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release bindings that favor safety over performance

I have read quite a bit in this forum about the performance characteristics and enhancements of Reflex release bindings. I’m looking for a binding that favors safety over performance, because I have also read online about cases where the binding didn’t release and ended someone’s skiing entirely. It seems Reflex would be good OTF, but what about a side or rear force? If it binding doesn’t release, the skier is toast.

I broke my ankle skiing, so I have been trying different soft bindings, but it seems to me a release binding might be the way to go. Are there bindings that favor safety over performance? Recommendations appreciated.
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Comments

  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,185 Crazy Baller
    You don’t want a binding that releases too easily, you can get just as hurt with that
    Than_Boganski6jonesskialex
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,622 Administrator
    @JustOneMoreBall Reflex / HO / Edge systems are as safe as any option provided you understand how they work and periodically check your release tension. No mechanical release system is safe if you do not understand how it works and pay attention.

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    Than_Boganslow
  • skibugskibug Posts: 2,034
    Fluid Motion Evo series
    Bob Grizzi
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,713 Mega Baller
    MOB plate with a vapor or sync or legion boot probably pretty decent route.
  • GlassJunkieGlassJunkie Posts: 5 Baller
    This is finally a topic on which I can comment. I had the same focus in looking for my current binding. I landed on the OB4 binding system.

    I’m nowhere near a 38-off skier, so I can’t comment on the performance characteristics vs. Reflex, etc.. I broke my ankle in a crash that was not an OTF (but that I caught on video) and it left me wondering whether the Reflex would have released because the ski hit the water on its side and the pressure on the ski was from the side. I’m confident the OB4 would have released properly in that case. The multi-directional release demo they have on their site in the videos section is pretty compelling. I have had the system for a couple of seasons and it has released when needed.

    Does anyone else have experience with OB4?
  • pregompregom Posts: 149 Baller
    Related to the question from @GlassJunkie, any thoughts, comments on how the single boot OB4 system compares to the MOB system? They seem to be based on the same principle. Does the OB4 system require to grind the back on the boot like the MOB system does?
  • GlassJunkieGlassJunkie Posts: 5 Baller
    I don't think MOB was around when I got my binding.

    I use an RTP and there is no need to grind the back of the boot, as MOB shows on their site. The OB4 works great just mounted to the baseplate. Check out a photo.

    Looking at the MOB system, it looks pretty close to the OB4 system. They both even use "OB" in their name. Perhaps OB4 is the 4th Rev of the "Overall Binding" system vs. MOB - Mike's Overall Binding. I suspect there was a falling out of partners, and perhaps Mike created a spin-off. Conjecture.

    The OB4 has gone through some work to make it lighter, including cutting the mounting plate. I believe Eric said they made a number of improvements in the current rev. It may be a little more seasoned. I also notice they hold some patents, so it's interesting the MOB seems like a straight knock-off. Perhaps there was an IP agreement for Mike's use when they separated. Again, all conjecture.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 820 Crazy Baller
    edited July 2018
    I'm sure Mike will chime in here. From what I understand he was a major player (part owner? Developer? etc.) for OB4. He broke off to form his own company MOB. He is on this forum often.
    Than_BoganLovell
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,436 Mega Baller
    @mmosley899 is the Mike in MOB
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 589 Water Ski Industry Professional
    @GlassJunkie eric would not have a clue how to make improvements to the system, I do and I have made several improvements since I designed the ob4. OB4's cutting of the mounting plate was actually a detriment to the integrity of the design.

    The 4 refers to four events as I designed a system for wakeboarding also. I personally have skied on this type system on a national level for 25 years, using it for all three events. Therefore the Overall Binding name. The MOB system is an updated version of the original ARC binding which was patented in1993.

    As for making the system lighter, the MOB now uses polycarbonate release components, and fiberglass boot plates for better flex and rebound.

    From a safety stand point, this release system is the only one that releases in a rotational direction. This is only important if you experience a sideways force on your foot during a twisting fall. This may be more common in skiers that are not ranked as world level competitors. This spring, I have already built MOB release systems for several skiers that have broken their leg or torn ligaments in a twisting fall using the reflex type release. But you can get hurt with any type binding when you push your limits, and you must understand how the system works.

    From a slalom performance stand point, the MOB system has been used to run through 39off...

    As for grinding the boot, that is actually a small notch in the heel of hardshell boots which allows the boot to sit further back on the boot plate. If you use a small heel lift spacer, which the hardshell boots are designed for, you do not have to notch the boot. The best option is to send the boot to me for free mounting. Note also that many high level skiers are using a heel lift.

    @JustOneMoreBall email me, I will help you get what you are looking for.
    Mike's Overall Binding www.mobsystemrelease.com
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 934 Mega Baller
    edited July 2018
    I still can't mentally trust a Rollerblade boot with a toe loop on the front and an alpine ski release in the back that interfaces with a plastic block bolted into the back of the boot. So many of these hardshell systems are variants of these parts cobbled together. None of these parts originally designed for waterskiing (other than the liner and the plate). Maybe if I was a more consistent, smooth, high-end skier but certainly not at my level. As such the "safest" boot for me is one that I know will generally never pre-release.
    OldboyIIKillervtjcscorban2
  • chris55chris55 Posts: 319 Solid Baller
    @jhughes what bindinding are you using ? Which brand too ?
    I was on HO Animal and skiing in cold water (less than 50°F) the binding become to stiff and I did hurt my ankle pretty badly twice. So I switch to Reflex and it released correctly whatever the temp of the water. Just need to check often the mechanisme as Horton said.
    I am a 32-34mph skier and over 60y so I really do not want to hurt myself as recovery at my age takes longer.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,957 Mega Baller
    @jhughes I do think the Reflex will work for all levels of skiers. My son skied on a Reflex from the time he was in his last year of Boys 1 to now when he is capable of running into 32 off at 36 mph even though he only skis a few times a year (college lacrosse got in the way). The Reflex has always released for my son but as talked about you need to make sure it is set correctly.

