G3 ION 2015-2016 Looking Good — Interesting Changes


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 28, 2015      
ION ski touring bindings for 2015-2016, left to right LT12, ION 10, ION 12. Note red toe springs on ION 10, and plastic heel unit top on models 10-12.

ION ski touring bindings for 2015-2016, left to right LT12, ION 10, ION 12. Note red toe springs on ION 10, and plastic heel unit cap on models 10-12. Later manufacturing runs of the LT12 will have the plastic heel cap as well.

The 2015-2016 ION ski touring binding is nearly identical to 2014 model 12, with the addition of a 12 without brake (LT12) and a release value 10 model. Sightseeing tour reveals red painted toe spring on model 10, and the change from solid aluminum to a plastic-steel “co-molded” heel top plate on models 10-12. LT12 continues with the beautiful aluminum top plate used on model 12 last season.

I asked G3 about the red spring. Word is it’s of different strength for the version 10 binding, and colored to prevent confusion. We like that. A lot. We’ve always been unclear about which parts can be interchanged with various versions of tech ski touring bindings, so nice to get clarity. This sort of thing demonstrates the thoughtful attention to detail we get from G3 backcountry binding engineering. Another example is all ION adjustments use the same screwdriver; just rack or carry a pozidrive 2 and you’re 99.9% covered; for total upkeep (top plate screws and hidden screws under heel base) add in a T10 star drive.

It’s worth calling G3 out on their mounting instructions. Stellar. Clean. Simple. With practical advice such as mentioning using waterproof adhesive for binding holes with this note: “Using slow cure epoxy significantly increases mounting strength and is recommended if you are an aggressive or heavy skier, if you commonly carry a loaded pack, or if you use wide skis.”

Above epoxy voodoo is verified from careful testing by a G3 engineer, not just guesswork. Along with the glue recommendation, bear in mind that ION has a significantly wider toe-unit base and screw hole pattern than traditional tech bindings (heel base has slightly wider screw pattern). In our experience binding mount width is inconsequential for skis around 100 mm or under, but if you like huge planks or ski like you’re at war, a wider binding platform is common sense.

Last season ION had the confidence-inspiring aluminum heel unit top plate, which will remain on LT12, but the 10-12 models will have a molded plastic and steel top plate.

Last season ION had the confidence-inspiring aluminum heel unit top plate, which will remain on LT12, but the 10-12 models will have a co-molded plastic-steel top plate. We suspect the new part is at least as strong, perhaps stronger, but in my superior aesthetic judgment doesn’t look as good. I spoke with the G3 binding engineer; he said the new heel unit cap is indeed stronger than the aluminum, and mentioned that the brake base is also plastic now instead of aluminum. A single ION is 2 grams lighter as a result, and the binding is said to be less prone to icing in the brake plate area due to the use of plastic instead of aluminum.

Our favorite thing about ION is the toe’s strong clamping power, due to a subtle change in geometry from traditional tech binding toe design. Testing last winter revealed a binding that is nothing less than bomber with a thick top plate on the heel unit fixed by large machine screws inserted from the bottom. Only glitch I and other testers noticed was the brake sometimes deploying while locked in touring mode. We suspect that bug is quashed, but more field testing will be necessary to verify.

In downhill mode the binding heel slides fore/aft to absorb ski flex, but locks solidly when twisted to touring mode. This prevents wear and disconcerting movement of the heel when you’re climbing. The brakes (ski stoppers) are impressive — super strong springs and thick arms. (Brakes are not removable, but we suspect brake arms can be swapped for different ski widths.)

G3 ION has similar line of force, but field testing and bench evaluation show it to be very strong. We don't anticipate any top plate weakness with ION.

G3 ION has heel lifter “line of force” similar to other bindings with flipping heel lifters; thankfully field testing and bench evaluation show it to be very strong. We don’t anticipate any top plate weakness with ION, and have heard no reports of such from last winter. Readers, please email reports using contact link in menu above.

All ION top plate fasteners insert from the bottom, and top plate is firmly nested on housing with a front lip.

All ION top plate fasteners insert from the bottom, and top plate is firmly nested on housing and integrated with a steel front lip that interfaces with the boot’s steel tech fitting (the lip is mated to the top plate with the screws rather than being an integral part of top plate).

ION front of heel housing shows top plate lip and underside screws.

G3 ION front of heel housing shows metal insert that’s mated to top plate with underside screws.

ION heel unit base plate shows more attention to detail. Check out the machinery that enables compensation for ski flex. Every binding has a serial number so any problems can be easily tracked -- and customers can quickly ascertain which vintage the binding is.

Check out the machinery that enables spring loaded compensation for ski flex. Every binding has a serial number so any problems can be easily tracked — customers and dealers can quickly ascertain vintage.

Weights obtained from retail-ready ION 2015-2016 ski bindings we received at WildSnow HQ a few days ago.

ION 10 and 12, with screws and 100 mm brake, total single binding 21.7 ounces, 615 grams (screws, 23 grams).
ION 10 heel, no screws, 14.9 ounces, 422 grams.
ION 10 toe, no screws, 6.2 ounces, 176 grams.

ION LT12, with screws, total single binding, has no brake: 17 ounces, 480 grams.
ION LT12 heel, no screws: 10.1 ounces, 286 grams.
ION LT12 toe, no screws: 6.1 ounces, 170 grams (weight probably reduced by lack of boot location tabs).

