Dynafit Brakes – How Wide? Another Chapter in the “Ask Louie” Series


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 3, 2007      
Dynafit brake mod
The answer to the question. Yippee, we get to hack on more gear!

Hi Lou,

I’m buying rando gear for the first time. Considering the following gear:
Dynafit Zzero 4C-TF (low weight, 4 buckles, good stiffness)
Dynafit Vertical FT (low weight, good stiffness)
Black Diamond Verdict 07/08 length 180 or 190cm

Found the gear for a reasonable prize in Germany but they have a problem mounting the binding with stopper (brake) as the stopper only comes in 100mm and the ski is 134-102-120mm ….? Should I ask them to mount without the stopper ? Does the stopper detach from the binding? Should I rather choose a different binding (Speed or Speed Lite ? Would you recommend a different ski ? If I stay with the ski, would You recommend 180 or 190cm ? Million thanks in advance for Your help and your website which has helped tons so far in learning about/choosing gear ! Feel free to post this a a blog question if You can…

‘Regards
Morten

To paraphrase Warren Miller: “Every minute, of every day, there is someone somewhere wondering if they can use Dynafit bindings.” So Morten, welcome to the club.

In Morten’s case it sounds like the deal maker or breaker is the ski brakes. Answer is yes indeed they’ll work with a 102mm waisted ski. The brake is officially said to go to 100mm, but we’ve seen them work on skis a few mil wider than that with no modifications, and still wider by simply grinding the plastic off the inside of the “feet.” We sometimes have success with bending the binding arms out a bit, but doing so can mess up the angles that allow the arms to extend and retract, so we only recommend that option as a last resort. The photos tell the tale:

Dynafit brake mod.
Photo to left shows clearanced brake “foot,” with plastic ground off in indicated area. Photo to right is before modification, red box indicates plastic you remove for clearance. Don’t grind down to bare metal as the plastic foot will fall off and you’ll be left with a skinny metal rod that could be dangerous. When you grind the plastic, try to do so in such a way that it’s angled to allow the brake to slide off the ski as it deploys, to prevent dreaded “sticking Dynafit brake syndrome.”

Surprising a ski shop in Europe didn’t know how to do this — I guess that’s why I’m headed over there in a few weeks, do do binding modification clinics? Also, perhaps his shop should look at our instructions for brake installation, available here.

Tips for brake install: Remember the retainer “puzzle clip,” AND DON’T CROSS THREAD THE SPRING BARREL when you’re assembling the binding. To prevent cross threading, start screwing the barrel in with a coin and gentle touch, then switch to a wide blade screw driver after you know it’s going in correctly.

Oh, and about Morten’s skis. In another part of his email he said he wasn’t that aggressive of a skier, so we recommend he stays with the 180 cm or even shorter if they’re mostly for touring. As for the binding, the Vertical is an excellent choice and what we usually recommend.



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Comments

35 Responses to “Dynafit Brakes – How Wide? Another Chapter in the “Ask Louie” Series”

  1. Dave F. December 3rd, 2007 9:30 am

    Hi Lou,
    In the picture on the left it looks to me like the grinding may have been a bit too enthusiastic to pick up the needed 1 – 2 mm clearance. It looks like a small piece of the metal rod end is exposed with a thin skiff of plastic remaining along the ground side. Perhaps there’s a gentler tweak to pick up just a couple mm ?

    Thanks for your efforts to create optimized gear.

    Dave

  2. Lou December 3rd, 2007 10:03 am

    Dave, yeah, I should have pointed that out. Funny how when you get a power tool in your hands, you just don’t want to turn it off!

  3. Eyesack December 3rd, 2007 11:25 am

    I have just bent mine out to fit on some 105 skis they do look a bit funny but they work. The extra plastic eventually gets scraped off by the edges of the ski.

    The two problems with the super lowtek way is that they don’t retract like they were intended to, and I have noticed that they brake off easer when your ski pops off skiing switch.

  4. Goatboy December 3rd, 2007 3:58 pm

    Now that’s strange ! I saw this post just a minute or so after I finished bending 92mm brakes for my Sanouks (110). It was no big deal, used a vise and a length of steel tubing. Just bend them straight, rearrange them in the vise, and re-bend as desired. They work like they should, a bit short though.

