Fritschi Diamir Titanal 1 Ski Touring Binding — 1995

Complete Fritschi Diamir Titanal binding. The design revolution with this binding was in using a single lightweight rail to connect heel and toe units. This rail was ostensibly made from Titanal, a very strong aluminum alloy. Nonetheless the rail bent too easily and was strengthened in later models. In all, the binding was very lightweight and had a modern look and feel.

Complete Fritschi Diamir Titanal binding. The design revolution with this binding was in using a single lightweight rail to connect heel and toe units. This rail was ostensibly made from Titanal, a very strong aluminum alloy. Nonetheless the rail bent too easily and was strengthened in later models. In all, the binding was very lightweight and had a modern look and feel. Click to enlarge.

Fritschi Diamir Titanal was Fritschi’s second offering in the binding market, and was a major and long overdue upgrade from their first effort, the FT88 (see binding museum index for FT88). The binding was distributed by Black Diamond Equipment beginning in 1995, and hailed as the first modern ski touring randonneee binding that made an effort to match alpine bindings in downhill performance, as well as being quite light in weight.

According to some accounts, the family tree of Fritschi bindings has roots in the Gertsch (though we are not clear during which date range this occurred). The story is that Gertsch jobbed out their parts manufacturing to a Swiss company, Fritschi, that made precision drawing tables. This prompted Fritschi to enter the ski binding business themselves using ideas they’d developed while producing the Gertsch. Examination of Fritschi’s first binding, the FT88 (circa 1982), reveals many similarities between it and the earlier Gertsch, thus this story is perhaps fact. (source: Alpenglow.org ).

A somewhat leading feature of the Titanal was a four position heel elevator with a very high top lift. The lever is easy to operate with a ski pole, and the minimalist design contributes to the binding's light weight. The binding can be identified by its white plastic parts, which would change to dark blue on the next model.

A somewhat leading feature of the Titanal was a four position heel elevator with a very high top lift. The lever is easy to operate with a ski pole, and the minimalist design contributes to the binding’s light weight. The binding can be identified by its white plastic parts, which would change to dark blue on the next model.

Heel latch/elevator detail. Unlatched position shown to left provides a nice heel-flat-on-ski mode that's good for touring low angled terrain. Photo to left shows the unit in latched position ready for downhill skiing.

Heel latch/elevator detail. Unlatched position shown to left provides a nice heel-flat-on-ski mode that’s good for touring low angled terrain. Photo to left shows the unit in latched position ready for downhill skiing.

The end of the rail slides freely forward and back in the heel unit (see photo above), thus allowing the ski to flex. Only problem with this system is that with a soft ski the unit could become unlatched, resulting in a well known Fritschi problem that came to be called “insta-tele.” This problem persisted in all Fritschi binding models until the Freeride Plus was released in 2006.

To engage in alpine mode, you simply drop the rear of the plate down into the latch, then pull the latch up. This engages the arrow indicated pin with associated slot.

To engage in alpine mode, you simply drop the rear of the plate down into the latch, then pull the latch up. This engages the arrow indicated pin with associated slot.

One thing that made the Titanal so light was how Fritschi minimized and built the toe release mechanism into a small area under the toe wings. As the wings rotate, they push a shouder against a spring loaded piston hidden in the binding rail/plate, in turn allowing side release. Details of this can be seen in our Fritschi parts breakdown. (Toe unit shown above is from late model Fritschi).

One thing that made the Titanal so light was how Fritschi minimized and built the toe release mechanism into a small area under the toe wings. As the wings rotate, they push a shoulder against a spring loaded piston hidden in the binding rail/plate, in turn allowing side release. Details of this can be seen in our Fritschi frame binding parts breakdown. (Toe unit shown above is from late model Fritschi).

While the Diamir was revolutionary in that it had most of the function of its contemporary alpine bindings and looked the part, as a first generation model it was not without problems. Perhaps the worst of these was that the bar connection toe and heel was weak, and bent with heavy use. This was corrected in the next model, Titanal II. Another problem was that with flexible skis or aggressive use, the mode latch at the heel could inadvertently release in downhill mode, leading to a condition that came to be known as “insta-tele.” This problem wasn’t totally taken care of until 2005, when Fritschi changed the mode latch in all models.

Weight (one binding with brake and screws): 32.3 oz, 918 gr

Thanks goes to Boone Caudill for donating these bindings to the WildSnow collection.

First Couloir Magazine review of Diamir was in volume VIII-1, Oct/Nov 1995.

  Your Comments

  • Lou Dawson 2: More from Matt at Atomic: "The Nm rating of 130 is actually just a coinc...
  • Jack: Lou, re: foot/leg Find someone who repairs/rebuilds prosthetics, or find...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Thanks Tom, I have fun learning about the tech stuff but definitely don't h...
  • Tom Gos: Lou, with regard to your torque math you are correct about the 50cm lever a...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Concern is that air convection within the cells will make the jacket work p...
  • Carl: I have found how the boot is buckled has a huge flex impact as well. Boots...
  • Carl: looks like a great thing to have in the pack. Site looks like it works, di...
  • Jack: hmmm. I wonder how hard it would be to instrument the boot liner to measu...
  • Omekim: Ummm.... The machine looks to be at room temperature. They should probably ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Tom, it would be easy to do something crude using a torque wrench on an art...
  • Lou Dawson 2: From what I know, unlikely all the boot flex ratings in the industry are an...
  • Tom Gos: Lou, I seem to remember that back in the '80s Ski Magazine (the American on...
  • Bill H: Maybe SkiAlper can rent some time on the machine for next year's issue :)...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Greg, I did have a graphic at one time but I don't recall it having reso...
  • Greg: I remember there being an image of the D scale at some point – with resort ...
  • Hans D.: Great advice. I hadn't thought about the "quickstep" notch, but now that y...
  • Dean Gagnon: Hello, Does anyone know where to get spare hinges for the tounge of the ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Billy Goat, IMHO the Amer (Salomon) binding is not a done deal, it will be ...
  • Rod Georgiu: Good idea...
  • zak: Any idea on if/when Scarpa will update the F1 to include the tech from the ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: I'll say it. Many Dynafit ski models are built to be lightweight and not pa...
  • Tomas: Destruction topsheet - only 2 days during normal telemark skiing. I'm wait...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Glad you liked the photos, was a fun day with you guys. Main thing, just gi...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Agree, someone needs to forget about TUV and all that sort of thing and jus...
  • szaraz levente: I do not need a TUV certificate brake, I only hate the wire wich connect me...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hans, the best thing to do is put your boot-binding combo on a release test...
  • Hans D.: Regarding touring boots with swappable soles for alpine use: I have Lupo TI...
  • Dave Johnson: My mind is blown at the binding technology going on today. Imagine, in '76 ...
  • Bar Barrique: Jason; If you choose to replace the liners, I would advise speaking to the ...
  • BillyGoat: Convertible alpine bindings will defiantly have a market (aside from the fi...

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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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