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Follow Up: Atomic Tracker 16 / Salomon Guardian 16 AT binding

2013 Atomic Tracker Binding, Blister Gear ReviewBinding: 2012-2013 Salomon Guardian 16 & Atomic Tracker 16

I am intrigued by this binding, to say the least.

I really look forward to getting this binding on snow, and I already have a number of tests in mind to get a feel for this thing in a straight alpine scenario. Unfortunately, we are still a few snow cycles away from all of that….

But I wanted to follow up on a few issues raised in Jonathan Ellsworth’s First Look Atomic Tracker review, and clarify a few misconceptions out there about the Tracker/Guardian (henceforth referred to as the Tracker, since that’s the model in my possession).

Climbing Guide / Heel Elevator

Atomic Tracker Heel Elevator, Blister Gear Review

Atomic Tracker Heel Elevator

Jonathan noted that, in Las Leñas, the heel elevator on the Tracker slipped down a couple of times while skinning. I have looked at the metal spring/heel elevator piece and popped it off to play with. One of the metal springs in this pre-production binding was slightly light. This made it easy for the elevator to pop down. It was a simple matter of removing the spring by hand, out of the track, and giving it a squeeze in a vice to add some more tension. The elevator itself is now more firm and less prone to slip and should not have any issues in the field. In the past, I have done this same sort of thing to heel elevators on tele bindings and Marker Duke bindings, without further issue. No harm no foul, in my opinion.

Alpine / AT boot Compatibility

The Tracker is obviously an alpine-boot-compatible binding. It also works with the new Salomon Walk to Ride (“WTR”) lugged outsole norm. Also worth noting is that, while Tecnica Cochise tech AT blocks are not officially WTR, I tested them in the Tracker, and they work perfectly. They do have solid plastic pads on the toe and heel that allow the boot to slide smoothly against the Teflon coated Anti-Friction Device (aka AFD). The Cochise does require that the Tracker’s toe piece be opened all the way up to the highest position, so be aware that the Cochise is the thickest boot toe that will fit into the Tracker off the shelf.

A fully rockered AT sole, however, such as a SCARPA Maestrale or Dynafit Mercury, is not compatible. (Rockered AT soles are compatible with the Marker Duke.) Such boots have massive friction against the Tracker 16’s AFD, and the toe does not fully enter the binding. If you really need a rockered AT sole to fit into the Tracker, be prepared for significant grinding to the boot sole. This is best done by a bootfitter with the correct tools.

My anecdotal results indicate that there is more friction in the Tracker with a rockered AT sole than with the same boot in a Salomon 916 binding—the 916 alpine binding has more toe height adjustment range and a toe-wing adjustment that will allow the toe of the boot to completely enter the toepiece of the binding.

 

62 Comments

  1. jeff November 8, 2012 Reply

    Nice follow up, looking forward to hearing how they do on the snow.

  2. JayT November 8, 2012 Reply

    Marshal – Not sure I understand your comment about the thickness of skis in relation to stack-height. No matter how thick the ski, you’re always on top of it and applying pressure from the top. But how far your boot is from that pressure point would effect leverage and balance; imagine a binding with a 12 inch stack height and the movements you would have to make with your body to put the ski up on edge. But you could be right on top of a 12 inch thick ski and still move it on edge with the same body movements as normal (putting aside the massive weight increase of course). Obviously that’s a ridiculous exaggeration and the actual stack height differences are minimal in comparison, but just saying this from a technical perspective. Anyway, looking forward to your test results.

    • Author
      marshal November 8, 2012 Reply

      hi Jay, thanks for the question.

      the point is that the leverage generated by skiing is relevant at the EDGE of the ski. The leverage can be mathematically expressed as the distance from the center of your boot to the edge of the ski. The actual leverage is directly related to the WIDTH of the ski and the HEIGHT of the binding (pythagorus’ theorem). a 10mm thicker ski adds basically the same amount of leverage to the edge as a 10mm thicker binding.

      hopefully that is clear?

      • JayT November 8, 2012 Reply

        Yes, you’re right. I was thinking too much about the top edge of the ski and not the bottom edge. So that’s an excellent point.

