Skimo Co

G3 ION 12 Binding

$663.95 From $418.95

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G3 is quietly gaining some impressive expertise with tech bindings. After experiencing moderate success with the uniquely designed Onyx and Ruby bindings, G3 has decided to focus on improving a more familiar design. And improve it they did, with many subtle changes designed to eliminate common frustrations. The small changes add up to a significant jump in overall quality.

The ION binding looks and feels polished right from the start. It features a boot guide to help you step in, bi-directional heel rotation, deep snow clearance channels, and powerful brakes. G3 also beefed up the platform compared to the competition, with wider toe jaws, release values that range up to 12, and a wider mounting pattern. All this adds up to a binding that could become the default choice for skiers who have earned their stripes at the resort and are now looking for their first touring specific rig. Experience the benefits of tech binding uphill performance paired with confidence on the down, minus the frustrations. Color us impressed, which is shiny orange like the ION.

  • QuickFlick heel lifts are symmetric and can be flipped down in either direction.
  • BootStop lets you ram your toe into something and press down, just like alpine binders.
  • Heel piece slides backward as the ski flexes, providing excellent elasticity for a tech binding.
  • Deep snow clearing channels under the toe wings help prevent unwanted snow build-up.
  • Wide toe jaws grab your boot at a more leveraged angle, reducing side-impact pre-releases.
  • Bi-Directional heel rotation simplifies transitions, freeing your brain for more pressing matters.
  • Impressive rotational lock prevents unexpected mode switches, eliminating a major drag.
  • Brakes with powerful springs offer reliable deployment while being easy to remove.
  • 30% wider screw pattern offers a more secure mount and better power transfer to wide skis.
  • 22mm of fore/aft adjustment lets you use multiple boots while requiring no spacers to set.
  • Higher toe platform and lower heel add up to a lower ramp angle than similar bindings.
  • All screws use the Pozidriv #3 format so you only have to carry one tool on expeditions.
  • Optional integrated crampon system slides under the toe pieces and screws on tight.

Update 2015/16: After a successful launch, the ION returns for its second season essentially unchanged except for a slightly different paint job.

Update 2017/18: Still reliably chugging along, the ION is mostly the same. A few inline changes have accumulated to make it even more durable.

Update 2018/19: No changes other than packaging.

Update 2022/23: The toe piece is now night black, increasing your ability to be stealth during dawn patrols.

convert to ounces
602g [95mm]
Weight (pair) 1204g [95mm]
Boot Compatibility   Tech
Brakes (mm)   85, 95, 115, 130
BSL Adjustment   22mm
Riser Heights   2 + flat
Vertical Release   5-12
Lateral Release   5-12
Crampon Ready   Yes, Removable
Specs Verified Yes
Materials   Hot forged aluminum, high strength plastic
Skimo Co Says
Usage Touring
Notes Easiest tech binding to step into
Bottom Line Evolutionary design is darn near perfect
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Questions & Reviews

Alex (used product regularly)
Great binding for what it is. Definitely not light but very confident inspiring especially if you like to skin with your toes unlocked. I broke the brakes and a toe on a pair of Zed and so replaced with an Ion using the same holes, and couldnt be happier.
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Ben (used product regularly)
These bindings have a nice toe piece that is easy to step into, release value and BSL changes are very easy to adjust, and I believe the gapless heel design does improve safety and ski performance. These bindings have 2 big problems that keep them from being competitive right now: they are heavy and the brakes deploy while skinning. A huge flaw in this binding is that every so often, you are skinning along and the heel piece twists into ski mode, the brakes engage and sometime you accidentally click into the heel pins. This is annoying at best, but if you are in an icy or exposed area it can be a safety hazard to have to deal with the bindings. There are other accounts online of others who have had the same issue. I will say that the Ions I used were originally purchased in fall 2018, and it is possible that G3 has fixed this problem, but I have not seen any public notice or evidence of that.

I have since moved on to the ATK Raider 12/Hagan Core 12 bindings (see my review for the Hagan Core 12 on this site), which provide all of the features of the Ions (except the gapless heel.. maybe someday) at close to half the weight. The Raider/Core also have easily removeable brakes, while the G3 brakes are pretty much on there. While the G3 brakes are heavier, I have no doubt they would be more effective as they are bigger and stiffer. Another bonus of the Raider/Core is that there are 2 riser flaps that flip right over the heel pins, so you almost never need to bend over and twist the heel piece. The Ion requires you to twist the heel piece at every transition.
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Eddy v (downright abused product)
These bindings are just okay in today's market. I have a pair that have been properly abused (they got to the point where both heel towers were wobbling around) and while they were satisfactory, I wouldn't buy another pair.

They're quite heavy, and I don't really see that they have any advantages over the bindings that I've replaced them with (Hagan Core 12 Pros). The Hagans are lighter, ski about the same (rumor has it they ski even better with the optional stomp pad) and most importantly, they don't ever rotate into ski mode while you're walking.

