The Dynafit Low Tech Race binding may not sound very high tech, but names can be deceiving. Low tech in this case actually refers to the binding's weight and not its ranking amongst technology products. The weight is indeed low, at only 127 grams without screws or the crampon receptor (our standard weighing protocol). It's also a tech binding, so Low Tech actually makes some sense. As far as technology, see for yourself:
- Made with an innovative mixture of titanium, aluminum, and magnesium for an incredible strength to weight ratio.
- Anti-snow grooves on the toe pivots help keep your inserts free of dirt, snow, and other debris.
- Auto-lock mechanism puts you in touring mode upon step-in without having to pull the lever during transition.
- Included ski crampon receptor adds approximately 6 grams when attached, counting the screws.
- Patented sole adjustment screw on the toe lets you fine tune the pincers for unique boot soles.
- Clever three hole drill pattern in the heel and wider four hole patter in the toe drops the number of screws from 9 to 7 per binding from the previous incarnation.
- Those aforementioned drill holes are plugged with steel Torx screws to securely fasten your bindings to your skis.
All this adds up to an amazing race binding, as detailed in our article Dynafit Race Bindings. Non-racers take heed, as there is a price you pay for this lightness, aside from the dollars. Most notably, there are no adjustable release mechanisms to be found so you will be skiing with fixed lateral and vertical release values. Secondly, unless you add the optional plates, the heel pieces are not adjustable forward or backward so a precise mount to fit your boot is required. Finally, don't expect an array of riser heights to choose from as there is only one touring setting. Engage this by flipping a cover over the heel pins, which gives you a low-to-medium ramp angle to work with on all terrain (no flat-on-ski setting).
Low Tech Race vs Speed Superlite
Skin suit wearers will appreciate the 75 gram (2.6oz) savings per binding the Low Tech Race offers versus the Speed Superlite. Others might think that's a fair price to pay for lateral and vertical release value adjustability, which the Superlite offers in the name of safety. The Superlite also features a more standard Dynafit toe locking mechanism that doesn't auto-lock upon entry, and you get one extra riser option to play with.
|BSL Adjustment||Optional plate(s)|
|Riser Heights||1 (no flat)|
|Lateral Release||Toe locked, fixed heel release|
|Crampon Ready||Yes (removable)|
|Materials||Titanium, aluminium, magnesium|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Skimo racing, speed touring|
|Notes||Tripod heel mount saves on screw weight|
|Bottom Line||The standard bearer for race bindings|
Questions & Reviews
As always thanks for all your expertise. I have a set of low tech race 2.0s. If i was to switch the heel pieces out and replace with the 1.0 LTR heels - do you suspect i will run into drill hole overlap problems? Would be with the same size boot.
What say you in regards to mounting this binding on Vapor Nanos? Is this a bad idea? I'm aware of and enjoy all the trade-offs of race bindings. I'm just wondering about the potential of pulling the binding out from a wide(r) plank. For reference, I'm 5'11" and 150lb.
1) The LTR has seemed exempt from the auto-lock rule due to its unique design that allows heel-release while locked.
2) The manual version is available from Fischer.
3 - temporary) We have a manual version of the LTR in stock if you'd like one (same price).
Also, did you need to replace the pin with a new one?
So this binding is a lazy Nordic skiers dream. Step in, it locks! Flip the tab over the posts and you got one solid medium level post which honestly feels fine when on the flats with a great flexing boot (Dynafit PDG). Feels like a forced "lean" but no more than good classic Nordic form requires. On the super steeps (two pitches on our 2,000 ft vertical mt), the mechanical advantage of a higher post might be nice, but unless it's icy, I just lean more and the boots allow it and it's fine.
If you have my "step in and go" mentality and like fast transitions, buy it!!
For those worried about releasibilty and have visions of ACL or meniscus repair in your dreams.....I actually fell on these in an embarrassingly easy section of a ski mo race and although the front stayed in, the rear released easily. My knees never felt it. It was a soft section so hard to say if it was a hard groomed section where the ski tailed tip wouldn't have as much compressibility into the snow where I fell, but I just clicked back in and continued.
I'm sure there's good reason to have beefier bindings, but for me at 165 lbs and mediocre at the hardest stuff, I'd probably ski these even at resort if only for the convenience and light weight.
Price. Pretty darn expensive. They are very well designed so you get what you pay for but it seems some other brands or Dynafit models are comparable bindings for less and those may be worth considering. For non-front of the pack racers you may get more for your money with the Dynafit Speed Superlight. However, the light weight is pretty darn compelling and won me over.
Weight. They are the lightest binding out there and seem to do it while still remaining strong enough to handle heavy use.
Durability. Overall, excellent but I too have noticed heel "U" spring wear from my boot and after a lot fewer vertical feet than Jonathan. I have seen folks just buying the steel springs off the bat but Ill probably wait till these wear a bit more. Replacement seems easy enough.
Operation. Very smooth in most conditions and excellent in race transitions but I have had icing issues on the heel elevator in soft snow conditions that caused the heel to rotate to the side while skinning after some ice built up on the elevator platform. Im not sure if this would be a unique issue with the Dynafit design or if other race bindings would suffer from it too.
