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Are all pin inserts in touring boots standardised?
No, pin inserts in touring boots are not standardised.
In other words, boot manufacturers can simply create their own pin insert (design, material and position in the boot).
There is only the DIN ISO 9523 standard for touring boots. This standard specifies the design and dimensions of the boot soles and their contact area with the binding. Specifications for pin inserts in the boot do not exist in any standard
(for example the contact areas for “normal” ski bindings are mentioned, namely their design and dimensions. Pin inserts in the boot are not covered either in this standard or in any other. )
• All boot manufacturers can design the pin inserts in their boots at their own discretion (designed them as they wish).
• Many boot manufacturers build very good pin inserts (in terms of material, fit and position) while some do not.
Less good pin inserts can be identified by wildly fluctuating release values, heavy wear of the pin inserts in the boot and extremely poor ease of entry.
In summary: Ask your dealer for advice about boot selection.
Are touring bindings an “easy” substitute for ski bindings?
No, touring bindings / pin bindings are not a substitute for ski bindings.
Pin bindings were originally only developed as climbing aids. A pin binding is designed to enable you to climb easily and quickly.
A pin binding is definitely not an “easy ski binding”!
Incorrect release cycles can particularly occur during extreme use (freeride) as the elasticity of pin bindings is generally significantly lower than on conventional ski bindings.
Incorrect releases will be more frequent on wider skis (increase in tipping forces).
In summary: Think about how you generally wish to use your touring binding. Frame bindings are recommended for touring skiers who tend to freeride. If you are mainly interested in fast, easy ascents, pin bindings are ideal for you.
Can I always use the Z value of my normal the binding for my pin binding?
No, pin bindings (without ISO certification) should always be tested on your dealer’s binding adjustment device.
For pin bindings without an ISO certification, the specified Z value on the scale is often not the actual value.
If you only make the setting using the scale (without testing on the adjustment machine), it is possible that the binding will be set much too high (or too low).
The result of this can be incorrect releases or even no release in the event of a fall.
In summary: Have your touring binding adjusted to the appropriate Z value by an authorised dealer.
Is every touring boot compatible with every pin binding?
No, not every touring boot is compatible with every pin binding.
The standard for touring boots DIN ISO 9523 and the standard for touring ski bindings DIN ISO 13992 ensure that touring boots which comply with the standard are always compatible with bindings which comply with the standard.
However, both touring boot and binding manufacturers do not always adhere to the appropriate standards. Reasons for this failure to comply with the standards: Special objectives in terms of weight, design, construction or other unique selling point features which cannot satisfy the standard.
Not every touring boot is therefore compatible with every touring binding.
This often creates confusion in the shop and incorrect boot binding combinations are often sold and used.
In summary: Look for information in advance about the compatibility of boots and bindings, for example from the manufacturer or dealer.
The main thing is lightweight?! Material selection for touring boots – what should I look out for?
For many people buying new touring boots, the main feature is to buy boots which are as lightweight as possible. Particularly lightweight touring boots generally deliver good performance for climbing. In many cases, however, these boots are softer and therefore the do not provide the resistance required for good power transfer from the foot to the edge of the ski on downhill slopes.
The number of buckles provides a rough guide to the stability of a touring boot: The rule of thumb is that the more buckles it has, the more stable boot will be. For example, racing boots have a reduced number of buckles (one or two) to reduce weight. On the other hand, freeride-type touring boots often have four buckles. Three-buckle boots are a good compromise between the two.
You should be aware that in certain circumstances a touring boot which is too soft may result in incorrect releases or no defined release.
In summary: Consider how you will be using the equipment before you buy it.
What should I do before my first skiing tour?
Familiarise yourself with your equipment. Practise first of all in a secure, familiar environment.
Set the binding to climbing mode, set the various walking modes (0 degrees version and climbing aids), set downhill mode, locking features of the front jaw on pin bindings, practise climbing in and out of the binding.
(Lever to the front, lever to the rear, lever down, lever up, turn lever, etc. )
The handling of touring bindings requires a certain amount of practice and also some technical understanding. It is possible to make a large number of errors which can result in the binding not being released in the event of a fall.
Pin bindings are significantly less convenient than normal ski bindings for entering into the binding.
We highly recommend that inexperienced touring skiers familiarise themselves very closely with the equipment before starting on their first skiing tour.
Uncertainty relating to handling the equipment and poor conditions (icy / steep / windy / dark, etc.) will quickly bring in experienced touring skiers to the limits of their abilities
In summary: Familiarise yourself in great detail with your equipment and its functions. Practise on easy terrain. Never go out alone and initially, you should ideally accompany experienced touring skiers.
What skiing performance can I expect from a pin binding?
Classic pin bindings deliver reduced skiing performance by comparison with “normal” Alpine bindings as a result of their reduced contact areas and the poor power transfer resulting from them.
Touring bindings which only have two pins as contact and power transfer areas in the heel area deliver significantly poorer performance than bindings with a classic “ski binding heel”.
A lack of power transfer between the boot and ski results in significant reductions in performance.