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Jan 14 2019

Review: The Badass MF from Bishop Bindings

Meet the Fockers: The Badass MF Family.

Meet the Fockers: The Badass MF Family.

When the Bishop was introduced over a decade ago the telemark world got to experience a true heavy-metal telemark binding. At the time it was certainly the heaviest telemark binding around. Fast forward to the present and Dave Bombard and crew have unleashed the overdue descendent of the Bishop, the BMF-R, which stands for Badass Mo’ Fo’ – Randonnée, and in the heavy metal genre, the most decadent, or if your superlatives are a shade goth, the most degenerate version and by any objective measure, the most active telemark binding evah! – making its moniker oh so appropo. It’s still the heaviest too.

NTN or 75mm

The BMF is one of the few bindings that can accommodate either style of boot, 75mm or NTN.

The BMF adds features that were never seriously considered in the original Bishop; a tele machine made for downhill performance, particularly the ability to apply all your weight to the edges of both skis which means no wiggle in your tele, just pure, precise carving. Without a solid connection, that’s a tall order. That’s why the BMF continues to deliver power through a metal frame. However, the BMF adds two essential features: alpine style, heel activated step-in convenience, and in the BMF-R, a pole activated free pivot for skinning.

Step-In

Early versions of the step-in were finicky, requiring careful alignment of the heel. Reports from Fakebook indicate otherwise.

David Sexter #Telemark Skiing Forum: finally got to ski this weekend after months of staring at new set up. In one word the bmf’s are SICK. Step in is flawless. No messing around, no weird angle, just step in like an alpine binding. Works first and every time. Exit is just as easy and consistent.
The power transmission from boot to ski is ridiculous. I was previously on 22design vices and the bmf makes them feel like a a rubber band with a spring. The biggest upside for me is that because they are so responsive I don’t need to keep my boots super tight. First time in 25+years of teleskiing no foot pain.
I don’t tour so can’t speak to that, but for a resort binding these are far and away best I’ve ever used – nothing even comes close.

There’s no doubt about the genuine sound of that endorsement. Those who prefer finesse over power nod in silent dissent knowing that time and a greater variety of conditions will change that tune. But don’t let me stop you if you want an active binding – the BMF is the clear winner in that category.

The basic frame and transmission is the same for either style duck-boot, the toe changes to fit a symmetric NTN alpine-style toe, or an asymmetric duckbill. In either case, the main reason you want a Bishop BMF is because you prefer to drive as much pressure as you can to the tip of the ski. On firm snow it delivers amazing edge power and you may find you actually have to throttle back a bit from what you’re used to to avoid over steering, especially in softer snow. It’s good to know there is some adjustability to the tension BMF delivers, from strong to excessive, but it is never wimpy. As someone who prefers a less active binding, the BMF is overkill. But if you like the resistive feel of an active binding, the BMF may be what you’re itching for.

Optional Soft Springs

All that power comes from having an effective pivot for the heel spring at 60 mm behind pin line (75mm). If you don’t need or want power on steroids, you can swap in a softer spring to adjust the tele tension down a notch or two. Theoretically.

Brakes

Bishop Bindings offers ski brakes, implying that the binding is releasable. Not with the reliability one expects with an alpine binding, but with elasticity in the heel it is possible with the right circumstances for an NTN boot to pop out. Not DIN reliable, but if you’re lucky, good enough that those brakes might come in handy.

Ryan Reese on FB: I have had my BMF-Rs release quite a few times. I trust the release, and would reccomend it, even if it isn’t a DIN release.

With a duckbill? – don’t get your hopes up.

Touring

BMF-R has all the touring bells - plus weight.

BMF-R has all the touring bells – plus weight.

