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Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by lennysan, Aug 9, 2015.
Not required, fishing sinker.
As the only person I know who's skied the Spike bindings, what can you tell me?
I've vacillated for some time about trying the NTN version (Louis does them on special order, when he gets time), it seems to tick many of my boxes:
Look well built.
Decent looking tour mode if wanted.
Sensible design for "activity" adjustment.
The price doesn't require me to upset the national trade balance, unlike Bishop or Meidjo for instance.
Louis reckons, "The SPIKE NTN feels a lot like 75 mm and I would say not much difference between the Voodoo NTN or 75mm in terms of flex and initiating the turn, but there is significant difference for riding an edge whether standing up or down low. NTN engages the edge much more precisely."
Sounds just the ticket to me.
But as you said earlier in this thread, it takes a while before a manufacturer gets things right. Louis has been skiing this combo for around 10 years he says, so presumably most problems are ironed out acceptably (I'm not averse to a bit of adjustment/modification/rebuilding as required). It doesn't appear to have too many dicky little plasticky bits.
@Untele-whippet & @Ziggy both used to ski it I think.
I skied NTN Spike for a few seasons.
If you’re touring the brakes are a PITA and easy to remove but great if just used for lift accessed skiing.
The tour mode latch is a bit fiddly to engage but the free pivot range of motion is awesome.
They have the easiest to use heel risers of any binding , tele or AT that I’ve ever used.
They are true step in but no release.
Yes there is a bit of tinkering to get the right activity level by playing with different spring stiffness and pivot points.
I used the double barrel version for resort skiing
and I toured to Jagungal on the single barrel version.
Louis is a great guy to chat to via email to answer questions about parts etc.
I skied the spike, really nice heavy duty three pin binding.
Didn’t fuss me self too much with the brakes.
Never had the heel thing.
A really great three pin binding, step in worked well, almost built like a T34 tank, except the moving parts are better.
The next step from the spike/ bulldog of course is the ATKtelemark.
Too many extras.
Sadly no longer made due to the continued existance of 75mm boots.
The Meccano binding.
The Outlaw X ticks most of these too.
[Edit - deletion]
It was made to emulate the flex of the Axls in 75mm and IMO it really does, meaning it's an active binding. Stiffer springs are available.
They're about $600 here.
Not light but you mentioned 50/50 on/off piste IIRC.
Into 2nd gen so debugged.
They have 'catastrophic' release but I mount them on Telebry Safeout release plates.
Thanks for the replies on the Spike @skifree @Untele-whippet @Telemark Phat @Ziggy
Mostly reinforces what I kind of expected
tele brakes are usually a bit cludgy, never seen one that functions as nicely as even most rental level alpine brakes.
good to hear they are as well made as they look
don't care too much about the release - at least until just after I hurt myself.
The Outlaw X doesn't seem like it quite ticks my list of compromises - too active for my liking from what I've seen. And other reasons.
So probably time to order and patiently await the new arrival.
I don't quite believe that's true - previous discussion outlined pretty clearly that they had reliability issues - that's a very common reason for products to be pulled, warranty gets real expensive, real quick.
If 75mm still exists, one needs to ask why? What are other systems not providing that skiers want?
We live in a "free market" system - consumers (ostensibly) drive supply, not the other way around.
If NTN/NN-BC (I put tech in with NTN as that's the underlying design) haven't taken over completely from 75mm, it's because consumers don't think they fill the same needs. Therefore it's not an issue with 75mm, it's an issue with suppliers not providing what consumers want (or think they want).
Either a large number of consumers are wrong (this isn't really an option in Keynesian economics), or the suppliers haven't yet come up with the correct solution, or the current solution(s) are actually the right ones.
You can't blame the existence of 75mm for the shortcomings of other systems.
Oh, and if we removed 75mm from the planet, that wouldn't make the other systems any better. Perhaps you might argue that by taking 75mm out of play then more development might be directed to NTN, however I'd argue that is unlikely. Commercial development is driven by competition, removing competing products from the market is exactly how businesses reduce the need for development.
I believe we are still waiting for the next "best" solution, and it will be a completely new boot/binding interface. So everything that currently exists is stifling it's development - back to a leather strap over the toe of the boot to encourage new development I say.
A key reason is a reluctance to change, upgrade, spend money on gear. It's very real when talking with people about maybe they could treat themselves and upgrade their XX year old skis. Boots are similar.
I wonder what the sales comparison is now. I think a lot of people starting on 75mm buy it second hand, as you can buy a pretty new setup very cheap. I gave mine away, to be used for people trying it out. Worth less than a 26er mountain bike!
