9/22/2015
Question from Michael
 
I have one of the original plum guide bindings (first year or two). Can I add brakes that are rear facing? I heard they are coming out with them. I don't want the forward facing brake. One of your pictures has them but it looks integrated into the heal rather than an add on. What are my options? Thanks
9/22/2015
Answer from jbo
 
Hi Michael, unfortunately the brakes are integrated into the new heel and not an add-on. Your options are front brakes or a universal brake from Kreuzspitze or ATK.
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8/22/2015
Comment from blob
 
Thanks for the reply JBO.
I think i'm gonna just go with the Dynafit toes though with B&D shims. Even if Plum has refined their toes, it's hard to beat the Dynafit speed rad toe. It seems really strange to me that Dynafit doesn't have a really simple yet robust heel like the Plum heel. I just cant bring myself to like or trust the radical flippy heels.
Or conversely if Plum put out a truly bombproof toe.
Does forging the parts vs. CNC machining have a big effect on durability? Or is it just the fact the Dynafit toe is mostly steel and the Plum mostly aluminum. Or is it a wash?
There seems to be alot of misinformation and marketing hoopla clouding this issue; any insights would be appreciated.

Thx, El Blobo
8/22/2015
Reply from jbo
 
Señor Blobo, it's hard to infer failure rates knowing only the basic construction process or materials involved. All can fail and/or be manufactured with durability in mind. I will point out the Guide toes are materially lighter than the Radical toes. The latter are 33 grams / 1.2 ounces / 30% heavier. With that in mind, it's impressive that Plum has achieved comparable durability. They say they haven't seen a wing failure since making a change in March 2013.
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8/19/2015
Question from blob
 
Hey everybody,
So last year i was gonna buy the Plum Guide for my new voile's but shyed away due to the toe wing breakages a few years ago. Ended up getting the Frankentech setup of Dynafit speed radical toes and Plum heels. This setup has worked out fine but it would just be simpler to buy the whole binding. I've got a couple new skis this fall in the mix so i'm revisiting the idea. So honestly, how have the toepieces on the Plum Guides been holding up?
8/21/2015
Answer from jbo
 
Hi blob, I'll give my 2 cents. The wing breakages seem to be a thing of the past, I haven't seen nor heard of one with a recent model. I did see one with a pin that fell out, but I can't be sure when it was produced. It looked fairly beat.
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2/2/2015
Question from Andrew (hasn't used product)
 
Can you explain why the Plum web site shows sizes on their bindings (XS, S, M, L)? I don't understand this. They even show it on the separate toe and heal pieces. Maybe you have some insight
2/2/2015
Answer from jbo
 
Hi Andrew, the odd sizes are slight variations in design. The M is the standard version listed here. The S is missing the high riser position, making it slightly lighter. The XS has different springs making it suitable for lighter folks. I'm not aware of an L.
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12/20/2014
Question from patrick
 
Do you have replacement arms for the toe piece for the plum guide? Those keep breaking on me, and I'm looking to stock up on replacements.
12/20/2014
Answer from jbo
 
Hi Patrick, those are not something replaceable except at the factory. Good news is they seem to have fixed the breaking problem. You can get the current model toes here.
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12/8/2014
by Matt (used product regularly)
 
I have skied the Guides for roughly a season and a half now and nothing has yet failed. While I haven't levelled quite the abuse I could have at them, this is a ringing endorsement coming from me, as I do not wear gear out, I break it. They have stood up to plenty of long days, cliffs up to around 20 feet and terrifying high speed avy debris runouts. That is as good as I ever need a tech binding to be. They're also light and incredibly sexy.

Despite my experience, there are reports of toe wing failures, although they seem to have been mostly fixed by my generation of bindings. My only personal annoyance with the bindings is that the heel tower has a slight edge to it, and it is possible to have your pole jerked out of your hand if it gets stuck in there when you're rotating the heel.

All in all, a killer binding, with what I would argue is one of the best heels available. My dream is to one day frankenbinding these with Radical toes but for now they remain my go to touring binding.

