G3 Onyx Toe Pin Breakage – Rare but Real

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 20, 2011      

I’d heard about a few of these G3 toe pin breaks over past couple of seasons. It is uncommon enough to term as “rare,” but still a concern as toe pin failure on a tech binding causes instant and total ejection. Sources at G3 say the problem is limited to earlier manufacturing runs. Word is that later this week they’ll publish a tech bulletin that explains how to ID bindings with the possible problem (we’ll do an addendum with that, or perhaps another post). They’ll have optional swap parts available soon as well (sometime mid January or February). According to G3, they’ll require the binding parts install to be done by their dealers. A WildSnow reader sent the following photos:

G3 Onyx toe pin breakage.

G3 Onyx toe pin breakage. Intact pin indicated by left arrow, broken pin indicated by right arrow. Click images to enlarge.

G3 Onyx pin break, detail view.

G3 Onyx pin break, detail view.

Again, this is a rare problem that only affects earlier manufacturing runs. I felt it worth reporting and am impressed with the way G3 is dealing with it. If you’re an Onyx owner my advice would be to wait till they come out with their tech bulletin later this week. Once you have that in hand, you’ll be able to ID which vintage binding you have. If your bindings fall in the range of ones that may have the problem, I’d advise getting the parts swap done at a dealer. If your bindings are newer ones that don’t need the swap, please don’t let this blog post cause any concern.

Here is the basic info from G3, as of January 11, 2012, describing how to identify bindings that could be prone to this.

If consumers can see small slits in the toe pins of their Onyx binding (see photo below), then they have a more recent version of the binding, and do not need to replace their toe pins. As mentioned above, the number of instances of toe pins breaking in early versions of the Onyx binding is extremely small. Nonetheless, G3 takes any issue involving any of its products very seriously, which is why we are sending this note and technical bulletin.

Here is what G3 is doing:

G3 is making new toe pins available to dealers and consumers who have older versions of theOnyx binding. The technical bulletin shows how to identify which version of Onyx binding a dealer or consumers has, so that it can be determined whether a toe-pin replacement should even be considered. These toe pins will be available on February 1, 2012 and are available by contacting G3 customer service or your G3 sales rep. The attached technical bulletin addresses how to change them out, which is a very straightforward process.

For any dealers who have Onyx bindings older than the 2011/12 production season, G3 will change out that dealer’s existing new unused Onyx binding inventory to current production-season models. Any used demo bindings will be addressed by the technical bulletin and replacement parts. This ensures that all models sold in the marketplace moving forward will be the latest versions of the Onyx binding.

Tech binding toe pin with slit.

Here at WildSnow we don't have any Onyx bindings with the slit in the toe pin, so we took this photo of another brand tech binding that has the slit, it is virtually the same as the Onyx slit and easy to see. Obvious if your bindings have it or not. Purpose of the slit is to act as a cutter to clean out the boot toe sockets once you have the bindings on your feet.


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44 Responses to “G3 Onyx Toe Pin Breakage – Rare but Real”

  1. Andre December 20th, 2011 9:35 am

    Happened to me on a powder day at high speed. 45 minutes to find my ski. White Voile insane! Didn’t find the pin 😉

    G3 send me a brand new binding!

    Great support from G3 but it is always bad when this sort of thing happens in backcountry. Goes through all issue, brakes, heel lifter and the pin breakage.

    But I’m still happy with these bindings.

  2. Mike Marolt December 20th, 2011 9:59 am

    I ran into a guy last spring who had that happen to a Dynafit. I think with the new boots and skis, those pin binding companies are going to have to make some changes. Maybe not now but sooner than later. People are skiing significantly harder on the gear because they can.

  3. Lou December 20th, 2011 10:12 am

    Good points Mike, thanks. What’s nice is how G3 is handling it. Front pin breakage is worse than some of the other forms of binding breakage, as it results in quick, total, and unavoidable ejection if you’re in alpine mode. Same with any tech binding, of course. Also, if you know anything about steel, you know that making a piece that small that’ll hold up to the amount of repeated use cycles those tiny pins go through, you know that the possibility of error in manufacturing is very real. The rear pins of the Dynafit breaking are a good example as well, as those are truly minimal for the forces they’re asked to hold.

