Reader’s Rides — Dave’s Dynafit FT12 Mount

Post by blogger | November 11, 2008      

Seems like I was just out of the WildSnow shop, then I’m back again helping with another Dynafit FT-12 custom supermount. This time, guest blogger Dave showed up with his new Black Diamond Method boots and a pair of Killowatts. We pulled his Fritschis off the Killos and spun the screws on the new FT-12s. The plan, he’ll test the ’12s as an aggressive skier with enough mass to give the new grabbers a run for their money.

Backcountry Skiing

It took a while to clean up the old screw holes. I don't like just plugging them with plastic as is usually done in ski shops, but prefer to fill them with epoxy.

Backcountry Skiing

This time I slightly drilled out the screw holes in the binding base so the screws wouldn't "double thread" and cause difficulties with getting the plate tight on the ski. Even so, we looked like a couple of engine rebuilders while setting the screws, as I helped Dave learn to use his arm as a torque wrench. As I always say, a good craftsman can do this at home using our mounting instructions (see Bindings menu above), but you'd better have some experience with handwork to do so.

Interesting observation during this project was that the Method boot’s sole block moves a tiny amount when torqued to the side in the Dynafit binding. That’ll be important to watch, as anything that moves over and over again in a mechanical system may eventually wear. If I’d ever wondered why the Dynafit ZZeus boot uses 6 scews and a flange for the front sole block attachment, now I think I see why. It’ll be interesting this winter to see if Dynafit’s solution is overkill or not. I suspect not. Nonetheless, the BD boots use a beefy attachment system as well. This has been tested and engineered, so I’ve got faith in it too. WildSnow’s real-world testing will tell the tale.

Backcountry Skiing

Happy Dynafitter for now, ready to find out if he can really make the switch. I'm optimistic. Next step will be fitting those Methods.


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31 Responses to “Reader’s Rides — Dave’s Dynafit FT12 Mount”

  1. Tom G November 11th, 2008 12:17 pm

    I just read something the other day (I think in the TGR forums) where someone said they were trying on the BD Method in the shop and noticed the sole moving a little as they flexed the boot (sans skis). Makes me wonder whether the interchangeable soles are really a good idea. I suspect that the dedicated AT sole user could epoxy or somehow otherwise glue the sole blocks on to provide more peace of mind and create a more solid connection. A little Loctite or epoxy on the screws is probably a good idea too.

  2. dave downing November 11th, 2008 12:21 pm

    we’ll definitely be paying attention to any sole shift as soon as the snow allows (early season buttermilk laps?)

    didn’t notice a lot of movement in 1 dynafit/factor test last winter, but then again, i’ve never used dynafits with a boot without a swappable sole. One thought to keep in mind however, the movement in the sole block was no greater than the movement i’m used to in a freeride binding…

    time will tell.

  3. Lou November 11th, 2008 12:22 pm

    Definitely thread locker on the screws, and bedding the sole in something when they go on would be a good idea, perhaps some dabs of silicon, something reversible but that fills voids to enhance the connection. My take is that sole movement is little concern in toe jaw bindings “frame” bindings such as Fritschi, but more with Dynafit because the boot has to act as the frame, and thus undergoes an immense amount of torque when in touring mode. All conjecture at this point, but definitely something to keep in mind. I should add that with 6 screws as well as an interlock holding the Dynafit ZZeus sole on, it does NOT move, I only noticed this very tiny amount of movement with the Methods on the bench.

  4. Mike November 11th, 2008 12:42 pm

    What color Loctite (green, blue, red) is right for the sole plat screws?

  5. Lou November 11th, 2008 12:46 pm

    I’d use blue, which is what I use for pretty much everything. It’s quite reversible and will also prevent the screws from locking because of rust. Don’t use red!

  6. Patrick O November 11th, 2008 1:24 pm

    Looks like a sick setup Dave. What is gonna be your alpine setup now?

  7. Chris November 11th, 2008 3:53 pm

    Exactly how much “mass” does Dave have and where does he intend to set his DIN – at least for starters?

  8. Dave November 11th, 2008 4:26 pm

    @patrick — still on the Volkl Mantra’s with Salomon S912 bindings and XWave 9 boots. But don’t tell Lou I still have an alpine setup 🙂

  9. Lou November 11th, 2008 5:02 pm

    Chris, I was waiting for someone to ask that. Dave?

  10. Dave November 11th, 2008 6:42 pm

    @Chris. My mass is around 185-195 depending on what I’m eating! I’m 5’11”. According to Wii Fit I’m overweight 🙂

    I set my DIN at 9.5 for in bounds, and hard pack. Powder days and in the BC I run a 10 DIN. My philosophy is that if I ski right, I’ll keep the skis on. I see running a higher DIN as a risk to my knees to compensate for incorrect technique. I have a binding release perhaps 1 or 2 times a year when I can’t identify exactly what I did wrong to cause it. Otherwise from moguls to straight lines, cliffs to park, and everything in between, I have no issues.

    Sorry for the book, just wanted to lay it all out there…

  11. powderjunky November 11th, 2008 8:32 pm

    Does that mass include the sick beard you had last winter!

