Why Binding Placement Matters (Thank You Mikro-Just)

SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
edited May 2014 in Skis Fins Bindings
I've just spent the afternoon with a guest debating the merits of proper binding placement. It was an interesting discussion so it may make for an interesting thread too. I'd love to hear other skiers thoughts on this subject!

My guest's opening position was that he didn't need Mikro-Just because he can either tune the ski's behavior by adjusting the fin or simply ski around minor issues like "close enough" binding placement. While I agree with him in the big picture, I sleep better at night with "perfect" than I do with "close enough" (my therapist is helping me with this =)

My position was that every ski has a fixed and permanent pivot-point that is a function of the widest point on the ski's base, its rocker, and its bevels. This fixed pivot-point is kind of like the fulcrum on a teeter-totter. Where you stand on the ski affects the ski's balance on either side of this fulcrum. If you are too far back, it makes getting the necessary tip pressure for a good turn more work than necessary and can promote space-wasting wheelies exiting off-side turns. If you are too far forward, you get too much tip pressure too easily; you can wash out the tip by overwhelming the surface area ahead of your bindings; and it's hard to smear the tail enough. Also, when you put too much of the front end of the teeter-totter into the water, it levers the tail end of the teeter-totter up towards the surface, exposing it to easier tail blowouts.

Between these opposing issues is a perfect balance for your individual collection of skiing habits. Since the pivot-point is a permanent design element of the ski, it seems logical to first get your unique and personal stance balanced right in the center of the ski's sweet spot, THEN fine tune how the ski behaves within this sweet spot with fin adjustments.

Yes, you can overcome less than perfect fore-aft balance with skiing technique, but for skiers lucky enough to ski a lot, they have deeply engrained habits. Not standing in the perfect spot relative to a new ski's pivot-point forces these skiers to do more or less of something that normally just happens for them automatically. Of course a good skier can do this, but I just think it better to set things up so the skier can spend less time "overcoming" ski handling quirks and more time skiing automatically.

Finally, this pivot-point is a "point" not a "range." Mikro-Just and Velcro let us locate our unique and pre-existing habits exactly where they need to be relative to this point. If your bindings are not exactly where they should be, anything you do with the fin is merely masking this fundamental imbalance--and two compromises never add up to better performance than two perfects.

P.S. My guest just asked me for contact info for @OTF so he can order a Mikro-Just kit. Ha!
www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent


  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,986 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I think this is probably a big deal, and much more straightforward than fin/wing adjust. Another situation where if I had about 10X more water time than I do I could meaningfully experiment for my own betterment. For those with more consistent water time...I think this could be huge.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • drewski32drewski32 Posts: 214 Baller
    Seems like a great idea, but is that little piece of aluminum really strong enough to keep it from slipping at all? Also the screw that goes through the Mikro-Just has significantly less depth into the ski, maybe making it weaker. Also would you really only need one Mikro-Just on each plate or would it make more since to have one on the left and right sides of the plate?
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,295 Mega Baller
    In theory the aluminum is in compression and those teeth are fully engaged, they shouldn't get much force... Additionally we don't typically experience too much slippage of plates when secured in the normal matter, so it isn't for slipping, just for motion.

    Proposed redesign for the thickness issue (other than a longer screw of course) - Ship a punch designed to imbed teeth into the factory plate.
    Take plate - slot plate, put punch in slot, smack with hammer creating the toothed receiver on the factory plate...
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    edited May 2014
    Good questions @drewski‌. The Mikro-Just kit includes a longer screw so it still fully engages the ski's insert plus a bit. @BraceMaker‌ is right about the aluminum strip being under compression. The photo above barely shows it, but the kit also includes a nylon washer that goes between the plate and the ski. When it's screwed down, I'd think the aluminum rack is under nearly zero sheer stress. I have about 50 sets on my first Mikro-Just. Despite being anodized, it shows absolutely no signs of use. If anything was moving around, there would be signs of wear.
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • drewski32drewski32 Posts: 214 Baller
    Well, it looks like I might be trying it out then
  • drewski32drewski32 Posts: 214 Baller
    @BraceMaker‌, is there isn't any slippage with slotted plates (no holes) in the first place, then what would the purpose of the Mikro-Just be? Basically what I'm saying is that with entirely slotted plates you can move the plate around however you want. It looks to me like the Mikro-Just is a tool that allows you to do that, but then secure the plate wherever you put it so that there is no slippage.
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 1,789 Mega Baller
    @drewski - the mikro-just also gives you a predetermined amount of movement in precise increments. That means measure once for baseline and adjust in 1/16" increments. Pretty sweet if you ask me!
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,329 Mega Baller
    @drewski32 -when the screws are tight there should be no slippage with just slots. the problem is the screws rarely stay tight forever due to the flex of the ski and vibration from skiing. thats why its a good habit to always check your screws before skiing but this device and similar will reduce the chance of slippage even if the screws get a little loose.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,295 Mega Baller
    @drewski32 what you say is correct, if you have a plate with just slots and no holes you can slide it - to keep the plate from slipping in this scenario usually you use something like finish washers, or possibly some grip tape under the plate.

    FM for instance equips the front plate with infinite adjustability to adjust the gap at the rear pin - this has not slipped on me when torqued properly, but it does mean every adjustment is like doing a fin w/o set screws, loosen, move, measure, tighten, measure, loosen, repeat.

    This plate would solve that issue for you.

    Someone also posted the technique of making "shims" to fit in the slots.
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    @Skoot1123‌ makes a good point about predictable adjustments. Changes are even more precise and repeatable than Velcro. And the adjustment is even finer than 1/16". It's actually 1/20" or .050".
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • grab2gograb2go Posts: 50 Baller
    edited May 2014
    @BMG73‌ It's easy to measure to 1/32" (about where my aging eyes start to fail). I clamp a 4" machinist square flush against the back of my ski with the blade touching the fin block. This gives me a reference plane with the tail of the ski. I put the end of the tape measure in the notch on the powerplate and measure back to the wide portion of the square that is flush against the tail of the ski. You just have to carry a few extra tools in your "kit" I wouldn't go back to a binding system that does not allow micro adjusting the bindings...
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