Dynafit Manaslu Skis & Skins, TLT Radical ST 100mm Bindings, TLT 5 Mountain TF-X Ski Boots

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Manufacturer Description

Manaslu Skis
For the new Manaslu, the core construction of the Stoke ski has been used, with 3 long bamboo stringers. This guarantees greater boost and a smoother performance. The ski returns quickly to its original position, even at high speed and on uneven terrain. It also has a new aluminum skin tip.
Manaslu Skins
The Dynafit FT Manaslu Speedskin fits perfectly with your Dynafit ski for the ultimate lightweight backcountry setup. These skin feature Dynafit’s signature sturdy rubber tip attachment system for fast, easy transitions. They also come pre-shaped with laser-cut edges—no cutting required. The waterproofed mohair/synthetic blend includes a vapor barrier membrane between layers ensuring both uncompromised traction and glide throughout your tour.
TLT Radical ST Bindings
The Radical ST is a step up from the Vertical ST because it is so easy to use and it makes the frameless system accessible to all skiing fans. With the Radical ST, there’s little place for systems with frames.
TLT 5 Mountain Boots
The ideal choice for skiers who demand the best in boots for long distances and high altitude tours. Also the best option for tours with difficult climbing both on ice and rock, thanks to its short rockered sole and perfect crampon compatibility. The additional Downhill Booster tongue makes it extremely supportive during even the most technical and steep descents, while the racing-derived Ultra-Lock system allows for incredible cuff rotation and uphill agility with a super fast, single-motion transition from walk to ski mode. Designed for a wider range of users, the Mountain version features a Pebax cuff for a great combination of lightness and downhill performance. The rear spoiler provides an adjustable forward lean angle.

Features

Manaslu Skis

  • Ultralight Paulownia Isocore core features beach and bamboo stringers for added strength and pop
  • Slightly rockered tip absorbs shock and rides above crud and wind-crust
  • Sandwich construction enhances durability and adds stability at high speeds
  • Wide waist and dual-radius sidecut (122/95/108) allows for tight turns in the steep and float in the deep
  • Fiberglass and biaxial carbon reinforcement in upper and lower layers add torsional stiffness
  • Base features sintered graphite coating for perfect gliding and enhanced wax absorption
  • Inserts make mounting Dynafit bindings easy
  • Aluminum tip adds durability and is compatible with Dynafit’s Klick-system skins
  • Dimensions – 122 mm / 95 mm / 108 mm (size 178)
  • Turn Radius – 31 m (101.7 ft)
  • Weight of size 178 – 1430 g (3 lb 2.4 oz)
  • Retail – $700

Manaslu Skins

  • Quick-and-Easy attachment system utilizing a stretchy rubber clamp that fits in the notch at the front of the Manaslu ski
  • Tail of skin is held in place with a metal hook
  • 3-layer construction includes a middle membrane surrounded by plush velour on 1 side and glue on the other; membrane limits water absorption to keep the skins sticky and light
  • Mohair/nylon velour material balances grip with glide for great all-around performance – 70% molehair/30% nylon
  • Skins pack down small for easy transportation
  • Measured weight – 340 g (12 oz)
  • Retail – $200

TLT Radical ST Bindings

  • Additional 6 mm plate at the front
  • Speed Step climbing bar
  • Side Towers for quick binding entry and greater side impact resistance
  • Optimized eccentric cam
  • Adjustable length +/- 12.5 mm
  • Stopper with gliding plate for excellent side release
  • New torx screws
  • Jig/template optimized at the toe (just 4 screws instead of 5)
  • Weight – 531 g (18.7 oz)
  • Retail – $490

TLT Mountain 5 Boots

  • Shell material – Grilamid
  • Cuff material – Pebax
  • Buckle – Ultra-lock system
  • Forward Lean – 15°
  • Cuff Rotation – 60°
  • Sole – Klauen
  • Measured size 28 weight – 1335 g (2 lbs 11 oz)
  • Retail – $750

YMMV Review

Dynafit has been a well-known and respected brand for skiers since 1950. That is when they made their first ski boots. In the 1980’s, Dynafit began making boots for skiing and climbing. In the 2000’s, Dynafit began to expand their selection to cover the whole spectrum of the backcountry skiing experience. They introduced skis, skins, bindings, and clothing to their lines. Dynafit continues to push the limit of performance, reliability, and weight on all their products. They have been a loyal partner to the ski/mountaineer community and truly live what they sell.

