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Bindings...what does it all mean?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I've been reading and searching a lot today and can't seem to make much sense out of bindings.

 

I'm looking into moving out of used demo ski's and getting my first pair of new ski's which also means a new set of bindings. I've read threads on the differences between demo and regular bindings and understand those concepts and I get the brake width thing. However, other than DIN setting options, I'm not sure I understand what the difference is between a $350 binding and a $90 binding. Vertical and lateral elasticity?

 

I currently have some Look NX11 demo bindings on my ski's and really haven't had any issues with them to my knowledge. I'm 6' tall, 185lbs, and have my DIN set to 8. I primarily ski out west about 15 days a year and enjoy skiing the whole mountain. Blue's are my favorite but I enjoy greens too. No problems doing blacks, moguls, trees, small jumps/drops (typically under 2-3 feet), and the occasional double black but honestly the thought of double black scares me more than actually skiing them. I don't really ski switch in case that matters.

 

Any recommendations? I haven't decided on a ski yet but probably an all mountain type ski with an 85-95 waist because I enjoy screaming down groomers as much as fresh powder.

post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfw432 View Post
 

Hey guys, I've been reading and searching a lot today and can't seem to make much sense out of bindings.

 

I'm looking into moving out of used demo ski's and getting my first pair of new ski's which also means a new set of bindings. I've read threads on the differences between demo and regular bindings and understand those concepts and I get the brake width thing. However, other than DIN setting options, I'm not sure I understand what the difference is between a $350 binding and a $90 binding. Vertical and lateral elasticity?

 

I currently have some Look NX11 demo bindings on my ski's and really haven't had any issues with them to my knowledge. I'm 6' tall, 185lbs, and have my DIN set to 8. I primarily ski out west about 15 days a year and enjoy skiing the whole mountain. Blue's are my favorite but I enjoy greens too. No problems doing blacks, moguls, trees, small jumps/drops (typically under 2-3 feet), and the occasional double black but honestly the thought of double black scares me more than actually skiing them. I don't really ski switch in case that matters.

 

Any recommendations? I haven't decided on a ski yet but probably an all mountain type ski with an 85-95 waist because I enjoy screaming down groomers as much as fresh powder.

On the whole, a $350 binding does the same job as a $90 binding. They hold your boot to the ski and minimize the risk of knee injuries in a fall.  If you are going to ski only green runs 5 days a season with the family, you can get by with the lower price point. It mostly has to do with the target market, however, materials also play a big role in price.

 

Vertical and lateral elasticity can get a little complicated. A binding performs a delicate balance of holding your boot and releasing when it has to. To accomplish this effectively, the binding has to have some give in the vertical (for a tumbling fall) and horizontal (for a twisting fall) axis. I won't go into all of the details of forward pressure and friction. You can look that up if you need the physics explained, although I'm sure someone here would take the time to fill you in on the physics. Given the description of your skiing, a middle price point would suffice. If you ski your DIN's at 8, you should look for a max DIN of 10-12 (you don't want to max out the springs). Tyrolia has the Attack 11 for about $168 and Salomon has the STH 12 for a little shy of $200.

post #3 of 9

Great post by Offpiste ^^^ I'd simply add that ski bindings have 'performance levels' just like skis and boots. Some are built for very recreational level skiers who only ski a few days a year, the focus is on low cost and light weight. The release/ retention is like an on/off switch, if there is enough force for a release, they let you out., DIN ranges from 9 to 11 (max DIN). The next level of bindings starts to get some real performance features. Generally this is where we start to see 3 piece heel designs and bindings that grip more of the toe of the boot. The bindings are built to resist flex and transfer energy to the ski and to absorb some shock from skiing that might release a lower level binding. DIN ranges from 10 to 14. High end bindings have very robust housings designed to resist flex, heavier springs that resist movement of the boot in the binding and they are built to hold the boot to the ski until it really needs to come off. These bindings are generally much heavier in weight and the lowest DIN settings will be too high for many skiers. DIN range from 14 up (the highest DIN I am aware of is a Tyrolia with a 45 DIN, built for speed skiers. It required two assistants to get a boot into.)

