Production G3 ION 2014-2015 — Weigh & Mount!


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 10, 2014      

Early adopter shopping for G3 ION — be the first on your ski hill!

Fun was had this weekend. Fasteners were twisted. Gleaming IONs were locked to shiny Fischer Hannibals. ION observation: They have strong springs, watch your fingers. Hannibal observation: The super-strong binding mount plate does exist. Drill with the 4.1 mm ski bit and tap for sure. I had some trouble of my own doing, got lazy with the hole sizes and found myself twisting too hard on the screws. You have been warned.

My DIY paper template works with a center line drawn on the ski.

My DIY ION paper template works with a center line drawn on the ski.

Weight of the whole official retail ION, 95 mm brakes.

Weight (our scale) of the complete retail ION with 95 mm brakes: 22 ounces, 623 grams. That’s not particularly lightweight in the tech binding universe, but pretty good for a binding that’s purported to support freeride skiing. While this is much a copy of the trad tech binding design, everything is beefed. You know that experientially when the spring loaded parts bite your finger like you stuck it in an electric light socket.

Toe unit weight.

Toe unit weight: 186 grams. Stainless steel screws are provided at both toe and heel. I’m not convinced they’re as good as regular steel screws. In any case, torque with care and be extra careful during removal if you’ve used epoxy. If epoxied heat the screws before removal, otherwise you can twist a head off. We’re big advocates of epoxy, but have been advised to instead use waterproof white glue in skis that have strong binding reinforcement plates. Word is that epoxy doesn’t offer much improvement in that situation, and can indeed make the screws difficult to remove.

Heel unit weight with 95 mm brake.

Heel unit weight with 95 mm brake: 436 grams. The brake works fine on my 100 mm Hannibals after a slight bend.

To expose the screw you move

When mounting the rear unit, you expose the front pair of screws by moving the boot length adjustment so a window lines up. The rear pair are accessed by rotating the upper heel unit, which is difficult due to powerful springs and the brake lock/catch. I found a better method was to simply remove the upper heel unit while mounting so the rear pair of screws are totally exposed. Better yet, perhaps remove the brake (smile)?

Holes in the strong Hannibal metal binding plate have to be drilled at correct diameter and tapped.

Holes in the strong Hannibal metal binding plate have to be drilled at correct diameter and tapped.

I'm not sure if it's titanium, but let me tell you this stuff is strong. I had to pre-drill with a sharp bit, then drill with the ski bit.

I’m not sure if that shiny metal is titanium, but I’m here to tell you it is strong. I had to pre-drill with a sharp bit, then drill with the ski bit. In the interest of science I drilled a few small test holes inside the borders of the binding mount graphics on the Hannibal. Near as I can tell the binding mount plate covers the whole area inside the graphics.

I know the guys at G3 sweated blood over ION, so we could all enjoy it. I embedded their video in deference to their hard work. Yeah, this is the first season for production ION so let’s not rush the concert stage quite yet, but it’s looking good. I’d suggest giving it a go if you want to try something new.

If you’ve read this far, here is a bonus tip for mounting ION. The heel unit base doesn’t have any provision for your screw holes in the ski to “volcano.” If that happens it’ll jack the binding up off the ski and you’ll be trying — futilely — to tighten the screws and get the binding tight to the topskin. I’d advise a slight countersink of the mount holes, to prevent volcanoes from developing.

Our other ION posts have massive data dumps.

Early adopter shopping for G3 ION — be the first on your ski hill!



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Comments

55 Responses to “Production G3 ION 2014-2015 — Weigh & Mount!”

  1. XXX_er November 10th, 2014 10:18 am

    “The brake works fine on my 100 mm Hannibals after a slight bend.”

