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Fritschi Tecton?

Truberski

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Anyone have experience with Fritschi Tecton bindings? I have a beefy/heavy setup today with CAST/Look bindings and debating (with myself) on moving this to narrower/lighter ski or taking shot at lighter tech binding. My "tours" are one to two lap skinning up local VT ski area (open or closed) and skiing down on whatever conditions exist on the mountain. Typical is 1500' to 2000' of vertical (Magic, Stratton, Pico, Bromley) up green and blue ski runs which are normally groomed. Uphill speed isn't the goal with these sunrise/sunset tours but I'm not against making things easier!

The Tecton's seem like a good middle ground and I like idea of some elasticity in toe/heel and better chance of intelligent releases. But reviews are mixed on the durability/reliability of the binding which may have been addressed in more recent upgrade of the design. Or, throw caution to the wind and go with even lighter tech binding and project my inner skimo...
 
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Primoz

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I dont have first hand experience, as my friends experiences made me look the other way, so take it as that. Some two years ago I was changing few pairs of my touring skis (at that time with Look version of Dynafit Speed turn) and Tecton was one option. It was actually my favorite option when looking just tech specifications. But few friends were skiing Tecton and Vipec and while they all liked bindings as binding, they all had so much problems with quality of bindings that after end of season everyone were on everything else but Fritschi. So knowing this, I stopped looking at Fritschi and went with Atk (Freeraider 14 and 15evo).
Is it better? Honestly I don't know. Binding itself (both 14 and 15Evo) are super light, they are great for walking and skiing, but... On first few runs I had multiple releases when I didn't push hard or be fast. Yes bindings were set right like they should be, based on manuals etc. I got different info from few of ATK riders and and technicians later on, and after setting them this way they are fine (except for one release in more then 200 days on snow, which could might actually be ok (icy bumpy stuff at some 65km/h), even though in my mind it shouldn't go off that time either), but after 2 years, I still have bad feeling in my head and I don't trust them 100%, which is really shitty feeling in no fall zones.
 

jmeb

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I've seen lots of tectons and vipecs beat on a lot. They are generally solid bindings. The only issue I've seen repeatedly is a loosening of the toe pin adjustment locknut. Put some locktite on it and check it every half dozen outtings and no problem.
 

charlier

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I used Tectons, as a patroller in WA. The bindings work fine, although the bindings are a bit finicky. Reliable release is merely an aspirational wish; tech toes are not well designed for release and retention, nor are they designed to withstand the rigors of inbound skiing. @Primoz, I have yet to meet a guide that uses Tecton's, in particular on icy bumps at 65km/h. One suggestion, consider a Shift binding for inbounds laps.
 
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Truberski

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Thanks all for the thoughts and I remain conflicted on right direction. Shifts are an option but had them before and got frustrated with the finicky AFDs and the on ski skinning weight is pretty close to my current CAST/Pivot setup. There are more and more local shops carrying this stuff so maybe I can find somewhere to demo some of the tech binding offerings. I'm super curious on how differently they ski under the normal variable VT ski resort conditions. I'm betting more noticeable in these conditions versus the soft snow environment manufacturers envision for their tech bindings.
 

Primoz

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@charlier that release was on ATK, not Fritschi. And it wasn't inbound. For those few times when conditions are right, and I ski powder on lifts, I have pair with proper binding (Rossi race bindings). That was out in backcountry, so normal touring thing. Maybe I should learn to ski differently (mainly slower and less agressive) then I'm used to :ogbiggrin:
I have been considering Fritschi but after that season, when every single friend who had them, had some 3 or 4 failures in single season, I said I'm not going in that direction. But just for side info, all was done and dealt fast and each time they had binding replaced withing day or two, but it's still not really best feeling ending with broken binding in middle of nowhere, even if you know that they will handle replacement later on without questions and in single day. That;s why I also said, I don't have first hand experience with them, as it never came that far, that I would actually get them.
 

