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in a bind...

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi - Im new to this forum, but I've been reading and find this to be educational AND extremely entertaining...
I am going to try some recreational racing this coming year...and being new to this i need some equipment advice..I know im not ready for the high performance stuff yet, but i LIKE shopping and picked out some stuff to demo, but I am baffled by bindings...and lifters and plates and all that, can anyone educate me on this? What am I looking for? do I want all the bells and whistles? whats the difference between Rossi's Axial line and their FXT line?
Thanks for any help...Linda
post #2 of 23
LindaA,
To answer your question of the rossi binding, i BELIEVE that the FXT line is their regular line with a non rotating heel. The axial line has a rotating heel piece, so when you have a twisting fall, if the toe piece fails, you still have the heel piece working. It can be considered a failsafe. Another thing is, the rotating heelpiece allows for a "safer" release. I don't know the statistics or anything behind this, but the twisting heel supposedly prevents a spiral tibia fracture which is "common" with a regular, non-twisting heel piece design. Does this make sense?

As for the bindings in general and your questions about lifters and such, it's gonna depend on your ski and the regulations of the racing league. The higher off you are from the ground, the easier it will be to turn the ski due to added leverage. Thus, a ski with a built in lifter plate and a binding will give you added turning power when compared to a ski without a lifter plate. The down side of this, since most bindings do incorporate a plate into their design nowadays, you're gonna be skiing on a double decker condo. The dangers of this include, more required effort to come out of the turn, ease to lose your knee due to the added leverage the ski has on you as well, and not being able to race due to exceeding height limitations. The FIS i know set an upper maximum height for lifters + bindings + skis to prevent injuries and such...your racing leage will probably abide by these rules as well. So the conclusion? Lifters are beneficial, they make turning easier and also prevent booting out since your boot will be farther from the snow. Are these benefits free? nope...the higher you go, the more prone you are to a knee injury when you fall. You might get disqualified from the race too. There is no such thing as a free lunch

As for bindings in general, all do the same thing. They hold you in when you ski and try to release you when you have a bad fall. Thus, each binding line has different features suited for different uses. I'll try to run down each binding manufac. that i've used and show some details

Tyrolia - The bindings you'll probably be looking at will feature a rotating heel piece similar to the axial bindings. The heel will not give you 180 degree release range, but a 150 degree release range. It is their belief that when a twisting fall occurs, it doesn't occur on a flat plane, so they have taken a 180 degree release out of the heel. Their toepiece will release at 180 degrees, though. Their AFD (anti-friction device) which prevents the boot from sticking to the binding in case of a fall, is a cat track which grips the boot once a twist starts and carries the boot off the binding. It works very very well and is made from a molded piece of nylon, so there are no seams for it to really break from. The tyrolia also features a free flex technology on their plates. THe heel will move front and back depending on how the ski is cambered/decambered. This also helps prevent booting out by relieving front and back pressure on the boot when the ski flexes. Promotes natural flex of the ski. Also, i believe the tyrolia is the most elastic of all bindings. So, if you're in the bumps, you can move aroudn more in your binding than in, say a salomon, and not be ejected out. Overall, an excellent binding. Rotating heel is named Diagonal Heel, so that's how you'll know you've got the right series of tyrolia bindings.

Salomon - uhm...i don't know what bells and whistles this binding has...i think it's the no frills binding. It has teflon pads as its AFD.

Marker - another set of great bindings imho, and the ones i currently use right now. The MRR is the one with the rotating heel/turntable heel, but aside from that, the MRR, M9.2 and M8.2 i believe share the same toepiece. There is a rubber dampener underneath the toepiece and also features a comshock piston which prevents the toepiece from releasing due to sudden impacts. The binding will release if there is constant force applied to the toepiece tho, so that's their method of preventing booting out. Their afd is a stainless steel pad, which grips the boot to slide you off the binding. I don't know much about the standard heelpiece, but the turntable heel is kinda cool.It's not mounted directly onto the ski, so it promotes more of a free flex than a binding bolted directly onto the ski.

