Demo bindings are not new to the ski industry; they have been around in one form or another since starting as rental bindings in the mid-1970s. In the ski rental world, performance meant that a technician might save 30 sec adjusting the binding; on-snow performance was not really a priority.


Through the years, ease of adjustment remained paramount over performance. Weight, height, and other inefficiencies of the binding often created a disconnect between the boot and the ski. In most applications on a traditional straight ski, that really didn’t matter, and ease of adjustment was still the most important aspect. But as skis started getting wider, these bindings were masking the skis' performance, and we began to see a change.

Just as “mid-entry” boots of the 90s had a bad reputation while today's walk mode boots are accepted, now it is demo=good, rental=bad. The Marker Griffon demo was the first demo binding for me that took its purpose seriously, and that purpose was to demonstrate the attributes of the ski. The Marker Griffon demo set the bar because it skied almost identically to its regular retail counterpart and really became the first demo binding accepted by better skiers.

Other brands followed suit and started producing higher-performing adjustable or track bindings,which were then marked as system bindings on many popular skis. For all but the Nth-degree skiers, they skied very well. Such bindings became the choice for many of our readers, even on $1,000+ skis.

But the pendulum is swinging again, because of the advent of GripWalk and tech soles. These new designs are different than traditional DIN soles and require more than just fore-and-aft adjustment; they also need different height adjustments to accommodate the taller soles. More adjustment means more separation of the boot from the ski. No better example of this is the current Tyrolia Attack2 13 demo. Once Tyrolia added GW/AT sole compatibility, it completely changed the characteristics of the binding. It became 32 mm tall, about a full centimeter taller than its retail counterpart, the consumer Attack2 13. While the current Attack2 demo can be commended for its ease of adjustment and ability to accept every sole on the market, that versatility comes at the cost of its ability to show the best attributes of a ski.

The Rossignol Group’s Look SPX Konect was doing double duty as a system binding for its narrow retail skis and a demo binding for trade shows. Rossignol began to realize that while the 30mm+ stack height worked well on narrow skis, it neutered the performance of wider ones. So, it gave the SPX 12 a longer heel track, and now wider skis ski more like they do with a regular binding attached. Again, this is why Dynastar and Rossignol started going with a long-track (50mm) heel piece on the Look SPX 12 Konect for media to use on their wider demo skis. They felt that the lower, lighter, and more connected coupling would show their skis in a better light.

2CA1327C-631C-4228-8F85-8DAC7BC4F2E6_1_201_a.jpeg
When I was putting my most recent demo binding order in with Salomon -- [partner plug] the official demo binding of SkiTalk’s test fleet [/partner plug] -- it was suggested that I take some long-track heel bindings in my mix. I was hesitant at first, but I agreed with the logic. I still feel the Warden 13 Demo is fine on narrower skis, but once skis get wider, the new design better showcases the ski.

I started writing this before receiving my order, and my bindings began to arrive while I was typing the article. The first ski I mounted up was the 2021 DPS Pagoda Piste 94 C2; I couldn't wait to see whether I would notice a difference. Holy hell yes. The difference hit me like those "Aha!" flashback moments in the movies. I had the same feeling on these new skis as I had on my K2 Mindbender 99Ti and Rossignol Black Ops Sender Ti: the feeling of being connected to the snow. The common denominator is that all three have flat-on-the-deck bindings (Look Pivots and Salomon STH2).

So, to sum it all up … many readers swear that a minimal difference fore or aft on a ski makes a world of difference in performance. Well, I disagree. The reason is that the ski designers also disagree and are willing to give up that fore-and-aft movement in their own demonstration binding in favor of lower height, less weight, and a tighter coupling. Yes, the person who designed your ski feels that being 1 or even 2 cm up or back of its center point isn’t the end-all in performance. Sorry to burst any bubbles.

9/6/22-Updated with video.
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

Thanks Phil! Really good info here for those of us who were sold on binding position modification. I starting changing my tune on this during the last year as while at Pow Mow last year Pre Covid. I played w/ position modification on my pow skis mounted w/ Marker Schizos. During my various tests on my 4 day trip, I preferred going back to the factory position every single time. Now I'm really liking the way my Pivot 14's feel as compared to my Attack 13's and Marker Schizos. They seem to allow my ski to flex more evenly and I feel more "connected" if I'm describing that properly. Is it the turntable heel, low stack hgt? Hard to put my finger on it... Am I imagining this? :huh:
 
They seem to allow my ski to flex more evenly and I feel more "connected" if I'm describing that properly. Is it the turntable heel, low stack hgt? Hard to put my finger on it... Am I imagining this? :huh:
No, you are not imagining it. In your case it is the combination of the low stack height and the short mount turntable heel. IMHO, the best combination.
 
So if it is the more pronounced stack height of demo bindings that is neutering the performance of wider skis (in what way exactly?) then how does lengthening the heel track address this? Hard to judge from the supplied photo, but the longer track does not seem to have a lower profile nor does it look any wider.