    I wondered how formable Ion brakes would be, do they look like they might work < than dynafit brakes ?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 November 10th, 2014 10:48 am

    they are beefy, you can take a finger off with them. But what do you mean by “Dynafit brakes” ? Yes, these are beefier than Radical 1.0 but Beast is good and Radical 2.0 is said to have better brakes as well. Me, I’ll probably remove the brakes (grin). Lou

  3. Brent November 10th, 2014 11:44 am

    Neat! So many good binding choices now. Feels good and almost overwhelming vs. 5 years ago. I noticed in G3’s cool video that they tout the easy step in feature, but don’t show the user doing the tech binding shuffle to rotate the toe pins a few times and clear our ice/debris before stomping the heel. Haven’t they seen the excellent how-to videos on this site? Or is there some reason why it wouldn’t be necessary to clear your toe sockets with this binding? Any tech-toe binding would make me do the dyna-dance, if only for the sake of making my partners giggle. Not pre-releasing from the toe is a substantial added bonus.

  4. Scott Nelson November 10th, 2014 12:13 pm

    How much fore-aft adjustment in the ion heel? Just curious….

  5. Lou Dawson 2 November 10th, 2014 12:19 pm

    Hi Scott, 22 mm, more info in this blog post:

    https://www.wildsnow.com/11763/ion-g3-ski-binding-backcountry-tech/

    Lou

  6. Scott November 10th, 2014 12:58 pm

    HI Lou –

    Looks like the Ions are on my list!

    I bought the Allskijig universal binding mounting jig (allskijig.com) last year and is really works great for lining up all those holes perfectly. It is a little pricy at $265, but all metal construction and will last a lifetime. Even with all the skiis you mount. You should try it.

  7. Sam November 10th, 2014 1:52 pm

    Great to see another strong looking binding offering. My speeds continue to surprise me with their durability. Might have to buy additional bindings before they wear out at this rate 😉

    The ION looks beautiful. Definitely the sort of product that would look real different if it had to be developed without solid modeling software!

    That Allskijig looks pretty nice Scott. Other DIY mounters may want to also check out the Jigarex (http://www.plinyequipment.com/products/jigarex). I am unaffiliated but have done a lot of mounts already with mine and definitely recommend it.

  8. David B November 10th, 2014 6:37 pm

    Gotta love these skis with titanium in them. It seems there are a few out there this year & yet none.

    Titanal perhaps would be a more accurate term.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 November 10th, 2014 7:06 pm

    I couldn’t believe how hard the stuff was, way harder than any titanal I’ve ever drilled… Lou

  10. Mark Worley November 10th, 2014 7:43 pm

    Volcanoing of heel screws is an appreciated heads up. I’d like to ski these bindings. They do look good.

  11. Mark Worley November 10th, 2014 7:45 pm

    Your thread tapping jig looks smart. Might have to fabricate something like that for myself.

  12. Mark Worley November 10th, 2014 7:53 pm

    Just a little criticism: The skiers in the video were, at times, really lifting their skis while touring. Martin Volken would not be pleased. Overall, the video was terrific.

  13. Greg Louie November 10th, 2014 8:26 pm

    Martin is Swiss and will no doubt be endorsing the Vipec to counteract bad skinning technique.

  14. XXX_er November 10th, 2014 8:51 pm

    “they are beefy, you can take a finger off with them. But what do you mean by “Dynafit brakes” ?”

    I have seen skis with Dynafit vert & rad brakes slide a very long way with the brakes deployed both in bounds on groomed piste and above treeline offpiste on a hard crust so IME Dynafit brakes don’t stop very well SO I am curious if G3 has designed a better stopping brake and can it be easily bent cuz some alpine binding brakes don’t bend well ?

    Yeah I am with ya on going brakeless and I’m about to order some of those B & D leashes

  15. justin November 11th, 2014 2:18 am

    how about an official weight without brakes? They sure are pretty….

  16. Oli Butler November 11th, 2014 2:24 am

    Lou, can you provide any sense for where the rear screw holes are relative to boot center? Trying to assess some hole conflicts with some alpine bindings (…) – pretty sure the toe will be fine, just don’t have a sense for where the rear mount points go relative to the boot

  17. Lou Dawson 2 November 11th, 2014 5:18 am

    Oli, the heel has 22 mm of adjustment range, you can move it forward and back on the ski using that range to compensate, thus other holes are rarely a problem for the heel unit of any adjustable tech binding. The toe is where you sometimes get into trouble. Lou

  18. Peter L. November 11th, 2014 8:49 am

    Lou, how did you bend the brakes? How much wider could you have gone with the 95mm brake?

