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Do your Bindings Bind Well?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thread conversations often explore Turn Effort vs. Turn Outcome. Grasshoppers try like heck to execute well understood Carved-turns or Bump-turns or Whatever-turns only to have their outcome less than expected. Continued trouble-reports generate more ideas and suggestions for the grasshopper to try but still, the grasshopper struggles.

A few years ago all my clinicians would gripe at me to “Tip your skis more…” and “Angulate more…” and “Get on your Edges more…” all in their desire to see me hold my edges on steep slopes rather than skidding. It just wouldn’t happen for me, not without creating far greater leg angles than everyone else seemed to use on the same terrain. Finally, I did a bad thing good - I watched my skis for a while.

Early in a turn everything seemed fine. Somewhere in the late-middle of the turn my skis would give in to the edge-pressure and voluntarily tip themselves downhill. This would happen with no change at all in my boot angle. At home later a close inspection on the kitchen floor revealed telling binding flaws.

With a standalone boot buckled up tightly, I popped it into the binding. Standing with one foot behind the heelpiece and the other in front of the toepiece (to hold the ski flat to the floor) I levered the boot laterally by hand. It moved. A lot. Maybe 4 to 5 degrees either side of center.

Near as I could tell rotational twisting of the front boot tab could wrench the tab-gripping mechanism around once sufficient torque was applied. It didn’t take much torque to start moving. Direct side-to-side pressure (again by hand) could only move the boot toe about 1/5 mm either way of center.

With the boot now on my foot and another person standing on the ski to keep it flat I could tilt the boot as much as 6 or 7 degrees before it forcibly took the ski with it. Most of the movement came from the boot-tab twisting in the toepiece but some also came from the overall binding/plate yielding a bit. Yes, it WAS firmly bolted down - it was the mechanical stuff above the mounting plate that had the play in it. The heelpiece had no side-to-side play but with only spring tension to hold it down it tended to accommodate whatever toepiece allowed.

As these were Marker bindings with a diagonal-toe-release mechanism I figured it was just this binding. No so. Inherently Evil, I went down to Gart and grabbed up a display boot to surreptitiously test a number of other models and brands to find one without this …feature. Many brands and models showed similar play. As I recall most brands didn’t appear to have any form of toepiece adjustment but some of the Solomon bindings did.

I bought a Solomon with both toe-height and side-to-side adjustment screws. Immediately, my ability to edge the skis and carve a turn improved. Edging efforts became far more consistent and predictable. And quick edging needed for bumps is always there.

So, do your ski edges respond immediately when you tip your legs & boots? Do you experience unaccounted washout late in turns or on steeps? Does carving seem to start long after you start tipping? Do sharp edges seem to make little difference for you? Has anyone out there checked their bindings for proper retention on the kitchen floor?

I’d not thought about this for maybe two years but comments and trouble reports in recent threads sounded familiar. Over time my bindings have developed more play in them and edge control precision seems to be fading. Could this be why ‘new skis’ always feel so responsive and lively? And why older skis just don’t cut it after a while? Maybe it’s the binding? (Couldn’t possibly be me)

.ma
post #2 of 23
Michael,

I haven't studied it as closely as that but my rationale would be

where the toe piece has a diagonal/upward release function this also has a certain amount of elasticity (or for this discussion let us refer to it as free play) associated with it which will allow some movement here when torque is applied. This is more obvious at low Din settings. I noticed this on a set of tyrolias that had the springs backed right off and I could feel the upward play without even mounting them. I thought at first they were f***** but when the spring was wound up to a more normal 8/9 setting the play/movement was minimal.

Over time you would also expect normal use to cause some mechanical wear on the moving parts and also potentially some reduction in the elasticity of the springs (depending on the degree of compression that the particular binding design normally exerts on the spring) which would both contribute to increased free play. (And if the spring has deteriorated a lower true Din setting than indicated) What you could be achieving with the adjustable Salomon toe piece is effectively compensating for wear. Wear on the boot interface would also contribute to this movement.