Bruno Schull

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I tore up my knee badly on Tectons. I've written about that before on this site. I think the release is unreliable and risky. To my mind, the Shift seems to be the binding you are looking for, or just stay with the CAST system. If you want a real pin binding, understand the release limitations, and go for something simple and reliamble...Basic Dynafit, Atomic backland, G3, etc.

Question: CAST system with Protector??? That would be cool :)
 

skiJ

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Truber- there was a thread similar to this earlier this year ( I'll have to look-back ).
for years, I longed for a tech bindings set-up. recently, like you, I have thought the Tectron was the 'safer' tech bindings.
a series of events has changed my perspective -
a slow-to-heal leg fracture ( not skiing related ) has changed my risk tolerance ;
tech bindings were not designed for the Down(hill) - they were designed for "touring" , and to be a lightweight alternative to the plate bindings or cable binding alternatives of decades ago ;
Dynafit tried to design a downhill friendly touring binding not too long ago
( The Beast was on the market for two seasons, I believe ) :
Marker seems to have a niche with their Kingpin - but

one binding that has not been mentioned that I believe deserves consideration for the use you have described is Marker's Duke PT.
' transformable' from a tech climbing binding to an alpine toe piece, I believe it is an innovative compromise that provides much of the advantage of a tech binding, while having the 'safety' of an 'alpine (downhill)' toe for the descent ;

others have mentioned the similarly 'transformable' Salomon Shift which also functions in this way...


Primoz - same thoughts to you but for different reasons - But
I will also add the CAST system to my list for you.
it reads-like you have had good luck with your ATK, but I would be similarly concerned < If you are using tech bindings in a "no fall zone" descent, you have to be Very smart about your skiing, Because - arguably, in my opinion - you are asking that binding to do more than it was intended to do...
I know - you and many others ski rad. lines on tech bindings - but for the sake of this thread of discussion, I believe there are two bindings and a unique system (CAST) that provide better options.

I have a young friend, who it is my understanding was on the DukePT more than 100 days last season without a problem.

Good luck to each of you. skiJ
 
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Stacks

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I've got the Tecton 13 and had plenty of days without issue in and out of bounds. I know they're not designed or meant for inbounds skiing but I do wonder watching vids of the hard charging free-ride elite crowd and what they are doing on very light weight pin bindings, and how can resort skiing by average joes be be anymore demanding or risky compared to what they are doing?
 

skiJ

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stacks - from my perspective and in my opinion, 'demanding' is not the matter, it's a matter of Safety.
the 'elite freerider' you mention is in-Balance, and off groomed terrain does not often encounter icy, bumps described above, so rarely needs a binding capable of absorbing forces the irregular surface one may encounter in-bounds late in a day with heavy traffic in new snow.
Excepting Tectrons and I believe one other current ( Look Rotation12 ), the tech binding does not have designed toe release
( another poster described release function of tech bindings as 'aspirational'. I believe that is a good description. ).

from your post, 'average joe' and 'risky' -
There is a video in one of these threads ( I don't know ) that described the way a tech binding transfers force to the skiers lower leg ( and tibia most specifically ) -

I will look for the video -

"demanding" I won't contest - but these day I am All about Safety and Risk (management) ;
as risky derives from risk, there are better products - bindings - to be using inbounds than tech bindings ( Shift and Duke specifically better, yet having touring capacity ).

( I am so committed to my old AT boots that I was prepared to ski AT frame bindings for the time I have left )

Risk management is a personal choice -
we see some Dynafits at my home hill ( not a lot, but some ).

I still Like my Tectrons. and my DukePTs. I believe my friend who has been skiing Barons for the last decade... had insight.


Please Be Safe. skiJ

ted's post#2 in the 'Upgrading..' thread.
( " tearing ligaments and snapping bones" video )
 
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jmeb

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Excepting Tectrons and I believe one other current ( Look Rotation12 ), the tech binding does not have designed toe release
( another poster described release function of tech bindings as 'aspirational'. I believe that is a good description. ).

All tech bindings have toe release.

