Dynafit Addresses Boot Pivot Wear — Almost Enough

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 25, 2013      

Rando ski boot cuff pivot wear is the elephant in the room, the gorilla in the attic. Its the animal that takes a $1,000 shoe and makes it resemble a pet chew: A few bites by the big fido (you, we trust), and they’re a mess. Loose, wiggly, simply not what you paid for.

Dynafit boot cuff rivet systems for next season. Read below for more explication.

Dynafit boot cuff rivet systems for next season. Read below for more explication.

Dynafit’s take on this is twofold. First, they’re saying that any product with a hinge has a certain life span before it requires upkeep or replacement. In the case of backcountry skiing boots, that means at least re-pressing the cuff rivets every so often, or even replacing them. But how much do you want to do that, and if the holes in the boot shell get egged out, how does pressing the rivet help with that? It actually doesn’t, it is only a bandaid.

Better, the cuff rivet/pivot system on modern backcountry skiing boots should be designed as a bushing that at the least can take a lot of cycles, and at best is totally user renewable.

The former case is indeed being addressed by Dynafit, though I’d like to see them go farther with making the whole pivot system a replacable threaded bushing that could be swapped out in minutes. Whatever the future holds, next season’s Dynafit touring boots do address the pivot wear issue in various ways.

First improvement, as depicted in Dynafit boot ace Giovanni’s sketch above, is the external head of the boot rivet is recessed into the carbon boot cuff (as with what we recall is most ski boots). This gives a lot more wear surface due to the recess forming a lip around the edges of the fitting. Unfortunately, due to the cost of changing molds for the TLT6 (which uses the TLT 5 molds), that’s the only improvement you’ll see in the TLT boots in terms of cuff rivets. The recessed rivet head will help slow down the wear cycle, but more, it’ll make aftermarket mods easier due to it forming another area where a bushing system could ride or be anchored.

Better, as depicted by Giovanni, Vulcan not only has the recessed rivet head, but also features a built-in Delrin plastic bushing. This should help make the Vulcan pivot last much longer before upkeep is required.

Good to see Dynafit addressing the problem of cuff pivot wear. On the other hand, pretty obvious that all this stuff only goes part way. Again, what’s needed is a complete bushing system that’s easily renewed at home by the boot owner, or else built so it outlasts the rest of the boot. Either approach would be fine by us.

La Sportiva user serviceable cuff pivot bushing.

La Sportiva user serviceable cuff pivot bushing in $3000 Stratos Cube model boot. Me want. You want. Or, it's not a want, it's a need. Thing is, if one company is doing this, watch for it everywhere eventually. The rivet pivot, that is.


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43 Responses to “Dynafit Addresses Boot Pivot Wear — Almost Enough”

  1. XXX_er January 25th, 2013 9:34 am

    Is this bushing system also on the mercury?

  2. Chris January 25th, 2013 9:50 am

    I just ordered a pair of Vulcan’s that should be here in the next week or so. It sounds like the improved cuff rivets aren’t coming out till next season, as in ’13-’14, so mine would still have the “un-improved” version. Is this correct?

    I don’t understand how Dynafit can have a boot of this caliper and such a sub-standard cuff rivet. Boots that cost half this amount do not experience near as much wear. There are many different ways to fix this problem through design, but it’s only cost effective when originally manufactured. Re-pressing the rivet doesn’t really fix the problem because it just compresses the assembly and doesn’t improve the ID/OD relationship of the rivet and cuff- a very short term fix. Well, you know how I feel about the rivets on the TLT5; I just cut them out and made my own out of stainless with a stainless bushing pressed into the cuff.

  3. Chamski January 25th, 2013 11:11 am

    Does dynafit stand behind their product? My Titan cuff rivets are so sloppy I can’t ski them anymore. What to do?

  4. Nexus6 January 25th, 2013 11:47 am

    Thanks for bring attention to this Lou! It’s a huge gripe of mine. The question I always had is why rivets at all! Who has a deep throat bench riviter at home, let along 10 miles from the road? I’ve had 3 of 4 cuff rivets on my Zzeus’s completely shear off.

