Fritschi Vipec 12 White 2014/2015 & Black 2015/2016 — Camparo

Post by blogger | January 4, 2016      
Fritschi Vipec Black to left, has better left-right travel at toe, significant.

Fritschi Vipec Black to left, has better left-right travel at toe, significant.

Update: It’s late January and I’m at the ISPO trade show in Munich. My meet with Fritschi went well, with clarification about added Vipec Black improvements and features. I wasn’t clear on how they added “more elasticity and better retention,” got that straightened out. They did two things. First, as shown in photo above they simply reduced the width of the plastic rib that runs over the slider plate, thus allowing the plate to move farther to the side before stopping.

The amount of elastic travel in the Vipec toe is now quite impressive, perhaps even more than some alpine bindings. Adding to the fun, they beefed up the spring that controls sideways movement of the slider, so you get even greater retention. The beefed spring and associated metal reinforcements are where the mass increase of about 20 grams originates, a worthy trade in my opinion. Overall, I’m more impressed than ever by what Fritschi offers with the Vipec. So long as the difficulty of step-in is resolved (it probably is) and the toe locks adequately in tour mode (it does), this could possibly be the full “toe and heel pin binding” that comes closest to the performance of an alpine binding, albeit with upward travel at the heel still limited by the classic tech binding pins and boot fitting.

The object at hand.

The object at hand. Being mounted and skied as we speak. Click all images to enlarge.

Note: I used the 2014/2015 model “White” Vipec 12 as my comparison unit below. Apparently all the 2015-2016 Vipecs have some of the improvements, especially plastic ice protection under the heel. Tracking all this has been confusing. I try to be a gear blogger, but writing and photographing skiing is a lot more fun than doing a slack jaw zombie stare at the underside of a Vipec toe unit. Main takeaway: If you’re shopping for Fritschi Vipec be sure to get the LATEST BLACK version bindings, otherwise you miss out on what have been numerous improvements.

2014-2015 White 12 above... Black 12 model for this season has numerous small changes.

Fritschi White 12 (2014-2015) at top of photo, Black model for this season has numerous small changes. Most significant, easier entry according to our bench tests.

The debacle of the Fritschi Vipec 12 Black is about to cease. What debacle? Just that they’ve been selling and reviewing the new guy in Europe. All the while attempting to keep it off the North American market during the Q4, ostensibly so retailers had a chance to sell their older models, or perhaps because of supply and distribution challenges. Or perhaps all of the above.

Enough conjecture. Enjoy the following comparos. Bear in mind that the big “philosophical” difference between Black Vipec and all other models is that the Black has TUV certification to DIN/ISO Standard 13992 for ski touring bindings. Also bear in mind that might be a small difference, as Standard 13992 is not exactly Mars mission science. (To be fair, a binding such as Vipec with side release at toe might, if meeting 13992, indeed be quite a bit safer than trad “tech” bindings, but that’s just guesswork until someone does an epidemiological study of ski injuries on tech bindings. Like an engineering mentor once told me: “if you can’t measure it don’t talk about it.”) Please see our previous PR post about the Black.

Fritschi toes comparison.

Fritschi toes comparison.

Fritschi Black 12, toe details.

Fritschi Black 12, toe details. PR says the Black has better lateral elasticity as well as slightly more retention in walk mode. Our field reviews will attempt to evaluate those claims, but they indeed sound good. That said, bear in mind that the gorilla in the room here is the fairly standard tech binding vertical release at the heel, with minimal vertical elasticity no better than a Barthel Low-Tech of three decades ago.

Fritschi Vipec Black toe underside.

Fritschi Vipec Black toe underside. Notice how the White version (left) actually has more areas filled in with plastic. I find that to be odd. But, this is a 2014/2015 White version, perhaps the 2015/2016 has these areas filled in, as with the White model heel? It’s enough to make your brain cook, trying to keep track of bindings with the same model name but significant ‘in line’ changes.

In my opinion, improvements that help with your 'click in' are the big deal.

In my opinion, improvements that help with your ‘click in’ are the big deal.

Not much happening in the heels, but they did fill in the base area with some plastic that might prevent icing.

Not much happening in the heels, but they did fill in the base area with some plastic that might prevent icing.

