/force created on the toe springs / tech holes / boot when “flat-touring”. And it might be good to know I don’t have a heel riser / pad (or what ever Plum call it).

    Anybody else have had conserns about this?

    I wish you all a nice Christinas and a happy new winter.

  53. Jeremy December 20th, 2013 6:44 pm

    @Tracey. My brakes/boots operated perfectly when carpet ‘skiing’, it was only when subject to ice/snow that my problems occurred. Which suggested to me either a subtle setup issue, or a problem with my brakes. The force required to fully raise the brakes exceeded the toe release value, so rotating the heel piece would not have made any difference.

    Have you actually skied on them yet?

    If I had known the brake design the only works with certain boots, I would not have bought them. It is hardly practical on a steep slope to have to engage the toe, either to have remembered to have rotated the heel beforehand, or rotate the heel, engage the brake, rotate the heel again, then click in.

    I have since tried a pair of Radical ST binding, and the ease of use far exceeds the Plum’s with brakes. So these will replace my Guides. The Radical ST’s, are actually lighter than the Guides with heel pads and brakes installed.

    I will be trying to get a refund of the Plum brakes.

  54. Skian December 22nd, 2013 5:52 pm

    @ Jeremy. It would be helpful if you let us know where you bought them and also the equipment it was being used with. Also the setup.

  55. Skian December 22nd, 2013 6:05 pm

    @Richard, when you boot is in the system and the tour lever is actuated in the up position there should be no other pressure on the system than normal as the lever just locks out the release capability as in regular touring. In ski mode the brake should deploy when the boot releases the system, again it should have little effect on the release values of the toe unit. This is not standard in other tech binding designs to my knowledge.

    When the pins of the Guide or Yak are engaged in ski mode they actually point down to the inside if no boot is in the system like a slight “V”. When the boot is in the system this provides a subtle amount of elasticity working in conjunction with the release value in the heel.

    Hope that helps, Merry Kwanzaa

  56. Tracy December 23rd, 2013 5:35 pm

    @Jeremy…Yes, skied them the last three days here in Japan. Reasonable PoW conditions, 45 cm+ on Saturday, skied thru the brush, absolutely no issues with catching.
    Did experience the same icing issue a time or two you had, resolved the way you described in post above i.e. lock toe and pulling brakes up where they then would lock.
    In my current boots, the two step process of having to put them on in tour mode to lock the breaks then twist the heel to downhill mode bums me out. All my other ski bindings are Dynafit and I suffer not. I’m getting a new pair of boots tonight, I hope, as the pair of Shoguns are starting to rip right above the second buckle and additionally, I’m a bit over the 23.5 degree of forward tilt. Purchase has nothing to do with the binding issue.
    The Guides are sexy and worked well aside from the aggro stepping into the bindings, i.e. they ejected me when I didn’t quite cut the undergrowth and wrapped a leg around a sapling 😉 Skinned on them and they were brilliant. Was even able to do the two-step process in waist deep PoW under the gondola, it’s not that difficult, it’s simply aggravating.
    Will see which boots I end up with and if that takes care of the brake locking issue. Again, when the brakes are locked they are pulled in and flat against the top sheet of the ski with zero bushwhacking issues.
    Happy Holidays!

  57. Jeremy December 24th, 2013 5:02 am

    @Skian, all the details are in my previous posts apart for the vendor.

    Skis – DPS Wailer 112RP Pure, 184cm.
    Bindings – Plum Guide 2013/14 model, mounted +1cm using Quiver Killer inserts.
    Brakes – Plum Guide 115mm
    Boots – Atomic Waymaker 110 Tour, 28.5
    Vendor – Edge & Wax, UK

    My issue is purely with the brakes, as the bindings work perfectly. The operation of the brakes relies on the interaction of two pieces of spring steel, if there is any significant contamination, this interaction fails to work on my brakes.

    I have the brakes Quiver Killer mounted because I switch bindings depending planned activities, so I need fit and forget mounting. I bought the brakes to remove the minor hassle/safety issue of using leashes, so I do not want this replaced with the hassle of fiddling with my brakes to make them retract.

  58. Jeremy December 24th, 2013 5:13 am

    @Tracy, good to hear you found some powder in Japan, it had not arrived in Whistler by Sunday when I left 🙁

    Also good (in a way), that you experienced the same brake raise/locking issue that I did, as it confirms it was not just my brakes/setup at fault.

    Like you, I have nothing against the Plum bindings, but I purchased the Plum brakes as I wanted a functional brake, but for my requirement, they failed to deliver.

  59. Tracy December 24th, 2013 6:26 am

    I tried my new Maestrale RS boots…still unable to lock the brake up without rotating heel to touring mode. Bummed

  60. Jeremy December 24th, 2013 7:46 am

    I thought that Scarpa Touring boots had a significant sole rocker. I also saw a separate post stating that Dynafit boots don’t compress the brakes either. These two brands must cover a significant proportion of the market.

    Just for your information, I measured the centre point height of the front tech fitting on my Waymakers with the boot sat on a flat surface. The centre point is at 20mm, and the first part of the sole which touches the flat, is 70mm back from the centre of the toe fitting. So the Waymaker is not a flat soled boot, like the K2 Pinnacle for example.

    @Lou, do you have toe fitting height in your encyclopaedic boot database?

