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Lateral heel release mode for Atomic Xentrix 614 bindings (sort of)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Discovered a new release mode for my bindings a few days ago. Had a hard backwards fall, where (I assume) my left ski wanted to twist outward. That can lead to an MCL (or ACL) tear, which is I suppose why at least one current binding offers lateral release at the heel. Mine doesn't. Fortunately, the binding failed (effectively giving me that lateral release) before my knee did (the fact that the leg was moderately flexed, rather than straight or excessively bent, probably helped a lot). Pic shows broken binding at left (camera reverses directions).

 

The bindings were manufactured August 2000, so I suppose it's time to get new skis.

post #2 of 6

So what bindings would you get?

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Eagles: After this, I'm considering the KneeBinding.  The problem is that the skis I've most preferred in the past are Atomics and Volkls, and essentially all their race and upper-end on-piste and all-mtn offerings are system skis (though I've not demoed in many years -- perhaps I could find a flat ski I like). So the question becomes: how do I distinguish between those "system skis" where "system" just means "we've packaged our ski for retail sale with a cosmetically matching binding," and those where it means "we've done some serious engineering and performance testing to make the unit work as an integrated package."  In the former case, one could swap out the packaged binding for something different with no performance hit.  But in the latter case you might find a model you bought, based on a favorable demo, might ski very differently if you replaced its binding/plate.

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemist View Post

 The problem is that the skis I've most preferred in the past are Atomics and Volkls, and essentially all their race and upper-end on-piste and all-mtn offerings are system skis (though I've not demoed in many years -- perhaps I could find a flat ski I like). So the question becomes: how do I distinguish between those "system skis" where "system" just means "we've packaged our ski for retail sale with a cosmetically matching binding," and those where it means "we've done some serious engineering and performance testing to make the unit work as an integrated package."  In the former case, one could swap out the packaged binding for something different with no performance hit.  But in the latter case you might find a model you bought, based on a favorable demo, might ski very differently if you replaced its binding/plate.

 

My Vokl SuperStars had the "Motion" system.  Head Monsters were flat, any binding, as were the current K2 Rictors.   For Vokl and Atomic, I think the integrated bindings are more of a marketing issue than a ski performance issue, a way to increase their profits by selling more products.  They can't make you buy Atomic boots but they can make you buy Atomic bindings or, in Vokl's case, Marker bindings with whom they have a marketing deal.

 

I think Head and K2 both offer skis with or without their branded bindings.

 

Interesting how your binding broke in the way the lateral release bindings work.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post

 

For Vokl and Atomic, I think the integrated bindings are more of a marketing issue than a ski performance issue, a way to increase their profits by selling more products.  

 

Interesting how your binding broke in the way the lateral release bindings work.

I agree system skis provide a financial benefit to the manufacturers -- typically people don't care about the binding, so why not essentially require them to buy yours?  However, that doesn't necessarily mean that at least some of them aren't also highly designed to work as integrated units.  If I were considering, say, the Atomic Redster D2 GS, I would need to hear some actual evidence that I wouldn't experience a performance hit before I removed its plate/binding system and replaced it with a KneeBinding.

I should add, OTOH, that I've found binding delta (stack height difference, heel vs. toe) is critical -- I need bindings to be relatively flat, and most aren't  (my Atomics have a 4 mm delta, the least I measured back in 2000, while I found others were up to 10+ mm).  And one thing that impressed me about KneeBinding is that they appear to be the only manufacturer (at least no one else did back in 2000) that shows explicit awareness of this, offering shims with specific deltas (0 mm, 3 mm, 6 mm, etc.).  

 

And yes, the failure mode is interesting.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Correction!:  Thanks to a sharp analysis by a very helpful fellow at KneeBinding (John Springer-Miller), I now understand I got it backwards: most likely the binding didn't break because I fell; rather, I fell because the binding broke.  This is also consistent with the plastic fatigue shown by other Atomic bindings manufactured around that time, which led to a recall (though this particular model was not one of those included).  Further, he explained that KneeBinding protects against the phantom foot phenomenon, which involves an internal rotation of the lower leg, and thus releases inward (not outward, like mine effectively did) at the heel.  KneeBinding blocks lateral release in the outward direction because they don't believe that's an injury vector, and allowing outward lateral release adds a possibility of unwanted release in that direction.  Nevertheless, their ACL argument has merit, and unless (after demoing) my favorite ends up being a system ski that requires a dedicated binding, there is a good chance I will try the KneeBinding on my next pair.  Indeed, if there's a tie between a system and non-system ski, at this point I suspect I'd go with the latter so that I could use the KneeBinding.


Edited by chemist - 2/27/13 at 2:15pm
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