The long awaited free pivot binding from TwentyTwo Designs! The Axl skis like the HammerHead, but with an easy to deploy free-pivot mode for touring. Its the first free-pivot binding with three cable guide positions so you can optimize your bindings for your skiing style and snow conditions. It comes with the easy to use HammerHeel climber, and is made of stainless steel and polycarbonate plastic, with our fail-proof military spec aircraft cables. It also uses the HammerHeads proven six hole mounting pattern, and large wings for maximum control.
|Pivot location:||directly under pin-line.|
|Riser height:||1.1 in (28mm) at rear, with a 2° degree ramp|
|Super durable:||2000 lb test cable attachments won't break, toepiece forces transmitted steel-to-steel.|
|Weight:||3.9 lbs per large pair, 3.7 lbs for small.|
|22 Designs Vice Telemark Binding||$177.94 - $219.95|
This is the only telemark binding I will use and here is why:
98% of my time on skis I am in the backcountry
100% of the time I want to have a binding that I am confident will not fail in the field
100% I go up for the fun on the way down
There are a lot of bindings on the market right now that offer a tour mode, but none of them offer such a responsive and active feel as the Axl.
When I tour I am busting my Ass to get to the top so I can have fun on the down. So for me a binding has to perform on the down, not just be a walking machine. Conversely, if I get crushed slogging some stiff overweight setup up the mountain I won't have the legs to ski the line how I want. The answer, well I think it's clearly the Axl.
The toe piece is made out of one solid piece of stainless steel and runs longer than any other telemark binding on the market. What does that mean? well it means that the ball of your foot, where most of your control comes from, is actually being harnessed more, so you have more control over your skis. Also it gives you more lateral rigidity so you can carve better. The spring that run underfoot and the cables that run along side give you the initiation and power that you are looking for to really drive your skis. Also the 3 pivot point options allow the rider to really dial in where the binding flexes to fit their unique style.
I have used these bindings everywhere from brutally cold days in AK to wet heavy BC to the champagne powder of the Wasatch and have never had them fail. Occasionally snow or ice can build up under the toe plate, but taking my pole tip to it for a couple taps does the trick and then I am ready to be locked and loaded. There are no cheesy and unnecessary plastic cover plates that keep you from accessing any mechanical part of the binding so you can always give a few taps and be on with it. The Axl is hands down the rock star of all touring bindings
Third season on the axles for more backcountry than resort. Love the binding's power in third position with spiffy springs. why not? You can free pivot on the way up. Do have to say I really loved borrowing my friends vector BC's mounted with Switchback two's the other day. I felt the switchback 2's had very similar power and feel, but the switch over was easier ( from tour to ski), and of course it's a lighter binding. Both american made which I like.
I will say I've got a pretty big repair kit for my axles that I never leave home with out. First off though, I never switch back into ski mode with out taking off the ski and cleaning out the ice or snow build up under the lock mechanism. Locked in, it's bomber, but if you force the bar forward into locked mode with ice present you are risking bending or breaking the attachment point to the lock bar. Not good on a 3-4 day trip...
So. I've broken a heel piece, I've lost the main pivot screw in front of the toe, and the rear transverse bar, the one I think the new crampon will be attached to, broke a spot weld at one end: I've replaced the pivot allen headed bolt with a regular 5/16" hex head bolt, with threads twice as long as the standard cap bolt. I did reassemble with a dot of epoxy, but I also watch it like a hawk.
I've also seen the power pin almost work itself out in use. I bought an extra pin, for that 1,2, or 3rd setting, but because that aforementioned rear most transverse bar which broke spot welds ( happening on both skis, I found), I use 1/4" bolts in the third setting, with double nuts on to keep from loosening and falling off. So I have the bolt tightened down enough to mitigate the transverse bar failure, and I keep the supplied power pin stored in the first hole just in case I need it. I'm using B&D crampons with a lock feature so I don't have to hear any clicking while climbing. The axle changed up my skiing. I love it, but would buy the switchbacks for the next boards.
After doing research of what bindings to use with tour mode, my choice was brought down to 3;
The Black Diamond o1, the 22 designs Axle, and the Voile Switchback . (Hadn't found the g3 Enzo yet)
As I was putting the bindings a pretty wide set of skis (Unleashed hell - 111mm waist 140mm tip), I wanted as much lateral control as possible.