Other bindings i'm not too sure about so i won't comment on them. There are other bells and whistles on the bindings such as things to change the stiffness or camber of the ski which really do work, but also weigh a ton too so i would probably stay away from those. If you get a ski with a built in lifter, then you'd be better off getting the binding witl all the bells and whistles on the marker since those have less lift.

Hope this helps somewhat :|

Regards,
RK
post #3 of 23
Welcome to the family! It's a great house, and it's my turn to do the dishes... I think!

Here's a bit of history which you probably don't need, but here goes anyway! -

The AFD devices whether they are a Teflon(R) pad or a sliding metal piece with the anti-friction piece buried as in the Marker, came about mainly because of downward pressure of the boot onto the ski during a fall. Yes, it does help unstick a boot from an icy binding, but the main purpose was this downward pressure which happens sometimes.

It was found that during a fall there smoetimes can be such tremendous pressure of the boot to ski that even when the bindings released your foot would stay right on the ski and you'd break an ankle or leg anyway!

Along came Lipe Sliders. This was a metal piece with a rubber band which moved arouind the metal. Once in awhile you would vasoline the under side of the band. I had these for awhile since I noticed the Teflon pads would get dirty with mud and blood, and beer from the parking lot. (We're not supposed to walk through the lot with our boots on..... but we do!)
BTW- lifters are great, but they tend to be a bit slower from edge to edge. I've seen racers without them for a slalom race and with them for GS and dH. Just don't go cranking your bindings clear up to 12 because you are racing. Be exacting and honest about your weight, height, and age when they mount your bindings. Most likely choose III skier on the form since you are racing.

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Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
wow, you guys rock. thanks so much for the info, it really does help. I know only Marker m9.2s, I have them on my all-mountains...(BanditXs) and those + an excellent ski technician have saved my a, well, knees, more than once. any feedback on GS skis? Im leaning (need to demo) toward rossi 9xs...cant wait to see the 2002 stuff...
post #5 of 23
Some more basic info.

Lifters. Depending on the events you plan to enter, you may want a "race plate" rather than the generic plastic lifters that come with a lot of bindings. The reason is that the spacer material between the ski and metal race plate that the binding screws to, is made of rubber, which will dampen vibrations under your feet at higher speeds, giving you more control, less likelyhood of pre-releasing, and be less fatiguing. They also allow the binding and lifter to "float" better on the ski, so that the ski bends in it's natural arc better. If a binding does not float, the ski will not bend between the bindings, because the boot keeps the heel and toe pieces at a set distance, and the ski can't bend, creating a flat spot in the ski when bent, and messing with the ski's carving ability. Warning; real, after-market, race plates such as DerbyFlex (D-Flex) and EPBs, can be expensive.

As for bindings, the cheap bindings won't float. Some, such as the Marker Select Control and others, have an adjustment to control the amount of float. Most upper end bindings will float. Some skis come with built-in lifters that float. Some even provide dampening. But usually only top-of-the-line race skis.

Some bindings, such as the Look Pivot, Rossi (I think it's the Axial - the one with the rotating heel piece, looks identical to the Look Pivot), and the Marker Rotomat (MR and MRR), allow the leg to twist under the ankle joint/tibia, when you twist out of the toe, making the release more consistant and safer. The other advantage is that the release of the toe can't be affected by ice/snow build up between the heel binding and boot, or by worn/torn-up boot soles because the boot doesn't need to slide under the heel binding.

A lot of people complain about pre-releasing with Markers, but that is usually due to improper forward pressure adjustment. Their long return-to-center allows for less chance of pre-release due to vibration as long as they are set properly to your boot.

