UPDATE: Dynafit Beast 16 AT Binding

Dynafit Beast 16 Binding, Blister Gear ReviewUPDATE: Dynafit Beast 16 AT Binding

Frameless Design

Rotating / Tracking Toe Piece

Stated Weight: 935 grams per pair

BLISTER’s Measured Weight: 957 grams

MSRP: $1,000

I now have a good amount of time on the Dynafit Beast 16, and can expand upon my initial look at the binding.

I’ve been able to directly compare the Beast 16 on snow to both tech and alpine bindings—all mounted on the same ski (DPS Wailer 112RPC), with the same tune (2 side edge angle, 1.5 base edge angle), and skied with the same boots (Tecnica Cochise Pro).

I have also tested these bindings extensively on the workbench, looking at how the bindings actually function. The idea was to locate each system’s shortcomings, examine their respective compromises, and determining how that translates to their on-snow performance.

Ultimately, conclusions about the performance bandwidth of the Beast 16 really depend on (a) your points of comparison and (b) what snow conditions we’re talking about.

In short: in terms of ski performance, the Beast 16 offers dramatically more control and better snow “feel” over a ski than a traditional tech binding, but at a small weight penalty. Compared to alpine race-heritage bindings, the Beast is not quite equivalent on hardpack, but it is indistinguishable in soft, consistent snow.

Before I go into detail about the Beast 16, we should discuss how tech bindings and alpine bindings work to provide context about the Beast, and then compare it to the functionality of the existing benchmarks.

A Little Background on Elastic Travel and Release Value

The elastic travel of a binding is the single most important aspect of a ski binding’s ability to retain or release a skier from the ski.

Elastic travel is the amount of distance a binding can move before the boot clears (i.e., “releases from”) a binding. So, for example, if a binding has a 38mm elastic travel value, it can move 37mm and still retain the boot. In a 20mm travel binding, you can only move 19mm before your boot will release from the binding.

The weight of the binding spring will control how much work it takes to displace the binding a given distance. For example, if you have a 200 pounds-per-inch spring, it would require 200 pounds of force to compress the spring 1 inch, or 25.4mm.

Release Value

You can then further tune the binding’s functionality by adjusting the “Release Value” of the binding—i.e., adjusting your binding up from a setting of, say, 8 to 10.

(Note: “Release value” is often mistakenly conflated with “DIN setting.” A DIN setting of “8” is a release value, but not all bindings are DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung) certified. We’ll say more about release values and various certifications in an upcoming GEAR 101 piece.)

The release value of a binding is a measurement of the amount of “spring preload”—the amount of force required to move the binding initially.

Adjusting the spring preload does not affect how firm a spring is through its travel. The spring constant (lets say 200 pounds per inch) is exactly that—a constant for a spring.

So adding preload—e.g., cranking your bindings up from 8 to 12—simply means that the spring requires a higher force to initially compress it. It does not mean that the spring itself just got 25% stiffer.

In a binding with low elasticity, one must run a higher release value to compensate for the short release action of the binding to prevent unwanted release. By running a high release value on a low-elasticity binding, you are simply preventing the binding from entering its motion as naturally.

Doing this will certainly help to keep you in the binding, but it also introduces a higher likelihood of injury. In other words, cranking up the release value on a low-elasticity binding is a pretty sketchy fix.

A highly elastic binding allows a skier to use the binding at a lower release value, since they are relying on the travel (i.e., elasticity) in the binding to prevent unwanted release.

There is then less need to jack up the preload tension, because more elastic travel can occur, increasing the skier’s ability to recover from an awkward situation before (pre-)releasing. This promotes controlled support for recovery through the range of motion of the binding’s elastic travel, but also promotes a smooth release that is unimpeded by an overly firm initial resistance.

The Ideal Binding Trifecta

In a perfect world, then, one would ski a relatively heavily sprung binding with a minimal release value setting, with maximum elastic travel. This enhances the binding’s ability not only to release the skier from its hold, but also to retain a skier if recovery is possible.


44 comments on “UPDATE: Dynafit Beast 16 AT Binding”

  1. Wow

    Seriously helpful stuff Marshal. Thanks for all the background information on bindings. I’ve heard a lot of it before in bits and pieces but your binding summary really helps with the big picture.

