Gear: Flexing With The Black Diamond O2 Bindings

Posted: March 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Gear | Tags: , , , , , | What do you think?

There comes a time in your life when you start to appreciate devices that use simple mechanics to operate.  These devices tend to be easier to understand and fix.  After all, if the clock on the VCR was equivalent to a binding, your dad would have never taken up telemark skiing.

The Black Diamond O2 telemark binding is no exception.  In all of its blue glory, this simple little device does what it’s supposed to do.

Courtesy of Black Diamond

For several months, I’ve been running these bindings on some Atomic boards, mainly for on piste skiing.  The setup includes the MidStiff cartridge and a pair of Crispi XP boots.  If you want something geared towards touring, I would recommend looking into the Black Diamond O1 binding which has a touring mode.

At a price point of $189.95 USD, these bindings present a burly design and a palatable weight.  At 3.3 lbs per pair, these bindings are relatively light on the slopes…

Using the MidFlex cartridge seems to work well with mid-stiff bellows.  The flex of the cables feel smooth and natural and I usually forget that the binding is the component that is holding me down onto the ski.

Additionally, you can purchase the cartridge separately in three different stiffnesses which cost $64.95 USD:

  • FreeFlex – as you can imagine, soft
  • MidStiff – stiffer than FreeFlex, seemed to work well with my mid-stiff bellows
  • Ridiculously Stiff – mainly for power hungry types

For the most part, these bindings have proven to be solid in every kind of terrain I could throw at it including ice, bumps, steeps, powder, and trees.

However, you’ll need to take the following suggestions into consideration for a trouble-free day on the slopes. First, you’ll need to tweak and check the preload before you head out – you need to ensure that you haven’t overtightened or over-loosened the cartridges, and that they haven’t come loose on their own.  Secondly, locking the heel throw on the heel block will alleviate a lot of cartridge loosening symptoms.  It’s really embarrassing when you’re making turns and your ski comes off. Finally, don’t forget to purchase the ski leash and optional climbing wire as these accessories are not included.

Overall, I’m happy with the performance of these bindings.  They are simple to operate and provide a nice flex (with the right boot). I would recommend these bindings for anyone wanting to ski on piste.

What kind of bindings do you use?  Share your comments with us!

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