Reader Mods — Salomon-Atomic Brake Adaptation

Post by blogger | February 28, 2018      

Andrew Nock

(Editor’s note: Andrew’s mod will get you thinking, and we hold hope that Salomon-Atomic will eventually provide their excellent divorced brake as an aftermarket kit that can be added to nearly any tech binding. See another approach to this modification. All photos here used by permission of Andrew Nock. This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry. They’re hoping Salomon Atomic comes up with a brake kit.)

Atomic Salomon brake installed for use with Dynafit binding.

Atomic Salomon brake installed for use with Dynafit binding.

I used 1 mm (3/64) carbon fiber plate (from Amazon) because it is easy to cut with tin snips, allows you to use your same heel screws, and seems as strong as (or stronger) than the plastic Salomon originally used (that I cut off).

Carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber.

Both a 1/16 and 1/8 spacer were experimented with. The 1/16 results in sad semi-droopy ski brakes. 1/8 has fully retracted, organized, ski brakes, but is difficult to press the boot heal down to lock onto heal pins as well as getting the heel out when you release the toe. It seems too tight. Each brand-model of binding, combined with boot, is going to be different in this regard and will require fine tuning.

Height of modified brake has  is adjusted using thickness of  base plate.

Height of modified brake has is adjusted using thickness of base plate. (Note from Lou: One might think this could be accomplished by using the standard brake base, and adding spacers to the top of the brake retractor-actuator pad, unfortunately that’s not the case due to the brake having a part that folds on top of the pad.)

I tapped the front holes with 8/32 vs 6/32 to get better grip in the plastic.  Seems to hold well when you tighten the screws.

I tapped the front holes with 8/32 vs 6/32 to get better grip in the plastic. Seems to hold well when you tighten the screws.

Question. If I used 8.32 nylon black screws they’d be invisible and lighter. Is that going to far?

I am using 6/32 on the rear holes with small pattern (1/4) nuts. Normal nuts are 5/16 but the ‘small pattern’ 1/4 nut fits better in the small space. Note there is not enough plastic in the brake to tap where I placed the rear screws. A nut is clearly needed.

Question: Can the rear screws be moved outwards to the side ‘ridges’ and tap into a hole drilled into the ridges? This would eliminate the metal nuts.

Part Two:
Next, 90mm pair of brakes. I am going to try moving the rear screws to use tapped 6/32 holes into the brake’s edge ridges. That will get rid of the tiny nuts that are frustrating to handle and could get loose and be lost in the field. And here is the last option: using only screws tapped into the brake’s plastic. No tiny nuts. I found I can add 2 per side – for more security. Hard to say which is better just yet. Yes the tapped side screws worked, and have no nuts, but you have to be careful and accurate to get the holes drilled centered in the ridges.


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20 Responses to “Reader Mods — Salomon-Atomic Brake Adaptation”

  1. VT skier February 28th, 2018 9:40 am

    Sorry, but why not just buy the complete Salomon/Atomic binding set, and add the ski brakes to that?
    I already have this binding on Atomic Backland 95 skis, and plan to re-mount heel with quiver killer inserts, so I can add or remove the brakes when I want.
    I still have Speed Turn bindings, as pictured, but this seems like a lot of work to add a ski brake to a heel unit that has no advantages over the Salomon MTN heel that came with the full binding.

  2. XXX_er February 28th, 2018 9:45 am

    what model of brakes did you retro fit ?

    I am not getting how you keep the brakes retracted during skinning up ?

    I personaly think brakes are good but i see whole bunch of People who can’t handle the extra weight

    for only 20$ I swapped some 130mm guardian arms into a dynafit vertical base plate for the old 90mm brakes, you just enlarge a few holes & move the arms over, it retracts fine & works pretty good altho the leverage is altered so I could use a little more sprint tension but its been ok in the pow

    a handy mod for all those 90mm brakes people got sitting in drawers

  3. Eric Steig February 28th, 2018 10:29 am

    VT Skier: I’ve done the Quiver Killer set-up you mention with my Salomon MTN bindings. It works perfectly. (But actually, the brakes are so nice that I don’t see actually taking them off, probably ever.)

  4. VT skier February 28th, 2018 10:41 am

    Thanks Eric.
    I bought my Salomon MTN bindings in France, without the ski brakes, last March, as that was all they had in stock. Now I have ordered the 100 mm brakes to add later.

    The only advantage I can see to this complex Reader Mod (versus the Salomon heel I have) would be to have the independent adjustment for forward and lateral release with the Speed Turn heel.

