ATK vs Salomon Shift AT bindings

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 nickg_oxford 07 Nov 2021

Hi all

Has anyone experience of ATK R12/R14 touring bindings, or the new "hybrid" Salomon/Atomic Shift bindings?

Currently mulling a new touring setup, but since I can't afford multiple sets, I would ideally want one which can do a bit of piste bashing as well as both day and multi-day touring. For the bindings it seems to come down to either (i) a dedicated lightweight pin like the awesome looking ATKs, but which might be non-ideal for a week on resort, or (ii) the Shifts, which are DIN rated, but which might be a bit limiting for long distance touring.

Any experiences welcome


 GHawksworth 07 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

In a similar boat to you I think.

As I'll be mainly piste bashing with a bit of ski touring, I've been recommended the shifts time and time again, so will grab those at the closest opportunity.

My thinking over the lighter atk was "how close to my limit am I actually going and will that weight saving trouble me more than it's worth on piste?"

If I were mainly touring with a little on piste, I'd probably go for the atk over anything else.

 HeMa 07 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

Shift will be vastly superior if skiing hard (and on piste).

Duke PT is similar alternative to shift.

but if you’re not super big/heavy and a hard charger, most ~12 DIN pin bindings will also work just fine.

for longer tours, Shift/Duke PT will be heavier, but again you’ll get most of them using a heavy and stiff freeride boot instead of touring boots. So long tours are not gonna be ideal anyway.

in short, hard charger, stiff freeride boots, and lots of jumping and skiing on hardback… plus touring for turns, so not that long from the lift. Shift.

long tours, mostly BC, touring boots… normal Tech Bindings. These will be fiddly for lift served skiing (but completely doable).

a budget options would also be Dynafit Beast 14/16. Heavy (a bit lighter than Shift/Duke PT), but cheap 2nd hand and pretty robust (a lot more than majority of AKT options). I actually have three pairs of Beasts waiting for mounting… have been too lazy, as I’ve mostly skied everything on my Praxis Pows (groomed, or touring)… or some beat to sh!te twintips in the park with my kid…

 MattJ753 07 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

I fitted ATK Crest 10's (which I think are similar to R12's) on my BC Camox Freebirds, and was really pleased with how they performed on and off piste. Light enough on my backpack, but they still felt great to ski on. I only started struggling when on crusty powder with a big bag, but I think that's always going to be a challenge. However if I knew I was only going piste skiing I would rather have a seperate piste orientated setup, purely because I'm a bit wary of releasing issues if crashing on pin bindings...but if you're looking for an all rounder, I definitely like that setup. 

In reply to nickg_oxford:

I have Shifts on a pair of Volkl Mantras and they are amazing. I have done everything on them except for multi day touring and they have excelled at everything I have thrown at them. Switching between the two modes is easy and having the peace of mind of a full DIN for tearing up the pistes/downhills is a real game changer in my opinion. My set up is possibly a little heavy for multi day tours but thats more down to my ski and boot choice (Scarpa Freedom RS) than the bindings themselves. Put them on a light pair of touring skis paired with more touring orientated boots and they would be fine.

 random_watcher 07 Nov 2021
In reply to HeMa:

> a budget options would also be Dynafit Beast 14/16 pretty robust (a lot more than majority of AKT options). 

Just out of interest do you have any evidence to back up this statement or are you just making it up? 

Post edited at 20:26
 dangermouse79 08 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

Have you considered Fritschi Tectons? They are lighter than the Shifts but also release at the toe, making them safer and better suited to piste skiing than most pure tech bindings

 damowilk 08 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

Those are 2 very different touring bindings to be considering!

I don’t have ATKs, but have 3 different bindings across a range of skis with quiver killers, and have used a number of other touring bindings to have a range of experience with setups. 
My heavy side country set up is Shifts on Blizzard Bonafides: a good side/slack country set up, charges through crud well, and the shift is a low hassle binding that has the easy feel of a downhill binding. I wouldn’t want to tour long distances on it though.

