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Voile 3-Pin Hardwire Binding

Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:55 pm
by lilcliffy
Ski Binding Review: Voile 3-Pin Hardwire

This is certainly not the first telemark binding that I have tested, but it is the first one that I have reviewed! I do wish that I had more comprehensive and complete experience with much of the current telemark bindings available, but- other than some demo tests at resorts- the only other telemark bindings that I have a lot of experience with are Voile’s 3-Pin Cable and 3-Pin Mountaineer; as well as Rottefella’s Super-Telemark. I am afraid that this review will be somewhat limited due to my lack of experience with modern Telemark technology.

The Voile 3-Pin Hardwire (3PH) is a Nordic Norm (NN)- 75-mm- 3-pin binding- with a rod and cartridge spring assembly that attaches to the heel of the boot. It has a standard NN 3-pin base plate to be mated to a standard 75mm-3pin- boot duckbill. The 3-pin baseplate’s bail has three settings to accommodate duckbills of varying thickness (I have been told it is identical to the Mountaineer). The binding is mounted on a 20mm riser that ramps upward. The heel pad has two different-sized climbing wires.

The heel “cables” are available in two different sizes:
• Short Rod: 24-26.5 Mondo
• Standard Rod: 27-31 Mondo
I have the standard rods (size 27 Mondo). Both the short and the standard rods have the same spring-cartridge. I have not spent any time thinking about the physics of whether the shorter or the longer rod gives more resistance…

In communications with Voile they have told me that the cartridges on this binding are identical to those on the Switchback. (A friend has told me that the old-school 3-pin-cable has more resistance (i.e. stiffer springs) which is a real kick in the ass- I bought these bindings assuming that they would offer more resistance...) Without holding a Switchback next to this binding the attachment-point of the rod seems further back on this binding. This would at least suggest to me that this binding is more “active” than the Switchback…I do not know how the clamping of the duckbill in the bail affects binding “activity”, versus the Switchback. A friend of mine has switched out the stock rod-cartridge for the stiffer springs that come on the Switchback X2- they have the same attachment.

This binding is designed for Nordic-Telemark touring in the backcountry. It is an incredibly versatile binding. In standard mode it can be used like an old-school NN binding without the heel cables- old-school XC and telemark ski touring. Use this mode for distance-oriented skiing as well as climbing. The heeling cables can be easily clipped to the heel riser when XC skiing and climbing. When you need resistance/action and torsional stability for downhill skiing- simply lift up the cables and clip them to the boot heel- wow- POWER!!!!

These bindings do not have the free-pivot mode of a binding like the Switchback- therefore, they have more resistance and are less efficient when climbing. HOWEVER- the 3-pin bail clamps the duckbill producing resistance that improves traction and kick and glide when XC skiing. A free-pivot Telemark touring binding is definitely more efficient for up-down “touring”, but the 3PH binding is a more efficient touring binding if your touring involves much XC skiing over flat to moderate rolling terrain.

In my neck of the woods- at mid-elevation in the New Brunswick hills- the terrain is rolling with predominantly moderate slopes- punctuated by steeply cut ravines down into streams and rivers. XC-mode is all I need for 90% of the terrain I tour on- and many of the sweetest stashes of high, steep and snowy glades take several kilometres- or more- to reach. The 3PH binding is the PERFECT binding for downhill-focused touring in my backcountry context.

I have this binding mounted on two skis:
• 188cm Asnes Storetind
• 162cm Altai Kom

I am currently using it with two different boots:
• Scarpa T4 (old version)
• Alico Ski March
I have been having fit problems with the cavernous Ski March boot- not using it much unfortunately…
Love the T4.

The Storetind is a perfect match for the 3PH binding. The Storetind- like the binding- has remarkable XC skiing performance for such a downhill-oriented ski. I can get up to some serious cruising speed on the Storetind in 3-pin mode. I would put NNNBC on the Storetind, but the heel cables of the 3PH- and more supportive T4- completely unlock the downhill potential of this ski.

The Kom is much more of an up-down yo-yo ski- and as such- I think that a free-pivot binding might be a better choice for it. I cannot get enough XC momentum on the Kom to truly take advantage of the 3-pin bale- I feel that I might as well be in free-pivot mode when shuffling along on the Kom…

The “Swiss army knife” of Nordic touring the 3-Pin Hardwire certainly is!!

XCD Scale:
• Cross-Country: 75/100
• Downhill: 100/100

Is this binding “better” than the old 3-pin-cable binding and worth the extra dough? Hard for me to say yet. The heel cable clips to the heel cable quite neatly and securely- better than the old 3PC. The 3-pin-hardwire at least seems to offer better torsional stability than the 3PC.

Re: Voile 3-Pin Hardwire Binding

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:11 am
by Verskis
lilcliffy wrote:Is this binding “better” than the old 3-pin-cable binding and worth the extra dough?

