or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Problem with Fritschi Freeride binding
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Problem with Fritschi Freeride binding

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Last year I bought a new pair of Fritschi Freeride bindings. They were fitted by the shop where I bought them (Sports Takiguchi in Kutchan, Japan) onto a pair of brand new K2 Axis XP skis purchased at the same time.

After about 40 days skiing on the new skis and bindings (2 weeks in Japan and the remainder during the Australian 2003 ski season I noticed that I was getting some vibration and lift in the heel of the left binding. At this point I had only used the bindings in fixed mode for alpine skiing. I weigh 80kg and am 190cm tall. I do not consider myself an aggressive or powerful skier but a competent one in all conditions.

The vibration and heel lift (about 2mm) continued to get worse so I had a ski technician in Australia have a look. He pointed out that there was severe wear between the plastic parts where rear of the main bar rests on the secured heelpiece. See http://www.ciau.com.au/snow/fritschi.htm for photos of the worn parts.

I returned the skis and bindings inside 12 months to the shop where I purchased them but they would not replace the binding or the worn parts under warranty.

I have emailed Fritschi twice (March and April) but have not had a single word in reply. My treatment by other alpine binding companies over the past 30 years has been excellent and never have I had a reason to complain about any warranty issues.

1. Has anyone else experienced the same problem? Could there be an inherent fault in the binding?

2. Can anyone suggest what other action I should take to either get my binding replaced or repaired?

3. Failing the above, can anyone suggest an alternative to the Fritschi Freeride binding?

From one very frustrated skier,
post #2 of 11
Haven't skied on the Fritschi, so I can't comment on their reliability. If the shop where you bought them is a reigistered dealer for Fritschi then I would have thought that they would replace them and still be covered by Fritschi themselves.

You might have to get in touch with the Australian distributor for Fritschi products - I had a problem with my Rossignol boot liners which were purchased in California. I found out the Australian distributor and they were the ones who handled all the warranty issues, not Rossignol themselves. If there's no reply from Fritschi themselves call an Australian shop that sells their products and find out who the distributor is - it may not work but it's worth a try.

And finally try and get your hands on the Naxo AT binding. I skied on it for a few days BC and inbounds in the Rockies this season gone past and found them to be a great AT setup. Even if Fritschi gets their act together, I would try the Naxo anyway.

post #3 of 11
Check plastic pieces along the bar. There are screws on the plastic pieces which secure them to the bar. I have notices problems with these screws coming loose. I found it because of looseness in the same area you describe.

My recommendation to anybody using these bindings is to periodically check to ensure these star screws are tight. RRR, it may be too late for your bindings, but for the rest out there, this is something that should be checked regularly.

I have switched to the Silvretta Pure for touring. I have not used it much for ski area skiing yet. It is much lighter than the Freeride, and I like the pivot point over the Freeride or Dynafit. The toe release is probably not as good as the Freeride, and because I've only used it a couple of months the reliability is unknown.

Hope this helps.

post #4 of 11
I can't help any more or less than the others. The problem is not with the binding, but more with usage. The Fritschi bindings are designed for touring, not as an everyday on-piste/lift accessed skiing binding (there are plenty of other brands to choose from for that). Even when I installed some new ones, there was quite a bit of lateral motion, which I surmised would get worse with use, especially when skiing regularily on hard snow. Tour with touring gear, ski with ski gear.
post #5 of 11
The Naxo binding Julian mentions looks great, and is designed by ex Fritschi people, but this year's model had real breakage problems. Go to Google and enter "naxo bindings break broken" and you'll find enough stories to make you want to give them a year to work out the bugs.

The Freeride has a good reputation, but remember, it is a tourng binding, with lot's of plastic and half the weight of an alpine binding. Betaracers point has merit. I've been beating on a pair 20 days now without the problem you've developed, so I would think your warranty claims are valid.

I've have the Frit and Dynafit systems. For lots of lift serviced skiing I would not recommend the Dynafit. I use them for ultralight once up the mountain days.

post #6 of 11
Just about everybody who skis Freerides as a resort binding has problems with some play in the system. Betaracer is right; no touring binding is really made to stand up to high milage lift served use. Of course, there are quite a few people here in Mammoth that use Freerides and Naxos as an everyday, on the hill binding. Some of them have no problems at all, but others are always talking about toe slop, or heel wobble. The Naxo also has problems with guys in th running lower DIN in the larger sizes. The heel lifts while skiing. This is more pronounced with alpine boots. I hope they work the bugs out for next year.

Everyone likes the idea of putting a touring binding on thier midfats/fats, so that they have the tour option, but they may be asking to much from the gear. If you spend most of your time on the lifts, stick with an alpine binding, and get a pair of alpine trekkers. I would not want to do a big climb on them, but for lift assisted slack country they are great. If you go on a touring trip, rent AT gear. Or take the plunge, and buy a seperate AT setup.

AT Steve - How are the Pures treating you? I am considering replacing my 555s with them next year. Do you know if the hole patterns match? I must say, that I like my 555s a lot. They ski and tour well, noticable beter than the Freeride.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I was told that Freerides were made stronger than other Fritschi models so they would stand up to more on piste use.

Mind you, at least 70% of all the use my bindings received was off piste. In Japan it was all powder. In Australia somewhat more variable.

AT Steve: Have checked all screws and they seem tight.
post #8 of 11
Yeah, for a tour binding that doubles as a resort binding, the Freeride is the best one out there. This may not be saying much, as you have found out. Are you spending 70% of the time touring, or just off piste? If you spend 30 days a year climing for turns and you are unhappy with the Freeride, I would look into something else; Pure, or maybe Dynafit (by far the most durable choice). If you are off piste, but not climbing, then alpine is the way to go.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I hear what you are saying helispin but I ski with a bunch of friends who have been using Titanials for years and the only problem amongst them was a bent toe post after a big fall.
post #10 of 11
Fritche's have a lot of plastic-on-plastic contact pointa, and these will develop slop. Keeping the screws tight helps, but you still need to occasionally shim the slop out. I use a high grade electrician's tape.

Given that, I have four years heavy use on my Titanal's and they are still going. Many, many folks use the Freerides heavily for in and out of bounds skiing for years. Ya just gotta tune 'em up sometimes.

That said, the Dynafits are definitely less prone to wear problems, with their metal on metal contact points, if you can put up with having to use Dynafit compatible boots.

The Naxo's have proven unreliable, and the Pure's are too new to assess. I am mounting a pair next week on Jak BC's and will be glad to send in my opinions.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Cause of Fritschi Freeride binding problem

With the help of a local ski shop it appears we now know the cause of the problems with my left Fritschi Freeride binding.

After careful measurements it was discovered that the heelpiece on the left binding was mounted a millimetre further forward than the heelpiece on the right binding. This meant the plastic end on the centre bar of the left binding was not lining up with the highest point of the heel piece where contact is flat but in fact was contacting with the back of the curved plastic part causing a contact angle of some 30-45 degrees.

Hard to explain so take a look at the photo at http://www.ciau.com.au/snow/freeride.htm

This shows that when you line up the points of contact with the centre bar that the left heel piece is mounted closer to the toe piece than the right binding.

I'll try again to take up this matter with the shop that mounted the bindings although after my last visit I'm not holding my breath for a quick resolution.

Looks like I will be able to put my faith back in Fritschi bindings although I'm still disappointed that Fritschi never replied to any of my emails.

Thanks for all your comments and help.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Problem with Fritschi Freeride binding