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What is the difference between manual lock and auto lock in Dynafit Low Tech Race ski bindings?

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According to this source:

Auto-locking toe lever puts you in uphill mode upon step-in, no manual lifting necessary.

What this means is you don't have to lift up the toe tab to lock in your toe manually. Racers should appreciate this because it will save a little bit of time when stepping into the skis. That being said I doubt this will be the difference that wins a race.

People will engage this lock for two reasons. The most common reason and the only official reason to engage the lock is to reduce the chance of the toe binding popping free while skinning. The alternate and not manufacturer approved reason is to increase the DIN of the bindings.


Based on the Q&A portion of the site I linked to above it appears as if the auto-locking low tech race bindings can't be used in the "unlocked" mode. Since I don't have a set of these bindings I can't attest to the veracity of this claim. It should be noted that this might be in violation of race rules, and these bindings are designed to allow lateral release with the toe locked per the link above. The relevant quotes are:

this is a grey area since the rules have been changing and the locking mechanism on the LTR is rather unique (it releases laterally at the heel even when auto-locked).

and

To me, the portion that you quoted means that an auto-lock is fine as long as you don’t need an additional tool in use (so the binding is self-contained/self-sufficient).

Note also this bit of text in the description (emphasis mine):

Lateral and forward release mechanisms provide a modicum of injury prevention.


While we're on the topic I think it is important to stress that I'm not encouraging people to ski all Dynafit/tech bindings with the toe locked. Unless the binding is specifically designed to be releasable with the toe locked (as it appears to be with the Low Tech Race 2.0 Auto Lock binding), you should assume "locked" means your toe will not release. There have been some tests by third parties, like Lou Dawson, that show a high DIN release with some models of Dynafit bindings with the toe locked. However, it isn't a good idea to use your gear in a manner inconsistent with manufacturer recommendations.

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    Your answer is fine, but I still want to stress what you wrote at the end: It is not only not manufacturer approved, it is downright stupid to engage the lock for skiing down: It does not just increase DIN, it is a lock. The binding will not release, you will only get out of it by damaging the binding or shoe inlets or by ripping the binding out of the ski (not unprecedented). So if you like intact knees, never ever do it (if you are a steep face skier that will die if the binding pops, you are excused but may consider a different binding :P ). – imsodin Jan 10 '17 at 19:06
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    @imsodin I agree with what you said. People should not lock that tab except in extreme circumstances, and understand the greatly increased risk of injury. Lou Dawson is big advocate of tech bindings and on his website he claims the lock gives you a DIN of 14-18 lateral release, and has no effect on vertical release. I don't know how accurate these numbers are but I have read articles by him where he tests the DIN of tech bindings on a machine. Of course YMMV. – Erik Jan 10 '17 at 19:16
  • But if the toe is releasable, while skinning on a steeper section this might be released. Or is it releasable only laterally and not vertically. I would think that manual version is safer, right? – Adrian Ber Jan 10 '17 at 22:23
  • @AdrianBer I don't know all the details because I haven't used these bindings nor have I tested them on a machine. I strongly suspect that if knee safety is your primary concern then you should go for the manual locking toe pieces. I suspect the "modicum" of safety is inline with Lou's testing that showed a DIN of 14-18 on locked toe pieces. It is possible to release at those DIN levels but it will require huge load. They sell alpine racing bindings with a DIN that high but I've never seen rental skis that go that high. – Erik Jan 10 '17 at 22:29

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