Skimo Co

Ski Trab Titan Vario.2 Binding


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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 ranges of 5-7, 7-9, or 9-11. The housing rides on a spring which keep the release consistent, and the track this heel unit rides on is flexible in order to accommodate 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 fewer 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).

Update 2022/23: Ski Trab added an anodized red option so your bindings can reflect your emotion when someone boots in the skin track.

convert to ounces
254g [7-9]
Weight (pair) 508g [7-9]
Boot Compatibility   Tech
Brakes (mm)   Accessory 78, 85, 94
BSL Adjustment   24mm
Riser Heights   2 + Flat
Vertical Release   5-7, 7-9 or 9-11
Lateral Release   5-7, 7-9 or 9-11
Crampon Ready   Included Option
Specs Verified Yes
Materials   Titanium toe bar, Ergal aluminum frame, steel pins
Skimo Co Says
Usage Ski touring, training, mountaineering
Notes Gapless heel keeps the release consistent while the ski is flexing
Bottom Line Unmatched combo of performance, retention, and weight
Compare to other Lean Bindings

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Questions & Reviews

Question from Steve Ottosen
can you shim the toes on these w/ a 6.5 mm spacer?
Answer from Gabriel I
Hi Steve, we've seen it done but it isn't the prettiest. You'd need to custom drill some shim plates and I suspect it would require grinding some screws. Might be worth opting for a lower delta binding.
Answer this question:

Bobby Y (used product a few times)
Unfortunately, I only get a few weeks a year to ski but just finished up a 6 day ski touring week on these bindings. I agree with the flavor in the room that the toe piece is amazing and the heel has some drawbacks. Had one release in some deep snow which was annoying but probably legit as I turned my foot a weird way. I did ski a resort day on this setup and felt pretty great and safe. Couldn’t tell the difference between my downhill binding on how it skied.

I guess there might be directions somewhere and maybe I’m dumb but it took me a second to figure out there are two clicks to lock it for touring. I found if you don’t lock out (second click) it releases pretty easy on steep touring. Also I’m assuming the first click is a ski mode..? Someone said the plastic out front is Mickey Mouse which I didn’t have problems with it but could definitely see it breaking.

The heel. I’m not smart enough to know about all the features. It skis great and is still plenty lean for recreational use. Drove my Locator 112s perfectly in everything from deep powder to groomers. My beef is the heel riser requires you to spin the heel from flat mode and the high riser seems low and can spin on you (only happened twice in 6 days of touring). The flip lever is over the pins which might save some time if your competing or lapping and want to steal all the fresh lines but not ideal for us lowly ski touring enthusiasts who aren’t psychopaths. Having to lunge down and spin your heel is the worst and inefficient on energy to say the least. If they fix that I would be 5 stars. That being said I’m glad I have this binding and not thinking about changing this setup at all.
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Michael H (downright abused product)
I really like these bindings and would give them 4.5 stars if that was an option since I only have two minor issues with the toe lever:

The toe lever is plastic and I've had one break on me. They also get beat up by your pole tip and it's possible to over-rotate them out of alignment with the toe piece. It's easy to carry a spare but it seems like if ATK made this binding it'd be aluminum and wouldn't have those problems...

Otherwise it's a fantastic binding - light for a non-race binding, consistent release, no possible way to ice up the toe piece unlike nearly every other binding and simple operation. I typically just leave it in the low riser setting with the flap over the pins then flip the flap for quick skis-on skimo style transitions. The high riser and flat mode are accessed by rotating the whole rear piece 180 degrees and reaching down behind your heel is bit annoying but I rarely use those.

These bindings are on my Hyperchargers (106 waist) and Blacklight 88's and work great for both skis. I recommend these to all my friends as "this weird italian binding" - so far no takers but it takes time.
Comment on this review:

Question from Patrick
Hello, I have about 10 days on my vario.2 and one of the heels has developed a bit of play. Should I be concerned?
Answer from Gabriel I
Hi Patrick, best to collect some more details here, we'll be in touch!
Answer this question:

Question from eric b
Can you comment on the heel plate mounting pattern vs the ATK R01 (adjustable) plate?

This Trab heel appears to be shorter than the R01. Are the widths the same?

I'm wondering if I can reuse at least one set of holes if I make the switch.

Also, does the toe piece have the same mounting pattern as the ATK Trofeo / Haute Route / RT10? I believe those all share the same toe piece dimensions. I think the Carbon C-Raider has a different mounting pattern.

