• For more information on how to avoid pop-up ads and still support SkiTalk click HERE.

Review: 7 Reasons the Look SPX Might Be a Better Option Than the Look Pivot

SLIDER 7 REASONS.png

Sacrilege, right!?! All over the actual and virtual ski worlds, the Look Pivot is the be all and end all of ski bindings. There is no question the Look Pivot has one of the most loyal followings of any product on the market, it is one of the few products that, if a shop does not carry the Pivot, a customer will walk out but I am here to tell you, there is a substitute, the SPX 12. But unlike the Mazda Miata (Miata Is Always The Answer) the Pivot is not blessed with such an acronym. Therefore, it cannot always be the answer. Let us go line-by-line why, for the everyday skier, the SPX 12 is indeed a viable option over the storied Pivot 12.


  1. Ease of entry and exit. The Pivot can be quirky to get in and out of. The SPX 12 is much easier than the quirky Pivot's heel that can move around while getting in and often has to be reset after getting out.
  2. Speaking of getting out. The soft plastic of the Pivot heel (especially in colors other than black) can get more chewed up than a rib bone in the presence of a Rottweiler puppy. The SPX 12 has a nice metal cup embedded in the heel where your pole can release the heel with no damage.
  3. Adjustment range. The Pivot has about 8 mm of range and the SPX has over 20 mm, so if you are in the market for a possible different size boot, you may will be looking at a remount with the Pivot, but not with the SPX 12.
  4. Race bred. If you are in the camp where racing pedigree is the final word in a product's performance, the Pivot hasn’t been used in racing in about 25 years. What binding replaced it and what binding does every Rossignol, Dynastar and some RedBull Van Deer athletes use? I will give you a hint: “Espee-ex. “
  5. Brake options. Where we have a good range of brake options on the Pivot, there isn't really a good brake width for 80-90 mm wide skis, the SPX does offer a 90 mm brake.
  6. Speaking of brakes. The angled brake arm of the SPX retracts higher out of the way and less chance of getting caught on high edge angles or landing switch.
  7. Price/value. When they say it’s not about the money, it means that it is usually about the money. The SPX 12 is about $80 less than the Pivot 12. That is not an insignificant amount of change.

1704329807967.png

Yes the Pivot is a glorious binding worthy of all of the accolades it receives. But for the everyday Joe or Jane skier who might ski less than 20 days a year or does not push the limits, Pivot’s brother the SPX is a better alternative. Sure, you give up the short mount distance and low rotation weight that only the Pivot offers, but are you really going to miss that? In 99% of your skiing, no. The “7 Reasons” I posted above outweigh those two attributes. If you do need them, you will probably be stepping up to the “SkiTalk Derived and Endorsed” Pivot 15 or you can also seek out the Look SPX 12 Rockerace, the race version of the SPX 12. While that binding is designed only to work on Look’s R22 race plate, some have been mounting it flat on regular consumer skis and reaping a bit higher performance than the consumer SPX 12. So when you want a Look but don’t need a Pivot, the SPX is worth a look.
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’ve been eyeing the Rockerace and it looks like a good option for those who will have Pivot abandonment syndrome. ( is there a cure?) Is the price of giving up the short mount distance and swing weight worth it ? With the exception of mounting on a dedicated mogul ski -where the Pivot really shines - I’d say it looks like a good and somewhat more practical alternative. Nice write up.
 
There is also a line of thought that the turntable pivot arms contribute to ACL injuries,
I'd just say "no" but since I do not specifically know that I'll just say that I'm very certain that is not true. The heel on the Pivot doesn't release laterally just like every other binding on the market (Knee and Protector excluded) and those heel struts have no influence, good or bad, on said lack of lateral release.

i do find it refreshing to read such a post though. It contradicts the BS commonly spouted by sheep about how safe the Pivot turntable heel design is because it magically prevents knee and leg injuries that would otherwise happen with every other heel. No. It has a wonderful amount of vertical elasticity (28mm). The SPX has close to the same (27mm) though, which, to me anyway, is remarkable for what appears to be a single pivot heel like the Griffon/Jester. Regardless, if you've skied Pivots forever, that easy, fluid clunk when stepping in becomes addictive it seems. They release with that same feeling.