A possible way to test this would be to repeat your experiment with an Atomic binding with the upward release operational and then locked out and see what the results were.
post #3 of 23
I have recently been skiing old skis that I found at yard sales. Bindings included Tyrolia, Marker, and Solomon. All have a toe hieght adjustment on the binding. All needed to be adjusted.
post #4 of 23
Michael, You have discovered "one" of the many ways equipment can effect your skiing performance. Salomon and Look/Rossi toe pieces work off the upper boot sole radius and wrap around the toe lug further than other bindings. Having the ability to tighten the toe height is something I prefer as well. The elongated wings on the Salomon actually creates more leverage to edge the ski. When you tip to the big toe side edge you are also "pulling up" on the little toe side of the binding, increasing the amount of leverage to edge.

Salomon makes a race stock binding too that actually has an elongated AFD (normal AFD with a flat teflon pad and no spheric crap which creates slop too) pad that sticks out wider than the production "spheric" ones, which gives even more leverage for edging power, but it is not readily available and I believe starts at a DIN of eleven.


other reasons to ponder for your edging problems....
1)boots may be undercanted? worth getting checked and makes a noticable difference.
2)Your boots could be too soft laterally, get a good race boot for maximum lateral performance.
3)skis could be over beveled on the base side (acts the same as being undercanted)

Getting a solid, instant edge engagement is a huge step towards performance skiing and should not be overlooked though it commonly is. Congratulations you have discovered it and will now always be aware of it when making equipment choices and alignment decisions.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
ScotsSkier, I'm generally at a din of 9 or 10 and have noticed that anything lower exaggerates the play. Lowered my setting this season to an even 8 for my first days out and did notice a kind of sluggish response from edges.

Ghost, funny you should mention older Tyrolias. On a lark, I just now dug out my very old Olin Comp IV's with Tyrolia 360 bindings on them to see how much play would be found. WoW! Nearly Zero! And what little play there was (maybe 1 degree each side) was tough to extract - quite a lot of force was required to get any movement. The boot cuff gave way a bit before the binding did.

Gets back to the old adage "They don't make them like they used to." The heelpiece also had a height adjustment.

Bud, I'd noticed in the past that a lot of the better skies, DCLs and examiners have Look and Rossi bindings. Never thought to ask why. Wonder if this was a known issue.

I looked at my Solomon AntiFrict support and it doesn't seem to be an issue. The Markers didn't have toe skids - they have metal pads that move laterally when the toepiece ejects. This metal plate was part of the problem as it was not supported well. When standing in the boot, it pushes down to rest on another plate and the boot toe-tab moves away from the binding ceiling.

No base bevel at all. But canting & boot issues are my life. If my feet hurt, I must be skiing.... Currently Nordi Beasts for the wide forefoot & narrow heels. Not sure how they compare with others for lateral stiffness.

BTW, this isn't so much a current issue for me as it was two years ago though binding play is now increasing again and thoughts of new gear once again arise. I put up this thread because a number of other thread participants mentioned skiing issues that sounded so ...familiar... and for me turned out to be an equipment issue.

.ma
post #6 of 23
Someone else brought up this issue with Markers recently on another thread. He had the same observations. I am someone who is overedged and generally use Markers. I have no trouble hooking up quickly on my turns and have had to over-bevel some skis to make them behave. Next time out I will watch for how they act at the finish of the turn. LewBob
post #7 of 23
My old Dynastar Max-Zero skis had a 2 piece lifter (for toe and heel) that were fixed toward the center and free floating at the ends. The fact that the structural part of the lifter was somewhat thin and rested loosely on top of a shock absorbing rubber layer caused the binding on it to flex side to side a bit. The fact that the bolts on the free floating side needed some clearance between its head and the plate in order to allow it to float freely does not help.