  12. John W November 11th, 2008 8:58 pm

    teach me how to find the link to your workshop tour.. I am curious still about your opinion on tapping screw holes, also what glue do you use?

  13. skier x November 11th, 2008 10:01 pm

    Good luck with this set-up. I think you are going to need it.
    As far as straight-lining , these bindings won’t cut it. These skiis work decent as a deep powder resort ski but come up as duds when it comes to any type of skiing that requires quick reaction turns (trees or moguls.) The skis are good for cliff hucking. With that binding, you might as well throw them from the top of a cliff and accept the fact that you are going to be collecting your stuff on a regular basis.
    BD is a company that earned a rep as a b c specific company years ago when their skiis were actually being made by atomic. Once they started manufacturing their own skis, the quality and performance never quite returned. People still associate them with the b c because of niche marketing.
    On a final note, the graphics with a picture of a black cat on the topsheet (in permanent path crossing mode) will almost guarantee carnage. The only topsheet that could bring worst mojo would be the G3 reverend with that creepy rev projecting a bad vibe.

  14. Lou November 12th, 2008 6:35 am

    John, re workshop, we don’t have that blog up yet. As for glue, I use 5-minute epoxy for most mounts, 1-hour when I want more strength or a longer work time, and Gorilla glue when I’m in a hurry and just need to seal the holes, as when doing a test mount that’ll only get used a few weeks. I use JB Weld mixed with steel wool if I’m filling holes for an overlap bore.

  15. dave downing November 12th, 2008 10:36 am

    Skier x: Regarding the bindings and what they can handle. It’s not as if my first run on them will be a straight line to air. Depending on conditions, that might not happen all year. On new equipment that I’m testing, I will work my way up and see how they perform on different levels. I’d rather be smart and calculated than lucky.

    Regarding the Kilowatts in moguls … obviously they are not a bump ski. That fact is obvious by simply looking at their width. I skied my BDs all last season and found them to be a quite nice ski. They are slower edge to edge, as expected. They are a powder ski.

  16. Chris November 12th, 2008 1:21 pm

    Say Dave wasn’t entirely sold on his Dynafits and wanted to protect for the chance that he might want to put the Freerides back on this ski. How would you recommended plugging (or simply protecting) the holes so that they might be reused if need be. I’ve had a tough time removing plastic plugs and redrilling into hardened epoxy/glue doesn’t seem all that confidence inspiring? Lets also assume I simply don’t want to drill a new set of holes and end up with my boot in less than ideal position on the ski. Any thoughts?

  17. Dave Field November 12th, 2008 4:11 pm

    Gotta love the strongly held gear opinions out there skier X! I’m sure that Dave’s setup will not spontaneously combust and if driven properly will provide many grins far beyond the in bounds powder experience. If it doesn’t suit his favored skiing style in the BC, then it will be a good excuse to expand the quiver.

  18. Lou November 12th, 2008 7:30 pm

    Chris, at the least I’ve just put duct tape over the holes to keep water out. Works great. Epoxy works nicely because it drills out exactly as it’s softer than the topskin. Plastic shop plugs, same deal. You guys are over thinking the problem.

  19. ted d November 14th, 2008 5:47 am

    Chris, try hot melt glue from a glue gun, it’s worked well for me.

  20. Samo November 14th, 2008 7:52 am

    Hi, Lou!
    After a long time i speak again – actually question.
    Here in Slovenia, almost no one ski and tour with dynafit, i dont know whay maybe thay just want to be fitter :).
    Ok question, I have Heads m88(175) skis, and i would like to mount dynafits on, but i m not sure. So what do you guys think? I already have Vertical Lite at home, is more safe to put on Dynafit FT-12 or maybe fritschi? I do alot of steep skiing (50 degrees) and i need lateral stiffness, so as i read deflection test and Lou’s answers under blogs , dynafit is just right for it.
    But i sometime do a cliff huck or a jump in park. I have Axon boots (great boots). Thenks for all your help.
    PS: Lou, your http is super great. i regulary check your blogs specially gear tests and it is very usefull.

  21. Andrew Solod November 15th, 2008 8:52 pm

    Hi Lou

    It seems like the de-facto setup this winter for the hard charging skier is some type of BD boots with dynafit FT-12 stuck to a pair of girthy skis. I opted the same path with the FT-12 and a pair of DPS Wailers 105. I have heard that people have had a lot of success using helicoils with carbon fiber skis as they provide more security for keeping the binding firmly attached to the ski. I was wondering if you had any success with this or could provide some feedback.

    ps. i am currently in mongolia before heading back to CO in Dec. Aside from working i have scoped out some completely untouched mountains. This is a wide open country.

