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Hardshell Bindings


Ajskier
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Hello All,

 

I was hoping that all of you smart people on this board might be able to drop a little knowledge on me. I am looking at getting a hardshell set-up for this coming season. I came to the decision that I want everything mounted on a single plate and have a release unit, so that really narrows my choice down to the Connelly's and the HO's. I have some experience with the Connelly's because a lot of my friends currently use Fogmans and the only thing different is the boots that are on the plate. However, I am intrigued by the HO set-up because I come from a snow ski background and think that the release system looks much more advance then the Fogman design, I know I should never read a book by its cover. I am currently leaning towards the HO system, but still on the fence.

 

I will be mounting which ever system I get on to a Nomad RCX, so I know with the HO's I will have to use the adapter plate. Can anyone tell me the pro's and con's of each system? How using the adaptor plate for the HO system affects the performance of the ski? Which boots for the HO system do people prefer? Can you still get the traditional Fogman set-up? If so what do people think about the boots on that system? Has anyone skied the new Connelly set-up? What do you feel about the boots?

 

I am sorry, I know I just asked a lot of questions, but I want to make sure that I get something that I am going to enjoy and it will help to improve my skiing. Thank you for any help in advance.

 

Have a good day,

 

AJ

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On the EXO Form. Got on them last year and love them. Just put the new boots (2012 model) on last week and feel like they are a little more responsive than the old boots. I like the new overlays better and the new boots are better to take off in the water. Make sure that you remember to change your tension if and when you move the boot forward or back. I run mine a half turn tighter than recommended. I use them on a HO ski, so I have no input about the adapter plate. They have always released when needed, maybe a little more than needed, but I would rather be safe.
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I have been on Fogmans for 9 years. I think the release they currently use is the same as mine. I have tested this more times than I care to admit. I think the release when you come in hot and late and load the tip trying to turn is a little sketchy. But other than that, I think it's a good system. I've seen some issues where the rail system on the HO seems to not hold up well (but this was the early models, don't know if it's changed or not). I've gotten my money's worth out of Fogmans.
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AJ, I'm not sure that basing your search on "everything mounted on a single plate and have a release unit" is optimal. Different falls have different release requirements. Choose a binding that feels and performs the best for you. Avoid the falls that create the need for a specific release.

 

Locking both boots into a single release requires a significant connection between the boots. That will be physically heavy and thick - both undesirable for waterskis. The connection must also be fairly stiff and could affect the flex of a ski - but I like a stiff ski so this may not be a disadvantage. Finally, different falls require different release profiles - what do you set for?

 

I ski funky custom double hardshells. They are bolted to the ski but are a bit fragile. When I explode out of the ski, my bindings just break apart. So far no major injuries. But a few replacement shells.

 

Kirk is on double Radars. Great feel. Reasonable weight. The boots stay on the ski and your feet release out (like rubber). A lot of the hardshells at tournaments are Radars.

 

The Goode system is another reasonable alternative. It is light and can release in a few different modes. Especially with a longer G10 plate (contact Mike Erb?) to give the heel a bit more resistance to prerelease. But the velcro is high maintenence and can be unpredictable. And the boots are a bit stiffer than my tastes from a performance standpoint.

 

I have not skied any of the most recent offerings of Fogman, Connelly or HO. So my input is not specifically valid.

 

When I switched to hardshells years ago, I made them super stiff and severely clamped in. I hated the feel and went back to rubber. Then I tried some Fogmans. While the setup looked funky and outrageously heavy, the boots were nice and flexible and skied great!. I loosely modeled my next generation of hardshells off of these and still ride an evolution of these boots. Their release system does not fit my needs at all. But the boots felt great.

 

A buddy got some early Exo bindings. He did not care for the stock setup and brought them to me to "fix". The shells were similar to the Radars so they had potential - but I couldn't figure a way to make things work. One kid who I coached lost a summer to an injury sustained from a weird release on early Exos so I am leery of the stock rail release setup (it has been changed from that early version). The pictures of the newest HO boots look really pretty FWIW.

 

Although I use double boots, I wish I used a toe kicker instead. (The Reflex setup with a toe kicker works really well). There may be slight performance advantages to the toe kicker. Safety is better for some falls and worse for others.

