Gear Review

5 5

22 designs

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.

Responded on

Yes, I have been disappointed with the failure rate of a binding that is marketed as bomber. Seems it just breaks like all other tele bindings. Nonetheless, a good binding by telemark standards. A couple of points of you:
- The "transverse bar" was changed in later production. I had the same issue and 22 Designs rebuilt my binding to latest spec for a hefty fee. Well out of warranty.
- The heel throw has also changed design to attempt to address breakage. I also snapped one. Important tip is to ensure that you are not winding the spring tension too tight. The heel throw should snap into place, but does not need to be any tighter than that. Best to carry a spare, as I am sure you do. Couple of guys called Bluebird Day Gear are prototyping a universal metal heel throw to address this issue. http://instagram.com/bluebirddaygear.
- The Axl crampon is a dog. The tabs that hold it to the binding have bent on both trips I have used it on. Yesterday they bent so bad that the crampon detached. Sounds like you are having more success with the B&D crampon.