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Integrated Bindings

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
In the 01/02 line of skis there appears to be a lot of emphasis of "integrating" bindings with the ski. This appears to take two forms:

1)The Pilot-type system where the binding mounts on the pins...so the flat spot associated with a normal binding is avoided...affording unobstructed flex for the ski.
2)"Pre-drilled" plastic plates integrated on top of the ski to recieve bindings of the manufacturers choice. Some of these plates seemed exceptionally long to accommodate a large range of boot sizes.

To my untrained eye these designs appear diametrically opposed- assuming that the plastic plate inhibits uniform flex (Its hard to believe it does'nt)and contributes to a bigger "flat spot". I believe that there are arguments on both sides of the benefits of this issue which Im sure are addressed or implied in previous pilot posts.

Any comments on the effect these plastic mounting plates have on ski performance?

Even to the non-skeptical, a main driver appears to be ski manufacturers trying to dictate the type of binding used.
post #2 of 40
Not an authority, but IMHO, the plastic plates/lifters that you are referring to are not an integrated system. The marketing departments of these ski companies would like you to believe that the plate in combination with the ski and the only binding that will fit the pre-drilled holes (their own binding, of course) is the only way to get the maximum performance from that particular ski. Manufacturers that make both skis and bindings have for some time told the consumer that the best binding for their skis are their own bindings. The plate just forces the issue by saying the only binding that you can put on these skis are our bindings (and in some cases, you will void the warrenty if you mount another companies binding on the skis). Some folks say that it makes sense that the ski would be designed to work best with a particular brand of binding. Others say it's nothing but marketing hype and designed to do nothing more than force you to spend more on one companies products.

Some of the plates are designed to allow the ski flex, so you have less of a dead spot under foot, like the integrated binding on the Pilot or Motion. But they don't work as well as the Pilot or Motion systems. And, frankly the Tyrolia Free Flex bindings have been doing the same thing for several years now.
post #3 of 40
The pre-drilled plates usually have slotted holes for the mounting screws at the heel and/or toe, to allow for some flex underfoot. But these designs often have small areas blocked by non-slotted screws. Either way existing free-flex bindings do as good or better job of letting the ski flex.

JL - You are very correct in saying the main driver for this trend is ski companies trying to dictate the type of binding used. But the true integrated systems (pilot and motion) go a step further by dictating the type of ski you buy in your next purchase by making bindings which only fit some models of one brand of ski.

The whole thing really sucks and I predict it will get worse before everyone realises they have been had, and the integrated systems are abandoned.
post #4 of 40
I think it sucks badly as well, UNLESS there is a clear performance advantage of having a same make ski/binding system, e.g. the Pilot system seems to be a real innovation with clear performance advantages.

On the other hand, if a ski company, in an increasingly competitive market, can get additional revenue by forcing a consumer to buy the binding as well as ski, then commercially it makes sense.

It would be interesting to see any consumer survey info on whether people are driven to different manufacturers because of this phenomonen, or more likely to buy.
post #5 of 40
I am going to be driven away from Atomic if they continue to have their top all mountain skis with pre mounted plates.

The Atomic bindings are the worst pair I have ever had and I really don't trust them at all.

There is a flip side to the intergrated packages and that is if one on the items is not up to scratch then it could effect the sale of both.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 05, 2002 04:45 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Riccardo ]</font>
post #6 of 40
Kiwi
You said:
But the true integrated systems (pilot and motion) go a step further by dictating the type of ski you buy in your next purchase by making bindings, which only fit some models of one brand of ski.

I can comment on motion system. To my knowledge those skis can be purchased only together with bindings. Therefore it does not affect your next purchase. If you are Motion loyal you are forced to buy bindings more often. I am still convinced it is not fair. Hopefully in future they’ll change that policy. Please refer to
http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...c&f=1&t=002628

Nevertheless, I just have bought pair of P50 motion. Looking forward try them in the coming up weekend.
post #7 of 40
I think it´s purely commercial.Bindings have not evolved much if at all,they just want us to buy new ones!.Performance wise:you would have to test a Pilot(for ex.) mounted ski versus a conventional mounted ski to see if there was any improvement,personally i don´t think it would be very noticeable,nor worth the over-engineering.Like snowboard step-ins,the idea is good but they rushed over it.The result:lots of incompatible systems,most of them will die and the survivors won´t neccessarily be the most effective,maybe just financially stronger.IMHO.
post #8 of 40
One more point about the Pilot system: It mounts without drilling. Now, if THAT feature could be standardized, or adaptive plates could be made to attach any binding to a "Pilot type" free flexing system, then I could see a consumer benefit.
post #9 of 40
On the subject of performance, My opinion is that they make a big difference.