    I’ve been skiing heavier-ish skis in the backcountry for a couple of years now and sliding weight is without a doubt not as important as lifting weight when it comes to touring. I’m sure with a binding like this you won’t want to be skiing on a 1.3 kg ski anyway. What was the total weight of your ski/binding set-up?

    Probably going to wait at least one season before I try to get a pair of these, but for what I like to ride, these sounds like a giant leap forward. Thanks again for an independent and thorough review.

    • hey fraser,

      i agree. this is a free ride binding, not a rando binding. dynafit and others make 300-600g bindings too. the Beast clearly is not trying to replace the super light stuff.

      I am skiing them on a pair of DPS Pure3 Wailer 112 RPC’s – so a stiff rockered 115mm waist ski that comes in about 2000g.


  2. Nice write up on the bindigs pieces and functionig! Now I just have to wait for a little brother beast 13 or so for 60% of the price and lighter! :-) This bindings have great improvements over other tech bindings, but I wouldn’t say that a 50% increase in weight is small. I’m not quite sure what’s the target market for dynafit on these bindings, looks like they wanna kill dukes and guardians, but the price is steep, also I don’t think that anyone using tlt 5 or even heavier boots like mercury or maestrales and lightweight 100ish waist skis that would cut off straps on a pack to reduce weight will think about these. I really think that it does really have a place specially with great stiff touring boots coming up right now like freedom and vulcan, sherpa, k2, etc… that would give you a great do it all combo paired with a reasonably light and fat ski. But at $1000 would make bindings the most expensive piece of that combo in most cases and it’s usually the cheapest!

  3. Thanks for the excellent review.

    Is there any chance some of the design elements in the BEAST will trickle down or be incorporated into the Rads/Verts?

    • That would be great scottyb, but I believe and looking at the past releases that something like vulcan/mercury is more likely to happen instead of adding features to radical/vertical. Something like a beast 12 or beast 13 would be my guess!

    • hey Scotty and Marcel,

      I really have no idea what Dynafit might be planning long term, so all the below is pure conjecture… which is generally more fun than facts anyhow!

      but a few things:

      1. I don’t really see any obvious places to make the beast *that* much lighter than it is, outside of really stripping down the toe, or compromising functionality… or entirely new molds for most of the metal parts in the toe… which would make the binding MORE expensive, not less. maybe a Beast SL that is $1200 and 800g or something, but i am pretty skeptical of a baby beast (IMO).

      2. a 13-spring would only save maybe 50g per binding. at that point, who cares if its 900 or 957g? its not like going from a 16-spring to a 13-spring would make the bindings any less expensive.

      3. the radical ft12 is $600 and 600g. so a baby beast would for sure be heavier than that and more expensive. why buy or build an $800-900 800-900g baby beast when you already have a $1000 950g binding. especially if there is no competition in terms of performance in the marketplace? dynafit would just be cannibalizing profit from themselves at that point.

      4. i really don’t see the tech in the beast to be compatible with the vertical/radical stuff. i just don’t see how they would function together. The Beast was designed from the ground-up, other than the boot standard not really changing, i don’t see ANY similarities in the bindings that would be cross-compatible.

      5. i would be absolutely SHOCKED if Dynafit expanded on the beast range at SIA/OR 14, given the limited release of the beast for 2013/14. I would think the line may see additional Beast options in 2015.

      all just guess-work on my end. no basis in fact.

  4. Thanks for the review.

    And now a review of the Fritschi Zenith 12. ;-)
    Maybe the better option as long as you don’t need to din > 12. We will see.

    • euroskier,

      the zenith12 shown at OR/SIA/ISPO was a rapid prototype made out of plastic printed with a CNC printer. i believe only 1 rapid prototype existed in the entire world this season, because the fritschi rep left SIA with it to take it and show it at ISPO.

      it is not even remotely close to being a skiable product at this stage.

      expect actual snow reviews to begin in a year or maybe longer, would be my guess.

  5. Hi Marshal,
    Yes it was only a rapid prototype (the mock-up looks pretty cheap).
    Will for sure take some time that we can test one.

  6. Great analysis & discussion thanks.

    Recently swapped out Rossignol alpine bindings for Dynafit Radicals on a tuned pair of 188 stiff Bro Models for a one-ski inbounds/slackcountry quiver.

    The result feels to me like the skis just got sharper, giving a tighter connection to the ski & I kind of like it.