    A screw secured bushing that can be field replaced would be oh so much better. I understand that every little bit of cost added to the boot adds up, but this is THE part that joins the two halves of the boot together. The boot manufactures spend so much effort to design amazing walk modes and lock levers and just throw in the same old rivets. At least it’s nice to see Dynafit at least acknowledge that there is a problem.

    Might be a nice opportunity for the aftermarket. Maybe a company like B & D could offer a line of bushing?

  5. john walker January 25th, 2013 12:30 pm

    how much for a set of stainless bushings

  6. Chris January 25th, 2013 1:00 pm

    John- they were a labor of love, it takes a good metal lathe, a milling machine, and patience to make them. I actually made a prototype out of UHMW polyethylene first to make sure they would work and that the pressed and pinned bushing would stay in place in the carbon cuff. I’m definitely cutting them out of the TLT5 when the boots are worn out!

  7. Gentle Sasquatch January 25th, 2013 2:27 pm

    Another pet peeve is the sternum strap slide on attachment on the Baltoro pack. Once off it takes a magician to put it back on. I am still working on it …

  8. Lou Dawson January 25th, 2013 2:29 pm

    Just got done with La Sportiva. They have a pivot rivet in their $3,000 boot that’s exactly what we’re all looking for. They say it’ll filter down quickly into normal products. Pictures coming as soon as I can sit down for a few seconds.

  9. Lou Dawson January 25th, 2013 2:52 pm

    Just got the La Sportiva cuff pivot photo up. Problem is, it’s on a $3,000 boots, so just the rivet probably costs $300. On the other hand, what if they make 10,000 of the things, perhaps the price would go down?

  10. AVIATOR January 25th, 2013 3:26 pm

    Lou, I don’t get the problem here?
    Gignoux for example had a screw bushing since forever.
    It’s a 5 euro part.

  11. Lou Dawson January 25th, 2013 9:15 pm

    Aviator, I don’t understand it either. I think it has to do with boot factories in Montebelluna, and how they traditionally make boots, as well as probably several million cuff rivets sitting in those factories, waiting to be used by well trained employees. Changing to a screw rivet is expensive in many ways, not just the cost of the rivet. Lou

  12. Cathie January 26th, 2013 7:49 am

    Are they expensive? How much more wear do you thing they allow for?

  13. Lou Dawson January 26th, 2013 8:15 am

    A well designed pivot rivet with bushing should easily last the life of the rest of the boot. The only reason to make them user serviceable is so we can swap into boots that don’t have them, and so boot fitters can easily remove boot cuffs for mods and repairs. Lou

  14. Fernando Pereira January 26th, 2013 11:11 am

    Thanks for yet another valuable post! On New Year’s Day, the inside pivot on my left Zzero 4 C sheared while skiing a few car shuttle laps above Incline Village in NV. Fortunately the conditions were forgiving and I wasn’t far from my car where I also had my beef boots (BD Factors). The sheared pivot has been replaced with a screw-washer-nut contraption, but it’s clear the Zzeros are well in their dotage given the big lateral slop on the cuffs, which seems to be caused by worn pivot holes (and might also have increased dynamic forces that led to the pivot shear). These Zzeros are pretty battered after almost 5 years of use in all conditions, but the pivot shear was a bit of a wake-up call. I’ve been looking at the Mercury as a potential replacement, the fit will likely work for me, but given this information, I may wait for next year’s model with improved pivot, and make do for now on my Factors.

  15. KiwionSkis January 29th, 2013 2:34 am

    Any answer on if the current 2012/13 Vulcan has the above mentioned update?
    Got mine in December in Austria and must say that they are an awesome ski.

    Few points for further development from me:
    – The seam on the tongue and front of the liner is very tough but this can cause pain where it presses against the ankle or blood flow. Solution is to beat it out with a hammer.
    – The power strap gets in the way / gets caught in the back buckle when putting the boot on. Would it not be better to fit the power strap to the front removable tongue
    – For me, there is too much height in the toe box – but that’s just me.

