Snow Sliding and Bench Racing the G3 ION, with Brake Removal

Post by blogger | June 10, 2014      
G3 Ion complete on ski, and with brake removed.

G3 ION complete on ski, and with brake removed. G3’s branding style is to spell ION in all caps. What a hassle writing that. So below I’ll try to hit the capslock key when appropriate; don’t freak if I miss it.

We still heart the looks and on-snow feel of the ION, G3’s new offering on the tech binding altar. Louie’s previous user review is good. To supplement, here’s what jumped out during my own days with the rig.

ION tech binding overall has a “put together” ethos that inspires confidence. From the bi-directional and easily operated heel lifters, to the obviously strong springs in the toe, this horse shouts “ride me!” Everything is beefed. “Freeride” is the claim.

Front latching system per most other tech bindings, only this looks super engineered.

Front latching system per most other tech bindings, only this looks super engineered.

Underside view of toe also shows radness.

Underside view of toe also shows radness.

In use, I paid close attention to any tendency for “auto rotation” of the ION heel unit, a syndrome of many other tech binding brands and designs. The freshman grabber appears to have a super solid anti-rotation system. Basically, you can rotate the heel either clockwise or counter-clockwise for touring mode. Yet once you move the heel into touring position it is strongly blocked from rotating farther. The heel lifters are angled in such a way to make your boot heel press down and exert any rotational force towards the blocking direction. This is the same idea as some of the other systems on the market, which tend to work more or less effectively. Thus, ION seems to be on the good side of all the anti-rotation gimmickry.

This is where I’m supposed to mention the ION brake. You retract the brake for touring by first rotating the heel unit to touring position, then pressing down with foot or hand which clicks the brake into a small hook that holds it closed. Going to downhill mode reverses the process. For those of you familiar with G3 Onyx binding, it’s similar.

Brake removed, showing hook that catches brake when you're in touring mode.

Brake removed, showing hook that catches brake when you’re in touring mode. This is similar to how the G3 Onyx brake functions.

The ION brake concept is good, but somehow my brake would come unclicked while in touring mode, resulting in fairly good traction as I dragged the open brake up the skin track, but not really efficient and a bit hard on the brake arms (I eventually bent them). I tried to simulate this on the workbench with no luck. G3 says they will mitigate this in the production binding but it’s a serious enough problem to be worth mentioning regarding a pre-production unit (I usually hold most of such criticism until we test production/retail stuff). On a positive note, the brake deployment springs are STRONG and overall the brake looks beefy. This is a ski stopper, not a toy. Freeride! Or easily remove the brake. So here we go with How To Remove ION Brake or in other words uninstall it, or delete it.

Boot guides are supposed to index the position of your boot for easy step-in.

Boot guides are supposed to index the position of your boot for easy step-in.

The most ingenious part of ION is the small indexing tabs that rise up in front of your boot toe when the binding is open, and retract when you step in. Kudos to G3 for addressing the issue of “tech-fiddle,” that situation which occurs at the top of the perfectly carpeted pow slope, as you stand and wait for the newbie in the group to “fiddle” her boot into the binding.

In carpet testing with a variety of brands and model boots the ION boot entry guide did contribute to making ION much easier to “step in.” On the other hand, add some chunks of icy snow, a damaged boot toe, or a non-standard shaped boot toe, and this feature becomes vestigial. In the field I found the step-in guides to be of limited use to me as an experienced tech binding “stepper inner.” Sometimes the guides actually made binding entry more difficult when snow or ice was packed around the vicinity of my boot toe. My take would be to try the binding with this feature, then remove if you don’t like. The stepper-inner-thingus is super easy to extricate; just drive one pin out of the toe unit. Takes about two minutes per toe.

Note the pozi screw adjustment for everything. This feature is a real plus for backcountry skiers; how important it is for freeride is an open question.

Note the pozi screw adjustment for everything. This feature is hyper plus for backcountry skiers; how important it is for freeride is an open question. Freeride backpacks I saw in St. Anton don’t have room for even a single screw driver.

Ever think your repair kit is too heavy? Or you can’t fit it in your tiny Gucci freeride rucksack? If you go with ION throw out a few driver bits. Just keep your pozi drive stuff; every screw and threaded part on ION works with a #3 Pozi. Isn’t it weird that other brands don’t do this? So elegant. G3 should win a prize for that feature alone.

