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  Dynafit TLT Radical Binding Review

Why am I doing the Dynafit TLT Radical Binding Review?

This review is going to focus on the bindings from a couple of different angles.

First, for current Dynafit users, I'm going to go through some of the advantages of the new design as compared to the older designs and why you may want to retire your old set and get some new ones.

Secondly, some people have a closet full of skis/bindings to suit every type of snow that they'll find throughout the season, right from early season powder to springtime corn and hardpack. But what about the rest of us, the ones who have only on ski/binding setup that we need to rely upon to get us through the entire season and all activities, whether yo-yo'ing the powder or doing long springtime tours? I'm also going to focus on the Dynafit TLT Radical from the standpoint of choosing it to mount on your "quiver of one" ski that you'll be using all season.

Comparing the Old and New Dynafit

Firstly, the new bindings are no longer made of steel, but of aluminium. They also use torx screws (so people upgrading to the new binding, make sure to update the bits in your repair kit!)

Taking a look at the toe piece of an older binding compared to the new one, it does look quite similar at first glance and the operation of it looks to be about the same, however, don't be fooled!

The new binding has a "side tower" (which can be seen just below the pins. This unassuming little addition serves to guide the boot into the correct position for locking in - lay your boot on the toe plate, slide it forward until the "side towers" stop it in proper position, and step down. With the old ones, positioning had to be done by feel and eyeballing. While grizzled veterans would maybe scoff at the necessity of this, I'm pretty sure they'll come to appreciate this, especially on cold days and when transitioning on precarious slopes. And newbies will find it much easier right out of the gates.

Above: an older binding toe piece


Above: the latest toe piece

It looks like the heel piece of the binding is where some real visible changes have been made. Obviously the top photo does not include the optional brakes, so ignore that and concentrate on the other parts of the binding.

The workings of the heel lift riser has been completely re-thought. On the old binding where you had to rotate it to get the different height settings, the newer requires only one rotation to bring the flippable metal unit into place, which then allows several height settings via simple flips of the two pieces.

I must admit that it took me a little time to get good at flipping the metal height adjusters. Initially I found it much more difficult than using the adjustments of the old full frame bindings that I was used to. But after some practise, I realized that it was just a case of having to spend some time with them to become as proficient as I was with the old bindings. 



Above: an older binding heel piece

Above: the latest heel piece 


Choosing the Dynafit Over Heavier "Full Frame" Bindings

The Dynafit TLT Radical makes a good choice for those people who one have one ski/binding setup that they need to get them through the entire ski season and the entire spectrum of conditions that presents.

One of the most obvious concerns in a binding for many people is weight. When you add up the weight of skis, boots, and bindings, backcountry ski gear is heavy and a lot of weight that you're not used to lugging around in your usual day. So, if you're choosing a binding for your "quiver of one" ski, you probably will be well served to choose a light one.

As far as weight goes, comparing the TLT Radicals to my Silvretta Pure X-Mountains, which are already an impressively light binding, is still quite dramatic. The TLT Radical comes in at 531 grams while the X-Mountain is over 50% heavier at 844 grams. It's pretty obvious that you notice a substantial weight savings like that, especially when the days become longer and you begin taking advantage of them with long tours.

But the story of weight doesn't really end there: with the Silvretta (and other full frame bindings), you have to lift the entire binding structure along with your boot, whereas that structure is absent in the Dynafit design and you're simply lifting the boot.

This is much less weight directly lifted with your foot on each stride.

Above: lifting the entire frame each step with a full frame binding

Above: no extra weight to lift with the Dynafit

One thing I should note (which I believe is quite unique only to the comparison between my Silvrettas and the Dynafit), is the way the foot pivots in walk mode. 

With the Dynafit, the connection to the binding is close to the toe of the boot resulting in a somewhat unnatural pivot at the front of the toes - notice that when you walk barefoot, that your natural pivot is more near the base of your big toes where they bend. Silvretta has tried to duplicate this with the ingenious way they've designed their binding to pivot further back.

Note that this pivot is not the way all other full frame bindings work, but I believe is quite unique to Silvretta - other full frames are similar to the Dynafit in this regard.

So, how big a deal is this? After having walked in both bindings to get a feel for it, and the difference is actually more subtle than I thought it would be. the Silvretta is definitely more natural, but the toe pivot of the Dynafit takes very little time to get used to.

The pivot attachment is certainly more finicky to get into than a full frame binding and demands a bit more attention. But after some time, it becomes easier.

Above: the more forward pivot of the Dynafit

Above: the more natural Silvretta pivot



The Dynafit binding has allowed skiers to pursue Freeriding and ski touring in the backcountry for many years. They've now been refined to a level in the TLT Radicals where I think that it's tough to choose a heavier binding over them, especially if you're someone who only has a single ski/binding setup that they need to use throughout the entire season.




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