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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Thumbs down Fritchi Freeride breakage

    So I was touring in the berner oberland this past week, with a pair of k2 launchers mounted with a set of freerides of the grey and yellow kind. On the bottom of a mountain we took of our skis to put skins on. Klank! - and the whole backpiece on one of the bindings came off, breakage on the plastic piece right under the toes. The binding was no longer useable. I was able to get the boot to hang on to the binding, put it in skiing mode and walk back to the hut. But just barely. The hut guardian, Heinz (cool guy at the finsteraarhut) was able to set me up with a diamir binding. So things worked out, but that was pure luck, I'd say.

    I have noticed previously that when I put weight on the toes in the boots, the distance from the toe piece to the front of the boot has diminished on one of the bindings. This has been there for a while, and indicates that there has been a weakness there for some time. But I haven't been able to spot it.

    Sorry - no pics. But I will try to explain where the breakage is. If anyone else has a pic of a freeride binding - frontpiece - I'll try to explain based on that.

    Verbal explanation: Underneath the toe there is a plastic piece that makes the bar and the heelpiece hold together with the frontpiece. This plasticpiece is maybe 4 cm wide and 6 cms long. It turns out that this piece is part of the construction that holds the whole binding together. And - well - it is plastic. And it just broke off. It probably took some time, but I don't do super hucks or anything like that.

    Shit - my confidence in freerides are rapidly fading.
    All work and no play, ... you know...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    100

    :(

    Quote Originally Posted by KANUTTEN
    but I don't do super hucks or anything like that.
    Just some avy-surfing

    I would really like to see a picture, maybe I can take one of mine, I think I will have to go home and look at my bindings to understand what you mean.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Norway
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gurterno
    Just some avy-surfing

    I would really like to see a picture, maybe I can take one of mine, I think I will have to go home and look at my bindings to understand what you mean.


    [/QUOTE]

    Picture theft complete.

    You see the plastic piece with a red dot in it (yellow dot on the old grey and yellow one)? That is the piece that broke. Towards the back of that piece (towards the heel) you see 3 horizontal "crevices" in the plastic. The piece broke off along the middle one of these "crevices". Also, underneath the piece where you can not see right now, there are cracks in the plastic "ridges" that run alongside the long metal bar. After it had cracked off completely the healpiece with the bar come loose alltogether from the toepiece.

    When this breakage has occured the actual toepiece that connects to your boot becomes all loose and wobbly, and unable to give any support to the boot. The actual toepiece (the grey toepiece on the grey version) is actually supported by this black piece of plastic, and this black piece of plastic needs to be in place in order for the grey toe piece to function. And it is plastic...

    My hypothesis as to how this has happened is that I might have stepped into the binding with some snow under my boot. When skiing this snow has made the power from my skiing connedt to that plastic piece instead of connecting to the metal which again connects to the ski. Just a theory.

    In any event, just subjectively I find it hard to trust a binding that just falls to pieces without any previous signals.

    WTB;
    A set of Dynafit Comfort bindings and a pair of good Dynafit compatible AT boots particularly suitable for wide and low arched feet.

    WTS;
    One piece of Fritschi freeride in - ahem - fine working order.

    Swap deals will be considered......
    Last edited by KANUTTEN; 04-03-2006 at 08:21 AM.
    All work and no play, ... you know...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    747
    Any chance it received some original damage when you got caught in the avalanche?

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Norway
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnoe
    Any chance it received some original damage when you got caught in the avalanche?
    Some original damage was done before the avvy - long before - like a year ago. This is when I started noticing that when I put weight on my toe, the toepiece sort of moved slightly towards the boot. This is, I have concluded now, a 100% sign that there was a weakness in the piece that broke.

    That being said, it is quite likely that the put additional strain to the weakened piece. It was in walking mode, and the binding had not released in the avvy. Think about the forces all that snow and skis in walking mode being shuffled around. Yeah, I think it is quite likely that the piece got weakened by the avvy.

    The actual break was about one full day later though. After about 1000 vertical meters of skiing downhill, and about 6 hours of walking.

    One positive thing needs to be said about fritschi though. The hutguardian at the finsteraarhut (Heinz) had a couple of different fritschi bindings that he just put on my skis as a replacement. Now I am supposed to do some formalities, and I will get a new freeride piece for free (supposedly). It is a part of a program that fritschi has going in the swiss alps I think. Not bad, allthough I would rather have bindings that held together.
    All work and no play, ... you know...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    CA Central Coast
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    261
    Current version of Freerides much more robust than the old grey and yellow version. I have not seen or heard of any breakage issues...just the "insta-tele" problem. I think the insta-tele "flaw" is a result of ice and/or snow build-up under riser assembly not being removed prior to lock down on descent (just my theory). I am 6'1" and 195# and ski hard. Never had an issue. I own three pairs. They should be even burlier next season. No, I am not a BD spokesperson.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    People's Republic of Shitshow
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    7,617
    so glad I got rid of my sloprides....