I have skied the Vertigo motion and the vertigo. I also skied the XScream series and the Pilot 10. I'm currently on the Crossmax 10 Pilot. My wife skied 2 days on the Crossmax 8 ( non pilot in the rental fleet) and the Scream 8 Pilot so she got to see and feel the difference between the 2.

The Pilot and the Motion system allow the ski to flex more evenly (no flat spot under foot) so it makes a rounder more even carve. the edge hold under foot seems to be amplified.

The even flex seems to allow you to ski on a shorter ski and still have the stability of the longer ski (because you are using the whole edge better?) and the short ski makes them even easier to turn.


IMHO, the pilot and the motion system are here to stay and definate winners.
post #10 of 40
Certainly agree re the Pilot system. What is to be said about Atomic/Atomic; Dynastar/Look? Are there any innovations there?
post #11 of 40
I have some Rossi Mountain Viper X PPS with a built in plate. They require Rossi bindings. All I can say is the combination of the plate & ski is fantastic. The performance of that ski is way ahead of previous Mountain Viper models. They really have something there.

I have skied other skis with integrated plates before & for the most part was not overly impressed. The Viper X PPS is the first ski I've tried where the plate really makes a difference.
post #12 of 40
"the Pilot system seems to be a real innovation with clear performance advantages."

If so why aren't Salomon race skis Pilot systems?
Shops like the pre-drilled plates because they eliminate mis-mounting of skis. Go look at your skis, How many pairs can you find that were mounted perfectly centered and matched fore and aft?
Atomic ski/binding system creates such a flat spot in the skis that they made their boot sole flexible to eliminate the flat spot.
Has any one tried the same skis with and without the Pilot system?
post #13 of 40
Perhaps because the type of performance enhancement that the pilot system provides is very helpful for all-mountain recreational skiing, but doesn't do much for race skis? Or perhaps the position of the pins for the pilot system would interfer with the extreme edging done on race skis (which would be the same reason they don't show up on hyper-carver skis. Maybe even the pins can't take the pounding of a downhill race. Just because this development didn't come off the World Cup circuit does not mean that it's not a step-up in performance.
post #14 of 40
I'm really not impressed with the Pilot system. Been skiing on X-Scream 9s in a 195cm for a couple years and recently bought a used pair of XXXs in a 188cm I've been using in all conditions. Tried the 2002 Scream 10 Pilot in the 192cm and thought they were complete noodles. Lousy edge hold on hardpack, and chattered when I pointed 'em. They weren't terrible but certainly didn't excel in any conditions I tried like a ski with that price tag should. Now I can't definitely say this was because of the Pilot system, it could be the skis. But because the Pilot skis will flex more naturally, this means more flex period. If the ski is too soft to begin with, they're gonna be noodles. I would have thought the Prolink system would have provided stability at speed, (I've always been real impressed with the Prolinks, definitely not a gimmick), but this sadly was not the case with the Pilots I tried.
post #15 of 40
powpig,

You don't give us any level/weight info for yourself and terrain you prefer. It might help us understand where you are coming from. I found that you really need to keep these and almost all the "new shapes" really on edge all the time to get the best performance out of them. Did you get a chance to check the tune on the edges and did you try swapping left and right? I took out a pair of demo scream 10 pilots earlier this year and found them to not have any edge thus no edge hold in hard pack. Also were the pilot 10, 2002 models the "pre-season" versions with the orange top sheet or the black or dark green top sheet (construction is different from model to model) and you mentioned "pointing them" which means you were doing figure 11's? I don't know of any new shaped ski that excels at that.

Just some thoughts.
post #16 of 40
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Rex:
[QB]Kiwi
You said:
But the true integrated systems (pilot and motion) go a step further by dictating the type of ski you buy in your next purchase by making bindings, which only fit some models of one brand of ski.