Heel unit underside, Black version (right) has filled areas in what might possibly be an attempt to prevent ice problems.

Heel unit underside, Black version (right) has filled areas in what might possibly be an attempt to prevent ice problems. 2015-2016 White model is said to have this as well.

Weights, baby:
Vipec Black 12 & 2014/2015 White 12 heels are same weight, 236 grams with no screws. Heel has some difference, Black is 266 grams as compared to 248 grams for White (sans screws and brake).

Full bindings w/ 100 mm brake and screws: Black is 612 grams, White 594 grams = 18 grams of weight creep.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


51 Responses to “Fritschi Vipec 12 White 2014/2015 & Black 2015/2016 — Camparo”

  1. Ryan January 4th, 2016 10:05 am

    Yeoweee – 4 versions in 4 years!

    Substantial changes both fore and aft from what I would say…definitely improvements if the changes address issues that have been brought to light.

    I like the look of the toe guides for ease of entry, the trigger looks good, but also looks like it may trap snow under it – time will tell otherwise.

    Not sure a longer lever is better or worse. It may snag pucker brush easier?!?!

    Looks like the new base plate design on the toe is strictly cosmetic.

    Heel improvements with snow/ice blockage from entering the cavity while in tour mode is a real improvement as well and one that is a game changer if you have ever dealt with it frozen.

    DIN cert – meh. It releases smoothly already, Hope the cert doesn’t jack the price substantially.

    Lou – as always, thanks for the review. Keep us apprised of any findings in the field for the “Black”.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 January 4th, 2016 10:12 am

    The Perl Man is taking care of the field work while I hop on the big jet airliner. Thanks be to Perl!

    The binding does look good, I have to say, though I think that comes from some kind of bias (grin).

    As for TUV, yeah, pretty much a yawner though it does have some sort of meaning. Not exactly the 7th Day in terms of the binding world, nor the Virgin Birth, but sort of like (fill in biblical reference here).


  3. Wookie1974 January 4th, 2016 1:04 pm

    The only thing i find truely interesting about this binding is that you can swap back and forth from walk to ski without taking them off, or learning the dyna-wiggle.

    I was in japan a few years back and i thought that these, paired with some fish scales or kick skins, might make the place halfway as good as the hype.

  4. Jim Milstein January 4th, 2016 7:37 pm

    I’m working on the biblical reference. How about Abraham’s covenant with God (TUV)?

  5. Lou 2 January 4th, 2016 7:48 pm

    Sounds about right LOL

  6. Jason Gregg January 4th, 2016 8:33 pm

    So we’re calling this the Chosen Binding, God is binding this binding to himself?

  7. Bob Perlmutter January 4th, 2016 10:02 pm

    Mounted and skied today on a short tour. Longer tour tomorrow with comments to follow.

  8. See January 4th, 2016 10:14 pm

    Tech binding with intentional lateral release at the toe. Maybe not virgin birth, but still highly unusual.

  9. Filippo January 5th, 2016 3:17 pm

    Hi, I just mounted my Black Vipec on my Dynastar Cham HM97 !
    I’d like to point out that the different plastic of the Black Vipec toe is not just cosmetic : it encase a NEW iron spring (longer and stronger), designed to avoid unwanted side release, that happened with the early white Vipec.
    Moreover, the heel unit also got stronger support of the heel lifters, that also had some failures before. 🙂

  10. Doug January 5th, 2016 9:54 pm

    It seems like the changes are meant to address the majority of the problems that we have all experienced. What would be great is if Fritschi paid us for our time to experiment on the Beta versions and provide product reviews and feedback. A new pair or partial credit or something….

  11. Lou 2 January 5th, 2016 11:27 pm

    Well, like I’ve been saying,perhaps 2015-2016 is the season of the tech binding. Lou

  12. Jason Gregg January 6th, 2016 8:19 am

    I find the only time I get pre-release at the toe while in walk mode is when I’m too lazy to bend down and pull the lever up in to “Walk” and try and go some distance in “Ski”. But in downhill mode I continue to find that i can ski this binding on a wide ski as if it was an alpine binding. I feel it can match alpine binding performance (not including heel elasticity) at least up to a 10 DIN but not expecting more out of it than that.

