We recently got a pair of the new Dynafit Radical ST Bindings to demo. If you are immersed in the world of ski touring (read ski geek like me), you likely know that Dynafit unveiled a new generation of their tech-binding last winter called the Radical Series. If you are not fully up to speed on Dynafit bindings (and other tech-bindings), check out past blogs under gear for a primer.
The Dynafit Radical ST is the standard version from the new Radical Series. Dynafit also makes a stouter model called the Radical FT and a lighter more race oriented model called the Speed. Our focus is on the Radical ST because it is the go-to binding for most backcountry skiers.
There are many subtle changes to the binding including an improved crampon slot, a new mounting pattern, easier to read DIN settings and stouter components. However, the more significant changes include the addition of small towers or stops adjacent to the front pins. These new stops facilitate a truly easy step-in process. A process that, although it becomes second nature with a little practice, has been daunting to new tech-binding users – at least until now.
The second big change is in the heel and climbing lifters. The new Dynafit Radical ST heel unit has two easy-to-use flips that create low and high heel lifters. The new heel unit is also uni-directional (turns only in the clockwise direction).
The new Dynafit Radical ST toe unit is a 100% upgrade from earlier models. The new stops do a great job of helping you line the boot up for a clean step-in process. I am really impressed at just how much easier it makes getting into the binding, and I was pretty proficient at the old style. Check out the video of stepping into the Radical ST binding.
The new heel unit offers increased functionality when it comes to heel lifter use, but loses some of its on-the-fly mode change functionality. The new lifters are super easy to use and are sure to eliminate the pole tip problems and assorted issues people have had had over the years. However, I miss the ability to spin the heel unit with my ski pole. The new clockwise only rotation eliminates my favorite ski pole grip maneuver to spin the unit back to ski mode, which means that I need to work on a new program to facilitate removing skins and swapping over to ski mode without removing my skis or bending over to twist the heel unit.
According to Dynafit, the new heel system was designed to keep the heel from pre-turning on the ascent and locking you into ski mode mid-slope. The lawyers also recommended that you remove your ski to switch into downhill mode to ensures that you have stepped into the binding correctly. It also keeps people from skiing with the toe locked, and the lawyers like this feature, too.
All in all the new Radical binding is a great upgrade to an already rock solid system. I will likely whine a little about having to reach down to turn the heel back into ski mode, at least until I figure out a new system.
Here is a video demonstrating just how easy the step-in and heel lift deploying processes are.
Dynafit Radical ST binding