Frankenboots

Frankenboots

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Frankenboots

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Arne Backstrom's Frankenboots

~Arne Backstrom

I’ve been complaining to my friends for quite some time now about the stupidity of ski bindings.  I think the technology is out dated and there is no reason for us to still have such clunkers screwed to our skis.  We shouldn’t be relying on an interface that gets kicked around the parking lot all season and is treacherous to walk on.  They don’t need to be several pounds and individually mounted.  I’d much rather see a system that is more concealed under the boot, like clipless bike pedals, and it could be based on standard mounting so that all adult boots could fit all skis.  DIN release settings could be safer and more consistent.  But it seems like this will never happen until I design them myself…

In the mean time I think Dynafit’s are currently the neatest and most innovative bindings available, even though they’re not adequate for sending it at the resort on a daily basis.   The toe attachment is in my opinion as torsionally responsive as any binding, but the lack of torsional transfer through the heel of the boot is a weakness.  As minimal as the bindings are, until recently the most limiting factor for the decendability of this system had been the soft and flimsy AT boots.  Luckily a bunch of sweet looking new Dynafit compatible boots were introduced at SIA, and I think they will change the game.  The market is moving forward with this idea and we should be seeing some good things in the years to come.

I thought I’d test the Dynafit limit by retrofitting my 150 flex Tecnica race plugs with Dynafit compatible “tech inserts.”  I wanted to make the binding the weak point of the system to see just how much downhill abuse they will handle.

Arne Backstrom's Frankenboots

I started with a new set of Black Diamond Factor AT replacement soles with tech inserts and cut the attached lugs off using a heat gun, utility knife and belt sander.  I used a Foredom to make the necessary divots in my boot and then t-nutted and epoxied the lifters on.  The heel insert was tricky with a screw necessary from inside the shell to hold the piece in.  With the t-nuts I feel quite confident in the solidity of the toe piece, and the heel should at least be stronger than the rear din release that maxes out at 12.

Arne Backstrom's Frankenboots

I’ve been out on them about five times now and am very pleased with the results.  I’m much happier all around with this system, rather than using similar boots and heavier touring bindings.  Going up is an absolute joy as it’s just so much lighter, edges better, climbs steeper and feels more balanced due to the low height and purity of the interface between the boot and the binding.  I’ve worked it pretty hard on the way down and it feels solid and good.  I’ve yet to send anything bigger than ten feet, so I’ll have to keep you posted as I ramp it up with these things.

Frankenboots Dynafit Heel

Arne Backstrom's Frankenboots

It was a difficult project and unless you are pretty crafty I don’t recommend it.  But do keep your eyes peeled for boot companies to be making better offers in the stiff Dynafit compatible category.

Arne Backstrom's Frankenboots

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