  7. great review.

    is there any chance you could post the mount spacing for the toe and heel? I’m mainly wondering if any of the screw holes match any previous dynafits (rads or verts). I’m thinking of mounting some radicals using inserts at the moment, and thought it would be god if they at least shared some screw holes so I can swap between them.

    • hi there ryan,

      the beast for sure does not re-use any holes from radicals or verticals.

      i remounted a beast to a ski with verticals bindings previously, and think i have to go -.5mm to get away from confliction.

      hope that helps?

  8. Do you know when the release date is? I assume it’s going to be difficult to get one of these… even with the steep (but likely deserving) price.

    Thanks in advance!

    • I’ve just seen that the beast will be available at backcountry, but you can only buy in a package with boots and ski! Other than getting the $1000 bucks you will have to pay for skis and boots from them as well… I’m not sure if this is due to the retrofit it’s needed in the boots or not. So bc is a pretty big company that can get what they want, so I doubt the beast will be available in many other places if any at all. also I have no idea how dynafit will do that since you can’t purchase direct from them through their website…

    • great question. i believe the beast binding is enroute to the US as we speak, so i would assume it will arrive to dealers in the next month or so, give or take.

      I do know that they are not available to buy online in a conventional sense, since they have pretty specific requirements for mounting to the ski, and the metal horseshoe to the boot. i would suggest to talk to the dynafit competence centers.

      hopefully that is of use.

  9. For downhill performance at the resort, how would the Beast compare to?
    Rossignol FKS or Look Pivot bindings?
    Other alpine bindings?
    Guardian/Tracker, Duke EPF, or Tyrolia Adrenalin?

    Thanks in advance for any insight y’all can share

    • hey sandy,

      put it this way, nobody is exactly racing these things on the wc ski circuit. they simply are not race bindings. not trying to be. so, well… whether you, me, or anyone, actually needs a race binding inbounds is a different question. i think they replace alpine bindings for plenty of people, but mostly for people that ski regular dynafits, AT boots, fritschis, whatever, then sure. they are probably fine.

      but if you ski 95mm last plug boots with 18 DIN bindings, then no, i don’t think so.

      super subjective here, and the mountain really matters. the more hardpack/chalk/variable, the more you need alpine gear. the more big, expansive, and lift-access backcountry the mountain is (think whistler, jackson, revelstoke, engleberg/titlis, chamonix, etc), the more a beast might be a legit everyday binding.

      hopefully of use?

  10. Fantastic review Marshal! As a bit of a binding weenie myself, its nice to see a good breakdown of all the things that makes bindings feel the way they do when we ski them. Very helpful!

    A couple quick question for you as well. I was curious to see how you would feel about these bindings on a wide platform true twin. As soon as I heard about this binding I figured it would be a great match on a pair of Kastle XX110 Wests as a jibby soft snow ski that could shred in bounds natural features, and be my dedicated backcountry ski as well. Part of that equation, at-least for me, is being able to land switch if need be while getting funky on natural features. How does the retention stack up for switch skiing? (speculation is fine if you don’t spend a lot of time going the wrong way) Also how do you feel about this binding setup true center? Would you see any negative side effects from the bindings perspective?

    • Also, quickly about me as a skier. Born and raised North-East skiier comfortable hitting firm conditions without remorse. Newer to the big wide open west coast thing. 205lbs, agressive, strong.

    • hey tim,

      thanks for the question. sure, i bet you could ski switch on them, but i am pretty skeptical of them being an everyday inbounds binding for someone at your size airing all over the place.

      there are of course plenty of folks that will ski the beast everyday well, but i think the beast is really a high performance soft-snow binding, not an everyday firm snow binding.

      so to answer your question, it really depends on how fast you plan to ski on hard/variable snow? i don’t see that forwards or backwards would matter.

      hope that helps?

  11. So my one question is the modification to the boot. When the plate is added to the heel can the boot still be used with fritchi and dukes

    • hey yon, i did not actually release test the piece with another binding, but it clicked in with correct forward pressure on a pair of p18’s. i would just double check the forward pressure on the other bindings, but i think you would be golden.

      • Similar question about boots. Does the boot mod count out boots that have swapable heels? the Scarpa SLs, etc? trying like heck to get my hands on some of these beasties…we’ll see.