Also, the Marker binding's mounting mechanism, where the front keyhole slides over a bolt, makes the front part of it not as tied down as it should be.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by da-bum
My old Dynastar Max-Zero skis had a 2 piece lifter (for toe and heel) that were fixed toward the center and free floating at the ends. The fact that the structural part of the lifter was somewhat thin and rested loosely on top of a shock absorbing rubber layer caused the binding on it to flex side to side a bit. The fact that the bolts on the free floating side needed some clearance between its head and the plate in order to allow it to float freely does not help.

Also, the Marker binding's mounting mechanism, where the front keyhole slides over a bolt, makes the front part of it not as tied down as it should be.
Marker hasn't used that design for a while. They use 3 screws that are all under the toe of the boot. LewBob
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Marker hasn't used that design for a while. They use 3 screws that are all under the toe of the boot. LewBob
Yeah, a old MRR Titanium that I transfered from a pair to that one. A Marker binding the same vintage as the Dynastar would not have worked because they were all going with the one piece plates (at that time Selective Control), and the two piece freefloating lifter required the toe and heel piece to be disconnected in order for it to flex freely.
post #10 of 23
Nobody is going to mention that edging movements shouldn't be producing rotational torques on the boot lugs?

Er, I'm pretty sure they shouldn't. The idea of edging your skis should not cause such a movement. There is certainly slop in these systems in that regard, but it isn't related to the binding setting or its particular method of toe release. Its more about the issues bud describes.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
If anyone out there actively tests their binding brand/model on a solid surface to find nearly Zero play, lemme know. I'm considering new gear for next season. Especially interested in tests on OLDER gear (70+ days of skiing on it) to validate a solid binding design. 'Nuff 'o that built-in obsolescence stuff for me.

skiingman, it isn't my own movements that I'm concerned about.

Anytime we tip a ski onto an edge in firm snow or ice, there must be at least some torque created between the ski & binding. During fast, sharp turns this torque would predictably get larger. Since Tip & Tail are so much wider now than with classic skis there's likely an increase in torque from that also. Wide skis could be especially problematic with weak bindings. When I tried a pair last year my ankles sure did notice more torque!

For the sake of thread clarity I will disclaim any interpretation that I think this is a widespread problem. If it were, it would have been a major topic a lot sooner. I did some googling on 'Marker' and 'binding' as well as other terms but it seems these terms are heavily used by binding PR campaigns or in biological technogeekery. Didn't find any info on EpicSki on the issue.

.ma
post #12 of 23
Well, this post scared me a little, and I was thinking "I've never noticed any play in my boot/bindings, I wonder if there is any". When I got to the locker room, I checked out my skis. I have brand new Dobie 150s, and I tried them both on a Motion AT binding, and a 14.0 Piston. I couldn't get either one to move at all. I feel better now.
post #13 of 23
In a ski mag review this year or last, they mentioned that the salomon binding made the test ski react fast, almost too fast, and recommeneded that it be used in conjunction with a plate to dull the response. (it was non-pilot). With salomon being the only brand I haven't skied, i can't back this myself, but posts 1 and 4 seem to support it.

Does this mean Salomon bindings have something going for them? :
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA
If anyone out there actively tests their binding brand/model on a solid surface to find nearly Zero play, lemme know. I'm considering new gear for next season. Especially interested in tests on OLDER gear (70+ days of skiing on it) to validate a solid binding design. 'Nuff 'o that built-in obsolescence stuff for me.
Rossi race stock bindings (with the metal toe, as per 155s and 185s, not 120s) correctly mounted with good afds and 12.5 DIN....zero play.

You will find that many older binding systems will be better than newer binding systems in this regard.

Salomon bindings are decent, but the race bindings (based on what was once a production design) are much better.
Quote:
skiingman, it isn't my own movements that I'm concerned about.

Anytime we tip a ski onto an edge in firm snow or ice, there must be at least some torque created between the ski & binding. During fast, sharp turns this torque would predictably get larger. Since Tip & Tail are so much wider now than with classic skis there's likely an increase in torque from that also. Wide skis could be especially problematic with weak bindings. When I tried a pair last year my ankles sure did notice more torque!
First of all, the torque you are talking about is in a different axis than the one I thought you were talking about. You said your boot was moving from side to side several mm, which would mean a torque about the axis (roughly) of your leg. Skiing these days should involve nearly zero torque in this axis, most of the time.

