@ DavidFox: Your good question pertains to the 'stiffness' of the binding's release mechanism.
When you move a part of a binding's release mechanism with your hands, you are 'feeling' that specific part of the binding-mechanism's stiffness—but you're not necessarily 'feeling' peak release.
I wrote about your good question, in part, in a full-page article that appeared in the December, 1978 issue of SKI magazine on page 124—which article included a graph to explain, in part, the answer to your good question. I am also one the many co-authors of the 'DIN-System' — so I am qualified to answer your good question in that way, too.
First, peak release is standardized. For any given DIN-number, all alpine ski-boot-bindings systems must produce a standardized peak release value within specific standardized tolerances. These requirements are precisely defined in the International Standards Organization's ISO 8061 and ISO 9462 minimum international standards. These standards (along with other ISO standards covering other functional requirements of alpine bindings and boots) can be purchased on-line through the American National Standards Institute, ANSI. For example, all alpine bindings meeting ISO 9462 that are set at 'DIN-7' together with a standard alpine ski boot sole (standard boot defined by ISO 5355) while utilizing the 'predicted' boot sole length of 33.88cm (predicted boot sole lengths for any given 'DIN-setting' are defined in ISO 8061) must produce a standardized peak release torque (about the tibia) that's between 6.17 and 7.83 deka Newton-meters (daNm). If there is no unexpected functional impediment with either of the two brands of bindings that you reference, the peak release torque for both bindings should fall within that exact range of values (between 6.17 and 7.83 daNm) ASSUMING a 'predicted' boot sole length of 33.88cm. That's an example. If either binding does not produce a peak release torque within that range of values, there could be a functional impediment with a binding AND/OR with the boot. Each binding company provides advice on how to troubleshoot non-conforming peak release— which troubleshooting procedures include inspection and measurement of both the binding AND the boot.
If, on the other hand, after proper inspection and measurement according to the binding manufacturer, peak release measurements of the ski-boot-binding system continue to fall outside the industry standards, then a 'critical defect' exists within either the binding and/or the boot. To isolate whether the critical defect is contained within the boot or within the binding, another boot with exactly the same length sole can be introduced into the system for re-measurement of the peak release. Sometimes, but rarely, the release measuring instruments can be out-of-calibration— and there are well defined methods to validate (and re-calibrate) the measuring instruments, too: each measuring instrument manufacturer provides these instruction, too. If the boot meets ISO 5355 and after all of the binding manufacturer's troubleshooting procedures still do not cause the binding to produce peak release torque values within the minimum international standard tolerances, then the binding is defective and it should be returned according to the warranty procedures that are defined by the binding company.
You should not ski on any binding until this process is fully explored by you.
HOWEVER, how any given binding company decides to produce 'force' at the toe (or at the heel) is up to each binding company—because each type of binding generates its own unique pivot-point for release-about-the-tibia and for forward release. For example, if one binding's heel cup design produces a pivot point location (about the tibia) that's located 3.5cm forward of the end of the boot's heel projection; whereas another binding's heel cup design produces a pivot point location (about the tibia) that's located 2.5cm forward of the end of the boot's heel projection— then the first binding's toe must provide higher force values for any given DIN-number than the second binding's same incremental DIN-number in order for both binding-systems (toe and heel) to produce the same peak release torque about the tibia in order to meet the standardized torque-values. This is because according to Isaac Newton's fundamental laws of physics, "torque equals force times distance". Toe-pieces are force imparting mechanisms. Therefore, if the distance between any given binding design's pivot point (for torsional release) to its toe is shorter than another binding's distance from its pivot point to its toe, then the binding with the shorter distance MUST provide higher force values in order to generate the same torque values for both bindings.
In practice (with a real binding that meets the minimum international standard ISO 9462) this means that IF THERE ARE NO MANUFACTURING DEFECTS, any given toe piece design may produce more or less force than another binding design — while BOTH binding designs produce exactly the same peak release torque.
In the same way, if you now own a new boot that has a shorter boot sole length than your previous boot, this could also explain why your new toe might have a higher force than your previous toe.
But I suspect that there are two other explanations as to why you might be 'feeling' a difference between these two toe designs:
1) When you release a toe, only, (NOT including with the boot) with your hand, you are 'feeling' one component of the binding. Here, the binding designer has full latitude to deliver whatever force she desires for any given binding-component in order for the complete ski-boot-binding SYSTEM to deliver the standardized level of torque according to ISO 9462. In fact, a binding component that controls peak release which provides a high force in order to meet ISO 9462 is superior to a binding component that provides a low force to meet ISO 9462. Your leg does not know the unit force supplied by any given binding component; nor does your leg know how long its foot is (your leg does not know the distance from the binding's pivot point to the toe-piece): your leg ONLY reacts (structurally) to torque, NOT to force. A binding design with components that deliver higher force (than another binding) has the possible advantage of providing higher recentering force, too. Re-centering is one key aspect of retention.
And "retention" is NOT standardized for any given DIN-value: I discuss the fact that release has little to do with retention, extensively, over in the Epic thread: "Height, Length and DIN" — including the posting of different graph there, too, to show, decisively that release has little to do with retention. Please ref that thread to gain a better understanding of why release has little to do with retention. Intermixing the terms "release" and "retention"—fogs the issue—leaving people with a mistaken belief that they are fully inter-related: they are not fully inter-related in the ways described here and over in the other Epic thread. Several binding companies incorrectly intermix these two unrelated terms, causing improper confusion.