  19. Lou Dawson 2 November 11th, 2014 8:54 am

    Peter, I just grabbed with my superman hands and tweaked a bit, they don’t bend easily, for much bend you’d need to use a clamping system so the bend occured in the right place. They actually seem to work without bending, but did seem to have potential to catch. In terms of how much could they be bent? Not much. Perhaps a total of 5 to 8 mm to be safe. Lou

  20. GearX November 11th, 2014 10:35 am

    Is it true that you can tour while the brakes are deployed, almost like a crampon? Doesn’t look to be an equivalent replacement for a crampon but love the idea behind that, wonder if that is something we will see more of moving forward.

  21. rangerjake November 11th, 2014 11:03 am

    go home gearx, you are drunk

  22. Lou Dawson 2 November 11th, 2014 11:52 am

    GearX, I actually tried that with ION, you could do it but it didn’t work as a traction device, tended to wreck the brakes… Lou

  23. Navigator November 11th, 2014 11:58 am

    One skier in video looks to be skiing on a Kastle MX83 with the green cut-outs in the tip. Must be very strong indeed to ski tour with a ski that boasts 2 sheets of titanal and weighs nearly 9 lbs

  24. Rod November 11th, 2014 1:52 pm

    Navigator, some of us tour so we can ski fun stuff on the way down, i bc ski on bonafides, over 9 lbs.

    Switching to katanas this year.

  25. Joe November 11th, 2014 3:00 pm

    I will just chime in on the finger biting ability of the Ions.. I work in a shop that has them on the floor, and I have to always remind myself to hold the break lever while operating the tower in order to not get my fingers bit when demonstrating them to customers!

  26. Lou Dawson 2 November 11th, 2014 6:22 pm

    I like to think up fun names for products. Snapping turtles? Is the color right?

  27. See November 11th, 2014 6:34 pm

    That would be the old Vertical ST color– “mud.”

  28. Peter November 12th, 2014 12:28 pm

    since those metal shavings are so shiny, I *think* they are an aluminum alloy, like Titanal….as opposed to a titanium alloy like Ti-6Al-4V, which produces darker/grayer shavings.

    Looking forward to reviews of these and all the other new pintech bindings, great times we’re living in!

  29. Shawn November 26th, 2014 8:13 am

    Thanks for the template Lou. Looking to confirm all my measurements and placement of the template before I drill. Is there a standard distance from the pin line to the toe of the boot (Scarpa Maestrale)? Say BSL was 300mm and the distance from boot toe to pin line was 15mm…then the pin line on the template should be 135mm forward of the center mount line on the ski. Make sense? Or is it not that simple? Cheers.

  30. Matt November 29th, 2014 8:30 pm

    getting these mounted as we speak on a pair of Atomic Access. Taking them up Rainier in a couple of weeks and can’t wait to test them out. I’ve been using Radical’s for the past couple years on a few different skis but this binding looks stellar from what I’ve seen tho this season will tell the truth to that or not.

  31. XXX_er December 7th, 2014 11:26 am

    Hey Lou if you could completely disassembling an ION so we can see how G3 chose to put it all together that would be a very cool artical IMO

  32. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2014 11:50 am

    Good idea!

  33. XXX_er December 7th, 2014 2:34 pm

    Since it is very much a copy of the dynafit maybe a comparison as to how G3 chose to re-invent the wheel with the ION

  34. swissiphic December 7th, 2014 3:58 pm

    Sad that the new wheel eschewed the actually really practical innovation of the o.g. g3 binding; the swap plates.

  35. Derek December 8th, 2014 4:52 pm

    Re – Brake Bending on the Ion’s… Looking to put a set of Ion’s on a pr of 4Frnt Ravens (102mm underfoot), Should I go for the 95mm and hope they’ll bend enough or should I deal with the too wide 115mm version?
    Thoughts??