Downhill Mode

This season I was starting to get into Alpine Touring and Ski Moutnaineering for the first time. I have been a skier for 20+ years now and a mountaineer for 15+ so it was time to combine them all. Plus I was tired of paying for lift tickets to ski tracked out slopes.  I have been working with the Dynafit team on other reviews and talked about the ski line. They set me up with a demo “Fast and Light” set-up. This included the Manaslu Skis and Skins, TLT Radical Bindings and TLT 5 Mountain Boots. While there will be reviews that are more technical on the performance and flex of the skis or bindings, I hope this review will help point out how this setup works for a newbie to the hike for turns crowd.

Testing

My testing of this set up was either right at sunrise or sunset depending on the day. I would go up before or after works for some quick turns on good snow days throughout the late winter.  We have had a tough early season here in Central Oregon, but late February and Early March has finally been some good snow. My primary testing grounds have been “The Cone” at Mt Bachelor. A 700 ft cinder cone on the side of the ski area. There are some nice open slopes with tree skiing down below.

Boot Sole with Good Traction

Design ★★★★☆

Skis ★★★★☆

Skins ★★★★½

Bindings ★★★★☆

Boots ★★★☆☆

This whole system is designed to work together. Apart from the skis and the skins, you can use different combinations of bindings and boots if you so choose. The Manaslu skis and skins are very light weight. They are a good all around set up that is not too punishing on the way up and up to any task on the way down. Dynafit makes specific skins for each of their skis, which make sure the fit is ideal and the user does not have to do any cutting. The Manaslu skis have a small slot in the back of the skis for a clip on the skins and then there is an aluminum skin tip slot that pairs with the rubber tip on the skins. This creates an ideal attachment and a tightly fitting skin. The Manaslu Skis have been made to fit all bindings but especially Dynafit’s. They have special inserts to make mounting Dynafit bindings incredibly easy and fool proof.

Hiking Mode - Low Setting

The Manaslu Ski is made with a lightweight wood core to keep the weight down. The skis have a rockered tip for keeping vibration to a minimum and helping it ride above crud. The skis are wider than most skis but not super wide making them a good ski for a variety of conditions. The skis have been built with sandwich construction to improve durability and stability at higher speeds. For torsional stiffness, the Manaslu is reinforced with carbon. The skis also have a sintered graphite base which absorbs wax better and allows the skis to glide.

The Manaslu Skins are made to pair exactly with the Manaslu Skis. They are constructed out of a mix of 70% molehair and 30% nylon. These fibers give the skins a good glide while maintaining the grip. The skins are constructed of 3-layers. The plush layer and the glue have a membrane sandwiched between them that prevents water from soaking in and making the skins heavy and maintains the stickiness of the glue. The back of the skins have a metal hook while the front has a rubber attachment tip that interfaces with the skis. This makes the skins easy to take on and off.

Hiking Mode - Middle Setting

The TLT Radical ST Bindings are some of the lightest bindings available. They are a two part binding without a plate between them. This allows the bindings to sit really low to the skis. The TLT Radical ST is made of stainless steel for long life and durability. The bindings have two towers in the front that use a pin to interface with the holes in the front toes on the boots. This allows the boots to hinge as you walk yet still be held in place at the front. There is a lever in the front that can be locked when in touring mode. This will keep your boots from coming out if you twist. In the back, the bindings have four possible positions: three for uphill travel and one for downhill. There are two pins that hook into the boots for downhill skiing. For uphill skiing, the back banding can be rotated into three different positions. The first one just pulls up the brakes and moves the pins out of the way so you have a free heel for walking. The second position creates a medium height platform to save your muscles when climbing. The final position creates the highest platform for those steeper climbs. Dynafit has engineered two different holes in the binding top where you can insert your pole tips to rotate the bindings. This allows you to make changes on the go without having to reach down to make a change.

Hiking Mode - High Setting

I was not able to find any information about sustainable practices or initiatives. As I have mentioned before this doesn’t mean they don’t exist, just there is no mention of them.

Fit ★★½☆☆

Boots ★★½☆☆

It is tough to write up a definitive test of the fit of the boots. I had to test a boot larger than I normally wear as that was what was available. What I can comment on is the how the boot adjusts to the different modes. While there are only two buckles on the boots, this is enough for them to tighten down and secure your foot into place. When in touring mode, I removed the Booster Tongue, and the boot was comfortable and flexible for hiking. Adding the Tongue in for descent and locking down the buckles really tightened and stiffened the boot up nicely. One issue I have with all ski boots is my larger calves get a bit squished in boots. These boots are similar to others in this respect. It took quite some time before I was finally able to get my fit dialed in on these.

