The original Ski Trab Titan Vario is spoken of in hushed and reverent tones here at Skimo Co, and the fact that many of our employees ski this binding for ~90% of their days each season is evidence of how much we liked the original version. If the original Titan Vario was the first Toy Story movie, then the Titan Vario.2 binding is Toy Story 2-- the rare sequel that lives up to the high standard set by the original. Since one pin can flex partially open without forcing the other side to open, the Titan toe pieces have an amazing retention profile. The heels received the lion's share of the makeover, and the now-gapless units are offered with three different fixed-release levels in the DIN ranges of 5-7, 7-9, or 9-11. The housing rides on a spring which keeps the release consistent, and the track this heel unit rides on is flexible in order to accomodate ski flex. The Vario.2 has a safety and performance profile heretofore unheard of in this category of lightweight bindings. Aside from an updated heel release mechanism, Ski Trab added a third riser that will be welcome on steep skin tracks or in deep snow-- just rotate the heel 180 degrees and voilà, the tall boy is ready to go. Making changes to a product that had such few flaws is a risky game, but in the case of the Ski Trab Titan Vario.2, the gamble paid off big time.
A high-strength titanium spring in the toe provides independent clamping on each side, decreasing the chances of pre-release.
A short and flexible heel plate keeps the alterations to the flex of the ski at a minimum, preserving safety as well as performance.
First heel riser is a race-flap, making it quick to deploy while keeping a higher option available with a simple twist.
A fast and simple ski crampon attachment point on the back of the toe unit will feel very familiar to avid backcountry skiers.
Gapless heel pin design means the release values remain more consistent throughout the flex of the ski.
The titanium spring in the toe piece is durable and simple, with less moving parts than a traditional tech toe piece.
Elasticity in both the toe and heel pieces absorbs impact from bumps while offering superior retention characteristics.
Optional brakes mounted under the heels feature an innovative anti-friction mechanism that won't interfere with the release.
Stepping into the binding is the same as before-- just press down on the toe lever with your pole and step in.
The heel plate has a spring inside of it, providing 8mm of elasticity to account for ski flex.
Roto-riveted toe pins clean the snow and debris from your boot fittings while you skin.
Turn the heel housing 90 degrees for a functional flat mode for those long approaches.
With 24mm of heel adjustment along the plate, you can accommodate a quiver of boots.
While not adjustable*, three spring strengths are available to accommodate most skiers.
* Contrary to what the listed ranges might imply, this binding does not have adjustable release settings. Uniquely, Ski Trab provides a range of skier chart values that each fixed-spring set is targeting (both the internal lateral springs and the replaceable vertical U-springs vary in tension). The release has been testing towards the high end of the range, so round down if you're on the border (e.g. choose 7-9 if you're a 9).
Any plans for a vario.2 brake to fit skis ~106mm underfoot? Or could the widest brakes currently available be bent to fit? Thx.
Unfortunately, Ski Trab does not make a brake wider than 94mm for the Vario.2. Brakes can often be bent to accommodate a wider ski, but bending from 94mm to 106mm would not work. Feel free to reach out to email@example.com for other solutions!
Mounted on my Magico.2 ski. They perform amazingly on the descent, are light enough for the ascent and the brakes are well thought out. I find the toe works better than an ATK toe as far as snow packing issues. However after a long day I find them a bit difficult to remove due to the spring strength. The heels are great, but if using without the brakes you need an extra piece(spacer) so the adjustment track operates correctly. I love the brakes and how I can still do a one motion transition with them, unlike the ATK heel brakes. However I do notice some snow packing into the space between the heel and the brakes a few times now which has required some work to remove.
Necessity is the mother of invention...Everyone knows that trab bindings are the best now. They are no longer a secret. I can even get the r values I need now!
But, how can the best improve?
A) it's a little fat on the lean side. I think a lot more weight loss can occur in the heel area while keeping it gapless. Perhaps even lowering the track from 8mm to 4mm like the marker alpinist? Would be curious to see how much travel is used or necessary during intense loading.
B) lotta plastic. More TI plz.
C) high heel ramp. 8.5mm. ouch.
D) would be improved by having independent pins like the freeraider. More durability, release and serviceability options.
E) freeride spacer-SO HAWT RIGHT NOW.
F) I like the brake design, but 94mm as the max???? Fortunately I don't use brakes, but they aren't wide enough for any sidecountry ski I want to take into that terrain even if the binder can easily handle it.
So I took it upon myself to upgrayyyyd the Vario 2.0 into the Vario 2.69420.
The Vario 2.69420 comes complete with freeride spacer for maximum sendage and "for your pleasure" skiing. I also decided that skiing in high heels is ridiculous so I didn't settle for a low heel ramp angle...I gave the Vario 2.69420 a POSITIVE +2, ramp angle for max biomechanical efficiency and a more upright balance point for my long ass femurs and tibias. This involved a jigsaw, Dremel, ABS block of plastic, Christmas story type dad cursing, and about 30 minutes of grinding long screws down to fit into the trabs.
