Advice needed Worth going the tech binding route for new skis?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Sage Oya, Oct 4, 2018.

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  1. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst
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    Hi all,

    Picked up a new set of Armada ARV 116 JJ on sale a few weeks ago for future Japow and NZ trips but haven’t decided on which binding to pair them with yet.

    Am debating whether it’s worthwhile mounting a tech binding like the kingpin or tecton etc or whether I should just mount a pair of alpine binding. Have marker griffons on my arv 96 which I really like.

    Not looking to use the JJ to do extended touring given their width and weight but rather short stints just outside the gate etc.

    Cheers
     
  2. Any

    Any Addicted

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    tldr; Yes. I reckon alpine is dead, or at least very close to it.
    You need new boots tho.

    I converted just before last season, and ski'd over 120 days on my tech setup. I won't be going back.

    My motivation was to make the 30 or so touring days I do each year easier and lighter, and so that I could tour with whatever my favorite skis are for the season. But there was a whole lot of other unexpected benefits in resort and in-bounds too.
    Losing weight wasn't difficult, frame bindings are so heavy and my old alpine boots weren't exactly light either. Also many skis (especially powder related skis) are targeting lighter weight categories now and progressively getting lighter and lighter. If only losing weight irl was so easy.
    It also often takes me a couple of runs to adapt between the different pairs of skis I have, but when touring you don't have the luxury of a couple of runs warmup, so I wanted to avoid that.

    I had read many reviews and talked with many people about how I should expect slightly less control or fidelity. I was still very apprehensive, however as I predominately ski powder in Japan I took the risk figuring slightly less power transfer wouldn't matter in powder snow.

    I went with Scarpa Freedom RS boots, as they seemed to be very stiff for a tech boot. But also because they have interchangeable soles so that I could swap back to my old skis if I needed to. The unexpected rubber soles of tech boots have been a nice plus for that quick visit to the tiled floor of the corner store on the way home.
    I went with the Marker Kingpins because they're reviewed to provide the most control. I also like that the heel ejects, and that it has super wide heel clamp to provide more power transfer.

    What I found was the complete opposite of what I was told to expect tho.
    Firstly I nearly fell off the chairlift. The kit was so light I wasn't even sure the skis were still attached. I swung my legs around all over the place and couldn't work out what was going on. Had to look down several times on the way up to make sure my bindings hadn't unclipped or something.
    My first run was insane. With "no skis attached" (that's how it felt) I was like a bunny rabbit bounding through the heavy December Japanese powder. Feels more like I am dancing with these skis rather than skiing. The bounding didn't end all season.
    Even skiing 125mm wide fat pow skis that require more power to hold an edge on firm snow (line pescado), the kingpins have absolutely no trouble providing the torque and control I need. While Japan doesn't offer much of that scraped-to-death-rock-solid-hardpack-snow that AU and NZ love so much, I did ski plenty of wind blown hardpack rocksolid ice without trouble.
    My thought now is that anyone complaining about a lack of control for tech bindings vs alpine bindings either doesn't know what they're talking about, is just copying what they read in some magazine, hasn't used kingpin's, or they took an ultra light euro 12 gram tech setup with flexible boots to a ski resort with rock solid blue ice and expected them to perform.
    The weight loss has significantly contributed to my endurance, I cut trails at almost a jogging pace like some sort of superman, skating on the flat is soo easy, and I think it has even contributed to easier transition between edges for turns.

    I don't plan on changing back, and only reason I plan to keep my old pair of alpine mounted pow skis, is so that someone might borrow them if they come visit (seeing as my future all-tech setup won't be so compatible with tourists).
    Anyone who asks me about going tech gets a white hot glowing recommendation from me.
     
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  3. Kopite

    Kopite Addicted

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    Shift. Best of both and if you’ve only got standard boots there’s no need to change right away.
     
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  4. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst
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    I tried on the Lange XT 130 FT boots last week and was surprised at how light and comfy they were. I’ve been considering these boots with the marker kingpin 13s. Seems like tech is the way to go if you’re happy for fork out the cash.
     
  5. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst
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    S/lab shift?
     
  6. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    Tele... oh wait

    Tech, full tech, light and way less snow jamb issues and they are well proven old (but good) technology.
     
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  7. Kopite

    Kopite Addicted

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    Yup, given what you’ve described they seem ideal in my understanding
     
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  8. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them
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    I went with these:


    and these



    on these



    Fun set up :)
     
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  9. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst
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    Very nice :thumbs:
     
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  10. Team Weasel

    Team Weasel Addicted

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    Shift sounds perfect for you. I'd steer away from kingpins. Flawed design, product recalls and better options out there now. Yes, people still use them, but if you're buying in, why start with an inferior binding?

    I've used shifts for most of this season and they are fantastic. Will be interested to see how I go when I use them less as I go to the lighter spring setups.
     
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  11. Whatever really

    Whatever really Hard Yards

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    I have Tecton and can’t fault them.
     
