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New binding release testing

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
If I already know my recommended DIN setting is it necessary to have new bindings release tested? Or can I just dial up my DIN myself on the bindings and ski off into the sunset? How often should bindings be release tested?
post #2 of 7
Depends on your level of paranoia [img]tongue.gif[/img]

I know that when I am at the right DIN level I can force a release by throwing my leg very hard backwards (I release upward from the heel [edit: heel, not toe]). I usually can judge whether a binding is set ok for me or not just by doing that and seeing how easy it is to release. Not scientific at all, but works for me(tm).


[ March 21, 2003, 01:58 PM: Message edited by: Ladede ]
post #3 of 7
Testing confirms that the settings are correct.
I would only trust the results of the testing.

post #4 of 7
>...If I already know my recommended DIN setting is it necessary to have new bindings release tested? ...

Lots of (maybe most) rental operations just dial in a setting for a customer and hand them over without doing any release testing whatsoever. These shops aren't getting sued every day, so at some level, this approach obviously can work.

Testing them yourself, as suggested by Ladede is another approach, and is certainly a significant step above doing absolutely nothing. However, I would make some additions to what he said.

First, I think that this approach is only suitable for an experienced, adult skier who has a good degree of mechanical sensitivity (eg, usually as obtained by years of working with tools and other mechanical devices, etc.) and will actually notice the slow onset of potential problems such the nearly microscopic rattling associated with the binding screws slowly becoming loose. Having a second pair of skis (at the same DIN setting) as a reference is a great idea in case slowly advancing corrosion or some other problem is hitting both skis simultaneously.

Second, I don't know what type of binding Ladede uses, but very, very few (eg, old Spademan's, Moogs, etc.) have a pure upward-at-the-toe release mode. The proper tests for the vast majority of bindings are sideways at the toes, and upwards at the heel. Some Atomics reduce the sideways release force when there is upwards pressure at the toe, but this is essentially an added bene, not the main function of the device, and the proper tests are still the standard ones I mentioned above. I would be very curious to know what bindings he is referring to.

Third, if you are going to "do-it-yourself" with respect to release testing, in my opinion, at minimum, you have to force 2 different types of releases (toe, heel) per ski, and it really is a good idea to do this at the beginning of each skiing day. Its not difficult or time consuming, and is exactly what I do myself (see my post time stamped 3/20/2003 - 0726 AM in this recent thread ).

What I said in that thread was:

...just about every day when I first click into my skis, I will immediately force an intentional twist and forward release on each ski. If I can't do this, or if it feels easy/hard/odd in any way, I try it again. If it still doesn't feel good, I then take them off and look things over, or at worst, take them into the shop. Thusfar, the only things that this test has ever detected is some caked snow on my boot and a couple of loose mounting screws over the years. By seeing that this few second test even detects simple problems like these, I am reasonably confident that there are no other problems and that my bindings will likely be working when I need them. ...

Personally, I am quite confident of my tests, but I have been doing this for ~30 years, worked in a shop when I was young, mounted all my own bindings for my first 15 or so years of skiing, still work with mechanical devices in the lab, etc.

However, for the average recreational skier (ie, 10-15 days per year, one pair of skis, has skied for only a few years, not terribly mechanically inclined), what I would recommend is pretty much the industry standard recommendation: Have them release checked when you first begin to use a pr of skis, and have them release checked at the beginning of every season thereafter. There is no reason you can't supplement these formal shop tests tests with your own daily forced-release testing. This will give you experience at doing this, and may catch something important between shop tests. Usually, all it ever catches is occasional snow build-up on my boot sole that I hadn't noticed, but if that prevents a potentially injurious pre-release incident, its worth my time.

Hope this gave you some perspective.

Tom / PM

PS (in edit) - I've never been injured skiing in any way related to a binding problem.

[ March 21, 2003, 08:29 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #5 of 7
PhysicsMan - I was exchanging some emails with Peter Keelty about my bindings, and he had some interesting thoughts - primarily, in response to your last post, that the forward lean forced heel release test is not one he recommends - too high a risk for achilles injury. For certain long-travel-to-release bindings (like Look or Atomic) the toe twist release test is OK. If I understood him correctly, he feels that if the bindings are adjusted properly (with the same DIN settings for both toe and heel) that in my case the toe twist is a good "field test" if I want to check on the bindings. I likewise have used these tests all of my skiing life, but upon relfection will follow Peter's advice and just rely on the toe twist test. Just another thought.
post #6 of 7
the DIN indicator on the binding is a starting point to to set the binding , after that the binding is put in a calibrated machine (we use a Huber ) and the release modes are checked. Many times the actual DIN setting does not match the corresponding torque values and the binding 's DIN is changed to reflect true release.For example an older or weaker springs in a binding might need to an 8 DIN to realize a true 6 DIN release or on occasion a new binding might be set at a 5DIN on the binding to have a true 6 DIN release because of new springs.Also new bindings have failed when firsted mounted . We had 2pair of new atomic bindings fail on one pair of new skiis when we tested them and had to send them back. a home install would not have detected this.Most manufactures indicate have the bindings tested every 20 ski days and do a visual every time you ski.If you ski 20 days a season then take them in at the start of the season. Haveing seen bindings stored in attics and 150 degree garages and then explode on the bench , I would always recomend haveing them tested at begining of the season.
post #7 of 7
Originally posted by jck:
...the forward lean forced heel release test is not one he recommends - too high a risk for achilles injury...
He has a point. If you try to force the heel release using the wrong technique, I can certainly see how someone could wind up with that injury, and so, it may not be wise to issue a blanket recommendation that everyone perform this "field test".

The "wrong" way to force a heel release is to simply close your ankle. Just like in skiing, this move may cause your shin to press strongly on the tongue of your boot, but will not necessarily do anything to change your fore-aft weight distribution. When you are trying to force a heel release, you want to *radically* change your weight distribution - in fact, you want to be pulling upwards on the aft section of the ski.

The "right" way to do this (and put nearly zero tension on your achilles) is to not flex at the ankle, but rather, keep your ankle locked at one angle, and use your weight and your lower leg as a lever to try to pry upwards at the heel of your boot. You will feel the ball and toes of your foot pressing strongly downwards, while your heel is prevented from rising out of the boot by the top of your foot (just in front of your ankle) running into the inside of the boot between the 2nd and 3rd buckles (on a 4 buckle boot).

This is the way I do it, and have never had a problem. Unfortunately, given that it takes this much explanation, "if something can be done wrong, it will be done wrong", etc. maybe Peter is right and this test isn't for everyone.

Good comment.

Tom / PM

PS - The distinction between the two moves I just described is also extremely important in skiing, especially back in straight ski days where a lot of pressure on the tips was needed. It never ceased to amaze me how few skiers ever understood this distinction, even after it is explained to them. I found that the best way to demo it was to put bathroom scales under the tip and tail of someone's skis and then watch them while doing these two moves.

[ March 25, 2003, 10:02 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
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