BMF has a Free-pivot for touring, but make no mistake this is not a light weight binding. It can be used for backcountry, but weight makes it more appropriate for sidecountry; unless, of course, you’re a stud or just want the extra weight for a tougher workout. To switch to skin mode simply lift the metal tab at the front of the binding. Either bend over, or use your ski pole and hook it with the beak of your grip (if your pole has one). With the toe unlocked there are 55° of frictionless rotation with a 75mm boot, 60° with NTN. Two climbing pegs allow angles of 7° or 12°. I haven’t actually toured with this binding so I can’t tell you how badly it can ice up, or not; my tele boots alone are enough training weight. My excuse is age. ;)

Bottom line

And just to weed out the faint of heart, the BMF-R retails for a cool seven Franklins. If this is your tele engine for in bounds only, get the BMF3 for just four Franklins. YMMV. And no, I don’t know what the 3 stands for.

Bishop Bindings
BMF-R
MSRP: $7Franklins
Weight/pair: 1.9 kg : 4 lbs., 3 oz.

© 2019


  • televangelist666

    I’m an active binding kinda guy. I also have a, let’s say “progressive,” idea of what telemark skiing can be. Dostie would say I’m young, but I’m not that young. I have spent more time on the Bishop BMF than any other human. I do not have a ski pass. If you’re looking to push the boundaries of the sport of freeheel skiing, or just your own personal limits every day you’re on the hill, pretty much every other available telemark binding will be a hindrance compared to the BMF.

    Full disclosure: I am a Bishop athlete, and was the lead ski tester for this binding through all of its prototype iterations. The BMF is a product of immense love by a group of very dedicated, passionate, and talented skiers. It may not be for everyone, but it’s the first telemark binding I have ever truly been happy with, one that is not a compromise in performance over skiing on alpine gear.

    First and foremost, Dostie’s review doesn’t mention durability. Maybe you’ve never broken a tele binding, but I have broken them all, often at inconvenient times while incredibly far from the trailhead. I got 3 days out of those orange ones from Idaho, a full 2 weeks with the black and pink Norwegian ones. One of my pairs of BMF/Rs has 150 days and is still in heavy rotation. I’m not a big guy (66kg), but if you are, the BMF has got you, every day, all season, next season too. Don’t miss a pow day while you’re waiting for warranty, bro.

    Perhaps Dostie would say I’m a “stud” for touring this binding; I average 9000 vertical meters a week of #skiuphill, November-May. I don’t have trouble keeping up with my buddies on Dynafit, but I’m definitely not gonna do a skimo race on these. For anyone with mountain bike experience, the BMF/R is an enduro bike of a binding: it goes up hill just fine, then blows your mind with its capability on the way down. Weight weenies look elsewhere of course, but I tend to break XC mountain bikes just as often as I break lesser tele bindings. The uphill is made worthwhile by the descent, and the piece of mind that accompanies the BMF’s durability is worth having to get a little stronger in the early season.

    I haven’t had icing issues switching from tour to ski mode, though if you’re climbing a SE aspect in the sun the day after the storm there’s gonna be some snow beneath your boot. It knocks out easy at the transition. The touring pivot feels quite natural, and I can take nice long strides even in a TX Comp. Unlike the Outlaw, the ski brakes do not move up and down with your touring stride, so you don’t have to cowboy stance the skintrack. The two heel riser heights are great for cruising the mellow and crushing the steep respectively. Yes, there is a metal plate attached to your foot while you are climbing, but it’s super totally worth it because:

    This binding skis better than anything else you can clip a tele boot to. The lateral stability and resistance to torsional flex is legitimately insane, possibly revelatory. You have never edged a ski on hardpack like you can with the Bishop. The activeness aggressively transfers power to the ski’s sweet spot, without having to bend your knees super deep and low (though you still can of course, it creates silly amounts of power to go full extension/full compression with this thing). The spring action is smooth and sweet as your knee drops. I’ve never had so much fun making telemark turns.

    If you ever (gasp!) make a turn with your heels on the topsheets, get ready: there’s no rocker launch, no having to sit your butt way back and pressure the rear of the boot cuff. The BMF allows powerful, ankle flexed, shin-to-boot parallel turns. This is where the discussion of the Bishop bindings really should begin, the reason the BMF is unprecidented, a legit game changer for telemark skiing. The BMF is–and here’s the true selling point–an alpine binding that makes telemark turns.