Bench Racing
One production Dynafit 2013/14 ST Radical (sitting here on my workbench in a bag) with 100 mm brake and screws weighs 20.5 ounces or 584 grams with screws; move up to the FT and discard the connector plate, weight is virtually the same. The Radical binding gets a revamp for 2014/15 with production weight an unknown at this time. I suspect it’ll be similar, though we won’t be surprised if it gains a few grams.

Our pre-production NON-demo-version ION binding weighs the following with NO screws: ION toe: 6.1 ounces, 172 grams, ION heel with 105mm brake: 14.8 ounces, 420 grams, Total pre-production non-demo ION 20.9 ounces, 592 grams. (I’ll add the screw weights back in eventually, away from workshop at this time.)

Some of you will opine that’s a trivial weight difference from the “other brand,” especially when you consider the Dynafit ST Radical, which ends up being virtually the same weight (as mentioned above). Thus, you’ll purchase by reputation and perhaps nation or brand loyalty. Those of you who are weight fixated should consider the below.

1. The boot toe indexing “stepper inner” unit on the ION is a good idea, but doesn’t always help and is unnecessary if you’re used to tech bindings. More, with ice or packed snow it can actually get in the way of clipping in. The parts remove easily, saving .3 ounce 8 grams per binding. This is not exactly an award winner in the gram trimming mod contest, but as any weight weenie knows, it all adds up…

2. ION is easily de-braked (Dynafit Radical FT and ST are not). Punch out a pin, pry a few things off with a screwdriver, wriggle out the brake arms, and you’ve hacked off 3.4 ounces, 100 grams.

3. Thus, if you remove both the toe indexer and the brake, you end up the non-demo retail ION binding weighing about (need to verify retail version) 17.5 ounces. That’s pretty good for a beefy tech binding, with heel-spring-shock feature and overall “freeride” strength. For ski touring (not freeride) a good cross-brand comparo with no brake is the Dynafit Speed Radical, it has no brake and weighs 13.2 ounces 374 grams (with screws and crampon fitting).

(Modders, note that ION still has anti-rotation with brake removed as far as seems appropriate. Dynafit FT/ST with brake parts completely removed has no anti-rotation feature. I’ll not get into it any more than that, as the mysteries of modding should sometimes be allowed to persist.)

Disregarding issue with brakes, what’s the biggest difference between ION and Speed Radical besides weight (since you asked)?, ION has super positive anti-rotation lock, while the Dynafit Speed resists heel rotation with an elegant but less forceful system that’s more sensitive to boot angle and snow packing. In terms of anti-rotation, I’d say the Dynafit Radical ST/FT comes in somewhere between the Speed Radical and ION in terms of resisting rotation.

Boot indexing system extricated.

Boot indexing system extricated.

Toe unit with boot indexer removed is a classic tech binding.

Toe unit with boot indexer removed is a classic tech binding.

Underside shows the spring loading machinery.  For most ski tourers this is a solution without a problem (original tech binding system has intelligent pins that slide in and out of the boot heel), but in the case of aggressive freeride it probably helps when your ski flexes and your boot heel encounters the heel unit (something has to give.)

Underside shows the spring loading machinery. For most ski tourers this is a solution without a problem (original tech binding system has intelligent pins that slide in and out of the boot heel, elegant), but in the case of aggressive freeride it probably helps when your ski flexes and your boot heel encounters the heel unit (something has to give.)

Bonus shot. We like the urethane pole tip pocket in the toe lock lever. Ever seen other brands crack and shatter here, this one looks like it might not do that.

Bonus shot. We like the urethane pole tip pocket in the toe lock lever, durable and easy to target. Ever seen other brands shatter here? Perhaps not these guys.

P.S.A., G3 asked me to emphasize that when adjusting ION for boot length, the heel should be brought in to where it just barely kisses the boot heel. Probably to the point where you can still pull a piece of paper out without tearing it. In other words, at rest the binding has NO FORWARD PRESSURE. Truly, using the term “forward pressure” in this situation is a misnomer. It’s simply “adjustment for boot length.” Some skiers steeped in the ancient arcanity of forward pressure may think that if the binding is adjusted close to the boot heel, a few extra turns of the screwdriver will somehow make it work better. Don’t be tempted. Cranking the binding heel too far forward will result in binding damage or pre-release, void your warranty, and possibly cause you grievous harm.