  13. eggbert January 6th, 2016 10:31 am

    Is this binding actually for sale in North America? No sign of it at major REItailers.

  14. Mase January 6th, 2016 12:10 pm

    eggbert, why bother? If and when they show up they’ll most likely be $630USD with little to no wiggle room since the demand will be high for the limited quantities. Prior to Christmas I purchased a pair for my wife from Telemark-Pyrenes and with the dollar to EURO exchange rate right now had them under the tree for, lets just say, substantially less. I had to see them for myself to believe it, but there they were, Viper 12 Blacks!

  15. Mase January 6th, 2016 12:10 pm

    Vipecs. gotta love auto correct

  16. Eric January 6th, 2016 3:43 pm

    I have the white version and I love them mounted on some scale skis. I find myself grabbing them for long tours because I can switch modes in seconds without taking them off. I have never gotten the hang of getting into them though. My dynafits are much much easier to step into.

  17. eggbert January 6th, 2016 6:45 pm


    Good to hear you scored on the exchange rate.

    It’s tempting to pull the trigger for international delivery and roll the dice without local shop backup but I’ve been burned before by half-baked AT bindings.

    Not saying the Vipec falls into that category. I’m really, really hoping the black nails it. I love the overall design.

  18. Mase January 6th, 2016 7:17 pm

    That’s a valid point @eggbert. It’s my hope that what ever issues crop up that the manufacturer will stand behind then and take care of the issue. Valuable to have a good shop locally to work with as well. Not that two tours constitutes a thorough validation but, so far, the Vipec Blacks have performed brilliantly and all the issues from ice read about seem to have been dealt with nicely. I will say though that they are still trigger happy when getting into them. I tried them out a couple times and found it to be more difficult (touchy) than mine (kingpins).

  19. Doug January 6th, 2016 9:28 pm

    The step in is definitely problematic. The other really bad problem I had was a pre-release on the toe even in walk mode. It was a 35 degree slope in the morning during freeze-thaw cycle and in the middle of a kick turn and the toe released sideways on my downhill planted foot. Very much a disaster

  20. Bob Perlmutter January 7th, 2016 11:01 am

    Hi All, some of you might recall a couple of years ago I did a review of the BD Carbon Convert. What I didn’t mention at the time was that they were mounted with one of the first pair of Fritschi Vipec. In gear reviews, like life in general, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. So, I didn’t. The problems with the 1st generation Vipec were myriad, well publicized and documented. I have never used the 2nd generation Vipec but have spoken to many people who have used both the 1st and 2nd generation. To a person, they all note significant improvements with the 2nd generation.

    Just the other day I received the latest 3rd generation Vipec, slapped them into the holes on my trustworthy Converts and off I went on a short tour behind Aspen Mountain. The following day, I went on an extensive tour which really allowed me to put them through their paces. I am happy to report that the 3rd generation Vipec is finally ready for the consumer marketplace.

    The first thing I noticed was the new boot toe guides, improved yet again from the 2nd generation, which allowed for ease of entry on par with any other tech binding. Also improved is the toe wire, which is now a solid piece that sits lower than previous models. No doubt, this works in conjunction with the new boot toe guides. Gone are the days of having to manually hold the toe lever down with your ski pole to spread the toe wings open so you could get into the binding. Now one simply pushes the toe lever down, which automatically holds the toe wings in the open position, step in, and away you go.

    Next, and almost startling, was how decisively and powerfully the tech toe wings engaged the boot at the tech inserts. Like the shark in Jaws clamping down on an unsuspecting swimmer. I had a person who has used both the 1st and 2nd generation Vipecs step into the new model and she also noted this distinct difference. Lou pointed out the new longer toe lever, but I couldn’t find any functional difference versus the length of the previous generations.

    Another significant improvement is how much easier it is to get out of the new Vipec when in the ski mode. In the past, one had to first push the heel lever down into walk mode, then depress the toe lever to spread the toe wings to get out. A painful two step process unlike any other binding. Now simply depress the toe lever to automatically open the wings and step out just like every other binding. Yahoo!