2) MOST IMPORTANTLY, 'feeling' with your hand—as you describe—is NOT a reflection of peak release: it is a 'feeling' of stiffness. 'Peak release' and 'stiffness' are two different properties. This is why I have underlined the term, 'peak', everywhere above. When you 'feel' the action of a toe-piece component with your hand, you are experiencing the relationship between the component's resistive force AND its relative incremental movement: that's called 'stiffness'. Stiffness is NOT peak release. This is what I wrote about in the article in SKI magazine in December 1978 (when I was 25 years old).
In terms of stiffness, think about a diving board. Imagine in your mind a 'soft' diving board and a 'stiff' diving board. Imagine also that both diving boards break at the same 'force'. In this example, the soft diving board will have to deflect through a longer distance in order to reach the same braking force as the stiffer diving board. Both diving boards break at the same force (by definition in this example) but the diver 'feels' a Very Different diving-effect from each diving board.
With bindings, us older-guys could imagine certain binding designs many years ago that were very 'soft' in their torsional release characteristics, while all other bindings were notably stiffer. Both the 'soft' bindings and other bindings could be set to have the same peak release torque (utilizing release measuring instruments, before the DIN-system) .... but all other bindings would 'feel' "much harder to move" than the 'soft' bindings. What you are 'feeling' is stiffness—NOT PEAK RELEASE TORQUE—because both bindings probably (hopefully) have the same peak release torque. Here, again, just as with pivot-point-location, a binding's 'stiffness' properties are largely [sic] undefined by the international standards (thank God). Pivot-point-location and 'stiffness' are 'functional-characteristics' that are open to each binding designer (again, thank God). Therefore, each binding design exhibits different and unique 'stiffness' characteristics. Bindings that are 'stiff' (but not 'too stiff') have the possibility of providing not only better recentering characteristics over 'softer' bindings — but they also provide better 'on-snow' skiing control characteristics than softer bindings (though good skiing technique should rely more on edge control in the roll direction than on side-slipping-control in the lateral sheer direction ... but sometimes—never any of us, of course :) :) — inadvertently side-slip :) :) .... so therefore we need to be able to control our skis if this unlikely event ever occurs via the binding's stiffness properties, WHICH PROPERTIES ARE INDEPENDENT OF PEAK RELEASE TORQUE. :) :) )
In the article in SKI magazine, I show a graph that plots unit-force as a function of unit-displacement (which correlates, indirectly, in that example, to 'unit-torque and unit-rotation') for a Geze ski binding: this was an excellent binding in its day. I describe the various effects that a skier can come to appreciate in their on-snow experience relative to the various phases of force and displacement (or, in that example, phases of torque and rotation) as was clearly shown in the graph in that article. Each unique binding design has its own well-defined force-displacement (or torque-rotation) 'signature'— and every binding engineer comes to know, intimately, the relationship between each unique 'signature' and certain on-snow skiing performance characteristics. One phase of the signature is the 'initial stiffness' phase; another phase is the peak release phase; another is the 'full-and-complete release' phase'; another phase—if the load that's causing the system to displace is innocuous and dissipates before 'full-and-complete release' phase—is the 'recentering' phase; while the last phase is the 'complete return-to-center' phase. A comparison between the first 3 phases and the last two phases describes a binding's elasticity. Each phase has certain advantages and disadvantages that must be decisively controlled by the binding designer. Some of the phases are defined by ISO 9462, but not all of the phases. All binding designs must meet the minimum requirements of ISO 9462, but a good binding designer can create her own plan within the non-standardized phases. The 'initial stiffness' phase is largely undefined [sic] by ISO 9462. Each binding designer can shape the 'initial stiffness' phased however she chooses [sic].
But here, also, is a Very Important point about binding design: there was once a Very Interesting binding called 'Spademan' ( :) :) ) that had excellent 'elasticity' characteristics BUT IT HAD LOUSY RETENTION ON-SNOW AT ORDINARY RELEASE SETTINGS. This is important to note because many bindings with excellent elasticity do NOT necessarily have good retention. Elasticity is critical in all good and all excellent bindings— but any given binding design that does not have its various modes of release FUNCTIONALLY DECOUPLED FROM its various design elements that provide skiing control will produce lousy retention, on-snow. Elasticity alone is not a full predictor of retention. Bindings with maximum 'functional decoupling' between their release features and their retention and edge-control features—and which have excellent elasticity (as well as excellent shaping of the other phases, as noted above)—exhibit the best on-snow retention at normal release ( 'DIN' )settings. In fact, bindings that decisively decouple each mode of release from each mode of retention and edge control can be skied at very low release settings with powerful retention — WITH MINIMUM PRE-RELEASE !
Therefore, the full signature of an excellent binding is one that can be skied at low settings without pre-release.
The differences between the various levels of anti-prerelease that are supplied by various binding designs AT THE SAME RELEASE SETTINGS are night and day — and provide an opportunity for selective skiers who discover which bindings exhibit the best combination of the above properties to enjoy flat-out skiing without having to think about their bindings while skiing.
Skiers should be able to enjoy skiing, while binding designers should think about bindings. In this way, certain binding designs have pedigrees that exceed those of known brand names :) :)
'Feeling' a specific binding component by hand may not reflect how a binding is actually behaving :) :)
'And, yes, please be sure to have BOTH your former and your new bindings re-inspected with release measuring instruments to rule-out the unlikely possibility of a manufacturing defect within the boot or with either of the two bindings that you have noted.
Respectfully submitted :) :)
Edited by Richard Howell - 11/28/12 at 4:35pm