Shop for G3 ION ski touring bindings

Available brake widths are 85-100-115-130, and the available crampons are awesome (Lisa tested them extensively last spring.)



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Comments

74 Responses to “G3 ION 2015-2016 Looking Good — Interesting Changes”

  1. XXX_er August 28th, 2015 12:54 pm

    good report Lou! I think you hit some very relevant points in view of the current RAD situation, I assume the screws holding the now plastic & steel top plate are machine screws?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 August 28th, 2015 1:03 pm

    Yes, they are 2.9 mm (measured with my digital caliper) with minimal thread depth machine screws and appear quite strong though they’re probably stainless steel so possibly not as strong as one would assume. I backed one out and it’s like day and night compared to most other tech bindings. Was going to publish comparo photos but do not have accurate current model stuff with other bindings so am waiting, I don’t want to confuse the issue.

  3. Rudi August 28th, 2015 1:36 pm

    One thing i notice about the Ion was that it held the skier up off the ski, quite a bit more than other tech bindings. First off would you agree that this is the case? and if so did you notice any difference skiing positive or negative? As a convert from AT frame bindings (years ago i promise) I always disliked being way off the ski, but wouldn’t doubt it was a palcebo-ey type of thing.

  4. Scott in Canada August 28th, 2015 1:41 pm

    The only problems I have had with my ions:
    when I was lazy and did not adjust them right the binding would bind on the heel of my boot when touring through a dip with no heal rise.

    Some times the breaks would deploy or the heel would turn if I was on the risers or going through a big dip. I think that was 99% caused by not fully turning the heel post.

    My bindings are more sexy than everyone else that my over inflated ego makes me ski things I should not.

  5. Bryan August 28th, 2015 2:02 pm

    Scott, Lou,

    I’ve got some significant “slop” side to side in both heel pieces after 20 days of use, but the most frustrating thing I’ve noticed is that when climbing in deep snow with the risers up and heel piece fully engaged in tour mode, the heel will auto-rotate back into ski mode.

    My theory is that the ski flexes underfoot and when you step on the risers, the combination of ski flex + downward force on the risers pushes the heel piece back thereby moving it away from the tour mode “catch” and allowing it to auto-rotate into ski mode.

    Maybe this is in-significant, but I’ve actually had the entire binding get jammed into my boot as it auto-rotates…but thankfully the heel piece didn’t explode into a million pieces or crack at the base.

  6. Lou Dawson 2 August 28th, 2015 2:17 pm

    Rudi, I’m glad you brought that up, no difference in skiability IMHO and they actually have a bit less ramp than classic, see chart:

    https://www.wildsnow.com/10733/get-up-rise-up-stand-up-for-your-ramp/

    They look tall mostly because of less ramp, so the toe appears much higher than some other bindings.

    Bryan, that slop was in issue in 1st generation and in pre-production test bindings. Just warranty it. I didn’t mention in review because we don’t see it happening with latest iterations.

    Back to the height off ski thing, most of it is just being used to what you’re running, that is unless you’re trying to trim 1/100 of a second of a slalom race course. I wouldn’t want to be jacked way up high on a ski, but the height of tech bindings is not a big deal. Of course I did hear of a guy who couldn’t get a part in a TGR film until he lowered his feet 2 millimeters, so I guess sometimes it’s important.

    Lou

  7. XXX_er August 28th, 2015 5:55 pm

    Call me insensitive but back in the day I put the 25mm G3 riser/shim under the toe of my tele binding and on my
    leather boots I couldn’t tell any difference… I think its something they made up over at TGR

    from what i seen race skis actualy have the bindings jacked way off the ski top to run gates as I understand it for more leverage & more clearance before the boot drags on the hard piste

    the ION toe is higher than any other Tech binding off the ski top but I thot was for more clearance to stop snow buildup under the toe?

  8. Lou Dawson 2 August 28th, 2015 6:04 pm

    Xer, the ION toe as I understand it is higher to allow the excellent geometry of the pinchers-wings, they have stronger grabbing power. Clean-out underneath is nice, actually really nice. And the moderate ramp angle as compared to many other tech bindings is a joy for your knees. Lou

  9. XXX_er August 28th, 2015 6:10 pm

    Sounds great to me Lou but someone will complain about nose bleeds ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Mike August 28th, 2015 6:39 pm

    How about a review of the TR2? My understanding is the TR2 is the only new frameless binding that improves downhill skiing without a weight penalty.

  11. RDE August 29th, 2015 8:45 am

    I’ve always wondered about the “closer to the ski” fetish that currently prevails. In the ski racing world racers found (or at least believed in) the idea that higher risers off the ski enabled them to ski faster even when this was carried beyond the height necessary to avoid boot-out. This belief was so universal that the FIS eventually mandated the amount of lift they are allowed to use.

    Backcountry and freeride equipment demands are certainly different from ski racing on hard snow with skis designed to perform at extreme edge angles. But I question whether added height off the ski actually is detrimental to ski performance during downhill running. It certainly exerts more leverage upon the binding and adds weight wile climbing, but negatively effects the performance of the ski? —- unlikely.