  61. Lou Dawson December 24th, 2013 8:08 am

    Jeremy, prior to this issue with Plum I never had any reason to try and measure sole rocker (though we’ve had other binding/boot interface issues over the years that did require verifying correct AT boot sole dimensions). Still, it would be a lot of work to keep up-to-date, and only a small subset of folks in the market really need the information. More, fact is that the DIN/ISO standard for touring boots are in place and have been for some time. I have them detailed here:


    As you can see from the diagrams, a range of distance is allowed for the sole rocker, but it is indeed specified. In my view, any backcountry skiing binding needs to work correctly within this range. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be sold.

    I mean, it’s bad enough that we have no standards whatsoever for tech bindings, but could the binding makers at least work with a boot standard!? The way this is looking is as if those Plum guys have two pairs of touring boots and that’s all they used to design and test their brake… Or, more likely, most of them simply don’t tour with ski brakes so it’s all theory to them (100% likely since Plum bindings had no brakes prior to very recently!). I can just see it: “crazy Americans, want ski brakes, well, here you go, now let’s go skiing and quit fooling around with these stupid ski brakes!”


  62. Jeremy December 24th, 2013 8:56 am

    Thanks Lou. The top of the toe piece on the Waymakers is 28mm, which you mentioned was a common height for the boots you checked.

    One other point is that I put Marker Lords on my extra fat powder skis, so that I only need to take one pair of boots for touring/piste/powder, and don’t need to swap the soles.

    If I remember correctly, when you reviewed the Lords, you mentioned that you reached the limit of the AFD plate adjustment, which I also reached on the Waymakers. So it appears the Lord binding cannot take a more extreme rocketed sole.

    Given that Marker designed the Lord bindings for AT & Touring boots for Ski patrollers, you would have thought they allowed for the most common rockered boots. So either Marker or Plum got it wrong.

  63. Tracy January 5th, 2014 7:52 pm

    An update on the Guide’s brakes:

    1) Bent the inner brake on left ski in thick brush. Only noticed it when started skinning and was catching inner right leg like a crampon might. Was not easy to bend back to the retracted position, lying flat on the ski.

    2.) Recurring icing issues solved with liberal use of WD-40 like spray.

    3.) In touring mode, the available heel riser will make using the lowest position more comfortable as it alleviates the added pressure the brake shim puts on the ball of the foot as the heel is lower than the toe.

    In conclusion, taking them off.

  64. Macster March 31st, 2014 8:49 am

    So, after skiing for a total of about 15 days on these brakes, I have to say they are a failure in design and application.

    Firstly, when the ski releases in a fall, as they did on a sketchy zero viz day on the Grand Montets, the brakes do not release to stop the ski. Similarly, they do not even release when removing the ski on the carpet, let alone on the slopes.

    Over the course of the day, the mechanism under the toepiece can freeze up, meaning that the toe cannot be engaged without a lot of beating the ice out. Even coating in silicone grease/WD40 does little to abate this.

    So, they don’t release when they should, and they freeze up to the point that you can’t engage the toe. Furthermore, they get in the way of the harsheissen.

    After struggling with these for long enough, they are going. I would be interested to hear of anyone who has had success with them.

    On a side not, I have appealed to Fixation Plum, but to no avail. They have, however, responded in reasonable time to send me a new toe piece when one snapped, and a few spare pins, when one snapped, also. A bit like Trigger’s broom at the moment.

  65. Jamie Lieberman November 20th, 2015 4:01 pm

    For those who are still interested (November, 2015), I see they now sell a binding with our preferred rear facing brake, on the heel piece (http://www.fixation-plum.com/en/products-page/guide/guide-m-stopper/) I have the Plum Guide from several years ago. Nice binding, but trying to find a retrofit, or else will replace it.
    Another interesting note – my 20yo son was skiing these a couple years ago (on K2 Sidestash). Landed a jump a bit hard and BROKE the rear binding. We are still trying to get warranty coverage, 19 months later. I’m not sure the Plum is worth it. Dynafit still makes a great binding, tried and true, inbounds and backcountry, for years, and on extended back country trips, someone is much more likely to have spare dynafit parts than practically any other binding.

  66. Andy Carey December 11th, 2015 7:47 pm

    So I bought the Guide with brakes for my Movement Shifts. Several important points: (1) boots with rocker like my TLT6s will not work well with the binding + brake as it comes. The pedal behind the pins that retracts the brake is too high; it will, at rest, keep the boot heel almost at the 2nd heel height, well above the pins and the ski. Not nice when skinning. Following the manual, I removed the shiny plate from the pedal and that brought the boot heel down almost to the height of the pins, better but not enough. (2) The pedal will act as a fulcrum and pop the boot out of the pins when depressed to set the brake. (3) Adding the “stomp plate”/heel rest practically solves these problems for the TLT 6, but frequently the brake fails to fully retract on one of my skis; but paying attention and giving the brake a lift with a finger or putting the toe latch into walk mode with retract and lock the brake in place with the arms folded in over the ski. (4) the heel rest is a miracle. I broke trail today in 17 inches of new powder and never had to clear snow from beneath my heel 🙂 In this kind of snow with my Dynafits I would have had to repeated chip away at ice blocks forming under my heels. (5) The brake raise the toe piece resulting in little delta between the heel and toe; I like this; together with the heel rest, snow build up seems to be remedied. (6) I really like the rear binding–it is reminiscent of the Dynafit Comort and Vertical but seems to work much better; I did have an unwanted rotation or two into heel lock down. So buyer beware: you may have to fiddle with the brakes and heel rest to find a comfortable fit for your particular boot; the heel rest, IMHO, is mandatory; you may have to fiddle a little extra during transitions to ensure the brake is fully retracted and locked in place.

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