    As I’ve predicted before, I think it’s time for tech 2.0, meaning a tech binding system that uses slightly bigger boot fittings, along with bigger toe and heel pins, with the heel pins space wider left/right, and a millimeter or two longer to allow even better ski flex. Such a system could be built at only a tiny weight penalty, and would get the engineers that design this stuff more sleep.

  4. Pablo December 20th, 2011 11:50 am

    Here in Spain, Dynafit calls all New radical series bindings to not be on shops due to a failure.
    Some of them ara failing because of a problem with a pin that block the turn of the toe in the inverse direction. It make that when skining the toe tends to turn over to ski position by itself…
    It’s suppossed to be only in some units but they say to remove all radicals on sale from stores to change this default pin by another they are going to send wich is sightly different.

  5. bo December 20th, 2011 6:02 pm

    it actually happened to me today. the G3 onyx binding was bought in march, and had only been used for 5 or 6 days.

  6. Lee Lau December 20th, 2011 7:17 pm

    Oh god Lou. Another freaking standard?!?

  7. canwilf December 20th, 2011 8:52 pm

    “I think it’s time for tech 2.0, meaning a tech binding system that uses slightly bigger boot fittings, along with bigger toe and heel pins, with the heel pins space wider left/right, and a millimeter or two longer to allow even better ski flex. Such a system could be built at only a tiny weight penalty, and would get the engineers that design this stuff more sleep.”

    And all the skiers said “AMEN”

    It doesn’t take genius to figure out that the present tech 1.0 system is not made for free-riding, resort skiing or abuse.

  8. Jay Coburn December 21st, 2011 4:28 am

    I had the pin break on my Onyx bindings – first year they were out. I was practice skiing at an alpine area so no big deal. G3 was great in the way the handled, but the experience was unsettling for long backcountry tours. I now carry a spare toe piece: small weight penalty and easy enough to install.Still happy with Onyx. As for Tech II, I’d like a bomb-proof binding, but I also feel that we are becoming capable of pushing the gear harder than lightweight touring gear needs to go. In most instances, the gear should support the user – but sometimes the user has to look out for the gear!

  9. Bjorn Naylor December 21st, 2011 8:45 am

    tech 2.0??? welcome to the bike world ski world!!!!!!
    change a standard ? no problem, consumers will eat it up.

  10. travis December 21st, 2011 10:43 am

    What’s this about a Radical recall in Spain?

  11. Jonathan Shefftz December 21st, 2011 10:44 am

    Pablo, this seems to be saying:
    … that the problem is that the new clockwise-only heel rotation can sometimes be undone, and hence the fix just ensures that any attempts at counterclockwise will be blocked?

  12. travis December 21st, 2011 11:22 am

    Thanks Jonathan.

    From the Dynafit Facebook page:
    Jeremy Rietmann: Just don’t turn the heel piece of your bindings the wrong way and you will not have a problem. The replacement piece is only a shear pin that will be installed and designed to break before the heel piece housing cracks. If you’re running into resistance when turning your heel piece it’s a good sign you’re turning it the wrong way.

  13. Philip Maynard December 21st, 2011 6:55 pm

    Lou, I’d like to note that the current standard doesn’t restrict the size of the pin where it broke in that photo.

    The amount of leverage on the pins where they mate to the fitting (and where they have to be a certain diameter) is relatively low to the force they see further from the fitting, where they mate with the rest of the binding. There’s plenty of room in the current spec to beef them up and prevent breakage.

    In the heel this is a little harder, since the engagement varies with ski flex. But remember where the old Dynafit heel pins broke? Behind the flange, where they could have easily been thicker.

  14. Lou December 21st, 2011 8:01 pm

    Phillip, good point!

    Yes folk Dynafit Radical is undergoing a recall for a problem with the heel rotation stop. Nothing “radical.” I just returned from backcountry, will get a blog post up soonist.


  15. Nick Brown December 22nd, 2011 7:25 am

    One of the toe pins on my Onyx broke while touring in March 2010. Pin had to be drilled and replace. Will be interested to read the tech bulletin says.

