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Blizzard 614 prerelease issues

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I have the Blizzard SLR IQ Mag with the Blizzard 614 integrated binding.  Today was my 3rd day out on them and I had a double heel release for no apparent reason.  I was skiing at speed and had them cranked over on edge on a steep groomer.  No sudden movements - nothing.  Also, I had previously increased the DIN from 7.5 (shop adjusted - according to the chart) to 8.5.

 

This was just like the old Atomic Race 614s used to do.  Double heel ejects at high speed for no reason.

 

Has anyone had similar (frightening) experiences with these bindings?  I am assuming they are adjusted properly as I had a shop do the initial adjustment/forward pressure/etc.

 

Should I just crank up the heels to 9.5 or 10?  Any other ideas?

 

 

post #2 of 20

You have had double, simultaneous, heel releases on more than one occasion?  Seriously? 

 

Sorry....  got no advice for you.

post #3 of 20

 So it wasn't really an "eject" right?  You used that term a couple times, but it doesn't sound like you separated from the skis in a launch.  Sounds like the skis just slipped off, correct?

 

What position were the heel pieces in after the release?  Cocked (like ready to step in) or down (ready to ski)?


Edited by skier219 - Mon, 02 Feb 09 02:21:39 GMT
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hi - It was most definitely an eject - but I got slammed forward and down - not up - and both heel pieces were up (ready to click in again) after the release.

 

This was also a pretty well known problem with the Atomic 614 Race bindings from a few years ago.  I had to crank up the heels on those before Atomic replaced them for me with a newer (Atomic) 614 binding that fixed the problem. 

 

The Blizzards (with the Blizzard 614 binding) are new - so this is the first time this happened with these.

 

I increased the forward angle on my Atomic Race10 boots from 14 degrees to 16 degrees, so one might argue that I was flexing the boots too far forward, causing the heels to release, but that would be a hard pill to swallow.

 

I weigh 160 pounds, skiing at 8.5 DIN.

 

Any Blizzard Reps or Ski/Binding Techs out there??

 

Thanks in advance for any advice.

 

Also - If I crank up the heels to 9.5 or 10 and leave the toes at 8.5, will the bindings function properly, or do heels and toes need to be set to the same DIN for the binding to work as designed?

 

Thanks,

 

Joe.


Edited by joejoejoe - Mon, 02 Feb 09 12:25:20 GMT


Edited by joejoejoe - Mon, 02 Feb 09 13:41:07 GMT
post #5 of 20

Check the forward pressure, I'd add a little FP before I kept turning up DIN.

post #6 of 20

Snow on heel, grit in heel, thick/worn boot heel pad or the height of the rear clamp too low so its not fully locked down and hence pings too easily?

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Nope - no way.  Pretty new boots, new bindings, hardpack day, no muck in the boot/binding interface.  It was definitely the binding.

 

This is the first anyone is hearing of this issue with the binding?

 

post #8 of 20

So......What did the ski shop say when you took them in and asked for the bindings to be retested?

 

BTW..........there are only two possible answers here.

 

(a) They passed

(b) They didn't

 

If (a) you might consider turning the settings incrementally higher.

If (b) you might have a faulty binding.

 

SJ

post #9 of 20

well these are marker heels are they not.

 

not much elastic travel on markers you are either in or out.

sometimes out at bad times.

 

rossi ftx and salomon give me these problems as well

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

I heard from two different friends (one a high level masters racer, the other used to race but hasn't in about 10 years) that the DIN is just too low.  Here is the email from the masters racer.  Comments from binding techs / ski reps welcome, please...

 

I'm 160 lbs and set at 11 for slalom and 12 -13 for GS.

 

I free ski on the same settings I race on.  Probably not smart but, C'est la vie!  
 
I think this issue is more a function of the strength of your binding springs.   Mine are 10/18's (start at 10 - go to 18).  
 
Never pre-released!!
 
If they're too weak they may not hold you in under load.  What's the range on your cuirrent bindings?   You might want to ski with a binding that has a mid point of about 8 or higher.   I have one pair of Atomic 6 - 14's and I did pre-release once this year free skiing on them - and they were set around 10.   That never would have happened on my 10-18's.   I really believe more people are hurt by pre-releases than by skis not releasing when they need to.   If you're going fast and your bindings are set high - you'll likely to release if you need to.
 
Just my opinion!

 

post #11 of 20

Check the forward pressure.  This is the number one cause for pre-releases.