I used to be a big fan of Marker, and that was all I ever bought. But then I got hooked up with Look (identical to Rossi), and have been really impressed with the product quality, reliablilty and safety. I put my wife on Look and Marker, and I have to pay the same for either.
post #6 of 23
JohnH- I do tech work at Gart as well as sell. I might have this wrong but remember a few years ago when we saw Tyrolia bindings on Head skis on Heads web page? (I think it was Head/Tyrolia.) Did Head buy Tyrolia? Now there are Head bindings. They look exactly like Tyrolias. If it weren't Head/Tyrolia it's another two companies, maybe Rossi and Tyrolia. Who was it?

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Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #7 of 23
spinheli,
You mentioned you work at a shop. Which release system for testing do you use? I'm just curious. I was watching the tech that does my ski tests when I had my "new" replacement salomons (warr for stress cracks) Cool system. huge bars and a recording torque wrench and a "fake foot" to put in the boot.
post #8 of 23
JYD (jyarddog),

Originally Head was an AMF company. They made everything from bowling balls to fishing boats - I kid you not. I think head got sold to Tyrollia. Before that, Tyrollia made skis. Then they either put the Head name on their skis, or they kept making Head skis and stopped making Tyrollia skis. If there are Head bindings out now (which I have never heard of), they are most likely Tyrollias with a new paint job. Tyrollias market share, as I recall from a while ago, was not very good because of the problems they had in the mid to late 80s and early 90s, when their plastic toe pieces had problems (like falling apart). So maybe they have started putting Head lables on them to see if it helps sell product.

Isn't one of the guys here a shop owner? (Phil maybe?) He'd know better.
post #9 of 23
> Originally Head was an AMF company.

Wow! THAT's revisionist history. Howard Head invented the metal ski back in the way-back machine. Back in the day, the Head 360 was the hot ski. It came in any color you wanted as long as you wanted black and coordinated really well with the black first generation Lange Standard plastic ski boots. He sold the company out to some soulless sporting goods conglomerate called AMF when he retired. (mid 70's?)

> They made everything from bowling balls to fishing boats - I kid you not.

Hattaras Yachts. I suppose that's a fishing boat but it's from the "please pass the Gray Poupon" school. It's more like a floating living room with a swivel sportfishing chair bolted to the aft deck.

> I think head got sold to Tyrollia. Before that, Tyrollia made skis.

Don't remember Tyrolia making skis. I do remember the original Tyrolia binding with the notched toepiece back in the 60's.
post #10 of 23
Didn't AMF also own Harley-Davidson for awhile?
When Harleys weren't cool.
post #11 of 23
Mea Culpa (did I spell that right). You are more than correct Geoff. Head was once owned by AMF, NOT originally owned. I feel bad about that, and I owe Howard Head an apology. As far as Hatteras fishing boats go, while they are in the pass-the-grey-poupon league, they are also some of the best ocean fishing boats ever built. But to be sure, the ones built during the AMF ownership left a bit to be desired. Although I'd prefer an Ocean Yachts or Post, Hatteras is right up there in quality these days.

Geoff, you don't remember Tyrolia skis? They weren't around long, but I remember seeing a few.

BG, as with Hatteras and AMF, when Harley was with AMF their products left a bit to be desired. Luckily both, as well as other companies they have owned (I think), have restored themselves since those dark days.
post #12 of 23
I work at a shop, and I must say that there are no "bad" bindings. However, some torque test more reliably than others. Of course, torque tests are just that; tests, not real skiing. There is one thing I noticed from the manufacturer clinics. Marker, Tyrolia, and Rossi all referred to independant binding tests, while Salomon referred only to thier own in house tests. This is actually pretty typical of Salomon conceit. Very French. Of course, their bindings test reliably, are super durable, and if you crank them all the way;12+, they really stay on. Marker has had some durability issues, mostly with the big air guys, but I broke a toe piece last year. Of course it had over 300 days on it. I still use Markers, because I feel good about the reliability of release, especially with dirty worn boots. Tyrolia has a really cool anti fricion device, but the toes seem to be a little loose. Diagonal heel is cool, but some people have problems getting back into them on a steeper pitch. Rossi/Look are the same bindings, and are nice and light, but some of the cheaper ones do not torque test well. Atomic are really simple (primative?). Keep your eye on thier teflon pads, and it's all good. I think the new Nordica binding is just an Atomic, but I have yet to ski it. In all companies, the less expensive, lower din bindings tend to feel less solid than the expensive ones. Lift? Go moderate, unless you are a real expert who really digs a big lift. 10 to 15 mm seems pretty reasonable. Of course, lift and heel vs. toe height can affect your alignment, but nobody ever addresses that. Oh yea, there is one crappy binding; the Rave. You probably will never see it in the US, but it sucks.
post #13 of 23
Hatteras fishing boats... where I come from (Massachusetts around New Bedford), a "fishing boat" is open cockpit and under 26 feet or it's a steel monster used for commercial fishing. Of course, all boats are really just beer delivery systems...