Check out our Ion screw hole pattern rendition and mount template.

ION will be available this coming fall of 2014. We tend to recommend this binding as an option, but as always we encourage waiting until first consumer retail testing phase is completed by courageous early ski binding adopters.

(Note, for shops or modders: Our latest ION evaluation binding weight (demo/rental model with extended boot adjustment range) scales out thus: Complete binding with 110 mm brake and screws is 23.2 ounces 656 grams.)


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


52 Responses to “Snow Sliding and Bench Racing the G3 ION, with Brake Removal”

  1. Andrew June 10th, 2014 8:34 am

    Don’t hold your breath on a brake fix. The Onyx used a similar system and either wouldn’t stay depressed, or wouldn’t deploy much of the time.

    Skip the brakes if they’re sold separately, your sanity will thank you.

  2. Lou Dawson June 10th, 2014 8:42 am

    Andrew, thanks for the take. Main factor here is that the brakes are easy to remove, but we should also give G3 a chance to get the bugs worked out. I don’t like coming up with too many cons for pre-retail test products, but since the Onyx brake was problematic as well, I decided to call this out. In the end, it’ll be pretty obvious if it works or not — all it takes to find out is a tour or two. We’ve found that for most ski tourers a minimal safety strap system is all that’s needed. On the other hand, functional ski brakes are important if you do a lot of lift served skiing or spend quite a bit of time in avalanche exposure. And then, there is of course FREERIDE!

  3. Jim Knight June 10th, 2014 10:19 am

    I’ve had no brake issues with the ION thus far. They deploy. In fact, I took a lengthly slide upon release (low din, my bad) on steep bulletproof and, once I arrested, had to crampon back up to get the ski where it had stayed put. I expected to dodge a missile or chase it down.

  4. Lou Dawson June 10th, 2014 1:30 pm

    It’s a long story, but result was my binding weights in this article were based on demo version ION, so I just added in the weights for regular version within a few grams.

    When all is said and done, main take here is in the ION you have a classic “tech” binding that will ostensibly be well made and reliable, with a very good anti-rotation feature and strong brake that’s easily removable. It’ll be worth a look, but as always I’d caution anyone when it comes to being on the bleeding edge with early adoption of first-year tech bindings.


  5. FREEEEEERIDE-er June 10th, 2014 6:27 pm

    I love reading your technical and thorough reviews, but always roll my eyes at the jokes that anything designed to be ridden hard is ridiculous overkill made for bros. Not everyone makes hippy turns in rando suits with they’re hard earned vert. On one hand you praise the engineering that went into this (relatively light) “FREERIDE” LOL binding but because it’s designed for people that need a higher DIN it’s a joke? I’m calling dead horse on freeeeeride jokes.

  6. Lou Dawson June 10th, 2014 6:40 pm

    Hi Freerider! (grin), I’d agree, I’m probably beating it like I did telemarking. You have to admit the media hype on freeride is a bit much, but on the other hand I’m fully aware of what it means.

    My main point in the joking around is that there is so much overkill in terms of the gear people haul around for simple fun ski touring. So, from now on I’ll be more concise with freeride take, and quit the jokes. For example, does anyone but me find it interesting that we are expecting a totally non standardized binding interface designed 30 years ago for lightweight ski touring to hold up to 120 mm skis going 65 mph, with a 75 foot drop? More, does anyone wonder why G3, who could have made what possibly could be the ULTIMATE classic tech touring binding instead makes what’s basically a classic tech binding only they market it for freeride? I think there are some interesting issues and questions here, no joking.

    For example, I think ION will sell well, but not necessarily to folks who call themselves “freeriders” but rather to ski tourers who simply want an ultra reliable classic tech binding. Opinion. Next time I’m in St. Anton, I’ll be counting the number of classic tech bindings on the freerider’s feet, you know, the guys under 30 years old with helmets, airbag packs and huge skis. That’ll be an interesting informal survey.


