so these bindings are always being talked about, so how bout
making a dedicated answers thread for these guys? This is something ive been wanting to write for a while, and im bored and have time, so i wil.
heres my start, all about FKS / turntables.
The basic history:
the turntable design has been around forever, pretty much as long as the modern binding. they have evolved a bit, but the basics are still the same. the modern style has been around since the 80s. they have various toe pieces over the years, but the heels are almost all the same.
How they work:
a pivoting plate under the heel has two threaded arms extending out the side. these guys adjust for the fore/aft adjustment of the binding (allowing you to fit different sized boots), and adjust the forward pressure. (the actual forward pressure is applied by the little white/colored tab and spring that sit on the bottom of the baseplate). the idea behind the design is it forces your boot to pivot from the center of your leg, instead of behind it on the boot lug. this makes it safer in almost all falls.
Why they are so good:
people buy these for various reasons, but in my opinion, the best thing about these guys, is the mounting pattern. the heel screws are all mounted under the footprint of your boot. this allows the ski to flex MUCH more naturally. better ollies, more natural turns, smoother flex etc etc.
the sloping adj. arms transfer energy right down to the edge. again, this makes the ski ride phenomenally well.
These guys have amazing elasticity and retention. so when you ALMOST fall, the binding is more likely to recenter back on your boot. if you are blowing out of your bindings, these are what you need.
there are pretty much two styles of heelpieces. The most modern version uses large rivets to attach the forward pressure arms to the baseplate. The older versions use a hooked arm that fits into a plastic encased metal tab. The newer style transfers slightly more energy to the ski. Other than that, they are mechanically identical.
as for toe pieces, there have been numerous. The current race toe, the original style pivot toe (with little rubber insets), the modern pivot toe, the Zrace toe (yshapped), and my favorite, which I don’t know the name, but have adjustable upward release and and preload.
these bindings are awesome, but that performance doesn’t come without flaws.
for one, the turntable design makes the binding safe in most falls. However, in a fall where you are pivoting off your toe, or your ski is kicked off to the side, they will lock you in, until something gives (your knee or ankle usually). This kind of fall is fairly rare, and is almost never a problem. In my 7 years of skiing turntables, this has happened twice. Both times sucked, but still good odds.
the tight mounting pattern puts a lot of torque on the ski, and these guys are slightly more prone to ripping out. Its not a big problem, but on soft-cored skis (salomons, fir K2s, anything without a fiberglass mounting plate), they are a tad more likely to pull out. I and many I know ride them on these skis, and don’t have problems, but it’s a lil more likely to happen.
the brakes suck. They are soft, narrow, and a bitch to replace once they are mounted. (Someone can link the TGR post on replacing/bending them)
they break (but still work). on all but the newest bindings, the half moon plate that holds the rear two screws is plastic. Ive broken a couple of them (new ones are aluminum). They are tough, but not indestructible. If they do brake, it really doesn’t effect anything usually. Also, on almost every well-skied pair ive ever seen, the two small plastic disk that sit directly between the forward pressure arms and the spring housing are cracked. Again, it really doesn’t affect anything, but they still crack.
they are pain in the ass to use. Unlike the pivot consumer bindings, the turntable heel doesn’t recenter automatically. So just about every time you fall you have to reach down and do it. stepping them down is also a pain, as it almost always kicks out to the side. You also have to keep an eye on the forward pressure rods. Over time they can loosen up a bit.
Pivot VS turntable
the consumer level pivot is a bitching binding. It takes everything about the turntable, and makes it easier to use. The release is also much smoother. However, the boot-to-ski interface tends to get a little sloppy over time due to the smaller pivot diameter. The pivot toe is prolly the safest toe piece in the world, but also is a lil sloppy. The turntable is also a bit burlier, although the pivot is plenty strong. The mostly metal turntables can also be rebuilt/repainted, while the pivots have a shorter overall lifespan.