Trab Binding – Latest Version

Post by blogger | February 11, 2011      

WildSnowers, Steve Christie of Backcountry Access sent in these photos of the latest design iteration of the ever elusive Trab backcountry skiing binding. As it’s been for the past few years, the binding is displayed at ISPO trade show (Munich, Germany) but no one seems to know if and when the contraption will ever go retail. Trab toe uses regular tech fittings in the boot, yet grabs by the pincers coming from the front, instead of underneath as all other tech binding do. Big difference is in the heel, which requires a different configuration of the boot fitting. Unknown if the boot heel fitting needs to be molded in during manufacture, or retrofitted.

Trab backcountry skiing binding.

Trab backcountry skiing binding in climbing mode. Click image to enlarge.

One of the problems with the existing tech binding system is that the heel fitting is so narrow in comparison with width of boot and ski. I suspect we’ll see constant efforts to address that, perhaps even going to the point of Dynafit themselves going to a different fitting at the heel. Interesting that Trab is already addressing this, if not just to get tire kickers over to their booth.

Trab backcountry skiing binding.

Binding toe unit, pincers come in from the side, and lateral release appears to be part of toe rather than heel.

Trab backcountry skiing binding.

Heel unit in downhill mode. Obviously less developed than toe unit.

Trab backcountry skiing binding.

Detail of heel fittings required, the small metal chips to the outside. We suspect these are actually inserted or molded into the boot, and are larger than they appear.

Trab backcountry skiing binding.

The heel lift system. Click image for a bit of enlargement.


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35 Responses to “Trab Binding – Latest Version”

  1. Matt February 11th, 2011 11:26 am

    Is this meant for general ski touring, or more for racing?

  2. Nick February 11th, 2011 11:41 am

    if these ever go to production, i’ll be stoked. From what i can tell, these resolve many of my current apprehensions about tech bindings.

  3. Lou February 11th, 2011 11:54 am

    For those of you who got a glimpse of my TLT5 post, I published by mistake. Have to add some photos and stuff, as well as do some editing. Look for it early next week. Lou

  4. Dano February 11th, 2011 1:43 pm


    Isn’t the DIN something like 14 ?

  5. Henri February 11th, 2011 1:57 pm

    From Lou:
    “One of the problems with the existing tech binding system is that the heel fitting is so narrow in comparison with width of boot and ski”

    Could you please elaborate or provide a link?

  6. Tom Gos February 11th, 2011 1:58 pm

    I’m starting to think this thing is vaporware – you see pictues here and there, but none of anyone actually using it, and it never comes to market. Kind of like the Alex Pong Cannondale full suspension mountain bike back in the mid-90’s – there were all these photos and trade shows, but it turned out to basically be a hoax. Hopefully this product will become real, although I’m not sure the realtively small AT gear market can tolerate another boot sole standard.

  7. Christian February 11th, 2011 2:11 pm

    Personally I cannot see that the narrow heel fitting is a problem – if it was, the binding would not rank so high on stiffness. I like the front though: I think it is superior if the tip is catching in a tree or something.

  8. Nick February 11th, 2011 2:51 pm

    I also don’t think the narrow heel fitting is a problem. There is plenty of rigidity at the toe (in fact too much – a bit of shock/vibration absorption would be welcome when skiing on really hard snow!).

    Certainly not compared with a Fritschi – the heel attachment might be wider but there is plenty of slop there!

  9. Lou February 11th, 2011 3:24 pm

    Henri, simple, in my opinion (which most of my blogging is), when used with tall stiff boots and wide skis, the narrow heel unit and heel interface of existing tech bindings doesn’t provide enough resistance to “rolling deflection,” and thus depends on the toe to resist rolling deflection, resulting in necessity of toe unit being stronger and stronger. With a wider heel interface, the load is shared.

    For normal touring and racing, tech interface is adaquate, in my opinion.

    Dano, the RV (don’t call it DIN because it’s not) goes to at least 11 (grin).

  10. Nick February 11th, 2011 4:21 pm

    Lou, I don’t think you will relieve the toe of load with any conceivable heel unit. The toe/boot combination is inherently rigid. No heel unit I can think of holds the boot as solidly (especially with an AT boot with a worn vibram sole). Unless the heel is held almost as rigidly as the toe is it won’t share a significant part of the load.