The key is that 95% of tech bindings only toe-release vertically. Alpine bindings have lateral toe release, and vertical heal release. 95% of tech bindings have vertical toe release and lateral heel release. Theoretically, that means tech bindings should be safer to knees, but less safe to tib/fibs. (The reason people are more scared of knee injuries is that tib/fibs have been so thoroughly reduced by modern alpine bindings. But Tib/fib is far worse field and recovery injury)

The vipec and tecton are the only tech bindings with lateral toe release and vertical-only heal release a-la alpine bindings. Hybrid bindings (shift, duke PT) are effectively alpine bindings in downhill mode. The rotation does not release laterally, it pivots. Just like the Look Pivot heel does not release laterally, but pivots.
 

skiJ

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thought I had got this edited in -

Ted's #2 post -

Dave Dodge's comments are in the linked video -
Cody's comments are at 46 minutes into the podcast.

I suspect we are 'talking past each other' jm-
I am shocked to read it claimed, 'all tech bindings have toe release' like it is a Safety function.
That is not my understanding --

it is claimed, the Fritschi's have vertical heel release, and do not mention Marker's Kingpin.


my concern was to the implication that tech bindings are a Safe alternative for inbounds, lift-served skiing -

Safety is my priority ;

I believe the OP is considering occassional climbs inbounds, before or after lift operations -
Primoz described skiing tech bindings in 'no fall' terrain.

both Dave and Cody express concern about claims being made about the Safety of tech bindings regarding release functions ;

I encourage you to view the video link or listen to Cody's comment @ 46minutes into the podcast ( about tech bindings).


I hope you have a good, Safe season ahead.

skiJ
 
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jmeb

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I didn’t make any safety claims— just factual statement of how the release system works. That vertical release is not adjustable in most tech, and does not release in the plane most likely to reduce tib/fib issues.

i said vertical only heel release for the vipec-tecton. The kingpin has lateral and vertical heel release — as do most non-race tech bindings. The kingpin is unique because it’s heel piece is alpine style with both release modes similar to Tyrolias protector or knee bindings. Because it does not release laterally similar to alpine and hybrid bindings, the Tecton feels the most heel piece alpine like of any tech binding I’ve skied.

i saw the Cody and dodge video when it was released several years ago. It’s good but it is incomplete. We have no publicly available epidemiological data on injury rates with tech bindings. So we rely on design principals and experience. Their convo is a bit dismissive of the lateral tour release of the tecton/vipec despite it being reliable enough the Fritschi went through the lengthy process to have its reliability certified by Tüv
 

Slim

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@jmeb beat me to it.
Those points are often misunderstood. We need to get those facts straight frust, then we can try and make guesses about safety and compromises for our own use case.
 

skiJ

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well, guys, I keyed this ditty yesterday, and thought I would see where the discussion went...

Please describe for me the vertical heel release mechanism of ' most non-race tech bindings.'

clearly, I am not understanding your facts.

yesterday I wrote >>
- - -

I Like my Tectrons. And my DukePTs.

I believe posts like chalier's and Primoz's and Bruno's merit consideration.

"All tech bindings have toe release." followed by a claim that it is a (simple) factual statement about how the 'release system works.' leaves me Cold.
as does the idea that most non-race tech bindings have both vertical and lateral heel release.
Like the "not adjustable" vertical toe release, "vertical heel release" is not adjustable on 'most tech bindings' > it would be a matter of binding failure, as either the heel piece pins were forced through the fitting on the heel of the boot, or the heel piece pulled from the ski.

Please reconsider Jason Basso's article, 'Ripped ligaments and snapped bones' , in the link cited above.

The Fritschi was an innovative binding - as are the Shift and the DukePT ;
others have had issues with Tectrons durability and safety/release reliability - that information also merits consideration.

The video featuring Dave Dodge and the podcast featuring Cody Townsend are two separate references. Each man has decades in the ski industry. I did not find either 'dismissive' of Fritschi's technology, rather I found no mention of Fritschi
( as Cody represents Salomon, I would expect him Not to mention (them). )

My focus is Safety -
in both tuber-s OP and Stack's post, the idea was using tech bindings inbounds, and my comment remains, they were not designed for that(,) And there are better products for that use ( (frame bindings) and Shifts and DukePTs ).