    *Apparently the soles are replacible by Dynafit.

    (New posetr but long time reading fan)

  16. Lou Dawson January 29th, 2013 7:18 am

    kiwion, thanks for posting, I should have asked about that. I’m assuming the currenet Vulcan has the delrin bushing, since they’d have to change the mold to add it and the whole reason TLT-5P does not have it is the expense of changing the mold. Perhaps Giovanni will chime in here. If not I’ll ask someone.

  17. edward January 30th, 2013 9:45 am

    This is what is so special about this place, this blog.

    The manufactures are here, listening. What I see is that many companies, especially Dynafit are thinking “Hey, here we actually have mature adults that can give us feedback, AND understand that we are pushing new limits to awesome-ness. yeah, we have small over sights before going into production, but they push us to be better”

    With the cuff rivet change it sounds like they are working into a renewable solution, it’s just that the prototypes haven’t past muster yet.

    I have it on good authority that the Beast was 5 years in the making- and it’s 90% for the US Market, so my question is, what awesome ideas are they tinkering with now that we won’t see for 3 years?

    The question: what is the life of the boot? a rivet works fine for boots that have minimal flex, but >100 hours of uphill and nordic type use (so far this year) of 60 degrees flexing is well beyond prior design expectations. Simple fact: that 60 degrees of flex is going to have more wear (I would actually say progressively more) than regular. On many boots you “snow-shoe” up, these you can actually ski, once again amplifying the wear.

    The TLT’s (PDG’s DNA’s as well) are designed as uphill (competition) boots. My soles and shells are getting beaten. I don’t expect years from these boots, just performance. My ZZeus’ are going to last me for years.

    Personally, I want more and EASIER rear movement- more GLIDE! (If I can gain an extra 2 cm on each stride that is going to be HUGE!)


  18. Lou Dawson January 30th, 2013 10:17 am

    Edward, any innovative company has stuff in development cycle. Nothing new there but indeed good to know Dynafit is not an exception!

    Beast an those types of bindings are actually for a market that doesn’t exist yet. Unless you define a market as a very small group of people… as was explained to me by business gurus, Beast and other freeride-tour equipment is an attempt to sell more gear to a segment of the alpine skiing public that up to this point may not own _any_ touring gear. A new market, in other words.

    As for easy rear movement, a nice friction-free bushing is always good. With TLT series boots, look at your liner in terms of inhibiting ankle movement, and experiment with some tweaks.

  19. DaveB February 5th, 2013 8:41 pm

    Any thoughts on the effectiveness of a spray lubricant (Teflon, silicon, or other) applied to the pivot? It seems like this could significantly reduce friction on the interface and slow wear.

  20. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2013 9:27 pm

    It just attracts grit and makes it worse. The solution is kindergarten engineering, but it has to be installed during manufacture.

  21. Buck February 6th, 2013 8:20 am

    kiwionskis : “Would it not be better to fit the power strap to the front removable tongue”

    isn’t that what the webbing loop on the tongue is for? I think it’s specifically mentioned in the boot’s instruction manual.

    I have my TLT5s set up that way. You can run as heavy a booster strap as you want, because the weight goes in your pack & not on your feet during the uphill.

  22. Erik Erikson April 8th, 2013 11:08 am

    As I heard the problem of cuffs getting loose is even bigger with carbon cuffs which scrub on pebax (this is the case for example in the TLT 5 perormance). The carbon gradually gets rubbed of and thinner, so the cuff gets sloppy. Pebax scrubbing on pebax does not cause that much wear I assume.
    Any experiences with that? Would it be better considering long term use to purchase the TLT 5 mountain (all Pebax) rather than the TLT Performance (Carbon on Pebax)? (Posted that question allready in another thread, hope that´s ok).