Thank you!
Answer from jbo
Hi Eric, the Vario adjustment plate has a wider and shorter pattern, so reusing heel holes would be impossible. The toe pattern is the same which is the important part for keeping you on boot-center.

You can compare all these dimensions using our reference articles on mounting patterns and adjustment plates.
Answer from Ben
The people yearn for the original Trab Vario which was compatible with the ATK R01 heelplate
Answer from jbo
The owner of Trab will be here tomorrow, he'll hear it!
Answer from Ben
Make me proud Jbo, I want to see the original coming back next season!
Answer from eric b
Thank you, jbo! Seems to me like the Vario.2 toe is the best/most interesting one out there for my needs. Having to redial for a new heel plate is not ideal. Maybe I should consider the franken-binding option.

I appreciate the information and reply. I'll ponder my next move.
Answer this question:

Brian O (used product a few times)
I learned of this binding mainly from the reviews on this page and it suited my requirements for gear for my project go fast and light on skis, where I could, from Mexico to Canada along the Continental Divide last winter.

I am a big fan of this binding. I have about 22 days on this ski, one in spring slush, and 21 in cold winter conditions.

I am 6', 166lbs, usually carried a 15-30lb pack. I bought this binding new in the 5-7 release setting.

The performance of this binding impresses me. For reference, I spent a season, about 30 days on an ATK Freeraider 14, dialed down to setting of 8, on some DPS C2s in 184cm length. It was a lot of fun, but there were a few times when I was bouncing over some wind chop and zastrugis, and a binding would prerelease. I thought that binding was one of the better freeride touring bindings. Since switching to the SkiTrab bindings, I have bounced over plenty of rough and rougher spots, and have yet to have a binding erroneously release. In my limited experience the SkiTrab bindings have the best retention of all the pin bindings. The weight to feature ratio of this binding seams unmatched.

I rarely would lock the toe when skinning. I never felt the need to lock the toe for the descent and thus never have.

I have never had icing issues with this binding, on ski traverses up to 7 days in length.

The rear piece worked well. I wish they would pare it down a little to shave weight.

This and the Gara are the only bindings I take into the backcountry, and the only pin bindings I trust. This may not be the most aesthetic binding, but it's performance at this weight seems to be years ahead of other manufacturers.
Comment on this review:

Question from Ted Dean
Do you think the Titan toe is safer than most tech toes from the perspective of “Ripping Ligaments and Snapping Bones” article. I’m sure it will not be as safe as a TR1, Vipec, Shift. I would think that the spring design would release in a big crash. Any thoughts?
Answer from jbo
Hi Ted, the Titan toe does not release laterally like the others you mention; that will still happen first at the heel. It does have more elasticity than typical tech toes, and the wings working independently can help with retention. But the force graphs look more similar to tech bindings than alpine in that article.
Answer this question:

Question from John B
Hey! I'm wondering which ski crampons are compatible with the binding? I have these mounted on some Backland 85s and need a pair of ski crampons desperatly for this setup. I'm open to any reccomendations! Thanks.
Answer from Andrew C
John, these crampons use a Dynafit style attachment which will accommodate the Dynafit Ski Crampons, or the ATK, Black Diamond, and Hagan ski crampons. I'd recommend not going much wider than 95mm for the Backland 85s, so the Dynafit 90mm, Black Diamond 86, and Hagan 91 would all work well.
Answer this question:

Question from Lauren
Hello! I'm wondering if it's possible to remove the brake/ski stopper on the Vario.2 (e.g. can you mount/remove as needed based on the season/tour? I'm not talking about swapping them in and out commonly, but would consider taking them off before long tours where weight is at a premium). It looks like the tower is mounted into the plate rather than the ski itself? And is there any reason that this binding would perform differently without the ski stoppers installed?
Answer from jbo
Hi Lauren, indeed it's not too much of a project to get the brakes on and off. You remove the housing from the track and the brakes just squeeze between. The brakes are in interesting design that doesn't affect the release much as compared to similar weight add-on brakes, so no real functionality difference with or without them (other than the obvious extra step of retracting them for uphill).
Answer from Lauren K
Awesome, thank you. I also actually emailed SkiTrab about this, and they mentioned that you need to mount an additional plate between the base plate and tower when the bindings are removed. Do you carry this plate? And do you know if the touring position reverts to neutral with the brake unit removed? It looks like the heel is a bit elevated with the brake unit in place.
Answer from jbo
Hi Lauren, the plate is included with the bindings (we sell the brake as an accessory). Indeed, the "flat" mode is more flat without the brake as you can turn the heel sideways and not stand on the brake retraction mechanism.
Answer this question:

Question from Spencer
Hi, I just bought some new boots and had a bit of trouble fitting them with the Ski Trab Titan Vario 2 binding. Would you mind looking at my video of this real quick? It is a very short video. (~6 minutes)

Can you tell me if you have any major concerns with this setup? Or maybe explain the limitations of what I have here? Thanks.
Answer from jbo
Hi Spencer, thanks for the video! You don't want to adjust the heel back past the line as that will compromise the compression spring in the heel track (and you should not use this binding without the track). You need to remount the toe or heel to accommodate your larger boot sole length. This is not a huge deal as the skis are plenty robust in the mounting area. I would personally move the toe forward since you're behind the recommended center point with the larger boot.
Answer this question:

Hayden (downright abused product)
I’ve had the Titan Vario 2.0 on my 4Frnt Hojis for two seasons now, and I’d like to share my thoughts.

-best toepiece on the market
-incredible release and retention = confidence while skiing with toes unlocked
-relatively light
-zero durability issues after 100+ days of hard skiing

-doesn’t have the same heel as Vario 1.0 (simpler, lighter)
-if it is going to have a heavier, “gapless” heel, then I think it should also have free-spinning pins (no U-spring) and perhaps a second riser option.
-I don’t like how the BSL adjustment screw sticks out when the heel is adjusted to the rear. (Looks weird and seems to attract ice)
Reply from jbo
Hi Hayden, thanks for the feedback. Can you send a photo of the adjustment screw sticking out? That doesn't sound right.
Reply from Hayden
Thanks Jbo. As far as I can tell, this is how the binding is designed to function. I just think it’s ugly.
Reply from jbo
Ah yes, all the bolt-positioning plates will have that, though some are covered in plastic for aesthetics.
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Question from yeuhi
I was getting psyched on these bindings until I discovered that with brakes installed there is no longer a flat walk mode (because you step on the brake locking bar in the lowest mode). I've grown accustom to the efficiency of flat walking and rarely use a riser, so I think I would find that annoying (though not sure). Is there a place to attach a lease to this binding?
Answer from jbo
Hi yeuhi, absolutely! There is a little leash loop that you can mount under the toe.
Answer this question:

Question from Nathaniel V
I'm contemplating the (beautiful?) heresy of mounting Trab bindings on Dynafit Free 107 skis, but I'm caught up questioning which release value to get. At 5'8" and 145 lbs, I run Dynafit Radicals cranked up to 8 to stop pre-release in moguls and trees, but given that the Vario.2 has actual elasticity, I'm wondering if I can go lower with the Trab heel. Do you think I'd be better served by the 5-7 or the 7-9?
Answer from Emmett I

The Vario.2 typically releases around the upper number of the range, so I'd recommend the 5-7.

A Vario.2 on a Free 107 couldn't be described as anything other than beautiful!
Answer this question:

Question from Chris E
Have you guys re-verified the specs on these recently? I just had them mounted to a pair of AlpTracks 100 in a 177 (1215 g), and together they weigh 1550g. Also, the Trab site is saying 309g….
Answer from jbo
Hi Chris, I just reweighed a pair it was the same down to the gram. We do not include mounting screw weights in our measurements which could account for half of the difference with Trab. Remember that most skis are made of wood, a natural product with varying density; our ski weights are an average of the units we receive. You will love that setup!
Answer from Chris E
Cool, thanks for double checking! It skied well today :).
Answer this question:

Question from Chris
Thoughts on the advisability of running these on something like a Black Crows Nocta? 122 underfoot, fully rockered, light-ish for what it is, but certainly not designed to be a touring ski.

Use case would be mainly gate access sidecountry steep and deep stuff.

I love ‘em on my blacklight 88s. Is this a bridge too far?
Answer from Emmett I

Despite the light-looking design, the base plate is actually quite wide, lending this binding well towards skiing wide skis, at least as far as lightweight touring bindings go. Only thing to note is that you'll probably need to add brakes for resort skiing.
Answer this question:

Question from Will B
Hi all,
Pretty weird question here, but I'm wondering about mixing and matching this binding with an ATK freeraider. Basically, I just bought a second-hand pair of skis with the Titan vario 2.0, but the heel piece needs to be moved to fit my boot. These are Moment Deathwish Tour. I also bought a new, skinnier set, the Salomon MTN Carbon 96 (bit of a gamble, not much word out there on these yet!) and caught a deal on some freeraiders.
Since I need to re-drill the larger set of skis, and I'll really only ever use them on deep days, I was thinking I might also use them in-bounds occasionally. Hence, considering putting the freeraider heel on those with the TV2 toe for potentially slightlier better release characteristics. Then the FR14 toe with TV2 heel on the Salomons.
Will that work? Is it dumb? Open to all suggestions and advice, thanks all.