My middle of the range skis use G3 Ions: this would be my preferred one-quiver binding: skis well, not too heavy (not super light though), good retention.

My light ski-mountaineering or spring touring set up is Kreuzspitze GTs (similar to ATKs) on Blizzard Zero G 85s: a great feather like combination that doesn’t ski bad for its weight.

 HeMa 08 Nov 2021
In reply to random_watcher:

Yes, broken a few similar tech bindings to the DIN 12 models from ATK. But not the Beast, which I did ski a lot more aggressively.

Also lots of examples from 5 years ago. 

Beast is a lot more beefy binding, in fact it is en-par with the robustness (or even better) than Shift et Duke PT (some reports of problems from Shift). But it is not as easy to get into in ski mode as Shift/Duke PT.  Beast 16 is still a tech binding also for the downhill, so fiddly. Which is why it is no longer made. It's heavy and competes in a product segment where the use case clearly makes Shift & Duke PT the winner. Beast 14 is a bit more flimsy, as it uses the more regular toe-piece from Dynafit.

That being said, even regular tech bindings are highly robust. The problems they have are the narrow screw pattern (better now, but still narrow) --> they rip out of skis, this was really common some years ago (before Beasts and what came after), people used to ski the toes locked to get more retention --> toe piece rips out from the ski.  Also the other aspect is with heel retention, while it does not cause gear failure, the insta-tele -mode is not fun. This is when the rear pins pop out from the holes due to the ski flexing enough. Often after a landing a jump into pow where it first bottoms out (sometimes actually this pushed out the rear binding shearing the screws, but this is really uncommon) then flexes the other way on rebound and the pins come out --> insta-tele and often a lively faceplant.

So simply put, tech bindings are quite robust but Beast 16s (and 14s, Shifts & Duke PTs to an extent) are more robust (relevant if you're a hard charger). And Shifts/Duke PTs are a lot more user friendly if you mostly ski from the lifts.

Oh, and as now discontinued product Beasts are rather cheap. I've bought my latest one for 80 Eur. And just saw another one go at also 80 Eur... Quite a bit cheaper than 300+ Eur for ATK (DIN 12 or more models) or ~400 Eur for Shift/Duke PT. Naturally secondhand options or the ATK do exist (less so for Shift and even less for Duke PT), but they aren't that readily available 2nd hand and also often still go for 200+ eur.

 JuneBob 08 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

I think there's a difference between multi-day touring and long distance touring. For something like the haute route, the shifts would be fine, but if you want to go on big tours in a single push, it's nice to have lighter weight gear.

Note that narrower skis mean narrower skins, which means much less resistance when skinning. Also, less grippy skins are easier too. This is often overlooked in the quest for reduced weight.

 galpinos 08 Nov 2021
In reply to MattJ753:

May I ask how heavy you are?

 random_watcher 08 Nov 2021
In reply to HeMa:

Fair enough, thanks for the detailed response.

Could you maybe go into more detail about the breakages you experience. What models of bindings were they? Was it heel or toepieces that broke?

I feel like tech bindings have got much better in the last 5 years and some of the problems you've listed aren't as relevant to the current generations of bindings.

Lots of tech bindings on the market now have heelpieces mounted without gaps and have springs built into them to compensate for ski flexing. 

I would generally describe a lot of tech bindings as being fairly robust, people take them to fairly committing places and ski fairly committing lines with them. Obviously if you are looking to be jumping off cliffs maybe they aren't the right tool for the job.

 HeMa 08 Nov 2021
In reply to random_watcher:

> Could you maybe go into more detail about the breakages you experience. What models of bindings were they? Was it heel or toepieces that broke?