      • tom November 17, 2013 Reply

        are you guys planning review the tyrolia/head adrnalin tour binding any time soon
        thanks

  3. BobbyW November 8, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the clarification on the AT Boot compatibility! Was considering these, but don’t want to grind the rockered vibram soles of my Garmont Deliriums to make them fit, so I’ll be sticking with the Duke or Baron for now. Great site you guys have here!

  4. mm November 8, 2012 Reply

    Go Marshal, I like the way you compare things. looking forward to the follow up!

  5. Simen Stori November 9, 2012 Reply

    That last part is why Bllster is so awsome. That´s the way to test something.

    You guys rock!

  6. Gustav November 9, 2012 Reply

    Do you know how it would fit with Dalbello Virus Tour, the boot I use?? Allready bought me some guardians….

    • Author
      marshal November 9, 2012 Reply

      Hi Gustav, To be honest i have no idea, but am pretty skeptical. Thanks!

      • Gustav November 14, 2012 Reply

        Any more news on Virus boot? if I would grind it, how much would be needed? I’ve also been thinking of putting glue where the fixed AFD would be on the boot to get a hard surface that could slide better =) any thoughts?

        • Author
          marshal November 14, 2012 Reply

          Greetings Gustav,

          I simply do not have a virus boot to look at and test. If you do not know how to grind a boot sole, or by how much, i would strongly suggest discussing with a boot fitter, and not trying yourself. The Virus and Salomon binding are simply not compatible unless you are willing to do some serious mcguyver-ing, and accept the danger you are introducing.

          sorry i can’t help more, but what you are asking is well outside the realm of the internet!

          good luck!

  7. Mike November 14, 2012 Reply

    You didn’t mention the stationary AFD on the Tracker vs the sliding AFD on the Dukes. I’ve seen this referenced in one or two other places — the reviewer usually says “stationary sucks, you can’t use AT boots”. However, I’ve broken a few of the sliding AFDs on my Dukes (prob a combo of not properly adjusting to different boots and snow/ice buildup on the AFD and binding). I was thinking the Tracker’s stationary AFD would help solve this issue, and the “toe slop” that can develop on Dukes.

    Do you have a view on the advantage / disadvantage of sliding vs stationary AFDs?

    • Author
      marshal November 14, 2012 Reply

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Correct spec for both the sliding AFD and the fixed AFD is .5mm. So simply put, either you have enough clearance from the bottom of you boot or you don’t. Whether the AFD moves or not doesn’t help the clearance.

      If you have been breaking the sliding AFD on a Marker, it is almost assuredly from too much pressure against the boot sole.

      Fixed AFDs do tend to be slightly more responsive – literally every WC race binding out there has a fixed AFD. The sliding AFD is slightly “softer,” but very very minimally so. It is more forgiving if you don’t spend the time to fully adjust bindings, or don’t spray pam on the sole of you boot and get ice-build-up.

      Hope that helps.

      • Mike November 14, 2012 Reply

        Yup, I think the former racer in me likes to over-tighten the toe pressure.
        I think I am going to go with some guardians this year. We’ll see how they compare to the dukes
        Thanks!

  8. Peter Gallant November 18, 2012 Reply

    The folks in the local shop in Verbier skied these last year. Preferred them over the markers [given boot/binding compatibility] and commented that there is no reason to ever use a frishi, The greatest negative is the weight. Until touring boots can ski well, I’ll be touring with these bindings and my alpine boots. If you’re going on a long tour however, dynafits still rule.

    For testing, I would try one set up for an entire day, then switch for another whole day. Using different bindings for each ski could be nothing but ugly.

    Thanks for giving such insightful reviews; a total breath of fresh air after reading the magazines.

    • Gustav November 19, 2012 Reply

      Have you not tried any boots in the last 3 years? haha, well, have fun hiking in you alpine boots ;)

  9. jeff November 22, 2012 Reply

    nice review! i just upgraded my entire ski setup this year…cochise boots, cochise skis, and i still need something to link them together. my last set of skis (mantras) had older dukes, and i was skiing/skinning with old lange race boots. not ideal. for about 75% resort riding (the other 25% being slackcountry and legitimate touring), i’m wondering what the best binding option for me might be?

    i was convinced i’d just throw on a set of dukes/barons…but i started second guessing myself, and really do have a bunch of options. i have tech sole blocks for my boots, but alpine blocks can just as easily be added to the mix.