  7. Lou Dawson June 10th, 2014 6:49 pm

    P.S, Freerider, it’s not DIN, this binding does not have a DIN setting, nor does any other tech binding. It has numbers that approximate alpine binding DIN settings. More, ION has the same limited vertical elasticity of any other classic tech binding. And the same lateral elasticity (or lack of) as well. This binding is nice and appears to be very well made. It probably has stronger toe springs than some other tech bindings. It has the spring loaded for/aft travel in the heel unit. It has what appears to be a super positive anti-rotation lock in touring mode, and a strong stopper brake. Other than those things it’s a classic tech binding that uses classic tech binding boot fittings. When ridden hard it will not perform like an alpine binding, which in my opinion is the Holy Grail of any “freeride” touring binding.

    Now, seriously, you have the last word. Take it. I’ll shut up. Lou

  8. FREERIDER-er June 10th, 2014 7:40 pm


    I was driving home in my lifted, stickered out 4-Runner, to go apre with the beezys after an epic self powered day of HUGE 3’s in the perfect spring slush… so I couldn’t respond. Gotta start training for next years comps early, ya dig?

    To clarify I said “people” that need a higher DIN – every hard charging bro knows that pintech binders have silly numerical ratings that don’t compare to our trusty FKS steads. I’m all for dat new tech so I don’t blow my ACL’s out for a second time, so you’ve gotta put the heat on companies to come up with something more clever than their lame “30 year old interface.” It is very frustrating that “the man” uses buzz words like FREERIDE to market how hard I charge to the masses, but I’m all for it if it drives technology to create this magical unicorn binding you’re referring to. After all, when I straightline I hit 70 (not 65, lol) and was dropping 75 foot cliffs like they’re hot when I was 13…so I clearly need unicorns on my feet.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I have PBR’s to go shotgun

  9. lou dawson June 10th, 2014 8:26 pm

    Like I said, the last word is Freerider’s!

  10. ptor June 11th, 2014 1:18 am

    Yes, ski-touring is freeriding. Marketing departments need more skiers working in them! Good to see pin bindings evolving slowly because they are all dangerous both locked and unlocked.

  11. Billy jack June 11th, 2014 11:12 pm

    You want the FREERIDE go CAST. Lou here is reviewing tech platform bindings, which are built for a ski touring. You can crush if your Hoji like on tech platform bindings, last time I saw that guy I bet he weighs 140 max. Oh and dynafit just had there 30th anniversary. Who dat. Lou would you like to see pice of broken plum bindings?

  12. Lou Dawson June 12th, 2014 8:22 am

    In my opinion, it’s possible to make a touring freeride binding, Dynafit Beast is probably an example. But it’s easier to just add touring option to an alpine binding, I agree CAST can make sense. We worked on a CAST setup last winter and hope to file a review. Short story is that once CAST is installed, it works, but the install required quite a bit of fiddling around with screw lengths and that sort of thing. In the end, I see the legitimacy of true freeride style pretty much needing an alpine binding, but I have to say the vast majority of folks I see who do freeride touring seem to do fine on existing tech bindings. As for breakage, everything can break. Plenty of alpine bindings break. Binding breakage po*n has become a cliche of the interwebs. On the other hand, I’m as tired as anyone is of bindings coming out and having legitimate quality problems which are then fixed with an “in line” manufacturing change. We need less of that.

  13. See June 13th, 2014 8:51 am

    Re. in line manufacturing changes: consider GM ignition switches. I hope binding manufacturers are at least using new part numbers.

  14. Lou Dawson June 13th, 2014 9:14 am

    See, one of the problems with ski gear has indeed been that of changes being made in the same model binding (and sometimes boot) with the same SKU. It gets confusing, super tough for both the consumer and the reviewer. Annoys the heck out of me. As the sport gets bigger and little things such as the U..S Consumer Product Safety Commission become a factor, things will change, but I’m not sure if it’ll get better or worst. What is presently the Wild West of virtually unregulated and non standardized ski binding design has resulted in some amazing innovation, while look at most alpine bindings that just kludge along as the same thing year after year after year, keep orthopedic surgeons in the money while everyone puts their attention to helmet evangelism. Lou

  15. Drew Tabke June 13th, 2014 10:33 am

    Thanks for the review of this formerly TOP SECRET Canadian technology. Its interesting they’ve ended up here, at what is virtually a strongly-built classic tech binding, after experimenting down the Onyx road. “Solutions without problems” is definitely the story of tech bindings in the last five years.