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

OK thanks - I do not see the marking for FP on this binding - can someone familiar with this binding pls let me know where the alignment marking for forward pressure can be found?

 

Thanks.

post #13 of 20

On the Marker bindings, the forward pressure is usually measured by the nut which adjusts the length of the binding. Adjust the length and then put the boot in. The nut should be flush with the casing.

 

I know, not the clearest answer.  

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks SeattleSun...

 

Forward pressure is set correctly - the philips head screw is flush (a small bit recessed, actually).

 

I am kind of at a loss.  I don't love the idea of increasing the DIN on the heels, but I think that's the only option...

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by joejoejoe View Post

Thanks SeattleSun...

 

Forward pressure is set correctly - the philips head screw is flush (a small bit recessed, actually).

 

I am kind of at a loss.  I don't love the idea of increasing the DIN on the heels, but I think that's the only option...

 

Actually, you have three options.

 

Don't increase and accept that a pre-release may happen from time to time

Do increase it incrementally and accept the responsibility for doing so

Change bindings.

 

Not all that hard to figure out.

 

SJ

post #16 of 20

I've never had a problem with Marker's pre-releasing, but a lot of people hate the Marker heel, because of pre-release problems. I've heard that Blizzard is using the Duke heel (a better design) in their bindings next year, so you may try to get Blizzard to switch out your bindings. 

post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help...  

 

So just to close the loop, I increased the heels to 9.5, might increase them up to 10, and left the toes at 8.5 and I'll see what happens.  The consensus seems to be that even at 10 they'll release at speed if they need to, although at lower speeds they probably won't...  The pre-release at speed was so violent that I would rather not have that happen again.

post #18 of 20

 What confuses me is that heels don't just "pre release for no apparent reason" If you are skiing along, there is downward pressure in the heel cup, they cannot just double eject you. Instead of just guessing what the issue is, bring them into a shop and have them torqued and calibrated correctly. WR and SJ are the most accurate in their assessments here. 

post #19 of 20

some bindings take sharp quick hits. others do not. a mogul at high speed. or a bump while skiing high speed crud. rossi axial and look pivot take this at lower din settings than others that is my  first hand experience. but smooth skiing can eliminate the problem. hence i'm not always smooth. 

post #20 of 20

I am a ski binding engineer.  Here is a copy of my post on a related thread regarding the question about pre-release — and how the Self Release Method (as described in the Geze Consumer In-box Instructions from 1984) may help you seek your settings in a way that insures that your settings are not elevated too much .... but the Self Release Method is ONLY valid in the presence of all of the binding-design-factors noted in the following paragraphs:

 

First, however, this information Must Be placed in proper / full context.  Factors that cause pre-release go far beyond release settings.  In fact, in most bindings today, the "release adjustment" is actually a "design deficiency adjustment".  Most bindings today have mechanisms that cross-link the release and retention functions, so that the binding is constantly "confused" as to whether it should be releasing or retaining.  That's why some bindings today now have release adjustment scales that go up to DIN 30:  those binding designs need these high setting levels because their enherent design is cross-linking release and retention.  Therefore, in these designs, retention can only be achived by nearly eliminating release.  Consequently, no method of release adjustment or setting by itself will cure the pre-release problem within a binding that has a cross-linked mechanical design.  Keeping this in mind, the best solution to a pre-release problem is to utilize a binding design that de-couples the release function from the retention function.  No binding company (except KneeBinding) discusses this issue because this is new engineering science recently (1999) developed by MIT (Axiomatic Design) that has not yet found its way into ordinary bindings (re-engineering time;  investment in molds / tooles / dies;  fabrication of molds tools and dies;  testing / testing / testing to de-bug;  tweeking of molds / tooles / dies;  energy to prevent investors from shipping bindings pre-maturely due to short-term ROI-goals) all add up to a long time-horizon to bring a new binding, with a new technology like decoupling, properly to market.

 

To be clear, the best way to mitigate pre-release is to utilize a binding design that decouples the release function from the retention function, rather than to utilize a band-aid like elevated releases settings -- which approach will not overcome the inherent design deficiencies of a binding that has cross-linked release/retention features (which is all ordinary bindings offered today).  Some of the ordinary bindings that are offered today are more cross-linked than others, so some will provide better retention than others .... and you can determine which are which by how high the settings must go in order to have adequate retention.  The signature of a good binding design is one that can be skied at low settings while not having pre-release.  Again, this aspect is best controlled by the level of decoupling within the inherent design of the binding, not by the method of adjustment or by the amount one can elevate the settings.  I have to make that clear because of product liability issues.

