Bindings for EXTREMECARVING > Review: F2 Race Titanium

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Bindings for EXTREMECARVING > Review: F2 Race Titanium

Postby fivat » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 12:02

Here is the translation of my review posted in the French Forum (special thanks to yomama).
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Winter is just around the corner and I have many inquiries about the bindings that we use :) As promised, here is the review.

To the visitors of this Web site, we would like to recommend two high performance bindings models for extremecarving (tested and approved!):
  • a top of the line model: the Bomber TD2, used by Jacques (with custom tunings), can be found on www.bomberonline.com (USA) or www.oxess.ch (Switzerland, German language).
  • a more economical model in sales in ski/snowboard shops (or online on Blue Tomato, Austria) and tested by yours truly to prove that they are a fit for extremecarving ;-)
For 4 years, I used the HEAD Stealth DNA. To be accurate, it was before 2003, they were made by BLAX... which was then bought by HEAD which kept the same design but with different color. During the 2004-2005 season, I switched to the F2 Race Titanium which is very similar to the HEAD/BLAX. Meanwhile, HEAD discontinued the production of those bindings. That’s too bad for them!

F2 Race Titanium bindings:
Image

Comparison F2 vs. HEAD: they are very similar!
Image

Note, the bails are identical.
But the F2 have a 5 mm diameter vs. HEAD 4.5 mm.
Image


This winter I will continue to ride with those F2 bindings. That said, I also plan to use the Bomber TD2 with some custom tweaking (thanks to Jacques for the great job). This could be a subject for another thread which has been discussed at length by Jacques: TD2 test.

Note: the Swoard team exclusively uses standard bindings and not Intec ones (or Step-in) that are too stiff laterally for extremecarving (remark: we do not use canting nor high bindings angles). The Intec are also very poor to vibration absorption...


:arrow: Well, back to the F2 Race Titanium review!
General impression: I love them! They are even better than the HEAD, which I no longer use. From now on, I would like to recommend the F2 for the economical purchase option (for 219 Euros on Blue Tomato, they are not really cheap and the price has increased since last year from 189 Euros, grrr!). They work very well for extremecarving on good snow.


Detailed impressions:
I would like to pick where Jacques left off (see this post and this post in the French Forum) and complete his small review.
I would like to confirm the followings:

Compactness. The plastic levers are identical to HEAD and the best I have ever tried. They are very close to the boots which is essential for front side laid turns. With other bindings, I touch the snow, which is unpleasant on hard snow or icy conditions.

The bindings are also very low which is excellent. From our experiences, the bindings that are too high are not recommended for extremecarving. The lever’s arms which transmit the forces to the edges during a carve are too large. Some feels to the snow are also lost as a result. Note that Jacques brought down his Bomber TD2 bindings by 3 mm and he felt the improvement right away!

Image Image


Other positive points:
  • They can be mounted and tuned quickly.
  • I felt that more power was generated compared to the HEAD and this translated into carving with even more authority on the snow :twisted: This can be explained by the larger bails diameter (0.5 mm more): F2 bails are slightly stiffer.
  • This model is widely available in store (well in Europe…) and parts are quite easy to find. The old HEAD bails can be used since they are identical but are a bit more fragile (4.5 mm instead of 5 mm).
Negative points:
  • On icy or very hard snow, a bit of "wobbling" ("woolliness") can be felt as Jacques said. This is typical to this type of bindings (without a central disk) which prevent the board to bend in a nice arc for carving or extremecarving. To my surprise, I lost the rail on ice for a few occasions while Jacques carved by me without any problems on his TD2. Maybe the very economical F2 Carve RS has a softer base and would be able to flex under the bindings. We should test it...
  • The bails started to rust only after a day!!
  • A Forum member broke a bail after a season. For me personally, I did not break one after 20 days with those bindings. But I do expect them to break eventually. The HEAD/BLAX bails broke 2-3 times a season, but this is due to their smaller diameter of 0.5 mm.
  • On occasions, the front bail may be stuck in the plastic base as shown below and prevent the bail to close. The work around is to pinch the bail with your hand while moving it. It’s not big deal but it’s a disappointment from a maker like F2.

Image Image


Last note: those bindings are also popular with racers (they called it "race" with a purpose in mind ;-) ). Swiss racer Heinz Inniger won the World Cup parallel slalom last October 16th in Sölden (Austria)... with those bindings (standard model).


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Postby Whitey » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 14:00

Hey that is very informatical review! I mounted F2 bails on top of my Fins Race Carbon plates. I can hardly wait to test them with my new NW boots.
http://www.takamaasto.net/boards/bindings.jpg
Anyhow, thanks for the nice review! :chinese:
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Fin's carbon / F2 Race Titanium mix

Postby fivat » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 14:08

Whitey wrote:I mounted F2 bails on top of my Fins Race Carbon plates. I can hardly wait to test them with my new NW boots.
http://www.takamaasto.net/boards/bindings.jpg

Wow cool! Excellent work and nice idea!
I loved the Fin's carbon in the past, before my first BLAX. The bails broke all the time (5-6 times per season!). I think your bindings will work well with the F2 bails!
:bravo:

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Postby mrtko » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 19:38

Does anybody know if there had been major change from last years model to the new one.
With a fast look I only see the design (= colour) which has changed.
Because models from last year are available with appr. 150 EURs via ebay!
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Postby Hans » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 19:49

mrtko wrote:Does anybody know if there had been major change from last years model to the new one.
With a fast look I only see the design (= colour) which has changed.
Because models from last year are available with appr. 150 EURs via ebay!

No major changes, only colors have changed throughout the years, so buy them for the cheapest price you can find.

Greets, Hans.
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Postby schatten » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 20:36

mrtko wrote:Does anybody know if there had been major change from last years model to the new one.
With a fast look I only see the design (= colour) which has changed.
Because models from last year are available with appr. 150 EURs via ebay!