 

I really didn't answer anything for you. Demo a few systems and buy what works best for you.

 

Eric

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@ Travnews, my bindings are old Rollerblade boots with a bit of grinding to soften them more. They are similar to Goode or Reflex shells but softer plastic. They are bolted directly to the ski. Plastic washers (gatorade lids) are in some places but really the boots do not release. In a hard enough fall, the plastic of the shell just tears away. The shell is now ruined. Fortunately, I don't fall hard too often. They are not like the FM style release.

 

The rear shell has no upper clip, just a rubber band. It will release without damaging the shell (Radar style?).

 

I have not seen the FM boot. But the descriptions sound intriguing. I'm working on a boot that might release in a similar manner - but it's not at a working prototype level yet.

 

Pictures? What noise does a dinosaur make?

 

Eric

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@Ajskier I demoed a 2010 version of the ho forms and really liked them but did not buy them due to all of the negative feedback at the time. The newer version has fixed the issues with the older ones. So I would probably purchase a set of them now. But, I ended up going with reflex instead and am really enjoying them.
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Reflex!!!!

 

I have tried just about every system out there, done my homework and I have come to the conclusion that Reflex is the way to go.

 

Reflex single boot/plate in the front and either open toe or Wileys wrap in the rear. I like the carbon plate the best as it lets the ski flex naturally but if you like a little stiffer ski go with the Aluminum plate.

 

Pros using this setup:

 

Will Asher (Open toe in rear)

Chris Parrish (Wileys in rear) Current record holder

many, many others!!!

 

http://www.reflexworld.com/hardshell-bindings.shtml

 

http://www.wileyski.com/shopproductdetail.asp?prodID=3872&catID=34

 

Seen a lot of people get hurt with the HO system! Plus if you add the adapter plate the characteristics of the ski will change dramatically!! You will not like it, trust me!

 

I have personally used the Goode system and had some bad falls due to pre-release of the Velcro. I don't recommend them also hard to try other skies as you have to apply $60 dollars of Velcro every time not to mention all the time to cut and stick it on.

 

Hope this helps!

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I appreciate everyones feedback and advice. I guess I might need to clarify something. The reason I want to go with a double boot single plate set-up is because I took a nasty fall last summer where only one foot came out of my bindings(currently use double rubber boots) and I twisted my knee and that cut my season short. So I don't want to have to worry about one foot coming out and the other one staying in the ski. So that is why I have narrowed my search down to a double boot single plate set-up with a release unit. Again, I really appreciate everyone's knowledge and feedback.

 

 

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If you're not going to use a RPT this is the risk you take skiing with DB. I would say the safest bet would be to go with the Reflex/Wileys setup or Fogman. The HO system is crap, sorry HO but it is. I think Fluid Motion makes a single release plate system too?

 

Good Luck!

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one foot staying in and one coming out in a fall is what Ajskier is trying to avoid. How can you gauge a hardshell front and a rubber back boot will both release at the same time or close to it? Even with a RTP I think you run a risk of the front foot staying attached just long enough to do damage as it's twisting or bending one leg and all it's joints. Both feet locked to a plate where the plate releases from the ski seems better to me. Even if it doesn't release from the ski, both legs act as one big leg doubling the physical resistance to twisting in a way. Of course no system is perfect. I dont question an increase in performance (which I'm sure is why u see top skiers using them) but question calling those systems safer.
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@303Skier have you seen anyone with the new HO system? It sounds like they have worked out the bugs.

 

@Ajskier I had the same concern when I purchased my reflex system w/r-style rear binder. I also wanted a 2 feet in 2 feet out release system; due to the fact, I also twisted my knee during an OTF when my front foot stayed in (prior to the buying the reflex). But with all of the bad news with the HO system I didn't want to chance them. I ended up buying the Reflex. Not trying to sway you to Reflex, I'm just telling you my story. I would try to get advice from someone using the new HO system. It seems to me they have fixed some of the major problems.

 

I also looked into the FM Quattro's, which seems like a great system, but didn't like that I would have to drill addition inserts into my ski. Not that there is anything wrong with adding inserts, I just didn't want to drill in my new ski. Also I didn't like that they are aided by velcro under the bindings.