I previously had Black Diamond o1's but agree with other users on the net that indicate there is a fair amount of slop in the hinge, and that the spring cartridges tend to change tension (second is an easy fix with some tape)
When I read that the Axle and the Voile were made in the US, that made me more willing to spend a bit of additional money on them.
Then I found and read the reviews for them at www.earnyourturns.com
The result was me choosing the Axl due to its high turning power markings. I can deal with the slightly lower Touring markings, as a lot of what I do is at a resort (planning on getting out more in the future tho!)
The Axle is a hefty, nice binding. The only drawback i've found to the BD is that it didn't come with a pre-printed mounting template - and the one provided on the internet needed some tweaking to print right on my printer (thank you GIMP/ignore margins/set pixle per inch indicator)
Note - there is not a review for the new version of the switchback.
I've been through the ringer of tele bindings over the better part of a decade. I've been victim of spring blowouts, frozen tour modes, binding rip-outs and on an on. After such a troubled past, it was difficult to have confidence in making a turn when charging hard or being in sketchy terrain.
The AXL restored my confidence in tele bindings. Unlike competitors, 22 Designs have always had 6 mounting screws from the start, so before I even rode them I began to have a sense of security in my binding. Additionally there is no lag in the mechanics between flexing your boot for the turn and activating the springs, which makes it a super responsive binding. This has been an issue in other brand models for me in the past. The tour mode rocks, easy to use and never freezes - check.
As a side note, I've also spoken with the 22 Designs guys through email and was shocked at how quickly they responded and helped me out. Awesome dudes!
My only gripe, which should be noted, is that they make different sized climbing wires HOWEVER they are not easily interchangeable. They have to be put on while the heel piece is being mounted, there is no easy swap out option, but this doesn't warrant a deduction in their 5 star rating for me.
Bottom line: These bindings ensured the utmost confidence in my riding, are very powerful, and have a burly construction. Two thumbs up!
I don't like to give 5 stars unless everything is perfect. However this binding sure comes close. Having skied the HH for years I knew what I was in for power wise.. this binding is even more powerful than the HH!
I just spent 8 days straight of burly touring the Tetons with this mounted via Quiver Killer inserts to some Volkyl Nanatuq's. Much of this trip was sub zero touring in dry powder. I love the free pivot tour mode which makes the binding just like an AT tourer. I didn't like the engagement/disengagement of this mode. Build-up of ice under the toe piece is something you need to stay on top of our the switch becomes jacked up. Not a big deal but something you need to be aware of. All in all a great binding that can use some tweaks to make it even better. Thankfully I don't have to switch to AT like all my buddy geezer skiers have all done!
Took these out about thirty times last year mounted on my fat skis, maybe twenty times skinning and the rest lift served at a pretty steep local spot. Only on soft snow days though. Response and feel is outstanding, did some adjusting of the pin at first, but now it pretty much chills in the rear position. The pin that allows the free pivot of the toe piece for walking got a bit loose after some heavy shred, but was easy enough to retighten with a dab of red locktite and two allen keys. Also a bit on the heavy side, but construction is very stout. I'm a little rough on my gear and I feel confident these will give me a lot of worry free days compared to some lighter bindings I have abused in the past. Overall, very satisfied.
These bindings do it all, plain and simple. They tour well, ski even better and are BURLY. They have a small ramp angle which helps eliminate rocker launch, made in the US and can also be outfitted with stiffy springs. The stiffy springs help drive larger, fatter skis and make the already active binding, that much more active. I have never broken a pair even weighing 250lbs with gear skinning and skiing on them. If your worried about the price, you shouldn't be, because they will be the last binding you buy.
Just picked up my second pair for another pair of skis. They did a great job of building a bomber binding for charging on any ski then releasing for easy skinning. Makes the bd's laughable...... Have a pair on Rossi s-6 and this new pair on substance skis Sherpa burns....
So, I've skied on a pair of the axls for 3 seasons now, and I can say that they perform just like the HH and are far more powerful than any other binding on the market. They are well worth their weight during the walk back up.
These are amazing for touring, and inbounds as well. I personally don't feel they are as burly as the Hammerheads but they are very close. I've had BD's and G3's and these are miles ahead of either.