Saga nutshell: While perfect for many folks, Dynafit TLT5 has too much forward lean for me. I thus had to change the lean angle because these are beautiful boots and I want to feel beautiful while I ski them.
At first, the idea of modifying the lean lock of the Dynafit TLT5 boot really turned me off. Mainly because of the time it would take (along with the possibility of messing up a thousand dollar pair of shoes). Instead, to reduce ramp and and thus reduce forward lean I was considering shimming up the toe unit of all my skis/bindings. Shimming would have been ideal in terms of ergonomics, but did I really want to be re-mounting everything I’m skiing on, and having to suffer while doing ski demos due to the “ever changing angle syndrome”? Nope. Instead, four hours of shop time yielded a set of modified lean-lock plates that reduced cuff angle 3 degrees (that may not sound like much, but as a percentage it is quite a bit and noticeable). The moment I’d finished this mod I uphilled about 2,000 vert then made a nice run down that included groom and chop in equal doses. Ahhhhhhh, perfect. Yes, get everything tuned and the TLT5-P boots truly do perform at around a pound less weight per boot than most other options.
The project took me a while because I had to manufacture the correct size bar stock, using my table saw and a belt sander. With pre-sized aluminum bar stock I could do this project in a couple of hours. Locating the new lock hole in the plate was easy; I simply dropped it as low as possible while still using the stock rivet that going any lower would have to eliminate. I figured if I got rid of too much forward lean, I could always add some shim or a small spoiler — or simply thicken the liner by re-heating it (I aggressively compressed the liner cuff rear during my last mold, to reduce forward lean.) The hole was cut using a drill bit, a roto-cutter, and a hand file. It is ugly, but works.
Funny thing was, the most challenging part of the job was getting the rivets installed nicely. For starters, I lacked a rivet countersink bit in the correct size, so I did a sloppy job by countersinking with a regular twist drill. More, I couldn’t find long enough 5/32 rivets at the hardware store, the length I used tended to barely extend beyond the backing washers.
There we go. Instead of having a guy in Italy pick what forward cuff lean I’m using, I’ll pick it myself thank you very much. A variety of “lean plates” could of course be manufactured and sold for this boot — and apparently will be by Dynafit for the 2011/2012 season. It is said they’ll sell two types of plates, one that increases the lean, and one that decreases it. To install, I suspect a boot fitter would simply remove the stock plate and rivet in the new one. But perhaps Dynafit has made it even easier than that by simply providing a different version of the whole inner rear “spoiler” with the plate attached.
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.