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Have you or do you know anyone who skies on the pro tour or top level with HO system? I don't? Will Asher, factory HO skier uses Reflex with RPT, John Travers factory HO skier uses Fluid Motion. They may have fixed bugs, quality but the design is flawed! I know two people who have broken there ankles with them last year. Never heard of anyone injuring themselves with Reflex. Maybe b4 they had the flexion brake but that has been taken care of.

 

If the front foot release chances are the rear Wileys will come out very easy. I ski RPT so I don't have to worry about it.

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I used to ski double hi wraps & switched to Fogmans because of a problematic rear ankle. I love the the Fogmans, but as @9400 said stuff the tip and your in trouble. Tweaked my front ankle (the good one) last year pretty good in such a fall. 2 years of PT & a special brace & rear ankle is almost 100%. Now the front ankle, which I've wrecked numerous times is almost done. seriously thinking about the front Reflex w/ the Wileys RTP. There is no 100% safe boot/binding system keep doing your homework and make a decision based on your gut feeling and skiing style. Good luck!
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You guys are making my knees ache! I'm also on the fence and ready to buy new bindings. Ive seen my best friends leg still in the ski rapped around the back of his head, yuck! I will neve forget the scene, he had a rtp and old rubber front Obrien binding.

Question, those using the popular Radars do both feet come out on most falls and more importantly during an over the front exit?

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@OB, no offense but all my injuries over the years have been at tourneys, it's the only place I really let it hang out. Practice is practice. I'm quick to stop/ throw the handle when things go wrong but @ tourneys I'm shooting for a PB.
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How many times, do you see skiers that are beginners, on skis that are FAR to advanced for them? I think the same is true for hard shells. Skiers at less than max speed AND less than -32 off should stay in a safer system. Loose fitting rubber bindings. If you are running 30 mph at 15 off getting a new Fusion, Goode, A2, Reflex, Fogman or EXO is not going to allow you to ski 36mph 35 off. Take the falls in something that does not put you in a position to get a ankle or knee twisted. If you are going out the front often, learn to ski with proper body position before going to a system that will increase the risk of injury.

 

Because I can drive on the freeway at 70 mph, does not mean that I can get into a NASSCAR at Daytona going over 180. I am asking for trouble. I think that many injuries are caused by improper use of equipment by people without the proper experience. I have seen many beginner skiers get hurt because the binding did not release. The same bindings that were designed for more advanced skiers.

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@ob this is interesting, to me, as I've heard that David Miller uses 250/400. I also understand that Rossi tightens his laces very tight.

 

I experimented all winter with hardshells, and with 250/250. I only needed 1 strip each side, and never had any pre=releases (and they seemed to release on any OTF's fairly well).

 

What @ntx says has some validity (according to Goode's website "THE BINDING IS DESIGNED FOR EXPERT SKIERS ONLY. It should be custom fit to the user and should not be used by others for whom it was not fitted, because it is designed for advanced maneuvers which require increased support and control, even if properly fitted - IT MAY PRERELEASE OR NOT RELEASE IN SOME FALLS RESULTING IN SERIOUS INJURIES TO THE LEG, ANKLE, KNEE, NECK, BACK, SHOULDERS, ARMS, INTERNAL ORGANS, ETC."

 

When I use rubbers, I use 250/400 and the dual lock never releases.

 

It seems that using the 250/400 (with hardshells) puts you at extreme risk in any bad fall, where a break or sprain is likely. On the other hand, the increased stability of the hardshell is the asset. Also, the bigger guys have pre-release problems (w/250/250), and have to bump it up. The real question is, how much 400 would a person be using and still release?

 

 

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Ntx, I respectfully disagree. The best equipment will make the limiting factor your skills. Good properly fitting performance bindings are a huge advantage. You will get to those shortline passes a lot faster with performance equipment. Overall safety comes from having equipment that lets you ski out of a nasty fall threat instead of sloppy bindings that cause the nasty fall.