The heelpiece generally rips out but doesn’t break. 

the toe piece is the one that often breaks. Most often it is the pin ”wings”, due to people trying to force them on with clogged up inserts. The Beast 16 front piece is about the Most robust toe piece around (more robust than even Shift and by the looks of it also Duke PT). The other breakage is that the actual frame of the toe piece cracks or bends. Albeit as said, they are more robust than they look. A bit more fragile are the side release toe pieces (Most newer Dynafits, Tectons). In fact those are often less robust than the simple race toe pieces.

all things considered, the pure robustness of bindings the ultimate King is Look Pivot (P18, or the rebranded Rossignol FKS), Beast 16 or Marker Jester or Atomic Warden 13, Duke PT (specation), Solly STH and actually I’d say that race tech bindings ho here, Shifts, generic 12 DIN bindings, generic 12DIN or higher tech binding with ”fixed” toe, rotating fixed toe tech bindings, market bindings.

you might add some real race bindings close to P18, but no first hand experience on those. And that looks only into how robust the binding is against mechanical abuse. Naturally those low in DIN range will actually release before the binding breaks. And the alpine bindings naturally don’t tour all that well. 

But as said, What is needed Depends on the intented use. ATK Trofeo and park are not a good combo. Neither is Haute Route an P18/FKS180. They all have their pros and cons.

In reply to nickg_oxford:

Lots of relevant, detailed, well-informed replies here. But this is UKC! So I can’t resist saying…

what you really want is tele bindings😀

OP nickg_oxford 08 Nov 2021
In reply to rsc:

...and a Skoda Octavia to drive them about!!

In reply to rsc:

Not contentious enough for UKC. What you REALLY need is a splitboard…

 HeMa 08 Nov 2021
In reply to rsc:

oh come on...

if you consider the Meidjo being too heavy... then you're missing a the perfect binding...

you simply don't have step in, NTN binding that has brakes that deploy when you release... and have the option of locking your heel for a non trivial descent (mileage may vary)...

closest you can come, is ATK Front14 toe piece + brakes on perhaps a Moonlight tele-rando rig... or mod a Lynx with again the same front toe piece and then a suitable rear spacer...

basically what I want is an NTN binding using the duckbutt, brakes and tech toe piece... with the option of mounting a suitable tech rear piece for when you want to do locked heel skiing...

so no, don't go into the path of tele-gear... that's an endless swamp of tweaking, b!tching and such... 

NB. I'm still riding Rotte Freerides (the orig S model with steel plates)... only use regular alpine binders when I have to hit the park with the lil' rascal... that soon 6 year old wan't to do all that  flippy-spinny stuff (luckily only the spinny for now... or rails)... So daddy needs to keep up and also do that... nose presses and landing switch is not fun with free heels

 HeMa 08 Nov 2021
In reply to Skiddly1987:

That's just idiotic...

Now a split monoski... that's a novel idea. Luckily at least two brands offer such novel options......

split monoski, king of the mountain.... but make sure to wear you neon pastel fartbag with them... or faux fur Bogners... on metallic shades.

 shaigh 08 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

I have used the Shifts for a couple of tours and a few days lift served on/off piste. They are superb, they ski like a solid alpine binding on the downhill, they're easy to get in and out of (and work with touring or regular downhill boots). Going up they feel rock solid too (much better than frame bindings). Switching modes is easy, although the lock "click" for engaging the pins is super stiff. Might be because they are new.

The downsides are obvious - they are very expensive and pretty heavy. If I could afford it I'd probably get some lighter skis and a light weight touring binding like the Pure but I'd still keep the shifts on my fat skis for short tours. That said, I can't justify a new set up so I'd happily do long or multiday tours with them, and put up with the weight.

In reply to HeMa:

Hahaha you win! Although having just googled this monstrosity, what should come up but a picture of a split monoski with a lovely pair of Shift bindings attached. Maybe we’ve answered the OP after all!! 

In reply to HeMa:

I'm still riding Rotte Freerides

Still keeping the faith with Cobras! (though haven’t actually been able to ski for nearly two years). But, in the true spirit of this wonderful site, that’s really not what the OP was looking for.

PS thanks for all your ski gear tips over the years.

OP nickg_oxford 08 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

Hi all - thanks for all the replies, a lot to chew over. I thought the comment about "long touring vs multi-day" touring was really interesting. I am also a little wary about potential non-release with tech bindings on piste.