    Here also is the inflection point. A lot of telemark skiers do not want an alpine binding that telemarks, much like they don’t want burly boots or stiff skis or slope angles over 30 degrees. I get alot of comments on my POV videos that assert that making a mixture of drop kneed turns and alpine-style turns is somehow not telemarking. But I ski pretty fast, frequently in terrain with exposure and consequences. Sometimes the appropriate turn shape for a given situation or snow condition means keeping your heel on the ski. When you make this kind of turn, the BMF might as well be an alpine binding, which is really confidence inspiring as you drop into a straight line or line up an air. And then, pow! When the skis hit the snow again and you’re on the apron, you can make all the hippie turns you want. Freeheel skiing of this sort is an absolute blast, and I’m so glad to have a binding that doesn’t allow me to say, “Darn this tele gear!” when I don’t stomp it. The BMF is a no compromises, high performance machine that won’t hold anyone back.

    BUT ( and I know this is getting long, sorry I’ll hurry it up) it isn’t just that. Or it is, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not for you cause you don’t send it huge or whatever. I put my wife (also an expert skier but not a pro, previously on Outlaw, Freedom, etc.) on BMFs a few weeks ago. This first line we skied was an alpine chute with a bit of wind skin on top of untracked pow, the kind of line she’d always been able to ski down, but with caution. I couldn’t believe it when, two turns in, she opened up the throttle. Alpine turns, then tele turns, with speed and style the whole way down. Giggling like crazy at the bottom. “I didn’t know my skis could do that!” she said.

    And that’s why the BMF is worth 7 Bens (I believe Kingpin, Shift, etc. are pretty comparably priced on the fixed heel side): the Bishop BMF will make you a better skier. More control, and more power when you need it, translates into the ability to ski bigger terrain more confidently and with greater safety. Plus all the convenience of true step-in and brakes (I haven’t released from it as yet, but consider that a feature not a bug) and 100% made in USA by passionate telemark skiers.

    If you’re idea of a freeheelin’ good time is low angle meadows and “glades”, dude, def go get TTY or Meidjo or one of those other bindings with no ball of foot retention, and have a blast poodling around in the backcountry. At least people on Instagram won’t complain that you’re not making telemark turns before you send it. But if you ski inbounds, ski hard, or wish you could ski harder if only you weren’t being held back by your stupid telemark gear? Well bro, I got this new thing. You’re totally gonna love it.

  • Mark W

    BMF3 is actually 5 Franklins.

  • televangelist666

    Extra long comment, it’s gonna be in three parts ☃️

    I’m an active binding kinda guy. I also have a, let’s say “progressive,” idea of what telemark skiing can be. Dostie would say I’m young, but I’m not that young. I have spent more time on the Bishop BMF than any other human. I do not have a ski pass. If you’re looking to push the boundaries of the sport of freeheel skiing, or just your own personal limits every day you’re on the hill, pretty much every other available telemark binding will be a hindrance compared to the BMF.

    Full disclosure: I am a Bishop athlete, and was the lead ski tester for this binding through all of its prototype iterations. The BMF is a product of immense love by a group of very dedicated, passionate, and talented skiers. It may not be for everyone, but it’s the first telemark binding I have ever truly been happy with, one that is not a compromise in performance over skiing on alpine gear.

    First and foremost, Dostie’s review doesn’t mention durability. Maybe you’ve never broken a tele binding, but I have broken them all, often at inconvenient times while incredibly far from the trailhead. I got 3 days out of those orange ones from Idaho, a full 2 weeks with the black and pink Norwegian ones. One of my pairs of BMF/Rs has 150 days and is still in heavy rotation. I’m not a big guy (66kg), but if you are, the BMF has got you, every day, all season, next season too.

    Perhaps Dostie would say I’m a “stud” for touring this binding; I average 9000 vertical meters a week of #skiuphill, November-May. I don’t have trouble keeping up with my buddies on Dynafit, but I’m definitely not gonna do a skimo race on these. For anyone with mountain bike experience, the BMF/R is an enduro bike of a binding: it goes up hill just fine, then blows your mind with its capability on the way down. Weight weenies look elsewhere of course, but I tend to break XC mountain bikes just as often as I break lesser tele bindings. The uphill is made worthwhile by the descent, and the piece of mind that accompanies the BMF’s durability is worth having to get a little stronger in the early season.