    And as another commentator pointed out, raising tech style bindings off the ski top surface might indeed help with shedding snow while in free heel mode.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 August 29th, 2015 8:56 am

    RDE, yeah, at current heights I think it’s really a non issue, but I’d imagine that if you got stilted too high off the ski it would be detrimental. You can feel the difference in heights, but most folks get used to the kind of stack heights current bindings have. Ramp angle is more important and does create issues.

    Another fad is the worry about how solid a binding is. Sure, a lot of slop is a drag, but ski bindings have always had some slop.

    Modern gear is so good that it’s virtually all the “magic bullet” that lets you ski your best, if you want to ski better it’s a matter of practice not raising or lowering your feet 4 millimeters. Lou

  13. XXX_er August 29th, 2015 9:46 am

    In a blind test i doubt many people could feel the difference of say 1cm in stack height especially in 6″ of pow, now differences in ramp and delta you definatley do feel.

    another great urban myth is that plastic in bindings sucks , a shop guy was pointing out to me how the PLUM was better cuz its all metal … nope check again

    might be a good artical … urban myths in ski tech

  14. jasper August 29th, 2015 11:21 am

    Height, or the lack of, isn’t necessarily a performance issue but a matter of personal preference. I grew up racing and always had maximum plate height. Now I use frameless bindings and prefer to be as close to the snow as possible. I want to have a casual feeling of drift, without any excess artifacts or rigidity in my connection to the snow. Any doubts just give no boarding a try. I use Dyanfit Speed Radicals (though I hope to try something new this year), 1st generation Scarpa Maestrales, and BD Carbon Megawatts (both pretty darn soft). With this set up I carve groomers, pound bumps, and skin powder laps with no performance issues. Its just what suits me.

  15. Phil August 29th, 2015 1:55 pm

    Bryan brought up the auto-rotation issue. I’ve experienced the same problem, not often but occasionally. I thought at first it was operator error – not turning the heal unit all the way into touring mode – but now I’m not so sure. I like my IONs a lot but I’m wondering if anyone else has the same problem.

  16. Bill August 29th, 2015 2:45 pm

    The heel rotating from tour to ski. Or just the brake deploying whilst heel remains in tour position. Most common when using heel riser. Sometimes extremely inconvenient, happening multiple times in one climb. Usually associated with exerting extra shocks into the binding when smashing crust on the uptrack. If G3 have fixed that issue they need to say so.

    Also, the heel slider mechanism freezing up, locking the heel in tour mode. It will rotate, but it won’t slide forward, leaving the pins short of the boot heel insert. Other times it freezes in ski mode, and the brake can not be locked out when rotating to tour mode. Spring season problems. Numerous people have mentioned this issue.

  17. Thom Mackris August 29th, 2015 3:37 pm

    XXX-er and others: I immediately felt a stack height difference between a pair of G3 Onyx’s and Marker Dukes – mounted on the same skis (not at the same time, of course).

    I had no expectations at the time, but my immediate response was that lower was MUCH better for me – both in terms of reduced lateral knee strain as well as increased quickness from edge to edge.

    Call me ah hopeless Luddite, and realize that I’m from a generation when racers used to shave their boot soles to get closer to the ski. I’ll bet someone raised (pun intended) on high stack heights would notice and prefer the opposite.

    Cheers,
    Thom

  18. swissiphic August 29th, 2015 4:25 pm

    Thom: I agree. Have done a bit of dicking around with stack height spacers over the years and lower always felt better; sometimes no objective qualification, just “je ne c’est quoi” snow feel. To this day, the best sensation yet experienced on skis was on double leather teleboots, old, flat on topsheet 3pins in ripened corn snow in the spring….I remember the almost skin tickling sensation of feeling the corn kernals of the snow crystals passing under foot…it was incredible. Just ain’t the same feeling with tech bindings with feet suspended in air and the tactile feel of the snow being telegraphed through leveraged connection points…not directly through the edge, sidewall and ball of foot… on that note, will be experimenting this season with a plastic connector plate wedged snuggly under ball of foot to ski topsheet to bring back that lovin’ feelin’. Ground off the outsole rubber so the connection is straight from shell plastic to ski topsheet. Skeptical but hopeful.

  19. Lou Dawson 2 August 29th, 2015 5:52 pm

    Really appreciate the comments guys!

  20. Maciej August 29th, 2015 7:50 pm

    Just a thought-I pulled a Vertical 12 toepiece out of a Voile ski last winter. Modern b/c skis are amazing, but one of the ways they save weight is by using low-density wood cores (aspen, paulownia, etc) which simply don’t have as much material for a conventional (coarse thread) binding screw to bite into. I’ve always used epoxy when installing bindings, and never had the problem with conventional (heavy) skis mounted with Dynafits. The wider mounting pattern of the Ions may help, but I suspect someone getting after it would still pull a toepiece off a light ski.

    For this reason, for hard chargers I’d suggest Quiver Killer or Binding Freedom inserts. I just mounted a set of V8s with Quiver Killers and I’m pretty stoked on having my bindings stay on.

    This does add a bit of weight (didn’t bother to weigh the hardware before installing) but it’s still a lighter solution than touring on skis with heavier cores.

