Lost Secrets of ZED (the G3 Ski Touring Binding)

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 16, 2018      

This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.

G3 helped us out some time ago with a technical look at their ZED binding. Overall we were favorably impressed, but I wanted a little more time with the sweet thing. A pair is now living here at WildSnow HQ, so how about a few supplementary details before we get them on the snow?

The whole kahuna, sans brake.

The whole kahuna, sans brake. We’ll detail the brakes in another post. Know for now that they’re easy to install-remove, though to do so you remove the heel unit from the heel plate (which can remain screwed to the ski).

Nicely etched numbers.

Nicely etched numbers. Presumably calibrated to fall within the DIN/ISO standard deviation. That’s important.

Worth repeating.

Worth repeating: Forward (vertical) and Lateral (side) retention are adjusted with the same screw, using pozidrive 3. More, the boot length adjustment screw (not shown) is pozi as well, per industry convention. Wouldn’t it be nice if all bindings had the “all pozi” advantage? Would save me the two ounces of driver bits I lug around in my repair kit. And hours swapping screwdrives while in the shop.

Toe filler.

Toe filler is a little thing, good on G3 doing the details. Ever had ice in there? This will help.

Toe filler viewed from bottom.

Toe filler viewed from bottom.

Filler installed.

Filler installed.

Toe filler installed. Note the crampon mounting slot and screw holes.

Toe filler installed. Note the crampon-hook mounting slot and screw holes.

Top plate screws.

Top plate screws can be an issue with any ski touring tech binding that goes with the “classic” design. These look fine, beefy and long, stainless.

Did I say long?

Did I say long?

Heel unit, without stomp pad.

Heel unit, without stomp pad.

Heel with stomp pad.

Heel with stomp pad. While touring with “heel flat on ski” the binding tab supports your boot heel rather than the pad. In alpine mode, the pad is ~5 millimeters below your boot heel and presumably supports it when you do something forcefull that causes the binding heel to bend and deflect. During normal skiing, with most tech bindings you want your boot suspended between toe and heel, touching nowhere else. I’m finding it hard to imagine the binding deflecting enough to drop the boot heel 5 mm, but stranger things have happened in Canada. (smile)

In downhill mode, showing stomp pad.

In downhill mode, showing stomp pad.

Uphill touring mode, heel flat on ski.

Uphill touring mode, heel flat on ski. Binding is properly adjusted for boot length, with the “kiss gap” between heel and binding (you adjust so it lightly touches, while on bench).

Note: If your ski is flexed, for example, while standing in powder, the kiss gap may result in your boot heel hitting the binding as you attempt to stomp-click into downhill mode. This syndrome is detailed here. Factors such as your boot model, weight, and ski flex influence this. But most importantly, it’s good to have a small ramp at the top of the binding heel to lead your boot down when you stomp for click-in. Zed (proper case intentional) lacks this. Whether that will be a problem for Zed (proper case intentional), consumer testing will tell the tale.

Ski flex compensation system.

ZED’s Ski flex compensation system and boot length adjustment is typical of this binding genre, G3’s appears well designed, allows a centimeter of movement.

With a binding that uses kiss gap, this wider gap in touring mode is essential.

With a binding that uses kiss gap, this wider gap in touring mode is essential. Otherwise your boot heel will rub and catch in on the binding when you flex your ski (for example, while breaking trail in powder).

Ski touring boot in uphill mode, G3 ZED.

Ski touring boot in uphill mode, G3 ZED. Not obvious in photo, but boot heel does not rest on the stomp pad but rather on a tab protruding from the binding.


Verified weights, retail version:
—- Total 374 grams (13.2 oz) single binding with screws, no brake, no crampon mount.
—- Toe 128 grams (4.5 oz) no crampon mount, with screws.
—- Heel 246 grams (8.7 oz) no brake, with screws.
—- Brake, 115 mm, 86 grams (3.0 oz)

Climbing post heights and delta angle.High-quality

Screw pattern = Matches ION, wide, heel 36.5 mm, toe 40 mm.

Available brakes: 85,100,115,130 mm.

Boot length adjustment range 30 mm, 62 with demo plate at about 25 grams weight increase per binding.

Release values (RV) 5-12.

Ski flex compensation 10 mm (known as “forward pressure” to those who don’t understand, though it is not “forward pressure”).