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  12. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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  13. Any

    Any Addicted

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    i didnt watch the whole video, because i was completely dumbfounded at the stupidity of what he is saying.
    the youtube comments pretty much sum it up, especially the top two, so I don't think i need to repeat myself.
    > I don't see how those moment arms differ between a tech toe piece vs. a traditional toe piece (actually that isn't true, I do if fact see that they don't differ) ....
    > "Tech bindings aren't very safe for lift served skiing"... says the guy who doesn't make a tech compatible ski boot...
    now im not going to claim at all that tech bindings are as safe as alpine bindings. because theyre not.
    but you cant drop all common sense to make an argument and expect people to play along, especially with a blatant conflict of interest.

    i also dont understand how anyone who thinks tech bindings are the devil could also claim that tech bindings suitable for backcountry environments.
    considering my experience in the backcountry vs in-bounds, backcountry skiing is significantly less safe than in-bounds. you've got invisible obstacles everywhere that can strike at any time. which means you need better release characteristics in backcountry, not less.
    therefore, if a binding is suitable in backcountry, then its suitable for on piste also.

    however with tech, i suppose getting your tips caught while getting on/off the chair would be very very bad. like break both legs in multiple places type bad. so maybe dont do that.
     
  14. nfip

    nfip Part of the Furniture
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    sorry but what are the bindings ?
     
  15. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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  16. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    You should read the wildsnow article, the video is consistent with it. With tech the forces are transmitted to your tibia, with an Alpine binding they are transmitted to you knee. Tech also has less reliable release than Alpine.

    You need a safer binding for resort skiing because you spend almost all of your time in the bindings skiing down hill at the risk of injury. When using tech bindings away from the lifts you only spend a small portion of your time in the bindings skiing down hill. The risk profile of a binding not releasing are very different for the two activities.

    Ski Tech inbounds, but be aware that if your skis don't release your likely to have a catastrophic fracture, rather than the ligament damage you'll likely suffer if your alpine bindings don't release.
     
  17. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them
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  18. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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    I know from experience that toe initiated lateral release is an injury waiting to happen in a basic tech toe.....but nothing is fail safe, even sitting on a sofa (beware the cat!)
     
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  19. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    But compared to previous tele bindings with no release the Meidjo releases very well from toe & tail.

    There is so much paranoia about tech bindings, that is the rubbish in the video.
     
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  20. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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    Toe if butt releases, which is most of the time and as the heel isn’t locked it’s pretty safe but not 100% (like life)
     
  21. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    I'll take your word on the Meijdo release, I haven't experienced one. Like any regular tech binding the Meijdo toe does not release. The needs to pivot from the toe, which relies on the lateral movement of the duck butt (heel for tech bindings) for release to occur. On an alpine binding release is from the Toe, the boot pivots at the heel with lateral movement from the toe of the boot. A lot of early alpine release bindings released from the heel like modern tech bindings. They have all been abandoned because toe release is safer. (there are a few exceptions like the tecton and kneebinding, ect).
     
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  22. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    I’ve had toe only and butt only releases, all good. Gotta learn to ski better and have less releases, except when i ran into a SUT, that was just stupid, I should have known he’d do something stupid.
     
  23. Sydlouise

    Sydlouise Hard Yards

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    Yessss mount the tech. And tour boots are just so much more comfy to walk around in than normal boots too. My everyday set up is Scarpa Gea's with Atomic Backlands with Kingpins and they crush everything, great for all resort skiing and light enough to tour without hating life. I'm not wedded to Kingpins I hear there are better things on the market now that I'll consider but I'd never choose to go back to a heavier non- tour binding, and I love the feeling of going CaTHLUNK into a proper heel piece even though I don't know if its actually better than just heel prongs. I know they're way easier to clip into than the last fiddly dynafit tour bindings I had.

    Only time I've had any trouble was walking through muddy slush this weekend I got some frozen mud in the toe pin bits of my boots and one hell of a time getting the bindings back in but that's probably my fault for being on a closed supertrail at night when theres f'all snow around. Had it been more dire I probably could have used my earring to dig it out but I ended up walking down because I was getting precious about my bases anyway.
     
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  24. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    It isn't utter crap at all. It is correct, if not communicated very well.

    Yeah! probably dwelled too much on the dangers but the big take away from the video should be the last line "These bindings are good for what they're intended for" but you didn't hang around to hear that.

    The Shift on the other hand, is shifting the intended use argument in the right direction.
     
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  25. sbm_

    sbm_ One of Us

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    So I spent several years with a pair of Plum Guide tech bindings, as my only bindings. I swapped them between a skinny ski and a pow ski using Binding Freedom inserts for several Australian seasons and four overseas trips (NZ, Japan twice, USA) Over that time period I blew up one toe piece (which was warrantied), probably due to skiing icy resort conditions in NZ, and I developed significant play in the pins in the heel pieces to the point they should probably be rebuilt.

    So can I recommend it? My honest answer is no. Skiing in a resort, they will hold a fast aggressive advanced skier back, in particular moguls and icy conditions are their bane. The high ramp angle doesn't help. The brakes are an afterthought. You can just about get away with it in Japan, but in NZ or Aus, it's rough. I now have pair of heavy downhill skis with Alpine bindings for resort skiing and it's so much better and more fun. Compromise just sucks. Tech bindings are so much better for human-powered skiing in wild untracked snow. Alpine bindings are so much better for lift-served laps though chopped, groomed, and tracked out snow. Get two pairs of skis if you want to pursue both styles of skiing seriously.

