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What's the best Halfpipe Binding?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm upgrading my son, Jasper's Halfpipe Ski and bindings for the upcoming 2016 Rev Tour. I've looked at several bindings and asked a few pros in the Tahoe area what they recommend. So far there are 3 that are most often recommended. The Look Pivot, the Tyrolia AAAttack, and the Marker Griffon.

 

Jasper has been sporting the Marker Griffon for the last 2 yrs. It's a little heavy for a kid, but is a super-solid binding except for one annoying and scary design flaw. The ski brakes catch in the snow on switch landings and snap. Most importantly, the ski falls off, and the skier crashes. (Sorry, we just can't have that be the reason he doesn't score, or, most importantly, why he gets injured.) Luckily, there is a fix. Bending the wings of the ski brake up and in, so they don't catch. This makes the binding temperamental, causing the brake to rub against the ski edge when stepping in and out. This can be a slight frustration in that wet, sticky type of snow. That's when I see Jasper stomping up and down on his ski repeatedly just to get it working properly. This frustrates the skier right when they need to be calmly focusing on the job at hand, and it also doesn't do the longevity of the ski or binding any good. The other problem is the passing of the danger associated with this problem from the skier to the spectators and judges at the bottom of the Pipe. (With the brakes bent up, they sometimes won't stop the ski.) It's difficult to gain the favor of the judges in a halfpipe comp. when you just crashed on your first run, and sent a missile down the pipe into the judges booth. (Luckily, this doesn't happen too often. The ski usually tries to turn itself sideways while running away.) Any way you look at it, this SUCKS!

 

We're looking into the other 2 bindings to see if others have complaints or kudos for them.

 

Reviewers, please chime in with your thoughts and experiences with these other bindings as well as more info on the Griffon. If you have another, better binding in mind, tell us why.

post #2 of 11

This sounds less like an issue with the binding itself as it is an issue with the brake sizing, at least if I'm understanding the issue correctly. If you're running a brake width that is 15-20mm wider than the waist of the ski, it's apt to catch when you land switch. I'd suggest looking for a binding that has brakes that come in a width that is within 10mm of the waist width of the ski, and you shouldn't have the issue with it catching. 

post #3 of 11

Unfortunately essentially every heel piece can have the problem with the brakes catching.  Sometimes the impact of a landing will cause the brakes to catch regardless of the binding.  It's never any fun, but unfortunately it happens sometimes.  I've personally had it happen about evenly across the board and I've skied on just about every binding on the market.  Do your best to get the narrowest brake possible, and like you said, try to bend it up slightly more than normal, just not too much :duck:

 

How much does he weigh?  age?  What kind of level is he in the halfpipe?  do you know where he's setting his DIN?  Is it set to recommended settings based on his weight and skier type?  Some park skiers, for instance, even at a type 3+ still prefer a higher DIN setting.

 

You've already narrowed it down to the three best binding designs for park and pipe skiing, now we need to think about DIN range and the materials the bindings are made out of.

 

The Griffon is a great binding, but if he's an aggressive park skier eventually he'll need more.  The heel piece of the Griffon is plastic, while the heel piece of the Jester is magnesium.  I have seen the Griffon heel piece fail on really switch landings because the plastic doesn't hold up.  However, if the Griffon is already kind of heavy for him, he's likely not ready to move to a Jester.

 

Without knowing anything else about him as a skier I would lean towards the Tyrolia Attack 13 or Pivot (or FKS) 12 or 14 over the Griffon.  The Griffon is a single cam heel piece and is a little bit harder to click into than the other two, which could explain some of the "Jasper stomping up and down on his ski repeatedly just to get it working properly" issue.  It's hard to know exactly what you mean, but I'm guessing the combination of his DIN setting, weight, and the binding design is making it somewhat hard for him to completely click in.

 

I have had success with all three of those binding designs - Jester, Attack 16, and Pivot 14 or 18 - they all get the job done.

 

If you can provide a little more info about him as a skier I can try to make a more specific recommendation, but my assumptions are pointing me towards Attack 13 or Pivot 12.

 

Hope that helps a little!

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

This sounds less like an issue with the binding itself as it is an issue with the brake sizing, at least if I'm understanding the issue correctly. If you're running a brake width that is 15-20mm wider than the waist of the ski, it's apt to catch when you land switch. I'd suggest looking for a binding that has brakes that come in a width that is within 10mm of the waist width of the ski, and you shouldn't have the issue with it catching. 

Or even slightly less than the width of the ski... For instance a 90mm brake will work just fine on a 95mm ski.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 


You mean a 90mm brake for an 80mm waist ski? We already run 90's on the Griffons. The problem still requires jury rigging the brakes to where they don't work effectively. Still, it's a great binding except for the brake problem and the fact that their a little heavy for the lighter kids.

 

How close can you cut it without having too little clearance? I want to "buy into" functionality since I'm buying "new". 