  21. XXX_er August 30th, 2015 11:14 am

    the mfger can still put a binding strengthing piece under the mounting area (denalis have it ) without creating a heavy core

    yeah everyone did some kind of blind test in pow right? everyone thinks/hopes/believes they can feel a difference in stack height so I will support your feelings … I just don’t believe it

  22. Lou Dawson 2 August 30th, 2015 11:25 am

    Fischer is the best lightweight mounting plate I’ve seen. Lou

  23. Thom Mackris August 30th, 2015 12:20 pm

    XXX_er: Agreed about binding mount reinforcements.

    I’d confident that I’d pass a blind test on hard pack, but you’re right … likely not in powder. I didn’t mean to imply powder.

    Cheers,
    Thom

  24. swissiphic August 30th, 2015 12:31 pm

    xxx’er; you gotta be more specific in what KIND of powder. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If it’s 6 inches of punchy coastal powder I bet I COULD tell the difference simply by tactile feel if the ski had a medium and round flex pattern and old short pin tlt tech bindings; the underfoot flex would bottom out the boot on the heelpiece and bind due to the whole geometry angles thing…kinda like skiing moguls in the same bindings back in the day with or without custom stack height booster blocks.

  25. XXX_er August 30th, 2015 3:38 pm

    Well Guido I think it would probably depend on which flashback you are experiancing, and at this point in the thread just gona go ahead and point out if you are doing it right powder skiing is done in … powder ๐Ÿ˜‰

    yeah Lou that whole flat area of the superlight Denali is mounting plate

  26. Greg Louie August 30th, 2015 9:52 pm

    Yeah, and didn’t the guys at Fischer stick that plate in the Denalis?

  27. Lou Dawson 2 August 30th, 2015 10:07 pm

    I have drilled them both. The ones I drilled are not
    the same.

  28. Lou Dawson 2 August 31st, 2015 12:13 pm

    Had a typo in there that G3 caught, we mentioned an “LT10” that doesn’t exist, LT12 is the binding without brake, there is no other “LT.” Apologies for any confusion we caused. Lou

  29. Greg August 31st, 2015 1:20 pm

    I love my ION’s, but I do want to point out a potential problem area… the brakes.

    In the review you say – (Brakes are not removable, but we suspect brake arms can be swapped for different ski widths.)

    I know for sure that this isn’t the case. They can be removed, but you’re going to have a heck of a time getting them back on. Last year I purchased a pair of ION’s with brakes that were too small. Both the guy at the shop and myself thought that it would be no problem to swap them out. So I paid and they mounted them up.

    The issue is that I couldn’t get replacement brakes as they aren’t designed to be removed or replaced. G3 ended up sending me two new heel units with the correct brake size, but it was kind of a process.

    These bindings are great, but this is a pretty big issue. What if I want to put these on another ski? What if one of the brakes breaks?

    I just thought you guys should know… If you want to remove the brakes by the LT… otherwise make sure you have the correct brake size for your skis as you cannot swap them out.

  30. Lou Dawson 2 August 31st, 2015 2:43 pm

    Hi Greg, I contacted G3 a few days ago about swapping brake arms. Did get the word “no” and thought I edited out my conjecture. Did my edit not take? I’ll check. But thanks for setting us straight with a good share of your own experience!

    As for brake arm issues, there is a machinist/fabricator way to widen brakes but if you had to pay someone to do it you might as well just get new bindings, especially considering they’re still not swapable even after a mod.

    Lou

  31. Jon October 7th, 2015 1:13 pm

    Is anyone producing a plate for under the toe of an ION LT 12 to reduce the ramp angle?

  32. Lou Dawson 2 October 7th, 2015 3:14 pm

    Not particularly. Easy to cobble, get longer screws from Mr Bill.

    http://www.bndskigear.com/

    I’d imagine he might start building some plates, but ION has less ramp anyway so desire isn’t as strong out there…

    Lou

  33. Michael November 20th, 2015 12:34 pm

    Lou, I would be curious to see the difference when you test the tow wing retention of the Ion 10 vs 12 using your “Frankenstein” setup ๐Ÿ˜€

  34. Lou Dawson 2 November 20th, 2015 1:02 pm

    On that, I think we can just ask Cam. But if I have time…

  35. Nick November 22nd, 2015 9:13 pm

    If I have a pair of backcountry skis with base width of 107 and intend to go with the G3 ION 12, would I be better off going with the brake width of 100 mm and enlarging the spacing or just bump up to the 115 mm width. If I do procure a second pair of skis in the near future, it will probably be a narrower touring model rather than a wider powder ski. Thanks.

  36. Michael November 23rd, 2015 6:36 pm

    Nick,
    Speaking from experience, the Ion brakes are difficult to bend and they can’t be removed. The binding could be damaged if you go ape on the brakes trying to bend them. Personally I’d go 115 for your 107 waist ski.

  37. Tom December 8th, 2015 9:55 am

    Just got my new ION LT 12s mounted up last week on a pair of La Sportiva Lo5 skis for a versatile do-it-all touring rig. As you mentioned in the first photo, later manufacturing runs of the LTs would switch to the plastic heel unit top cap, and indeed my new bindings have a gray plastic top cap on the heel pieces. If, as G3 claims, this is a stronger than the aluminum plate, than I’m all for it, but from a purely aesthetic perspective, I agree the aluminum looks nicer. I was surprised however, to see this change happen so quickly, as I ordered the bindings in the fall of it’s first year on the market. Good for G3 if sales are going that well, but maybe they should update their website to show the binding that most people will be getting from this point forward.