Overall impression: High-quality addition to the breed, typical of G3. Recommended, with a caveat: This is the first full-retail season for ZED, consumer testing will reveal the final verdict. We never entirely trust ski touring bindings until they’re vetted.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


36 Responses to “Lost Secrets of ZED (the G3 Ski Touring Binding)”

  1. Bar Barrique November 16th, 2018 1:12 pm

    So; does this binding have the “secret” anti rotation feature?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 November 16th, 2018 1:42 pm

    I’m not sure it’s secret, but as I hope I alluded to in the post, you don’t have to worry about auto-rotation.
    Perhaps I should detail in the post?

  3. Bar Barrique November 16th, 2018 2:35 pm

    I don’t think it is easy to figure out, unless it’s explained. I suppose most dealers are familiar with it by now.

  4. Lou Dawson 2 November 16th, 2018 4:45 pm

    Might as well add to post, it’s pretty simple, just one photo. Lou

  5. Bar Barrique November 16th, 2018 7:26 pm

    One can imagine a backcountry skier with their Zed locked in tour mode climbing ever higher up a mountain in search of a cell phone signal. Then finally getting service, they seek out Wildsnow to find the answer their dilemma.
    Cheers; Bar

  6. juergen November 17th, 2018 9:34 am

    Hi Lou, i think the boot you did put in this binding is nearly as interesting as the binding itself……….could it be the la sportiva solar ?

  7. Paul Simon November 18th, 2018 7:28 am

    Quite a heavy piece of plastic, pardon ‘high tech polymer’. ATK FreeRaider14 weighs significantly less, is completely cnc’d from aluminum alloy, includes the crampon hook, way wider mount points and a proper stomp plate that transfers forces onto the ski (height adjustable). Back to the drawing board, G3!

  8. Lou Dawson 2 November 18th, 2018 7:54 am

    Juergen, yes, that’s the La Sportiva Solar. Fitting and testing has commenced. Cool boot. Lou

  9. swissiphic November 19th, 2018 9:03 am

    Re G3 Zed non stomp ‘stomp pad’: For the tinkerer, it would be a small matter to mod that lil puppy and create a power transfer platform for dh turns. Experimented with a thick lexan power transfer bar for my dynafit vert st bindings a few years back and it worked as intended. For my testing purposes i modded the boots too. Carved a lateral channel into the rubber outsole so the contact of hard lexan was directly to hard boot plastic for more effective transfer of edging power at the heel.

  10. Truax November 20th, 2018 8:57 am

    Here’s some not-so-good news on a pair of Zed’s if you haven’t seen it already:


  11. Paul Simon November 20th, 2018 9:50 am

    “Here’s some not-so-good news on a pair of Zed’s if you haven’t seen it already: …”

    If that happened to me I would sue them for trying to kill me. Hope they go out of business ASAP. Once owned a pair of skis by that brand and one ski started to delaminate after just a few weeks of usage. When I wanted to have them warrantied they declined telling me the damage was not covered.

  12. wtofd November 20th, 2018 11:52 am

    Paul Simon, G3 has been very responsive. No complaints.

  13. Paul Simon November 20th, 2018 12:08 pm

    You don’t need to defend them – I already made up my mind after the experience I made with that company. And honestly: Do you really believe that a manufacturer of safety critical products such as bindings should be allowed to sell more of a product that fails in such a catastrophic way? Imagine the owner was killed due to the failure. I regularly ski terrain where a fall would most likely end fatally – so I think it’s understandable I want companies that sell sub standard gear to disappear.

  14. Lou 2 November 20th, 2018 12:27 pm

    Sigh. As you guys have noticed, as the years roll by I’ve become very suspicious of all tech bindings, but especially first-year products. I’m thinking it might be wise for us to recommend that folks NEVER adopt a first year binding.

    To be fair, products break or fail in pretty much every industry. As I’ve written before, it’s how companies deal with it that’s the key. In my experience G3 is one of the best that way. Previous ION recall being a case in point, while other companies had bindings that failed and did not recall, instead just limping along, in my experience and opinion.

  15. Bard November 20th, 2018 7:29 pm

    If nobody adopts the first year product, how will it make it to the second year? I am grateful for the “latest and greatest” Guinea pigs eager to test new phones, cars, bindings, etc for the rest of us, who are willing to wait for price and “bugs” to decrease.

  16. XXX_er November 20th, 2018 9:01 pm

    I think they ^^ are called ” crash test dummies ”

    so one should differentiate between stuff that one expects to work and stuff that for whatever reason may or may not work

  17. Lou 2 November 21st, 2018 6:07 am

    Bard, if myself and other opinion voices speak up in protest to the seemingly endless string of potentially dangerous binding problems, by recommended in our opinion that folks don’t buy first-year products, that might slow down the pace to the point where these companies have time to do more thorough testing and quality control.

