Preview: 22/23 Salomon Strive Binding


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.

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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.

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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.

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Shared Design:

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.
About author
Philpug
I started skiing in the mid-70s in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; from then on, I found myself entrenched in the industry. I have worked in various ski shops from suburban to ski town to resort, giving me a well-rounded perspective on what skiers want from their gear. That experience was parlayed into my time as a Gear Review Editor and also consulting with manufacturers as a product tester. Along with being a Masterfit-trained bootfitter I am a fully certified self proclaimed Gear Guru. Not only do I keep up with the cutting edge of ski gear technology, but I am an avid gear collector and have an extensive array of bindings as well as many vintage skis.

Replies

I remain puzzled by the assertion that lower stand-height bindings are a preferable choice for most skiers. When shaped skis first came out, we all wanted more lift to help tip the wider skis up on edge. It also facilitated more efficient carving and leverage. Racers still look for that. I have found over the years that I much prefer higher-stand height or lifted bindings on all types of skis. They are much superior performers for me over flat/on-the-deck clamps. I still haven't heard a compelling argument as to why lower stand-height is preferable. These new Strive bindings may be fine, but I really like the existing Warden compared to other brands in this category, just due to the higher stand-height it offers.
 
I remain puzzled by the assertion that lower stand-height bindings are a preferable choice for most skiers. When shaped skis first came out, we all wanted more lift to help tip the wider skis up on edge. It also facilitated more efficient carving and leverage. Racers still look for that. I have found over the years that I much prefer higher-stand height or lifted bindings on all types of skis. They are much superior performers for me over flat/on-the-deck clamps. I still haven't heard a compelling argument as to why lower stand-height is preferable. These new Strive bindings may be fine, but I really like the existing Warden compared to other brands in this category, just due to the higher stand-height it offers.
Height works on a narrower ski where is it s being tipped but as the ski gets wider and the leverage point changes, height is a negative. One of the reasons a Pivot has such a good on snow feel (besides the short mount distance) is the low stack height. We are not going to get much lower than the 20 mm stand height now because of the need for space for the Gripwalk sole.
 
Phil,

What is the heel height of this new binding ? I am interested in binding delta height differences (toe vs heel). You report the toe, is the heel the same as the toe?
 
So, what is the reall inovation in the Strive toe? and why did they put the new heel only on the lower end binding? I thought the Driver toe in the STH2 has pretty much class-leading elasticity, what is the innovation that Strive brings to the table, besides lower weight?
 
So, what is the reall inovation in the Strive toe? and why did they put the new heel only on the lower end binding? I thought the Driver toe in the STH2 has pretty much class-leading elasticity, what is the innovation that Strive brings to the table, besides lower weight?
Lowering the toe creates a more reactive and responsive binding. There is a bit of a loss in elasticity, going from just over 50 mm to about 45 from the Sth but it is quicker.
 
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Scot Schmidt skiing the Strive at the Yellowstone Club with Lone Peak in the background.

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Note, we skied with Scot last year and his binding of choice was the discontinued Sth steel. After skiing with Scot and his communication that he does not compromise on his equipement says a LOT to me about the Strive.

Thank you @Freeride for the Scot Schmidt Yellowstone/Big Sky image.
 
That's a lot of marketing speak for "The STH toe molds were getting old. It makes more financial sense to repurpose the Shift toe body for a replacement"
 
That's a lot of marketing speak for "The STH toe molds were getting old. It makes more financial sense to repurpose the Shift toe body for a replacement"
The Sth2 toe wasn't getting old, it has been around only since the mid 2010'. I doubt there more than 20% of the parts shared with the Shift and the Strive. What is shared is a concept of lower CG/COM with makes the binding more reactive. The Strive brings together the best of the Sth2, longated toe and elasticity and the Warden, quick return to center.
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As someone who was as big of a fan of the Driver and has probably more in my collection and maybe a handfull of people on the world. I will be doing an A/B comparison in the future between the two and reporting back. I will not be pulling any punches and will be comparing a Strive 16 to an all metal Driver.
 