  38. Erroneous December 10th, 2015 1:48 pm

    I bought these bindings at the end of last season and greatly regret it! I’ve had many pairs of Dynafits in the past, none of which ever gave me any warranty issues and was wary of switching brands, especially for a first year product. These bindings developed two major problems after about 5 days of use, all touring. First, the heel lifter spring failed, which prevents use of the high lifter position. Also, one of the heels either moved forward during use, or the mechanism included in the heel to move it back in tour mode failed. The latter issue leads to the boot heel binding during flat mode touring, and also could cause the binding to either become unusable or dangerous. G3 has been awful to deal with. They will not send me a replacement heel piece, because they claim that this year’s version has too many “improvements”, and is incompatible with last year’s version. They also claim that the heel piece is “tuned” to the base plate. That seems like total BS to me, for a standardized product such as ski binding. Their proposed solution is to fix my broken heel piece (i.e., I’ve been without my skis for 3 weeks now, and their fix is still not completed) and send me a spare plastic lifter spring for when my other lifter spring fails. I would strongly recommend against buying these bindings if you have any other reasonable option (I only bought them because their mounting pattern was the only one that matched my Volk Vwerks Katanas – thanks a lot Volkl for that BS as well). Rant over.

  39. Thom Mackris December 10th, 2015 11:43 pm

    Hi @Erroneous ,

    I can certainly feel your pain, but to single out G3 is a bit unfair (with the implication that Dynafit treats their customers better). Since you’ve posted your experiences on the G3 Ion thread over on TGR, you’re likely well aware of the fiasco relating the Radical heel plate screws and their approach to the solution. XXX-er can fill you in I’m sure ๐Ÿ˜€

    The flipper spring seems to be an in-flight correction (reference the TGR thread and other’s success with this). The length adjustment change – might be a continuing issue.

    First year adopters: let’s see, how many first year adopters experienced problems with Vipecs, Radicals and Kingpins? Don’t buy those either.

    I’d take a breath, calm down, and make some phone calls. You seem to have acquitted your shop (Sturtevants) of all guilt. I know nothing of them, but I have to wonder if they dropped the ball in communicating with G3. The “tuned to the base plate” comment is a bit odd, but I don’t know if this info was passed to you from Sturtevants or came directly from G3.

    I’ve had nothing but good experiences in my service dealings with G3. Should you have to go directly to G3? No. This is the dealer’s job and I suspect they dropped the ball. Will this get you closer to an acceptable solution? Hopefully.

    Cheers,
    Thom

  40. Erroneous December 11th, 2015 12:53 am

    Hey Thom – Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Very helpful. I bought Radical IIs tonight. Ditching the Ions. Make me an offer. Cheap!

  41. Thom Mackris December 11th, 2015 1:21 am

    Good luck with the Rad-II’s @Erroneous. I like the elements in the toe that they incorporated from the Beasties. We certainly have a wealth of great choices these days.

    Your offer is tempting, but I’m higher on binding inventory than skis at the moment ๐Ÿ˜€

    Cheers,
    Thom

  42. Hardy January 6th, 2016 8:50 am

    Has anyone seen crampons for the LT12 that will fit a 112mm waist ski? G3 appears to only offer 85,105 and 130mm and I would rather keep it a bit tighter.
    Thanks!

  43. Andy Mason January 13th, 2016 1:20 pm

    I’ve tried 105mm crampons on BD Justice (111mm waist), and they rub a bit, will clear with some persuasion. I’d imagine you could make them work with 112mm.

  44. Hardy January 13th, 2016 2:42 pm

    Thanks @Andy Mason I’ll give that a try.

  45. Jack January 19th, 2016 10:04 pm

    I have two pairs of skis mounted with Ions. On both pairs, I get a pulling and hooky feel right around the toes. Skis are pretty different (one light and touring oriented, the other a more “chargie” all mountain thing). Scarpa Freedom boots. It is only noticeable when turning hard (ie, not a perfect carve) on hard or variable snow. I have skied lots of Dynafit offerings, and this is not a feel I associate with tech bindings generally. Skis have been tuned at the same shop. I am wondering if others are getting this feel from the Ions. Not sure if it is me, the bindings, the tune or what. It’s not a deal-killer because the Ions are otherwise sweet, but I’d like to figure it out.

  46. Thom Mackris January 19th, 2016 11:00 pm

    Hi Jack,

    Is the first mount on these skis? IOW, are you familiar with them and in their current state of tune?

    I’d look at the tune and especially experiment with various degrees of detuning the tips and possibly the tails. Based on my Ion experiences, they ski more or less like my Verticals.

    Regarding detune, I just went through an experience with a pair of Praxis GPOs. They ski extremely “sharp”, and I ended up detuning them all the way back to where the sidecut ends, which is about 13″ from the front of the ski.

    I’ve never had to detune a ski so much. Now, they’re predictable and still rail when put on edge. Before that, the skis hung up on turn initiation.

    Cheers,
    Thom

  47. Andy Mason January 20th, 2016 12:24 am

    Hardy, I’d like to change my answer. The 105 crampons do fit on the 111 waist skis, but they graze the edges. I tried heating them up a bit and bending them, but they didn’t move appreciably, which is probably by design. For the intended purpose (very occasional use), this setup will work, but I can’t vouch for even 1 more mm.