    Having said all that...the Salomon Shift looks veeeeery interesting and may be the holy grail of a binding that does it all pretty well (But we said that about the Marker Kingpin and the reality turned out to be mixed). But you should probably get Shift bindings.
     
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  26. Any

    Any Addicted

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    yeah the shift is real interesting. but not there yet imo.
    it looks like it has about 20 moving plastic parts to be able to transition between modes.
    after 3 hours of 80kph winds blizzard blowing sideways getting in everything, even the best of bindings get iced and clogged up. i regularly lend my toothbrush to people stuck trying to transition back to downhill mode. those close clearance and so many moving parts on the shift will be a nightmare. especially that big blue square at the front having to fold down into a gap, no way thats gonna work when full of ice that's been jammed up in there by your toe.

    but with both mcl's and meniscus damaged and one bad acl, you can bet that im watching its development closely tho :p
    its real good to see such innovation and competition since dynafit lost the patent.
     
  27. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Yeah this space has been interesting for a few years now.

    I use a frame binding for resort and slack country because I like the variety that it provides whilst still retaining the release values I like and Dynafit tech bindings for touring. I do ski groomers on my tech set up at times but prefer my frame set up or straight out alpine which I have as well, mostly Tyrolia demo bindings.

    I feel there is a bit of an ego attached to some that ride their touring set up in bounds. A little bit of the look at me, I'm a hard core back-country dude. I've chatted to a few of these folks and seriously don't believe some have even ventured past the resort boundaries. Maybe it's just me.

    Sure I'm all for milking the most out of your gear but intended use is the best way to go if you have the means.
     
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  28. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    I agree.

    If we could now just get the shift to lose 800gm/binding I’d look at them.
     
  29. Any

    Any Addicted

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    for sure. its the new version of the "why haven't you maxed out your dins" crowd.
    also the Japanese seem to love blowing $2000 on gear they'll only use once. but at least they get used once tho.
     
  30. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst
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    Cheers for all the feedback! Lots of useful insight :p.

    I had considered the s/lab shifts but will probably just mount another pair of marker griffons on the jj for dedicated in bounds and short boot packing ventures nearby, then go full tech on a lighter narrower set of skis for longer touring expiditions where the time spent traveling uphill is far greater than down. Good excuse to buy more skis :thumbs:
     
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  31. Kletterer

    Kletterer Still looking for doughnuts
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    3 quivers. Spring corn tourers, fatter mid Winter tourers and resort/ sidecountry workhorses.
     
  32. Bloke

    Bloke One of Us

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    Wouldn't that be a single quiver? ;)
     
  33. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Tyrolia also have a frame binding now made with Carbon, which has dropped the weight back quite a bit.
     
  34. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Crikey
    I had a set of Tyrolia frame bindings! Must be from the Middle Ages!
     
  35. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Yes!
    I still need some Spring tourers
     
  36. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    Mounted on skis heavier than my race construction resort skis.
     
  37. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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  38. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
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    Those things are still as heavy as sin compared to tech bindings.
     
  39. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Yep, was just saying that for some who prefer frame bindings (as DPS Driver stated for his purpose) there is a lighter option now. :)
     
  40. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture

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    That’s pretty much what I was thinking of suggesting.

    It’s also essentially what I personally did, mounting light alpine bindings on my Japan powder skis, with narrower tech set up for actual touring (I also have another 103mm pair with a frame binding).

    Very few Australian skiers are doing long tours on 114mm+ wide powder skis i imagine. I aren’t.
     
  41. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    I trust these have been repurposed as garage door or draw bridge hinges.
     
  42. Marty_McSly

    Marty_McSly Backwards to the future!
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    I was going to post a link to some Blizzard Zero G 95's on clearance in Melbourne, but it looks like I might have grabbed the last pair.
     
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  43. essjaywhy

    essjaywhy Addicted

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    yes

    I ended up with BMT 94 + Kingpins my high alpine Au/NZ 50/50 up/down, long icy edge hold, light tourers; I skied Revy / KH/ Rogers with these, a bit limiting in big downhill performance

    Mtn Lab 115s + F10s for 90% down for pow/soft , the Din frame bindings are great for mostly in field stepping in/out ;
    - i did ski Chile's Super C couloir on these and realised the huge ski's limitations with edgehold,

    so I got a regular downhill Warden 13 , Vantage 86 , a real crusher for on/ off piste
     
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  44. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    I think they’ve gone to Bruce :)

    They were on the long sticks I passed on to @Telemark Phat , where they were put after I bought them from AlpSports in Sydney in the 90’s sometime. They cost me a bomb then, and were already second hand and old. I spent years touring on them - frames + 205 straights + Alpine boots. Kids these days don’t know how good they’ve got it....!!

    I’ve another pair in the shed as well. Slightly different year/model.
     
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