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 


Thanks for the detailed "tech" response. That's just what we are looking for. The Lad is now almost 16, and growing daily. He's now 145 lbs, 5'6" tall, is Size 8 (US), and is a Type 3+. He's ranked 30th by AFP in the Pipe among the juniors. He regularly goes 10'+ out of the super-pipe. It's important that his binding doesn't break and lose the ski during competition. We need to go as tight as possible on a ski brake without it contacting the ski edge. Can we really get away with a 75mm brake on a pair of Look Pivot 14's, mounted to a ski with an 80mm. waist? That sounds like the best bet. As far as DIN's go, last time we checked, Jasper was a DIN 9. We have always set his bindings 1 higher than recommend for Type 3+, and they rarely come off, except in a big crash other than the switch landing problem. I feel that a Pivot 12 is too weak of a spring for competition, when the skier is functioning properly at a 10.

 

What do you think?

post #7 of 11

Everything you said makes perfect sense.  

 

At his size and ability level I would start moving away from the Griffon.  I agree the Pivot 14 or FKS 14 is probably the best binding for him.  His ability level and aggressiveness are likely exceeding the Griffon, but Jesters, Attack 16s, and Pivot 18s would all probably feel quite heavy to him until he's a little bigger.  I like to have my DIN setting as close to the middle of the range of the binding as possible for park skiing.  I typically ski a 12 DIN, so I have kind of settled on 16 DIN range bindings (I used to ski Jester Pros and FKS 18s when I was younger and thought I was the next Tanner Hall... :ROTF)

 

I personally have never done the 75mm brake around a 80mm ski, but I just don't have skis that narrow.  It should work just fine.  I have 100mm brakes around a 106mm ski and they don't actually rub at all.  That was an Attack 16, but just an example of the amount of wiggle room you have.

post #8 of 11

With your comments regarding the Griffin, it seems like the shop who did the install sold you the wrong sized brake, family members have been competing in the BC cup events for a few years with the Griffin/Jester bindings with none of the issues you mention.  One of the big things I see at the events and its not uncommon for the shop to have a brake that's designed for an 90mm ski put on to a narrower ski which leaves a large gap to catch. which incidentally is the narrowest brake marker makes for the Griffin currently.

 

 

In regards to the Look/Rossi Pivot/Fks they are available down to a 14 din but you mentioned the issue with weight they are about 1/2 lb heavier per pair than the Griffin, the other issue is when they come off, the heel can spin which in the case of a frustrated athlete makes another step to get the ski back on, the benefit to the heel (and why its so popular with park riders) is it has more elastic travel before it completely releases.

 

The comment you make about being in the functional range of the 12 din binding at 10 WAS true, it no longer is, the modern binding is designed to be accurate through the entire range of travel and we no longer need to be in the middle of release settings for it to be dependable, just had a conversation with the Rossignol tech rep in regards to this the other day.

 

Also take a look on Ebay, you may get lucky and find a pair of the older FKS race bindings that were available with super narrow brakes, had to go this way to get an FKS onto a bump ski.  They have about 8-10 cm of leeway a 75mm brake will clear a 80 mm ski and have got it up to 82 with shaving a little bit of the inside of the black plastic, I try not to bend the arm if possible.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TAH View Post
 

In regards to the Look/Rossi Pivot/Fks they are available down to a 14 din but you mentioned the issue with weight they are about 1/2 lb heavier per pair than the Griffin, the other issue is when they come off, the heel can spin which in the case of a frustrated athlete makes another step to get the ski back on, the benefit to the heel (and why its so popular with park riders) is it has more elastic travel before it completely releases.

 

The comment you make about being in the functional range of the 12 din binding at 10 WAS true, it no longer is, the modern binding is designed to be accurate through the entire range of travel and we no longer need to be in the middle of release settings for it to be dependable, just had a conversation with the Rossignol tech rep in regards to this the other day

 

The FKS and Pivot are now available in a 12 DIN option as well.  Very similar to the 14.

 

As far as being in the middle of a DIN range, I was speaking more in terms of durability in park use.  Yes, running a 10 DIN on a 12 DIN range binding will function correctly, especially if you're doing torque testing, but if you're skiing park at a level where you need to set your DIN to 10, I usually recommend going with a 14 DIN binding as they use more metal, etc.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiessentials View Post
 

 

The FKS and Pivot are now available in a 12 DIN option as well.  Very similar to the 14.

 

As far as being in the middle of a DIN range, I was speaking more in terms of durability in park use.  Yes, running a 10 DIN on a 12 DIN range binding will function correctly, especially if you're doing torque testing, but if you're skiing park at a level where you need to set your DIN to 10, I usually recommend going with a 14 DIN binding as they use more metal, etc.

Unless they're the FKS/Pivot 12 -- which has exactly the same amount of metal as the 14 -- just a softer spring. 

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmeb View Post
 

Unless they're the FKS/Pivot 12 -- which has exactly the same amount of metal as the 14 -- just a softer spring. 

:beercheer: Should've made that clarification, thanks!

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