12/8/2014
Reply from jbo
 
Thanks for the feedback Matt. FYI Plum says they haven't had any toe wing failures since they made a change in March 2013.
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9/3/2014
by Jonathan S (used product regularly)
 
Overall: Five Stars for a CNC’ed aluminum and Delrin rendition of Dynafit’s nearly timeless Tech/Classic/Speed model. In terms of current models, perhaps best thought of as the simplicity and lighter weight of the Speed Turn yet combined with the release value upper range of the various FT models, so the perfect choice if that is your idea of the perfect combination. Only caveats are that the toe-mounted brake is somewhat of an unknown, and that lots of competitors have emerged – and continue to emerge – since its Fall 2010 original debut, although the Guide has continued to be quietly refined in many ways since then.

Background on product familiarity: I have about 118,000’ earned vertical plus a single lift-served lap on the original generation from Fall 2010. Similar bindings I’ve previously used include various traditional Dynafits (IV/Tech/Classic/Speed, Comfort, Vertical ST) and now mainly various race and near-race models (from both Dynafit and its competitors).

First, the first impressions out of the box: If you’re familiar with the core Dynafit design dating back to the early 1990s and then continuing along until only a few years ago as the Speed model, then this will look like a refined CNC’ed version rendered in irresistibly slick aluminum and delrin.

Some of the highlights include a one-piece toe without a separate plastic mounting shim (although Dynafit has since emulated that on the Speed Radical), and an integrated heel unit top plate and heel elevator with multiple insertion positions for a ski pole tip. The heel track boasts the longest fore-aft adjustment range at 30mm of any non-demo/rental model, although the two hold-down screws takes a bit more time to adjust than a more typical worm drive.

The heel > toe “delta” is typically high for touring bindings, since the heel pins have to rest above a large spring to control lateral release, and the toe has no other reason to be anything but directly on top of the ski’s topskin. (For more on that subject, see Skimo’s “Binding Pin Heights” article here.) However, the Guide toe is especially easy to shim with LDPE since its footprint is so small (and the longer screws don’t need to be very long, since the originals are extremely short). Plus the optional add-on brake doubles as a toe shim.

The heel pins are the typical ~12mm length yet with a shorter 4mm gap, for more penetration into the boot heel interface, and hence in theory able to tolerate more of a ski’s extreme recambering before prereleasing. (For more on that subject, see Skimo’s “Mind the Heel Gap” article.)

The middle and higher heel elevator positions are fairly typical for touring bindings (i.e., the middle a bit too high for optimal skintracks, and the higher only for desperation moves, respectively). A truly flat position is also available (i.e., resting on the adjustment track).

The crampon slot seems fairly substantial. Although all my various Dynafit crampons slide in fine, I’ve heard that some models not meeting the tight tolerances could need a little filing down in critical areas.

Even more first impressions here in my archived old review on WildSnow.

Second impressions, in use: Much has been written recently about “elasticity” for alpine touring bindings, but unfortunately the definition of “elasticity” in this context has been so, well, “elastic” as to be meaningless. All alpine bindings – whether downhill or touring – have widely varying characteristics with regard to return-to-center force, travel limits before release, and numerous other factors that ultimately affect release and retention performance even at the same release setting and torque test results.

My personal bottomline though is I have never prereleased, despite skiing them in all sorts of conditions. And the coupling between the boot and the ski feels as tight as with any Dynafit or other “Tech”-style binding. All the other details have worked as smoothly as would be expected.

Third impressions, for long-term durability: In what might have been the first North American review of the Guide back in the 2010-11 season, I wrote that, “I can immediately identify some Dynafit failure modes that would seem to be addressed on the Guide, but only time will tell whether it has its own vulnerabilities, so at this point any speculation on durability is, yes, just speculation.” My review was followed by many others that touted the vaguely “bomber” etc. “all-metal” construction (even though the heel unit housing is obviously mainly plastic) . . . and then followed by some well-publicized failures.

Since those failures, the toe unit wings have been strengthened, and the toe lever assembly interface changed (which was the only part that wore out on mine, yet was easy to replace). Although some heel pins and top plate screws failed, this seems to have been a bad batch of outsourced parts. For everything else, the CNC design allows Plum to easily tweak all sorts of parts on the fly, rather than have to wait for expensive new molds. So going into its fifth season now, the Guide is most likely the beneficiary of all sorts of modifications based on prior seasons of use.
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