  5. Lou December 3rd, 2007 4:12 pm

    Goat, last time we tried to bend some like that they broke, newer ones might be softer steel and more malleable, thanks for letting us know. Everyone, bend at your own risk (g)!

  6. Morten December 3rd, 2007 4:51 pm

    Thank’s for the advice Lou…! Quick and competent. I just got a mail from the shop that they’ve spoken with the Dynafit factory and that the factory will sendt them the Vertical FT binding with a wider stopper preinstalled in recognition of many skiiers wish to combine wider skis with the Dynafit binding so U might soon be done with all the bending/grinding as far as the stopper goes…
    Still in doubt about the length of ski I should choose though as BDdel.com recommends 190cm as well as some others I’ve spoken to. Can U guys give me a quick pro/contras for the 180cm vs 190 cm choice ?
    (Buying rando gear for the first time, have been alpine skiing for a couple of weeks the last 30 years, including one full season in Tignes/Val dÃ?sere -France.
    37 years old, 189cm(6ft1inch) of height and 85kg heavy(187lb).No previous rando experience, few weeks of powder experience. In medium physical shape.! Living in Norway/Jotunheimen, skiing from November to July, walking up skiing down.

    Considering the following gear:
    Dynafit Zzero 4C-TF (low weight, 4 buckles, good stiffness)
    Dynafit Vertical FT (low weight, good stiffness)
    Black Diamond Verdict 07/08 lenght 180 or 190cm (Lowest weight for the width, good ski on all surfaces/snow conditions)

    Thanks a million!

  7. NickD December 3rd, 2007 6:19 pm

    Hey Morton–good luck on purchase. Those are pretty big skis. Unless you are used to skiing really big ‘uns, I would say the 180cm. I am 6’3″ 195 and often think my 181 Shuksans (smaller ski) are too long. Remember in the backcountry what do you do 90%+ of the day: tour/go uphill. Kickturns and tight confines are especially nice with shorter sticks.
    Check out what Andrew McLean prefers: a 160 cm!

  8. Nate December 3rd, 2007 8:55 pm

    Morton, in my opinion go with the 180. The verdict in 190 is a BIG ski, ment to go fast and turn big. I am 95 kg and 185 cm and I have skied the 180 and like it better because it is much more versitale in tight turning situations but I can still turn it on when needed. I consider my self an agressive skier (my resort ski is a 187 B-squad) and the 180 verdict is my planned purchase for backcountry use (powder and corn and steep couloirs).

  9. randosteve December 3rd, 2007 9:43 pm

    Morten,

    I’m riding 190 Verdicts w/ Vertical FT’s and Zzero CF’s (5’9″, 160lbs). They are a quiver ski for me and I like them for big and fast powder turns. 180cm would be a bit more versatile as a quiver of one ski.

    Word!

  10. David Aldous December 3rd, 2007 10:11 pm

    I just got some Spirit 4’s and Vertical ST’s. I tried on the zzeros but they just didn’t fit my foot and the Spirit 3’s didn’t seem to hold my foot in place as well as I thought they should have.
    I’ve been playing around with the binding while I wait for my local shop to get some Black Diamond Kilowatts in. I’ve tried installing the brakes but I can’t seem to get the retaining clips to pop all the way in place. I’m not sure if they are too narrow or maybe I’m not pressing them down hard enough.
    Can someone give me an idea of how hard you have to push to get the clip to go in its place or if there is some trick for getting the clip into place.
    It is probably good that the skis aren’t here yet because the snow isn’t too deep here yet and it would be a shame to damage new skis on rocks.
    Thanks Dave

  11. Marc December 3rd, 2007 11:05 pm

    Lou-
    This is my first season on Dynafits after several years of Fritschi use. I’m super psyched on the “light is right” binding and have several days of touring on them so far. I’ve done quite a bit of research on your site and appreciate all the information! I do have a question though, and would like to hear your opinion. Many of the folks that I’ve met using Dynafits don’t use brakes at all. The bindings are obviously lighter without brakes and there is possibly less fiddle factor, but you run the risk of loosing a ski. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of leashes and definately don’t want to be popping those on and off all day. So Lou, do you use brakes or leashes or neither?