    (I’m assuming the boot lower shell is pretty rigid – perhaps AT boots with bellows might flex significantly?).

  11. Lou February 11th, 2011 4:47 pm

    Nick, it appears the Trab system could offer some pretty rigid holding power… also, even beefy boots twist during rolling deflection, so if some of that twisting could be eliminated by better heel hold, then the heel is holding some of the force. Not a big deal for normal touring and racing, but for freeriders all this stuff helps.

  12. Jonathan Shefftz February 11th, 2011 6:16 pm

    “Is this meant for general ski touring, or more for racing?”
    — Trab already has a race binding. The cited weights for the prototypes of the TR1 and TR2 were definitely putting it in the FT12 (or maybe even Onyx/Ruby) range.

  13. Doug Heirich February 12th, 2011 1:05 am

    any idea why they are not using the built in plastic ledge to hold down the heel end of the boot? Looks like the lateral release is in the toe unit, so the heel should be vertical only…. I’m not getting the motivation for a new style of metal fitting here..

  14. Tay February 12th, 2011 3:43 am

    Simple economics would mandate a patented insert to maintain a steady income from royalties from boot manufactures and to pay for the R&D on a new system. But is, as some have pointed out, the market too saturated for another ski touring binding? And more importantly would boot manufactures want to shell out for the patent, when they have a relaible, though perhaps not the Holy Grail; system with dynafit?

  15. Verbier61 February 12th, 2011 2:32 pm

    Trab people is close to a tuv certification of the binding, which is hopefully scheduled for the 12-13 winter. In vivo tests are ongoing in valtellina, where you can meet people using the tr2.
    The binding, in its current configuration, works with front and rear boot inserts different from those used for dynafit and derived bindings
    For what i’ve just seen at ispo, the step in and step out mechanisms are quite user-friendly.

  16. Greg Louie February 12th, 2011 2:45 pm

    Anyone but Scarpa even thinking about building boots with this heel interface?

    Sounds like a recipe for underachieving sales numbers.

  17. Louie February 12th, 2011 4:09 pm

    It looks to me like the rear fittings wouldn’t interfere with Dynafit rear fittings. If that’s the case perhaps you could have boots that worked for both binding types. If the toe fittings are different as well though, maybe not.

  18. Greg Louie February 12th, 2011 5:09 pm

    Yes, but with the upcoming Scarpa/Trab distribution agreement, I’m guessing Scarpa will offer this heel on a couple models and everyone else will ignore it.

    They’re going to have a hard time getting me out of my TLT 5 P’s. And do I really want to buy a pair of Maestrales or Mobes just for one “mid-burly” touring setup?

  19. Jonathan Shefftz February 13th, 2011 7:54 am

    “any idea why they are not using the built in plastic ledge to hold down the heel end of the boot?”
    — The TR1 prototype did exactly that, and was demonstrated with a stock Scarpa Martrix. No idea why they apparently gave up on that and switched to a proprietary heel interface for the TR2…

  20. Lou February 13th, 2011 8:37 am

    I have a feeling they switched because of attempt at TUV certification for DIN/ISO standard. Probably to make the boot/binding interface more consistent. But I also think it could be that they needed the binding heel unit to provide more resistance to side movement of the heel. Just guessing. Trab has been pretty strange with how they’re marketing this. I could probably email them and get some info, but I’ve never been that motivated as the binding is not retailed (as far as I know) and keeps changing from year to year. Like I think I said before, it appears to be more “booth bait,” than anything they expect retailers to write orders for. You’d think an Italian company would have an Italian babe for booth bait, instead they have a proto binding? Or perhaps they had both? Christie?

  21. scottyb February 13th, 2011 6:57 pm

    This rig has got me thinking bout using one of my Dfit toe pieces with an old Silvretta SL heel clamp just to see if it will work which I bet it will. Got a 20 year old tele/AT rig that uses a Voile CRB up front and the SL out back for the best of both worlds.

