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Oct 30 2018

Beta report: 22D’s Lynx 2-pin tele binding

Last season 22 Designs introduced Lynx, their next generation 2-pin telemark binding. With that introduction the classic beta program was eliminated and 22D took orders in mid-October 2018 for a limited production run of only 500 pair. I was privileged to be one of the beta testers this past season which resulted in some moments of frustration that ultimately contributed to refinements in the first production models.

Lynx v1 - 22 Designs 2-pin tele binding. Stop drooling.

Lynx v1 – 22 Designs 2-pin tele binding. Stop drooling.

If you’re not already on the list to receive a pair, don’t worry, next year’s version will be better and you can thank the mavericks on the bleeding edge of tele development for putting up with any first-gen shortcomings.


So far as I can tell from my time beta testing there’s only one thing I’m unsure about, and that is how reliable step-in convenience will be. In between bouts of selective cooperation Lynx skied great, but my first experience with stepping in seems like a dream in the rear view mirror. The core uphill/downhill performance of Lynx is the same as my first impression. However taking this cat into the wild revealed it needed some adjustments to make Lynx claws work which, without guidelines, took longer than expected. Details below.

Tele Control

Two things became clear when testing the beta Lynx. The first was how sweet a second heel connection can be for dancing down your favorite slopes. Engagement is fast, smooth, and powerful without over driving the tips of your skis, something you’ll appreciate the deeper the snow is. It is why, in the long run, 75mm is destined for retirement, although that may not be anytime soon. The NTN connection may offer superior tele performance, but not enough to motivate wholesale upgrades across the telemark universe. Not without a corresponding upgrade in the boot world. (Hint: Crispi – now’s your chance to be an innovator instead of a low-budget copy cat).

Lynx reclines on the rack after a day of great skiing at Loveland, CO

Lynx reclines on the rack after a day of great skiing at Loveland, CO

Adjusting Tele-Résistançe

The second was how to adjust tele tension. With all other cable bindings tension is adjusted via the pivot position of the cable, and pre-tension on the coil springs. But Lynx uses composite flex plates that act like leaf springs in combination with coil springs. From my experience the flex plates dominate the sensation of resistance to heel lift, especially during the critical initial phase of the raising the trailing tele heel.

In theory activity level is adjusted by moving the metal retaining bar fore or aft to adjust the position about which this plate bends. Honestly? I couldn’t feel any difference. I think to be able to tell much difference the entire flex plate needs to change. That might become an option next season (19/20).

Springs engage sequentially

The coil springs do have an effect, but in terms of tele-résistançe, not until your heel is raised more than, say 15 degrees. In watching the interaction of components on the bench it seems like the springs engage sequentially. The initiation of the turn is via the flex plates, and when they cease to bend any further the coil springs take over. It will be interesting to see what others notice over time.

Trimming Lynx’ Claws

Even though the coil springs seem to add tension at the end of the turn, adjusting the their pre-load tension is critical to how reliable the step-in feature functions. The spring force causing the claw to snap onto the second heel comes from the coil springs. If there isn’t enough, the claw won’t latch on.

I found this out the hard way because the coil springs kept compressing with use and wouldn’t recover to their original, uncompressed length. Axl owners may be familiar with the phenomenon of their springs “setting” to a less compressed state after a few days use. Once they reach the new relaxed position the pre-tension can be set without further adjustments. I don’t know if the coil springs will come pre-flexed with Lynx so plan on adjusting the pretension a few times before the step-in function is 99% reliable.

Rather than use a nut on a threaded stud for adjusting spring tension, v1 Lynx will have a swagged end cap and the ability to insert spacers to take up the slack. While the mode of fine tuning the adjustment may differ from the beta version, the need to adjust the tension with the flex plates removed will probably be the same as in the video below showing my learning curve on spring adjustment with the Lynx beta version.

It turns out – the tension needed to pull the flex plate back so it drops into the keyway is about the same tension that is translated to the claw to latch onto the second heel. How tight it needs to be probably depends a bit on snow circumstances, or maybe, simply how far you are realistically able to pull it back and drop the plate into position. I set it so the front of the plate rested at the back of the toe arms before pulling back and dropping into place.

In hindsight it was obvious that there wasn’t enough tension in the springs because the claw dropped into tour mode too easily when merely trying to step in. For v1 users, if you notice there isn’t enough tension in the coil springs to pull the claw forward tighten it up until there is significant resistance to pulling the claw back. It should want to retract more than toggle into tour mode.

Connection Caveat

Now, in the case where the snow is totally clogging things up you may need to take extra time to clean the bottom of your boot, especially the duckbutt, and the flex plate in front of the claw. It may still be uncooperative but I found in that case I was able to latch it on with the beak of my ski pole handle, usually, after only three to four tries. Once latched on, whether pre-tension was tight or loose, the claw held fast.

Skin ‘ho

In uphill mode the Lynx responds as you’d expect any low tech 2-pin binding to tour. It has over 80 degrees of frictionless pivoting motion and you can easily tell the difference between touring with Lynx and say, Axl. Not only is their no inertial resistance from lifting the binding, even the drag weight of Lynx is almost a full pound less than it’s oldest brother, and nearly half-pound less than Outlaw.