    My first tour was short and unremarkable except for the snow (which was great.) By unremarkable, I mean I had none of the issues I’ve had in the past with Vipecs. The next day’s extensive tour exposed the Vipec to every sort of situation and condition one might encounter on any given tour including trail breaking through deep snow (potential icing,) numerous uphill kick turns and, of course, lots of skiing. Like any product, the Vipec has its idiosyncrasies. Numerous times on the uphill, one of the brakes would deploy, causing the ski to drag, requiring some fiddle factor with lifters and sometimes getting out of the binding to put everything back in place. At first I thought something must be wrong with the brake which has happened in the past. Of course it turned out to be user error. It is very important to be mindful of the heel lever in both the uphill and downhill mode. By this I mean it is very easy to push down on the heel lever for walk mode or pull up on the heel lever for ski mode where it looks like and you think the lever is fully engaged when in fact it is not. Make sure you go past that point for either mode to where you feel a decisive click. Then you are locked in preventing brake deployment in the walk mode(which I never experienced again) and worse yet, insta-tele in the ski mode. This problem can arise from either user error and/or any snow or ice build up on or between the heel lever or heel housing. This mandatory mindfulness is the small inconvenience one pays for the great convenience one gets being able to switch modes without having to get out of the binding.
    The ski performance with any binding is very subjective. The only way to truly judge this is to take two pair of the same ski mounted with two different bindings, using the same boots and skiing the same runs back to back. I have done this before and in some cases have been able to feel a performance difference. Suffice it to say, the Vipec provides a solid feel but beyond that I have no opinion to offer. I have never had occasion to release out of the Vipec(or Dynafit and G3 for that matter). I prefer the bury the springs and don’t look back school of skiing.
    There were some Vipec disciples who were horrified that I was picked to do this review given my unpublished yet privately discussed utter disdain for the 1st generation. They assumed I could not present an unbiased opinion. My response was, “step back and let a professional handle this”. I am pleased to report that the 3rd generation Vipec are going to stay right where they are, mounted to my Carbon Convert. I will enjoy the advantage(if ever used) of fully functional lateral toe release, the convenience of switching modes on the fly with the mindful ease of use as any other tech binding. These Black Beauties are here to stay.

  21. Jim Milstein January 7th, 2016 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the Vipec review, Bob. As a wretched early adopter, I use the heel indexing method for entry. Works every time, even in powder snow.

    Lose the brakes! Vipecs with brakes are cranky, . . . without: sublime.

    As mentioned elsewhere, I lowered the wire toe entry trigger about 3mm. I like it and am thinking of maybe another 1mm. This is a boot sole specific tweak which is clearly optional. If anyone is afraid to try this at home, get a fearless ski mechanic to bang it down over a fulcrum.

    And, Bob, don’t forget to use your paragraphs, please.

  22. Bob Perlmutter January 7th, 2016 2:15 pm

    Hi Jim, thanks for the info. I count 6 paragraphs in my comments.

  23. Jim Milstein January 7th, 2016 3:21 pm

    Your counting, Bob, is flawless.

  24. Chris January 7th, 2016 8:44 pm

    I never used the 1st generation Vipec, but I’ve been on a couple of pairs of 2nd generation all last season and quite a bit this season. They have performed flawlessly in my mind. No pre-release and I always ski them in the “ski” mode without any issues. Bob- the second generation is as easy to get out of as any tech binding-simply open the toe and twist out at the heel. They have great features; lateral toe release, mode changes on the fly, easy heel lift, and safety release when in the “walk” mode-which I have never come out of at kick turns or stomping on icy traverses. I also bent the trigger wire down about 2-3mm and find them much easier to get into. If someone thinks the second or third generation bindings are that much harder to get in to than other tech bindings they should consider letting someone else drive them to the trail head. I look forward to trying the 3rd generation.

  25. Lou Dawson 2 January 7th, 2016 9:25 pm

    Nice job Bob, we truly appreciate you handling the new Vipec, given your experience coming from the first gen, which in my opinion and many others was more like a beta test product than a full retail product. The new Vipec Black 12 appears very finished, and I suspected it was an alpha, not a beta. Glad to know that’s the case. Fritschi works super hard on all their products, and it shows. Lou

  26. ratatouille January 8th, 2016 1:02 am

    I have the 1st generation Vipecs. Fully agree with everything Bob wrote – yet my verdict on the 1st gen is a bit more positive. Yes, they’re difficult to step into but I learned to manually hold the toe lever down with the ski pole just as Bob described. Still fiddly and annoying but works (most of the time anyway..). I’ve never had them ice up (different climate?). Biggest issue I’ve encountered: Same as described by Doug, the toe opened up in a kick turn (in walk mode, of course) due to the closing force of the spring not being strong enough in this mode. Definitely not good. Other than that, the binding was very reliable and dependable. I’ve never had an unexpected release but used them hard. I released once out of the Vipec in two years and my leg is quite glad I did.