That was by far my biggest gripe with Ions, and one that I've seen touring partners with Ions have as well. You're skinning along happily with a riser on, and all of a sudden the heel turret rotates and you step into your binding in ski mode. Now you have to take your ski off, rotate the turret back, and click back in before you can get going again. I was told that if you rotate the heels so that the pins are facing either in or out (I can't remember which) that it would help, but I tried both many times and still always ran into this problem...

Ions are fine and other than the unwanted rotations while skinning I never had any real problems with them. They also stood up to hundreds of days of touring (and even a few days of being skied in the resort), which is great. But there are lighter options out there that perform even better.
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Matt (used product a few times)
These are my first tech bindings and they seem to do the trick. The risers are easy to operate with poles, and the toe stop works well.

Initially I was confused on how to return the heels to ski mode. When you use the risers, you stomp the heel piece down into the “locked” position. Before transitioning to ski mode again, you must pull the heel piece straight away from the ski then rotate.

One thing I still haven’t dialed is the DIN. I have them set at 5, yet have never released. I normally ski my resort bindings at 7 or 8, and would be walking out of those bindings at a 5 din. Not sure if I should be comparing these DIN settings directly across, or if the IONs settings are stiffer.
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Question from Ella
Can you guys confirm that the G3 ION 12 100mm will fit the Black Crows Camox Freebird 166s. (The waist is 96mm, so that leaves only 2mm clearance on each side; is that good enough?)
Thanks a bunch!
Answer from Will McD
Hi Ella, the 100mm brakes will indeed fit on your Camox Freebirds, it may be a bit snug but you can always bend out the brakes a wee bit for some extra clearance.
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Question from Rick
New to AT asking. What does the 130mm refer to and how do I relate it to my ski?
Answer from jbo
Hi Rick, the options refer to the brake size and should be picked based on the underfoot width of your ski (should be roughly -15mm to +5mm of the stated brake width).
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Question from Varna
Will these bindings work well with Scott Celeste 2 boots? And if so what size brake would be best for BD Helio 105mm skis? Thanks.
Answer from Nate
Hi Varna, this binding should work well with your Celeste 2 boots. I would suggest the 115mm brakes for the Helio 105 ski.
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Question from Clark
I've been skiing the 10's for about a year and may be interested in the 12's next year (18/19 season). Am I OK to assume the hole patterns for the heels and toes remain the same?
Answer from Nate
Hi Clark, you are correct. The hole patterns will be the same.
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Question from Jamy
Hi, I own a pair on G3 ONYX Bindings. Looking to upgrade to the 2017/18 ION 12. Will the mounting holes line up? Or, would I have to redrill the skis? Thanks!
Answer from Nate
Hi Jamy, because we have never carried the Onyx bindings, we do not have the hole pattern information on it. Based on our mounting jig, I'm guessing that they are different hole patterns and you will have to drill new holes. I would suggest contacting G3 for more precise information.
Answer from Jonathan S
The Onyx (and Ruby) used the traditional Dynafit pattern. I even mounted a few pairs using a Dynafit jig combined with my childhood experience of playing with Lego. (So glad G3 got it right with the Ion!)
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Question from Emily
Do you sell the G3 ion 12 toe piece separetely? My husbands new skis flew off the top of his friends car :(
Answer from Trace Leches
Hey Emily, ouch, that's a bummer. Unfortunately, no. We have been trying to get them for quite some time but haven't had any luck. Maybe speak with G3 directly and see if they can do anything, otherwise we can give you credit for the remaining parts.
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Question from Zach
Looking for some advice on the best tech boots for the g3 ion 12 bindings. Im planning on doing more backcountry skiing vs. Resort. Thanks.
Answer from jbo
Hi Zach, the best ones are the ones that fit your foot the best! Please visit our boot fitter for more info.
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Question from Emre Denizci
Which brake size and crampon size I have to select for G3 Ion binding to be mounted on Volkl BMT V-WERKS 94?
Answer from jbo
Hi Emre, you want the 100mm brakes and 105mm crampons.
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Question from Mike
I am wondering if G3 solved the problems of the brakes deploying in tour mode and the binding rotating into ski mode accidentally. It seems that if the heel unit is pressed rearward, maybe due to compacted snow between the boot and heel, then the heel unit will rotate or deploy the brake. It is hard to tell from the internet chatter if this problem has been resolved in the 2015/16 version.
Answer from jbo
Hi Mike, G3 made changes to the heel lift design to mitigate this issue for the 2015/16 season. If your bindings are properly adjusted for length, this should not happen.
Answer from mbillie1
@jbo having this issue also, do you happen to know offhand what the proper length adjustment is? (mm gap between heelpiece and boot)
Answer from jbo
Hi mbillie1, there should be no gap between the boot and housing. Just slightly touching for a "kiss" gap.
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Question from Jack
Just wondering if you can get the ION toe piece?
Answer from jbo
Hi Jack, unfortunately not separately at this time.
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Michael (used product regularly)
So I realize this isn't the type of crowd that will typically use this binding, but I figure I'll throw up a review anyways.