 

Recreational- Marker Squire, 10.0 EPS,  Look NX/ Nova, Tyrolia SX, Salomon L10/ Z10

Performance- Marker Xcell 12, Griffon, Lord, M11 TC EPS, Look SPX 12, Pivot 12/14, Tyrolia FF Pro 11/14, AAAttack 11/12/13, Salomon STH 12/13, Warden 13

High End (could be called 'specialty')- Marker Jester/ Jester Pro, Xcell 16, Look Pivot 18, Tyrolia FF Pro 17/18X, Race 16, AAAttack 16/18X, Salomon STH 16, X16 LAB

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

So basically the higher the max DIN on the binding, the more performance oriented the binding is designed for? Does this also mean better materials, longer life? I realize both of these are vague and generic statements but is that the jist of it or is there no real correlation at all?

 

I figure I should stay at least 1-2 DIN settings below max on the binding to prevent maxxing it out and also allow tightening later if needed. Do the cheaper bindings develop slop over time? Are they more prone to pre-release or not releasing when they should? Are more expensive binding just better at releasing in odd situation?

 

Sorry for all the questions... Just trying to figure out if spending a little more money is actually going to benefit me.

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfw432 View Post
 

So basically the higher the max DIN on the binding, the more performance oriented the binding is designed for? Does this also mean better materials, longer life? I realize both of these are vague and generic statements but is that the jist of it or is there no real correlation at all?

 

I figure I should stay at least 1-2 DIN settings below max on the binding to prevent maxxing it out and also allow tightening later if needed. Do the cheaper bindings develop slop over time? Are they more prone to pre-release or not releasing when they should? Are more expensive binding just better at releasing in odd situation?

 

Sorry for all the questions... Just trying to figure out if spending a little more money is actually going to benefit me.

Speaking in the general, I would say yes. With the exception of longer life. That is very dependent on the user. All bindings can develop issues over time if they are not treated well. For example, I back off my DIN settings in the off season to relieve tension on the springs. Leaving constant tension on the springs can weaken them. The same is true for the $90 binding and the $350 binding. If you want my $.02, spend the money and go with a midrange price point and a max DIN of 11-13. That should do the trick and allow you to ski where ever you want and allow for advancements in your skills, the terrain and the snow conditions you ski. You kind of scoff at your 15 days a season, but many people won't ski that many days in their life, much less in one season. Being a better skier is a lifelong endeavor and since you are committed to the sport, you should always purchase gear that will allow you room to develop. What happens if the stars all line up and you suddenly find you have the opportunity to ski 50 days a season? You will want to be on gear that can accommodate the rapid advancement of your skills. If it is not in the stars, you may advance slower, but you will still advance. Make sure you have a nice buffer to get better because nothing sucks worse than your gear holding you back.

 

Mike

post #6 of 9

At your level any binding from a major manufacturer (Marker, Rossignol, Salomon, Tyrolia, Atomic, Look, I'm probably leaving out a few) that has a high enough DIN for your height, weight, boot sole length and ability will be fine. People go to the top end bindings for a couple of reasons--more elasticity, which means the binding will absorb shock before it opens and which is mainly important for people who jump, do tricks, or ski very fast; and more metal/less plastic--stronger, but the great majority of people (except for those who bought the Salomon Z12Ti) will never break a binding in their lives. And some of it is hype-(Rossi FKS/Look Pivot I'm talking about you. Very good b9nd9iings but not as much better as their price would lead you to believe.)

post #7 of 9

If you enjoy screaming down groomers, you could benefit from a top end binding, in terms of flex/no flex, shock absorption, elastic travel, release directions, release/hold characteristics, etc (e.g. Tyrolia FF 17, Marker Comp 16, etc.).  Plus you will be more likely to be skiing the binding after it has fallen off the indemnification list (due to more solid metal bits and less plastic fatigue).  If you plan on lending your skis out often, a demo binding is nice. 

It is also quite common now-a-days for your ski to come with a particular binding already on the ski and no easy/sensible way to opt out of that exact binding.

 

PS Most bindings are designed to protect leg bones, with knee protection being a secondary feature or side effect.

post #8 of 9

I remember reading somewhere about a "golden rule", which said that, for a binding to function as intended and live longer, the DIN should be set at or below 70% of its max value.

 

Following the rule, any 12 or 13 DIN product should work fine for the OP, exact brand/model being a personal preference.

 

Further reading: a Blister article on how bindings work.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

I never really considered it a golden rule but I agree that maxxing out your equipment out of the box is probably ok initially but not a good idea for long term use.

 

Anyway, I appreciate the feedback. I ended up purchasing some Marker 11.0 TC EPS bindings for some Fischer Motive 86 Ti ski's. The DIN calculator says I should probably go up to 9.5 these days but I've been skiing a fair amount on DIN 8 without any pre-releases on 8 year old demo bindings and demo ski's so I'll probably stick with that setting.

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