Seems there are quite a few votes for the Shift - and I'll have another look at them. There was some stuff in the reviews about the brakes engaging on ascent - has anyone had issues with that.

Also - the Fritschi Tectons I'd not thought about, so that is another to add to the mix.

I've some antique frame bindings, and I suspect any of these options would be a significant improvement.

In reply to nickg_oxford:

With the Shifts, they can get build up of snow and ice in the mechanism bit, you just need to bash it out before switching modes. I've never had the brakes release on ascent but I imagine this will be why. You have to be quite robust with the changeover, I've found if you don't slam it in, they won't always engage properly, especially with a bit of snow and ice. Similar for the front piece, when you engage the pins you have to be quite forceful, you pull the lever initially to engage the pins and then you have to yank it again to seat it fully, it has almost like a two stage action. This is why in a lot of the early reviews people were saying the toes were releasing all the time. Once you get used to the force you need to engage them, they are really easy to use.

 John Ww 08 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

I've got Fritschi Tecton 12's on my Black Diamond powder skis and love them if that helps.

 kevin stephens 08 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford: I’ve not skied either, but a general comment; how robust your bindings need to be will depend on some extent to your weight and skiing style. After having multiple pairs of skis I simplified things with just one pair; 98 under foot and Dynafit Radical 2 (predecessor of the Rotation) for all my skiing: piste, lift served OP and touring. I find they ski as well on piste as my previous Marker F10 frame bindings, the only draw back is a few days start of each season to get used to clipping in. As someone posted above pin bindings are much better at staying on when they should and releasing when they should compared to older versions. I’m around 65-70kg and set my bindings to 6.5.

Post edited at 20:10
 MattJ753 08 Nov 2021
In reply to galpinos:

75 kg 'ish

 RichardB 15 Nov 2021
In reply to shaigh:

Agreed. I have both the R12s and Shifts and the two bindings are really quite different: lightweight vs off piste with some short touring. I wouldn't have R12s as my only setup if that helps as I don't think they'd be robust or safe enough for weeks of resort based skiing.

Shifts and eat less pies / train harder would get my vote (I bought the R12s so I could stick with the pie eating).

In reply to nickg_oxford:

I believe you can now get these in Europe - a little bit of a faff but for what your after could be perfect. 

 HeMa 16 Nov 2021
In reply to ecrinscollective:

Us being in Yurp, I’d look more into P.A.M or Bavarian Freeride Binding. 

but to be honest, for ”normal” mixed use users that are not heavy. Something like Shift is actually the best options. The ease of use trumps over pure tech bindings (for liftserved skiing). And the PAM or similar are fiddly (due to swappin’ the toepiece), making un planned tours heavy or fiddly. 

For a lightweight skier that tours more than does liftserved, tech bindings are the better options. 

but the OP stated it’s mostly liftserved and some tours. Well this means that the emphasis for easy of use is more important than weight. 

 John Ww 16 Nov 2021
In reply to HeMa:

Please, please, please tell me that you're not referring to B.A.M (Bavarian Alpine Manifest) "Pinding" bindings! Unless you want some very, errr, "interesting" experiences, avoid them at all cost.

 HeMa 16 Nov 2021
In reply to John Ww:

I am. For alternative to Cast. 

but not to the OP. For him, I have stated already multiple times that given his requirements (60% liftserved or more,not heavy) something Like Shift 10 is the options. Almost like a downhill binding when skiing (also when clickin’ in). Can still tour, when required. 

pure tech bindings (Beast, atk freerides or crests, G3 Ions and numerous others) are still good, but fiddly for resort skiing. And their inherit nature (not all that elastic, narrow mount pattern) is an actual concern If you ride hard (so lots of hardback on wider skis, jumps, park, mach Looney speeds). Shift is better in those (not optimal, something like Beast might actually be more robust.  But as a tech binding fiddly to use).

of course it’s not just the binding, but skis and boots as well. Flimsy touring skis and boots… well, shifts make no sense. More ”robust” skis and heavier boots, you get better skiing performance overall, so something like shift for non touring specific rig makes Most sense. 

something like Cast/PAM only really make sense when you’re limited to one ski, need to tour and still require din18 alpine binding performance for the downhill… and since both are not well tested, there might be issues (anyone remember Crossplate thing? I do, novel idea but not as good as advertised).