  48. Tom March 14th, 2016 8:49 am

    I just have a quick binding question I am hoping you can help me with. I recently got tech soles for my salomon quest boots, but I have read about incompatibility with certain bindings. Specifically I am looking at the g3 ion LT, would that binding work with the quest? I am a fairly aggressive skier, do a bit jumping, but I am fairly light, 160lb with gear, would that be a good binding for me? If not, any brakeless bindings that would fit the bill?

  49. Lou Dawson 2 March 14th, 2016 9:25 am

    Tom, I’m tripple 9 sure that would work, but there is indeed an issue with all ski boots in relation to the toe box of the boot interacting with the front lever on tech bindings. Only way to know 100% about boot/binding compatibility is to look for comments in Google search, as well as perhaps simply working through a retailer who has both products. We have quite a few ION bindings in play with quite a wide range of ski boots, including LT binding, and we are seeing zero problems so far — it seems they’ve even solved the issue of the brakes sometimes deploying in touring mode. We of course don’t expect total perfection from anything made by humans (grin), but ION seems to come pretty close. Lou

  50. Nick March 17th, 2016 7:21 pm

    I was originally planning on installing some G3 Ion 12 bindings myself as I am very technically minded and tend to like to do the work myself because I will take the time to make sure it is done correctly. I also plan on eventually installing some inserts. But I then decided that for the initial install of these bindings, I would have a local shop that specializes in backcountry setups do it, as I thought that they would follow the G3 mounting instructions and also check the resulting torque values for the required/requested release values.

    When I picked the skis up and asked the tech if the bindings tested out at the appropriate torque values for the chosen release values, the manager (or owner) of the shop stated that they don’t test the tech bindings. I mentioned that the G3 mounting instructions specifically state that the technician should check the torque values. The owner mentioned that their lawyer doesn’t even want them to set the release values, but they do it anyways.

    I realized that tech binding release values are not DIN certified, but I was surprised that no testing was done at all by the install technician regarding the release values. Does this make sense? The mounting instructions clearly state under 9. Checks and Functional Tests:
    “f) Verify release values with a binding test device. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for Tech-pin type insert compatible bindings”

    Also, the table for selecting Release Values also includes the actual Inspection Parameters in Nm for both Lateral Twist (Mz) and Forward Lean (My).

    Are my expectations too high? Should I find a shop that will actually check those inspection parameters or will most shops not do that?

  51. Lou Dawson 2 March 18th, 2016 7:54 am

    (Bear in mind this discussion is about “classic” tech bindings, that release to the side at the heel via two “pins” that insert in the boot heel.)

    Nick, your expectations are too high. While we do recommend that anyone mounting a tech binding should do some form of release checking before the bindings are actually skied, most tech bindings are not certified by TUV to the DIN/ISO standard and thus there is no “official” testing procedure or values for those bindings. This includes ION. What is more, it’s not that easy to machine test classic tech bindings that do not have side release at the toe as an alpine binding does. Doing so requires up-to-date machinery with trained operators.

    The gorilla in the room with all this is that some tech bindings with some skiers simply do not hold the skier in well enough when set at chart values, so even if a shop goes to the effort (and expense) to do modern machine testing of bindings, that may not translate to real life. Instead, the skier may have to either dial up the values to a setting they “know works,” or else risk pre-release as they gradually dial up the settings in small increments until they’re not pre-releasing.

    I just witnessed a fall on tech bindings yesterday, caused by a pre-release, so the issue of binding performance and testing is definitely real.

    So, what to do? Well, this is clearly a DIY situation. My take is that first and foremost, as we’ve stated many times, classic tech bindings are not for everyone. Those using them should be athletically adept individuals who fall infrequently, and be comfortable with a certain amount of “fiddle factor” when it comes to using the product. Also, the user should learn how to do a “self check” of the bindings on carpet, as well as how to “self check” on the workbench for lateral release.

    The latter is easy, just put a boot in the binding in downhill mode, on workbench. Check that heel gap is set correctly, check that RV is set where you want it, then rotate heel unit by hand to the point where boot releases. Release should be smooth, and you should see a noticeable amount of elasticity and return-to-center action before the point of release. This check is for function, not the actual release value, though after a few years of using and checking tech bindings for yourself you can actually develop the ability to somewhat feel your lateral release value by hand when doing bench check.

    As for the ION mounting instructions, they’re just a guideline. There is no specific legal requirement that a ski shop would follow them to the letter. Clearly, the same would apply to you, as I’m gathering you don’t own a binding test device.

    Your having the shop person tell you their lawyer says not to set release values, and they do it anyway, that’s rather odd. I do know of shops that indeed make a point of NOT setting release values and are careful to make that clear to their customers. Middle ground is the shop can hand you a screwdriver and watch while you do it yourself when you pick up the skis.

    Another glitch in all this, as I’ve stated numerous times, is that even with TUV certified bindings the release value is allowed to deviate to some degree from that which is printed on the binding housing.