  36. Lou Dawson 2 December 13th, 2014 6:47 am

    Everyone, I’ve now been testing retail version ION for more than 10 days of touring and closed resort uphilling. Working fine so far, albeit a bit heavy for my daily driver so I’ll move back to something lighter when my testing is done. I’ve begun never locking the toe, up or down, which is pretty cool. I’m not convinced on the “step in guides” but they’re easy to test for yourself and even remove if you don’t like them. I’ve found the colors attract females. I’m married so that’s a negative, but it could be a positive, especially if you don’t have a cute puppy to tour with. Lou

  37. Lou Dawson 2 December 13th, 2014 6:49 am

    Derek, in my opinion you should just go for the wider brake. It might be nice if ION offered more brake widths — perhaps they will if their sales volume supports adding another SKU.

  38. Greig December 16th, 2014 3:53 pm

    Hi Lou,
    Bought a set of these recently! Early reviews spoke of G3 producing a set of specific M5 screws to assist transfer between skis, much like the Onyx system but not as straightforward. Does anyone know of any updates on this- can’t find them anywhere!

  39. Lou Dawson 2 December 16th, 2014 5:49 pm

    Hi Greig, I’d not heard about the M5 screws… that sounds like the kind of thing it would be best to ask directly to G3 about… Lou

  40. David February 2nd, 2015 4:41 pm

    10+ touring days and 4 resort days as a warm up…no issues until now:

    -Auto rotation: seems to happen at a particular set of snow conditions and inclines. I haven’ been able to narrow it down the conditions.

    -Spring on flippers blew. They don’t stay in any position. Doesn’t seem like a field service able spring replacement (currently at bc hut). A visit to G3 will occur on return to Vancouver.

    I do like them though….maybe G3 toes and Speed radial heels.

  41. David February 22nd, 2015 12:57 pm

    Update on the broken “spring” for heel lifts:

    Looking closer at the operation, the “spring” is a piece of plastic underneath heel lifts that resides between the turret and heel lifts…that is missing. It must have cracked and slid out.

    Entire turret was warranted as unit by G3. There is a G3 TSB on this problem blaming defective (“brittle”) plastic on the spring so I’m not the only one and is being dealt with pro-actively by G3.

  42. hegge March 4th, 2015 12:36 pm

    FYI: I just figured out that the G3 Onyx brake arms are 1:1 interchangeable with the IONs. The Onyx brakes are available as a spare part in 85, 95, 110 and 130mm widths.

  43. jos March 20th, 2015 11:29 am

    @hegge could you elaborate a bit on swapping out the brake arms?
    I ordered the Ions this week but just got word they the shop doesn’t have the 115mm anymore 😥 . Bummer, as I was convinced this would be my new favorite binding.
    I intent to have them mounted on a set of K2 Shreditor 102’s, so bending the 95mm brake might just work. If not, I guess I could replace the brake arms.
    So my question to you is: how did you go about swapping out the brake arms, is it straightforward (like unscrew these, wriggle this, lift that, pull, and reverse?) or more akin to, let’s say, an engine overhaul?

  44. Lou Dawson 2 March 20th, 2015 12:29 pm

    Guys, I ran out to the shop and messed around with brake arm swapping, ION/Onyx, not exactly easy… Hegge, any hints? Lou

  45. hegge March 20th, 2015 12:59 pm

    There are four torx screws under the sliding heel plate. Using a torx bit and my leatherman I managed to remove the heel plate and the aluminum braket. The two arms are connected with a crimped plastic tube, just slide it off the arms.

    Now comes the tricky bit, at first a thought I needed to remove the entire brake assy, but somehow I managed to wiggle and twist the brake arm and slide it through the hole.

    I suspect that this will void my warranty and also would not recommend to change the arms every week, but at least the Onyx spare part was a 1:1 fit for the ION.

    I can post some pictures after I return from a Norway trip next week.