    @chris55 personally I ski on a Radar Vapor. I grew up on rubber and the switch to the Vapor was easy (I have been on it since the first Strada). I find the Radar bindings very comfortable, easy to get in and out of and release consistently as long as you don’t pull the bungee too tight.
    Mark Shaffer
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,713 Mega Baller
    @jhughes I'd see the concern, I think in many of these applications the unknown entity is the shell, silvretta heels are meant to clamp into the sole of the boot. The clamping pressure from the release didn't go through the upper of the boot or shell which could flex and deform without impact on the release.

    In the way we use them this release is higher up and the shell is itself being part of the release, if you don't fill the shell and clamp it the shell will be looser on the plate. This has variously been addressed by second toe loops and other designs as well as molded plates and such that control the interface of the boot to the plate.

    I'm using an older OB4 base with the new MOB g10 sole plates. Currently with an Obrien legion boot, and I do think this set up works nicely as you can really crank down the lacers for support and still come off reliably in a crash. I miss the on off of the hardshell vs the laces but... I am working on that.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,957 Mega Baller
    @BraceMaker I assume you replace the bungees on the O’Brien binding with non stretch cord.
    Mark Shaffer
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,713 Mega Baller
    edited July 2018
    Yup. Paracord in the upper cuff elastic still in the lower for comfort.

    Of key note the OB4 sole plates did not keep the boot flat and it would rock in the binding. The mob g10 plate is wider and flatter.

    A finer point, I feel the mechanical boot systems are less prone to prerelease when run with a hybrid boot, it flexes with you more before disrupting the release mechanism.
    Than_Bogan
  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 589 Water Ski Industry Professional
    @BraceMaker I like the comfort of my Connelly Sync boot on the MOB release, I have skied a lot of sets on it. I also have an O'Brien Legion boot.
    Mike's Overall Binding www.mobsystemrelease.com
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
  • GlassJunkieGlassJunkie Posts: 5 Baller
    @mmosley899 Thanks for the additional information, and for confirming what we were guessing about the relationship of OB4 and MOB. From your post, it sounds like the split was complicated. Divorces are tough.

    How did you figure out who owns the patents / intellectual property, since your MOB system is essentially a further revision of the OB4, which looks like it has the patents? (It makes a difference in how long you might be able to support the platform).

    I hope you both can continue to develop safety-oriented bindings for non-world-class skiing community. I definitely appreciate the design work you put into the OB4.
  • JackQJackQ Posts: 254 Crazy Baller
    I am in the extreme minority! but the safest binder are rubber binders like the T-factors.

    Most skier unappreciated the benefits of the give in the rubber before release, vice hardshells have no give until release. This attribute of a rubber binder is particularly beneficial when you "stuff the tip" and the ski stop you are thrown forward. Many torn Achilles and broken lower leg/ankle result from this type of fall.
    Ckrueg
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,713 Mega Baller
    @JackQ that skips over the pool of us who have had spiral fractures in rubber for which I only feel two in hardshell or the MOB style can forgive. And I do think there are some demonstrated ankle injuries in those T factors as Well
  • JackQJackQ Posts: 254 Crazy Baller
    I did not mean to imply t-factors or other rubber binders did not have limitations or risks just like the various hard shell systems. But when taking the totality of the risks, I believe rubber binders are the safer alternative. I am sure a better system than all the current alternatives will be developed over time, just don’t think we are their yet.
  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 589 Water Ski Industry Professional
    @JackQ a lot of people love their T-factor or Animal boots right up to the point that their ski season ends. I switched to my releasable system after that point...

    @GlassJunkie I'm not going to get into that discussion, it is complicated...
    Mike's Overall Binding www.mobsystemrelease.com
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
    WaterSkier12
  • GlassJunkieGlassJunkie Posts: 5 Baller
    Adding my story, similar to @mmosley899, I broke my ankle in a T-Factor. Switched to an animal and had a slight sprain a couple of years later, which prompted the search for a safety-first binding in the OB4. For me, there was too much chance (and the odds worked against me) in the rubber binding setups. Hence my recommendation of the OB4-type binding.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 820 Crazy Baller
    Connelly needs to start getting more of their products in stores. Being as impatient as I am, especially after my old boot finally fell apart, I went shopping. Couldn't find a sync in stock so I picked up a Vapor. I don't think I will be disappointed in the Vapor, but would have considered a sync if I could have looked at one, and tried it on. Now saving up for the MOB plate.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,713 Mega Baller
    The sync is a nice looking product. I'm somewhat of a recent convert from the full hardshell to the flexy boots since we're doing so much open water skiing (no course permits on our lake at this point). As such my sets are longer and the comfort is king.
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