    This mess is why many skiers on classic tech bindings simply dial them way up, and/or ski with the toes locked in touring mode. In my opinion doing so is often a bad idea, but folks have their reasons…

    Lou

  52. Lou Dawson 2 March 18th, 2016 7:58 am

    I’d add to this that if you’re a do-it-yourselfer it’s sometimes possible to pay a ski shop to simply drill your skis using their mechanical jig. You can then take the skis home and play around with binding mounting, installing inserts, etc. Regarding inserts, I recommend actually installing the bindings first, then removing them when you’re ready to do the inserts, that way the holes will be perfectly accurate. Lou

  53. Michael June 11th, 2016 1:18 pm

    OK, I’ve been a longtime fan of Ions (I have multiple pairs of Ion LTs), but I’ve started to have some durability issues this season with the heels.

    I’ve now broken 3 heel piece riser bars. Basically, the heel risers rotate on a small metal bar that is attached to the top plate. The “spring” action is provided by pressure against a small piece of plastic under the risers.

    On 3 different heel pieces one side of that metal bar on which the heel risers rotate has broken away from the main housing. It’s happened all 3 times on 1 side of the bar. Basically this allows the risers to just flop around freely, they won’t stay loaded in place when this occurs. Annoying as you can’t get your risers to stay in place when climbing, especially during kick turns.

    I’m waiting on warranty for binding #3. #1 was warrantied. I just replaced #2 with a spare I had laying around (a spare from warranty replacement #1 – in retrospect I should’ve warrantied this second piece as well for more spare parts).

    All 3 failures occurred after about 15-20 days use. All 3 failures were in the metal topped version. I wonder if that bar is attached differently to the plastic topped version. It seems it’s welded or something on the metal topped version to the rest of the top plate and the bar just wears out over time and breaks.

    Comparing it to the plastic topped version the bar in question seems a wee bit thicker on the plastic version compared to the metal version, but I can’t measure it precisely given that the bar is pretty much covered up by the risers and not able to be broken down and rebuilt. Again, it seems it has to be attached differently in the plastic topped version.

    The only redeeming factor here is that even if the risers break like this the binding is still totally skiable. It’s not a catastrophic blow up like older radical housings that would leave you high and dry. Nevertheless it’s disappointing. I’m more hesitant to bring these binders on multi-day tours without a spare heel piece.

    I’m 5’10” 180 lbs. Average aggressiveness for a BC skier. Certainly not some crazy hard charger/hucker type. Just an average user IMO.

    Any word on this from G3? Anyone else with similar failures?

    I’m wondering if the plastic topped heel version is a stronger connection in this regard. If so I’ll be upgrading all of my Ions to this plastic topped version. Any word on if this is the case?

  54. See June 11th, 2016 7:56 pm

    Failure after 15-20 days is ridiculous. Have you had any better luck with the plastic top versions, or do you only have new LTโ€™s? What skis and skins are you using?

  55. See June 12th, 2016 8:30 am

    (Just wondering if small skis/slippery skins were causing you to stomp down on every step for traction.)

  56. Michael June 12th, 2016 10:12 am

    Volkl BMT 109 with G3 Alpinists & Blizzard Zero Gs (108s and 95s) with Pomoca Momix skins.

    I’ve found myself slipping a little and inadvertently stomping down every once in a while, but I don’t think my technique is much different/worse than everyone else’s. I try to avoid it of course, but occasionally it happens. I don’t think I’m doing anything out of the ordinary.

  57. Michael June 12th, 2016 10:19 am

    I don’t have enough time on the plastic topped versions to confirm if they’re more durable. I just have to think that the metal bar is somehow attached in a different way on that version. It just looks a little different to me but it’s hard to explain.

  58. See June 12th, 2016 8:24 pm

    Check out the comments (if you havenโ€™t already).
    https://www.wildsnow.com/11812/g3-ion-ski-binding-field-test/

  59. Richard Hammond October 5th, 2016 11:17 am

    Does anyone know if the ramp angle of the LT12 is the same as the standard 12? Thanks.

  60. Lou Dawson 2 October 5th, 2016 12:27 pm

    Hi Richard, I recall all ION bindings being the same ramp-delta, that’s why I only put one on the chart

    https://www.wildsnow.com/10733/get-up-rise-up-stand-up-for-your-ramp/

    But I’ll check immediately. I just looked at all our IONs, they all have the same ramp. If anyone knows of any changes in that regard please let us know. This stuff changes too fast sometimes (smile).

    Lou

  61. Richard Hammond October 5th, 2016 1:21 pm

    Lou

    Many thanks for your prompt response. Thought you might like to know about some associated customer service.
    I am a bit sensitive to ramp (magnified by being a so so skier). So my first port of call before buying the G3’s was to check with Bill Bollinger at B&D if he made a shim for the ION toe piece. His prompt reply Was:

    “Hi

    I made a shim for the earlier version, but I think they changed the base.

    If you send it to me, I will make a shim for free just so I can get the dimensions.

    Bill B”

    Sadly, as a resident of the UK this is impractical. Makes me glad I have bought other B&D stuff in the past.

    Regards

  62. Ross Manning October 10th, 2016 5:46 pm

    Hoping I can get an opinion for people with some experience with the Ion 12 & the Kingpin. I’m planning to but a new ski setup – the Wailer Tour1 112 with one of the bindings above. I have Backland Carbon boots, so that means I would need the mounting adapter for the Kingpins, and I’m a bit hesitant about that, and the Ions would be a lighter setup for the uphill. So I’m leaning toward the Ions.