It is true. @skifree got it from the horses mouth. ATK were making the binding in partnership with Scarpa, but Scarpa were dragging their feet on developing the light weight boot to match the Newmark, so they stopped making the binding. It wasn't due to reliability issues.
75mm isn't holding NTN back, its holding boot development back. By splitting a small market the return on R&D is also split.
I concur. I currently have all my skis set up with inserts or switch plates that fit G3 and Spike Bulldog bindings. I also own a brand new pair of Garmont Venus boots for when the current ones crap out. To change to NTN would cost me a bomb and require all my skis to be filled and re drilled to accommodate a different screw pattern. Seriously not going to happen, I am happy as I am thanks.
But what if you only think that you are happy?
Why go from 75mm to NTN?
One class of skier is open to new tech and will pay to see how it performs - prepared to see their 75mm gear gather dust. Another class makes the move when their 75mm boots and/or liners are clapped out and they have to spend X bucks anyway, and think why not X + bindings.
How many of the first class have gone back to their 75mm?
How many of the 2nd regret not having stayed with 75mm?
Added: to folk in the second category, I'd say this: you're letting your progression down if you don't demo several varieties of NTN.
And you can't talk about NTN as if they all skied the same.
That's actually a real bummer as I have been thinking about your foot issue and I think it would be eased by the switch to NTN.
A comment on 'active' bindings, cos I think it's a dumb term ....
For years and over a succession of bindings starting with 7TMs my Scarpa T2Xs had 'rocker', another imprecise term. What it means is that the duckbill and slot weren't a good fit. There was slop. So the boot heel could come up aways at the start of a turn before anything happened.
On one occasion dossa5 lent me his Hammerheads and skis to try. Wow - when I moved the bindings engaged earlier and more positively. Why waste time and energy on slop?
With NTN there's the same improvement only greater. When I move I affect the binding and ski with more feel, more stability and more control.
I'm only an intermediate telemarker and I'm happy to have every advantage that well-designed gear affords. My only regret is that I waited till those Scarpas clapped out before making the move.
Rim brakes v disc?
Who'd choose white-knuckle braking in the wet?
Plenty! The Tour was still a very mixed bag.
I haven't see any new 75mm boot molds in probably 15 years, so any R&D investment in boots must be going to NTN and yet progress in NTN boot development has, as you say, stalled. There must not be the market signals for anyone to justify investing in any telemark boot development.
Its already happening.
Crispi EVO BC prototype from Jan this year
NEW SCARPA NTN BOOTS: “…WE ARE WORKING ON IT.”
And the market signal has been the increased number of NTN bindings and the decline of 75mm. With less 75mm there will be more innovation.
Those lowers look to be out of the current shiver/evo mold. The investment in lightening the buckle configuration is minor in the scheme of a full boot development budget. I'm waiting to see a proper ground up effort like scarpa put into the first NTN boots, then we'll hopefully see some real advancement.
Me too, but its better than nothing happening.
I'm a class 2 skier, does that mean I need to ski NTN as a class 2 lever? hehehe
On a more serious note, I spent some time in Everest Sports today trying on NTN boots (sh, don't tell anyone I'm even contemplating such heresy) and considering potential future tele gear.
Tried a couple of Crispi and the Scott Voodoo.
The Crispi Evo or whatever they are (one below the Race I think) felt like they might ski with a bit better lateral performance, but the bellows is scary stiff. I've heard in various places that it improves, but I find it hard to believe it'll ever get as soft as the Scott out of the box. I disliked the flex of the last Crispis I skied several years ago, maybe the CX or something? Had a weird stiff/collapsing feel to it.
The Scott felt a somewhat better fit, but a bit softer in flex & more importantly laterally. My only reason to go to NTN would be to gain lateral rigidity. Of course how a boot feels in the shop and how it skis can be a fair way apart.
The other problem with the Scott is that my high instep can barely get into the boot, I literally had to jam my foot in as far as I could, then jump on it to get it to go right in! Once in it felt fine. To do with that unusual overlap/tongue arrangement.
I used to boot fit, and I have a reckless disregard for keeping things in pristine condition, so I'd be happy to just chop out or stretch the offending part of the boot.
I'll very likely match them to the Spike NTN binding.
So any real world experience skiing both boots?
Probably mostly interested in comparisons of how the flex and lateral stiffness compares after a few days skiing.
Please keep in mind that although I'm always interested in developing my technique, I've no interest whatsoever in losing supple flex in exchange for ... anything really. If that's a handicap, consider me happily handicapped.
Snow on the hills around Bright, but I'm safely inside out of the dangers of the elements thanks to the Hotham road having apparently beamed itself up to Mars or something.