I had the great fortune to do some sport fishing off Hatteras a month ago. Freezer full of Blackfin and Yellowfin. Mmmmm. Wasn't aboard a Hatteras but it was that same style of boat.

And no, I don't remember Tyrolia skis from the good ol' days. I do remember them having skis in the mid-to-late 80's but they weren't really popular. One of the less gifted Killington wiggle-meisters got sponsored by Tyrolia on the pro mogul tour. Were those Head skis from after AMF destroyed their ski business?
post #14 of 23
LindaA,
As for GS skis, they are all pretty damn good. Unfortunately with the Rossi 9x next season, i believe it is a "system" ski where you need to buy a rossi binding...and a particular line of the rossi binding...the axials you were refering to. They're much softer than previous season skis because the power is transfered from the boot to the ski much more quickly...i haven't skied this ski so i can't tell you much more.

My preference would probably something from Volkl's race line. I don't know how aggressive of a race you are, but from least agressive to most aggressive, the Volkl P40 Platinum, Volkl P40 F1, and Volkl P40 F1 Energyrail. Note, these are the 2000-2001 ski line, so you should be able to get a pretty damn good price on them.

The Platinum is the softest ski of the bunch being a gs/all mountain ski. Very popular this past season. It has a narrower profile than most other all mountain skis. It's slightly softer as well so it's reasonably forgiving. For a recreational skier, it'll do very very well since it handles everything pretty well. 2 titanium sheets plus the ccs module makes this a pretty damp ski, but not to the point where you can't feel anything at all.

The F1 is the second stiffest ski in the bunch. Has awsome hold on hardpack being very stiff laterally. It's not a very forgiving ski though. Lean back too much and you have a pretty damn good chance of losing it. It will give AWSOME acceleration out of the turn. Not a strong sudden punch, but a smooth burst of power.

The energy rail is their pure race ski...though it does well all over the mountain. It pretty much is the F1 with a race lifter built onto it. Surprisingly, the lifter gives alot of forgiveness so if you lean back too much, you're not punished as much as with the F1. The energyrail floats on 2 rails which the binding is mounted on, so there's alot more free flexing going on...it makes the ski feel softer when skied on, though a test with the hand and floor makes if feel VERY stiff. The energy rail is locked down with 1 pin so that determines where all the power will go. If in the front position, very quick turn initiation, the middle will yield normal skiing conditions, and the rear will yield all the power going to the tail...so very strong boost of energy coming out of the turn. You'll want to be careful with this one because you'll get crazy lift off the typical binding....the plate i think is 25mm...+ another 15mm or so for the binding...that's 40mm of lift...pretty scary until you get used to it.

