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How much do integrated bindings matter?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
The important stuff:
21 years old
Ex highschool racer
Go anywhere, do anything, bowls, moguls, trees, etc. (except park)
Ski Location: Copper Mountain, CO - Recent family condo purchase.
Spend about 60/40 time off-piste/piste
Sick of skiing all-mountain on my Salomon 3Vs from my racing days

The questions:
Looking for a new all mountain ski to do what I like to do and had my eye on the K2 Apache Recon (However, based on my stats and where I ski, what else would fit me?). I noticed I can get a 167cm 05/06 demo on ebay for roughly $450. The problem is that they come with demo bindings. Does anyone know if you can order the standard Marker integrated system separately? How much performance would I sacrifice if I installed a new binding (non Marker integrated system) on there? Does it just depend on the holes/way the old one was mounted? Do these integrated binding packages really add that much performance anyways? (I'm thinking maybe I could snag some flats). Any help would be great!

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 12
Find some flat skis. There is a lot of debate about integrated bindings. Personally, I'd rather have a binding I like than one somebody else choose. You might look at a Dynastar 8000 or a Salomon Fury
post #3 of 12
Elsewhere there is a thread about 10 pairs of those skis for $200 each. You might want to contact that guy.
post #4 of 12
I agree, $450 is way too much, especially for a demo. The only thing an integrated system helps with is allowing the ski to flex more naturally. If you aren't on perfect groomers, you'll never know the difference ... other than the fact that you'll be set way up off the ski and on a binding you don't have any choice about.
post #5 of 12
167 is waaaaaaaaaaay too short for someone with racing skill, especially for off-piste use. Look in the TGR classifieds, they have more off-piste-oriented skis over there for less money.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the quick responses and all your help and suggestions! More to come when I get some free time later today...
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Has anyone tried the Elan 666? A local ski shop just recommended that to me given my racing background. The guy (local ski race coach) mentioned that integrated binding systems aren't worth much and can reduce the ski's energy or "pop" but allow you to make slightly better arcs on groomers. He said in the fluff integrated bindings won't mean anything.
post #8 of 12
I would concur on both of those points. Many freeriders eschew systems because they usually involve high binding lift, as well as considerable expense as compared to "flat" bindings.

As for the hard-snow point, if you look at the highest levels of race stock equipment, such as the gs skis shown in the picture here(Atomicman's), you will see a solid plate with a binding screwed into it, in most cases. There is a reason for this...
post #9 of 12
System bindings can have performance advantages, but can also have issues due to poor or overly flexible interface with the ski. Higher-end system integration as with Nordica's new XBi or Elan's Fusion does (IMO) increase the performance of the ski/binding interface for recreational skiers.

Other system bindings are more for convenience of the manufacturers (not to mention ensuring a ski/binding purchase), but on the lower-level skis, that's probably not a big deal for those skiers.

As for race skis having plates and not integrated binding systems... I have to wonder how much of that is due to the preferences of the racers versus actually higher performance. I don't know the answer to that, but I have my suspicions.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
That being said. Let's assume I'm going to get some flats... does anyone have some binding suggestions? Do certain bindings go better with certain skis?
post #11 of 12
Bindings pretty much come down to preference. I ski Look/Rossi's (older pivot style) and occasionally Salomon's. I don't like Marker because I don't like how their toepiece releases. That said, I work and ski with guys who won't ski anything BUT Marker, and dislike what I ride. Every binding is safe, and the only differences will really come down to things like lifter plates and totally flat mounts, and that depends on what you're doing on the ski. bumps, park, powder, etc... go for a flat mount (no lift plate). Carving more, get one with a lifter plate
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by TakMusashi View Post
That being said. Let's assume I'm going to get some flats... does anyone have some binding suggestions? Do certain bindings go better with certain skis?
Far more than "certain skis" is "certain techniques" and "styles" of skiing. Smoother skiing tends to be able to be accommodated by a wide variety of bindings, and some bindings that may not be as effective when there's a lot of "hits" may actually work better. Also, the release/retention ratio needs to go into the mix.

The Markers are a perfect example of this. The toepiece is designed to go from retention to release immediately when the release point is reached: the wing opens and you're out of the toe. This may be appropriate and good for some folks, while others find it not merely disconcerting, but dangerous. Single pivot toes like those on Looks are at the other end of the spectrum, offering a broader range of retention and a less abrupt release.

These characteristics, though, aren't "right" or "wrong" but offer different results. So, how do you tend to ski? Lots of movement, hard "hits" or edge checks? Or more smooth and going for the grace?
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