There are few places on the internet where the readership will get pulled down the rabbit hole in binding discussion, and SkiTalk.com is one of them! At SkiTalk we can discuss bindings until even the most experienced skier’s eyes glaze over, and even at that point, we are just getting started and barely into our first bowl of popcorn. Although Salomon started in the ski industry by making ski edges, it was the ski binding where Salomon became a household name with skiers. It started with the 404/505 and then the 444/555. Then in the late 1970’s, the development of the S727 changed the industry. The S727 had many innovations, such as a multi-directional toe, integrated retractable brake and a three-piece heel; all designs that Salomon now integrates into their collections today. Variations of the S727 are duplicated by almost every other brand on the market. Salomon followed up the 727 with generations of Driver toes through the Sth and LABs to the current Sth2, and now to the all-new Strive series introduced here. Because Salomon is the Official Binding of SkiTalk’s test team, the company knew that we should be one of the first outlets to announce their new Strive binding collection. We have a deep knowledge of bindings and we convey well their impact on the skiing experience to our readers.
Lighter and Lower.
Salomon’s ultimate goal with the Strive was to create a better steering binding, and their designers knew the best way to achieve that goal was two ways: Create a lighter weight toe and lower the center of mass (COM). Binding weight; not just static, but rotational weight, has an effect on the boot-to-ski interface and performance. Salomon stressed that the Strive now has the lowest center of mass in the industry, and that feature maximizes the ski’s performance.
Salomon is no stranger to innovation, and the Strive is a testament to the vision of Salomon’s designers. Salomon believes that the longitudinal spring toe piece gives the best balance of retention and release, but they realized there was room for improvement in the elasticity of the Driver design. That’s where the Strive comes in.
When discussing ski/binding set-up, we talk ad nauseam about stack height of bindings and rotational weight and how they affect the ski/boot interface. Salomon is addressing both of these aspects in different ways. As for stack height (how high the boot is from the ski), Salomon was able to keep the 20 mm toe height of the current Sth2 while lowering the toe weight 15%. More importantly, reducing the center of mass (COM) 40% from the Sth2 addresses the rotational issue differently. Combining that with a reduced weight, these changes make for a significantly more positive reaction, thus a better skiing experience.
There are two models in the Strive collection for 2022/23: the Strive 14GW and 16GW. While both of these bindings share the same toe, the heels differentiate the siblings. The Strive GW14, with a 5-14 DIN range, has an all new 3-piece heel design with integrated teflon plates, which will result in a smoother lateral release from the toe. The Strive MN16, with a DIN range of 7-16, shares the proven heel from the Sth16 but is also Multi Norm (ISO 9523) compatible which means it will accept all alpine boot soles. Both bindings offer 30 mm of adjustment range.
A Truer Demo Experience
Recently we wrote an article about demo bindings, specifically stack height, and how we felt that being lower on the deck of the ski was more important than being fore or aft a centimeter. Salomon agreed, and they addressed it in the design of the new Strive GW 13 Demo and its sibling, the 11 Demo. Salomon was adamant in making the demo binding invisible in the ski demo experience. Salomon realizes that the purpose in demoing a ski is just that, to demo the ski. So they not only dropped the weight of the Strive GW 13 Demo by over 300 grams from the Warden 13 Demo, but most importantly, made the new demo‘s stack height identical to the retail counterpart! The Warden 13 Demo will stay in the line to maintain an MNC offering.
The Strive will be available under the Atomic and Armada branding.
For the Retailer:
For those in the industry wondering what mounting templates you will need, the Strives use the current templates that you very well already have.
Conclusion, On Snow Experience and Our View:
Whenever we get word of a new binding, it is like Christmas in December, and like any new toy, we love sharing it with you, our reader. After getting both the Strive and Strive demo on the snow, I can say that the demo binding does not ski any differently than its retail version. This is impressive. Therefore, whenever we are able, we will be installing this new binding on all of SkiTalk's test skis. While pricing has not yet been released, expect the all new Strives to be in line with other 14 and 15 DIN bindings. We are very excited with this new offering from Salomon and cannot wait for our shipment so we can start putting this new binding into use and reporting back to you!
10/25/22-Updated with video and Strive MN16 information.