I Like my Tectrons - but I am unlikely to use them inbounds in the future -

there are safer choices.

I hope you have a good, Safe season. skiJ

- - -

I would also be interested in your 'facts' about how a not-adjustable, vertical toe release functions as part of the "release system" in most non-race tech bindings.

Thank you -
I appreciate your insight.

( skiJ )
 
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jmeb

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There's a bunch to pull apart here -- but I think the basic misunderstanding is the following:

A releasable binding has various release mechanisms. The quality of those mechanisms can vary dramatically -- from their directionality, to their reliability, to their adjustability, to their elasticity. A perfect release mechanism would be omni directional, highly reliable (happens at the same force repeatedly), highly adjustable (adjust the force at which it occurs on skiers preference), and highly elastic (a lot of give before it releases.)

A release mechanism is still a release mechanism if it fails one of those ideals -- but is designed to release repeatedly.

When I say it has "x" type of release, I do not mean to say that is a user adjustable release or a one whose repeatedability meets a DIN/TUV standard. But that it is designed to be released in that way. You seem to mean that it is an adjustable release.

"All tech bindings have toe release."

This is simply a fact. Go put a toe in a tech binding. Yank upwards (vertical) hard enough, it will release. It is far easier to release once the heel is released. Different ones at different values. It is designed to do just that. It's why people "lock" the toes in touring mode.

as does the idea that most non-race tech bindings have both vertical and lateral heel release.

Simple fact. Even the decade-old speed radical heel, and the two-decade old vertical heel before that have independently adjustable vertical and lateral release values.

"vertical heel release" is not adjustable on 'most tech bindings' > it would be a matter of binding failure,

False. The binding releasing vertically is doing what it is designed to do. In some it is adjustable (in fact, on every pair in my garage, Zed, Radical, Raider, Vertical it is adjustable). On non-adjustable race bindings the U-spring is designed to release vertically 100s of times before simple replacement. It's the heel piece going through the pins. This is not different (conceptually) than the lug lifting up the alpine heel. It isn't a binding failure, it's part of the design. And it's a design that is engineered, built and validated to work reliably across many many releases. (The exact number of releases depends on a variety of factors -- U-pin vs independent pins, rolling vs non-rolling pins, the metallurgy of pins, etc.)

I did not find either 'dismissive' of Fritschi's technology, rather I found no mention of Fritschi
IMO, the omission is dismissive here. Fristchi pioneered reliable lateral toe release in tech bindings. The fact that neither discusses it when discussing tech bindings, or takes seriously they received a TUV certification is in my opinion an incomplete treatment of tech binding release mechanisms. Dodge's concern about the forces on the tib due to lack of lateral toe release is simply not a fact applicable to the Vipec/Tecton as it releases laterally at the toe.

I don't mean to be an a**hole, but frankly these are well trodden facts. Call the owner of SkiMo (Jason Basso) and he'll confirm every one of the above. His article is very helpful, but you can't accept its findings and not agree with the above facts. His article tests these various release mechanisms.

OP and Stack's post, the idea was using tech bindings inbounds, and my comment remains, they were not designed for that(,) And there are better products for that use ( (frame bindings) and Shifts and DukePTs ).

I'm not disagreeing with you here.

In order of pure release safety I'd go:

- Alpine/Duke PT/ Shift / Frames / CAST (full alpine release characteristics -- adjustable toe and heel release, lateral toe release, elasticity)
- Tecton/Vipec (adjustable toe and heel release, lateral toe release, and elasticity)
- Tech binding with independently adjustable lateral and vertical release in the heel (many Dynafits, ATKs, G3s, Kingpin, other)
- Tech bindings with adjustable heel release (some Dynafits, G3 Zed, Ski Trab, Atomic/Salomon MTN)
- Tech bindings without adjustable release, but with lateral & vertical heel release (most race bindings)
- Tech bindings without adjustable release and only vertical heel release (some expedition-style bindings)

As someone who has had to pull down toboggans after splinting lower leg fractures where a tech binding was involved, I'm not an advocate for them for regular inbounds use. They should be used strategically. And when users do so, they should know there are differences between different models.