    And a maybe silly idea (as I am far from being an engineer): Would it help to grease the area where the carbon meets the pebax at the joint??

  23. Erik Erikson April 8th, 2013 11:20 am

    Think I should read the postings more thourougly – my question concerning greasing the interface has allready been answered..
    But still I am interested in any experiences or opinions concerning the question, if the TLT mountain (Pebax cuff scrubbing on Pebax shoe) will be better for long term use than the TLT Performance (carbon cuff scrubbing on pebax, more wearing off??)

  24. Lou Dawson April 8th, 2013 12:55 pm

    Erik, yes, the Pebax doesn’t wear out as fast. Lou

  25. Erik Erikson April 8th, 2013 1:03 pm

    Thanks for your help, Lou!

  26. Erik Erikson April 29th, 2013 9:55 am

    Brandnew and maybe interesting information about tlt pivot wear!: Just received an e-mail from a locel “Dynafit competence center” (specialized Dynafit shops in Europe): Dynafit will build a third model of the TLT 6 beside the mountain (pebax cuff) and the performance (carbon cuff): This one will have a cuff made of fiberglass, and there will be a steel ring at the pivot (the hole in the cuff), so it cannot wear off.
    This fiberglass version will weigh only 35 grams more than the carbon version and be almost as stiff, they say. But it will exlusevly be sold by these “competence centers”, I am not sure if there some in the US (as they are quite rare even in Europe)

  27. Lou Dawson April 29th, 2013 10:02 am

    Erik, that might be a really nice boot…

  28. Erik Erikson April 29th, 2013 11:29 am

    Yeah, I think so too (though I generally do not like that they made the TLT 6 wider than the TLT5) . The email said the fibreglass-version will be called TLT 6 CC and cost 600 Euros (in between the mountain and the performance).
    I hope for you that it will be also available in the US – not sure, cause no one here on wildsnow seem to have heard of ot till now. Really the best thing seems to be that you won´t have to worry about the pivot-wear any more.

  29. Besniwod May 12th, 2013 2:08 am

    It seems like the question about whether the current (2012/13) Vulcans have the delrin bushing or not hasn’t been definitively answered yet. Does anybody know the answer? Will they only be included in the cuff rivets next season?

  30. Erik Erikson May 19th, 2013 2:35 pm

    Just found a photo of the Dynafit TLT 6 CC which I mentioned in my post form April 29th, here is the link
    Big advantage of this limited version will be the metal reinforced cuff rivet so there should be no pivot wear. The cuff itself will be made of fiberglass they say (though on the photo it looks like carbon)

  31. Besniwod May 20th, 2013 5:56 pm

    I just heard back from Salewa about the delrin bushing in the Vulcans. They contacted the boot developer in Italy (Giovanni?) to check and told me that both the 2012/13 and 2013/14 models have the delrin bushing in the cuff rivet.

    Those metal reinforced cuff rivets in the TLT 6 CC sound good. I wonder why Dynafit won’t include them in the whole line? Weight saving?

  32. Erik Erikson May 21st, 2013 12:18 am

    @ Besniwood:I also do not understand why Dynafit does not install that metal reinforced rivets in every tlt. Weight should be not the reason, as the fibre glass Version (metal reinforced) will only weigh 35 g more than the carbon one. Maybe the reason is that they have still many of the old cuff rivets left in the factory as Lou assumed already further above.
    In fact the metal reinforced solution must exist for some time now, as their is at least one shop who says that they would test the tlt 6 cc for several month now already.
    That TLT 6 CC will be a very limited Version I assume, as there are only few Shops in Europe that will offer it and one should order it right now to get the shoe in fall…
    Another thing I do not understand is why they make the TLT 6 wider than the TLT 5. TLT 5 is a dream for People with narrow feet, but almost everyone with normal feet I know loves the fit also and thinks that the narrow fit enhances the Performance. At least Dynafit could be the first Company to offer the same boot in a “narrow” and a “normal” fit, as the molds for the tlt 5 (narrow) already exist. I think they would really sell more boots by that.