    I just put the black Vipec on my wife’s new skis because I still believe that the Vipecs are a good trade-off between weight for the up and safety for the down, If the Vipec was a beta product, I wonder where in the release life cycle some other bindings are given their documented breakages, early releases, inferior safety, etc.

  27. ph January 8th, 2016 12:09 pm

    Not sure what generation you want to call the Black Vipec, maybe better to call it ‘Black Vipec v1’, there are at least 3 revisions of the white cased Vipec:
    1) Original, no plastic toe guides, adjustable pin held just with nut and threadlocker.
    2) 2014/2015, toe piece is updated to have plastic toe entry guides under pins, and adjustable pin is made larger diameter, and gets a wire to block pin in place in addition to the nut and threadlocker
    3) 2015/2016, plastic toe entry guides change shape and heel unit gets some plastic spacers inside to prevent snow/ice buildup

    And little do I know if there is already another version, and those are approximate dates, I don’t know if they were in some cases released end of previous season. :-).

    And then you have the Black Vipec, with the changes described in this post and one extra remark that the restyled case is a little higher under the pins, making it less compatible with at least one highly rockered boot (1st version sportive spectre), unless you grind the boot sole thinner slightly.

  28. Ryan January 8th, 2016 9:23 pm

    Hey Ph,

    Any chance you have a pic of the white#3 toe. I’d be curious if the boot guides on the White#3 are where the new Black are.


  29. ph January 9th, 2016 1:40 am

    Boot guides are roughly in the same place in vipec white rev2, rev3 and black vipec, just the shapes are different.
    White rev3 guides have a more pronounced front stop than the rev2, and as well have a more flat bottom area compare to rev2 and black.
    I’ll send a photo to Lou to see if he can post.

  30. Ryan January 9th, 2016 10:23 am

    Cool – thanks ph!

  31. Mike January 13th, 2016 12:16 pm

    Are there any clues to when the vipec black will be available from NA retailers? I’d prefer to get them direct from BD but wondering how long I’ll be waiting.

  32. Matias January 15th, 2016 2:52 am

    Hello Lou,
    I have a new Vipec Blacks and i had to adjust the front pin to fit my boots. I noticed that in earlier versions you had to secure the pin with Loctite, but i couldn’t found any information if this is also needed with the new black model. Any ideas or recommendations?

  33. Jim Milstein January 24th, 2016 9:45 pm

    Just got the new black Vipecs and mounted one ski with the black and left the other ski with the v2 white. Poking around in the foothill snow around the house first impressions are: The toe closure spring is way stronger! That’s why the toe lever is longer. The new model is a little easier to get into than my modifed v2 (lowered the wire trigger), but I’m really good at getting into the v2. Others might find the difference more dramatic. I may abandon the heel indexing method I used with the v2.

    I expect no difference in the skiing with the new model, but I seldom fall, never pre-release, and have experienced only one actual release in over 100 days. The clicks to lock into Walk or Ski mode are stiffer, but I think that’s due to lack of wear.

    Filippo, above, noted stronger heel lifters. They look identical to me. I’ve had no problems with them.

    I still advocate not to use the brakes. It’s just extra mechanism to work against. I use the B&D coiled leashes, which I think are overall more useful in the backcountry where losing a ski is serious. Lots of skis with brakes are lost.

  34. Lou Dawson 2 January 25th, 2016 12:55 am

    Jim and all, I’m at ISPO trade show in Munich. Met with the Fritschi guys yesterday and got the lowdown on exactly how the Black Vipec provides better lateral elasticity at the toe. See my updates above. Now that our blogger Bob Perlmtter has give the Black a nod, and I’ve spent hours doing technical evaluation, I’m pretty impressed by this thing. The only shortcoming I can see is it still has the limited vertical travel and elasticity at the heel, due to it using the classic tech pins and boot fitting. I’d expect the next model will cure that woe, but it’s not a huge deal so long as you’re not using the binding for competitive bump skiing or dropping 70 foot cliffs.