    -i could try these 1st year trackers/guardians and hope for the best…obviously it can take a while to perfect your product
    -a set of newer dukes/barons (to replace my 09’s)
    -tech bindings
    -a pair of sth 12/16’s or fks along with the all time by MFD which, after reading the review on here, sounds pretty solid too

    any advice?

    • Author
      marshal November 24, 2012 Reply

      hey jeff,

      to be honest there isn’t exactly a magic bullet at the moment in binding land.

      tech bindings (ala dynafit, plum, etc) are really backcountry bindings. while plenty of folks ski them inbounds, i personally don’t think they have the elasticity and release that an alpine binding ought to have, and don’t recommend them for skiing lots of heavy hardpack/bumps/etc that one would typically find under the lifts.

      the duke and guardian are basically a push at the moment in my eyes. their features are a little different, they both perform well, and would serve you fine to skin as well as ski inbounds. of course they are a compromise binding. they are not as awesome touring as a tech binding, and not quite an alpine binding on hardpack.

      honestly, if you are happy with the dukes that you have used, i would say there is not much reason to stray, short of just wanting to try something else.

      not sure if that is helpful, but hopefully!

  10. jeff November 24, 2012 Reply

    thanks, marshal! yea good response. i think i might actually go for a set of dynaduke plates, and go from there. might be the best of all worlds for my current situation!!

  11. Mac November 24, 2012 Reply

    Where on earth did the 24mm thick skis found at Chez Olson come from? 16mm, yes, 21mm… maybe, but 24mm??? Are you talking about a PAIR of skis or a solo ski? After a quick run around chez me with a tape and about 30 pairs of skis to eyeball, most modern skis appear to be 12-16mm thick, one old straight 210 shotski came in around 19mm, and the only skis above 2cm were nordic.

    Not trying trying to too nitpicky here- I totally agree with your assessment of stack height and a general inability to differentiate those couple of millimeters. Just curious in the spirit of an in-depth Blister review. I think for myself and many others the primary interest in the Guardian/Tracker is not weight or stack height vs. a Duke but rather in a high-din alpine binding that can tour that is:

    A) Not a Marker
    B) Not going to ice up and
    C) Not going to develop slop after half a year of skiing inbounds

    FWIW Trackers for me came in at 31mm stack height and Dukes at 37, using a tape but no calipers. I suspect the advertised stack height of the trackers is measured from the bottom of the heel piece to the top (which I measured as 27mm), without taking into account the thickness of the plate that is mounted to the ski and the distance that raises the heel off the actual ski.

    Thanks for the thorough info, as always

    • Author
      marshal November 26, 2012 Reply

      hi mac-

      i had a pair of igneous FFL 280# skis and a pair of blizzard titan pros that both measure just under an inch thick. the thinnest ski i could find, basically anywhere, was a DPS pure carbon ladies ski. at midsole it measured 15mm thick.

      either way, much more coming on the binding, but a few points:
      1. the duke does have more elasticity in the heel than the guardian.
      2. if you spray silicone, PAM, wipe PTFE, etc on your binding (or boot sole, or ski top sheet), it won’t ice up.
      3. you might look at the TGR thread where a bunch of people are reporting slop out of the package. too be determined the cause, might be volcanoes screw holes, mine are tight as can be, but something is going on there.

      either way, my stack measurements are from the top of the ski to the bottom of the boot, and the duke and guardian are measured the same way.

      cheers!

      • Jeff November 26, 2012 Reply

        Hey Marshal, confused on the stack height measurements. You say you’re measuring from the top of the ski to the BOTTOM of the boot. In that case, why does the stack change as you adjust the toe on the Tracker? The AFD is fixed, the clearance (0.5mm) is fixed, so the bottom of the boot should always be in the same place. The measurement to the top of the boot toe would change, but the bottom should not. On the Duke, since the AFD moves up and down, the stack as measured to the bottom of the boot (and toe-heel delta) should change as you adjust the AFD height. You seem to indicate the exact opposite. What am I missing?

  12. Vladimir December 12, 2012 Reply

    Hello,
    When you are going togive update for this test?

