20 January, 2011

Plum Guide Binding Overview

Stoked!  The Plum Guide is here in North America, and it's insanely nice!  Plum, a CNC company out of France, who create cutting edge designs in the ski mountaineering binding game.  Having already cornered the market on the super light race bindings, the Race 135's, 145's, and 185's, now have a binding for the burly ski mountaineers looking for a higher DIN.

Enter the Plum Guides, a meticulously designed ultralight binding that has been designed for hardcore users.  Weighing in at only 335g per foot the Guide takes the edge over it's competition, the Dynafit FT12, weighing 530g per foot.  It's beautifully CNC'd design, not only makes the binding more robust, but by far more stiff and rigid to ski.  This advantage will translate down to the skis, allowing them to hold a better edge on steep exposed ice, and ski even more like a downhill binding.  On a closer look they have even more to offer than just any 'tech' system.
(Photo Above: Integrated Crampon Slot)

The toe's are designed with a full metal locking lever for the toe, also a big advantage, as I have seen many plastic levers broken in the cold or due to crashing into rocks, alder, or other skiers.  It is also one single piece, opposed to other competition models, which are two separate pieces and are made with one part plastic.  The toes have the same beautiful engineering as all their race bindings, and also have a crampon insert directly molded in with the overall frame of the toe.

The heel is pretty cool looking.  It's only plastic piece, the main body and housing for the springs, is actually made from aerospace polymer to ensure the bindings stay light.  Like the polymer, the aluminum and steel, on the heel and toe are also aerospace grade.  What skiers may find is that the volcano, or climbing aid, is much easier to turn and less likely to break as it has also been CNC'd out of metal.  Yep, no more pesky climbing aid breaks in the backcountry!

The heel does not have a rearward adjustment screw, like it's competition, but a wider sliding platform that adjusts and screws in on a track (pictured on the right).  Having been modifying and trying to find the widest and most stable options, for many high end freeskiers wanting to huck more, I am happy to see the slightly wider metal platform.  As a result it will stand up to hucking, skiing high speed through debris, and generally poor snow conditions far better.  The track itself has 30mm of adjustment in it, so you can swap multiple models of boots, and sizes without having to re-drill your skis.  The DIN is set at 12, for both the lateral and forward release settings.  Steep skiers will be happy to know the rear pins are quite long allowing for a great deal of negative flex of the ski in awkward conditions, and barely any chance of popping out unexpectedly.

Although the bindings do not yet have brakes, do not fear, Plum is already designing one for the Guide which should be out shortly.  That being said, brakes are just more weight!  One cool feature, which also sets these bindings apart is they have been TUV certified, making them the only TUV certified tech system on the market.

Overall, these bindings have a lot going for them.  Expect to see even more fantastic designs and models in the very near future from Plum.  Having been sworn to secrecy, I can honestly only say, this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Ski Mountaineers, Racers, and hard skiing Freeskiers should take note of these designs as this the path I see ski gear trending towards.  If you want to get a pair, The Escape Route, in Whistler has them here. Plum also has multiple different models, with lower climbing aids, and lower DIN's so check them out here.


  1. The future will be interesting for Dynafit and these new companies. Being a relatively large company, Dynafit is obviously swayed more by how their bindings are perceived by the public. The ever-proven and solid tourlite seemed flimsy, so Dynafit added lots of bulky plastic to make them seem more robust, and lots of gimmicks to make them more user-friendly.

    Whereas a small company like Plum can cater to the knowledgeable core. I know how to step into my binding in powder, I don't need guides to make it easier (new Dynafit 'toe towers'). Plum is just building strong, no-nonsense bindings that remind me of the original tourlites (but all metal).

    But Dynafit is a badass company and will always innovate. Just varying priorities.

  2. I have three tours on mine so far (review coming up....) and generally agree with your assessments. Essentially the weight of the Speed with the release values and pin lengths of the FT12, along with various features trickled down from rando race bindings.

  3. So stoked on these, skied them a bunch now, and am fully sold on them! The toe pins feel great as well, almost a bit burlier than the competition too. Definitely feeling confident with all metal too.

  4. where does it say it's TUV certified? certainly not on their website...

  5. TUV certification is designed to standardize the actual release values of the bindings across the board between each company, so that if your DIN is set at say "6," every binding certified will release with the same amount of newtons of force at "6" from brand to brand. It conforms to ISO 13992, Alpine touring ski-bindings, which is the main standard to conform to. It also helps give users a stronger sense of their release values holding abilities, but also is designed to ensure that the user is exiting the binding correctly, with minimal strain on bones, muscle fibers, ligaments, etc.

    To go on, this has been a process with some debate, in regards to tech style bindings. This certification is a good thing, as it will help guide the industry of tech bindings, to have a more uniform and standardized release value.

    TUV's website, yes is a bit complicated, but they are essential the testing source which certify many different things, and are regarded as the best certification and standardization company out there. Hope that helps!

  6. Looks like they have done a good job - keep Dynafit on their toes.
    Looking forward to trying them.

  7. $620 vs $375 for Speeds... the benefits cannot be worth the extra $$.

  8. I doubt the Guide ought to be compared to the Speed.
    Not the same stuff at all.
    Like comparing speed vs FT12, and concluding the benefits cannot be worth the extra $$ ...
    Or comparing a Rabbit vs a Ferrari.

  9. I agree, the Guide should be compared more to the FT12, than a speed. They do look similar, but the features rival the FT12. Note that the rear pins on the Guide are longer than the Speeds as well.

  10. @Alex Wigley - Your response to my TUV question was not answer. Where does it say it's certified? If the TUV mark is on the product or in the instructions, then show us a photo with the TUV mark. If it's not there, it's not certified...end of story. Show us why you're making this claim.

    I like your site, lots of informative relevant content, but this post is just marketing and not fact...hope it's not a sign of things to come

  11. Sorry I didn't answer your question. Unfortunitely I cannot take a photo of the TUV mark, as the TUV certification was finished and presented after the production run on the Guides. I can assure that I don't want to post anything on just marketing aspect, and want to find the best products on the market. The information on TUV has been provided to me from the manufacturer as well. I can look into this more and report back soon. Thanks for the attention to detail!

  12. Since I was the first to comment on the similar look between the speed and Guide, I should probably clarify. They're specs aren't remotely the same and shouldn't be compared. What I meant was that if Dynafit (after the 'speed era') had progressed on a more performance oriented path they would've ended up with a binding like the Plum Guide and not the plastic-laden ST and FT12.

    "this post is just marketing and not fact"

    Gotta love overzealous 'anonymous' comments.