      • Marshal,
        I did purchase a set of the beast. Put them on Prior Husame XTC. The boot is BD Factor Mx with swappable soles. I contacted Dynafit because I didn’t like how hard it was to lock out the ski brake in tour mode. I had to slam the heel down. They have already put out a retrofit for this problem and everything works better now. I have had one day at the resort with them and I am pleased with the performance. They feel similar to a traditional binding. Dynafit, however said that the modification to the boot, once done, can only be used on the beast binding. My rock skis have fritchi bindings and I have dukes on a ultra wide set of skis. I’ve played with the boot some in these other bindings and I can’t really see any sort of problem. It is a shortfall of the beast if the dedicated boot does not play well with others. I would be curious if someone out there is doing some testing to see if in fact its ok to run the boots in a traditional binding.

  12. I was surprised that the package didn’t include installation instructions or drill templates.
    However I managed to make some templates for the Beast 16n’s and kind of a tutorial that I posted here: http://www.stockholmviews.com/dynafit_beast_16/
    Later this winter I will make a writeup about my thoughts and experience of the Beast 16 and the FatYpus I-Rock FT skis that I installed them on. Best regards/Stefan

  13. These bindings look and sound perfect for me. Two questions;
    Will my 2014 Salomon Quest 120s (29.5) be compatible with these? (I have the toe and heel tech inserts)
    I just got a pair of 2013 Liberty Helix 187s, is this a good ski to mount them on?

  14. Kinda going through this again… when you say

    “In a perfect world, then, one would ski a relatively heavily sprung binding with a minimal release value setting, with maximum elastic travel. This enhances the binding’s ability not only to release the skier from its hold, but also to retain a skier if recovery is possible.”

    Are you saying that it’s best to use a binding where you are close to the minimum din/release value setting on that binding? so lets say you usually ski at 9 so you would choose a 16 or 18 binding instead of a 12 binding? Or you were just talking about minimum/cranked up din/release values relatively to the elasticity? So basically more elasticity would allow you to run at a low din/release value compared to a lower elasticity binding where you would have to crank it up to compensate?

    • hey marcel, thanks for the question!

      lets say you are choosing between skiing 12din and 18din bindings that have the same elastic travel before release.

      a 9 release value (DIN) means there is the same work done (force thru a distance/travel) while releasing the binding.

      this means the same TOTAL force is performed for a release. another way to look at it would be that the average over the entire range is the same, however this does not describe the shape of the force curve — only the area under the curve.

      a spring with alot of preload (ie 9 on a 4-12din is 60% wound) is firm initally, but then falls off thru its travel since the spring itself is softer.

      a spring with minimal preload (ie 9 on an 8-18din is 10% wound) is soft initially, then ramps up as you travel since the spring itself is firmer.

      my argument is that injury is less likely to occur if the binding is more easy to move initially — most knee injuries happen during slow speed akward crashes where there is not enough force to overcome the initial preload on the spring. on a sudden hard crash (provided you are on an appropriate RV in the first place) both bindings in this scenario will release in a same manner since the force is sudden and fast, and rapidly exceeds the work threshold of the binding.

      that said, a skier is more likely to recover (or only release when they want to) when the release is more controlled deeper into the bindings travel. when the release is more controlled, one frequently can run even lower RV settings since one is less likely to “pre-release”. if you run a 9 on a 4-12 binding, i would suggest starting more in the 8 or 8.5 zone on a 8-18 binding, as an example.

      hope that helps???

  15. Ugh. How LOW does the release setting go? I’m 51 and 145 pounds. My DIN should be around 5.5 or 6. I’ve had a lot of trouble getting my regular Dynafits (don’t even know if they are vert or rad) to release as it is. I also don’t like bindings that don’t go flat. I know a lot of women who feel this way. I only ever use the middle setting in my bindings (and this was true with tele, too–either flat or the first, lower rise). It’s not because I don’t climb steep stuff but because for my body, the higher angle in the heel burns my quads and tears at my hips. It’s probably easier on the knees though. Overall, the middle setting is good if it’s steep, but I keep them flat as long as possible.

    • hi claudia, this particular binding goes down to a 6. there are 4-12 and 5?-14 bindings with similar technologoy coming out in the fall as well.

      there is not, however, a flat tour mode with the 6-16 or 5-14’s.. only the 4-12 (called the radical2).


      • Thanks. I’ve had problems with the Verticals NOT releasing, never had any problems with them releasing too much… The rads and the verts have a yucky ramp.