  13. Greg Pence December 12, 2012 Reply

    I looked at the early review of the binding (early Oct) and liked it. Talked to a ski shop and decided to use it on my new set up. Mantra ski, Tracker Binding & Black Diamond Quadrant boot. I looked at the websites for both the Guardian and Tracker. Watched both of their videos. Both touted this binding as the new standard for AT binding, all the good hype. No mention of the boot restrictions at all. The shop gets the stuff in mounts the binding and then finds this little warning card in the box with the binding regarding the boot restrictions. The shop at first did not do a binding check becasue of the rockered BD boot. The toe adjusment does allow enough for the .5mm clearance on the toe. I will take them back to the shop this weekend to see what we get on the binding check. I am a Pro ski patroller so I got everything at Pro prices but still very frustrated that there is no mention in advertising about the boot restrictions. In fact their hype for the binding is just the opposite. Very misleading. My old Scapra are thicker soled and could not adjust toe height enough. Hopefully with the binding check I can get a base line of where it will release. Will a DIN 7 be a DIN 9,10 etc. Will post again later

    • Gustav December 12, 2012 Reply

      Hi!
      I’ve asked above about my Dalbello Virus and now I’ve done the deed.
      I’ve grinded down the sole and put some epoxy where the AFD touches the sole. Two days on them now and feels great =)

      Pics on our swedish forum!
      http://www.freeride.se/forum/thread.php?t=88757&p=2#r989251

      I think you’ll be happy that you changed from duke (if that’s what you did) even if you have to do some modification. Another way is to grind away and glue a piece of plastic to the boot. Anyways, feels great to me =)

  14. Doug B December 17, 2012 Reply

    Marshal, nice follow up. Hoped you could help answer a question.

    I have decided to pull the trigger on a pair of DPW Wailer 99’s, 184 cm. I ski almost all the time on mountain, but mostly in the bowls or trees in colorado. I don’t get backcountry much, but it sure would be nice to have the ability if I wanted to. I am more than willing to shell out the extra dough for the Guardians for that ability, but just want to make sure that the alpine performance doesn’t really suffer much. I don’t want to pick up these awesome skis and then not get the same feel for them because I picked a binding that I frankly might not use all that much. However, if I had the opportunity to get OOB more often, I might take it.

    I guess I’m asking for an opinion, on the alpine side of things, if I can expect pretty much the same performance of say the Jester or similar. Have to pull the trigger on the decision soon, so any input would be very valuable. Thanks in advance.

    • Author
      marshal December 18, 2012 Reply

      greetings doug!

      if i were personally skiing 80% or more inbounds, i would for personally just get an alpine binding. The guardian and new duke are pretty equivalent to, say, a griffon or salmon sth14 in terms of responsiveness while skiing, but why lug around an extra pound per foot if you are not really going to use it?

      of course if you are indeed going to skin more, great, then having the ability is a bonus for sure. but there is plenty of backcountry to ski with boot packing and trackers and the like, so i would ask you to really think hard about if you really need a skinning binding… if that is really what has prevented you from skiing backcountry runs to date.

      hope that helps?

      cheers!

      -marshal

  15. Mike December 18, 2012 Reply

    All due respect, kind of sounds like Doug B is a great candidate for an AT binding. He won’t notice much, if any, difference if he’s skiing trees/bowls (hardpack, maybe, depending on skill level). He sounds like he wants an excuse to go exploring the BC.

    Doug, I say go for it. Grab a pair of dukes or guardians, some skins, learn some avy safety, and get out there. If you hate the binders, you can always sell them. I think a pound if weight is a small price to pay for the freedom you’ll start to experience.

    And don’t get trackers. They are called “day wreckers” for a reason.

    • Author
      marshal December 18, 2012 Reply

      hey mike, thanks for the opinion, and i definitely don’t disagree with you.

      my point was that if doug is not already skiing the backcountry as it sits, i would question the logic that a single pair of bindings is the only barrier to begin.

      either way, yeah, the guardians ski nicely, they engage and drive a ski well. but i certainly notice the heavy weight and responsiveness cost due to it, and would prefer to be on a straight alpine binding inbounds because of it.

      just my opinion :D

  16. Tom January 3, 2013 Reply

    Marshal,

    I know you said the Cochise “just” fit. Would you feel comfortable with that setup. I have the Cochise boots, and am looking for something other than the Duke’s, but am not sure how I feel about being at the toe height limit and without a sliding AFD (or without the plastic pads on the toe).