Decent avi. down Mary's yesterday - don't think I've seen it run that far down ever before. And a couple of blokes bought some stove gas canisters in town this morning before heading up Feathertop to ski the chutes .... to each their own.
The Crispi belows soften up fairly quickly according to dossa5.
Go to Snow Trek and Travel and try some Scarpas as well. Pete Cranage has three flavours. https://www.crosscountryskier.com.au/telemark-3
None of the Crispi boots I've worn or tried are good fits for me while the TX Pros are as comfy as old slippers.
The Scotts are softer than the EVOs. Snow trek and travel could be worth a look. The scarpa fit could work well for you and I think the Scarpa Tx Pro has a softer flex than the Scotts.
The Scarpa foot has a narrower heel than the Crispi. The instep strap keeps the ankle down. The forefoot is 102mm wide.
TXs are 3 buckle and soft. TX Pro, 4 buckle and firmer. TX Comp are tall and stiff.
"Softens up" is such a subjective term. I'm really after someone who's actually skied a bit of time in both to provide real-life comparison. dossa5 reckons the Crispi Evo is soft (after it's skied in), but other reviews put it toward the stiffer end of the spectrum, hence the need for comparison between the two.
I'll drop in on Pete next time I'm up that way if I have time.
I'm trying to get over a bit of a bee in my bonnet about Scarpa, long held prejudices and maintaining ones principles sometimes get in the way of an easy life. Scarpa/Dlack Diamond head office screwed me over many years ago and I've chosen not to forgive them. I doubt any of the culprits still work there now, so maybe I can see my way clear to a dishonourable discharge for them.
Hadn't seen those until today. Nice video and looks like an interesting design for both touring and tele modes. Woud be very lightweight too. Does the Newark binding have any release capability in Tele mode in a fall?
Ive had 30+ days on the Evos and the bellows is quite soft by comparison to my old Garmonts.
@Idoitmyway Will be up your way next week
I have a pair of the original prototype Scarpa TX not the ones that broke or the ones that had the tech insert but the buttery soft prototypes.. your welcome to borrow (But not frankenstein them) and I have a spare set of freerides you can mount to your fence palings if you like
PM me and I can get them to you if your keen.
I have got hold of the ski crampon adapter and appropriate ski crampon. All seems to fit ok.
I could not find much info on this stuff. But all looks good and works in the kitchen.
Some field testing should happen tomoroz for a least functionality, might struggle to find real ice to play with.
Well after a solid month of skiing the 2.1s and early teething issues of pre-release Im a big fan of these.
The release is wound up tight as are the springs. Very responsive and have handled anything thrown at them.
If you look real close and know your Meidjos you will notice that one of the two holding pins for the cocking leaver is missing from each binding. This is just a push fit SS rod into a hole in the plastic. A simple lightweight solution but I suspect that when I changed the cocking leavers over to the new version the hole's grip on the SS rod is not as good as previous and it has fallen out.
Something to check if on your Meidjos particularly if you have changed the cocking leavers over.
I found a bit of plain steel rod at the hobby/model shop that I'll glue into the hole to fix these.
@skifree as a likely future Meidjo owner I can't see where the pins you speak of are missing. Somewhere near the base of the lever I presume? If I did own any Meidjos today I think I'd pull out the pins and put them in again with some epoxy to help them stay in. Thanks for posting - might save someone losing a cocking lever whilst skiing.
I’ll try and mark up a pic tomoroz.
Thanks @skifree . Those are teeny weeny pins!
All these little parts do worry me a bit as they are all potential failure points in a binding i like for its reported very good skiability, small mass and for an adjustable release capability independent of the binding's activity tension. The release function is for me is the biggest advantage over the simpler design of the Lynx from 22 Designs. The Lynx is probably (due to it being more metal than plastic) more robust and durable Lynx from 22 Designs. However my knees and ankles are less robust than metal so the Meidjo release is compelling. My right ankle is now made of metal and plastic but I have to be careful I don't wear it out prematurely or stuff it up in a non-skiing fall. At least in a solid tele or AT boot ankles are well protected. Knees however will appreciate appropriate binding release events.
Looking at the lever pin design another plastic housing for the little pins added onto the big black tension spring housing on the other side of the lever would help retain them. Push the pin in from one side into a blind hole then dab on epoxy to seal the exposed pin-end into the housing. Meidjo V3 will be interesting...or 2.2. I think Lynx has already had a few changes for this year's production run. With me not going os this Jan-March I've got until next Oz season to get NTN boots and bindings to supercede my 75mm resort gear.
V3 just dropped.