Featured The Numbers Game: Bindings, Part 2

Discussion in 'Hardgoods: Skis, Bindings, Poles, and More' started by Philpug, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    BINDINGS DIN SETTINGS 870x400.jpg
    When is your DIN number not your DIN number? When it is not a DIN number. Confused? Well, for years we have been calling binding settings "DIN numbers," but that's not what they are. Take a look at any chart and see what it says: "Indicator Settings." Except for Salomon, the charts don't even say DIN (which is an acronym that denotes the German Institute for Standardization). We have all just assumed these were DIN settings. For many years I wondered, "If DIN is the actual standard, why are there variations in binding adjustment charts?" Well, because they are not DIN settings. There is not a standardized binding adjustment chart, and these numbers are actually indicator settings.

    Will this revelation have an effect on your day-to-day skiing life? No. Will or should you do anything different in setting your bindings? No. Is this some interesting stuff? Yeah. I know, mind blown. Your binding setting is actually based off of an ISO table, and while the center of the table is pretty consistent from manufacturer to manufacturer, we do see variations in the outlying areas, and this is why each manufacturer suggests you consult its own table.

    First let's discuss your binding settings. We will assume that we all know why there is a setting, aka the amount of Nm in torque that forces the binding to release, etc. etc. That setting is a combination of a skier's weight, height, age, boot sole length (BSL), and skier type. Another quick clarification is that skier type does not equal skier ability. The three basic skier type levels are I, II, and III, which relate to conservative, moderate, and aggressive. However, they are commonly misrepresented as beginner, intermediate, and expert. But just because you are an expert skier does not mean you are a Type III skier. Many experts are happy as Type II skiers because they ski smoothly and do not put much external strain on a binding. Once skier type s combined with weight, height, age, and BSL, we can figure out the release setting. (Of course, this is before we calibrate the binding and make sure it is functioning properly and within that specific range.)

    How many times have you said, "I am a [insert your number here] DIN" and maybe even considered it to be a rite of passage? What does that number actually mean, how did it get calculated, and does it even matter? Let's use 6 as an example. A 6 could be anyone from a 5’1” 110lb 19-year-old Type III woman with a 275 BSL to a 6’2” 200lb 58-year-old Type II man with a 325 BSL. These two skiers are just the same to the binding and calibration bench, simply because of leverage. But this is where we find that all bindings are not created equal.

    Next let's discuss how to pick the optimum binding for your application. Bindings have an indicator range where they are designed to function properly. Children's bindings come in 0.75-4.5 and 2-7; common recreational bindings have ranges from 3-9 to 4-13; and higher-performance and race bindings vary even more widely: 6-14 even up to 20-30. Of course, there are ranges in between, but you get the idea.

    din-settings-chart.png
    RED: Child/Junior
    BLUE: Recreational
    GREEN: Advanced/Expert

    If you are looking at a system ski with an integrated binding, you might not have a choice, but if you are looking at a flat ski, the world is your oyster. If you are a 6, you can pick from more than a half-dozen bindings from every brand, which means 30-plus options -- heck, Tyrolia alone has 10, and that doesn't even include touring bindings. If you put any of these bindings on a calibrating bench, they will all function properly at a 6 -- but how they will react in real-world situations?

    Back to my two skiers with binding indicator values of 6: both of them are creating different amounts of force to achieve the same results. Now think about the amount of force created and what is required to retain it. This is where a better, more substantial binding will help the 200lb guy over the 110lb woman. There is a reason that some bindings are two to three times more expensive; even if they do the same job in release, their performance makes a difference.

    So yes, there are better bindings for each of these skiers, but we do not have enough information yet to say which. What are we putting the binding on, how wide of a ski? Something under 90mm underfoot? A Marker 11.0 TP would be a great choice, as would a Tyrolia Attack2 11 GW or Salomon/Atomic Warden 11, all of which are well under $200. Each of these options is lightweight and will work great for this application. Now for the big guy? Well, while the binding only knows the forces put in for release, it is the retention that we need for him. We want a little more oomph in the binding, not so much a bigger spring but a more substantial housing, A binding like a Salomon/Atomic STH2 WTR 13, Tyrolia Attack2 13 GW, or a Look SPX 12 or Pivot 12, or if he is a Marker fan, a Griffon 13 ID. If our 110lb lady is a strong, aggressive skier, I would suggest any of these for her as well. On the flip side, though, I would discourage the bigger guy from using the lighter options. As long as the skier is within the adjustment range, I usually err to the better binding, because as Boris the Blade so eloquently said in the movie Snatch, "Heavy is good, heavy is reliable." Sure, he was talking about some gun I never heard of, but you get the idea.