This is something I would really like to know!
Please update the review if you come to a some conclusion during the winter.

I think one of the major flaws of the 3 Pin Cable is that the cable can't be stowed behind the heel pad during XC skiing or climbing, but other than that I can't see anything wrong with it. But I have absolutely no experience about cartridge spring bindings, so I would really appreciate some feedback from people like you that have skied a lot with both spring types. I only have extendable springs in my bindings (3 Pin Cable and Rottefella Chili).

I might try to play with some Rottefella risers and heel pads to try to make the 3PC cable stowable without removing it, let's see how that goes...

Re: Voile 3-Pin Hardwire Binding

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:25 pm
by martin2007
I've experience with both, but more with the simple cable version. As mentioned elsewhere, the cable version is the Mountaineer with brackets to accept a cable, and a cable which can be attached or left in one's car or backpack. I've used my cables a lot at lift-served resorts on 90's-era alpine skis when hard packed groomers become boring to ski on big shaped powder skis and Vices. The cable setup is super-light, and quite capable of "driving" my Garmont Synergies. They're much lighter than the Hardwires which I use mounted on S-Bound 98's. I don't love dragging the disengaged cartridges around while kick-and-gliding, but do so occasionally depending on the itinerary. You can also use the Hardwire toe-piece and remove completely the heel cartridges, depending on the day's itinerary. The cartridges, though, aren't as easy to re-attach to the ski as they first must be screwed into a cable assembly. Some people attach the entire assembly upside-down to their Hardwire toe-pieces to facilitate on-and-off use. That works, but carries some risk of the entire assembly flying off the ski during transport to and from the trailhead.

Voile Cable version w/o riser: light, strong, simple on-off, hook-the-cable-to-the-toe-piece. One of the things I liked about them was the boot's intimate contact with the skis (no riser), and therefore with the mountain.

The Hardwires are heavier, and most of the time I believe they're more than what I really need on my S-Bounds, even when I ski them in Garmont Excursions. (a beefy plastic backcountry boot) I would definitely not bother with Hardwires if I were opting for leather or lighter Alpina-Alaska style boots with mostly low-angle K and G itineraries. The Hardwires cost a lot more, though not my pair as I bought them unused and inexpensive from a consignment store (part of why I mounted them on the S-Bounds in the first place.) One more trait of the Hardwire: it's got slightly larger cable attachment brackets on the toe-pieces. It might sound odd, but those little brackets sometimes intrude on one another's space while k-and-g'ing on the S-bounds. They sometimes bump together, occasionally "catching". A bit annoying. The basic "Mountaineer" toe-piece hasn't got that obtrusive little bracket.

In any case, I like all versions of the 3-pin Voiles.

Re: Voile 3-Pin Hardwire Binding

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:55 pm
by lilcliffy
Another note about this binding.
This is the first off-piste (backcountry) Nordic touring binding I have ever had with a riser. (I have alpine-toured plenty with both Telemark and AT kits with risers (i.e. up-down big mtn touring)).
I can say that XC skiing with a riser takes some getting used to- I am not crazy about it yet.

Re: Voile 3-Pin Hardwire Binding

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:06 pm
by Woodserson
Verskis wrote:I think one of the major flaws of the 3 Pin Cable is that the cable can't be stowed behind the heel pad during XC skiing or climbing, but other than that I can't see anything wrong with it.


The Voile cable can be locked behind the heel piece if you get the Traverse Riser. https://www.voile.com/voile-3-pin-cable ... riser.html

Re: Voile 3-Pin Hardwire Binding

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:20 pm
by Woodserson
This is a great review of a great binding. I have personally fallen in love with this binding and I have put it on many, many of my skis. LC alluded to my addition of the X2 cartridges. My feet are long enough that the angle of the steel bar that connects the X2 cartridges can be accommodated with the play of the rods via baseplate of the Hardwire binding (I'm a Scarpa 30.5/31-- I don't know at what foot length this benefit stops-- buyer beware!). This has created a powerful, active binding with redundant 3pin features and good K+G characteristics (I personally do not prefer free pivot with tele boots, but this is highly personal opinion) with the cartridges locked behind the heelpiece. I wish Voile would offer this binding with two cartridge options. I think my longer feet are have a lot of leverage over the stock blue cartridges which is why I found them inadequate. Shorter feet may find the stock cartridges completely acceptable.

I also like somewhat active bindings. The Hardwire is more active than the G3 Targe, Rott Cobra 4 (the orange one, don't confuse with the R8), and the Switchback which have pivot points forward relative of the HW. It is less active than the Switchback X2, however.

The stock blue cartridges of the current Hardwire are less resistant than the Voile cables via an unscientific pull test in my basement, but I think the hardwire component itself delivers the energy differently than a bendy cable making the HW more "active" overall. There is more to activity I think than just cable stiffness.

Anyway, great bombproof bindings, I would definitely mount on any ski up to a high-90 waist.