The torque you are talking about is in the axis that forms a line running through roughly the bottom third of the toepiece and then up slightly towards the back of the heelpiece. It bisects the lugs of the boots.

There should be no noticeable play in this axis, whatsoever. If there is, your bindings/boots are worn or improperly adjusted. This axis is certainly more/less rigid from binding to binding, but you should never be able to noticeably twist a well setup binding in that axis.
Quote:
For the sake of thread clarity I will disclaim any interpretation that I think this is a widespread problem. If it were, it would have been a major topic a lot sooner. I did some googling on 'Marker' and 'binding' as well as other terms but it seems these terms are heavily used by binding PR campaigns or in biological technogeekery. Didn't find any info on EpicSki on the issue.
If you notice play in the latter axis with Marker bindings, its likely a bootsole issue. Although, the actual design of the binding is partially to blame as well.

Consider this: The Marker toepiece offers no range of lug height adjustability. You get the binding as manufactured. Now consider this: The ISO standard for alpine ski bootsoles allows +/- 1 mm in toe height. That means your toe could be as much as 2 mm bigger or smaller than the next guys. That is an absolutely vast tolerance for a system that needs to have immediate and direct response. As you can imagine, this can very quickly lead to clickety-click-click in the toepiece and pretty poor transmission of your movements.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
skiingman, Yup, I was focused on the boot tilting while the ski remained flat. An axis directly through the toe tab/lug and heel tab/lug. (say, anyone know what are those things really called?)

As I stated somewhere above I tried a number of other bindings at a local store (though only with a single display boot). The cheap plastic display mounts the bindings were on made for difficult testing but quite a few showed considerable toe movement. A few bindings were mounted on display skis and many of these also showed a lack of much staying power. Bindings on tall assemblies/plates had added movement. To be fair, most were set to a din maybe two or three points higher than their minimum setting. Also possible that mounting bolts/screws were not as tight as they might be for end use.

Don't mean to be dissin the binding makers here, though I would like them to focus more on improved mechanical transmission rather than LCD displays for my din setting...

I'd imagine everyone's boots wear from walking on area concrete and in parking lot gravel. Uneven wear might have the greatest impact. Good reason to check for movement anyway. Some boots have replaceable sole components.

I know these tabs/lugs are supposed to be standardized but I've never been much inclined to trust consistency of industry 'standards' related to commercial goods. Just spent today trying to glue together some 1" sprinkler lines from different makers. GRrrrr...

.ma
post #16 of 23
michaelA - I first observed boot-binding angular play a few years ago, and reported it on Powdermag.com, but unfortunately, that message disappeared when they purged the archives. I thought I also reported the phenomena here on Epic, but a search didn't turn up my post.

Anyway, as I recall, like you, I also observed 2 or 3 degrees of angular play between the boot and the binding (can't remember which binding I tested), but, in addition, I also observed a couple more degrees of angular sloppiness due to motion between my boot cuff and my calf, as well as the boot slightly pushing my calf muscle back and forth sideways, even with the top buckles of my boots quite firm. As I recall, I even observed something like a degree of deformation / slop either in the binding itself or in the binding-ski interface. Add these all up, and you have a surprisingly sloppy system.