When the claw is down in tour mode it creates a cavity that traps snow. This can create a wedge underfoot that is noticeable, but not debilitating.

When the claw is down in tour mode it creates a cavity that traps snow. This can create a wedge underfoot that is noticeable, but not debilitating.

Although this is minor, it is worth noting that in sticky snow conditions you will probably notice a buildup of snow underfoot. When the claw is latched down it creates a small cavity that snow collects in. The result is a thin wedge of snow that lifts your boot at the second heel to the same approximate level as a 2° climbing post. It is minor but noticeable. On flat ground it prevents your foot being flat, on an inclined skin track it arguably allows you to climb a few degrees steeper without using a climbing bar. In cold smoke snow, it is not an issue.

Toe Pins

An email over the summer to the small cadre of beta testers indicates some folks experienced the pins holding the toe arms on were wiggling out. As 22D’s first foray into the world of low-tech toes I half expected something like this; to my knowledge it is part of the 2-pin learning curve. Count me relieved it happened during the beta phase, not a production run.

Huge ice cutting "groove" cut out of the toe pins.

Huge ice cutting “groove” cut out of the toe pins.

One surprise was the huge ice cutting cavity on the toe pins. Unfortunately that is a recent concept patented by Dynafit, so expect to see more traditional ice cutting grooves in the pins of the v1 Lynx.

When the pins are locked they hold the boot solid giving confidence you can stomp on an icy traverse if you need to without fear of losing your boot/binding connection. I stomped up a 300 foot pitch of hard crust and the toes held. If it were icier, I’d have wanted ski crampons, something available the first year with Lynx.

Toe alignment

The Lynx toe pins, alignment towers, and baseplate showing 22D 6-hole mounting pattern.

The Lynx toe pins, alignment towers, and baseplate showing 22D 6-hole mounting pattern.

On the beta version there were a pair of posts on either side of the toe lever for aligning the front of the boot with, but there were two issues with them. The most obvious is they broke rather quickly. While they lasted they gave a decent indication of where to position your boot lengthwise, but laterally it was easy to twist the boot off the invisible axis between the pins. Although it isn’t evident in the product photo above, there will be alignment posts in the production version, with a stronger material than the beta posts were made of.

Heel Post

The heel post for Lynx will feature two climbing wires that snap up with the same easy spring tension of 22Ds classic Hammerheel. Besides offering two different posts whose height will probably correspond to climbing angles of 7° and 12°, the post base height will only be about 20mm high. If you’ve been lusting for a shorter Hammerheel base to pair with say, a Switchback, your prayers are almost answered. First year there will probably only be enough new Lynx heel posts to pair with Lynx bindings, but in the future it should be a stand alone product.

Releaseabilty

I haven’t tested releasability meaning I skied in control and there was never any need to release. Nor is this a claimed feature.

Mounting

As a beta binding there were no assembly instructions but it seemed pretty obvious and straightforward to yours truly. The Lynx came pre-assembled. To access the rear four mounting holes remove the slick pin, and then you can “disconnect” the composite plate from the baseplate, and then slide it forward to disconnect it from the claw. Reverse that to put it back together, after the baseplate is mounted to your ski. Easy peasy.

Same mounting pattern, but Outlaw/Lynx/Vice are mounted 8mm behind Axl.

Same mounting pattern, but Outlaw/Lynx/Vice are mounted 8mm behind Axl.

Bottom Line

Orders for the entire batch of first generation Lynx are already accounted for. If you want a pair you either already ordered them, or have a deposit to hold a pair with your local shop. After you’ve had some time on them please swing back by here and report your experience below.

© 2018


  • Dostie

    Already know what you’re thinking. Is the position of the mounting pattern the same as Outlaw? IOW – if I swap an Outlaw for a Lynx, will my NTN boot be in the same position on the ski. Let it be. It be. It is. Hurrah. Hurrah.

  • Chris Herbst

    How about Boot position with an Axl? For those of us with inserts that want to swap around the binding….

  • Dostie

    Just double-checked with 22D. Axl mount is 8mm forward of Outlaw/Lynx/Vice. So if you swap a Lynx for Axl your foot will be forward 8mm of where it was with a 75mm boot.

  • dschane

    More confusion. According to 22D’s website: “Our bindings all have the same 6-hole mounting pattern. The only difference is that Axls and Outlaws put your boot’s pin line two-tenths of an inch (1/2 cm) further back than the HammerHead or Vice.” This suggest the mount location of Axl and Outlaw are the same. In my experience, that’s the not the case. Rather, Dostie is right that there’s an 8mm difference. That is, the Axl mount would place your boots in the Outlaw binding 8mm forward of the boot center line.

  • Dostie

    It wouldn’t be the first time something was wrong on the web. :LOL: The mounting template shown above was run by 22D and I quoted them in saying that Outlaw/Lynx/Vice have the same position relative to boot location on the ski (3-pin/2-pin line as shown above), only Axl is shifted forward. Incidentally, the Outlaw is the same relative position as the original Hammerhead.