    Re: CAST: “Short story is that once CAST is installed, it works, but the install required quite a bit of fiddling around with screw lengths and that sort of thing.” Maybe you got an early, incomplete set? The two pairs I’ve gotten from CAST have had all the hardware included. Installation was super easy and should require only a posi and a hex (no new holes).

    Re: The “holy grail.” Yak toe + FKS heel?

    Re: “Freeride.” All ski disciplines are surely worthy of some ridicule, from ALASKA HELI FREERIDE to pink-lycra-rando. Though I hear FREERIDER’s concern… This article, for example, was the worst.
    Frequently when I’m around people who mainly ski tour, I wonder if they’ve ever used legitimate alpine equipment and what that could do for them. The lack of power and control inherent in light rando gear creates skiers with technique just as bad as a 14-year-old park skier on Hellbents. All skiers can learn from all ski gear. Demo days are the greatest thing ever.

  16. Lou Dawson June 13th, 2014 10:40 am

    Drew, it as what it was. I have no doubt CAST can usually provide exact hardware. But they’re trying to match against alpine bindings that sometimes have inline changes to models. I think what we experienced was the alpine binding model we were installing had a slight change to how the screw holes were shaped, which caused the CAST supplied fasteners to be the wrong length. After the owner got things squared away we still had to skive a small amount of material off the ends of the screws where they protruded from the mount plate. Any time an after-market product tries to follow mainstream products these sorts of things will happen. But any competent tech can deal with it. I don’t mean my comments to disparage CAST but rather to simply stay clear on how these sorts of things work in the real world.

  17. Drew Tabke June 13th, 2014 11:35 am


  18. See June 13th, 2014 8:12 pm

    Drew, what didn’t you like about the Verbier freeride piece? I thought it made a valid point about how industry hype sometimes seems at odds with the sport that most of us know and love.

  19. John S June 16th, 2014 8:45 pm

    I’m a huge G3 slappie, with my old Manhattans currently my “no way I’m selling these!” skis. Love their shovels too. The Onyx was a disappointment to me, suffering from too much weight for a tech binding and some engineering issues that thankfully G3 managed to deal with, save perhaps for the brakes.

    The Ion looks like a great new entry to the tech field. The more competition that Dynafit has, the better. I’m glad that G3 started from scratch. Looking forward to the reviews as they get time under boots in the field.

  20. Bryn June 16th, 2014 11:04 pm

    Geez! Am I the only one that’s had really good luck with the Onyx? Yeah, it weighs more than my Dynafit STs, but still less than any plate binding out there (as far as I know), and I REALLY like the way it feels on the down. Super solid retention, and I like being able to switch from ski to tour mode without any sort of gymnastics. The swap-ability of it to my other skis (equipped with the mounting plates) is just sweet icing!
    Hey Lou, any idea if G3 plans on continuing production of the Onyx, or is the Ion going to phase it out?

  21. JCoates June 17th, 2014 12:56 am

    I thought the Verbier Freeride piece was good and its nice to hear from guest bloggers every now and then. I assume the piece was meant to be entertaining, and it was.

    I like skiing in Europe, but I find there is a whole lot of silliness and people taking themselves a little too seriously sometimes (ahem, Drew…)–ESPECIALLY in that part of the Alps (Chamonix/Verbier).

    Maybe I am getting old, but I find the 70-year old farmer who has been quietly skiing up to the top of the Saentis every Sunday for the last 40 years a lot more inspirational then the ex-pat “freerider” decked out in Norrona who moves to (insert famous European ski town here) for a season or two and then cops an attitude.

    I guess this isn’t a purely European trend though–I imagine its the same with places like Aspen and Squaw Valley. I think what the Verbier Freeride piece was pointing out–at least in my opinion–is that no one does “hype” like the Europeans. Its big, big business and they throw a lot of money into it–more than most US resorts can afford and that most Americans coming from a small, local resort area can imagine. It was an eye opener for me when I first got to Europe and I emphasized with the author.

    OK…rant over. Is it winter yet????

  22. Frame June 17th, 2014 6:38 am

    When you travel all the way from the states to ski in the Alps for a holiday, I guess you go to one of the larger ski areas. I have done so, but just as the US has small local resorts, so does Europe and they are run by families who live there all year round and skiing is but a part of life. If one of those families was preparing for a trip to North America for skiing they would understand hype – ‘Greatest snow on earth’ anyone? (Utah has some very good snow on it’s day, I agree).
    Cervinia will mention a 20km run, but not like Big Sky, JHole or Revelstoke are all claiming biggest vert. I’m straying from the competition side though.

