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 ).
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.
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.