    So, to summarize:
    • Bindings do not have DIN settings.
    • Your release setting is just a point of reference based on numerous components in the calculation, a starting point in the binding decision process.
    • A binding is both a safety and a performance device; buy one that is built to a standard and not just to the lowest price point.
     
  2. LegacyGT

    LegacyGT Booting up Skier

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    I've always been VERY conservative when setting bindings. I'm not a racer and for the terrain I ski at the speeds I ski it, I'd almost always rather have a ski come off early rather than late. I realize there there some situations where losing a ski early can present it's own dangers but, for me, that's rarely the case. The chart puts me at a 5 or a 6 so I choose 5. Sometimes I'll even go lower. It seems that one of the most important factors here cannot be accounted for: what kind of stress can your joints, bones, ligaments, etc. take? It's kind of impossible to know but in many ways, this is what matters if you're looking to prevent an injury.
     
  3. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    So are we going to soft, medium, hard instead of not DIN settings?
     
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  4. LegacyGT

    LegacyGT Booting up Skier

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    I'm not sure I understand the above point. So the two skiers have the same release setting. But the beefier skier should get the beefier binding. I don't get it. The binding will release under a certain amount of torque. Will the lighter binding fail in any way prior to release? This doesn't make sense to me. It seems like a binding, any binding, will transmit action in the boot to the ski until the point where the binding springs start to give. Shouldn't the integrity of the binding be maintained for settings all the way up to the maximum?
     
  5. PTskier

    PTskier Been goin' downhill for years.... Skier

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    About the origin of the standards--The Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) is the German national organization for standardization and is the German ISO member body. The International Organization for Standards (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 161 national standards bodies. ISO does not decide when to develop a new standard, but responds to a request from industry or other stakeholders such as consumer groups. Typically, an industry sector or group communicates the need for a standard to its national member who then contacts ISO. A technical committee is formed with experts from the groups involved...in this case binding makers, boot makers, ski makers, medical experts, probably lawyers, maybe marketers. From this a standard is developed, currently ISO 9462:2014. When accepted by the group, the ISO publishes the standard, one more of 22,038 standards ISO has published in fields from technology to agriculture to transportation--and sport. The binding standard was evidently started in Germany, therefore registered with DIN. If it had been created in the US, we'd talk about the ANSI setting, or in France the AFNOR, each the ISO member body of that national organization.
     
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  6. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    It's about clamping. Just because a binding doesn't release isn't everything. It may not hold the boot well. If you weigh 200 lbs you could ski on a binding that goes to 10 but is not really meant for heavy skiers. It will not clamp the boot well and you'll get some play at high forces on hard or in heavy snow, or during abrupt changes in direction. Anywhere you apply significant force.
    Maybe think of it like tires. Different tires will work but one may have higher performance.
     
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  7. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Two chairs are both rated to hold 300lb sitters. One is intended for a second empire salon. The other is intended for circus duty. Should they be the same? No, of course not. The single specification of sitter weight is the only point on which the two coincide. No other point of usage will be similar.

    Similarly, a 200+lb person with a BSL of 330+ might have a similar release setting to a tiny person with a BSL of under 280 - because the length of the lever arm is the one controlling, overriding factor in computing that setting. No other force transmitted through the binding to the ski will be remotely alike between the two skiers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  8. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Not even sure what the first was, but if Jaba the Hut is in the second, 300lbs won't cut it.
     
  9. Joel

    Joel Having fun Skier

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    I've looked at this table before and it seems broken to me. I fit the mold but what if you were 5ft 9 inches and weight 190lbs? My inclination would be that weight is the over ride.
     
  10. mdf

    mdf back to being an ordinary Gatheree Skier

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    The instructions I posted in another thread say to use whichever of height and weight gives the lower setting. That has always seemed unrealistic to me.
     