I can comment on motion system. To my knowledge those skis can be purchased only together with bindings. Therefore it does not affect your next purchase. If you are Motion loyal you are forced to buy bindings more often. I am still convinced it is not fair. Hopefully in future they’ll change that policy. [QB]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

What I meant was, if the skis in your integrated system are worn out or broken and you want to transfer your bindings to a new set of skis you will have to buy some which have the same system. Volkl seems to be even more stingy with the motion system by not even selling the skis by themselves. I totally agree that any motion loyal person will get stung for new bindings every time they get new skis, and that sucks.

As for the pilot system, it may be innovative but I can't see any performance benefit. The pilot bindings simply have a short mounting footprint and they don't do anything that any free-flexing binding does. I believe the reason that pilots are not used in race skis is the feeling of detachment from the tip of the ski. I have seen early versions of a high performance pilot system where the empty space under the toe and heel pieces is blocked by rubber inserts. This essentially negates the effect of the short footprint and makes the system identical to any one piece plate on the market today.
post #17 of 40
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by kiwiski:


As for the pilot system, it may be innovative but I can't see any performance benefit. The pilot bindings simply have a short mounting footprint and they don't do anything that any free-flexing binding does. I believe the reason that pilots are not used in race skis is the feeling of detachment from the tip of the ski. I have seen early versions of a high performance pilot system where the empty space under the toe and heel pieces is blocked by rubber inserts. This essentially negates the effect of the short footprint and makes the system identical to any one piece plate on the market today.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Having skied both the motion and pilot and also their counterparts in non integrated binding systems I can say that they do make a difference. Even with the "rubber pad blocking". If I just stand in the snow next to someone with a simular ski (x-scream series and scream 10 pilot) or my wife on the crossmax 8 (the rental fleet does not have the pilot) and a friend on the crossmax 8 Pilot which I'm now told by the Salomon rep are exactly the same ski construction with different binding mounting system, you can see the difference in flex. The pilots (with rubber blocks) do create a much more even (round) flex.

Just my observation.
post #18 of 40
I'm going to disagree with you dchan. I actually really like the Crossmax10's. But they aren't high speed bombers.

"The Pilot and the Motion system allow the ski to flex more evenly (no flat spot under foot) so it makes a rounder more even carve. the edge hold under foot seems to be amplified."

The main benefit of the Pilot is the rounder turn shape. Edge hold is not a virtue of the pilot skis. I skied the Crossmax 10 in a 180 two weeks ago. They held a pretty good edge, but it wasn't race like by any means. If the Pilot system did give skis better edge hold, you'd see it being used on the Salomon race skis instead of the Hangl plates and such.

The Pilot is good for recreational freeride and carving skis and not a lot more. Pilot system (along with a softer ski flex) allows skiers to easily decamber the ski into a very round shape, thereby granting easy round turns. This isn't anything to scoff at, but edge hold isn't a benefit.

"The even flex seems to allow you to ski on a shorter ski and still have the stability of the longer ski (because you are using the whole edge better?) and the short ski makes them even easier to turn."

Salomon uses a softer flex to really emphasize the Pilot system. This doesn't do wonders for stability in larger turns. The skis have a rubbery feeling and have great snow contact. But if you try to open up the radius above what the skis want, they get really nervous. I'm not talking figure 11 here, but close to it. This is something that the G3's, XX's, and 11.20's didn't fail at when I skied them the same day. One of the above posters was correct about the yellow spacers on the Crossmax. Those spacers are the reason the Crossmax skis so much better than Pilot10 line. Ironically, the spacers also reduce the "pilot effect" in the skis.

Funny side note about the Crossmax's: even with great sales, they aren't selling like Salomon intended. The Cross' were intended for a younger demographic. The skiercross label was an effort to get the "Bandit and Vertigo" crowd onto Salomons again. The X-Scream name doesn't have the cache it once had. Instead, the Cross' are mostly going to the same market that bought Pilot10's and Screams last year. I'm really not sure why the Pilot10 line is around next year.
post #19 of 40
Matter,

I don't think we really dis-agree at all. I don't remember mentioning that they have a race hold and I would agree the Pilot system does not belong on the race ski. I mentioned that "the edge hold under foot seems to be amplified" but that was just my feeling. You may very well be correct. Maybe it's the more even pressure along the whole length of the ski including underfoot that gives it that feel. The rubber blocks do negate some of the advantage of no contact but it's still much better than the screws placed way out there. The crossmax I thought were stiffer than my X scream series when I just put them on the bench and flexed them but it could be an issue of length and the fact that there is less natural camber in the crosmax than the X-scream series. No measurments taken, just me pushing on them.
I get them going pretty fast (no, not race speeds) doing very large GS turns on all kinds of terrain and although they are not as stable as the other skis you mention doing that, I find them very verstile. It's aimed at the freeride crowd but I find it's a very technical ski too. With razor sharp edges they hold very well on Sierra ice and hard pack. re: tuning, I find most rental/demo shops don't pay quite the attention to their edges as they should. I took a supposed newly tuned Atomics (9-16) out last week. I could not hold an edge on the ice patches. I then checked the "newly sharpened edges" and found them to be quite lacking. I understand it's lots of work but how do they expect us to get good evaluations on skis if they are not tuned to their best.

