G3 ZED — On Snow Ski Touring Binding Test

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 9, 2018      

(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)

The gear nerd in me loved spending an entire day at G3 getting deep into tech binding tech. Afterwards I was itching to get outside and actually try the new ZED binding for myself. I also was keen the opportunity for a classic Coast Range ski descent (G3 dangled some amazing ideas for our “test day.” I did get to try out the binding, and even got to experience a real Coast Range classic — rain.

The day would have been perfect to test out rainwear apparel (as I was in Canada, I showed up in the Arc’teryx shell, it worked and pleased the G3 guys). At the very least, I can confirm that the ZED is fully waterproof.

Although it was raining, I was excited to check out a new touring area: the mountains accessible from the Sea to Sky Gondola installed at Squamish a few years ago. Plus, I could try out the ZED. The binding looks sexy and is enticing on paper. But it’s always nice to give gear an on-snow (or in-slush, in this case) test.

Venturing into the rainstorm.

ZED, in real life.

We skinned steadfastly into the rain for a few hours, but eventually turned back when the call of cold beers at the Howe Sound Brewery became impossible to resist. The binding test was indeed brief, even for a one-day demo. But I did a number of mode switches as well as fooling around with the brakes — all enhanced by slushy snow. WildSnow plans additional field assessment of the ZED, as soon as we receive our long-term evaluation pair.

The binding I was on was a pre-production version I’d call “99% finished.” During our day here’s what I noticed:

  • ZED’s lightness, especially combined with the lightweight SEEKr skis, is immediately noticeable.
  • When using the heel risers, ZED moves slightly backward with each step, due to the flex compensation spring being compressed. This is one of the major functional differences between the ION and the ZED. This isn’t an issue as to uphilling (though it does use a miniscule amount of calories), but could cause some wear over many many ski days.
  • As a consequence of the near zero ramp angle (see our chart and scroll to right), the heel risers on the ZED are noticeably lower than other bindings, particularly the ION.
  • The brake worked well, with no icing or sticking during our brief test.
  • I’ve been quite a fan of the ION over the past few years, in particular because of its resistance to pre-release. Overall, the binding felt much like an ION. The toe clamps shut with the same reassuring “mousetrap” snap.
  • As with ION, ZED is mounted with near zero tech gap (space between binding and boot heel). As with all engineering, this has consequences. Some good and some not so good. For example I noticed that when a skier stomped down to enter alpine mode, if the ski was flexed and thus brought the heel unit closer to the boot heel, the boot could hit the binding rather than snapping down into the pins. ION behaves this way as well, but has a small inclined area that leads your boot heel down into the binding. With ZED, this could be a minor quirk that makes it into production — or something they’ll solve as with ION. Jury out.
  • Comments and questions welcome.

    G3 carefully planned the ZED’s color scheme to match their skis, the Sea To Sky Gondola, and Chris’s Gore-Tex. Somehow we managed to have the gondola all to ourselves. Maybe that had something to do with the high humidity.


    Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


    17 Responses to “G3 ZED — On Snow Ski Touring Binding Test”

    1. Cody January 9th, 2018 11:51 am

      “SEEKr skis” eh? Add this to the list of products wildsnow is referencing, like the Alpride super capacitor avybag, that don’t have public information available right now.

    2. Lou Dawson 2 January 9th, 2018 12:00 pm

      Cody, G3 product info coming, can’t blame us for teasing, we’re bloggers after all! Lou

    3. Bryan Bell January 9th, 2018 1:34 pm

      What is pin height specs on the binding.

    4. Lou Dawson 2 January 9th, 2018 2:20 pm

      Linked in post above.

    5. Sean January 9th, 2018 3:55 pm

      With all that color matching your moving into the realm realm of road cycling.

    6. Christian January 9th, 2018 11:14 pm

      This probably wasn’t the best snow for testing how well they kept snow from packing in the heels while touring, but any thoughts on how well they might do in that regard? The Ions are brilliant for clearing snow out of the heel, especially the LTs.

    7. Christian January 9th, 2018 11:16 pm

      … I noticed there’s kind of a wedge below the heel, but then there’s the track that might trap snow, and lots of little crevices with the brake in.

    8. brian burke January 10th, 2018 9:56 am

      hopefully that ‘SEEKr’ is a rebranded zenoxide. that ski rules.

    9. Rob January 10th, 2018 1:39 pm

      Thoughts on Marker Alpinist binding?

    10. Lou Dawson 2 January 11th, 2018 9:37 am

      Somewhat of a yawner IMHO, more soon. While we’re not panting over it they way we did with ZED, others are indeed doing some heavy breathing and they’re easy to find. We’ll report soon. Lou

    11. Matt Gunn January 13th, 2018 3:23 am

      Hi Christian,
      I’m a tester for G3 and have been using the Zeds in the South Coast for the last month in a range of conditions from mild to quite cold. I haven’t experienced any wedge of snow trapped behind the heel, nor have I had any auto rotations.

    12. Noboru Kikuchi March 5th, 2018 10:11 pm

      I useing G3 ion12 LT
      I interest ZED.So is that same mounting pattern as G3 ion LT?

    13. Mark December 24th, 2018 3:45 pm

      I have a couple days on Zed 12s on DPS Tour1 106 with Scarpa F1s and have really noticed the backward movement of the heel unit described above each time the boot heel contacts either of the risers. There is quite a bit of deflection when this occurs. Has me very worried about riser failure. I don’t quite understand why the deflection is so easy to induce. I weigh less than 150 lbs.

    14. Kyle February 16th, 2019 11:58 am

      I just purchased some ZED bindings but haven’t mounted them yet as I have been reading a lot of online reviews complaining about the bindings moving backwards with each step when using the heel risers (as mentioned in the above WildSnow review). I’m concerned about this for long-term wear/tear. Is this a reason to maybe return the binding and wait for a future fix? Thanks!

    15. Lou Dawson 2 February 16th, 2019 4:34 pm

      I think it could cause some wear after quite a few days, I don’t prefer it. Whether you should send the bindings back is up to you. As for a fix, who knows. Seems that would require a major redesign of the binding. Or, just a stronger flex compensation spring? But then, the engineering adage kicks in: change one thing, then duck. Lou

    16. Kyle March 3rd, 2019 10:14 am

      Just to follow up on the ZED binding issue. I also discovered that the ION crampon is not compatible with the ZED binding. My boot (Scarpa Maestrale RS) would be sitting on the ION crampon mounting plate if I would have mounted them, which is obviously not a good thing. I contacted G3 about this issue as well as the excessive rearward motion of the heal piece while using the risers in walk mode and they emailed me back and acknowledged they are aware of both issues and are working on fixes. I returned the bindings and will wait for next season to see what happens..

    17. Lou Dawson 2 March 3rd, 2019 3:02 pm

      Sounds like you made the right move Kyle. I think our official policy here at WildSnow is basically “don’t buy first-season ski touring bindings.” It’s come to that… Lou

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