AFAIK there was no change for more than five years, except the color and the fact that there are now two different lengths available.
I wonder if there was any change at all since they were introduced by Proflex.
I recently bought a new pair (Season 02/03) for 90.- EUR.
Signature closed due to revision!
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Postby rilliet » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 20:37

Do they need to change a binding that is nearly perfect?

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Wider Front Bails?

Postby rcrobar » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 21:14

Hi Patrice

Thank you for the great review!

I have one thought/idea/question with regards to the front bail getting stuck.

fivat wrote:On occasions, the front bail may be stuck in the plastic base as shown below and prevent the bail to close. The work around is to pinch the bail with your hand while moving it. It’s not big deal but it’s a disappointment from a maker like F2.

I remember you mentioning that you break both front and read bails, Jacques has also mentioned ( I think) that he has broken only heel bails (TD2). Jacques has put forth great effort to make custom (stronger) rear bails, but for whatever reason the stock TD2 toe bail has not bent. For the record I too have only broken rear bails the TD2.

Also, one of the modifications made to the TD2/Northwave combination was making the front toe bail wider. This was done by using longer TD2 shoulder bolts (TD2 step-in shoulder bolts are longer than standard TD2 shoulder bolts). This HAD to be done because the wide toe box of the Northwave boots made it impossible to close the lever. Even with the wider bail, I still see marks on the front of my NW boots, where the side of the front bail contacts the side of the toe box. The pictures Patrice has posted of his F2 bindings seem to indicate that the side of the front bail and the NW boot leave very little, if any room, for movement.

Add to this Patrices famous heel side EC turn. In particular notice Patrices front boot during the heel side EC turn, it REALLY rolls laterally in the binding/bail.

My observation/question(s) is this:


Why do Jacques TD2 front bails not bend or break? Is it technique, equipment or both that has caused this?

Did the F2 bindings ‘get stuck’ when they were band new? My guess is that Patrices famous heel sides require A LOT of lateral movement, this has caused the front bail to first get wider, then get stuck, then eventually break.

Rob
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Postby mrtko » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 21:46

rilliet wrote:Do they need to change a binding that is nearly perfect?

There is defenately no need for a change, but ....
there would also be no need to change to price upwards !!!
:wink:
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Re: Wider Front Bails?

Postby sorro » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 21:59

rcrobar wrote:Did the F2 bindings ‘get stuck’ when they were band new? My guess is that Patrices famous heel sides require A LOT of lateral movement, this has caused the front bail to first get wider, then get stuck, then eventually break.

Hi Rob,

Interesting, that's a observation I also made in the French forum: when I broke my front bails on my F2 race titanium last year, I remember that it get stuck a few time before it broke and it did not happen when it was band new, and my front bail on the rear binding never get stuck. So I guess this pb may be due to the deformation of the bails and as a consequence the first sign that it will shortly break... so be carrefull Patrice :wink:

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Postby rilliet » Tuesday 15 November 2005, 23:07

rcrobar wrote:Why do Jacques TD2 front bails not bend or break? Is it technique, equipment or both that has caused this?

Rob, you can see on the pictures of my TD2 review that I have cut the front bails a little bit to make them more vertical. This shifts their position more on the nose of the Northwaves and give more room for lateral movements.

On the Patrice and Nils modified front bails (with the Catek levers) I had to bend the bails a little bit, making them more flat in order to give this little bit more room to the boot.

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Re: Wider Front Bails?

Postby fivat » Wednesday 16 November 2005, 14:59

Hello Rob!

rcrobar wrote:In particular notice Patrices front boot during the heel side EC turn, it REALLY rolls laterally in the binding/bail.

Damn, you see everything :D

Here is a picture of my old BLAX bindings in action. You are right 8)

But it doesn't explain the stuck bail problem. Both BLAX bails (front and rear foot) were never stuck in the plastic base! :o I have experienced this problem only with HEAD and F2. Along to other riders, this problem could have been solved recently (2004-2005 production).

I will observe my F2 and Bomber bindings during the turns this winter. It's boring to watch the snow ;-)

Patrice Fivat
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boots_bindings_during_turn.jpg
BLAX bindings in action.
Note the difference in the toes area, front and rear.
boots_bindings_during_turn.jpg (30.84 KiB) Viewed 22705 times
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Postby Rietzschel » Wednesday 16 November 2005, 23:11

To Patrice,

Glad with that test :D Last year I've bought the F2 Titanium bindings too. Along came a disk and a few rubbers which I've placed with the theorie in mind not to disturb the arc of the board during the turn.

fivat wrote:On icy or very hard snow, a bit of "wobbling" ("woolliness") can be felt as Jacques said. This is typical to this type of bindings (without a central disk) which prevent the board to bend in a nice arc for carving or extremecarving.

Now the question:
You probably have tried the disc somewhere in your carriere :wink: Why did you choose to mount the bindings without the disk and thus choose for a less smooth arc in the board since there is so much pressure during the turn?

Grtz. Guido
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Postby MarkN » Wednesday 16 November 2005, 23:19

Patrice,

Great review on the f2 binding. I've never had a problem though with the bail getting stuck -- perhaps there is something wrong with the one you have?
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Postby melvin » Thursday 17 November 2005, 11:17

@Whitey:

The baseplate of the Fin's Race Carbon look very much like baseplate of a binding that I used some years ago: Niedecker Carbon Comp. Allthough difficult to adjust I was quite happy with them, but only until I noticed hairline cracks in the plastic discs that hold down the baseplates. Also the discs of your bindings look exactly like mine, so you might want to examine your bindings (esp. the discs) from time to time.

I replaced them with F2 Titanium (Intec) and love them.
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