As a risk adverse patroller and tourer -- I would happily ski a Tecton or Vipec (or frankly many other lighter tech bindings) for the case @Truberski describes assuming they aren't pounding them inbounds before/after. If it's really just two touring laps on mostly groomed snow-- a 250g ATK would be my #1 pic. Vipec #2 (better dampening and release with weight penalty).

I'd also add -- there is more to safety than the release characteristics of bindings. Retention is just as important. As is reliability in the field, and repairability in the field.

/Rant over.
 
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Bruno Schull

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@jmeb--I appreciate the time you have spent putting this down. Everything you write about release function is factually correct, as far as I can tell.

As you said, there are many different issues to pull apart. This is my evolving take on some of the issues.

Theoretically an alpine binding (and the vipec/tecton) will mitigate tib/fib injuries better than a traditional pin binding.

And...

Theoretically a traditional pin binding (excluding the vipec/tecton) will mitigate ACL injuries better than an alpine binding.

But...

The interface between a touring boot and a pin binding is much more delicate, sensitive, finicky, and unpredictable compared to the interface between an alpine boot and binding. The metal pins in sockets, the friction, the snow and ice, the wear on the different parts, the flex of ski and boot, makes pin binding release a complete gamble in most real-world situations. So, we have to separate the way that pin bindings are designed to release from how the actually release (or do not release, as the case may be). This was my experience with the Vipec: my ski and leg began to twist, the system went way past the point where the forces and angles would have predictaed release, I injured by ligaments, and then the toe wings flipped down and the binding released. Moreover, when the binding finally did release, it was not with a smooth, well-designed "bench feeling" it was with a grating, high-force, catchy, scraping feeling. I can remember it well, associaited in my mind with the feeling of my ligaments and cartilage tearing. I will never use those bindings again. They did not work in a real use scenario.

(As an aside, I consder the TUV certification essentially meaningless. I remember Lou at Wild Snow writing about this. I could be wrong, but you basically can design a standard and then pay to have them certified. Something like that. It was far less objective and trustworthy than I had imagined).

Taking this into consideration, I decided to go to the Shift. I give up the theoretical "ACL friendly" nature of pin bindings but I gain what in my view is a much more predictable, repeatable, consistent release, involving large pieces of plastic sliding over each other, far less influenced by all of the factors above. This has worked well for me for several seasons. You have to be carefull with the AFD adjustment initially, but the Shift has performed flawlessly for me. For my touring needs, the weight is not a problem. And the power transfer and elasticity is far better than any pin binding.

All that said, I have been seduced by the idea of trying a pin binding system again. If I do so, my approach will be the following:

Choose a simple, reliable heel design with good brake system like the Atomic Backland. I like how the brake mechnism is independent from the heel--it makes everything so much simpler and more reliable.

Pair that with a Dynafit Rotation toe piece. Why? Because tests have shown that the Dynafit rotation toe piece overcomes some of the inherent limitations of the pin/socket interface by "helping" the pins to move out of the sockets. As the heel moves laterally, the toe will rotate a few degress, allowing the pins to ride out of the sockets more naturally that they do when they are held rigidly in place. The tests I am referencing are several years of Skialper binding testing. The Rotation toe pieces were not the only toe pieces that sometimes performed well (there were occasionally other toe pieces that perfomed well with one or another boot and socket design) but the Rotation toe pieces had the most consistent release accross different socket designs and years than any other toe design. It makes sense theoretically, and it's basically the only data we have.

To my mind, this system might offer the ACL friendly lateral heel release of pin bindings with the "best toe release we can expect" from pins and sockets.

If I ever assemble this "frankenbinding" I will report back here.
 

Cheizz

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I have use the Tectons for 2 seasons without any issues. @Primoz you talk about problems with 'the quality' of the Tectons. What went wrong? They fell apart? Note that the Tecton was re-designed 4 years ago I believe, solving some early issues with the front part.
 

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