I’ve made references in the past to how much the ski’s flex is affected by binding stiffness. Recently, I repeated the experiment with a different ski, and was shocked by how dramatic that difference can be.
Over the past two months, I've had the opportunity to long-term test D3’s Helix back-to-back with their new Quest 45. Both are fine skis, but they are not the subject of this post beyond the way they turn. By design, the Helix is noticeably more nimble around the ball than the Quest, but the Quest, with its big deep-riding bevels, is more stable. I love the Quest’s stability, but also the Helix’s ability to crank a quick nimble turn to backside a ball—so I set out to see how nimble I could make the Quest.
It turned out that the Quest could be made surprisingly nimble, just not quite as nimble as the Helix, so I thought I would try going back to the Sequence plate mounted with the floating inserts at both ends. My thinking was that if the Quest could be allowed to flex more, maybe I could get it to turn even tighter. The Sequence plate mounted on the Helix
The full-floating Sequence worked like magic on my Nano One and Nano One XT because Goodes are designed and built around a Dual Lock binding plate, and both of these systems allow for unrestricted ski flex and twist. But I struggled with the Helix when I first got it because the Sequence let it flex too much. No matter what I did with the fin and binding locations, there was always too much tip pressure. It turns out that D3 skis are laid up to work best with firmly-mounted double binding plates, so I mounted dual plates on my Radar Strada bindings, fastened them firmly to the ski, and all the tip-bite instantly disappeared. Dual Radar plates mounted on the Quest 45
Fast forward to the Quest 45; last week I put my Stradas back on the Sequence plate and put it on the Quest using the floating inserts at both ends. Wholly crap, did the Sequence ever change the personality of the Q45, and not in a good way. It made the otherwise consistent solid-turning Q45 nearly unskiable. It generated more tip pressure than I could physically withstand, crushing me into the front of the ski ball after ball, especially on the off-side. I sort of started to adapt by the end of the day, but it was just too much. I couldn’t let the front of the ski touch the water at all or CRUNCH—my poor back!
This experiment has reaffirmed what I’d learned with the Helix. A full floating plate allows a LOT more ski flex than two solidly mounted binding plates—not just a little, but a lot, and probably too much for some skis. It’s not a subtle nuance either; it’s a really big difference. So if you are using a Sequence plate on something other than a Goode, which is designed around Dual Lock, take out the floating spacers and bolt that thing down. Even Radar skis don’t like the spacers on a Sequence plate according to Matt Rini, and he should know! Matt removes the floating inserts from every Sequence plate he encounters.Removing one of the four floating spacers
Similarly, if you are using Goode bindings with Dual Lock on a ski other than a Goode. Your ski may be over-flexing, making it difficult for you to use much if any of your ski’s tip. Sure you can adapt and ski around this compromise, but how much are you undermining the potential performance of your ski if you’re not using it as it was designed to be used?
If you have a Sequence plate, and are still using the spacers so it can float at both ends on anything other than a Goode, you owe it to yourself to at least try either bolting the thing down, or getting double plates for your bindings. You might just find your ski can deliver a kinder, more forgiving, and consistent ride.
If choosing between bolting down a Sequence plate or using two single plates, my recommendation is to use the single plates. Bolting the long Sequence plate firmly to a ski using only six screws puts an enormous amount of shear pressure on the screws and the ski's inserts. Two separate plates, besides being a lot thinner and lighter, have a gap between them to reduce some of this compressive shear pressure. Double plates also use 10 screws instead of asking six to handle the loads—and there is a lot of load.
I recently replaced this rear plate because it broke under these loads. I thought it would be lighter (eyeball roll) if I just used screws and washers at the back instead of the rear stiffening plate supplied by Radar—my bad. Apparently they supply that little black horseshoe for a reason . . . .
Here's Wakeye footage of the Quest nearly dialed in with the double Strada binding plates. It's plenty nimble enough with no sign of tip-bite—and it's oh so forgiving of my work-in-progress inputs.