 John Ww 16 Nov 2021
In reply to HeMa:

We had one season of freeriding using BAM bindings - and every single one of us (including our ex World Freeride Tour guide) had multiple occurrences of the bindings releasing for no apparent reason. Never again. Last year we switched to to Fritschi Tecton 12s, which were excellent. 

 HeMa 16 Nov 2021
In reply to John Ww:

Thats the nature of testing unproven gear. 

the principles of BAM (and Cast) are sound, If engineered properly. By your account thar is not the case. 

and If you read my earlier post, I did not list either BAM or Cast there (unproven technology).

imho still the best binding for freeride is P18/FKS185. Jester might be next, or perhaps some other race binding. These don’t tour though. But Jester Pro and Atleast Newest P18 also accepts touring soles. 

if you also need to tour, the discontunued Beast16 is your best bet. Still it is heavy and misses flat touring mode. Construction wise more robust than Shift than Duke PT. Either of the latter are However vastly more userfriendly for primarly liftserved skiing. And while the Duke PT seems interesting, I’d pick now the Shift as it has a pretty good trackrecord from past two seasons, unlike Duke PT which properly comes out now. 

 John2 16 Nov 2021
In reply to HeMa:

Do you have anything against the Fritschi Tectons?

 HeMa 16 Nov 2021
In reply to John2:

Actaully nothing, haven’t skied them.

in fact I consider them a fanciwr version of say AKT Freeride or G3 Ion. Both in good and bad. The pros are naturally the relasing toe. And the con is also the releasing toe, as in it’s a completely piece of design so not as robust. Now is it robust enough, can be… depends on the user and use.

would I personallista get Tectons. Nope, I would value something Akin to G3 Ion (or perhaps Similar AKT offering) if I want a robust tech binding. For such a rig, I simply want them to be me hanically simple and robust. They are for touring, so i don’t want anything to go wrong. And I know the limitations of them, and can live with that. I skied more than then years with non releasavle tele binders so I can cope.

for sidecountry or pure lift served, I don’t like tech binders… too fiddly and not enough elasticity in them (Unlike the Look Pivots or Rossi FKS). They are my preferred binder for lift served skiing. Were i made out of money, I’d prolly get some shift for lift served touring… but I ain’t which is why I have three pairs of Beasts… they are robust enough for skiing on ice or hitting the granny/kiddo park jumps and press boxes. and tour well enough, for the rare daytrips I can do these days… heavy, yeah… but so are my skis and boots (well some of ’EM anyway).

OP nickg_oxford 17 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

Hi all - as an update, I've gone for the shifts - the downhill performance swung it for me. If I ended up doing more serious tours (and suddenly had extra £££) I guess a separate lightweight setup would be the way to go. 

cheers all

 John2 17 Nov 2021
In reply to HeMa:

That all makes sense. I have done around 50 weeks skiing on Fritschi Vipecs (same toe unit as the Tectons) and have never had a problem with them. However, I weigh around 11 stones and a friend who weighs 15 stones (but skis less fast than I do) had problems with the Vipec heel unit. He changed to Tectons and has found them completely robust. The Tectons do have elasticity built in both at the toe and the heel.

 HeMa 17 Nov 2021
In reply to John2:

>The Tectons do have elasticity built in both at the toe and the heel.

Yup, similarly some dynafits now have partly rotating toe (no release though, unlike Vipecs/Tectons). Agian this is both good and bad. The good is more elasticity. The bad is purely engineering/structural... the more complex it is, the more prone it will be to breaking/failing.