  • televangelist666

    Part 2/3

    I haven’t had icing issues switching from tour to ski mode, though if you’re climbing a SE aspect in the sun the day after the storm there’s gonna be some snow beneath your boot. It knocks out easy at the transition. The touring pivot feels quite natural, and I can take nice long strides even in a TX Comp. Unlike the Outlaw, the ski brakes do not move up and down with your touring stride, so you don’t have to cowboy stance the skintrack. The two heel riser heights are great for cruising the mellow and crushing the steep respectively. Yes, there is a metal plate attached to your foot while you are climbing, but it’s super totally worth it because:

    This binding skis better than anything else you can clip a tele boot to. The lateral stability and resistance to torsional flex is legitimately insane, possibly revelatory. You have never edged a ski on hardpack like you can with the Bishop. The activeness aggressively transfers power to the ski’s sweet spot, without having to bend your knees super deep and low (though you still can of course, it creates silly amounts of power to go full extension/full compression with this thing). The spring action is smooth and sweet as your knee drops. I’ve never had so much fun making telemark turns.
    If you ever (gasp!) make a turn with your heels on the topsheets, get ready: there’s no rocker launch, no having to sit your butt way back and pressure the rear of the boot cuff. The BMF allows powerful, ankle flexed, shin-to-boot parallel turns. This is where the discussion of the Bishop bindings really should begin, the reason the BMF is unprecidented, a legit game changer for telemark skiing. The BMF is–and here’s the true selling point–an alpine binding that makes telemark turns.

    Here also is the inflection point. A lot of telemark skiers do not want an alpine binding that telemarks, much like they don’t want burly boots or stiff skis or slope angles over 30 degrees. I get alot of comments on my POV videos that assert that making a mixture of drop kneed turns and alpine-style turns is somehow not telemarking. But I ski pretty fast, frequently in terrain with exposure and consequences. Sometimes the appropriate turn shape for a given situation or snow condition means keeping your heel on the ski. When you make this kind of turn, the BMF might as well be an alpine binding, which is really confidence inspiring as you drop into a straightline or line up an air. And then, pow! When the skis hit the snow again and you’re on the apron, you can make all the hippie turns you want. Freeheel skiing of this sort is an absolute blast, and I’m so glad to have a binding that doesn’t allow me to say, “Darn this tele gear!” when I don’t stomp it. The BMF is a no compromises, high performance machine that won’t hold anyone back.

  • televangelist666

    Part 3/3

    BUT ( and I know this is getting long, sorry I’ll hurry it up) it isn’t just that. Or it is, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not for you cause you don’t send it huge or whatever. I put my wife (also an expert skier but not a pro, previously on Outlaw, Freedom, etc.) on BMFs a few weeks ago. This first line we skied was an alpine chute with a bit of wind skin on top of untracked pow, the kind of line she’d always been able to ski down, but with caution. I couldn’t believe it when, two turns in, she opened up the throttle. Alpine turns, then tele turns, with speed and style the whole way down. Giggling like crazy at the bottom. “I didn’t know my skis could do that!” she said.

    And that’s why the BMF is worth 7 Bens (I believe Kingpin, Shift, etc. are pretty comparably priced on the fixed heel side): the Bishop BMF will make you a better skier. More control, and more power when you need it, translates into the ability to ski bigger terrain more confidently and with greater safety. Plus all the convenience of true step-in and brakes (I haven’t released from it as yet, but consider that a feature not a bug) and 100% made in USA by passionate telemark skiers.

    If you’re idea of a freeheelin’ good time is low angle meadows and “glades”, dude, def go get TTY or Meidjo or one of those other bindings with no ball of foot retention, and have a blast poodling around in the backcountry. At least people on Instagram won’t complain that you’re not making telemark turns before you send it. But if you ski inbounds, ski hard, or wish you could ski harder if only you weren’t being held back by your stupid telemark gear? Well bro, I got this new thing. You’re totally gonna love it.