    Still summer in Europe, reasonable start to the Sth Hemisphere areas from what I’ve seen.

  23. Bryn June 19th, 2014 2:52 pm

    I asked this in a previous post, but it may have gotten lost in the chatter; does anyone on here know if G3 will continue production of the Onyx, or will the Ion be their sole AT offering? Thanks!

  24. Lou Dawson June 19th, 2014 2:56 pm

    Last I heard they were going to keep making Onyx, but someone could have just told me that to save face and will actually only sell existing stock. The only thing Onyx does that ION doesn’t do is change modes on the fly. I can check with G3, should I? Meanwhile, many of us are assuming G3 will be releasing a stripped down version of the ION aimed specifically at ski tourers. Lou

  25. Bryn June 19th, 2014 5:54 pm

    Thanks Lou! Certainly no need to go out of your way trying to answer this question; I’m only curious because I have had really good luck with the Onyx. I’ve liked the swap-ability option, and the price-point was a little friendlier for a working-class stiff like myself.
    Thanks again for your thoughts on this!

  26. Kjetil June 20th, 2014 4:43 am

    As a guy who has broken pretty much all parts on the Onyx (toe pins, toe spings, toe lever, baseplates, heel plastic) over a 3 year span, I gotta say I’m happy that G3 are starting over with a new binding. Bummer that the brakes still don’t function flawlessly, since mine pretty much never activated when I dropped a ski. Maybe northern Norway gets a “different” kind of snow that makes the brake ice up?

    I agree with the over-marketing of “freeride”, but I’m pretty taken a back by people calling out Europeans over this. My impression is that freeride is something originally North American with the flashy ski movies focusing on big lines and even bigger hucking. And now with their latest trend of going into the backcountry somewhat touring style doing the same stuff. Naturally as skiing evolves/progress the companys (who mostly are European) follow suit. Just quit with the stereotyping; it just make seem ignorant… (which is exactly what most euros would stereotype an American, but not a Canadian) 😉

  27. Bryn June 20th, 2014 8:07 am

    Kjetil, Have you considered the possibility that the Onyx was simply not designed to handle your big-line, freeride style? ❓

  28. Lou Dawson June 20th, 2014 9:32 am

    True, one thing I’ve noticed in the overall ski mountaineering and touring culture is that people REALLY like tech bindings, and they’ll use them despite breakage and possible unsuitability of the system for their style of skiing. On the other hand, some of the first Onyx binding had known breakage problems that had nothing to do with style of use, as far as I know.

    So good question, Kejetil, were you pressing the binding into service for harsh freeride use, or just ski touring? Or both?

  29. Mark Worley June 22nd, 2014 11:07 pm

    So is Onyx being replaced, or is it still being produced?

  30. Kjetil June 23rd, 2014 8:50 am

    I REALLY like tech bindings and 99.9% of my skiing is touring, so a frame binding is not an option. I don’t really consider the Beast an option either, since I have one pair of skis for everything between 1000 and 6000 vertical feet. I don’t think my skiing can be considered “big-line, freeride style”, even though my bindings always have been a attached onto some kind of “freeride” ski. I’m not meadow skipping, but I’m not exatcly trying to be Tabke either 😉

    My guess it’s a combination of several factors causing me to break bindings; big skis, heavy skiier (220ibs), lots of regular ski touring usage (around 100 days this season), and occationally I try to push my limits (faster skiing/10 feet drops) when the conditions are soft. Basically I think it’s wear and tear that eventually results in breakage. When I was on the Onyx the breakage once happened in touring mode, once during a hockey stop on a boiler plate surface, and once in a brutal crash. The Onyx might work for lots of people, but they didn’t work for me. G3 marketed it as a binding that could be ridden a bit harder, but that has proven not to be the case i think. Hopefully the ION is more durable, but I for sure won’t be an early tester.

    I’m not going to complain that there isn’t a bomber, super durable/unbreakable, lightweight tech binding out there, since it’s every tech binding is some kind of a compromise. I’m just one of those guys that occationally break bindings, and hopefully the future breakage doesn’t happen in critical terrain/situations.