  22. Lou February 13th, 2011 7:28 pm

    That is, if you really need to tele. Personally, I have 0 need.

  23. scottyb February 13th, 2011 7:52 pm

    Well, I used to tele a lot but any more its lock the heel and shred for real. Seems like I get 2 to 3 times number of turns in than I would on tele. Go figure. 😀

  24. Pablo February 14th, 2011 2:45 am

    I was last week-end at Ispo and talk witha a Skitrab guy about it.
    He toldme that the problem to produce it is the TUV certification. They’re working on it and hope that in 1-2 more years it will be producet and into the market. with some little design improvement.
    He told me also that They have yet some contracts with Scarpa and other boot manufacturer to introduce some models with their hell design…:roll:

  25. Jernej February 14th, 2011 6:18 am

    Lou… anything to say about Hagan Z01 binding?

  26. Lou February 14th, 2011 7:20 am

    Jernej, I have a photo of the Hagen binding kicking around somewhere that I was planning on publishing eventually. It’s a me-to yawner Fritschi knock off.

    As for TUV certification holding up a binding, when did that ever matter these days?

  27. scottyb February 14th, 2011 12:30 pm
  28. honkey February 15th, 2011 6:03 pm

    why on earth would anyone (hagan) try and bring a mid-weight frame binding to the market these days???? didn’t anyone learn from what happened to naxo? imho ski touring falls into either the tech binding camp or the super burl duke/baron camp. the middle (fritschi) still sells because it’s a tried and trusted product, but most folks seems to be migrating to one end of the spectrum or the other.

    i saw hagan at SIA and didn’t even think of talking to them. am i missing something?

  29. Lou February 15th, 2011 6:14 pm

    Honkey, good point but what you’re missing is (I hope) still taught in business school. If you can offer a “vertical” product line in your chosen arena, you can offer package orders to your retailers with various discounts and payment terms. More, you can create a brand, and if the brand is sexy, said retailers will order and sell more of your stuff than they order from other less complete lines. Thus, all these companies work their rear ends off to be able to give a retailer everything from bindings to clothing. Dynafit is probably doing it best right now. Black Diamond is trying. Trab is trying. Hagen is making a move with their own binding, but I agree, they would have been better off just doing a clothing line with the same brand as their skis. Or do they already?

  30. Adam Olson February 19th, 2011 10:07 pm

    Hey, that Hagan binding sure looks nice!! The heel riser looks a bit “Silvaretta Prue-ish” eh.

    Is the Hagan lighter than the current model Fritischi?

    The ease of use for this style binding is very hard to beat. The Fritischi is also a VERY durable binding. Lets hope the Hagan can take the abuse of the large skier.

  31. Dimitri October 9th, 2011 4:01 pm

    “One of the problems with the existing tech binding system is that the heel fitting is so narrow in comparison with width of boot and ski”

    finally put into words what has been bothering me about the engineering of he Dynafit system, well put Lou.

    I’ve often thought of experimentation with the existing toe units (which i think are the only “ideal” solution for touring) with mounting 2 toe units with some sort of flush heel platform under the boot to combat this, the only problem with that of course is heel unit needs to be molded with the pins inserted. maybe one day ill patent it 🙄

  32. Lou October 9th, 2011 4:11 pm

    Dimitri, tech bindings are so incredibly solid in rolling deflection compared to anything else, this whole thing might be purely psychological and in reality a non-issue. Research is ongoing. ‘best, Lou

  33. Dimitri October 10th, 2011 2:45 am

    thanks for the reassurance Lou, makes me even more eager to purchase a setup with the Radical ST setup for general use.

    but really? i mean with the trend for wider underfoot skis and lighter but stiffer boots like my DB quadrants (120 flex) and if that is combined with a heavy rider the sheer force of leverage being applied must be considerable for those pins.

    I’m a novice when it comes to tech bindings so have a lot to learn, but those are just my thoughts as a technical busy-body 😀

  34. Christian January 2nd, 2013 1:07 pm

    Any news on this?
    Found the video below on the trab site.

  35. Matt February 4th, 2013 2:12 pm

    Ski Trab and SCARPA are introducing the concept for F13 @ ISPO.

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