These are exciting times in the AT/Randonee world with two new bindings being released by Naxo and Silvretta both are priced to be competitive with the Diamir Freeride and Titanal III bindings. Dynafit are also updating the troubled Tri-step binding with a new unit called the Comfort.
The Naxo is the most revolutionary of the two. You might be forgiven for thinking it is a downhill carving binding and the similarity is not unintentional. Both the toe and heelpiece owe more to downhill technology than the stodgy world of ski mountaineering. The idea of using downhill binding technology with their increased security is not new, the Sk’Alp binding took a similar approach but without a heel brake and with its weight it never became a favourite, even amongst ski mountaineers who wanted to also use their gear on marked runs.
The Naxo features multiple pivot points at the front of the foot which are said to give a climbing action closer to walking so reducing fatigue. The binding is made of advanced materials to save weight, although we haven’t yet put it on our scales. Like the Diamir Freeride the DIN settings go to 12, useful for extreme descents, jumps and heavier skiers. Naturally brakes and harscheisen (crampons) are available. Price should be around 285 euros. The Naxo can be adjusted for different boot lengths in the field without tools.
For further information: [url=http://www.naxo.ch]http://www.naxo.ch[/url]
The German firm Silvretta has reacted to Fritschi’s increasing dominance in the ‘backcountry freeride’ market with a binding called ‘Pure’.
This binding offers lateral front and vertical heel release and like the Naxo uses high quality materials such as carbon fibre bringing its weight down to a very interesting 1200 grammes without brakes. Learning from Fritschi problem’s with the Diamir toepieces Silvretta has reinforced all the plastic parts with glass-fibre and they are UV stabilized for longevity. The front pivot is also set further back compared to the Diamir. The price is 289 Euros.
Both these bindings will give Fritschi a run for its money, at least outside of serious competition randonnee use where the Dynafit Tourlite is king. It remains to be seen how many problems we will see in the first versions, although the Naxo was already available last season in Switzerland. The Diamir is finally fully reliable only on its third incarnation and Silvretta have also had problems with their new products in the past.
Congratulations are in order to the engineers and companies who have brought us these interesting and innovative bindings.
Fritschi can be found at: http://www.fritschi.ch/