review-DiamirZenith

Once the standard in touring bindings Diamir have had some challenging years. The Barker Baron/Duke and the beefy tour capable alpine style binding almost overnight made the Freeride platform seem old and dated. The binding was no longer relevant to the hardcore tourer with the increased acceptance of tech style bindings.

It was only a matter of time till Diamir would come out with a tech binding. What they have brought out on paper is pretty enticing. I have always loved the thought of a lightweight binding like the TLT Speed but with a brake would be a best seller. Though Dynafits aren’t without their challenges between pre releases and the lack of ability to switch between tour and ski without removing the binding.

The binding is slated for release next fall but from the information that I am getting it is going be in high demand but also in short supply.

The Toe (Safety Tech System)

The toe unit will feature a system that is releasable. This is a key feature and helps move tech systems towards a complete binding system that offers the safety margins similar to those found in alpine bindings. Combining this release with an 11mm side to side elasticity will help prevent pre-release. The rear tech pins are designed in a way to facilitate a greater margin of safety in frontal releases.

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The Heel Unit

A tech bindings heel is a pretty simple system. Yet the small details are what sets apart this offering apart from the others. First of all the heel binding will have some rearward travel to prevent the pins becoming jammed into the boot when the ski is flex. This is often a problem in skis when the gap is not set properly. The heel riser are a simple but robust design (look strikingly similar to the G3 onyx binding) couple that with a lever that allows you to exit and enter ski mode without having to remove the boot from the toe.

Overall Impression

This binding covers all bases and looks to combine the best features from many current tech systems out in the market today. Maybe the best feature is the svelte weight at just 570g with brakes. This is puts it in the same zone as the TLT radical ST. As the tech market becomes more competitive it may make tech systems more affordable. It is clear that Diamir is looking to grab market share with this product. If the binding works as advertised it will likely be on many people`s wishlists for 2014.

Detailed catalog info from wildsnow.com (PDF). As always a great video from the Earnyourturns.com highlighting some functions on a prototype.

 

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