Didn't mean to digress. I really do dislike the weight of Pivots but I'm not getting younger so my set-up weight is more of an issue as the years progress. The brakes are a joke. I totally get why they are the way they are due to the design of the heel but, as Phil pointed out, they are janky as hell on a mid 80mm ski. No, the 75mm brakes will not clear. Sure you can bend them out a bit but, that too, results in brake arms pointed out. If you're a true carving animal you can drag the 95mm arms on an 88mm ski. Yes, it takes edge angles relatively few are capable of but it's a deal breaker if you are one of those few. I would like to add that of the 4 brake widths offered, the skinny 75mm are the best executed for some reason. Maybe that's changed, but the brakes on the old FKS155s or WC's for instance, tucked back nicely. All the other brakes basically just come up off the snow and hang out parallel to and just above the topsheet.

The SPX heel has a lot more than 20mm of adjustment. Maybe I'm all messed up, but the last pair I mounted seemed to have about 40mm! No joke. Please advise on that those who can. I also find that stepping into the SPX feels just like stepping into a Griffon. That's not a bad thing, but there's so much talk of how difficult the Griffon is to step into but no mention of the SPX. I find them both easy enough.
 
Last edited:
Happy New Year you too love birds.:thumb: I hope you are doing well.

Interesting pros and cons between the Pivot & SPX. @1:00 or so Phil stated that the toes share the same multi-directional design & they are 'the same'. Are they literally the same toe or figuratively?
 
Last edited:
Interesting pros and cons between the Pivot & SPX. @1:00 or so Phil stated that the toes share the same multi-directional design & they are 'the same'. Are they literally the same toe or figuratively?
Literally.
 
I also find that stepping into the SPX feels just like stepping into a Griffon. That's not a bad thing, but there's so much talk of how difficult the Griffon is to step into but no mention of the SPX. I find them both easy enough.
I do find the SPX heel easier than a Royal heel, even though the deign is similar, the Royal design requires more forward pressure to function properly making it require more force in some conditions.
 
Never been a fan. Let's start with the fact that it is only marginally changed from the original 1962 design. I've mounted over 10k pairs of skis in the last 38 years, and in no one single binding have I seen more problems. Let's talk about the high percentage that won't pass a torque test straight out of the box, manual or electronic. That finicky heel that frequently won't set properly on heel lugs no matter how you mount and adjust them. The lack of energy and sluggish return in the heel. You're either in or you're out. Lest I be branded a complete hater, I will say that the small footprint of the heel allows for some pretty deep bend in the aft part of the ski, which is kinda cool, but the brakes just hang out like open doors on a car. The toe is simple and reliable. I get the popularity with freestylers because of the extra rotational release qualities, but I am absolutely convinced its' popularity over the last dozen years or so is more hype and fashion than anything else.
 
Never been a fan. Let's start with the fact that it is only marginally changed from the original 1962 design. I've mounted over 10k pairs of skis in the last 38 years, and in no one single binding have I seen more problems. Let's talk about the high percentage that won't pass a torque test straight out of the box, manual or electronic. That finicky heel that frequently won't set properly on heel lugs no matter how you mount and adjust them. The lack of energy and sluggish return in the heel. You're either in or you're out. Lest I be branded a complete hater, I will say that the small footprint of the heel allows for some pretty deep bend in the aft part of the ski, which is kinda cool, but the brakes just hang out like open doors on a car. The toe is simple and reliable. I get the popularity with freestylers because of the extra rotational release qualities, but I am absolutely convinced its' popularity over the last dozen years or so is more hype and fashion than anything else.
@hialti2d87 Are you referring to the Pivot or the SPX?
 

Article information

Author
Philpug
Views
4,057
Comments
12
Last update

More in Gear

More from Philpug

Top