For what they are (a fully featured tech binding with brakes), they are an excellent option. A refined Dynafit Radical.

I'm 5'10" 180 lbs. I have Ions now mounted on 3 skis. Used 3 pairs over about 60 days this season. So fairly familiar with the product but I haven't abused a pair. I have skied Plum Guides, Speed Radicals, Radical FTs, and Vertical STs in the past as a comparison.

Retention: This is where I was hoping the Ion would excel. It's very good for a tech binding, but it's still a tech binding. The toes have a nice strong clamping force. In fact, Wild Snow measured it as higher then Dynafit's. The snow clearing channel under the toes works very well in keeping this area from becoming packed with snow (and it makes it much easier to clear out). I like the idea of eliminating the heel gap in the back and allowing the binding to move as the ski flexes. All of these features should make the binding less prone to pre-release. I hate pre-releases, but skiing with the toes locked all of the time kinda scares me. I lock the toes in consequential terrain, but prefer having some release for most skiing. I did ski the Ions at the resort a few days to get them dialed in. Making fast carves at pretty fast speeds, they were solid. I can remember a tour that ended at the resort and skiing fast through resort crud on the way back home, and they performed very well. I skied them in all types of conditions including firm snow. I am happy with the retention, and I think it's probably better than Dynafit's overall retention, although this claim can't be supported by facts. Just an opinion. I didn't have an issue until the last day of my season. I was maintaining speed over some icy crud because there was a long, flat runout ahead. I went to skid a turn to check my speed, and the next thing I know I am missing a ski and then I'm down. The broken thumb ended my season. So in the end, they have very good retention for a tech binding, but it's still a tech binding.

Release: I can only recall 1 other real fall (I tend to ski conservatively overall, especially when touring) this year on the Ions. Buried a tip in some deep crust and the Ions released as I would expect.

Uphill: The heel risers worked well for me. Easy to flip up and down. They are still in 1 piece. I never had any issues with the brake locking up to go into tour mode. I do monitor the bindings for icing and clear any ice when I can, which probably helps. I think any problems with the brakes being held up would likely be due to icing. I only had 2 unexpected rotations back into ski mode, but they were both user error when I banged my fat (112 underfoot) skis together on a turn. All in all, they worked well going uphill.

Weight: Wild Snow measured about 625 grams with screws. I got 600 g without screws. Comparable to a Dynafit Radical ST/FT, but not superlight. As a comparison, I think Wild Snow measured the Speed Radical at 392 g with screws. I prefer to run my Speeds with an ST baseplate (to reduce ramp - more on that below) and use a B&D ski leash, which adds about 50 g total. So 440 g versus 625 g. I'll take the 185 g penalty for brakes (and some of the other conveniences of the Ion). Brakes/leashes is a personal thing. They both have their merits and fans. For gram counters and ultra-light aficionados, brakes are laughable. I've run them both ways and prefer the convenience of brakes. Leashes are much more fiddly. Leashes are more dangerous theoretically in an avy. I ran my leashes for a period of time with a zip tie fuse, which can break in a regular fall, kind of negating one of the advantages. My biggest reason for liking brakes is that a ski is much less likely to run away from me in an exposed, icy position during a transition.

Crampons: The crampon adapter installs very easily. The crampons work fine, just as well as Dynafit crampons IME. On/off is super easy. You do have to buy G3's crampons however. I drilled a hole in them and ran some cord through the hole to make a clip-in point so that the crampons can be carried on a carabiner clipped to the outside of my pack for easy access when terrain is appropriate for them.

Ramp angle: I think this is a big advantage for the Ions over Dynafits. Ions have about 11 mm difference between heel/toe, as opposed to 15-17 mm for Dynafits and 18 mm for Plums. I hate the exaggerated ramp angle of tech bindings. Shims are an option but I had mixed results (slop with a Plum guide toe and shims). The ST baseplates work very well as shims for the speed radical toes IME.

Features: I think this is where the Ion is a big winner. The toe step in guide works really, really well. Even for an experienced Dynafiddler, it's a nice option at a minimal weight penalty (less than 10 g as I recall). As mentioned before, the snow clearing channel under the toes works as advertised. The heels can be turned and locked in either direction. The flip down risers are easy to use and flip in either direction. All of the adjustment screws are posidrive, so only 1 tool needed in the repair kit. Like I mentioned earlier, a refined Dynafit.

Durability: I haven't had any issues so far. Time will tell. It seems reassuring we haven't had a huge problem pop up with Ions in their first season (like has happened with so many other 1st generation tech bindings).

All in all, I'm very happy with the Ions. If you want a fully featured tech binding with brakes, these are a great option. Let's hope they hold up in the long term, but so far I have no reason to suspect they won't.

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Model: ION 12

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