Hot off the press, here are most changes slated for retail version of Beast 16 vs the beta test version we played with last winter. While we do have some photos we’ll keep this as text for now, pending verified images of the actual retail binding. As far as we can tell, at first glance the retail version looks essentially the same as the binding we’ve pictured here at WildSnow.
First off, the Dynafit engineers redesigned most binding parts with tighter tolerances. Result, less play. This will be most noticeable in the heel track, which did have some play on the beta-proto (we’d indeed been told this would be eliminated, so we felt no need to dwell on it).
List of the most important changes (others were made as well):
– Slightly changed with more free space to accommodate various brands/model boots.
– Black plastic “touring lock” lever will click-lock into touring mode, to prevent inadvertant return to ski mode due to it flipping up from things like snow pressing against it. The lever will also act as an opening trigger for the binding.
– Spring force at the toe wings is increased so it closes more reliably on your boot toe fittings.
– Base plate will have an added feature (small flanges) to help guide your boot toe while stepping in.
Rear unit, Beast 16:
– Stronger, more positive brake retraction when pressing down the first (lower) heel lifter for touring mode.
– High lifter snaps more strongly into position.
– Lengthened vertical release elasticity (boot heel can move higher before triggering release).
– Forward pressure spring (located under the rear base plate) is beefed for reliable step-in.
– Redesigned base plate for reliable brake locking when switching to tour mode.
Big one to watch here will be durability of the Beast heel base slider track. Reason being that without a “tech gap” the heel unit will be constantly moving for/aft while in use. This system will have to be sufficiently wear resistant or it will develop play.
Beast will begin retail sales around October 1, 2013.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.