G3 Announces Cost of Onyx Swap Plates

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 15, 2009      
G3 Onyx binding review.

G3 Onyx Binding

Many of you WildSnowers have told me (both in public and in private) that the deal clincher with the new G3 Onyx binding would be the availability and cost of the swap plates. Presumably so you can run a quiver of backcountry skis and save treasure by not ripping your wallet for multiple bindings. G3 seemed to hold their cards close to the chest on that one…till now. This just in a few minutes ago from G3:

Backcountry skiers: I’m happy to be able to send you some news about the swappable baseplates, and how we’ve responded to the finding from our Onyx beta-program. I’ve attached the news release for you above. Good news about the plates is that I’ve got a price, MSRP $67.95 USD / $69.95 CAD, and they will be available for purchase this season (due to overwhelming positive response).

There are a couple of items that we need to work on communicating better to the public, and perhaps WildSnow might be able to help with that: Step in techniques, heel lift operation — And a very important one, how to properly de-mount the bindings from the swap plates (we’ll have instructions, but like you say…only the engineers will read them). The key bit of information is that BEFORE you remove the heel, it’s very important that you turn down the lateral release/twist setting to zero.

Also, our Beta Program has been a super success. Here is our official take so far:

The final days of the G3 ONYX Beta Program are upon us. The Beta Program is crucial in ensuring that the ONYX binding lives up to our core users’ highest standards and is positioned to become the alpine touring binding of choice.

Over the past 4 months, “A Team” and consumer feedback, both critical and congratulatory, has been heard. We are very happy with the way the ONYX has performed as well as the detailed level of feedback we have received. The following were standout features:

• Easy switch between ski and tour mode.
• High level of binding retention or lack of prerelease (Ability to ski without locking out the toe).
• Plate system for easy boot size adjustment and mounting.
• Combination of lightweight and high ski performance.

The Beta Program was timed so that we could reasonably respond to feedback for this production year and more importantly begin focused design improvements for years to come. With this shared, here are some of the improvements that will be implemented for this year’s production as a result of beta program findings:

• Reduction of force required to open toe jaws to allow for easier toe entry.
• More positive engagement of the heel tour mode lever into ski mode as well as more protection around the lever to eliminate unintentional mode changes.
• Better retention of the high heel lift in the stowed position to reduce unwanted flipping up of the heel lift while backcountry skiing.
• Modified heel cowling shape to increase boot support and ensure proper heel pin alignment.
• All adjustments will be possible with a single Posidrive #3 screwdriver
• Highlighting of the quick yet rewarding education needs to ensure easy step–in and alignment of the toe as well as high and low heel lift operation.
• Refined aesthetic and finish
• Availability of an ONYX mounting plate kit at retail locations

All the best, G3


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


12 Responses to “G3 Announces Cost of Onyx Swap Plates”

  1. brendan madigan June 16th, 2009 10:57 am

    What is the weight of the plate? Lou, have you driven this binding? And if so, what is your perception?

  2. Lou June 16th, 2009 1:03 pm

    We’ve got quite a a few Onyx blog posts and reviews. Just click on the Onyx icon at the beginning of this post and you’ll see a nice page of search results.

    In a nutshell, for me the beta test Onyx skied downhill the same as a Dynafit (other than the difference in ramp angle), was difficult to enter (as said above, that my be improved), and the mode change mechanism is cool if you’re in rolling terrain and don’t want to be taking your skis off to switch from downhill to tour mode (assuming you have ski brakes, with no brakes, the Dynafit is fairly easy to switch without removing from feet). Please read the reviews for more details, as I don’t want to duplicate information that may have to be edited once the production/retail/final binding comes out.

    The plates for one binding weigh a total of 2.7 ounces, 72 grams.

  3. Mark L. June 16th, 2009 6:59 pm

    Seems odd to have a beta program without including the proposed brake design. It’s likely to be one of the more complex components of the product.

  4. Lou June 16th, 2009 7:03 pm

    I agree. I spoke with G3 about that, and they said they were doing the best they could and the brake was coming along fine… But yeah, definitely another round of testing once the brake and final production binding are available.

  5. Deb Morton June 16th, 2009 8:39 pm

    Hello! I tried on a pair of the women’s Radiums recently. I have been a free-heel skier for over 20 yrs. However, I mostly do parallel type turns. Our trip to the Bernese Alps in Switzerland this past April convinced me I need to seriously consider have an AT set-up for such trips.

