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).
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.
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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.
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I have been using these bindings ~5 days/week for the last month for BC touring. I have now twice had the heel piece ice up in a way that keeps it from sliding fully forward after stomping in. In the field I use a screw driver to slide the binding forward on it's track (using the rear flathead screw). Once I get back home and the ski thaws, the binding pops back to normal. Have you seen this before? Do you have any recommendation?
Matt-Do you have this happen while using the binding in flat mode? I wonder if you are packing snow in the front of the plate causing the heel to freeze up. We have not seen or heard of this so far. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more info.
I do use the binding in flat mode, and it does pack in snow to the void space of the binding baseplate. I will not use the flat mode and see if that fixes the issue. For the potential buyer: Otherwise the binding is superb... as well as the previous vario that I use for morning laps at the local hill.
I've been using these regularly on some Magico 2's and have been super impressed with them. Simple to use, solid build and ski great. BSL range is good to accommodate both my PDG's and TLT's. Check the note on the release values or reach out to the Skimo team about release values, they helped get me dialed since I'm on the between 5-7 and 7-9.
First touring bindings so I cannot compare to another model; however.... these are so light, you forget they're even there. Paired with the Atomic Backland 107, I have a lightweight, trustworthy set up.
Being these are my first touring bindings, there was definitely a learning curve getting the toe piece in, but the pins feel extremely secure in my boots. The heel risers couldn't be simpler and I seldom use the risers on a higher setting than the normal one.
Highly recommend you join the SkiTrab posse and cop a pair of these Italian badboys.
I look forward to continuous shredding knowing how well these are crafted.
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Is it possible to switch the heel piece easily? For example, if I have both the 7-9 and 9-11 release rated heel piece, can I change them out without remounting or removing the binding?
Hi Paul, yes you can just unscrew it from the baseplate!
A couple questions about these bad boys: * Are replacement rear springs available for when the u-springs wear? * Are Trab bindings compatible with Dynafit ski crampons? Thanks
Hey Kam, thanks for reaching out. The rear springs are not replaceable and you would have to replace the heel if the u-springs wear down. Dynafit ski crampons are compatible with Ski Trab toe pieces.
Hi Kam, the springs are steel and don't show much wear over time.
It appears the v1 version of this binding has a servicable heel....
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Hey! Just curious to what the wider end of ski width this binding would be comfortable driving. Thanks!!
Hey Jason, there are plenty of people who are putting this binding on some pretty wide powder skis for sure. You might find not as great performance railing GS turns on groomers but for overall backcountry conditions this should do fine with some powder planks.
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Forrest Stanley (used product a few times)
Best tech binding I've ever used. Do yourself a favor and get these! Just got the trab vario 2 set up some voile objective bc (through skimo's package builder which was a really good deal) and got out for my first tour of the season. Skimo.co mounted them perfectly even with my costum suggestions and the work amazingly well. It's still early season in AK but we got a few turns and plenty of awkward skinning. They are easy to use even though it's different. It may take a bit more movement to "step" in but I haven't missed yet and it's really not a big thing, I have liked picking the ski up but using a pole is easy too. Toured with them unlocked and didn't pop out until I forced it a bit but then it popped right out. Seems useful. Might by the toes for my splitboard. I think these are the best tech bindings I've ever used. Revolutionary, simple design that really works well. If you've read this far just buy them already.
Since I first saw these on Skimo's wall of bindings, I thought they were really different and I had to try. In this case, different is Very good. Last season I got a few days on some Ski Trab demos with the Titan Vario adjustable. The unique toe piece was not at all difficult to get used to having been used to Dynafit's. My technique is to hold my pole in the middle, place against my knee and depress the toe lever. This holds the ski steady, even most times on ridgetops. If you are really exposed and can't get a flat spot, bending down and using your hand race style is best.
Ski Trab titanium core toe's main advantage is that the jaws open semi Independentely of each other. So when the boot is moving laterally, both jaws do not open and you are less likely to release. Combined with the 43 degrees of lateral movement at the heel, You have a tech binding with a Lot of lateral elasticity. Which smooths out the vibration and shocks, especially in the late spring. My only other Tech binding is the Radical ST 2.0 (Rotation) and I would have to say these ski pretty close. Minus the weight and brakes.
Likes- Personally I can hike without Locking the toe into walk mode. Two fewer times to bend over. As already mentioned, the smoother ride. Risers, I mostly just flip the riser over the pins and go (again, 2 fewer times to bend over). There really isn't anything this light, these features, 30mm of BSL adjustment, as tall of risers and at near this price. Fast and light, general touring, big powder days, this is the (only) binding to consider.
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How would it be possible to change from flat mode to 1st grade? My understanding is that i have to bend and use my bare hands to do so? no poles or anything...thats my understanding and i guess i m not wrong. If like that, a serious miss for trab and its usability on tought incline passages.Thanx
You do need to reach down and rotate the heel unit 90 degrees to switch in and out of flat mode, sorry there isn't a pole-accessible option!
I tour 100+ days a winter for work. I wanted a binding that skis well, is easy to use, is lightweight, and has a more consistent/reliable release. For a long time, that meant compromising on one or more of those features. The bindings were either light, too stiff, and have release values that change on every turn or they were heavy and awkward. Then I called the skimo.co crew and they introduced me to the Ski Trab Vario 2. A binding that weighs ~500 g for the set and has a consistent release value and is easy to use. It seemed too good to be true but I am happy to report that it is all it claims to be. On the downhills, it skis like bindings 2x its weight. On the uphills, it is smooth and light. I love the Trab toe pieces. Each wing is independent of the other and it holds my toe in perfectly. It took a little getting used to having to hold the binding open while I step in, but it is super easy to do now. Thank you for introducing me to Ski Trab! Now I just have to figure out how to convert all my skis over to Trab bindings...Maybe I will hold a bake sale.
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Can the Titan Vario 2 be used without the adjustment plate, or is that an integrated piece of the binding? Seems like the plate adds a lot of weight, when I compare to the original Titan Vario binding.
Hi Fritz, the plate is integral to the function of the binding. It's also an enlarged heel housing that has a 2nd riser, and a toe underplate to correct the ramp angle.
Hi Shannon, the angle depends on your boot length. We maintain a list of pin heights instead.