  31. Lou Dawson June 23rd, 2014 9:06 am

    Thanks for clarifying Kjetil!

  32. Lou Dawson June 23rd, 2014 9:59 am

    RE Onyx, I contacted G3, word from source “We’re continuing to manufacture, as we’re still getting orders.”

    Thus, for you Onyx fans out there, it sounds like your binding will not be orphaned yet.

    Me, I don’t understand why they’d make and sell Onyx when they’ll have ION, but perhaps the “mode change on the fly” feature of the Onyx is more of a selling point than I thought it was. Or perhaps the swap plate option, which is pretty nice.


  33. Jan December 4th, 2014 3:30 pm

    Hi Lou, thank you for review..

    I have mounted the ION on my new ski and yes, it looks awesome. Just one question:

    when I click boot into ski mode, the heel part moves (rotate) quite easily.. (I don’t mean the “forward pressure” system. I haven’t tried to ski yet, just wondering whether id couldn’t cause any unwanted ski release at high lateral pressure.. Is that standard functionality and I am just paranoiac or it is actually a very weak lateral flexibility?

    Surely first descent will say..

    Thank you,

  34. Matt January 5th, 2015 2:13 pm

    Re: ION crampon sizing
    QQ for Lou or other WSers w/ G3 crampon experience.
    I am mounting my new IONs on a pair of 115mm waisted skis. G3 sells a 105mm and 130mm crampon width.
    Which size would perform best on my skis?
    These crampons look like they have been drop-forged, so I was wondering if I could bend the 105mm model out 5mm on each side without compromising the integrity of the forged reinforcement ribs, or if I needed to size up to the 130mm?

  35. Jim Knight January 5th, 2015 6:33 pm

    Matt- I have the 105 crampon on a 109 ski and there’s 1/8 clearance on either side. The inside width I have on the unit is 4.48 inches or 113.8 mm. Good luck trying to bend them, they are stout! You might want to upsize, unless your planks run small.

  36. Matt January 6th, 2015 10:23 pm

    Thanks Jim,
    I’m going to upsize. Managed to catch a tech guy at G3 on the phone, he confirmed what you are saying and what I feared: bending the crampons would not only be tough, it would also weaken them by fatiguing the metal & compromising the reinforcement ribs.

  37. Lou Dawson 2 January 7th, 2015 1:10 am

    Agree, they’re not appropriate for bending. Lou

  38. swissiphic January 7th, 2015 9:32 am

    If they’re anything like the original dynafit skinny ski crampons…i had success sticking them in a bench vise, heating them with a hot air gun and bashing them into fat ski (108) shape…lots of warnings from peeps about the risk of breaking/cracking the aluminum but thus far, 10 years later, still doing what they’re supposed to do…albiet with less snow pen since the bashing/bending and tweaking reduces the length of the crampon protrusions. my own experience and at own risk, of course.

  39. Chuck Mac Laren January 19th, 2015 8:39 am

    Lou I bought the G3 ION and am haveing the brake issue, Big piss off. They will work when you don’t use the lifters but as soon as you engage the riser and take a few strides BAM ! Down go the brakes. I can’t believe G3 has shot them selves in the foot again. Any news on a fix ?

  40. Lou Dawson 2 January 19th, 2015 9:56 am

    Chuck, sorry to hear that. I’ve had the brakes pop down perhaps once every few days, but not consistently enough to be a deal break, I blamed ice that I didn’t clear and like I said above, G3 claimed they were making improvements for retail version… lots of people have really tested these things and they’ve worked, but stuff does happen when the final production retail versions get built so there could be something going on that’s more serious than testers have experienced.

    If it’s indeed an issue, G3 will have to circle their wagons and make an official statement, rather then get a word out that’s back channel. So all I can do is ask.

    Meanwhile I’d suggest you warranty the bindings right away and see if another pair has the same problem. Perhaps it the type of thing that varies.


  41. Chuck Mac Laren January 19th, 2015 4:36 pm

    Lou good advice I’m on the return plan for a second shot. I bummed it is happening because the fit and finish of these bindings is outstanding. Im hopeing it can be resolved.

