UPDATE: January 2016. It appears there have been (at least) THREE different versions of this binding heel unit upgrade.
1. First version added the reinforcement rib to the lower plastic housing, but did not add stronger screws (see photos below).
2. Second version has stronger screws as well as the rib.
3. Third version adds a metal plate below the top plate, along with the two upgrades above.
THE INFORMATION BELOW COULD BE CONFUSING DUE TO THESE DIFFERENT ITERATIONS. IN MY OPINION MOST SKIERS WILL PROBABLY BE OK WITH VERSION 2 (stronger screws and reinforced housing) but larger and/or aggressive skiers in my opinion should be on version 3. THE PHOTO OF SPEED RADICAL ver 3 BELOW SHOWS THE ADDED METAL PLATE.
UPDATE: Sept 9, see bottom of post for official info Dynafit sent to North American dealers.
UPDATE: Sept 2, added information about binding heel unit top plate-cap screws.
We’ve heard of and seen in person the top plate broken off Dynafit Radical 1.0 versions (FT, ST, Speed) ski touring bindings. This is not uncommon. Check out the photos below.
Word from Dynafit is yes, first generation Radical FT/ST/Speed may be weak, manufactured 2011-2012. More recent versions have a reinforced rear housing, with stronger top plate and screws.
If you have the weaker versions, Dynafit North America has a swap program for the heel unit — Dynafit Service in North America, same in Europe. You’ll probably be able to do this directly if you like, or work through a dealer.
(Note, there are no issues with any Radical toe units — AND REMEMBER THIS IS ONLY FOR THE EARLIER RADICAL HEELS; try and swap a later heel and you’ll just be making trouble for yourself and others, so photos above and below for ID.)
Dynafit claims the later version has no unusual problem with heel unit top-plate strength. They say the breakage we’ve been discussing here at WildSnow.com are in the earlier binding versions. Thankfully, differentiation is easy. The, in my opinion best, later version has an extra metal plate under the top plate. See photo above.
Frankly, I would have liked to see this announcement and return program happen some time ago. Yet to be fair, this kind of thing is not easy as it’s based on global consumer return numbers, and such metrics take time to gather. The other side to that is of course “make a stronger binding in the first place.” I’d agree, but making a ski touring binding strong, light, and functional is simply not easy. Thus, we might see the day of a flawless tech binding, but don’t hold your breath. Do support companies who stand behind their products. Apparently Dynafit is doing just that.
After you do the swap, or if you already have bindings with the reinforcement rib:
In case anyone is wondering, the Speed Radical is also subject to issues. Even if it has the reinforcement rib on the lower rear housing, you should still be rocking the stronger screws in my opinion. WildSnow reader Erich testifies and sent in the following photos.
(Editor note, dealers received this around September 8, 2015)
Attn: DYNAFIT Dealers:
DYNAFIT International has recently announced a service program related to the Radical 1 (v1) binding. Research found the first generation of Radical 1 and Speed Radical bindings sold in the 2011/2012 season had an outlying number of broken heels. ALL later generations have been reinforced with regards to housing, top metal plate and screws. (Editors note, see above on how to verify your bindings have the stronger screws, housing, etc.)
DYNAFIT NA is committed to offering the best possible service and we have decided to issue a free service update for consumers with first generation Radical bindings. DYNAFIT NA will exchange any pair of v1 heels with the updated v2 at no charge.
1. Please inform your service team about the free update.
2. Please offer the free update if you see first generation bindings coming in for service, etc. Please see the attached document to note the v1 vs. v2 visual differences.
4. Consumers can also contact us directly at the Boulder offices to request this free update.
5. Replacement ST heels will be available November 1, 2015. Replacement FT heels will be available December 15th, 2015.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.