Is Rossi rolling out this modified binding track with any of their wider lines, such as the Experience 93 and 88, that come with the SPX Konect?
 
Interesting assertions... So, at one time, it was generally accepted that greater stand height = better leverage, and easier to tip wider skis up on edge. Now, it's "better" to get lower? A better explanation is required here, than "it's just better"....

I've tried same ski with both Attack2 13GW (low stand height) and Attack2 14 AT (higher stand height) and much prefer the higher. So, I'm not following...
 
So if it is the more pronounced stack height of demo bindings that is neutering the performance of wider skis (in what way exactly?) then how does lengthening the heel track address this? Hard to judge from the supplied photo, but the longer track does not seem to have a lower profile nor does it look any wider.

Is Rossi rolling out this modified binding track with any of their wider lines, such as the Experience 93 and 88, that come with the SPX Konect?
The long heeltrack works with a traditional toe/heel binding, for Look, that would be a SPX and Salomon derived bindings a Sth2 or Warden. So it allows the stack height to be lower to the ski to give a feel that will be identical to the retail version. It allows for more adjustment range, up to 50mm which really is overkill, rarely do you need more than three boot sizes for one ski size.

Rossignol will still offer the Konect as an option on the Experiences but IMHO it os not recommended, I would sooner see a regular SPX or even a Pivot which are over a centimeter lower in height.
 
Interesting assertions... So, at one time, it was generally accepted that greater stand height = better leverage, and easier to tip wider skis up on edge. Now, it's "better" to get lower? A better explanation is required here, than "it's just better"....

I've tried same ski with both Attack2 13GW (low stand height) and Attack2 14 AT (higher stand height) and much prefer the higher. So, I'm not following...
On narrower skis because of lever angles, height is a benefit, hence why FIS has height restrictions. On the wider skis, especially when the ski is on the snow and not in it. it takes more leverage to get that ski up onto edge when your are higher off of the ski.

Between the Attck2 13 and the 14 AT, the height isn't as dramatic as to when you go to the demo version which is ven heigher than the 14 AT. Where th difference comes into play and to this discussion is that when someone might demo say a Head Kore 99 with the Attack2 Demo that is 32mm high then buy the ski and put on an Attack2 13 GW, which is 17mm high, there will be a tremendous performance difference.
 
great analysis. The youngins have been professing this since wide skis came out. Another big one is skiing with a binding like the Marker Duke. Totally changes the ski for inbounds skiing. I had a pair of S7 that i loved and then decided to put the duke on so I could then add side country. I hated the ski and really it was the binding.
 
Quote: "Well, I disagree. The reason is that the ski designers also disagree and are willing to give up that fore-and-aft movement in their own demonstration binding in favor of lower height, less weight, and a tighter coupling.

hmmm; could it be that the designers do not disagree but just value a lower stand height (plus lower weight, shorter mount) more than fore-aft? I mean: they have designed a ski and marked it with a mounting line that in their view is best for that ski for most skiers. So in their eyes - and probably in the real world as well - there will not be that many skiers who will benefit of a bit fore or aft.
On the other hand, each and every skier (well, there always will be an exeption to the rule) will experience the advantage of a lower stand height on wide skis. Therefore it is fair enough and quite logical for the factory to favour the latter. But, that does not mean that changing your mountpoint can not make a big difference.

Given the choice, I personally would argue also that stand height (plus lower weight, shorter mount) makes more of difference than fore/aft but to dismiss it in a big way?
 
Maybe I need to draw the force diagram but I'm not sure I'm getting how a taller stack height is worse of a wider ski but not on a narrower ski. It would see the added height gives more leverage, not less.

I'm also curious about the ski/binding systems that are out there. There's some discussion of those systems here but I'm curious why they really only show up in one category of ski. You don't really see them on racing skis or on all mountain carving skis but you do see them on the front side carving skis which seems strange. Can anyone explain the pros/cons of these systems and why they would make more sense in this one category of skis than on adjacent categories?
 
great analysis. The youngins have been professing this since wide skis came out. Another big one is skiing with a binding like the Marker Duke. Totally changes the ski for inbounds skiing. I had a pair of S7 that i loved and then decided to put the duke on so I could then add side country. I hated the ski and really it was the binding.
@Bob Yoder, when this topic started flickering in my head, it made me think back to when you and I swapped Attack demo bindings on the skis you bought. You prefered the original Attack 13 verses the taller Attack2 version.
 
@Bob Yoder, when this topic started flickering in my head, it made me think back to when you and I swapped Attack demo bindings on the skis you bought. You prefered the original Attack 13 verses the taller Attack2 version.
Phil you’re a pro good memory yes didn’t like the higher start with a grip walk binding. I know we’ve had discussions over the years same thing you demo a ski with a real high stacked demo binding then you put a different binding on it and it skis different.. nuances
 
m2G8gG.gif


Fore / aft adjustment makes a night and day difference in a ski.

