Overall: Five Stars for a binding that combines the reduced weight and heel>toe angles of a race binding with the adjustable release and multiple heel elevators of a regular touring binding. Now that La Sportiva is no longer rebranding the ATK RT, the Superlite’s “best-of-both-worlds” combination is unique in North America.
Background on product familiarity: I have skied the Superlite only a small amount so far this season with the Scarpa Alien 1.0 on the Movement Response-X. Other race and near-race bindings I have used include various Plum models, Sportiva-branded ATK RT, and the Dynafit Low Tech Race.
First, the first impressions out of the box: The innovation is immediately striking. The stripped-down toe unit is identical to the Low Tech Race, but with a plastic toe lever lacking a spring. The heel unit is an intriguing synthesis of race and tour elements.
The toe mounting pattern is identical to regular Dynafit Radical models. The heel pattern has only three screws, very tightly clustered, although noticeably elongated compared to the Low Tech Race. A removable ski crampon attachment is included in the price.
As with full-on race bindings, the heel cover offers a kind of “half-step” elevator position, which is optimal for optimal skin tracks, but feels a bit too low for too-steep skin tracks. Flip down another lever, and you have a higher position – still not quite as high as the first position in a typical touring binding, yet noticeably higher than on any race binding. If you feel the need for more of a differential between the heel elevator positions, I have seen a relatively simple modification to achieve that.
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.
As is also typical of race bindings, the heel > toe “delta” for skiing is very low (more than the Low Tech Race, and about halfway in between the Plum 135/145 and 165, although these are all very similar), 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.
Second impressions, in use: I have never prereleased, although my vertical is very modest so far. 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.
Although the release values are adjustable, the lateral and forward settings are linked to each other, so you’ll have to compromise if you typically run a higher forward setting than for lateral (as I do). The scale is also very small and hard to read (even by the standards of other Dynafit and “Tech” touring models).
Third impressions, for long-term durability: No personal basis yet for evaluation. 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?
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