Tom / PM
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA
skiingman, Yup, I was focused on the boot tilting while the ski remained flat. An axis directly through the toe tab/lug and heel tab/lug. (say, anyone know what are those things really called?)
For 56 CHF, you can own "Ski bindings: vocabulary" from the ISO. I think tab or lug will suffice.
http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CombinedQu...g=ski+bindings
Quote:
As I stated somewhere above I tried a number of other bindings at a local store (though only with a single display boot). The cheap plastic display mounts the bindings were on made for difficult testing but quite a few showed considerable toe movement.
Keep in mind that depending on what brand you were trying, there may or may not have been a toe height adjustment to carry out. If this wasn't carried out, the results could certainly be quite poor.
Quote:
A few bindings were mounted on display skis and many of these also showed a lack of much staying power. Bindings on tall assemblies/plates had added movement. To be fair, most were set to a din maybe two or three points higher than their minimum setting. Also possible that mounting bolts/screws were not as tight as they might be for end use.
Many of the systems aren't very rigid in this regard. The materials and injection molded forms often don't appear to have been designed with anything but cost in mind. The "DIN" setting matters in theory, as you twist the boot the heel lug attempts to release the heel. However, the amount of force needed to perceptibly move the heelpiece in this way would be a lot greater than you could apply with a boot and binding on a sales floor. The above notes about toe height setting apply here as well, the results could be quite poor indeed if it was not properly set.
Quote:
Don't mean to be dissin the binding makers here, though I would like them to focus more on improved mechanical transmission rather than LCD displays for my din setting...
So true. Or, for that matter, a real electronic binding for the ridiculous 900 bucks.
Quote:
I'd imagine everyone's boots wear from walking on area concrete and in parking lot gravel. Uneven wear might have the greatest impact. Good reason to check for movement anyway. Some boots have replaceable sole components.
High end boots tend to not have replaceable sole components. The reason is that these components detract from the very rigidity we are talking about here. They are usually hollow injection molded pieces with four screws holding them on. The rigidity is supposed to be provided by a lip running around the perimeter that interfaces with a groove in the molded boot. As you can imagine, there are often quite perceptible gaps and so on. This interface isn't that great.

Race/high end boots should have a solid toe/heel. Proper preparation, IMO, should always include planing (or better, milling) them to a very flat surface . If you go look at a dozen new boots, you will notice that they all have visually noticeable cupping and distortion of the sole lugs, and that they are very often not lying in one plane. That is to say that the boot is "tweaked", and the toe and heel are twisted in relation to each other.

After the boots are flattened, they should always be lifted with a high quality set of lifters that have likewise been planed flat as they are not 100 percent perfect out of the mold either, although they are much better because they are a far smaller part. These are then screwed into the boot using countersunk holes in the solid lifters, about 32 screws per pair of boots.

Finally, the top of the lugs are cut back down to the appropriate height (or as I like, to the high range of the standard's tolerance, to ensure tight fit in Marker etc. bindings)

Now you have a boot that is much, much more precisely fit to the ISO norm than anything that came out of the factory. This can all be done relatively inexpensively, circa 75 bucks.
Quote:
I know these tabs/lugs are supposed to be standardized but I've never been much inclined to trust consistency of industry 'standards' related to commercial goods. Just spent today trying to glue together some 1" sprinkler lines from different makers. GRrrrr...
Like I said, +/- 1mm for the lug height. That is an absolutely vast tolerance, probably 7 or 8 percent of the toe lug height. Its up to you to make sure your equipment is closer than that.

Cheers.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman
For 56 CHF, you can own "Ski bindings: vocabulary" from the ISO. I think tab or lug will suffice.
http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CombinedQueryResult.CombinedQueryResult?queryStrin g=ski+bindings


High end boots tend to not have replaceable sole components. The reason is that these components detract from the very rigidity we are talking about here. They are usually hollow injection molded pieces with four screws holding them on. The rigidity is supposed to be provided by a lip running around the perimeter that interfaces with a groove in the molded boot. As you can imagine, there are often quite perceptible gaps and so on. This interface isn't that great.

Race/high end boots should have a solid toe/heel. Proper preparation, IMO, should always include planing (or better, milling) them to a very flat surface . If you go look at a dozen new boots, you will notice that they all have visually noticeable cupping and distortion of the sole lugs, and that they are very often not lying in one plane. That is to say that the boot is "tweaked", and the toe and heel are twisted in relation to each other.

After the boots are flattened, they should always be lifted with a high quality set of lifters that have likewise been planed flat as they are not 100 percent perfect out of the mold either, although they are much better because they are a far smaller part. These are then screwed into the boot using countersunk holes in the solid lifters, about 32 screws per pair of boots.