Answer from jbo
Hi Will, the new Salomon Carbons are great! That would be an unusual toe/heel paring; at first thought I wouldn't anticipate a net gain in retention/release function (guess would be potential for improved forward but reduced lateral).
Answer this question:

Question from Adam W
Hi, are you able to share a picture of the screws and their lengths? Looking at remounting mine with inserts.

Answer from jbo
Hi Adam, we have a listing for Trab parts.
Answer this question:

Taco (downright abused product)
Compelled to write this review in response to the uber niche protest review below (I'd wager $5 that guy's a road cyclist). When my touring buddies and clients ask me about my magical trab bindings I send them the link to to read the description and the user reviews. I haven't found a binding that would be a better option than the Titan Varios for the 99% of people who would benefit from a binding in its category. I've thoroughly abused my two pairs and accumulated in excess of 350 miles on all sorts of skin tracks, snow conditions, rocks and drops. They do what they say on the tin, and they do it well.
Comment on this review:

Question from Calvin T
If I bought the 7-9 release value held piece but later decided I wanted to change the release value, would I be able to change out the heel spring?
Answer from Tristan M
Hi Calvin,

Although not an item that we stock, the U-spring in the Ski Trab Titan Vario.2 can be changed out. However, that will only affect the vertical release value of the binding. In order to change out the lateral release value, you will need to get new heel pieces. You can find Vario.2 heels under our Ski Trab Heel Pieces listing.
Answer this question:

Ben (used product a few times)
1 star? OK yeah thats an exaggeration. But now that you have my attention please hear me out...

Ski Trab makes the best bindings on the market. This is a simple fact due to the lateral elasticity in the heel piece and the unique toe design. But I want to call attention to the absolute tragedy that is the discontinuation of the Vario 1 which is a better binding for most ski tourers. The Vario 1, mounted flat on ski or with an ATK R01 plate offers nearly identical performance with less ramp angle and ~100g less weight per ski. I personally prefer a 5mm binding delta which is achievable by using the Vario 1 with the ATK R01 plate, and cannot be had with the Vario2 without using a heavy toe shim from B&D or by making one yourself. Like Zach, I am unconvinced that the gapless heel design is worth the extra weight and bulk.

Ski Trab - I hope you're reading this. Why are you depriving us of what is essentially the perfect binding? Please make the Vario 1 again!
Reply from Anthony O
While I understand the sentiment and do not disagree, I think it's funny that you think that Italians care about what Americans want. Also, for the Vario 1.0 fans, have any of you pre released out of 5mm steel gara titan? Just saying if you want simplicity with less weight, it's there. If you pre release on that, then just mount it under manufacturers recommended heel gap
Reply from jbo
Hey Anthony, the Italians may not care enough to restart production, but they are listening as their product roadmap develops. It should also be noted that Trab officially recommends skiing the Gara Titan "blocked", at least in anything consequential.
Reply from Ben
Dear Anthony, while I have pre released from the gara titan it was with the 4.5mm steel spring. It was a lateral release so I don't think the spring thickness would have mattered? Also is it too much to ask to get a decent binding where I don't need to set it up under the manufacturer recommended heel gap? Also why are we talking here please respond to my text so I can buy your damn Vario 1's.
Reply from ryan a
Hi jbo, can you please elaborate on "skiing the Gara Titan "blocked", do you mean toe locked? I've been skiing Titan Vario 1's for four years and have not had one release, even skiing fast back though the resort so I'm curious why that is suggested.
Reply from jbo
Hi Ryan, yes, they mean with the toe locked. That recommendation does not apply to the Vario 1 which was the perfect binding with great lateral elasticity, only to the Gara Titan.
Reply from Ben
The Vario bindings have much better retention than the Gara Titan. The people yearn for a Vario binding that does not require a very heavy spring-loaded adjustment track. Where are you Ski Trab??
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Model: Ski Trab Titan Vario.2

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