Just put a handful of laps on them. I expect it to be a very popular binding due to its light weight. Very nice in the air and plenty of power laterally. The stand height on the demo is a noticeable improvement compared to the Warden I regularly ski.

Durability to me is the primary outstanding question.

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I just spent a day skiing with Scot Schmidt and I could not let the topic of the Strive go unaddressed. Scot is always one to speak his mind whether he likes something or he doesn't. While he was skiing his classic Stormrider 115 Pro (195cm) with Sth Steels this day, he has been skiing some SR95's with the new Strive. I had to ask him what he thought of them, he replied "Even though they were not all metal, he didn't notice any difference to the way they felt on snow" I replied, "Coming from the Sth Steel, can you ask for more than that?" He chuckled and said "I guess not".
 
The Sth2 toe wasn't getting old, it has been around only since the mid 2010'. I doubt there more than 20% of the parts shared with the Shift and the Strive. What is shared is a concept of lower CG/COM with makes the binding more reactive. The Strive brings together the best of the Sth2, longated toe and elasticity and the Warden, quick return to center.
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As someone who was as big of a fan of the Driver and has probably more in my collection and maybe a handfull of people on the world. I will be doing an A/B comparison in the future between the two and reporting back. I will not be pulling any punches and will be comparing a Strive 16 to an all metal Driver.
I lost interest at the end of the first row!
 
What a bunch of marketing crap. If people really cared about "snow feel" and precision, they'd all be skiing alpine DIN soles in alpine AFDs (not multi norm AFD's set for alpine). You slipped in the parking lot once so you got the new boots with rubber soles? And you still slip in the parking lot. Dammit, that [email protected]$%ing marketing got you again!

The alpine driver toe was 18mm stack. This new one is higher.

Basically the current marketing is saying "lower is better". It tries to say why (snow feel; wide skis; what else?) but that is about it. There is nothing quantified or supporting accompanying those claims that I've seen.

Furthermore, I can see no benefit to added stack on a wide ski used specifically for big snow. But if your one ski is kinda wide or if you are on a wide ski most of the time, in all conditions, then I see benefit to additional binding stack: my brain tells me you'd not notice it at all in soft snow, but putting that ski on edge on pack it would be beneficial (that added leverage can only make it easier).
 
What a bunch of marketing crap. If people really cared about "snow feel" and precision, they'd all be skiing alpine DIN soles in alpine AFDs (not multi norm AFD's set for alpine). You slipped in the parking lot once so you got the new boots with rubber soles? And you still slip in the parking lot. Dammit, that [email protected]$%ing marketing got you again!

The alpine driver toe was 18mm stack. This new one is higher.
Like it or not, we are in a Gripwalk society and there needs to be room behind the AFD for that extra gripwalk sole. The Sth2 13 toe was 19mm (the Sth2 16 is 21mm), the problem is the heel was 24.5 which created a good anount of delta with the 13, the new tow is 21, whick makes the delta better.
Basically the current marketing is saying "lower is better". It tries to say why (snow feel; wide skis; what else?) but that is about it. There is nothing quantified or supporting accompanying those claims that I've seen.
You need quantified here but its OK if you brain can geel it in the next quote?
Furthermore, I can see no benefit to added stack on a wide ski used specifically for big snow. But if your one ski is kinda wide or if you are on a wide ski most of the time, in all conditions, then I see benefit to additional binding stack: my brain tells me you'd not notice it at all in soft snow, but putting that ski on edge on pack it would be beneficial (that added leverage can only make it easier).
This the the direction, lower is better, especially on wider skis, IMHO especially when it gets firmer. this is where there was a huge step with the Strive demo, it is the same height as the retail counterpart, something every manufacturer should strive for.
 

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