  8. #8
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    Oct 2004
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    Norway
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    Quote Originally Posted by StaggerLee
    Current version of Freerides much more robust than the old grey and yellow version. I have not seen or heard of any breakage issues...just the "insta-tele" problem. I think the insta-tele "flaw" is a result of ice and/or snow build-up under riser assembly not being removed prior to lock down on descent (just my theory). I am 6'1" and 195# and ski hard. Never had an issue. I own three pairs. They should be even burlier next season. No, I am not a BD spokesperson.
    I am not sure it is with regards to the piece in question. I actually think the piece that broke is identical on the grey version and on next years freeride plusses.

    I actually haven't heard of my kind of breakage before. I wonder if there are other examples. Bindings are very subjective. If you don't have confidence in them, they aren't good enough. I have trouble reestablishing confidence in that piece of... plastic.
    All work and no play, ... you know...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Eurozone
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    2,682
    Now will you post pics or what?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Norway
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks
    Now will you post pics or what?
    I am a retarded person, technologically speaking. Besides, my girlfriend have strong doubts regarding the wisdom of having naked pics of herself on the intraweb...
    All work and no play, ... you know...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wilson, Wyo.
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    Sorry to hear about your problems. When a Titanal 2 model I had earlier this year finally broke at the toe piece (different spot from yours...and this was an *old* binding with many, many days on it), I looked back and realized it had been giving me signs of the toepiece loosening for 1-2 days prior. I didn't think much of it -- I just tightened the toe (and it loosened up again before breaking).

    I personally think Fritschis are solid bindings...it's just than any AT binding requires more attention/care/inspection before we go out on it...especially when it's on a long tour. I don't think this is so much the fault of Fritschi or the binding as it is a lesson that we should watch for those warning signs in all lightweight and/or touring bindings.

    One question: Were you using alpine or AT boots when this occurred? Do you ever use alpine boots in that binding?

    I believe that many more Fritschi problems are caused by using alpine boots in the bindings and the greater stresses those boots place on the binding (vs. a softer AT boot that absorbs some of those stresses and transmits less to the binding). Just my theory.

  12. #12
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    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    Kanutten - thanks for posting this up. Ive never seen that part break. Just a couple of days ago i was over at the Canadian fritschi distributor and peeked into the warranty box - no broken parts like that. But having seen a disassembled toe bar i can see how that could break. Its good to have more data like that!

  13. #13
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    Oct 2004
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    Norway
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    I have been using alpine boots in the binding quite a bit, but not when this happened. I agree that you need to be more aware of the state of your AT bindings, but nontheless this breakage reduces my degree of confidence in them.

    I do have pics on my cameraphone, but not the ability to load them on to the net. If anyone would like to help, they could pm me their phonenumber, I would send the pic's to them, and they could post the pics on the net. Just if it is wanted, of course.
    All work and no play, ... you know...

  14. #14
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    Nov 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by KANUTTEN
    I have been using alpine boots in the binding quite a bit, but not when this happened. I agree that you need to be more aware of the state of your AT bindings, but nontheless this breakage reduces my degree of confidence in them.
    Right....but your post seemed to indicate that the "break" really occured a couple days before they failed. The weakness was introduced while using alpine boots.

    This is still just a theory, but since I've had no problems with all my Fritschis over many hundreds of days (all in AT boots), I'm thinking that there could be some correlation between alpine boots & Fritschi trouble.

    That said, they are supposedly designed to handle the stresses of alpine boots, it just seems like they don't last as long.

    Has anyone ever had an issue with squeaking/creaking? A pair of Freerides (on Gotamas) is pretty squeaky, but otherwise seems to check out OK. I'm wondering if I should pull 'em off, put some glue in the holes to water-seal them, and try it again.

    I can't seem to recreate the squeak indoors, but on the hill it's very noticeable.

  15. #15
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    Mar 2006
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    14,375
    Quote Originally Posted by upallnight

    Has anyone ever had an issue with squeaking/creaking? A pair of Freerides (on Gotamas) is pretty squeaky, but otherwise seems to check out OK. I'm wondering if I should pull 'em off, put some glue in the holes to water-seal them, and try it again.

    Must be a got thing. That's all I hear when skiing in fluff. Squeak squeak sweek. Kind of similar to the freeheel squeak when you're climbing for hours and getting really annoyed by it.

    These are old blue titanal IIs that were brand new when I mounted them at the beginning of 04/05 season on new gotamas.

    Always wonderful when you find a certain chemistry between components.

    I checked them endlessly at first......release tests, loose screws etc.....never found anything wierd. I gave up.

  16. #16
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    Nov 2005
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    Wilson, Wyo.
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    3,969
    Quote Originally Posted by kidwoo
    Must be a got thing. That's all I hear when skiing in fluff. Squeak squeak sweek. Kind of similar to the freeheel squeak when you're climbing for hours and getting really annoyed by it.

    These are old blue titanal IIs that were brand new when I mounted them at the beginning of 04/05 season on new gotamas.

    Always wonderful when you find a certain chemistry between components.

    I checked them endlessly at first......release tests, loose screws etc.....never found anything wierd. I gave up.
    Yeah, never had a problem on any other ski I'd mounted Fritschis... hmmm. Every once in a while I focus on it, then I start to worry...but the binding still seems to check out and the skiing isn't affected.