    As I’m in Australia, I don’t have easy access to buys the Vipec Blacks form a dealer with mounting templates, which would have been my third option. I will be skiing these as a dedicated back-country setup, on variable Australian snow, Japan powder & possibly a trip to USA west coast.

    Would the Ions be a good choice, or should I consider something else?

    Thanks for any help!

  63. Michael October 10th, 2016 7:23 pm

    Just my 2 cents, but a Tour1 Wailer and Backland Carbon boots are both on the very light end of the spectrum. It would be odd to pair a very light powder touring ski and a super lightweight boot with a beefy binding like the Kingpin. I vote Ion for that setup. I just don’t think you’d lose too much performance on a lightweight bc-dedicated setup like that.

    I think the ski/binding/boot combo should complement one another. Light skis & light boots warrant a light binding. Beef boots and a sidecountry ski would be better served by a Kingpin.

  64. Ross Manning October 10th, 2016 8:32 pm

    Thanks Michael,

    That makes sense, and was the direction I was leaning toward. This will be my first foray into tech setup (I’ve got tired of trying to keep up with friends on light gear on all-day tours on my side country gear – Marker Dukes, Elan Olympus Mons, Atomic Waymakers. All up about 12.5lb/5700gm per foot – without skins) This new setup using Ions will slightly more than halve that!

    The two things making me consider the Kingpin were:
    1. Ability of Ion to drive a wide ski
    2. Kingpin looks like it should ski more like alpine bindings, so possibly less adjustment in technique on the down.

  65. Nicholas October 12th, 2016 12:53 am

    hi there

    get the ions! i’ve been skiing them for 2 seasons now on an atomic automatic 117. they’re bullet-proof. uphill, downhill. ans super easy to use. as michael said, you should get consistent gear that matches…

    best,
    n.

  66. Ross Manning October 12th, 2016 1:14 am

    Thanks Guys –

    Just ordered them ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. Andy BD October 16th, 2016 10:20 am

    I’m looking to get myself a new touring set up for this winter. Considering the ION or Radical ST 2’s.

    I’m 5’9″ and 65kg, probably planning to couple with a pair of Movement Alp Tracks 84s or X Vertex.

    What thoughts / advice would you give?

    Cheers

    A

  68. Sam December 18th, 2016 3:33 pm

    Have there been any developers regarding the pin that holds the risers? I just snapped my second one and I’m just wondering if this will be something I have to continue to deal with every 20-40 days of touring or if G3 has beefed up this pin or maybe changed the alloy. After this second one snapping a handful of folks have reached out and said they’ve experienced the same thing. It’s a bummer to lose skis for a month or two while going through the warranty process

  69. Lou Dawson 2 December 18th, 2016 3:39 pm

    Hi Sam, the word I got is they did fix this, but yeah, it’s sadly a warranty process. Welcome to the world of tech bindings. I don’t think there has ever been one sold where the initial version didn’t have some kind of problem. G3 is among the best, but not immune (we never had this heel lifter problem ourselves, so we’ve not hit it very hard). Here in Colorado we figure such things are probably caused by ancient curses from Native Americans (usually totally justifiable). We call it the curse of the Utes. Perhaps there is something like that going on up in Canada?

    Main thing here is that a defect in the heel lifters is about as much a concern as the price of lettuce in Mongolia, compared to some of the tech binding stuff we’ve been going through for more than 20 years.

    I got off on a rabbit trail about Canadian first nations. Suddenly, I’ve canceled my plans for moving there.

    http://apihtawikosisan.com/2012/12/canada-its-time-we-need-to-fix-this-in-our-generation/

    Lou

  70. trollanski January 24th, 2017 11:19 am

    Wanted to give a heads up on curing some issues I’ve been having with ION binding heels. The brakes have intermittently been not staying up (tour) or not coming down (ski). Further more, this morning, the heel piece was stuck so for back (3/4 cm of play) that I used a voile strap as a forward pressure spring so it would stay close enough to the heel pins to ski down. Turns out snow has been packing up, even in dry powder conditions in the space between the heel piece and the brake/base plate, so it will be necessary to keep a TOOL handy to pick/clean the snow out of this area for the bindings to function properly. I do prefer leaving my skis on when transitioning…..oh well. Cheers!

  71. Lou Dawson 2 January 24th, 2017 11:28 am

    Thanks Trollan, yeah, ION is quite a complex piece of machinery. I’d prefer the brake was divorced, to make it 100% reliable in terms of staying retracted. Perhaps the ION LTE could be retrofitted with the Salomon brake? Hmmmm.

    Lou

  72. See January 24th, 2017 8:02 pm

    Trollanski, you have the grey plastic spring cover installed, right? (Just figured it was worth asking.)

  73. Michael June 15th, 2017 7:04 am

    An update from my 6/11/16 post after a long season on several pairs of Ion LTs with the new plastic heel housings.

    Happy to report no issues at all with the risers. I’m pleased with the bindings. I’m always looking to go lighter, so I might have a look at the new Salomon/Atomic binder next season, but the G3s are a great option for all-around performance and seem to be a mature product at this point.

  74. Lou Dawson 2 June 15th, 2017 7:34 am

    Hi Michael, thanks so much for chiming in. We always need more “mini reviews” such as yours. Everyone please take note, chime in about gear that worked for you, or didn’t. (When doing so, please browse or use our search function to find an appropriate post for your comment). Lou





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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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