        What do you think about the Diamir Vipec 12? I know first year releases are not the best idea, but if I wait till next season I’ll have to pay more. Right now I can get the close-out pricing…

        • hi claudia, the standard radical binding has approximately the same lateral elastic travel (11mm) as the vipec (12mm). the only difference is the vipec’s lateral release from the toe vs. the lateral release from the heel.

          i cannot say if one is biomechanically better than the other, or they are equivalent.

          the new “radical 2” binding out next season has ~11mm lateral release both toe and heel (i.e. ~22mm overall elastic travel), so IMO that will yield much more predictable release/retention. if that is worth a few hundred bucks or not, i cannot say… :D but that is what you would be paying for.


  16. hi Marshal,

    Thanks for a very good review.
    I know this has been asked before, and I did read the entire review and all comments, but couldn’t quite get a solid handle on your feelings on the Beast vs plate bindings downhill performance, the uphill performance is obvious.
    Do you feel the lower stack height of the Beast improves performance over plate bindings?
    Do you feel plate bindings offer more control for skiing in challenging conditions, at moderate speeds and small jumps?
    Do you feel plate bindings offer better safety release?

    • slim — are you wondering about inbounds performance, or in the backcountry?

      +a marker duke or guardian have more elasticity in the heel than a beast.
      +otherwise, they are pretty equivalently disconnected feeling, compared to an alpine binding at speed on hardpack.
      +in soft snow/backcountry conditions, i don’t think you would notice all that much difference. the beast is a bit more responsive feeling, the duke/guardians are a bit more clunky and vague IMO.
      +the stack height difference, while on a wide ski, is negligible between all of these. your boot is +/- a couple percent relative to the edge.

  17. I have been having a breakage problem with the Dynafit FT’s on my light setup Cham 97 HM so I am changing to the Beast 14. If I do the retrofit for the Beast, will my Dynafit Mercury boots no longer work with the FT’s?

    I was using the 4front binding on my heavy setup Cham 117 but found them too tall off the ski and not responsive enough. I am thinking of going to the Beast 16 on my Cham 117 but will this be too much ski for a Dynafit Mercury? Am I better off putting a Look XM (lower than the 4front) on the Cham 117 and using an alpine boot? Or is the answer a Cochise on a 117 with Beast 116?

    My intent would be to ski softer snow on both setups but would use the lighter setup in spring conditions which could mean firm snow. Certainly possible to see firm snow on either ski.

  18. This review is great and really taught me a lot about how bindings work and why my tech bindings ski the way they do. Thanks!

    I would love to see a review of the new marker kingpin. Looks like a different approach to a more elastic tech binding.

  19. About to mount some beasts and order a new pair of maestrale rs boots. I will need to install the special boot heel fitting right? If I do, will the boots still be compatible with all other non beast dynafit bindings? So, you need the special boot heel fitting to use the beasts, but any dynafit binding can be used with boots that have the special heel fitting? Or do I need a pair of boots just to use with beasts and another with all my other dynafit vertical, radical, etc..


    • Wow! Solid review Marshal Olson! :) Finally a brief of a specific matter by someone who actually knows his field. I have been searching for answers all day on my laptop and ran into some absurd analysis by well known publishers, whom I won’t mention. I’ve been at it for 6 hours and got insulted with remarks like, “If you plan on skiing 50% or more inbound then the Marker Kingpin 13 is for you!”. Mostly as I read a review and evaluated the content, I ended up with everything being equal (so offensive). I’m a 100% with you on having a heal pinned down by two pins is mediocre and brings your skiing level down to unsatisfactory. I’m not content with the performances of tech bindings therefore I’m eager to find and foremost hear of a better solution, before I go broke ($$$). I carry my alpines and posthole up a peak just for the down and therefore agree with you once again, that the little weight gain is a BLESSING. Stop joggling ounces, people, unless you are into ski mountaineering. Well here is a great example of down performance on the lightest gear, as you watch the ski mountaineers come down the hill. It’s amusing! I’m an aggressive skier and treat my all mountain skis like a slalom and I would love to perform likewise backcountry. You have helped me to expand my horizon in why and how things relate to this topic with comparison to a mountain bike and so on. Also a big shout out to Jonathan Ellsworth on his second Look of the Marker Kingpin 13. Also a huge Whoot to Paul Forward on his expertise. Now Marshal, what At set you shredding on?

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