Dec 21 2014

22 Designs announces Outlaw beta program


22D's NTN baby has emerged from gestation an Outlaw.

22D’s NTN baby has emerged from gestation an Outlaw.

The Outlaw, the first American made NTN binding is ready for pummeling by the public. In the world of telemark bindings, that’s not a joke. The very nature of telemarking creates forces that test the limits of every part of the system and when a new combination of ingredients comes together as a new product the question always lurks, what is the weak link in this rat trap?

Beta Testing Begins

22 Designs has a good history in that department thanks, in part because they have continued the beta program as it was originally done by Russell Rainey when he introduced the HammerHead binding. Rainey was up front in announcing the binding could be flawed, but he was confident in the basic design and promised a production version of the binding in exchange for a full priced beta version. In other words, he guaranteed you wouldn’t have to buy a second binding to get the true “final” version. With the Hammerhead significant changes did occur between the beta binding and the final production version. However, only minor changes occurred throughout the remainder of it’s 12 year reign as one of telemark’s most influential bindings.

When 22D introduced the Axl, a Hammerhead with a free-pivot touring mode but with a simpler, easier power adjustment, they adopted the same beta program. The Axl was closer to perfect than the Hammerhead when first introduced, but the feedback received had a similar value because the testers were not pros but paying customers who expected their money’s worth. Along with the use of stainless steel for structural integrity, the testing tradition continues with the Outlaw beta program.

The wording on this beta program sounds a bit more carefully worded, so it behooves early adopters to remember first year products put them on the bleeding edge of progress.

By the first week in January 2015 22D expects to be shipping the first 100 pair of the Outlaw, their new telemark binding that holds a boot by the forefoot, clasped between the toe and second heel of an NTN sole.

Outlaw Features

The prototype NTN binding from 22D shown at the Outdoor Retailer Winter 2014 trade show.

The prototype NTN binding from 22D shown at the Outdoor Retailer Winter 2014 trade show.

The Outlaw differs from Rottefella’s NTN bindings by offering true step-in functionality, but it does not claim any form of safety release, or a ski brake. Except for the change in how the binding attaches to the boot, the rest of the Outlaw is a synthesis of the best parts of underfoot cable routing with an adjustable power point, a solid, reliable touring mode switch, and a pivot that offers no resistance, all with the same stainless steel pedigree as Axl. And when you’re earning your turns, the friendly spring loaded Hammerheel rounds out the package.

Since this is a beta binding it would be premature to state what the weight is with any precision, but 22D co-founder Chris Valiente says, “it’s about the same as the Freedom, 3½ pounds, give or take a few ounces.” Then he added something diehard Hammerhead fans will be happy to hear, “and it uses the same mounting pattern as Axl.”

Most of the 100 pair of dedicated beta bindings are spoken for so if you want in on the beta test team, best to call and pay your dues immediately, or get chummy with someone who did. If you’ve been pining for something better but content enough with what you have, next year’s version of the Outlaw will undoubtedly be improved; at least 100 people will make sure of that. How significant the changes will be remains to be seen.

Related Posts
22 Designs joins NTN gang

© 2014

  • http://nyskiblog.com/ NYSkiBlog.com

    This is very exciting!

  • Jon

    Awesome stuff. I hope you’re on the list of testers and will provide us with a review? It’s great seeing the NTN system grow. I’d love to see a comparison of Freedom, vs. 22 Designs Outlaw, vs M Equipment Medjo.

  • mulkmonsterskier

    Any plans to review the m equipment’s meidjo?

  • Dostie

    It arrived at EYT HQ Christmas Eve. Will begin by comparing it head-to-head against Rottefella’s Freeride, then move on to doing a few tours with it and probably a H-to-H with a TTS binding. Look for something in a week (or two). One of the posters on BackcountryTalk already mounted and skied his. He is impressed so far. And of course, I’ll also be comparing to the Outlaw.

  • Jon

    It seems like the touring capability of the Meidjo would be better suited for a comparison to the Rottefella Freedom, rather than the Freeride.

  • Dostie

    The purpose of comparing Freeride and Meidjo head-to-head is not to determine which has better touring – any binding using a 2-pin tech toe will win that comparison without even trying. The comparison is to “calibrate” the downhill power with something many NTN converts are familiar with. For touring efficiency the binding to compare Meidjo to would be TTS or 22D’s Outlaw, or an AT tech binding.

  • Pingback: BC Banter: Vt Resorts Embrace Uphill, Utah Revisits Rescue Protocol, TwentyTwo Designs Launches Beta Program, 10th Mountain Icon Passes Away