Ski Trab has made a splash with their race bindings, offering a proven design at an improved price. Based on recently expired patents on the basic tech binding concept, the TR-Race is compatible with existing boots with tech inserts, using the standard specifications for toe pivots and heel pins. Weighing in at 136 grams (4.8 ounces), the Ski Trab binding has a separate locked mode and ski mode so you are set for the up and down. Locking and unlocking is accomplished with a smooth, easy motion of the toe lever.
Ergal toe pieces weigh only 80 grams (2.8 ounces) and include slotted, hardened-steel pivots to help clean boot holes during binding entry.
Ergal heel pieces with steel springs have one simple flap/riser that is used to quickly switch between uphill touring and downhill skiing modes.
Climbing lever offers the ability to switch between fully locked out and unlocked positions of the toe jaws.
Comes with optional crampon receptors (4g) that are machined to fit underneath the binding (you have to choose at mounting time).
Heel pieces rotate 360° effortlessly so you have a flat-on-ski riser option for long flat traverses.
** Please note that this binding is not adjustable forward and backward, so a precise mount to your boot is required. For more flexibliity with mounts and boot sizes, see the Race Adjustable binding. Also note that this year's version is black as seen in the second image.
I've been using these with Syborgs and Hagan X races for about a year for racing, training and fast/light days around Mt Washington last spring. So far, so good. I probably have 100k + of vertical on them - skiing everything from fast groomers, to icy bumps, to steep corn and ice. I had them pre-release only once when I crashed super hard in a race, and that was probably fortunate. If, er when, I get something that's just slightly bigger than a race ski (like the cirrus), I'll likely put another pair of these on. I feel good about the release, and the cost to weight ratio is solid.
The heel on these bindings is very easy to use. The two things I do the most- flipping back the riser in an uphill to downhill transition and stepping in shortly thereafter are butter smooth. This heel piece easily outstrips the Dynafit Low Tech which I have put through the wringer and with which both of these actions are kind of a pain (with both titanium and steel heel springs).
The toe piece is fine except for the locking lever which is just a little poorly thought out. You have to manually lock it in the "unlocked" position or it kind of just flaps around. The locking interface seems to be between the aluminum (I think) lever and a plastic (I think) locking plate with graduated positions much like the Dynafit Speed Radical in concept. It seems OK but a simple "lock/unlock" design that required minimal fiddling would have been even better. Of course, the ability to lock/unlock the toe seems to be a desired safety measure even though I usually just leave them locked all the time. If you ski with them locked all the time, the Dynafit Low Tech toe is easier to use.
This is my 2nd set of race bindings. I have (and still use) some Dynafit Low Techs which have been through the wringer and I also have Speed Radicals that get used a good bit too.
Bottom line, Id probably buy these again just for the buttery smooth heel. That is really nice and nothing is perfect!
Have there been any issues with the durability of these bindings? I am interested in buying a pair of race bindings for long multi-day tours so durability is of the highest priority alongside weight. I have seen the La Sportiva RSR bindings shear just below the pin on two occasions, have there been any similar issues with ski trab? Does the fact that this binding is only steel and does not have any aluminum make a difference? I would appreciate any insight. Thanks!
Hi Ann, we've begun compiling reliability data but the sample size is too small to be useful at this point. There is actually some aluminum in the bindings, we just couldn't verify what type so it was left out (thanks for reminding me to follow up). We've seen a couple issues, though neither rendered them unskiable (send an e-mail if you want the gory details). Folks who absolutely must have a working binding (of any model) will carry an extra toe and heel piece with them. Let me know if you'd like to do that.
I've skied these just once (not counting carpet skiing). I've been on tech bindings for 10+ years but these are my first race type binding. So far so good. Easy in and out. Not having a high heel riser is different but not the end of the world (since getting the TLT5's for the last two seasons and the La Sportiva Spitfires this season, I rarely use it anyway because the increased ankle articulation). And not having to mess with the heel height saves time. I don't race, but I wanted a super light setup for mountaineering and racking up the vertical feet on normal touring days. I'll update as needed, but so far solid binding.
I think this is a pretty good binding. I have these mounted on some broad peak 167s and a pair of atomic ultimates. I have put 150 or so days combined on these and aside from from some wear on the heel pins, they still look good. No prereleases that I can remember. They have released on crashes which is good I think. The toe lock isn't very well thought out, but it works.