We shall see if trab adopts any of these suggestions for the 3.0. until then the Vario 2.69420 may be the hottest binding of 2040. The future is now.
Trying for more pics but it won't let me
There we go. Just gotta type more.
Ahh forgot G) make a different version for general touring with a wider (but same design) toe piece for more leverage on fat sticks. May do nothing, but it's all about those marginal gains.
Great project, meanwhile I keep pushing Adriano to bring back the Vario 1.0.
How do you rate those Fraction skis? Valid answers are either 69/420 or 420/69 stars.
Jbo, the Fractions are certainly on the 420/69 side of things. I think there is still a place for the 1.0, mo options mo betta
I have about 10 days on these now - mostly tours, but also a couple half days of lift-served skiing. Full range of PNW conditions from volcano corn to winter Cascade concrete and even some firm and choppy groomers. I'm 175lbs, 5'10", aggressive skier, and went with the 7-9 springs. No regrets. For as light and simple as these are, the downhill performance is amazing. No issues with pre-release. While I haven't crashed on 'em yet where I've wanted to release, I did kick them off while climbing in breakable crust when I *didn't* have them locked in climbing mode. For simple uphill routes I' haven't needed them locked, but will definitely lock them for spicier climbs or breaking trail. The only *complaint* really isn't one: the toe pieces aren't step in. Recommend practicing before you need to step in on a knife-edge... These are worth the coin without question.
I love my Titans on my skinny skis and I’m sure the vario 2 is is going to be in my shopping cart for my next binding purchase. Paired with the La Sportiva Skorpius has been nice for the step in option and I have no complaints. I’m doing my best to convert my buddies onto the trab train as I’m convinced these are an amazing innovation in tech toe technology. Curious if there is any talk or coming availability of a wider brake…? would love to see these on a 100 underfoot ski
Thanks for reaching out, Caleb. There's nothing in the pipeline (yet). However, the 94 could be stretched to fit a 100mm underfoot ski! Please let us know if you have any other questions!
Hey, I'm looking for the taller plate that the toes go on for this binding. Have a ton of trab kit and all my heels are on Hagan race plates but my toes are directly on the ski. Looking for plates or shims to get a better ramp angle because I definitely notice it. I used to think it was just too aggressive forward lean on boots but I think that this is a more likely culprit. I couldn't find the piece under trab parts.
Hi Anthony, we have those listed as "Titan Toe Shim/Lock Plates" under Trab parts. I just found a pair and added them to inventory. You can also find them in the "Titan Easy Toe Levers Adjustable" kit on the same page.
Basically the same as my review of the original Trab Titan Vario: I can't say enough how much I like this binding. I've had no pre-release issues. Super easy to use, and has been 100% reliable both for release and hold. I like that the heel piece has some give for elasticity and that this new Vario2 is gapless. The only downside I could say is that it does take a hand/pole to step into (must push to open toe), vs just boot on others, which has potential to be an issue when standing on something dicey, though I haven't had any issues of my own as of yet. I much prefer this toe mechanism over the normal spring style of most tech toes.
Hi, I have version 1 of the binding and really like how they ski. I'm thinking of getting version 2 for another pair of skis. Is the adjustment plate essentially any different from the version 1.
In version 1 I have had an issue where the plate moves out throughout the day and eventually I have to re-adjust if I don't come out of the binding first. I tried one warranty replacement but the issue persisted, and has not been resolved. Basically the adjustment screw is finger tight and not tight enough to resist vibrating out.
The Ski Trab Titan Vario Adjustable and Ski Trab Titan Vario.2 are mounted on the same adjustment track. I ski both the Titan Vario Adjustable, as well as the Titan Vario.2. Huge fan of how these bindings ski as well as their retention characteristics.
I am sorry to hear that you have had issues with the adjustment track on your Ski Trab Titan Vario Adjustable Bindings. If you need to help brainstorming any other solutions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ryan, there was an issue with the heel moving while hiking on the riser. Ski Trab made a modification and the new bindings come with that. I am not sure if that is what you got on warranty.
That sounds good. My warranty pair looked and worked exactly the same as the old ones and the issue was exactly the same.
I was pretty sold on getting these, but I now see that a brakeless ATK crest is pretty comparable. Can you compare?
I want to put them on Ski Trab Maximos with the intent of using the ski for 60% of Wasatch days (other skis are race, mountaineering, and deep pow).
One worry with the Crest is that my ski partner has Crests and the heel pieces and risers are pretty fiddly. We stop on the skintrack most tours because the heels have rotated or the riser is doing something weird. I won't call him out by name because he'll probably see this question anyways :)
Hi Zach, thanks for the question! These two bindings just happen to be in the photo at the top of our article on zero gap bindings (albeit with the Hagan flavor of Crest). In my mind, the decision comes down to whether you prefer the elasticity and consistency of a zero gap binding (Vario 2) versus the ability to fully adjust your release values (Crest). The latter may have a slightly higher riser option as well, but not an issue with boots that walk well. I went with the Trabs on my Pagoda 87s for what it's worth.