  33. grosenkranz May 21st, 2013 7:49 pm

    I’m trying to understand if this is a problem with my boots–Dynafit Green Machines from 2011. The cuff has just a bit of play after 100+ days (about 30% at resort) over two seasons. I don’t think I notice it at all when skiing or skinning now but I suppose it will get worse?

  34. Fernando Pereira May 21st, 2013 8:23 pm

    @grosenkranz: The first time I really noticed the problem on my Green Machines of similar age and use to yours was when one of the cuff rivets sheared at the end of a mellow sidecountry run this New Years Day. My theory is that the increased cuff play put increased shear and bending forces on the rivet, which eventually broke. I got that rivet replaced by a screw-washer-nut combo that works, but after that I lost my trust in those boots for long/remote tours because of the uncertainty over the other three rivets.

  35. Erik Erikson May 22nd, 2013 12:23 am

    I guess that the problem should be less serious with the green machine than with the TLT 5 P. Never owned a green machine, but as it looks on photos the cuff rivet seems to be better made. Further the rivet does not run only trough a hole in carbon (as it is the case with the carbon cuff of the TLT 5), but through carbon (powerstringer) AND pebax (the actual cuff of the green machine).
    I owned a Dynafit Zzero px for lets say 150 to 200 days of touring and it never developed a problem with pivot wear.

  36. Lou Dawson May 22nd, 2013 6:18 am

    About the Green Machine and other Pebax boots, a bit of play is normal after a while and doesn’t affect your skiing. Breaking the rivet is very rare though as Fernando describes it does happen. The more severe problem is with the carbon cuff boots as they are not self lubricating like plastic cuffs, so the rivet grinds on the carbon material and wears it away quite quickly. Lou

  37. grosenkranz May 22nd, 2013 9:17 am

    Thanks for the input–I plan to ski them another season and keep some bailing wire in my pack ‘just in case’.

    Overall I think today’s AT gear is amazingly good as I learned to ski on double leather and wood skis with screwed in metal edges which was the alpine resort gear of the day!


  38. Steve Sellers October 27th, 2013 2:20 pm

    Ok, so I’ve got 3 boots w/ this issue… Dyna’s, Evo’s and now TLT6’s. My Dyna’s are incredibly loose (I trained on them a lot). I’m so paranoid about my expensive Evo’s going the same route that I mostly only use them for racing, but would like to train & tour (on less extreme terrain). I’m also paranoid about my new TLT6’s wearing the carbon cuff holes out. So what’s my fix? I know I can get aftermarket Scarpa screw on pivots. Should I wait until they’re totally sloppy like my Dyna’s, or do I pre-emptively set them up with the stainless reinforcement I’m reading about. Any ideas, hints tricks?

  39. Steve Sellers October 27th, 2013 2:55 pm

    should have known…. the answer is right on a WildSnow page. Lou….thanks!


  40. Lou Dawson October 27th, 2013 3:12 pm

    Steve, an aftermarket kit for installing fix might be available soon. Hold off on DIY as it’s rather fiddly and not ideal — I just did that DIY post to raise awareness.

    On the other hand, if you’ve got the time my fix does work.

  41. Ted October 27th, 2013 4:05 pm

    Can you pass on to whoever is making these that a great upgrade would be to add a center hole on these to enable adding a Vulcan style ankle buckle. I drilled a hole through my TLT5’s rivet to do this but this is probably beyond most people’s skill/risk of failure tolerance.

  42. Lou Dawson October 27th, 2013 4:21 pm

    Ted, sure, he’ll see your comment. But I’m suspecting the upgrade may not have a big enough fastener to be drilling a hole through it. We’ll see. Main thing is to get the basic upgrade rocking so people can repair their $1,000 boots, or buy used ones and renew them. Lou

  43. Steve Sellers October 27th, 2013 8:12 pm

    thanks Lou. I’ll hold off, but I’ve got to do something. Hopefully it won’t take long.

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