  42. Chuck Mac Laren January 21st, 2015 6:50 am

    I’ll let you know how this turns out

  43. Drew Persson February 21st, 2015 10:16 pm

    Interesting Lou, the pair of Ions I just received has four Torx screws under each brake pedal, while yours only has two. The extra two on mine are next to where the spring goes under the orange hinged plate.

    I also noticed the brakes don’t consistently spread to full width when actuated by hand, so the final brake width varies by at least 5mm. Hopefully the brakes don’t hang up on the ski when they extend in the “narrow” position sometimes. Perhaps on skis near the maximum brake width, the angled sidewalls will help nudge the arms outward.

  44. Lou Dawson 2 February 22nd, 2015 6:03 am

    Drew, the bindings I used for this post are from about a year ago and probably pre-retail. I’m sure they made some inline changes since then. Problems with retracting and locking brakes on tech bindings are not uncommon, in fact it’s been painful to watch the seemingly endless “progress” in this area. From what I hear many of the problems are caused by having to work around patents. One of the (possibly) better solutions could be Plum’s, seen at ISPO. Simply make the brake lock and unlock by hand with a small hook/catch system. I feel like there is too much effort from various companies trying to make brakes that lock when the binding is manipulated between walk and ski mode. Sometimes it seems the solutions don’t have a problem. It’s like, just give me a ski brake I can squeeze closed with my hand and lock closed with a switch, that doesn’t pop up while touring, and works like an alpine ski brake on the down. And solve one of the actual problems with brakes, weight, by making it field removable. Frankly, I really truly don’t care whether I can step on the brake to lock it, or not.

  45. Drew Persson February 22nd, 2015 10:00 am

    ^ Agreed, I’d prefer brakes you could just lock and unlock by hand, with no connection to the heel.

    On the Ion, note how rotating the turret into tour mode slides back the heel post and makes the brake hook extend forward to catch the latch bar under the pedal. This will also happen during deep ski flex when the heel post is shoved back 5mm by the boot, so the brake will be constantly locking and unlocking while skiing, or worse – the hook could just ram into the latch bar depending on boot sole thickness and pedal position at the moment the ski is flexed. Probably not an issue, but it’s a little bizarre.

  46. Lou Dawson 2 February 22nd, 2015 11:11 am

    I hinted to G3 a few years ago that based on Onyx brake design they could make a stand-alone brake that could be used on nearly any tech binding. Would have been cool. But no. Looks like Plum might take the cake on that one. Lou

  47. Drew Persson February 22nd, 2015 10:18 pm

    Say Lou, have you tried removing the brakes on a production Ion? I did today, and despite being fairly mechanically minded (I machine stuff), removing Ion brakes is definitely NOT a project I’d suggest for 99% of folks. After disconnecting the pedal and separating the brake arms, I found there is simply no way to remove the arms without cutting them off, or completely disassembling the base assembly and removing the brake latch housing from the baseplate. The arms have to be twisted around underneath the aluminum brake housing to be removed, so the housing has to come off the track. Perhaps the arm holes in the housing were larger in the pre-production model. I opened up the holes with a round file after removing the arms (so I could remove the arms the way you did in the future), but it was far from quick & easy. Getting the correct preload nut spacing during reassembly is quite tricky, and I can see why G3 doesn’t want folks monkeying around in there.

  48. Tom Wolfe January 14th, 2016 7:16 pm

    Lou, Just read your post from Feb 22 “Sometimes it seems the solutions don’t have a problem. It’s like, just give me a ski brake I can squeeze closed with my hand and lock closed with a switch, that doesn’t pop up while touring”

    Bingo — I hope that tech binding manufacturers are listening to that one. Why on earth didn’t somebody thing of that 25 years ago?!

    “Frankly, I really truly don’t care whether I can step on the brake to lock it, or not” – DITTO

  49. lou2 January 14th, 2016 11:53 pm

    Plum has this brake, right now

  50. Tom Wolfe January 15th, 2016 7:25 am

    Does it work with other tech ski bindings? E.g. the old TLT / Dynafit speed?

  51. Tom Wolfe January 15th, 2016 7:37 am

    Can you point me to a link? I’ve hunted around and can’t find mention of this sort of brake on Plum’s site or this one…

  52. ratatouille January 16th, 2016 3:46 pm

    Tom, the Kreuzspitze break is pretty much what you’re describing and it’s even removable: (or for an NA source)

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