After one full season of use, the telemark binding that has tongues wagging is coming to market with semi-major changes to its design, but no major changes to the root functionality. To those who missed it, Meidjo is the first binding to use a low-tech toe with an NTN hook to hold your tele boot tight.
Meidjo allows AT touring efficiency with a two-pin tech toe, and the trademark edge control of NTN. In addition to this powerful one-two uphill/downhill blend of performance, it has an adjustable, albiet non-certified, safety release and weighs a pound plus (500 g) per binding.
All the performance was inherent in the first version of the binding, but some of the materials used in the toe were a compromise in the rush to finish the design. The pins the springs wind around could bend, causing a boot to release even when locked out for touring, and the toe pins were held in place with C-rings allowing the potential for them to fall out. There were a host of other niggling issues in the spring box that clamps on to the duckbutt of a compatible NTN boot. Within two months of releasing the binding, Pierre Mouyade, the brains behind Meidjo, revised the plastic spring box, fixed a heel post that was prone to collapsing, and might have fixed the pre-release in tour mode if only inserts were more uniform between brands.
2-pin Toe Changes
Recognizing that The M-Equipment would have to accommodate greater variation among insert brands, Pierre was forced to abandon his unique locking switch and revert to a more traditional lock on the toe unit. This is the most obvious change to the version 2.0 Meidjo for Winter 2016.
Besides improving the lock mode for touring, it also eliminates a common problem of having to make sure a flat metal bar was properly installed to make the original locking toggle work. More than once I found myself almost screwing the toe down without adding this critical part. No doubt I wasn’t the only one to make this mistake, so eliminating that potential problem may be reason enough for the change.
There are a number of other, less obvious but nonetheless significant upgrades for this season.
Pins holding the flex plate behind the toe unit are pressed in with tighter dimensions so they won’t work themselves out as a few people noticed.
The toe pins are pressed in the bent aluminum arms so they can’t fall out. We’ve heard that before, or assumed that before. Barring any “Kingpin” issues this should be a non-issue from here on out. This year’s pins will come with two slots cut into the conical section of the pins, to help clear out any ice that might be frozen in boot inserts.
Alignment wire tabs are now from the metal of the toe arms, instead of using bent-wire tabs. This change shouldn’t change how easy the binding is to get in to, except for the addition of ski brakes.
Ski brakes are great for not having to clip on a leash after being able to step-in to this binding with relative ease. Unfortunately the presence of the ski brake probably reduces how easy it is to get in to the Meidjo, potentially by an order of magnitude. Admittedly this is speculation on my part, so I’ll report on that after I get the brakes and do an on snow comparison with v1.2. On most days, the compromise will be worth the convenience of not having to bend over to clip on a leash.
Modified Toe Holes & Spring Position
The mounting holes of the toe unit are changed so that it is the same for small or large sized NTN boots. In ver. 1.1 and 1.2 the large and small toe units had different rear hole locations. For ver. 2.0, different spacers are used to adjust the position of the spring yoke for large or small bindings. If you are upgrading from ver. 1.0 or 1.2 you will need to drill two new holes behind the front four that are spaced as wide as the front two, yielding more surface area for securing the toe to the ski. Two holes furthest aft on v2.0 correspond to the holes of the band-aid fix provided last year to improve retention on the spring yoke. Whether or not those holes align or not will depend on if you had a small binding, or a large. If the large, no worries. If the small, the proximity may require mounting the new version to a different pair of skis.
For most, this will be your first foray into the world of 2-pin tech, and for some, a switch on the NTN front. In either case, Meidjo v2.0 will be significantly easier to mount than v1.2 although attaching the spring tension nuts is still one of the harder steps in the assembly process.
Many of the corners in the spring box were given a radius to prevent cracking, and many walls were thickened up to make this critical piece tougher throughout. This was done for ver. 1.2, so no need for further revisions to the spring box for v2.0.
On the heel unit, the axle the first level climbing post pivots about is improved. In ver. 1.2 the axle this was a simple bolt with a lock nut. In ver. 2.0 the axle that is riveted in place, saving a few grams and eliminating the possibility of the nut loosening.
One less than obvious change is the pivot location of the spring yoke, or origin of the tele tension vector, what would be called the cable pivot location in a telemark binding with a cable around the heel. This has been moved forward approximately 4mm in the short version, and the length of the springs increased. The net result is that if you need to, or want to, you can drive your knee deeper in a tele turn without fully compressing the springs. That’s the good news. Pierre Mouyade admits this changes the perceived flex resistance of the binding. So whether that is bad news or not depends on how much tele-resistance you like, and how noticeable that is is yet to be determined.
As with the upgrades experienced from ver. 1.0 to 1.2, nearly all the changes with ver. 2.0 sound like solid improvements. The only reason for saying nearly instead of all is the change in the effective spring pivot location which is bound to affect the “activity” of this binding. How much remains to be experienced, and since this binding doesn’t provide resistance to lifting your heel at the heel, but at the second heel, or the midsection of the boot, the change may be less noticeable.
With the Euro approaching parity with the Yankee dollar, a price of €550 for a complete package is sounding less far fetched than it did a year ago. You can spend less, but then you’d be missing all the options telemarkers have dreamed of for decades — step-in convenience, safety release, ski brakes, crampons, adequate power (admittedly not power to spare), lightweight and efficient touring in one package. You didn’t think an order that tall would be cheap did you? You could get a tech binding for the same or less, but they don’t tele for squat.
Weight/binding: 500 g – 1 lb., 2 oz. (w/brakes)
Sizes available: Small (22-26), Large ≥ 26.5
Ski Brakes: € 49 (85, 95, 105, 115, 125 mm)
Requires NTN boots with Tech inserts. Genuine Dynafit inserts recommended.
Rene Martin-Trudel’s 8 reasons I switched to Meidjo
Shoot Out at Mammoth: Outlaw VS Meidjo