    Muchas gracias in advance!

    • Author
      marshal January 3, 2013 Reply

      hi Tom,

      All I can say is the Trackers in my possession and the Cochise Boots in my possession setup correctly and test and release within spec. In order for them to do so, i literally have to open the binding completely, which i do feel comfortable doing, but if there is any variance between boots and bindings, i cannot say if the setup would fit always all the time.

      I am not sure if that helps or not, but the best i can do!

      -marshal

      • Tom January 4, 2013 Reply

        Awesome. Thanks Marshal. Any plans to review the Tyrolia Adrenalin binding?

        • Author
          marshal January 4, 2013 Reply

          cheers no problem tom.

          we would gladly review the adrenaline binding, but not been able to track a pair down. i am slightly ambivalent to be honest, as the hole pattern is several inches longer than even the guardian, with more holes as well, which i am not that much a fan of. though the design otherwise looks quite promising.

  17. Greg Pence January 4, 2013 Reply

    Well I wrote earlier about the Tracker/Guardian with the BD Quadrant boot. The local ski shop would not do the binding check for liability reasons. The did not want to even give the impression to say the combination was acceptable. The technician is very experienced and stated that the binding check is a static check and a fall is dynamic. In the testing world there is no real correlation between the two. But anyhow he also stated do it the old fashion way. Use the setting charts to set the bindings, then have someone stand on the back of the ski and step/lean forward and see how the binding releases. It released fine. It did not stick feel like it would break my leg. It did not feel like it was too light either. Did a twisting motion for the toe release and that felt equally as comfortable. I do have space between the AFD and boot toe. Becasue of the rocker on the BD not all of the toe is on the AFD, only about a 1/3. Well for what it is worth. I will give it a shot next week.

  18. Scottie Battle January 8, 2013 Reply

    Hi Marshal,
    My trackers were mounted with a jig by a local shop and have had heel “play” out of the box.The baseplate is perfectly flat on the ski. In my case, it looks to me like the hooks on the base plate have “wiggle” room in the slot. I can’t for the life of me see how the mount could change this. I sent videos to Atomic/Salomon so they could see what I was talking about. I would be willing to forward them to you if you wish… I have contacted Atomic and they say that they were designed this way to allow flexing of the ski. I will also say that if you put the shovel of your ski on a pillow and flex them slightly, the play disappears. I have not noticed the slop while skiing, (~10 days alpine, no touring yet) and so far they ski like a regular alpine binding. It bothers me that I’ve got play in my bindings while some like you are finding no slop at all.

  19. Mike January 10, 2013 Reply

    Mine have a slight up and down wiggle at the heel as well (Guardians). I can’t feel it at all while skiing, and it does seem to go away when you put the boot into the binding and let the ski flex. It seems to have to do with the hooks that connect the baseplate to the heelpiece.

    I have spent 5 days touring on them so far (slackcountry, less than 45 minutes skinning per lap). I have found them to tour as well as last year’s Duke. They are quieter, and the stride feels the same to me.

    Have to admit, not taking the ski off and making sure the track is clear of ice is a nice advantage vs a Duke. I also love the static AFD, never liked the Duke sliding one.

  20. JayT January 10, 2013 Reply

    My Guardians also have some play in the heel, and it also goes away once you snap a boot in. Hasn’t been a problem when skiing on them, so nothing to worry about IMO.

  21. Pietro February 28, 2013 Reply

    Hi!

    Does someone know the weight of the new (2013/2014) Guardian/Tracker 13 din ?
    I can’t find it anywhere.

    Thanks.

    Pietro

    • Mikael March 24, 2013 Reply

      Hey Pietro,

      If you still haven’t found the answer, I found out in a catalog that Atomic states the 2013/14 Guardian 13 to weigh 2.92 kg per pair, which is surprisingly only 20 grams per binding lighter than Guardian 16.

      Either this is a mistake in the catalog, or they really only changed the spring to get a lower DIN range, instead of swapping some metal parts to plastic ones like Marker did with Barons.