  16. Rob Stokes December 23rd, 2011 5:16 am

    I wouldn’t say the pin failure is ‘rare’ at all….I know of 2 people on the Onyx binding, and both have them have broken the pin! Both people are pretty pissed with the bindings….icing under the toe lock, losing heel risers, snapping toe pins…..not great binders in my eyes….I would never sell them over a dynafit/plum and I work in a ‘g3 pro shop’. G3 has some great gear, imo their binding is not though..

  17. Lou December 23rd, 2011 7:37 am

    Rob, according to my source at G3, the overall failure rate for the pins, in comparison to bindings that remain functional as well as recent manufacturing runs that won’t have the problem, is tiny. Hence I used the term “rare.” I’d agree that, 1.) For the person who experiences the breakage the term “rare” looks a bit ridiculous. And 2.) It’s a pretty subjective term.

  18. Bjorn Naylor December 23rd, 2011 10:33 am

    Well said Lou. G3 has a great warranty program besides, plus they ski better than the Dynafits and will only get better. In the bike industry we (the consumer) are used to being the de facto testers for product!

  19. Karl December 25th, 2011 5:23 pm

    Blew out a pin last spring making a very simple turn… hiking the last 2000 ft. down however. G3 is great in the customer service dept. but I can’t help but think they are tired of hearing from me! Broken pin, both “din-boosters”, and last week the break broke free on a hut trip. At least I can fix em’ myself.

  20. Daveg December 28th, 2011 10:44 am

    Didnt break a pin, but did have the bindings replaced by G3 this past summer as the toe pieces would not open up under normal downward pressure from a ski pole. Only something like an ice axe, or standing on the toe piece would open it. Plus my heel pieces would not release (with normal pressure applied) from tour to ski mode while sking in early july . Dealer service did not cure the old bindings, hence the replacement

    Anyone else experience these issues?

  21. Adrian A January 5th, 2012 11:03 am

    Has there been any follow-up on this item from G3? I have an older set of Onyx bindings, and would like to identify if there are any issues with them.

  22. Mike N. January 9th, 2012 12:26 pm

    I too have an older set of Onyx bindings and am curious to see if they are among those that are afflicted with the pins problem. I just dropped by the G3 Web site to take a look for the tech bulletin. Nothing seems to be up yet. Have others been able to find information?

  23. Mitch January 16th, 2012 3:02 pm

    Hey all,

    I just broke some this weekend, emailed G3 and there is already new bindings in the mail. So they’ve handled it like champs. However, if this piece broke in the back country, even with a spare, replacement would be impossible because of the way it sheared off.


  24. Lou January 16th, 2012 5:00 pm

    G3 sent me the tech bulletin a few days ago, I’ll publish ASAP. I think they may have just sent it to their dealers?

  25. Lou January 16th, 2012 6:01 pm

    I just added more info from G3 to the post above. Gist of it is that unless you have older bindings, identified by having NO slit in the toe pins, you don’t need the fix. Most G3 Onyx bindings do NOT need the fix.

  26. Adrian A January 16th, 2012 6:16 pm

    thanks for the update Lou.

  27. Scott January 24th, 2012 6:44 pm

    Is it possible to get some more clarity what is meant by “slits”? Perhaps a picture? I assume this also affects the G3 Ruby (10 DIN version). Looking at those that I have, they look the same as the intact toe pin from the broken pair above. The very end of the pin seems smooth, but the “base” of the pin is the wider circle that has the “ridges” – those aren’t the slits, are they?

  28. Lou January 24th, 2012 6:51 pm

    The “slit” is a tiny slot that does go out to the end of the pin. Dynafit bindings have them as well, they’re cutters to help remove ice from the boot toe fittings. I’ll see if I can get a photo up.

    RE Ruby, I think they were made after this problem, but if you don’t see the slits in the toe pins, then get them swapped.

  29. Ted Ueda January 31st, 2012 1:00 pm

    Sent G3 email today, quick reply stating replacements unavailable yet but should be in a couple of weeks.

  30. Pete January 31st, 2012 3:14 pm

    How about those detail pics of “slit” vs “no slit”?

  31. Lou January 31st, 2012 5:54 pm

    Ok ok!

  32. Lou February 5th, 2012 8:33 am

    Pete, I installed a photo of how the slit in the toe pin looks. As you can see, it’s blatantly obvious if the binding has it or not. Clear now? Lou

  33. Pete February 7th, 2012 8:09 am

    Thanks for the pic Lou. I didn’t mean to sound pushy or impatient with respect to seeing what the slit looks like. I had examined my own bindings and just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. It’s clear what it looks like now.