  17. #17
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    Oct 2004
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    Norway
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    Quote Originally Posted by upallnight
    Right....but your post seemed to indicate that the "break" really occured a couple days before they failed. The weakness was introduced while using alpine boots.

    This is still just a theory, but since I've had no problems with all my Fritschis over many hundreds of days (all in AT boots), I'm thinking that there could be some correlation between alpine boots & Fritschi trouble...
    Could be that the alpines have contributed. The first weakness in the binder was noticed prolly more than a year ago. Can't really pin down if this was when using alpine or at boots.

    Normally the force from the boot to the ski should go almost directly to the metal pieces in the binding that are attached to the ski. My theory is that possibly some snow buildup have made the force go to this plastic piece instead, and has made it break.

    Again this is just a theory, but if it can happen it is a weakness in the fritschi design.


    But as this hasn't happened to anyone else, it could be that the weakness happened when I kicked the binding repeatedly with alpine boots walking home after the after ski. Maybe
    All work and no play, ... you know...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    760
    Update on the Fritschi hutbinding replacement program;

    So I broke my binding in the swiss alps. Got my ass to the nearest hut and he replaced my freeride binding with a titanal II binding (which is the only thing he got). I was told I would get a new binding if I did some paperwork back home (=Norway). So I did. The binding is 3-4 years old so no warranty as such. But sure enough, got home; a shop that carries fritschi (I didn't even buy the binding there) replaced my old binding in no time.

    So big props for the Fritschi hutbinding replacement program
    All work and no play, ... you know...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    ...gone.
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    Every time I've picked a pair of those things up I think

    - I weigh over 200lbs
    - I wreck gear easily
    - there's a lot of plastic bits here
    - and these bindings are butt ugly

    then I put 'em back down again.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wilson, Wyo.
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    3,969
    Quote Originally Posted by bad_roo
    Every time I've picked a pair of those things up I think

    - I weigh over 200lbs
    - I wreck gear easily
    - there's a lot of plastic bits here
    - and these bindings are butt ugly

    then I put 'em back down again.
    So....what gear, then, do you use for long tours? Short tours?

    How often do you tour?

    What % of your tours involve skinning?

    Do you ever use AT boots?

    Curious to hear what you select given your weight + gear-bashing constraints.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    48
    Broke a pair today - skiing with the boy on a groomer. They suck.

    I'm 200 lbs and ski hard - have used dynafits inbounds for the last few years with few problems. Bought some ski's this year and had the freerides so I figured they would be fine inbounds. No such luck. Now I have a brand new pair of skis with no binding................

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    7,805
    how did they break?
    what condition were the bindings in before you bought them?
    did you do a thorough inspection to make sure everything was alright before skiing on them?
    have you tried calling BDel for a replacement?
    Their warranty dept is awesome.

    Im sure if UAN sees this thread he'll have questions of his own.

    being used you really dont have any real insight into what may have happened to them.

  23. #23
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    Nov 2005
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    Wilson, Wyo.
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    harpo: any relevant details that you can share?

    the only pair i've ever broken had 200+ days on them and there were clues they were going to break.

    please share some details....otherwise your posts are not doing anyone any good.

    sorry for your trouble.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    48
    I bought them a few years back to replace a pair of original dynafit tristeps which had toe lockout problems. I was waiting for a replacement toe for the tristeps and decided to switch to freerides and sell the tristeps when I got the new toe pieces.

    Toured on the freerides a couple of days, skied them inbounds with my kids, groomers only.

    I thought the dynafits toured better and didn’t like the play in the fritchis so when the new dynafits came I gave them another chance. I put the freerides in my closet and didn’t use them for a couple of years.

    This year I bought a pair of sugar daddies for inbound use. I wanted to use my touring boots because they are comfy and stiff enough for me. After perusing the AT boots in regular bindings thread I decided to just use the freerides sitting in the closet.

    This year I skied them for 2 hours with the kids last week. On the first run yesterday I hit some hard pack and chattered the ski, then fell and the binding exploded. The din was set at 8.

    Looking at the bindings at home, the heel lock lever was broken on one side. What I think happened was that the heel lock piece cracked when I chattered the ski, it then bent out enough to allow the heel to unlock (there was slight damage on the end of the tab on the main bar) then I fell and when I tried to stand up while sliding the main bar got ripped out of the toe since the heel was no longer attached.

    All of this happened on a groomer (the easy slope just above the Collins shelter at alta) going about 10-15 mph.

    So the bindings were essentially new. They broke on a groomer. They do not tour as well as the dynafit. They do not have as responsive an attachment to the ski as the dynafit.

    What are they good for?

    If I can get a replacement I’ll give them another chance since I don’t want to redrill them and don’t want to buy new bindings but it’ll take awhile before I’ll trust them (if ever).

    I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

    What else would you like to know?

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    awesome data harpo. It adds new knowledge so that I know what to check for on my Fritschis.

    One question. Is there visible signs of cracking on the other binding heel?

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