Wildsnow, in your opinion, what is the defining feature of Beast compared to other tech bindings?
Elasticity. Otherwise known as return to center force (RTC). Check the photos and video below.
Does the Beast have a release lockout like most other tech bindings?
Yes, like virtually all other tech bindings it is necessary to lock Beast while in touring mode. This is done with a black plastic lever that simply drops into corresponding slots. As a downside of the binding, it is all too easy to lock when you intend instead to leave unlocked to allow lateral safety release. When learning the binding take time to memorize how this works.
How do you enter and exit Beast Binding, much different from other tech bindings?
Pretty much the same entry/exit procedure as other tech bindings:
Open toe jaws by pressing opener tab at front of binding (see photo). Clean out the toe sockets in your boots. Step into toe while lining your boot toe sockets with the binding pins. Step down at toe to press the “trigger” and close the toe jaws. Step down at the heel to engage for downhill, or if touring flip the heel lifter down first, then step down at the heel to retract the brake (see photos and video.)
I don’t have boots with the special heel fitting, how do I install?
Installing the Beast fitting on the heel of your boots is easy. First, you need tech compatible boots. You then remove the screw holding the original heel fitting, and pry out the fitting with a flat blade screwdriver. Clean up the plastic that was under the original fitting using a toothbrush or whatever. Dry-fit the Beast fitting to make sure you won’t run into any glitches. To install, dab a tiny amount of JBweld in the holes where the original fitting nested. Place the Beast fitting on the boot and tap with hammer to seat it. Insert the rear screw first, being careful not to over-tighten and strip. Lastly, drill small pilot holes for the pair of side screws and insert. Check inside boot for screws protruding into the passenger space. Usually, if they protrude they’ll do so below your heel or such a small amount they’ll just press into your liner. If you can see the ends of the screws, cover with some duct tape to prevent damage to your liners. Photos below clarify all.
WildSnow, that brings up the question, can I use these beefier fittings with any tech binding?
Possibly, at your own risk. See this blog post.
It is obvious from the weight and look that Beast is sturdy, what internals in the heel make it strong?
While the toe units on most of today’s tech bindings are plenty strong, strength failures in heel units are known to occur. One of the weakest links in the generic tech binding spec used for everything from Plum to Dynafit Radical is the heel unit internal spindle post. This component is majorly beefed on Beast.
More, and this is a real esoteric “insider” take, the earliest Dynafit tech bindings were actually designed with a cool “ledge” inside the top of the plastic heel unit socket where the spindle rests. The idea was the aluminum spindle would have a flange that rotated into the plastic heel socket and locked the heel from coming off the spindle vertically. For some reason, while the spindle does have a flange on top this design feature was never fully implemented, and even the internal ledge in the socket was eliminated in the Comfort and Vertical models. (The plastic thimble bushing is what resists upwards force from pulling the heel unit up off the spindle.)
This excellent “keyed socket” feature has returned in the Beast 16. It feels good. When you install the heel unit rotate it and feel it key into position, then lock — that’s even before you insert the thimble bushing, which provides even more resistance to upwards forces. Check out a few photos.