Releasability. I have had my heels release once in some really variable conditions where my tips submarined on semi-steep terrain and I came to a dead stop. I was in Dynafit PDG boots (as in lots of forward flex) and kind of did a classic telemark over the tips crash, got up, clipped back in and kept going. No strains/sprains etc so I was pleasantly surprised.
Possible it was also just caused by the ice, but worth checking into. I had the same thing going on, but found my binding screw to be loose.
Background on product familiarity: I have 87,000’ on the Low Tech Race, mounted for Dynafit DyNA EVO boots on Hagan X-Race skis. Other race and near-race bindings I have used include various Plum models, Sportiva-branded ATK RT, and the Dynafit Speed Superlite.
First, the first impressions out of the box: If you’ve never seen a rando race binding before, you’re in for a shock. And even if you’ve seen other rando race bindings, then you’re still in for a shock, as the Low Tech Race has stripped away metal that you never imagined could be stripped away.
The toe mounting pattern is identical to regular Dynafit Radical models. The heel pattern has only three screws, very tightly clustered. A removable ski crampon attachment is included in the price.
As with all full-on race bindings, the heel cover offers only a single kind of “half-step” elevator position, which is optimal for optimal skin tracks, but feels a bit too low for too-steep skin tracks. For extended flats, the heel unit will not stay sideways for no elevator at all, but even on race and “near-race” models that rotate for a no-elevator position, I have almost never needed that. Furthermore, the skinning heel > toe differential is about 3mm lower than the Plum 135/145, so optimized a bit more for slightly lower-angle skin tracks. Alternatively, the heel cover has a small hole for adding a spacer for more height.
As is also typical of race bindings, the heel > toe “delta” for skiing is very low (once again about 3mm lower than on the Plum 135/145), which helps with fore-aft balance. (By contrast, more binding “delta” puts almost all skiers more into the backseat – think of where your hips go when hiking down a steep pitch.) The optional fore-aft adjustment plate would increase the heel > toe differentials to somewhere in between the Plum 135/145 and 165.
Second impressions, in use: I have never prereleased, despite plenty of fast skiing in “variable” conditions. The coupling between the boot and the ski feels as tight as with any Dynafit or other “Tech”-style binding. The ski crampon clasp is identical to that on Plum race bindings: very minimalistic, but has worked well for me on those binding for lots of steep tricky skinning. And its minimalistic design allows some subtle bending to accommodate variances among different crampon brands.
Fortunately I have never had the chance to test the release characteristics in a fall, but I have tested the lateral release values with a VSSE Release Calibrater: somewhere in the high single digits, yet noticeably lower than for Plum race bindings. This is a combination of the relatively light heel resistance and the ability to fine tune the toe lever position via a small screw. My bindings are set up so that upon entry the toe lever automatically goes up into a position that is fine for most skinning, although the toe lever can then be pulled up all the way for even more security. The actuation pad also has a small threaded hole so that a screw can be inserted to accommodate boot sole rubber that has worn down too much to trigger the actuation pad.
Third impressions, for long-term durability: Good as new, except for the titanium U-shaped heel spring, which is starting to become notched very slightly. Based on my Plum 135 experience, and depending on your weight, probably somewhere between around 200,000’ and 300,000’ vertical the notching might lead to a noticeably “rattly” feel while skiing, and eventually the notches will cause the pins to become hook-like so as to interfere with lateral release.
Fortunately you don’t have to worry about breakage, since the greater strength of titanium (as opposed to steel) will compensate for the notched metal until you retire the pins for either the rattling or the compromised release. And based on my Plum experience, replacing the U spring (for which Dynafit does supply a steel replacement too) entails only about a minute or so of work: punch out the retainer pin, slide out the old spring, slide in a new spring, and reinsert the retainer pin.
I saw a picture of toe frame breakage, but just one instance. The toe frame on my 2013-14 Speed Superlite is slightly thicker around some of the holes as compared to the otherwise identical frame on my 2012-13 Low Tech Race, so perhaps this has been addressed?
Have turned the binding heels on occasion to create a 'flat' skinning position, but if the ski flexes at all, like while crossing a roller or during a snowy creek crossing, the heel pinches the boot. It's simpler to use this as a one position binding for skinning, and one for skiing.
I have not ejected from these bindings, ever, and I'm quite happy about that. Have skied some burly couloirs in them, too. All this in an ultra low weight package. Stunning. Did I mention they're red? Sweet.
Only concern I really had was that the heel piece mounting with three screws might allow the binding to be torn out of the ski easier than standard 4 hole mounted bindings. However, I use the Dynafit adjustment plates beneath the heel piece, and they mount with four screws. So there's been zero of that issue popping up.
One major gripe I have with this binding is that there is a little heel spring adjustment screw on the heel piece that is INACCESSIBLE once the binding is mounted. I had these mounted and within two weeks this screw was coming loose with the heel piece spinning around. Dynafit should include a tool designed to reach that screw while the bindings are mounted. As it was, I had to take the heel piece off, tighten the interior screw and re-mount on my newly mounted skis. I don't think the ski is any weaker for it, but is was an unnecessary stressful problem after I'd unloaded the money on the skis and bindings. My four star rating is directly associated with this screw inaccessibility problem.
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