I put Warden 13 demos on almost all my skis when they are new, and end up fiddling with stance for the first three or so days. Even once I've found a sweet spot for me on a given ski, I still occasionally like to cheat forward (for tighter terrain) or back (for ripping super G turns on open slopes).

I was about ready to dump a pair of Voile Hyperchargers that I mounted on the line, but decided risk a second set of holes and go forward 1.5 cm. Completely changed the ski. Now I love them.

I read that Sverre Lillequist puts his flat skis on the ground, stands on them, and mounts based on what feels right. For those of us who are not former X-Games athletes who get free skis from Fischer, a demo binding gives us the flexibility to play around with mount points.

My high school physics is a little rusty, but I'm pretty sure the claim about low stack height / higher leverage "in" the snow is false. You could have argued that being "in the ski" is advantageous in bumps or other places where you want less hook, but higher stack means higher leverage. Stack gives you leverage on the ski, the ski gives you leverage on the snow.

Sure, there are disadvantages to demo bindings. Not being bolted in the ski does mean you will lose a teeny, tiny percentage of energy transfer.
 
m2G8gG.gif


Fore / aft adjustment makes a night and day difference in a ski.

I put Warden 13 demos on almost all my skis when they are new, and end up fiddling with stance for the first three or so days. Even once I've found a sweet spot for me on a given ski, I still occasionally like to cheat forward (for tighter terrain) or back (for ripping super G turns on open slopes).

I was about ready to dump a pair of Voile Hyperchargers that I mounted on the line, but decided risk a second set of holes and go forward 1.5 cm. Completely changed the ski. Now I love them.

I read that Sverre Lillequist puts his flat skis on the ground, stands on them, and mounts based on what feels right. For those of us who are not former X-Games athletes who get free skis from Fischer, a demo binding gives us the flexibility to play around with mount points.

My high school physics is a little rusty, but I'm pretty sure the claim about low stack height / higher leverage "in" the snow is false. You could have argued that being "in the ski" is advantageous in bumps or other places where you want less hook, but higher stack means higher leverage. Stack gives you leverage on the ski, the ski gives you leverage on the snow.

Sure, there are disadvantages to demo bindings. Not being bolted in the ski does mean you will lose a teeny, tiny percentage of energy transfer.
Good points. I used to put marker griffon demos on all my skis and yes I saved some skis from the garbage by adjusting them. The original s7 even had diffevent recommended mount Points depending on the type of skiing you were doing. I had a pair of Tyrolia demo bindings on some skis and I was on a cat skis trip. The whole heel piece blew up in some challenging terrain which was most terrifying. It turns out a bunch of the connecting points were plastic. I went into a shop in Revelstoke and got a replacement heal. They were surprised by the use of plastic. So a good question is which is the best demo binding to use. The old griffon was just a heel and toe piece do did not affect the flex, higher stack point.
 
The whole heel piece blew up in some challenging terrain which was most terrifying.

Potential binding failure is a concern worth weighing. On the other hand, many demo fleets get many more days than the average skier in a season.

I like my Wardens. The connection is metal-on-metal. The mount pattern for the track pieces is identical to the STH / Warden heel and toe pieces. Phil can probably reference the stack delta vs. the standard binding, but I want to say it's somewhere around 1 cm higher.

Another interesting one: what is the ramp on demo bindings compared to bolted-in counterparts?
 
I am loving the Griffon 13 TCX Demo bindings on my powder skis. The ability to adjust mount point is a huge asset. They feel a tad heavier than the regular Griffons which I have on other skis but honestly I cant tell much of a difference. The height and ramp angle feel very very close to the regular griffons. I am buying another pair for my next pair of skis.
 
marker_mx12_demo_1.jpg

Does anyone remember using these demo bindings?
They probably took less than 30 seconds to adjust.
 
View attachment 122596
Does anyone remember using these demo bindings?
They probably took less than 30 seconds to adjust.
These were a quick adjustment demo option that K2 used. Volkl at this time used the Royal toe and Blizzard was doing the IQ system. These skied very true to their retail counterparts..other than the addition of a little weight.

I remember a few generations back with the Bonafide, they added a few fore and aft visual mount points but the original one was built into the topspin. I thought WTF, the original one was dead on with the ski, why put the point into question. I still stand by what most people think they feel is more psychological than anything else.
 
I had these bindings on a pair of Fischer Big Stix 106s I picked up as gently used demos back around 2003.
I'm trying to remember the name they gave these bindings. Were they called "Speedpoint" or something like that?

I think I may have answered my own question with a little more searching.
Here are some similar bindings:
marker-comp-1400-speedpoint-ski_1_6aae972fa273a2aa968586b2b670adf1.jpg

marker_m9_2012.jpg
 
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^^^^ Yes, Speedpoint. Thing is that you can quickly adjust to different shoesizes but not fore-aft.
 

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