  22. Lou November 15th, 2008 8:59 pm

    Andrew, I’ve simply not had screw pullout problems on any ski I’ve worked with, so have not done helicoils other than for repair of badly stripped holes and stuff like that. Helecoils necessitate boring a HUGE hole in the ski, which I believe can easily compromise strength on a minimalist ski. Using copious epoxy and not stripping the screw holes seems to work. But then, with FT12 we’re talking a whole other level of force if it’s skied at DIN 12, so doing something more with the rear screw holes could be in order. If someone asked me to do “more,” I’d probably hollow out the lower part of the screw hole a bit by digging around with an awl, then stuff in a mixture of 1-hour epoxy and steel wool, that would form a “plug” that would be just as effective as a helicoil, in my estimation.

    For what it’s worth, when I mounted Lisa’s Goode carbon fiber skis I had to shorten all the screws. If people are ramming in the wrong length screws in thin carbon skis, that alone could cause serious problems both in screw hold and ski strength.

  23. Andrew Solod November 16th, 2008 2:10 am


    Few more questions.

    How do i determine how long or short the screws should be for a carbon ski using the FT-12 binding. You said when you mounted the Goode’s you shorted the screws, what was the determining factor for length.

    And what is you favorite type of beer so when i show up and beg your help the beer will ease my intrusion.

  24. Lou November 16th, 2008 6:57 am

    Hi Andrew, to figure out screw length for a ski you measure how thick the ski is, then measure the length of the screw and figure you want the screw short enough so it doesn’t push against the bottom structure “shell” of the ski. I estimate this, then check by probing a hole once it’s drilled. Competent ski shops have a selection of screws and it’s sometimes as easy as grabbing shorter screws from the selection. But the shape of the screw head is important, so you can’t just grab any one out of the bin, hence I tend to shorten the ones I’ve got. I shorten them by grinding enough of the end, then grinding a new point, since they’re basically wood screws they thread in fine so long as they’ve got a point on the end and sufficient pressure is applied while placing. All that said, it’s of course ideal to not have to shorten the screws, and most skis don’t require this.

  25. Bruce November 20th, 2008 11:30 am

    Nice set up. I’m thinking of doing something similar with the DPS Lotus 120. I notice that you got the Dynafit brakes to work. Did you bend them or replace the arms with something wider?


  26. dave downing November 20th, 2008 2:40 pm

    @Bruce: my FT12s came with a powder brake that looked to be better suited for a 100mm or wider waist. Since my Kilowatts are 95mm waist, I grabbed a slight narrower brake from Lou and bend them out oh-so-slightly. The wider brakes would have worked, but risked a small amount of potential brake drag when laying out a hard carve.

  27. Laurent March 3rd, 2009 7:17 pm

    Hi Lou
    A shop messed up my FT12 mount on my brand new Lotus 120s and I was wondering if you’d be kind enough to give me your opinion.
    The problem is described with words and a photo in the first post on this thread:

    If anyone else can chime in too, that would be much appreciated.


  28. Lou March 3rd, 2009 7:53 pm

    Laurent, usually that’s just a matter of doing the mount properly, in that the binding can be shifted as the screws are tightened, so everything aligns correctly. That said, you should first check that the heel unit is centered on the ski within a millimeter or so (it’s impossible to get it perfect as jigs are not perfect, etc.). If it is pretty much centered, then they should attempt to remove and re-insert the toe unit screws while aligning the toe unit properly, so that the boot heel fitting drops down on the heel pins nearly perfectly. All screws should be re-inserted with epoxy and not over-torqued. If that doesn’t work, then they owe you new skis.

    Oh, one other thing, make sure the sole blocks on your ZZeus are installed correctly and associated screws are tight — before you start mounting or re-mounting. There is a slim chance that perhaps the sole blocks on the boots were not tight and they shifted at some point in the process, thus rendering their mount un-centered when the shop rats thought it was good. But they should have checked that of course…

    Amazing they let them go out of the workshop that way!

  29. Laurent March 3rd, 2009 9:01 pm

    Thanks a lot Lou, VERY helpful.
    FYI the sole blocks on the Zzeuses are almost perfectly aligned and screws are tight.
    I also can’t believe they let them go out of the shop that way.
    They are known as the experts in backcountry skiing in my area, told me they are one of the few high-level dynafit-certified installation centers in the country, and both the manager and the lead tech guy assured me that mounting the ft12s on my lotuses would be no problem. They even got out the wide jig and showed me that it fit the ski.
    The worst part is I didn’t realize the problem until I had summitted box elder in UT, which was a 6 hour climb. I thought I had clicked in the heel, but the pins didn’t engage and I feel on a steep headwall. I then got the pins to engage by pushing hard, but I was nervous the whole 4K’ down.
    Sorry for the dear diary entry, I am just super bummed that they might have messed up my $900 skis! I hope they make things right one way or another.
    Thanks again for the lightening-fast response Lou!

  30. Lou March 4th, 2009 7:08 am

    I’d bet it’s just a matter of re-installing the toe unit, and aligning things as they re-tighten the screws. Please drop by and let us know what the outcome is.

  31. Andrew October 6th, 2009 8:25 am


    I’m curious, how did your year on these bindings work out? Did you release issues? I want to switch over, but am curious about durability on the occasional air to harder snow, or some bumps on the way to powder on one of those dreaded lift served days. I’m smaller than you, so if they worked for you…

    Thanks for the info!

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