  5. Lou Dawson 2 February 28th, 2018 11:21 am

    Just to summarize, the idea of this sort of mod is to have a divorced brake that can be used with any tech binding. Thus, you use the binding of choice, without a fiddly malfing integrated brake, and have the Salomon-MTN as your brake, 100% reliable as well as perhaps installed with Quiver Killers so it can be removed in minutes. Lou

  6. DJ February 28th, 2018 12:17 pm

    To attempt to answer XXX_er’s question – “how you keep the brakes retracted during skinning up” (full disclosure – I bought the version without brakes but think I remember how the brakes work) – there is a large level thing under the boot heel shown in pics 7 and 8 (of the photobomb at the bottom of the post) that you flip over to hold the brakes up while skinning.

  7. Christian February 28th, 2018 6:45 pm

    This looks pretty nifty. Fits in the “standard” dynafit/euro crampon slot:

    Would like to use them for my kingpins, but the ski/walk lever sits too far forward to be able to fit! I’ve got no idea how well they actually work. (I have no affiliation with Kreuspitze)

  8. Lou 2 February 28th, 2018 7:06 pm

    Christian, I agree, it’s a terrific concept, we would cover more if they were more widely distributed, as it is I’m sure well mess around with them some day. Lou

  9. Andrew Nock February 28th, 2018 10:28 pm

    Salomon/Atomic binding set is sweet and maybe the best for ‘all new purchase’. This mod is only for me and others that allready own (and love) many pairs of TLT speed turn heals. We want nice brakes too! This brings this binding to be on par with latest and greatest.

  10. DJ March 1st, 2018 8:23 am

    Question – does the level that holds the brakes down while touring create a noticeable ramp angle?

  11. Lou Dawson 2 March 1st, 2018 8:36 am

    Good observation DJ, yes, your heel ends up higher when in “heel flat on ski” mode, touring. It would be a personal thing, might bother some folks, be a non-issue for others. Lou

  12. rod georgiu March 1st, 2018 10:41 am

    The kreugspitze brakes are pretty flimsy, I doubt they will stop a ski in firm snow.

  13. DYLAN March 1st, 2018 12:44 pm

    To rewind here: whats wrong with just ditching the brake and using leashes?

    Just did this by sawpping from FT12s to Ion LT’s. I noticed my heel tower would move when touring in low mode when boot hits the brake. Logical me thought to just ditch the brake and go with some leashes?

    Background: aggressive freeski dude 180lbs likes skiing dumb lines i.e. I pop out. First time with leashes.

  14. Arnie March 1st, 2018 1:39 pm


    I think it’s the draw of the “last great” engineering challenge of the backcountry binding.

    Jusf fit a B&D leash and forget!

  15. Lou Dawson 2 March 1st, 2018 1:42 pm

    Nothing. Some people like brakes, especially in avalanche terrain, some people like leashes. Some people like both, depending on which ski in their quiver. In my case, I really like brakes in avy terrain, instead of leashes. Something happens, skis get ditched rapidly. Leashes also have the problem of causing windmilling skis to stay attached to the fallen skier, and cause injury. But then, when I get fit and enjoy super light gear actually having an effect (smile), I ditch brakes and sometimes don’t even use leashes. Lou

  16. Andrew Nock March 1st, 2018 6:14 pm

    I think at ski areas it is not really a personal choice. Its bigger than that. What started this was lift sking on hard pack going fast ,catching an edge, and losing both skis. I had modern ‘short’ dynafit leashs and both mini carbineers twisted open in the violent pin wheeling – and both skis took off down the hill un fettered. I felt awfull. It was scarry as people watched it unfold. I really prayed no one would be killed by what i thought was a harmless person choice.

  17. Aaron Trowbridge March 1st, 2018 10:08 pm

    I had b&d leashes but they got ripped off, destroyed and lost during bushwack descents. Caught on branchy blowdown. Back to tlt dynafit brakes which I don’t much care for.

  18. Allan March 2nd, 2018 8:23 pm

    I’m all for the type of mods allow me to move things around from ski to ski. For instance I made some 10mm thick Delrin adapter plates with Q inserts that convert my (3 pairs) Ion drilled/ QK insert skis to accept my Kreuzspitze race bindings and maintain the neutral ramp delta that I prefer. My adapters add 54g per ski so a minimal penalty.

    The critical dimension here is the delta of the heel pins to the top of the brake retraction pad when the brake is in ski mode. I’d mount the brake independent of the heel so that I could move it around fromdki to ski independent of the binding.

  19. Jim Milstein March 3rd, 2018 6:03 pm

    Lou, don’t the B&D leashes answer your objections? Skis detach in avalanche but don’t thrash the skier in horrible falls. Or, am I wrong?

    An advantage of the B&D leash is that it can stay attached when the skier exits the binding to re-skin. It stretches from 1′ to 6′. Minimal fiddling.

    I ski through brush, early and late season, but so far haven’t snagged a leash. They are attached to minimize exposure.

  20. joe obad March 8th, 2018 12:47 pm

    I love the mod. For those that don’t, or are stuck on the fence between leash and brake, ATK has a solution for you, albeit in limited widths.

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