  12. Lou December 4th, 2007 7:24 am

    Marc, I use brakes most of the winter because I fall a bit more in winter pow/crud and don’t want to be hit by a ski, and also don’t want to be tied to my skis in an avalanche. In spring I frequently use leashes for lighter weight. But in winter I do use a few lightweight rigs that just have leashes, especially for long flatter tours and for randonnee racing.

    Going with neither leash nor brake is in my opinion crazy. But then, that’s just my opinion.

  13. Lou December 4th, 2007 7:27 am

    David, sometimes you have to press the clip in firmly with a screwdriver blade, but that’s about the extent of it. Make sure the brake is installed all the way, with the little nibs both inserted into the slots in the binding post. As in my instructions: http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/dynafit_faq/comfort-brake-install.html

  14. Morten December 4th, 2007 8:20 am

    Thanks for the advice on choice of lenght on the BD Verdict, I’ll probably go for the 180cm as recommended by the majority!
    Looking forward to some powder skiing, have a great season everybody!

  15. Dave F. December 4th, 2007 9:02 am

    In really deep fluff ski brakes won’t prevent a lost ski. When skiing without brakes on dynafit bindings, especially in deeper snow, I like to use a fluorescent nylon ribbon powder leash attached to the front binding and stuffed into my pants cuff. They can be attached to the dynafit loop with a small clip to facilitate removing your boot from the ski. When/if you biff, the ski is not attached to you but the ribbon provides a great marker to locate the ski easily. I think Dynafit sells these as do: http://www.rcpower.com/powder_leash.html

  16. Scott December 4th, 2007 8:37 pm

    Bah. For that little space, you could have just bent them wider.
    Pull a little bit on each arm and you are done.

    I actually bent mine straight, then re-bent them to fit 110mm waist.
    They are one of the easier brakes to bend.

  17. Lou December 4th, 2007 8:55 pm

    Scott, the point is that sometimes when you bend them it messes up the angles and they tend to stick closed. Shaving the plastic prevents that. If one needs more than a few mill, then they can go to the dark side and bend away.

  18. Keith December 13th, 2007 2:12 pm

    Lou
    I live and ride around valdez Alaska and recently bought a voile mojo splitboard. I want to go to a hard boot probobly a scarpa boot. Do you have any advise on bindings for this application. I am looking at voile Mt. plate set up. thanks keith

  19. Lou December 13th, 2007 2:46 pm

    Sorry Keith, I’m clueless about boards, anyone have an answer?

  20. LBR December 13th, 2007 6:33 pm

    Hey Keith, the voile Mountain Plate would be good, I heard that Bomber makes a split-specific plate binding as well.
    You can get all kinds of info and dudes chiming in on the forum at http://www.splitboard.com

  21. Joel Rohrbough December 17th, 2007 12:02 am

    Thanks for all the good info, Lou.

    I haven’t seen discussion regarding Dynafit’s new Vertical FT, with the full length foot plate. Is this feature successfully addressing a previous weakness? Are the FT’s better than the ST’s because of this?

    Joel

  22. Lou December 17th, 2007 7:09 am

    Hi Joel, many people feel the full length plate is more cosmetic than anything else. It probably stiffens the ski slightly under the foot, perhaps making a difference in binding retention during really agro skiing. If you have a problem staying in Dynafits while skiing it could be worth a try, otherwise it would be a non-issue.

  23. Joe January 3rd, 2009 1:25 am

    Kieth,
    I use Dynafit (blue) three-buckle boots that are about 5 or 6 years old for my split board setup, and they work very well. They are much softer than anything Scarpa makes, but are plenty stiff for snowboarding. They are far superior to any traditional boots that I have used while in touring mode, and are supportive enough to go hella-fast. I would avoid using randonnee boots other than the softest dynafits unless you ride with extreme angles.

  24. Powderpages.com November 5th, 2010 11:10 am

    hi lou,
    just wondering if anybody has tried a more aggressive technique to widen brakes? i am looking at getting a pair of Ski Logik Depth Hoars (waist of 143mm) and have been thinking of trying to cut the brake and somehow add an extension to each side to get the 30 extra mm needed to span that wide a ski. Just wondering if you have heard of anybody modding brakes other than spreading/rebending them.