  46. Lou Dawson 2 March 20th, 2015 1:31 pm

    Hegge, thanks, I figured the key was to remove that plate from underneath, truly fiddly but sounds like it works. I was able to use a regular screwdriver on the front two torx screws by moving the brake all the way forward, and holding it down on the workbench so it was closed. Lou

  47. hegge March 21st, 2015 2:11 pm

    Note: I have my IONs mounted with inserts so I had the heel piece remove when performing the brake arm disassembly. It might be much more difficult with the binding mounted on the ski.

  48. Lou Dawson 2 March 22nd, 2015 8:17 am

    Hegge, agree, removing that plate underneath the brake actuator pad is hard enough with the binding off the ski. I suppose it could be done with binding mounted, but would be a bear. Lou

  49. Lou Dawson 2 March 22nd, 2015 11:30 am

    Just got a report that some folks are having trouble viewing images on WildSnow.com, instead they get our blocked image reminder (Girl’s face, words “Head over to WildSnow.com.) Anyone experiencing this I’d love to hear from you. Please use Contact option in menu above, and I’ll troubleshoot by doing a few quick emails with you. Thanks, Lou

  50. Petter March 31st, 2015 3:08 pm

    Hi all,
    inspired by the reviews I’ve now got myself a pair of Fisher Hannibal 94 with G3 Ion (rental version). Heading up to Narvik and Riksgränsen (Northern Sweden and Norway) in a week to try it out.

    However, I’m a bit worried. After adjusting the binding the heel piece feels very easy to rotate with only hand power (when boots are locked in). By judging from this it would be difficult to ski down at all. Obviously I could adjust the binding to a much higher value, but makes me wonder.

    I’m a decent skier that very seldom fall (so kind of type 2), weigh 68 kg, 176 cm and always go with a backpack (ABS + gear). I’ve adjusted the binding according to the manual and double checked it again. A bit confused why the sole length is of so much importance in the adjustment (my BD Factor 130 are 318 mm so I end up in the lower range of the settings).

    Should I be worried about the binding? Would hate to arrive at the mountain with my old heavy, but reliable skis at home to find out the Ion doesn’t perform…

  51. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2015 3:37 pm

    Sounds normal, actually. Do you have some other tech bindings you can compare to?

    Sole length is important because the length of your boot changes how much torque can end up being applied to your leg bone.

    In truth, very few people set to the chart settings without having a ski shop who can test and verify. Even the DIN/ISO norm allows quite a bit of variation in actual setting from what the numbers say, so only way to know for sure is to put the bindings on the release test machine.

    You’re probably expecting too much from the whole deal, it’s rather a hodge podge at this time. Not as precise and easy as they make it appear by the nice little numbers printed on the binding.

    What number did you end up setting the bindings at?

    Lou

  52. Michael March 31st, 2015 6:18 pm

    Petter,

    Have you actually skied them yet? If not, I wouldn’t worry about how easy the heel is to rotate by hand on the bench.

    Ideally, you’d have a day to take them and ride some lifts. Carve some harder turns in a lower consequence setting. If you feel you need more retention, you can always dial up the release value.

    I ski my Ions at the same RV as my typical alpine DIN setting, and I haven’t had an yissues so far. I’ve been skiing Ions all season and am very happy with the retention.

  53. Tom May 23rd, 2015 9:14 pm

    I wondered if anyone has had the problem that I have had with my IONS. I was skiing them for about the 6 th time and the toe released during a kick turn-my heel hit the brake area and the section of the heel pad that slides back and forth fell out.
    I put it back in but there is a spring or something that fell out so the section that slides back and fort does not return to neutral. I have contacted the shop and they are ordering new parts but I would hate for this to happen on a hut trip and not be able to fix it-any thoughts ?

  54. Lou Dawson 2 May 23rd, 2015 11:14 pm

    Tom, I’d not heard of that but the AFD falling apart has been an intermittent issue with many brands/models of ski bindings over the years. It’s not the kind of flaw that makes the binding unskiable, on the other hand I’m surprised to hear about it as in my opinion ION is one of the more bomb proof bindings out there. Sigh.

  55. Tom May 25th, 2015 5:47 pm

    thanks-I agree

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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