    I had a Radium on one foot and the Mega Star on the other. The Radium was more comfortable by far! Do you think this boot is good for long tours? I am strictly backcountry skier 95% of the time. I would appreciate your opinion, thanks!

  6. Sam June 17th, 2009 6:54 am

    Good news on the relative affordability of plates. For skiers like me (not sponsored 😉 this sort of swapability makes transitioning into a new binding system more palatable. I will likely hold out a bit longer to get more feedback from skiers I know and am calibrated to but in the meantime this type of news is much appreciated.

  7. Mike June 17th, 2009 8:30 am

    Regarding the mounting plates, I’m very curious: isn’t it possible to build for dynafit bindings a sort of mounting plates pairs that can be applied (by screws) on different skis, with pre-drilled holes where you can mount and re-mount (also by screws) the toe/heel pieces of the dynafit bindings ?

    It’s just a crazy thought, but what would be the disadvantages of such a system ?

  8. Lou June 17th, 2009 9:26 am

    Mike, B&D has been building and supplying those for a while. See their ad in left sidebar. Their swap plates are excellent, as they have micro adjustment for perfect alignment.

    Disadvantages are cost and weight, also, the fantasy/reality factor, as in are you really going to take the time to swap bindings, even with swap plates? Oh, and some folks don’t like being stilted even higher on their skis.

  9. Ziff June 19th, 2009 2:55 pm

    hey Lou,

    I have been enjoying your posts on the Onyx binding (as well as others, of course) as I have been skiing them since mid-February as one of the beta testers. It seems we see eye to eye on many of the pros and cons of the Onyx but unlike you (“In a nutshell, for me the beta test Onyx skied downhill the same as a Dynafit.”), I did find they skied differently, surprisingly enough, as I did not think they would.

    I skied over 30000 meters on them this winter and spring and on some days, I would switch between my Dynafits (comforts and classics) for side to side comparison. I really noticed the ramp angle when switching back and forth and I found myself liking the more neutral Onyx ramp angle much more than that found on either Dynafit binding. Maybe it is just me and the way I ski, but I seemed to notice the difference much more in deep powder, and on days when I skied my Dynafits, I found myself wishing for less ramp angle.

    Anyway, just my two cents…thanks again for all of your work.


  10. Lou June 19th, 2009 4:17 pm

    Stephen, I should have been more clear. OF COURSE the ramp angle made them feel different in terms of ramp angle, especially when compared to a Dynafit ST/FT (as opposed to TLT, which has less ramp). I was talking about things like lateral stability and pre-release. The latter factors didn’t seem any different to me.

    I’ll edit the post so it’s more clear. Sorry about that.

  11. ziff June 19th, 2009 9:11 pm

    Lou, once I reread your post, I realized you were clear – I guess all the previous discussion on ramp angles got me focused on it!

    thanks for the clarification.

  12. Lars Andrews June 23rd, 2009 11:51 am

    > Hey Lou and other folks interested in the Onyx,
    > Here are some thoughts on the Onyx.
    > I was on the Onyx for the majority of this winter until early May. I am a Mountain Guide running a small ski touring operation called Whitecap Alpine. I managed prob close to 100 days of guiding and free skiing on the binding. I have had 12 years of Dynafit experience and use. I am still a fan but they do have their specific idiosyncrasies. One that I see from both a guides perspective (client use) as well as just a recreational skier. I do feel the Onyx skis better and feels better underfoot for me than any of the variations of Dynafit I have tried. (mostly the classic and the TLT) Possibly due to the lower ramp angle and my skiing style.
    > I ran the binding at a DIN of 9 and I never released from it , and there was never any pre-release. I did ski it in difficult terrain, and in very hard variable
    > conditions. There were never really any time I felt it should have released. I only ever ran the toe lock/DIN booster when I was skiing in
    > terrain I did not want to lose a ski in and when track-setting in hard snow conditions. I did kick the ski off tracksetting and stamping a track
    > in with the toe lock disengaged, so I know it releases… But never kicked the ski off in any manner that I thought was inappropriate. I never track
    > set in normal circumstances with the DIN booster.
    This, as opposed to how I operate the Dynafit binding, is quite different. I would almost always lock up the Dynafit for fear of pre-release and the experience of having that happen a number of times.
    I feel the Onyx binding is strong, there were a number of times during the
    > season that I really put it through its paces and it came out well.

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