      I sent a question to Atomic about this, and will update when they answer me.

      Personally, I would want a larger drop in weight, especially since the Guardian 16 was already heavier than Duke, and now the Guardian 13 would be almost exactly a pound or almost half a kg heavier per pair than the next year’s Baron EPF (2.48 kg/pair).

      Mikael

      • Pietro March 25, 2013 Reply

        Hi Mikael,

        thanks for your answer.

        I’ve been told the same in a skishop here in Italy some days ago. The “Guardian/Tracker 13” din will be only few grams less than the “16 din version” because the springs only will be different.

        However, some days ago my girlfriend bought me a pair of Gurdian 16 as a present.
        I know it’s a havier binding than Baron, but she found a very good deal, I didn’t like the stack height of Baron/Duke when I skied them, and I’m using it only for short tours.
        I have spent 4 days on it so far, but i haven’t tour with it yet, so I can’t comment on the climbing performance.
        I mounted it on a pair of Caylors 191.
        I skied this setup on groomers, chop, crud, pow both in trees and bowls and I’don’t have any complaint.
        I can’t feel the stack height, no heel slop and the flex of the ski doesn’t seem affected badly to me.
        Regarding the downhill performance I can’t feel the difference between Guardian and my STH Driver. IMHO on the way down the extra weight respect bindings like FKS or the new STH2 16 (+ 500 g. per pair) isn’t a big deal once you get used to it, but keep in mind I have never skied tha Caylors with a regualar alpine binding…so I can be wrong.

        I know I still have to tour on Guardians but for now i agree with guys at Blister when they say:
        “Salomon and Atomic set out to create a burly AT binding that “maximizes skiing performance.” We believe they have.
        They have also created a ground-breaking, 16-DIN binding that allows you to free up or lock down your heel without removing your skis. Nice.”

        Just my 2 cents.

        Cheers from Italy.

        Pietro

        • Mikael March 25, 2013 Reply

          Hey Pietro,

          Thanks for your opinion on the Guardian.

          With so many people saying that the difference between them and pure alpine bindings is not very noticeable, the Guardian has become a real contender to my decision of buying MFD Alltime Plates to get maximum performance and bindings that I trust.

          Since you have no complaints, I’m assuming that you didn’t find the difference in height between the toe and heel pieces to be a big deal, either?

          Thanks,
          Mikael

          • Pietro March 25, 2013 Reply

            Hi Mikael!

            You are right.
            I didn’t find that the difference in height between the toe and heel pieces to be a problem.
            Keep in mind that I’ve always skied with Salomon bindings (914, 916, STH Driver 14 – 16). If I’m not wrong all those Salomon bindings have some delta (ramp angle), so maybe I’m just used to it.
            I can’t tell you instead if there is any difference between Guardian and bindings like FKS/Pivot which have 0 delta (ramp angle).

            I’ve never skied MFD, so I can’t say anything about this product.

            Hope this helps!

            Pietro

          • Pietro April 8, 2013 Reply

            Update.

            Now I’ve skied 10 days and toured 1 with my setup (Caylor 191 + guardian).

            Nothing to add about downhill performance.
            IMHO the same feel of my Sth Driver 14.
            One of my friend was looking for a pair of Duke, but after a run with my skis he bought the Guardians. He’s very happy too. He mounted them on the same pair of Black Crows Corvus that he skied the last two season with an alpine binding and he says the downhill feel is the same.

            I did a 50-60 minutes (flattish) tour last saturday. No complaint for my needs (short tours to get to the goods).
            Of course it isn’t the lightest setup on the market, but it worked fine.
            My friend was happy too.

            Hope this hleps!

            Pietro

  22. ScottM March 10, 2013 Reply

    I’ve been on a Rocker 2 115 (188) / Guarding combo for about 6 weeks now, and overall I’ve been pleased by the combo (go read my Rocker 2 115 comments if you want to hear my impressions of the skis).

    The bindings feel really solid underfoot and I’ve not had any kind of problems with release or pre-release, so I guess they’re doing their job. Touring feels quite natural as long as you’re on at least a slight uphill. On flats it feels like there’s something under my heels, but hasn’t really been a problem – yet. Getting the bindings switched into touring mode took a little practice, but is easier now. The solid thunk when putting them back into skiing mode is very reassuring, it feels like they are really locked down.