    Though above is a fantasy. The exploding Android phones show how the world really works. New product just has to be better and cool… even if it’s hot.

    In any case, my statement about not going with first-year tech bindings is more by the way of a rhetorical warning. Of course many people will buy them anyway.

    One of the worst falls I ever took while skiing was while testing some bindings… I try to always remember that.


  18. Bard November 21st, 2018 11:26 am

    Lou, I appreciate your reasoning for slowing the rush to market. (Look at the stuff the FDA pushes through). My question is, how do these medium-sized ski companies survive the inevitable lawsuits? (Surely you remember the Chouinard harness incident). I guess someone has to die?
    As an aside, it seems as though you were an early adopter of “tech” bindings here in the US. I’m sure you had some folks quizzically stare at those spring loaded mouse traps on your feet and think you were some kind of crazy QC lab rat:)

  19. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2018 1:21 pm

    Bard, in the U.S. I was among just several early adopters, but the Low Tech (Dynafit) binding had by then been in retail for several years.


  20. Bard November 21st, 2018 2:28 pm

    Awesome, thanks for the link Lou! I’m ashamed to admit that I missed that article.

  21. Glenn November 25th, 2018 2:06 pm

    Paul, there is lots of G3 equipment used around these parts and they have a stellar reputation. I doubt they intended the failures to occur, and they are probably horrified at this as well. Not sure if you have a horse in the race, but wishing a company out of business on account of a single undetermined cause-of-failure is a bit dramatic.
    Repeated failure or negligence…sure…those companies get weeded out. But if I wished bankruptcy on every manufacturer who had a product fail prematurely on me, you’d be skiing on fir planks and seal skin.
    Honestly, over the yearsI have broken Dynafits ST Radical, Dynafit Turn….the heel tower, G3 Targas, Superloops, Tectons, and Plum. At 6′ 180lb, I am hardly a sledge hammer on skis….but stuff happens…it’s how the company deals with it that determines their worth.
    (no….I am not affiliated with any ski equipment manufacturer other than what I buy at retail)

  22. Paul Simon November 25th, 2018 3:36 pm

    @Glenn G3 ist’t even recalling the product…that amounts to negligence in my opinion. And yes I have destroyed several bindings as well – but none of them failed in such a catastrophic way. And the last time I had to walk off the mountain is 15 years or so ago (Silvretta frame type binding broke on Marinelli Couloir).

  23. Lou Dawson 2 November 25th, 2018 4:50 pm

    As to my opinion about the photos of a broken binding, published under a pseudonym, on a web forum known for hyperbole and sensationalism: I don’t have a problem saying that If the binding actually is defective, we’ll cover it here as we almost always do, once we verify. Meanwhile, a photo of a broken product does not a recall make. That’s just not the way the world works. Could there be a recall? Perhaps, but that’ll be based on more than one web forum post. You all know I now have very little patience with bad bindings, I assure you I’ll apply that attitude to G3 as with any other company, sponsor or not.

    When it comes to this stuff, the process is to trust, but verify. The verify part is super important. Seeing photos on a web forum is not verification.

    One other thing: As I’ve said a million times, not every binding out there is appropriate for everyone, and every style of skiing…

    Another, one other thing: Quality control of injection molded plastic is difficult. Tiny impurity? Wrong humidity? Something else? Bam, weak plastic. If the ZED indeed has a legit problem, I’d suspect a problem with the plastic, as I know they’ve tested the thing to extremes with no problems. Solution? Testing more bindings to destruction out of each manufacturing run. Costly, but perhaps necessary.


  24. Glenn November 25th, 2018 7:28 pm

    @Paul, anecdotal comments of a single occurrence without verification, does not give cause for a recall. Facts and analysis do. Until then, you’re jumping to conclusions…unless you know something we don’t.

  25. Paul Simon November 25th, 2018 8:03 pm

    So, who is responsible for that ‘analysis’ to be conducted and to inform the customers? G3! But there is not an official statement… nothing. And I suspect there never will be. Do you guys believe this dude took a hydraulic press and destroyed his bindings on purpose? Kinda unlikely. At least there should have been a statement by the manufacturer that they are investigating the issue and a precautinary warning to use the product. And don’t tell me they might not even be aware of what’s going on at TGR.