  35. Chris January 25th, 2016 10:06 am

    I’m a little confused by your comment “limited vertical travel and elasticity at the heel”. Is that not the case with ALL traditional heel pin bindings? I’ve been skiing the new “black” version and, as Jim mentioned, I find them slightly easier to get in to. And, I discovered yesterday that they release from the heel quite nicely when adjusted correctly! I’ve had two seasons skiing them a lot and I’ve had fewer problems with them than any two year period with Dynafit Comfort, ST, and FT versions.

    I’m surprised that you called the first version a “beta” product given all the innovative safety and ski performance they provided over some of the traditional tech bindings. Sure, they were not perfect, but very little breakage problems. I would break 2-3 heels pieces every season on Dynafit ST and FT and lost track of the number of “radical” heels I saw fall apart their first season not to mention a whole host of problems other users have had. Does this mean Dynafit was making “beta” products for what 15 yrs? You’ve been binging on the Dynafit kool-aid too long :-). IMO, the beauty of the early Dynafit design was it’s elegant simplicity that was adequately functional. I think all manufacturers have moved further away from this simplicity, including Dynafit. A few have stuck with it, Plum and ATK for example, and others aren’t too far from it- the Vipec toe piece is really quite simple and very few moving parts for what it does. Thanks for your continued posting on this binding.

  36. Jim Milstein January 25th, 2016 5:30 pm

    Black Vipecs got a workout today in deep blower powder at Wolf Creek Pass CO. I did not need to use heel indexing to get into the new Vipecs on the first try every time. If others find it equally easy, this will put to rest the main complaint. Otherwise, they felt the same, skiing.

    I think the new version looks a little more evil. That’s good.

    I mentioned this in the Atomic Backland Carbon Light review comments: The zero heel gap setting for Vipecs required me to perform minor surgery on the slots in the boot soles to allow the heel pins to penetrate further. This may be needed on some other boots as well.

  37. Chris January 25th, 2016 8:50 pm

    There are a few simple things to adjust correctly on the Vipec’s for optimum performance.
    1. Front pin width used to be an issue, and for some boots still may be, but for the boots I’ve used (vulcans, spectre, T5’s) in both the 2nd and 3rd generation, the way they came adjusted from the factory worked perfectly.
    2. Correct pins that correctly engage.
    3. Sole compatibility for min. of 3mm under sole at toe piece.
    4. Heel sole compatibility so rear pins engage in line when moving heel piece forward
    5. Correct front clip so toe piece releases in forward fall after heel release.
    6. The heel adjustment is not a “zero” gap. Last year they had an installation manual on line, but not this year, that required a 2mm gap at the heel. I believe it is still the same this year. It makes complete sense to me to do this, because the minute you stand on the ski the gap closes to zero. During a forward release the 2mm gap would allow for zero friction between heel piece and boot heel and this eliminates any friction when snapping in to the heel.

    All this is covered here . Any good shop should be up to speed on this. Just my $.02 worth.

  38. Jim Milstein January 25th, 2016 10:12 pm

    The installation instructions published here on WildSnow for the Vipec specified a zero heel gap. Let’s clear this up. Is the gap zero or two mm? Or something else?

  39. Lou Dawson 2 January 27th, 2016 1:10 am

    Thanks Chris, the Fritschi guys at ISPO did show me a sort of “3 step” procedure that checks boot/binding compatibility, similar to what you suggest. As for the heel gap, I’ll verify eventually but I’m sure 2 mm works ok as all tech bindings are designed to work with a heel gap that varies under use. Lou

  40. jeff January 27th, 2016 9:16 am

    Have an old pair of Dynafit Titans that I just don’t want to give up. Would a new Intuition Liner do the trick in terms of life extension? I am still using the original stock liner.

  41. Mark January 27th, 2016 9:16 am

    anyone have experience and can comment on compatibility of the vipec with scarpa tx pro nth boot? Trying to make the switch from tele to AT tech for BC but trying to spread the expenditure out over a couple seasons. Would a “puck” be needed as is talked about to use ntn boots with dynafit bindings? If so would BD manufacture this? Or do I need to just save my money and not try to use my ntn’s with the vipec? Thanks.