Downhill Booster

Performance ★★★★☆

Skis ★★★★½

Skins ★★★★½

Bindings ★★★★☆

Boots ★★★½☆

Here is where the nuts and bolts of the review are located. I do not have much experience in Alpine Touring but am excited to be getting into this side of the sport. No more lift tickets!! Using the system is easy. Since the skis and skins are made for each other, there is no cutting and therefore, no opportunities to mess things up. I really like the way the skins attach to the skis. The clip in the back and the rubber attachment at the front are awesome. They are easy to use and secure. For someone without a lot of experience with skins, this set up made it simple.

Rubber Tip Connecting Skins

The Dynafit binding system takes a little to get used to. To secure the pins all you need to do is step down on the front pad, and they will click into place. The difficult part is making sure you click down in the correct spot. After some time, I got better at getting it in the right spot first try, but it still was a challenge. Once in the toe can be locked into place by pulling up the lever to the highest setting. This made it so you can’t twist your foot out in the same manner the bindings release when skiing. When skiing I found the bindings to be secure even though they are very lightweight. Only once did I pop out when skiing and that was dropping off an 8-foot rock onto a marginal landing. Other than that I never had any surprise pop outs.

The boots are a bit different in how they convert from ski mode to walk mode. There is a Downhill Booster Tongue which can be removed for hiking mode and insert back in for downhill mode. With this pulled out the boots are really flexible and easy to walk in. It also makes them stiff for the ski down. The drawback I have with them is twofold. Fist they are a bit cumbersome to stash away when climbing. On the Cone at Mt Bachelor, you really do not need to carry a pack but after having to stuff these in my jacket once, I took a pack just for these on my next couple trips. They are not very comfortable inside a jacket. The other issue is it takes longer to switch modes. My other boots have just a lever in the back; these have more of a process. On the other hand, these boots re lighter and more flexible so it is a trade off.

Tail Clip for Skins

The skins worked great. I do not have much experience on how well skins climb but these worked even on steep slopes, so I had no complaints. On the contrary, they are so easy to install and use; I was a big fan of the attachments. The same thing goes for the skis. While I have been skiing for 20 years now, I do not know if I can effectively express the minor differences in how different skis perform. I felt like the skis while being very lightweight, still skied with good power and made turning easy. They floated well on powder and managed crud fairly well. Since the skis and bindings are so lightweight it made climbing a breeze. I routinely would catch up to people ahead of me. The binding makes it easy to use your poles to adjust the heel lift. It does take a couple of times to figure out how to best twist the binding but after playing around a bit I had a good grasp on it.

Toe Locked Into Place

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall, I was really impressed by this system. The skins and skis interfaced super well together. I really liked them and the skis felt great on all the different types of snow I skied. I even had a day of lift skiing on these and had no complaints then either. The bindings are solid and I only popped out once when I thought I shouldn’t. The lock in mechanism for the toe is great but do not forget to unlock the toe for the downhill. You do not want to be locked in if you crash except for certain circumstances. The bindings and boots take a bit of use to get the hang of. Nothing against them, just noticed that there is some user knowledge that needs to be learned. The boots were my least favorite of the bunch. Not only was I testing a size different than normal, the transition was a bit more cumbersome. While the flex in walking mode is excellent, I am not sure it was worth the extra effort for me. Of course if you are looking for the lightest setup, then it may be worth it to you. The whole setup retails for $2,140, which makes them quite the investment. However, if you are looking for a solid and very lightweight package, then this is it. For fast and light trips, these really hit the mark. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent construction
  • Interface between the skis & skins is easy
  • Good Performance
  • Easy to adjust the heel lift on the go

Cons

  • Expensive set-up
  • Boots are a bit cumbersome to switch between walking & skiing modes

[button url=”http://www.dynafit.com/en” style=”black” size=”small”] Dynafit Website [/button]

[button url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kocs5t1sLv0&list=PL73424D998AEBF8EB&index=8&feature=plpp_video” style=”black” size=”small”] Video About the Boots [/button]

[button url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDfLGNIU8OE&list=PL73424D998AEBF8EB&index=2&feature=plpp_video” style=”black” size=”small”] Video About the Bindings [/button]

[button url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy64ph0alkQ&list=PL73424D998AEBF8EB&index=26&feature=plpp_video” style=”black” size=”small”] Video About the Skis [/button]

 

About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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