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Question about bindings

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I have a few questions about bindings I was hoping someone might be able to help me out with. I'm an experienced skier who's been on a lot of skis but I've never given the bindings too much thought (other than coming to grips with the fact that my Atomic race bindings really, really suck).

How compatible are bindings with different types of skis (i.e. can MOST bindings be mounted on MOST types of skis)?

What is the typical "lifespan" of a pair of bindings?

What are the best and worst brands of bindings currently on the market?

What qualities of a binding make it good or bad?

post #2 of 8
Your questions are not specific enough to allow a meaningful answer.

Most bindings cannot be mounted on most skis - but some can.

As for your next questions, consider what kind of an answer you would get if you substituted car bands for ski manufacturers:

What is the typical "lifespan" of a Chevy or Ford or VW?

What are the best and worst of Chevy or Ford or VW currently on the market? (Answer: it depends on a LOT of things.)

What qualities of a Chevy or Ford or VW make it good or bad? (Answer: it depends on a LOT of things.)
post #3 of 8
I've come to grips with the fact that my Chevy really, really sucked.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
The questions are general because I'm looking for general answers. As I said, I know very little about bindings, so I'm looking for stuff like "Marker bindings can't be mounted on Atomic skis" or "Fischer makes terrible bindings, but I really like Salomon" or "Bindings are very important on race skis but so crucial on powder or bump skis." These of course are assertions I just made up for the point of comparison...

As for the "lifespan" question, what does it take for a pair of bindings to outlive their efficiency (A ski loses it's "pop", a boot gets "packed out")? A car may not be an appropriate analogy because if it needs a major repair you would be much more likely to repair it than throw it out, whereas a binding in dire straits would likely be destined for the landfill.

I am looking for some Cliff Notes for "Bindings 101", as well as some personal experiences/opinions with their bindings.
post #5 of 8
no_style, welcome to EpicSki!

Well, I'll take a swipe at your questions, but some here will argue with my answers:

1) If you can buy a binding without a ski, it is designed to be mounted on any ski that doesn't require a specific binding (and that's narrow enough for the brake to still work). All manufacturers of bindings make bindings that will mount on "flat" skis.

2) Lifespan has to do with two things, primarily: breaking of parts and fatigue of the springs. Fatigue takes 5-10 years. Breaking of parts has more to do with use than anything else. Fatigue is the reason you want to have your bindings tested each year.

3) There are no "best" or "worst" bindings on the market. I have skied most of the major brands over the past two seasons, and they are all good. You may prefer some features more than others, and that may focus you in a particular direction. For my part, I find skis that I like, then buy bindings that will go with them. For example, I prefer some of the features of the RailFlex 2 system (like ease of mounting and adjustability), so I bought my Fischer RX8s with the RailFlex integrated binding. Last year, I bought them flat with Marker 1400EPS bindings. I also like the way that the RailFlex feels when I ski them a bit better.

4) Those qualities that you most care about! For example, much has been made here about the weight of the Atomic Neox bindings. I've been skiing them this season on my Metron:b5s. I really like them. They are solid, both in terms of general mechanical characteristics and in terms of materials. I like that. I couldn't care less that they weight more than (for example) a Rossi Pivot. For others, they'll avoid them for that reasons. I also like that both of the bindings that I have this year (the Neox and the Fischer/Tyrolia) have adjustability built-in. I have used it on the Fischers, but left the Neoxes in their "Forward" setting.

My view of bindings? They are the last thing I think about when buying skis, and I rarely think about them after they've been purchased. I'll just ski on them. I tend to be pretty quiet on my skis, so I don't have issues with pre-release or the like, and never have. I used to be able to feel my Looks re-center my boots on my skis back when I skied them. That was kinda cool. The Markers, Atomics, and Tyrolias seem to recenter faster than the old Looks did...
post #6 of 8


I would just like to thank SSH for taking the time to thoughfully answer questions. I appreciate it and I'm sure those who asked also appreciate it. There are a few too many "experts" who give a smart ass answer to a sincere question from someone who is requesting help. Remember everyone should do something good for someone else every day. SSH does, do you?
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Awesome answer ssh, that was exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Bindings tend to be the drunk uncle of the ski gear family- they're always there, but nobody really wants to talk about 'em.
post #8 of 8
1/ Most bindings and skis are made 'flat' which means they are all mutually compatible. But in the last few years individual ski and binding manufacturers have been getting together to restrict this compatibility through integrated systems. They use other ways of mounting which means that brand X skis can only be mounted with brand Y bindings. They are trying to convince people that integrated systems give greater performance but it is really just about increasing sales of bindings.

2/ Binding manufaturers produce lists of indemnified bindings each year which they still support and regard as serviceable. Bindings are generally indemnified for 7-10 years.

3/ Which is the 'best' binding is a deeply emotional argument. In general Atomic and Marker are really contentious, some people are perfectly happy with them, other people hate them with a passion. Tyrolia are pretty small in the US but people who use them are generally happy with them. Salomon is popular but they have issues with one particular screw which can work loose and leaves the boot slopping around in the binding. Look and Rossignol are the same bindings with a different paint job, they have a small but incredibly loyal following and there is little if anything ever said that is bad about them.

4/ What makes a binding good is if it keeps your skis on your feet when you are skiing but releases before causing an injury. The different manufacturers have taken different approaches to achieving this. Marker are on the high tech side, most of the others prefer a 'keep it simple' approach. Personally I think high elasticity is the key to the binding being able to absorb short shocks while skiing in control but still allowing an easy release in slow twisting falls.
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