    Getting the climbing bails into position took a little getting used to as well, and they really require a pole handle with a little hook on them. I know that Solomon makes special poles for this, but my existing poles have a slight hook on the handle, and they’ve been working fine.

    I have a couple of minor complaints about the binding:
    1) Weight. These are heavy. If you want to do multi-day tours find something else. If you want burly slackcountry/inbounds bindings, these are for you.
    2) The climbing bails have gone from “high” to “low” or to “locked” position on me twice. This is awkward on a steep skin track. I’m sure this was caused by my other binding/ski hitting the bail, so I’ve adjusted my stride a little and it hasn’t happened again.
    3) Climbing bail height adjustment. Going from “locked” to “high” is easy and going from “high” to “low” is easy, but going from “low” to “high” is almost impossible for me. So to get from low to high setting I have to go Low-Locked-High.
    4) The 115 brakes that came with the ski are just barely wide enough for my 115 wide skis. if I had 117 they would be too narrow.

    Those minor gripes aside I’m very happy and would buy this combo again.

    Scott.

    • Author
      marshal March 11, 2013 Reply

      great feedback scott, thanks for posting that!

  23. Scotty Battle April 9, 2013 Reply

    Hi All,
    As a follow up, I now have got about 60 days on a pair of trackers and agree with what has been said about DH performance.They ski like like an alpine binding… Heel play is not noticable when skiing, but I can feel the play when on lifts.(who cares?) I think the stride is nicer than Dukes when touring, and the difference in stack height is noticable. I have gotten much more efficient with the climbing bail. Just takes some time on them.
    I would advise folks to keep an eye on the pin that the toe piece pivots on. I was skiing last week when a friend noticed the pin was half way out of its housing! It seems the loc tite on the threaded end broke free. I was able to tighten them down with a pocket knife and there was no damage to the binding, but it could been a major catasrophe had my buddy not noticed it. I would also add that I am very hard on these bindings which may account for the pin coming loose.

    • Scotty Battle April 20, 2013 Reply

      A follow up to the follow up…I was putting my skis away for the year when I noticed the AFD plate on one binding has a crack in it, the other has a crack with a chunk missing. These were set up at a shop and I know for a fact that the AFD was set correctly.(I checked them at different points during the season) I am very hard on these bindings skiing 80+ days of eastern bumps, decent size airs etc. Atomic will send new plates (to a certified shop due to liability issues) but I have concerns about their long term durability.

  24. m September 26, 2013 Reply

    Have anyone used Dynafit titan’s (ultralight) rubber soles with guardians or trackers? How easily they fit in bindings, I don’t want to grind my boots soles.

    • Author
      marshal September 30, 2013 Reply

      hey m

      you *might* be able to jam them in there, but don’t plan on the binding to release as it was designed. The binding simply was not built to accept that boot standard.

      • m September 30, 2013 Reply

        Thanks, so it will be new epf barons for salomon rocker2 108. Can’t trust tech bindings for butters, jumps etc.

        Keep up the great work!

  25. Stephen December 5, 2013 Reply

    well, I can tell you my personal experience with the Dynafit Titan (not UL, but soles should be identical) and the Guardian. I wasn’t aware there was any incompatibility when I put the guardians on my Armada TSTs, so I skied that combo somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 days last season. and guess what: they released when they were supposed to and didn’t when they weren’t. I took a couple of pretty good beaters and they came off as expected, and after I had my din dialed in early on I can’t remember a prerelease.

    obviously now reading the “official” line that they’re not compatible had me a bit concerned though, so I compared the fit to my (Salomon) alpine boots (which I pretty much stopped skiing in because I like the Titans so much). the toe of both boots appear to enter the toepiece identically and sit at the same location with no gaps. Both boots appear to sit on the afd about the same, but of course the rockered sole has a bit of a curve to it there (I have pictures of both if you’re interested). I adjusted the bindings the same way as I do my fritschis: stick a business card in between the afd and the boot and tweak the toepiece height until the card comes out smoothly with a gentle tug but folds when you try to push it back. and… so far, so good. I didn’t have to force anything at all, but maybe that has to do with the fact that the Titans are designed to be used with a DIN sole as well? I also demoed the Vulcan one day for an hour or so and had no problems with the boot/binding fit, but of course one day’s data is nothing compared to 100, so I can’t really comment more there.