  42. Lou Dawson 2 January 27th, 2016 1:35 pm

    Jeff, always.

    Mark, I’d guess the boots might not be great in Vipec, and I’m not sure there is room for a “puck” nor the friction introduced by the boot sole riding on a “puck.”


  43. Jim Milstein January 28th, 2016 1:35 pm

    To answer my own question about the Vipec heel gap, I called Black Diamond. They advise a gap close to zero, “less than one millimeter”.

    If you are worried about heel pins and boot soles colliding or rubbing, do as I did and whittle or grind a little clearance in the soles. For those concerned about the gap closing, remember the heel carriage is spring loaded. It’s designed to slide back a bit as needed.

    More skiing on the black Vipecs in mixed conditions. The main things I notice are, first, easy entry. I don’t bother with heel indexing now unless the binding is already in Ski mode. Second, the stronger spring to clamp the toe pins. Third, more positive clicks fore and aft for the Ski/Walk modes. So far only one thing I like less: The heel lever is white, the color of snow.

  44. Dan F February 6th, 2016 12:05 pm

    Say, Lou (or anyone else)– are you able to confirm whether the screw pattern for the new (black) Vipec is the same as the old (white) version? Thinking of upgrading, but only if I can use my existing inserts…

    From a few photos it looks like the heel mounting plate may have gone from 4 screws to 6, though possibly the two pairs of screws at either end are still in the same place they used to be.

    Thanks for any light you can shed!

  45. Jim Milstein February 6th, 2016 12:33 pm

    Zackly the same, Dan F. New Vipecs went into old inserts without complaint.

  46. Dan F February 6th, 2016 1:37 pm

    Thanks Jim, that’s good news!

  47. Bob March 7th, 2016 9:51 pm

    Is there a good list of boots that are not compatible with the new Vipec 12 Black? It looks like the La Sportiva Spectre’s sole is not compatible unless one were to grind some of the sole off to reduce the sole rocker. Also, I am wondering if the new Dynafit TLT7 will work with this binding given its unique toe shape. Perhaps the binding will need a new toe color chip. Thoughts? Comments?

  48. Dan F March 9th, 2016 12:21 pm

    I’m having some compatibility issues too, between my Scarpa Freedoms and the new Vipec. They worked fine with the original Vipec, but with this version when you try to put the boot flat on the ski, the rubber part of the boot toe presses against the plastic boot guide “wings” of the binding, which bends some and pushes back. So, if you’re skinning on flat terrain (without a climbing bar) there is some springy resistance every time you put your heel down, plus those plastic bits bend a bit with each step, which probably isn’t good. I am thinking about taking a rasp to the offending rubber area of my boots, though I hate to do that.

  49. Jim Milstein April 14th, 2016 6:32 pm

    Final report on Black Vipecs after dozens of happy ski days. The stronger springs, more positive action fore and aft, and much easier entry make these bindings far more improved than I expected.

    I’m one of those skiers who will readily switch to walk mode when hitting very slow snow or flatness. With the Vipecs it’s no harder than flipping a heel elevator. Similarly easy to go back to ski mode. I really love this feature.

    The Vipecs are mid-weight bindings. If they weighed less without giving up any of their virtues, I would be even happier, but that’s true of everything in backcountry skiing.

  50. Lou Dawson 2 April 15th, 2016 8:40 am

    Jim, thanks, having real consumer users chime in here is gold. Lou

  51. David December 5th, 2016 11:24 am

    I have a pair of 1st generation Vipecs that I have really enjoyed, at least until yesterday when I broke the toe piece release lever- It just fractured when holding it down to step into the binding. The nature of the break and the overall condition of the bindings (no heavy usage or abuse) makes me wonder whether there was a molding or manufacturing defect in the part. Has anyone else heard of this?

    Other than that, and the finicky nature of stepping into the toe piece (which I finally mastered) my experience is that they ski and climb really well. I am a little worried about the plastic after yesterday’s experience, I’ll admit, but all bindings have a fair amount of plastic in them- I am hoping that this was a one-off defect.

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