It all boils down to how and what you prefer. As said, for lift served skiing (possibly boot back, no touring/skinning), I prefer "proper" alpine bindings. They are simply more robust than touring alternatives (I have a bunch of skis... so I prefer bindings that I can use for multiple skis... when I wear out them... a cost thing). Plus some of the characteristics of them are really nice. Also the no-fiddle factor of stepping in to them is great.

while pure tech bindings can be really robust, they are more fiddly to step in/out (even the better ones with guides etc.). So as said, for lift served skiing the no-fiddle factor is a king for me. And this is where Shift/Duke PT step in. They offer the function/features/feel of an alpine binding, but also tech binding for touring. Are the as robust as the most robust tech bindings... prolly no and certainly can't compete with proper alpine bindings. Are they heavier than tech bidings, yes (well, the discontinued Beast 16 might actually be heavier)...

And that is for 50/50 split (or more for lift served) I always say that Shift/duke PT will be better than any pure tech binding. Now, if it goes more like 70/30 (30 for lifts), then good tech bindings will start to look better.  And the more you focus on touring, the less Shift/DukePt make sense. 

Now what kind of touring, naturally for hard charging skiers, the bigger DIN and more robust designs (and thus heavier) make more sense. IMHO for that kind of skiing, it's the robustness that counts.

And to longer tours, then the weight and reliability start to count more (naturally, the weight is for all the gear, and flimsier skis & boots equals less charging). So a simple and highly reliable binding is the logical option (like ATK Trofeo).

As you can see, forward release is not in my criteria. As said, I do not put much value in it (I know that tech binding release is not reliable... but guess what, I broke my meniscus and ACL on DIN rated bindings with a low setting on a flat molehill... blue or green IIRC so release does not guarantee no injury). But I do value robustness and longlivety. So for my use cases, the Tecton/Vipec weight and complex engineering (thus higher propability of breakage/problems) count as a con. That isn't to say, that this will be true for all. In fact for me, Vipect/Tectons resolves and issue, that never was an issue, with too many cons (weigh, reliability/robustness). It's "too" heavy for pure touring (and reliability is also a slight concern for longer tours) and for easy of use and not robust enough for "slack country".

 HeMa 17 Nov 2021
In reply to nickg_oxford:

Congrats, I'm sure they'll serve you well...

And indeed if/when you see the need for longer tours, getting some dedicated skis+binders is often the smart thing. Nowaways you can get reasonably light, stiff enough, and wide enough skis for touring. Mount those with a suitable tech binding of your choosing and enjoy the difference to your current rig.

P.S. I would not look into getting new boots (what ever you have) unless you're rocking some of the really stiff (flex 120 or more) freeride boots (in which case something more relaxed might be nicer to complement the lighter touring rig)... As if you have boots that fit and functions as you like them, then I'd call it good. For the record I was overpowering my feeble K2 miserystixes with me NTN boots, so got a bargain pare of really light touring boots... they work well together... but as I have pointed out, I have numerous different skis at my disposal, so having a bit more specialized boots makes also sense. 

 The Gambler 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Skiddly1987:

Hi, I am looking to go for exactly the same sey up that you have. I have just purchased a oai of Volki Manta M5 Ski (5th Gen) with a 96mm waist. I am now looking at purchasing the Salomon Shift mnc 13 bindings and was wondering what brake size you have. The obvious choice is the 100mm but I have read that they run big and I have read that the 90mm brake size might be better. I was wondering what brake size you have and you're experience with this  Great choice of setup BTW. Can't wait to get mine up and running! 

 critter 15 Jan 2022
In reply to The Gambler:

I have two sets of Shift breaks as I alternate the bindings between skis using Quiver Killers.

I would stick with 100mm rather than a brake that is notionally narrower than your ski. Better to know the brakes will release than potentially having them get stuck because their too narrow. Particularly true if your going for permanent fixation to skis.

In reply to The Gambler:

Hey, I’m pretty sure I have the 100, I’ve never had any issues with them at all to be honest. I wouldn’t say they were any bigger than any other brakes, certainly not enough to notice anyway. You’ve chosen wisely, it’s a good setup!!

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