    The pins on my Onyx bindings clearly don’t have the slit and your picture makes it clear that the inner grooved part of the pin where it connects to the binding is NOT what one should be looking for as this picture illustrates: http://home.comcast.net/~pete_nelson/Shared/images/G3Onyxpin.jpg

    After hearing another first hand account from another (prior) G3 Onyx owner this weekend who told me about their own malfunction experience, I’m having serious concerns about my own binding safety on the two pairs I own and hope there is some official response from G3 regarding this issue as it looks like I need to take two pairs of skis/bindings out of service for the time being.


  34. Lou February 7th, 2012 8:22 am

    Pete, Onyx made their official response. It’s above, and can be had from their customer service. Did I not make that clear? Let me know if I messed up and I’ll reword above to try and be clear. Lou

  35. G March 2nd, 2012 7:09 pm

    Just wanted to share an update with an Onyx replacement. I saw this thread just before a trip out to Utah, and, as I headed out, made a last-minute call to Wasatch Touring (http://www.wasatchtouring.com/) in Salt Lake. The folks there were super helpful and got in touch with the local G3 dealer out there. Apparently G3 are planning to get replacement pins specifically, but in the meantime they’re replacing the entire toe unit. Wasatch got the new toe pieces in, I dropped by, and we got them swapped out within 15 minutes. They worked great over 4 days of skiing! Here’s a photo of the new toe pins with “slit”:


  36. sarah February 3rd, 2013 8:22 pm

    Just had my toe pin break this weekend in bounds thankfully, can’t imagine what that would have been like the following day when I was supposed to be touring.
    Sheared off on my 2010 Onyx binding. Have also had problems with my brakes, and while I got excellent service from G3 last spring (2012) about this issue, I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t identify the possibility of this toe pin issue at that time.

  37. mike November 23rd, 2013 7:09 pm

    My G3 bindings…well…I used them 3 times and the pin underneath the toe connected to some plastic broke! So when I push down on the toe lever…the pins DONT open!! what next???????? I dont know if anyone else has this problem????

  38. mike November 23rd, 2013 7:12 pm

    The pin that broke is NOT the two pins that hold the boot…there is another metal “pin” underneath the toe lever that makes the two pins open to let the boot in! this is really frustrating. I was on the hill when it happened! dunno what is best now. its past warranty but I only used them 3 times! please advise???

  39. Lou November 24th, 2013 7:37 am

    Mike, I’d imagine G3 customer service will give you some satisfaction. How about you contact them, and report back here on the results? Lou

  40. Michael November 24th, 2013 12:50 pm


    Yes I left the rep a message and I will definitely report back here with the results. I expect given I used them three times, the should do something for me.



  41. Brian W. Taylor January 21st, 2015 1:55 pm

    So I found thread a couple of nights ago and so I sent a note to G3 regarding it… this is the response I got:

    On Jan 21, 2015, at 1:40 PM, Adam Hoogeveen wrote:

    Hello Taylor,
    We can supply you with a refurbished pair of toe units for 39.95$ should you desire. Let me know if this is of interest and I will set up an order. The larger diameter toe pins are more robust. You should have your bindings inspected for wear or damage and have them serviced accordingly if need be.

    Adam Hoogeveen

    604.924.9048 x251


    Can’t say that I am particularly happy with the response…

    Thanks for all the info Wildsnow!!


  42. Mike N January 21st, 2015 4:35 pm

    Thanks Brian: Do you have to send your current toe pieces to them to be refurbished or will they send you two refurbished toe pieces for $40 while you keep your old ones?


  43. Brian W. Taylor January 21st, 2015 9:44 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I called Adam and got the impression that they would just sell me the refurbished toe pieces and they did not want the old ones. Granted the bindings are old but I bought them retail and feel a little put out with the whole thing. I wish that I had seen this post way way earlier!


  44. Mike N January 22nd, 2015 3:21 pm

    Thanks again. I will follow up with them. I agree it’s a downer, but I like a lot of the features of the Onyx. They’re heavy for a tec binding but offer a lot of flexibility and features.


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