  11. mdf

    mdf back to being an ordinary Gatheree Skier

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    So @Philpug am I reading you correctly that the DIN (ISO) standard does not actually specify indicator setting values? I find that very surprising.
     
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  12. Marker

    Marker Putting on skis Skier

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    The correct indicator setting for a skier assumes they have the correct forward pressure set on their binding for their BSL. What if the effective BSL changes? Can it or the forward pressure change enough to affect the indicator setting if one has numerous punches to the toe area of a boot?
     
  13. jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

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    I don't believe there is such a thing as "effective BSL". BSL length can't be change by any boot punches. Punching out the toe doesn't change the location of the sole block. Anything that does change the location of the sole block would be unwise (and unsafe) to do to any regular ski boot.
     
  14. PisteOff

    PisteOff Jeff Skier

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    LOL, DIN settings and the metrics behind them have always been kind of a bullshit thing to me. For example, mine says I should be at 6 but I'm here to tell you 6-7 has taken me out prematurely a few times. They always want to dial it down one because of my age too which I found laughable. Anyway, I run all my "recreational skis" at 9 and have found it to be a fair setting. My son has found this to be true as well. The shop set his to 5 when I bought him the new Atomic 95's. He was ejecting all over the face of Killington and getting pissed. Actually dented his helmet pretty good in one premature ejection. I went down to the car and dialed them up to 7. He only went down a couple times after that and one time he had an ejection and the other time he didn't. He's been a happy camper ever since. It's hard to ski with confidence and some aggression when you're worried about ejecting all day. Talk about a buzzkill.
     
  15. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Maybe we should inform binding manufacturers that they shouldn't talk about DIN numbers??

    Aren't bindings tested in shops to DIN values? Which correspond to the indicator setting? For a while some shops would put a sticker saying how much the indicator was off.

    Rick Howell, Pro 880 Binding:
    "High DIN's plus ACL-friendly skiing — without pre-release.
    5—15 DIN $800"

    https://howell-ski-bindings.myshopify.com/products/howell-880-pro

    Tyrolia:
    "These fired-up all-mountain binding models are available in different DIN settings for different requirements."

    https://www.tyrolia.com/pl-PL/technology/aaattack/

    Salomon:
    "Using a simple lever in the toe, you can confidently transition from touring in a pin binding to a true alpine binding (toe and heel) with a 13 DIN for charging downhill. Plus, with 47 mm of elastic travel (same as the legendary STH2), the SHIFT's long toe wings offer top of the line energy transfer and efficiency."

    http://shift-bindings.salomon.com/en
     
  16. squill

    squill Getting on the lift Skier

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    The attorney representing the shop I work for recommended using "Indicated Release Value" in the online descriptions for bindings.

    A couple of grey areas I've seen from some manufacturers involve kids equipment, specifically adjustable "six-in-one" boots that have a fixed BSL and certain adult/child (AC) bindings that have a automatic vertical height adjustment on the AFD. I get the save some money part but IMHO, specifically with those boots, you might be asking for a greenstick tib/fib fracture or worse if the parents adjust the boots for their growing kid and forget to bring the ski/bindings in for adjustment.
     
  17. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Why? If they spec release moment ranges in the (x) y z planes, and maximum allowed discrepancy between measured release moment and indicated release moment, isn't that both a) sufficient and b) more accurate?
     
  18. mdf

    mdf back to being an ordinary Gatheree Skier

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    I read what Phil wrote as saying the mapping from torque to indicator value shown in the window is not fully specified by the standard.
    Maybe I didn't grok the point he was making.
     
  19. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Yes of course, but it's still say DIN 8, just with a +- value according to the standard. Otherwise, wth is the "indicator number" based on? A WAG?

    If the indicator value is based on the DIN value, then practically speaking "indicator value" = DIN +- ( some value). Just like your oven dial or readout. I thought there was a maximum deviation , like 1.5 between indicator and DIN. No?

    If the above is true, then it would be better to say the "indicator value" is the DIN value +- an allowed range. Why make this more complicated?
     
  20. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    I often switch from my Solomons to my Koflachs. The Koflachs are 308 mm BSL, the Solomons are 315 mm. Lucky for me they are both within the range (but nearer opposite ends) without me having to adjust the forward pressure.
     

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