  25. Ang March 25th, 2012 3:39 am

    Hi, I’m trying to find some bindings for my Line Pandora ski (115mm waist) Would the Dynafit TLT Vertical ST 110MM Binding work with some bending or do you recommend an entirely different binding?

    Thanks for your help!

    Ang

  26. Rob May 3rd, 2012 5:59 pm

    Sorry to bring this old thread up, but I too have a question regarding dynafit brake width. I can choose between 110 mm and 92 mm brake for my 98 waist ski. Which would be better? Would 110 mm be too wide? Would 92 mm require some bending? 100 mm would be ideal but cannot find a binding with that width brake and don’t feel like paying extra 55 eur for brakes of desired width.

  27. Lou May 3rd, 2012 6:23 pm

    Ang, the 110 brake would probably work with some mods. Rob, if I get you correctly you’d use the 92 on 98, meaning you’d need about 3 more millimeters clear on each side? In that case, just grind plastic off inside of brake arms, then bend a bit if necessary.

  28. Wayne Jeffs September 12th, 2012 3:30 pm

    I have had problems with keeping a brake installed on a Dynafit FT-12 binding. I have read the tips on how to install the “puzzle clip” and was successful. However the design seems to release the brake clip if put any backward pressure on the brake assembly – I have even purchased an additional set of brakes after losing one brake (but found the clip). I put on the new clips and still am having difficulties in keeping the brake attached. I made sure that the brake clip was placed far enough back to match up with the brake assembly as shown on Dynafit instructions and Wild Snow brake install directions.

    Any words of wisdom? It seems to me that the design is not adequate to retain the brake.
    I am a long time telemarker and loved the idea of a ski brake on the AT bindings – but now the thought of using a leash is causing me some concerns. What type of leash configurations do folks use with the tech binding systems?

  29. Lou Dawson September 12th, 2012 4:07 pm

    Wayne, if your brakes won’t stay on there is definitly something wrong. Sometimes the brake retainer clip doesn’t get nested down in where it’s designed to go. Also, be sure to lightly squeeze together the brake parts that hook around the center spindle of the binding, and be sure they truly clip on with a slight click when you slide on. If all else fails, once the brakes are on epoxy in the slot under the plastic base plate, that way they’ll never come off.

    In terms of leashes, see

    http://www.wildsnow.com/1446/dynafit-binding-safety-leash-strap/

    Lou

  30. Andrew June 9th, 2016 5:46 am

    Hello, I have the same problem. And I am a beginner.
    What should I choose between a 90 and 120 brakes for my 100(waist) skis ?

    Thanx

    Andrew

  31. Lou Dawson 2 June 9th, 2016 8:14 am

    Hi Andrew, 120 is somewhat large of a brake for a 100 waist ski but it would still work. With a combination of slight bending as well as grinding plastic as shown here you might be able to get the 90 to function. What brand-model binding, and are you working with a retailer who can help you? Lou

  32. Andrew June 10th, 2016 2:11 am

    Hi Lou, I want to buy the Beast. I found a really good price, 299 euro. I have a friend who is a mechanic and he has a lot of tools so he will help me with this . I was thinking that maybe the 90 mm brake is the best after seeing this post but I wanted a opinion from someone who did this, a specialist 🙂 Thanks a lot for the help and thanks for responding back… I saw that this post was inactive for about 4 years. A big thank for everything! Andrew

  33. Lou Dawson 2 June 10th, 2016 9:06 am

    Ok Andrew, best wishes, perhaps report back here after you get the binding on the skis. Lou

  34. Andrew December 8th, 2016 2:13 am

    Hello Lou, I’m writing back regarding the last message, with the Beast 14 with 90mm brakes on 100 mm waist skis. I have them up on my skis, installed by myself. (Btw, I didn’t found a template for Beast 14 2016) They fit ok without bending. I measured the area where the brake is and is 104mm wide. I went skiing last weekend and they deploy without problems. The arms of the brake are touching the edge of the ski. I think in time will be a mark on the ski where the arms are touching the edge but I think this will not be such a big deal. If you want I can send pictures. Thanks for the advice and wish you a lot of nice ski days 🙂 (Sorry for bad English – not native). Andrew

  35. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2016 8:04 am

    Thanks Andrew, valuable information! Lou

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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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