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Bindings, what's the diff?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm going to open up my stupidity box and let everyone look inside.  I know very little about bindings.  I've been skiing for 47 seasons, seriously for quite a few, but the memory fades a bit as to how many exactly.  I think I'm an OK skier and know a fair amount about the sport, but not much, apparently, about bindings.  I admit, I'm the anti-gear head.  The subject bores me to tears, but I think I need to know a bit more.


My question is: What about a binding makes it good, or not good, for a particular ski?  I see posts all the time that say stuff like, "I would never put that binding on that ski,"  or "that ski really needs this binding," and I wonder what the difference is?  


My habit over the years is to pick the ski first and then get the cheapest binding that offers a DIN of 12 or more.  So far it has served me fine, but what am I missing?

post #2 of 5

1. Release modes:  Tyrolia diagonal heel, Look Pivot, diagonal toe release, etc.  Some have more directions that they will release in in order to better address certain types of injuries that occur in certain types of falls.

2. Retention, recentering, shock absorption.  Some bindings will allow multiple hits in the ruts and reset themselves for the next hit quickly, others will release from two small impacts that shouldn't force a release.

3. Accuracy/slop/stability, stronger = better transimission of forces to and from the ski.


I like to buy race bindings with as much metal in them as will still allow my DIN, I prefer the diagonal heel, but would settle for a pivot heel.  I don't particularly want an easy upward release at the toe.


If you ski slowly the upward toe release might be a good idea,

post #3 of 5

1) Price has nothing to do with what binding you need.  If a smaller spring (generally less expensive) version of a right model is optimal for your weight, you don’t need the more expensive model.

2) Bindings come with different heights and ramp angles.  This can make a big difference of how the boots interact with (pressure) the skis, and skier posture.  For example, racers and people who like carving turns find it easier to carve turns when their boots are higher off the snow (using a binding with a higher stand height and/or getting the binding higher with plates).  Many powder/freeride skiers prefer their bindings mounted as close as possible to their skis.

3) Some bindings have fore/aft adjustment, which is important if you haven’t demoed a ski before and are trying to find the "sweet spot."  Some people like moving their boot center back using a fore/aft adjustment when skiing powder. Some experts want more effective tail on their skis (for carving), and may prefer the bindings moved slightly forward.  Many park & pipe rats like forward binding mounts, but not when free skiing.   Some demo bindings are great for the fore/aft movement, and are almost as light or lighter than the regular bindings (e.g., Griffon Demo vs. Schizo).  So why buy the Schizo when you can buy the demo version?

4) Some bindings have more release angles than others, making them seem safer to skiers.

5) Some bindings cost more than similar same-brand models because they are lighter from using titanium or other materials.  Lighter models are deemed less tiring to the skier.

6)  Some bindings are geared for less movement before it releases, while others have lots of elasticity.  Which is best for you?  That depends if you are racing, skiing slow turns in soft snow, etc.

7) Some skiers believe certain brands pre-release more than others.  Over time, I have never had problems with two brands.  For that reason, I stick with them.

8) Each model has different available brake sizes.  Some will fit the fattest skis and some will not.

9) Some people believe bindings designed for fat skis (wider binding width) help them perform better.  Some people do not believe this.

10) Some bindings are padded to help absorb shock.  They aren’t only for the under-35 jibbers.  Old guys with bad knees may like these despite the extra weight.

11) Combination bindings are important for backcountry skiers, who like lightweight bindings and/or bindings that allow the heel to rise when climbing with skins and work like regular bindings when skiing.

12) Bindings are made with different materials, which can effect longevity.

13) Some bindings are much easier to get into after a fall in deep powder or steeps than others (you can get them on while sitting on your sorry tail in the snow).

14) Some bindings are designed to flex freely with the ski, which the manufacturers claim helps with carving.

 I’m sure I forgot a lot more than what is listed above. 

Edited by quant2325 - 11/6/10 at 11:35am
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

That list makes sense.  It's the first time I've seen that information all in one place. It pulls stuff I've heard in the past together to make it intelligible to a low motivation gear guy like me.  Thanks for posting it.

post #5 of 5

Ski manufacturers are designing skis to be fitted with a particular binding brand. Head and Fischer are using Tyrolia bindings even if Fischer is calling them Fischers. Blizzard is using Blizzard which are actually Marker bindings. Atomic is using Atomic (Ess). The reason for this bundle is business offcourse but also means that the skis can be made with only one binding attachment solution. All cap skis today have more or less an integrated binding that slides or clips onto the ski very easily and adjusts without much effort. On more expensive skis with plates the plates are designed so that only a particular binding will fit. The Marker Piston Plate for example will not take any other binding than a Marker. Head racing skis are delivered with the plate not mounted so the customer can apart from attacing the plate where he wants swap the original plate for annother brand. The Piston Plate for example. And use Marker insted of Tyrolia.

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