The Dynafit TLT Speed Radical is a dedicated ski tourist's binding. It is aimed at skiers who either have 2 pairs of skis, one for the piste and one for touring or for those to whom piste skiing is a chore rather than a pleasure.
New for Winter 2011, Dynafit release a 'Radical' version of each of their bindings. All the new Radical models share the same improvements. The one with the greatest impact will be the flip height adjusters which mean you now only have to turn the heel piece once when entering touring mode and not to adjust heel lifter. Second is the new 'step in' feature. To enter the binding you now must push your foot in straight and level (no using the rolling method) but your boot is now stopped in the correct position by 2 new towers on the toe piece and then when you push down your boot will be in just the right place. lastly all the plastic has been removed from the toe piece base plate, which is now aluminium. Further down the page you will find a Dynafit video covering all these changes.
The TLT Speed is Dynafit's purist binding. It is strong, functional but minimalist. There are no ski brakes available so the bindings must be used with leashes. Ski crampons are available as an optional extra. The binding relies on the rigidity of the boot when in touring mode so there is no metal bar linking the front and rear heel piece. This makes for a much lighter weight binding. The pinch pin front offers compromised security over a fully automatic step in binding like a Diamir or standard alpine binding. The rear release is pretty good but there is no sideways toe release.
These bindings require pin binding compatible boots. Click here for image of compatible boots.
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I have used these bindings on my Volkl Nunataq skis for the last NZ winter season, this was the only setup that I brought to NZ so I've used it heavily in all conditions, realistically I've used it outside of the parameters that it has been designed for.
1. Weight: Insane, super light and feel superbly strong for their size, at least when reasonably new.
2. Compatibility: Normal dynafit compatibility to a wide range of manufacturers boots.
3. Brakes. Not really a plus point, but more of a note, you don't get brakes with these, personally I think that if you have multiple sets of skis it might be easy to forget that these don't have brakes when the rest of your quiver might, however I never found it an issue.
4. Leashes. I had a pretty serious crash when in these skis, which involved a long tumble. Due to my boot being tricky to fit the little wire loop to I just used a very thin piece of climbing cord which I judged would break in the event of a large force. Indeed, the tat broke on one ski, but the other remained attached by the leash. The one that was attached looked like it would have broken with not much more force. In all, I was left feeling reasonably confident that they would snap before my leg, but would still build in my own redundancy with climbing cord.
1. Robustness. I feel slightly unfair giving it as I think I used these bindings more aggressively than they were designed for. I think that the toe pieces are fantastic, but the heal units feel that they might fall apart after they've had some significant use. Ideally, if I was going on a long tour in the serious back country I would take a spare heal unit and the tools to change it. If you want a 'forever' binding or an all round binding then get something a bit meatier, if you want a light and fast for weekend touring missions then I would get these again without hesitation. I therefore haven't docked a star for this as I think they're robust enough for what they were designed for.
2. Function. On occasion I found that they could ice up, but they weren't too bad compared to older models of dynafits that my friends were on. I also found that the heal unit could sometimes spin when I was traversing and then the pins would lock back into the heal of the boot...amazingly annoying but probably a feature of other similar manufacturers. I docked a star for this point.
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Pin binding with self centring rotating toe piece. 1198g.