    I have a call in to salomon to get their official word on things. I will say that I’m so happy with my setup that if they told me I was doing something super-dangerous I’d grind the boot sole to keep riding this combo. (and the soles are replaceable, after all — what do you really have to lose?)

  26. Stephen December 5, 2013 Reply

    follow-up to my previous comment. today Solomon replied to my inquiry about whether it was ok to use my Titans with the Guardian:

    ——cut——
    On Dec 5, 2013, at 10:00 AM, Salomon Consumer Service wrote:

    Hello Stephen,

    Thank you for contacting Salomon.

    Yes, our Guardian bindings from 12/13 are compatible with all AT soles.

    Feel free to contact us for any future questions.

    Best Regards,
    Sebastian

    Salomon Consumer Service
    ——cut——

  27. Greg Pence December 12, 2013 Reply

    Just had my Guardian and Black Diamond Quadrant AT boot checked at a shop that had the computerized DIN checker and they checked out perfectly. Made sure I could slip a piece of paper underneath the toe. I noticed that the Adrenline/Tyrolia AT binding is very close to the Guardian except it has a moveable toe piece and maybe more toe height adjustment.

    These mounted on my Mantra’s are a great feel. I am a pro ski patroller and now I am legal.

    • KC October 17, 2014 Reply

      Greg,

      Did you have to make any DIN adjustment for the quadrant opposed to other alpine boots?

      cheers.

  28. AK March 18, 2014 Reply

    Thanks to Marshall for the analysis of the stack height. I made my first jump into touring gear this year and I am the type who isn’t taking any intense long tours and would rather have the uphill suck a little more in exchange for downhill performance. I read and read and read on these bindings vs. the Dukes and ultimately ended up with Dukes because they were available to me at a better price. However, the stack height is taking some adjustment for me and I was getting kind of bummed I didn’t snag the Guardian. However, part of my problem is that I already have canting/lifter plates that are very thick on the bottom of my boots so I am that much higher to start. I am due for some fresh boots and in light of Marshall’s measurements it sounds like going with a thinner plate on my next boots will accomplish more than moving from Dukes to Guardians.

    Thanks again for the detailed thoughtful analysis.

  29. Joe November 21, 2014 Reply

    Any more long term opinions on the Guardian 16? I am picking up some 190 Blister Pros for this season (thanks for getting them to do a re-release!!!), and am debating bindings. I have some first gen Dukes laying around I could theoretically mount up, but am wondering if it is worth the update to Guardians? This will be my quiver of one travel ski for inbounds charging and long day tours. I guess I am willing to consider the Beast 16 as well but it’s double the price and has some obvious inbounds disadvantages as noted in your super thorough review.

    Thanks!

    • Marshal November 22, 2014 Reply

      Joe, just my opinion, but unless your bindings need replacement anyway, I would run the Dukes. And if I was buying new ones, and didn’t want to buy new boots, I would probably get duke epf’s…

      • Joe November 23, 2014 Reply

        Thanks for the advice but I’m curious, what does buying new boots have to do with the decision? My 1st gen Dukes are in great shape, they were on my backup skis and have only seen snow maybe 20 times. I’m getting Scarpa Freedom SLs in the next week or two so dynafit compatibility isn’t an issue, and might get a pair of alpine boots as well if I can swing it monetarily. I figured maybe the Freedom SLs would be a good compromise as one boot to do it all for traveling– not perfect, but good enough if I can only travel with 1 pair.

  30. Mike November 22, 2014 Reply

    My 2c is — it depends how beat up your 1st gen dukes are. I have a few pairs that are thrashed, with a lot of toe slop and I had to replace the AFDs. I’ve found that my guardians are holding up better after a season than the older dukes did.

  31. Aari November 23, 2014 Reply

    Hi Guys
    Has any one tried out the guardians with Black Diamond Factors with the AT Sole?
    Thanks!

  32. Andy November 2, 2017 Reply

    Can you swap out the breaks on these? Managed to get hold of a pair but the break is too wide.

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