I prefer the former and will go with the Trabs. Thanks for the help.
So far I really like them. The only issue I've found is that the toe lever can be hyperextended when pulling up on the them to put into walk mode. If this happens it is very difficult to get the lever back in position. Don't pull up too hard! Has anyone else had this problem?
Hi Edward! Technically that is a feature, so if you collide with something the lever over extends instead of breaking. Forcing it straight back over is the way to go, noting it's possible to still use the binding safely in this state if you're unable to flip it in the field. It shouldn't be that easy to do when you're just locking your toes; there are some tricks to tweak that resistance.
I just received these bindings from Skimo.co and they look great. I'll post a review after I get to use them extensively. For those interested in using these with inserts, my measurements show the following screw requirements:
Toe unit: 18mm flathead M5, with the heads ground to 7mm diameter Heel unit: 12mm lowhead M5, no mods needed
I'm working on my set of 18mm flatheads ground to 7mm right now and I'll post back after a lot of testing. I did something similar with G3 Zed toes that needed 10mm flatheads ground to 8mm diameter heads and it worked great.
** I'm not an expert at this, just an avid hobbyist. Always defer to what skimo.co techs say.
Bought these bindings last summer and I'm putting them through the ringer now. So far they've been absolutely bomber. No problems at all up and down travel though all terrain and conditions. The heel lift is great on the steepest uphills, breaking trail in deep powder. And while transitioning I fell standing still into a cliff well (is that a thing?) anyway, the right foot released just as advertised.
The way to connect and disconnect to the toepiece is unique and takes some getting used to, especially in technical terrain. That's the reason I fell into the rocks. I want to take some more time to get used to it before saying it's a bad thing. It's just different.
Hi All - hey I'm setting up a new spring kit - Skorpas (27), TX93's (178) and possibly this binding. Currently I mostly ski on the Salomon Mtn without brakes or leash, keeping the toe locked with the men's spring for heel retention. I'm curious on this Trab as you go up in spring retention does the heel rotation resistance increase, or does the step in force increase? I'm also not sure I'll like having to rotate the heel by hand going between flat and raised - with the Salomons I can just wack the heel with my pole to rotate it... do you just get used to it? Do you find having to do the hand rotation complicates tricky (mountain) transitions? Anyhow, I'm definitely intrigued by the design and stout build of these Trabs and think they'd make a solid choice for primarily a spring mountaineering setup - feedback would be greatly appreciated - thank you!
Hi Tristan, both the lateral and vertical springs change for each release value range. Like most tech bindings, it takes a bit more force to turn the heels as the lateral RV increases, but these are not terribly hard to turn even in the 9-11 model. You may need to bend over, but I can't see it complicating anything!
thank you jbo that is helpful, I'll probably go with the 9-11 as I'm not a fan of my skies coming off. Do you know if the Plum crampon would work with these? I have a pair I can test but was just wondering... thanks again!
Hi Tristan, we have just the article for you! The Plum crampons will not work.
Lots of talk about how this binding performs above it's weight, which has got me thinking if it's worth my while getting a pair of these to replace some ageing ATK FreeRaider 14s (and to shed some grams too).
In terms of downhill performance (retention, power transmission and a bit of elasticity), where does this sit on the spectrum of bindings you guys sell? Are we talking comparable to Hagan Core, Radical ST or Tecton?
Thinking of pairing this binding with skis like Wayback 88s, ZG105s and even 116mm powder touring skis.
Hey Dan, thanks for reaching out! It's nearly impossible to quantify these downhill performance variables, but we've found them to be everything we need for all but possibly cliff-hucking as long as you match the release values appropriately! It's worth mentioning the lack of "stomp pad", and while the adjustment plate may act as one, there isn't an AFD like ATK has on some of their stomp pads.
Answer this question:
I have some skis that were previously mounted with the Ski Trab Vario Adjustment plate (the one with springs beneath). Do these binding's adjustment plates have the same mount pattern? I think they are the same adjustment plate, right? Just want to make sure because then I can reuse the holes and not drill the skis again. Does this have 24mm of adjustment or 30mm of adjustment? What is the difference between this one and the Titan Vario Adjustable Binding?
Hi Kyle, yes this will be the same baseplate so reusing holes will work. The Vario.2 comes with a 24mm track though there are longer rental plates available separately.
The Vario.2 is a gapless binding whereas the discontinued Titan Adjustable heels require a 5mm gap.
My first tech binding and so far they are pretty good. I love the light weight of them. Getting into the toe piece is still a challenge for me compared to my old frame bindings but that's a given due to tech toes needing a bit more precision when stepping in. The gapless heel piece does rub on my boots Vibram sole occasionally but not too bad. I started skinning in them without locking the toe piece and they stay put unless I slip and fall. I have noticed that the heel pieces ice up at times, I usually just chip at it with my pole and that solves the issue. Overall these bindings are pretty great.