 

Further, dirt and contamination and other ordinary adjustments to the bindings, such as the forward pressure and many other functional adjustments aside from the release adjustments -- can and do have a much larger material effect in controlling pre-release than do the release-settings, per se.  All of these adjustments should be made by factory-trained personnel in ski shops who make use of release measuring equipment to compare the expected release values to the actual release values -- and then to make corrections to the ski-boot-binding-system based on factory-recommended instructions (such as, just to name one correction:  clean and re-lubricate the moving interfaces within the heel track and lower heel housing .... this cleaning and re-lubrication can cause a huge improvement in preventing pre-release.);  or which testing by technicians brings a realization that the binding is defective and it must be returned to the binding-manufacturer. 

 

When utilizing the Self-Release Method, bindings with poor recentering characteristics (especially when weighted) will not release at the intended levels during largely-loaded forward-twisting event.  AFD's must be of low friction (preferably with a coefficient of friction of approx 0.01) and the total ski-boot-binding-system must be clean.  Combined load tests (not possible for an ordinary ski shop to perform) provide information that can be compared to functional limits on the amount that the twist release should increase in the presence of large forward-loading (defined by the ISO standards).  It is teh ski binding companys' responsibility to test for this condition and to make design changes to bring the binding into proper form regarding the minimization of friction.  When utilizing the Self-Release Method, the fulcrum point (between the boot and ski) for forward release should distinctly-defined and be located under (or near) the ball of the foot -- not under the skiers' toes, as is found with almost all bindings being sold today. 

 

Many of today's binding engineers were never transferred the lessons that were painfully learned by the diligent binding engineers of 25 years ago.  Too bad, because this is why there are so many pre-releases today -- even with elevated settings.

 

Having said all of this, do not deviate from the instructions provided by the binding manufacturer unless you are willing to assume ALL risk for any events that may occur as a consequence of the below stated deviation method:  settings lower than recommended by the binding manufacturer may cause pre-release and settings higher that recommended by the binding manufacturer may cause no-release.  Pre-release can cause a head or spinal injury;  no-release can cause a leg fracture or soft-tissue of the knee injury (yes, I said that correctly).

 

Lastly, the "Self-Release Method" is NOT a "test".  For example, if a ski-boot-binding-system has an underlying impediment to release (such as a pebble lodged between the boot and the AFD), utilization of the Self-Release Method during this condition will result in the release setting needing to be lowered to off-set the impediment caused by the pebble -- but that reduction in the release setting is only an off-set during a lightly-weighted condition.  Under this condition, the ski boot-binding-system will release at a much higher than intended (intended by the designer) level during a large-forward-twisting event.  Therefore, the net-setting achieved by the Self-Release Method in the presence of an impediment such as a pebble will result in a setting that is unacceptable.  Only release measuring equipment can "test" the difference between the measured value and the expected value.  If the difference between the measured value and the expected value is within the limits specified by the manufacturer / designer, then the Self-Release Method (together with all of the other above conditions in place) is valid.

 

From the 1984 Geze in-box Consumer Instructions; 

 

"Self-Release Method.

 

Unusually aggressive skiers and racers who sometimes need higher settings can use the Self-Release Method to obtain these special settings.  This method [conducted in the proper way] may help to insure that the special settings these skiers need will not be grossly overtightened, which is the usual case with adjustments made without using this method.

 

Start by using the pre-settings for [Type III+] skiers that are suggested on the [ ] release setting chart.

 

Heel Setting:

 

— Stand on one foot with the boot buckled as it is during skiing.

— The ski should not be held fixed.

— Release the heel by bending the lower leg forward (move the knee forward and down—toward the forebody of the ski).  Do not lunge forward with the opposite leg because this will cause an undesirable upward pulling on the Achilles tendon.

— Readjust the forward heel release setting to your "comfort threshold".

 

Toe Setting:

— Place the ski on its inside edge by rolling the knee inward and then SLOWLY twist the foot inward.  Rapid twisting should be avoided because it is not the worst case for maximum loading.

— Readjust the setting to your "comfort threshold".

If, based on further skiing, it is believed that higher settings are needed, the setting may be increased as long as self release is still possible."

 

..... /..... and only if all of the conditions that are noted above the quote from the old Geze In-box Consumer Instructions are in place, too.

 

Rick Howell

President & CEO

Howell Product Development

[http://www.HowellProductDev.com]

Stowe, Vermont

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