Here is a brief overview of the bindings I tried over the last two years: Rottefella Freedom, The M Equipment’s Meidjo, Burnt Mt. Design’s Spike, two pair of DIY TTS bindings, one with a Dynafit toe, the other a G3 Ion toe. Here’s my synopsis.
- Internet research told me these were the NTN bindings to buy.
- I found them to feel heavy — they are heavier than others, but the weight in front of the boot makes it more obvious. (Ed. Note: as does the small but noticeable touring resistance).
- They lack edge control; the low heel, high toe combo makes it physically difficult to angulate.
- Sluggish — a combination of the above two issues.
- I was able to sell 2 pairs though, so people still like them.
The M Equipment’s Meidjo
- Neutral stance with heel/toe-height just right.
- The holy grail of features really draws me to this binding.
- Precision and confidence — the combination of the tech toe and impressive lateral stiffness [deliver] excellent edge control [with a] smooth, progressive flex.
- The deal breaker for me is the snow pack underfoot which gives boot jack. I have tried wider skis (87 to 105 underfoot), foaming, taping the gaps…without eliminating the issue. Not too bad if the snow isn’t deeper than 15cm and dry.
- I have pre-released, but only when the duckbutt [clamp] became full of snow while skiing and it released upon landing off a jump. Never from the toes as with other tele tech [bindings].
- I will hang on to these for now, but they are no longer mounted.
Burnt Mountain’s Spike Tour NTN
This is a funny one. There is nothing wrong with these bindings, yet I still don’t feel like they are what I want to use everyday. They are my backups right now.
- These bite the toe of the boot and have excellent lateral stiffness. They hold an edge well and give confidence. Can be made very powerful!
- They are super adjustable in every way you can imagine.
- Initially my toe would slide back out of the spike’s ‘jaws’ but was sent a different baseplate that holds the toe in very firmly. Now, the boot CANNOT lift. Which some people may like. I can get used to it, but I prefer the boot (ahead of the bellows) to lift a little bit (less toe crunch).
- Despite being step in, they can be hard to get on in soft snow or on the side of a hill.
DIY Tele Tech w/Dynafit Toe
Components: Dynafit Comfort tech toe, Voile Switchback springs, OMG Cable Rod & Block, Voile heel lever.
- I have spent more days on this setup than anything else this season. I really like them.
- I run the Dynafit shim under the toe. No shim under the TTS block and use a 15mm heel. This gives the bellows a small gap that allows some flex in the boot.
- Travel with the Switchback [springs] is okay. I do hit the end of spring’s [travel], but by the time I do it’s about where I’d stop anyway. This makes me wonder about long term durability though.
- I just switched from TX Pro 27.0 to 27.5 and I am feeling the end of travel more with the bigger boot – it’s that close!
- I have skied these hard in all conditions including boiler plate ice for several days after a refreeze and they never pre-released.
The drawback of this setup is the toe: stepping into it is a pain and having to lock it all the time is an extra step. I am also noticing the TTS wires are bent and the channels in the TTS block are already quite worn (not sure how many days on these, but I got them this season and I’ve skied a lot of other skis too)
Bottom line: I really like and trust this setup now. Nice lateral stiffness to the heel. I just don’t know if the lack of travel will cause a failure long term. And the step in could be improved. I’m looking forward to more days on this one.
DIY Tele Tech w/G3 Ion Toe
Mounted with a standard Ion toe and shim, 12mm shim under the OMG-TTS cable block with long screws, and a Hammerheel with an aluminum stabilizing prong (a Moonlight idea). I haven’t spent much time on the final version of this setup yet, but the days I have spent have been testing hard and pushing outside of the normal limits. I am expecting this setup to be the winner.
- Super nice to step into. Stepping into the Dynafit or Spike feels tedious by comparison.
- I added an aluminum prong behind the hammer heel made out of cut-and-filed channel aluminum. This fits into the low tech slots and holds the heel well and really improves edging performance on firm snow and paralleling.
- The longer springs require a wire that bends out further around the boot (short TTS). This takes away lateral rigidity and therefore requires the prong to offset it.
- I have never found the end of the abundant travel in these long springs.
Note that I am skiing the Voile lever on both my TTS setups. Even though the TTS lever ‘feels’ like it snaps in with more force, they don’t seem to hold the boot’s heel from moving laterally as well as the Voile lever.
Unfortunately, no two bindings feel the same. I’d like to be able to switch seamlessly between skis. I’d look at putting the long TTS springs on with the Dynafit, but I haven’t tested them enough to be sure – and I don’t like the old Dynafit toe for stepping in.
I do plan on getting a pair of Moonlights. My guess is they will be most like the ION setup, with a few differences (maybe improved lateral stability at the heel, hopefully a nice step in guide to improve on the Dynafit).
I’ll keep skiing all this stuff next year but suspect that I have some pretty solid kits in my ION TTS and the Dyanfit TTS with Spike as backup. Moonlight might take the place of the Dynafit kit with short springs.
Testing Time: Diary of DIY tele-tech bindings on BackcountryTalk