Finally, the top of the lugs are cut back down to the appropriate height (or as I like, to the high range of the standard's tolerance, to ensure tight fit in Marker etc. bindings)

Now you have a boot that is much, much more precisely fit to the ISO norm than anything that came out of the factory. This can all be done relatively inexpensively, circa 75 bucks.

Like I said, +/- 1mm for the lug height. That is an absolutely vast tolerance, probably 7 or 8 percent of the toe lug height. Its up to you to make sure your equipment is closer than that.

Cheers.
Here here, good point skiingman, and while you are at it for an additional $75 get them balanced too!

The other beauty of this is that when these screwed on soles wear out they are easily and inexpensively replacable and the smooth flat bottom of your boot is not affected at all.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Wow, lots of good inside equipment knowledge there skiingman. Art thou of thy bootfitter caste?

I just checked my boot bottoms for flatness with a metal straight edge. They are perfectly flat across most of the lug with a slight rounding of the base edges in the last 1/4 inch on either side. This rounding is outside the AFD support or heel support but I might just do a grinding on 'em anyway.

On close inspection I did just find a slight pucker-up right in the middle of each toe lug where the manufacturing mold separates (I forget what that seam is called). It's pretty small but I'll remove it anyway. A quick re-adjust of my toe height for a closer fit and we'll see what happens next week.

PhysicsMan, I'm one of those farmboys with huge calf muscles that a ski boot tends to strangle. Heading out to a bootfitter next week to see about stretching the cuff-tops out a bit to gain some circulation so my feet wont go numb any more. I've not experienced much lateral boot play but that may change after stretching.

Also, a couple years ago when I was in *sloppier* boots, a former examiner showed me that trick of putting the top strap inside the shell to tighten up the liner around my lower leg more. I noticed considerably more edge control instantly. My current Nordies have a Booster-like strap that just doesn't fit in there without strangling the life out of my feet.

Whatever happended to all that talk of 'Flexible Manufacturing' and an ideal Lot-Size of One? Whoever develops a custom-fit boot factory in a van might make a bundle.

.ma
post #20 of 23
Quote:
After the boots are flattened, they should always be lifted with a high quality set of lifters that have likewise been planed flat as they are not 100 percent perfect out of the mold either, although they are much better because they are a far smaller part. These are then screwed into the boot using countersunk holes in the solid lifters, about 32 screws per pair of boots.
Yes, but don't even think about walking in them , even in the lodge, without Cat Tracks unless you like doing aerobatics
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
Here here, good point skiingman, and while you are at it for an additional $75 get them balanced too!

The other beauty of this is that when these screwed on soles wear out they are easily and inexpensively replacable and the smooth flat bottom of your boot is not affected at all.
Good point.
Quote:

Yes, but don't even think about walking in them , even in the lodge, without Cat Tracks unless you like doing aerobatics
Yeah, I should use cat tracks, but lifters are easily available to me, so I just replace them a couple times a year.
post #22 of 23
I found the other thread on this topic. http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...MARKER+SALOMON
This member made the same observation, so it has me curious. BTW, shouldn't this be in the equipment forum? LewBob
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
LewBob, thanks for finding that thread. Searching on Marker and Binding as well as other terms via Google turned up billions, 'n billions... Didn't find it in the clutter. still, we seem to have gathered quite a lot more info here.

My originating post was to examine edging & control issues people experience in higher energy turns. Elsewhere, people posted the sequence of trouble-resolution steps as beginning with an equipment check. I'd hoped to poke around binding weakness as a possible <alternate> cause of poor edge engagement early in turns. When the binding's grip performs poorly late in the previous turn, we begin our transition to the new turn in an over-angulated state. We may intend to progressivly release/change our edges but at some point the pent up binding slop will also release creating an uncontrolled (by us) edge change process.

The thread devolved into an equipment review after that. Oh well, best of intentions...

.ma
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