All 3 are great skis...if you don't want a race specific ski, try hunting down the P40 platinums...i gotta take my friend out so i'll write moer about the other race skis i've been on as well

Regards,
RK
post #15 of 23
Geoff,

Those are the Tyrolia skis I remember. 80s vintage.
post #16 of 23
One word of caution about selecting "race" skis. Many recreational skiers think they need "race" skis for Nastar or club racing. This is often a huge waste of money, and a detriment to thier racing, and general skiing. We frequently get middle age Masters racers into the shop. They always want race skis and boots, regardless of their ability. Then I see these same folks out on the hill, and it is very obvious their equipment is holding them way back. Last year one of my bros broke his race GS skis the morning of our local race series. He used his twin tipped park skis, and posted one of his best results. Race on skis you are comfortable with out of the race course. Don't get caught up in the "race ski" ego trip, if you will do better on a more forgiving ski.Enough said about that. For rec GS, and SL, the shorty slaloms are very competitive skis. Short, shapely, these babies carve like Michelle Yeoh with a katana. Look for ones that are not to stiff, maybe a step down from full race; ie Rossi T-Power Vipers. My personnel fave: K2 Mach S. I am 5'7", 165lbs, and the 160 cm is a great race length for me. Have fun!
post #17 of 23
Spinheli- Well said. You don't always have to have the stiffest and longest boards on the planet. it truly would be hilareous to see someone like me (5'4") on 215 straights, steel-hard stiff, bindings cranked to 12(because that shows I'm cool!), trying to turn those things inside of 40 acres!
btw- I'm one of the old guys who prefers the ModX because he's old and can't ski.

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Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #18 of 23
I hear next years rossi gs ski is awesome...
Length will be one of the most important criteria here. In a gs ski nothing over 183cm. More like 178 should probably be your top end. I will probably go with 181/183 this year and I'm 190 lbs.
I agree with the shorty slalom comment. Those might be your best bet. All this depends on what type of racing you will do and your size.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Cool..thanks for all the great info...I I have demo'd the t-power Deviators in a 160 and LOVED the short length, they were really snappy...my prob is im 5'9, and 125 lbs, so I have trouble muscling around the stiff boards. really need a softer ski....MelloBoy, you said the Volkl Platinums are "'slightly" softer...(these will be race specific...) how soft is slightly softer?

this is KILLING me...I cant wait to get my hands on these and demo some....AAAARRRRUUGGH four months!!!<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by LindaA (edited June 27, 2001).]</FONT>
post #20 of 23
LindaA
Welcome to our little retreat from the summer. Good luck on the "new career"
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks, dchan....I was thinking just the other day, it was 90degrees and I was in a pair of shorts and my ski boots, holding my poles "tucked" in front of my picture window, chanting "comeon,snow, comeon, snow", that I really needed something to soothe the snow jones.......this may be the perfect thing.
post #22 of 23
spinheli has great advice - I was one of the middle aged Masters he's talking about until I saw the light. Try a slightly long shorty slalom or the Atomic 9.20 Race model for "starter" GS skis. My own experience with Rossi GS skis when demoing extensively a couple of years ago is that they were pretty unforgiving and liked to go real fast - they were too much for my limited skills. I'm an athletic 6'2" and 210lbs and been skiing for 30 of my 40 years, so bending 'em wasn't a problem. I could free ski on them OK but in gates they were downright scary fast on difficult course sections. (yeah, older model, possibly not relevant.) I'll rephrase spinheli slightly: the fun of racing is getting aggressive but the speeds and forces involved can be pretty serious; a GS course is no time to be figuring out new skis or be on some rocket you can't handle. Go with what you are comfortable with. It's more likely full-on race skis will slow you down (and increase injury risk) more so than de-tuned racing skis will. When you've got the tactics and technique solid enough that a shorty slalom or recreational GS ski is holding you back, you'll know it.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Jim_S:

Great advice I'll probably do well to take. I get a little over-enthusiastic with everything...(im reminded of a horrific incident when I purchased my very first Salomon inline skates this spring, they are ABEC 5s and I damned-near killed myself.) Im not really afraid of going fast but that is probably because I haven't gone fast enough to scare myself yet.

At this point, though, Im looking to demo only for now, Im not planning on purchasing until I have some idea of what Im doing. Thanks to everyone for the help. this is a WAAYY COOOL forum, there are some really knowlegeable people in here.
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