 

One foot in, one out falls do cause injuries. But there are other possibly more dangerous falls (out the front ankle destroyers?). An energetic ejection with the ski following you and subsequently whacking you is the most common injury in developing skiers I have seen. Staying in both bindings on the ski prevents this. Maybe no release is safest? Do quad tighteners and stretching to make your body more resistant to injury.

 

And it is certainly unsafe to race Daytona in a minivan!

 

Eric

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I'm with Eric on this one I have a few freinds that use high end skis with reflex and rtp and they are -15 skiers at 32 mph . the hard shell helps protect the ankle,because they fall alot in their learning process. I have put them on mid priced skis and they ski worse. a lot of the new skis are great at 30-34 mph -15. I can think of 4-5 freinds that are in this group.

 

I believe reflex with a rtp is the safest setup. but thats opinion being a snow skier I like the mechanical release.

 

when the snow melts ski it agian!

have fun think short

Deano

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@jefflyman - I am on Radar Strada bindings. I've ejected twice in the 5 years I've been riding them (RS-1 before the Strada), both times I came out of both. I've had many other falls where I've not come out at all. So far, no injury (I was injured twice in rubber bindings).
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Rs-1, Strada, Fluid Motion E-Series, O'brien Prodigy and Elites (when they hit the market) can be tested dry. Put them on and just pull up and forward, this will give you a pretty good picture of what it's going to take to come free of the shell.
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@londonskier , I would start with the 2 strips, and feel/test the ski set-up on land to feel when the bindings will release (by strapping them, protecting the fin with a phone book or something, on and falling forward towards someone). If it feels like the release happens at the right time (when your momentum commits to the fall) you might be ok. If they release too easy, you'll need more, or a more agressive set up. I don't really know any other way to find out; but, I'd rather find out if there is a problem before I'm going 50 mph behind a boat. I am 155 and the 2 strips are plenty (almost too much) for me. Good luck!
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Go with the original Fogmans, you can still get them, RCM makes a G10 boot mounting plate and adapter plate thats light and does not affect the flex of the ski. they last for years and can be modified by Fogman to fit your needs. The adapter plate makes for an easy set up or contact Rob at RCM he will mount them for you,

 

rc.machine@hotmail.com

 

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OB,

I dó have much experience with the powershells and interlok. And probably more experience with hard shells than anyone ón the forum. Thère are a lot of problems with the interlok I'm glad you have not been hurt, neither have I with the binding systems. The major problem I have seen with it is prereleasing. It resulted in my niece breaking a vertebae in her back missing a whole year of high school athletics. My son who is a past National Champion hurt his back in a prerelease out the front. This also caused him a Southern Regional placement as hé prereleased there.

The 250/250 was not strong enough to keep from releasing especially after it had been separated several times. The clear 250 is the worst. I ended up using 250/400 on his ski and mine. This set up is unlikely to release. I'm willing to take the risk myself but I'm not willing to put my son on a set up which is definetly risky. It is a fact that the interlok changes in its effectiveness with time and with the number of times its separated. Sure you Can change it but there's no job I hate worse than removing the leftover adhesive from the ski. I also hate having to pound on 1500 dollar skis to get the interlok together.

There is no perfect release system, all have negative aspects. Intelok will simply not release with pure rotational forces.

I skiied on Terrences first system for years that would not release at all and did not get hurt. I'm definitely not afraid of being hurt.

If you need anymore information catch me at the Nationals or a Big Dawg.

 

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Interlock is actually pretty good but it degrades and it is a skecthy process to figure out how much you need, at least it was for me. I was on a Powershell front with an RTP, the same set up Asher used back in the day. I had my fair share of pre releases without getting hurt. I had one where it released after kicking the tail at the buoy and my rear foot didn't slip out. I think for two boot systems it is one of best. Fogman has its quirks, and from an engineering stand point it just doesn't make sense to release when the ski is flexed.

 

For the interlock I would go with two strips of 250 on each side, clear. Clear because it is easier to pull off when you need to take it off and holds a little better.

 

If you want a binding that releases under rotational load I would go with Reflex and get the half boot for the rear, it is a great system. I use a Reflex with an RTP and love it. I have released twice, both times I didnt really want it to, but it was good it did I suppose.

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