Thanks for your opinions and thoughts.
post #20 of 40
Yeah dchan, it sounds like we agree for the most part.

Also, regarding the original posters questions on the plates:

The freefloating plates on the Atomics and other brands also do a good job of reducing the flat spot underfoot. They aren't just gimmicks to force you into certain bindings, although that was a nice side effect for the ski makers. The way a lot of them work is a single fixed attachment point (usually in the middle or rear). When the ski flexes deeply into an arc, the front part of the lifter is free to "inch up" on the ski. Its not as completely round as the Pilot, because even a single attachment area has some effect on flex.

One thing though, the Crossmax isn't really a freeride ski (at least not by the current definition). I think Salomon was trying to introduce the carving ski to a younger market. Rossi is doing the same thing next year with the moto themed RPM 17 and RPM 21, and Atomic has the green and orange moto graphic'ed SX11 line (SX= SkierX aka skicross). Even if the Crossmax didn't do exactly what Salomon planned, everyone is rushing to catch up.
post #21 of 40
I’ve seen Volki 2002/2003 years catalog. The most of skis are equipped with. Motion. It looks like Volki are putting big stakes on it.
We’ll see if putting all eggs in one basket is going to be good idea.

As for Motion itself, beside other matters already discussed it is just damn convenient – 10 sec. and you have bindings off.
post #22 of 40
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Rex:
I’ve seen Volki 2002/2003 years catalog. The most of skis are equipped with. Motion. It looks like Volki are putting big stakes on it.
We’ll see if putting all eggs in one basket is going to be good idea.

As for Motion itself, beside other matters already discussed it is just damn convenient – 10 sec. and you have bindings off.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Didn't someone mention on this board that Volkl offers two version of nearly all of their skis next year, a Motion and a Regular? I guess we'll find out (apparently they have 33 models, so its possible!)

As for performance, I've tried both the G3 and the Vertigo Motion (which I own). The Motion definately holds its line better, and is easier to ski, without sacrificing any stability. I think its a definate improvement.

And, its not as if the bindings that come on it won't accomodate 99% of the population, they're *bindings* after all, and other than having to hold you in place, they don't have to do much!
post #23 of 40
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Rex:
As for Motion itself, beside other matters already discussed it is just damn convenient – 10 sec. and you have bindings off.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

ok, here's where the ski companies could really hook us up, but instead the screw us. what about just buying one "motion" binding and then being able to buy the vertigo and sl carver skis seperately and just switch the binding yourself?

it would be so easy to provide us w/ a really useful product, but they'd screw ski shops world-wide, and that's why they won't do it.
post #24 of 40
r you are right

I have a feeling that situation about Motion/Pilot concept is unsettled now. If it appears to be a real step forward accepted by customers other manufacturers will follow. Then competition will put things in right place.
If that appears to be deadlock than in few years I will have a pair of spare motion bindings at home.
post #25 of 40
Matter, I agree with you take on the Scream 10 Pilot. However, I do think you can ski the Crossmax 10 very fast and have it remain stable. I owned the the X Scream Series before and while it probably is a more versatile all-around ski the the Crossmax it doesn't have the edge grip on hard snow that the Crossmax does. I also feel that the Crossmax 10 is a more demanding (smaller sweet spot) ski than the Series.
post #26 of 40
What about the Marker piston plate. Is that going to be on the new Volkl skis?
post #27 of 40
That´s new for next season. Several Volkls 2003 models is possible to buy also with PistonMotion Plate (for example P50 GS or P50 Supersport)...
post #28 of 40
Lucas; Where on the web can I see 03 Volkl skis?
post #29 of 40
post #30 of 40
They are some very sweet looking graphics. How strange to have that info on a Russian website!

Thanks champ
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