  26. Glenn November 25th, 2018 8:15 pm

    Well…looking at the TGR website, the post was from Nov 19. It doesn’t mention whether or not the owner contacted G3 directly/immediately or through his retailer. I would assume most places have been closed for Thanksgiving (and as avid outdoorsmen, I suspect most in the industry are putting in some turns….unlike us poor souls who are living vicariously through internet forums…but I digress), so a review would not be expected until the week begins.Even then, I would expect nothing more than a general statement saying “we’re looking into the matter” for now. Also…I don’t see G3 as a massive conglomerate with a staff perusing social media 24/7.

  27. Paul Simon November 25th, 2018 8:25 pm

    Well, obviously you didn’t even till page 3.
    But never mind – I already made up my mind when I had to deal with their customer service a few years ago.

  28. Glenn November 27th, 2018 5:32 pm

    You’re right….I’m not terribly interested in reading 8 pages of forum…but I did go back to page 3 and to the last page.
    Looks to me like G3 responded immediately, sent replacement bindings, talked details with the customer, etc…
    Not sure what your singular experience was ” a few years ago”, but it seems that todays G3 responded to the issue properly and the customer is quite impressed. Sounds consistent with what I hear.
    Let’s revisit this in 6 months and see what the consensus on the new release is (no pun intended), shall we?

  29. concerned citizen December 8th, 2018 1:50 am

    I’ve read through the TGR thread (sorry lou) and it sound like G3’s customer service was pretty solid.
    Sounds like G3 is saying the Zed binding MUST be mounted either with brakes or the stomp pad or both in order to avoid the binding failing.
    Seems weird, but i’m no engineer.

  30. concerned citizen December 8th, 2018 2:00 am

    Info below from a G3 press release on the matter:
    ((From Lou: thanks Citizen, due to the lengthy com from G3 it’s too long for a blog comment. I’ll summarize in a post to avoid duplicate content with the entire thing you can view over on G3 at https://www.genuineguidegear.com/life/blog/jerrica/zed-service-bulletin It’s best to summarize and link to this sort of thing rather than a duplicate re-pub, that way the originator can do edits on their original material, and they don’t have a bunch of non edited duplicates floating around. Summary coming, but again, just go to https://www.genuineguidegear.com/life/blog/jerrica/zed-service-bulletin for the entire thing. Lou))

  31. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 6:09 am

    Ha, I’m studying the G3 bulletin. Suddenly they realize there are ski boots out of “norm” with bigger gaps between boot heel and stomp pad? I’d venture to say that a good amount or even the vast majority of ski touring boots are out of norm ISO 9523, and the situation has been that way for years. Companies don’t even bother having many, or even most, boots tested and certified by TUV to that norm. If G3 had read this post and associated comments, they would have seen that exact stomp pad gap scenario in the photos above, that we published nearly a month ago, and the subsequent comments about the odd gap between the boot heel and stomp pad! Oh well, I’ll continue to forge ahead…

    Meanwhile, I’ll work up a blog post about the great stomp pad debacle of 2018.



  32. citizen December 8th, 2018 10:48 am

    Sorry about that long copy/paste Lou. Thought it might be an issue, but figured i’d go ahead and it would work out eventually.

    So in your photos in the above post it looks like possibly the tab your boot rests on while in walk mode might be supported by the stomp pad. Is this true? Maybe running the binding without the stomp pad could result in the heel turret failure due to it not being supported correctly?
    Can’t quite tell from the photos. Seems super weird G3 would design the binding this way and not make it mandatory for the stomp pad to be installed every time. And if it was mandatory, why not design the whole shebang as one unit that can’t be separated?

  33. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 12:05 pm

    No worries, main thing is we are loath to do duplicated content, other than summaries, and occasional when it seems necessary. I would have summarized the G3 blog post, but it actually distills down to a few sentences, so including some infos in my new post, and linking, seemed appropriate.

    They couldn’t design in a permanent stomp because of the optional brake.

    The “tab” your boot heel rests on in “heel flat on ski” mode actually rests on the anti-rotation notch, thus squeezing down in the notch while weighted. Are you reading WildSnow when you should be (smile). See following.



  34. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 12:09 pm

    New post here:

    Also, we’re beginning to boast quite a bit of ZED content, do a site search:

  35. citizen December 9th, 2018 12:13 am

    Haha, i had read that post. Info just didn’t stick to the greasy ol’ noodle and didn’t remember the pertinent photo.
    Thanks for all your efforts Lou, much appreciated.

  36. stevenjo December 17th, 2018 12:26 pm

    Hi Lou
    Just opened a box of Zed’s today and wanted to ask if WS has a mounting template available? Can I use the Ion template or does the Zed have a different bolt different?


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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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